The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I.

The men-slaves, unable now to punish him, and finding they had created an alarm, began to proceed to extremities.  They endeavoured to force themselves up the gratings, and to pull down a partition which had been made for a sick-birth; when they were fired upon and repressed.  The next morning they were brought up one by one; when it appeared that a boy had been killed, who was afterwards thrown into the sea.

The two men, however, who had forced themselves out of irons, did not come up with the rest, but found their way into the hold, and armed themselves with knives from a cask, which had been opened for trade.  One of them being called to in the African tongue by a Black trader, who was then on board, came up, but with a knife in each hand; when one of the crew, supposing him yet hostile, shot him in the right side and killed him on the spot.

The other remained in the hold for twelve hours.  Scalding water mixed with fat was poured down upon him, to make him come up.  Though his flesh was painfully blistered by these means, he kept below.  A promise was then made to him in the African tongue by the same trader, that no injury should be done him, if he would come among them.  To this at length he consented.  But on observing, when he was about half way up, that a sailor was armed between decks, he flew to him, and clasped him, and threw him down.  The sailor fired his pistol in the scuffle, but without effect.  He contrived however to fracture his skull with the butt end of it, so that the slave died on the third day.

The second circumstance took place after the arrival of the same vessel at St. Vincent’s.  There was a boy-slave on board, who was very ill and emaciated.  The mate, who, by his cruelty, had been the author of the former mischief, did not choose to expose him to sale with the rest, lest the small sum he would fetch in that situation should lower the average price, and thus bring down[A] the value of the privileges of the officers of the ship.  This boy was kept on board, and no provisions allowed him.  The mate had suggested the propriety of throwing him overboard, but no one would do it.  On the ninth day he expired, having never been allowed any sustenance during that time.

[Footnote A:  Officers are said to be allowed the privilege of one or more slaves, according to their rank.  When the cargo is sold, the sum total fetched is put down, and this being divided by the number of slaves sold, gives the average price of each.  Such officers, then, receive this average price for one or more slaves, according to their privileges, but never the slaves themselves.]

I asked Mr. Arnold if he was willing to give evidence of these facts in both cases.  He said he had only one objection, which was, that in two or three days he was to go in the Ruby, on his third voyage:  but on leaving me, he said, that he would take an affidavit before the mayor of the truth of any of those things which he had related to me, if that would do; but, from motives of safety, he should not choose to do this till within a few hours before he sailed.

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The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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