By this time I began to feel the effect of my labours upon my constitution. It had been my practice to go home in the evening to my lodgings, about twelve o’clock, and then to put down the occurrences of the day. This usually kept me up till one, and sometimes till nearly two in the morning. When I went my rounds in Marsh-street, I seldom got home till two, and into bed till three. My clothes, also, were frequently wet through with the rains. The cruel accounts I was daily in the habit of hearing, both with respect to the slaves, and to the seamen employed in this wicked trade, from which, indeed, my mind had no respite, often broke my sleep in the night, and occasioned me to awake in an agitated state. All these circumstances concurred in affecting my health. I looked thin; my countenance became yellow. I had also rheumatic feelings. My friends, seeing this, prevailed upon me to give myself two or three days’ relaxation. And as a gentleman, of whom I had some knowledge, was going into Carmarthenshire, I accompanied him as far as Monmouth.
After our parting at this place, I became restless and uneasy, and longed to get back to my work. I thought, however, that my journey ought not to be wholly useless to the cause; and hearing that Dr. Davis, a clergyman at Monmouth, was a man of considerable weight among the inhabitants, I took the liberty of writing him a letter, in which I stated who I was, and the way in which I had lately employed myself, and the great wish I had to be favoured with an interview with him; and I did not conceal that it would be very desirable, if the inhabitants of the place could have that information on the subject which would warrant them in so doing, that they should petition the legislature for the abolition of the Slave-trade. Dr. Davis returned me an answer, and received me. The questions which he put to me were judicious. He asked me, first, whether, if the slaves were emancipated, there would not be much confusion in the islands? I told him that the emancipation of them was no part of our plan. We solicited nothing but the stopping of all future importations of them into the islands. He then asked what the planters would do for labourers. I replied, they would find sufficient from an increase of the native population, if they were obliged to pay attention to the latter means. We discoursed a long time upon this last topic. I have not room to give the many other questions he proposed to me. No one was ever more judiciously questioned. In my turn, I put him into possession of all the discoveries I had made. He acknowledged the injustice of the trade. He confessed, also, that my conversation had enlightened him as to the impolicy of it; and, taking some of my Summary Views to distribute, he said, he hoped that the inhabitants would, after the perusal of them, accede to my request.
On my return to Bristol, my friends had procured for me an interview with Mr. Alexander Falconbridge, who had been to the coast of Africa, as a surgeon, for four voyages; one in the Tartar, another in the Alexander, and two in the Emilia slave-vessels.