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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African.


[Footnote A:  See Benezet’s “Account of Guinea” throughout.]

[Footnote B:  When I was in Smyrna I have frequently seen the Greeks dance after this manner.]

[Footnote C:  The bowl is earthen, curiously figured, to which a long reed is fixed as a tube.  This tube is sometimes so long as to be born by one, and frequently out of grandeur by two boys.]

[Footnote D:  When I was in Smyrna I saw the same kind of earth, and brought some of it with me to England; it resembles musk in strength, but is more delicious in scent, and is not unlike the smell of a rose.]

[Footnote E:  See Benezet’s Account of Africa throughout.]

[Footnote F:  See also Leut.  Matthew’s Voyage, p. 123.]

[Footnote G:  An instance of this kind happened at Montserrat in the West Indies in the year 1763.  I then belonged to the Charming Sally, Capt.  Doran.—­The chief mate, Mr. Mansfield, and some of the crew being one day on shore, were present at the burying of a poisoned negro girl.  Though they had often heard of the circumstance of the running in such cases, and had even seen it, they imagined it to be a trick of the corpse-bearers.  The mate therefore desired two of the sailors to take up the coffin, and carry it to the grave.  The sailors, who were all of the same opinion, readily obeyed; but they had scarcely raised it to their shoulders, before they began to run furiously about, quite unable to direct themselves, till, at last, without intention, they came to the hut of him who had poisoned the girl.  The coffin then immediately fell from their shoulders against the hut, and damaged part of the wall.  The owner of the hut was taken into custody on this, and confessed the poisoning.—­I give this story as it was related by the mate and crew on their return to the ship.  The credit which is due to it I leave with the reader.]

[Footnote H:  Page 178 to 216.]

[Footnote I:  Philos.  Trans.  Nº 476, Sect. 4, cited by Mr. Clarkson, p. 205.]

[Footnote J:  Same page.]

[Footnote K:  Acts, c. xvii. v. 26.]


The author’s birth and parentage—­His being kidnapped with his sister—­Their separation—­Surprise at meeting again—­Are finally separated—­Account of the different places and incidents the author met with till his arrival on the coast—­The effect the sight of a slave ship had on him—­He sails for the West Indies—­Horrors of a slave ship—­Arrives at Barbadoes, where the cargo is sold and dispersed.

I hope the reader will not think I have trespassed on his patience in introducing myself to him with some account of the manners and customs of my country.  They had been implanted in me with great care, and made an impression on my mind, which time could not erase, and which all the adversity and variety of fortune I have since experienced served only to rivet and record; for, whether the love of one’s country be real or imaginary, or a lesson of reason, or an instinct of nature, I still look back with pleasure on the first scenes of my life, though that pleasure has been for the most part mingled with sorrow.

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