The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 243 pages of information about The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African.
account of the manners and customs of the Mosquito Indians—­Successful device of the author’s to quell a riot among them—­Curious entertainment given by them to Doctor Irving and the author, who leaves the shore and goes for Jamaica—­Is barbarously treated by a man with whom he engaged for his passage—­Escapes and goes to the Mosquito admiral, who treats him kindly—­He gets another vessel and goes on board—­Instances of bad treatment—­Meets Doctor Irving—­Gets to Jamaica—­Is cheated by his captain—­Leaves the Doctor and goes for England.

When our ship was got ready for sea again, I was entreated by the captain to go in her once more; but, as I felt myself now as happy as I could wish to be in this life, I for some time refused; however, the advice of my friends at last prevailed; and, in full resignation to the will of God, I again embarked for Cadiz in March 1775.  We had a very good passage, without any material accident, until we arrived off the Bay of Cadiz; when one Sunday, just as we were going into the harbour, the ship struck against a rock and knocked off a garboard plank, which is the next to the keel.  In an instant all hands were in the greatest confusion, and began with loud cries to call on God to have mercy on them.  Although I could not swim, and saw no way of escaping death, I felt no dread in my then situation, having no desire to live.  I even rejoiced in spirit, thinking this death would be sudden glory.  But the fulness of time was not yet come.  The people near to me were much astonished in seeing me thus calm and resigned; but I told them of the peace of God, which through sovereign grace I enjoyed, and these words were that instant in my mind: 

    “Christ is my pilot wise, my compass is his word;
    My soul each storm defies, while I have such a Lord. 
      I trust his faithfulness and power,
      To save me in the trying hour. 
    Though rocks and quicksands deep through all my passage lie,
    Yet Christ shall safely keep and guide me with his eye. 
      How can I sink with such a prop,
      That bears the world and all things up?”

At this time there were many large Spanish flukers or passage-vessels full of people crossing the channel; who seeing our condition, a number of them came alongside of us.  As many hands as could be employed began to work; some at our three pumps, and the rest unloading the ship as fast as possible.  There being only a single rock called the Porpus on which we struck, we soon got off it, and providentially it was then high water, we therefore run the ship ashore at the nearest place to keep her from sinking.  After many tides, with a great deal of care and industry, we got her repaired again.  When we had dispatched our business at Cadiz, we went to Gibraltar, and from thence to Malaga, a very pleasant and rich city, where there is one of the finest cathedrals I had ever seen.  It had been above fifty years in building, as I heard, though it was not then quite finished; great part of the inside, however, was completed and highly decorated with the richest marble columns and many superb paintings; it was lighted occasionally by an amazing number of wax tapers of different sizes, some of which were as thick as a man’s thigh; these, however, were only used on some of their grand festivals.

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The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.