[Footnote 285: Astley, I. 179. Hakluyt, II. 518.]
In the versified relation, which is to be found at large in the last edition of Hakluyts Collection, London, 1810, Vol. II. p.518-523, he complains of being detained in a French prison, against all law and right, as the war between England and France was concluded by a peace. The account given of this conflict with the negroes is to the following effect—E.
One day while the ship was at anchor on the coast of Guinea, Baker ordered out the small pinnace or boat, with nine men well armed, to go on shore to traffic. At length, having entered a river, he saw a great number of negroes, whose captain came to him stark naked, sitting in a canoe made of a log, like a trough to feed hogs in. Stopping, at some distance, the negro chief put water on his cheek, not caring to trust himself nearer till Baker did the like. This signal of friendship being answered, and some tempting merchandize being shewn him, the chief came forward and intimated by signs, that he would stand their friend if some of these things were given him. He was gratified, and many things given to others of the natives. After trading all day with the negroes, Baker returned at night to the ship, carrying the chief along with him, where he clothed him and treated him kindly. In return the chief promised by signs to freight them in a day or two. While on board, Baker observed that the chief took much notice of the boat which was left astern, of the ship loaded with goods; yet not suspecting he had any ill design, no farther care or precaution was taken of the boat.
Next morning the chief was carried on shore, and trade or barter went on with the negroes as on the day before; and at the return of Baker to the ship, the boat was fastened to the stern, and the goods left in her as usual. In the night the negro captain came with two or three canoes, and was noticed by the watch to be very busy about the boat. On giving the alarm, the negroes fled; but on hoisting up the boat, all the goods were carried of. Vexed at being so tricked, the English went next morning up the river to the negro town, in order to recover their goods; but all their signs were to no purpose, as the negroes would neither understand them nor acknowledge the theft. On the contrary, as if wronged by the charge, and resolved to revenge the affront, they followed the English down the river in 100 canoes, while as many appeared farther down ready to intercept their passage. In each canoe were two men armed with targets and darts, most of which had long strings to draw them back again after they were thrown.