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.

    “That he who cannot stem his anger’s tide
    Doth a wild horse without a bridle ride.”

The next morning we discovered that the vessel which had caused such a fury in the captain was an English sloop.  They soon came to an anchor where we were, and, to my no small surprise, I learned that Doctor Irving was on board of her on his way from the Musquito shore to Jamaica.  I was for going immediately to see this old master and friend, but the captain would not suffer me to leave the vessel.  I then informed the doctor, by letter, how I was treated, and begged that he would take me out of the sloop:  but he informed me that it was not in his power, as he was a passenger himself; but he sent me some rum and sugar for my own use.  I now learned that after I had left the estate which I managed for this gentleman on the Musquito shore, during which the slaves were well fed and comfortable, a white overseer had supplied my place:  this man, through inhumanity and ill-judged avarice, beat and cut the poor slaves most unmercifully; and the consequence was, that every one got into a large Puriogua canoe, and endeavoured to escape; but not knowing where to go, or how to manage the canoe, they were all drowned; in consequence of which the doctor’s plantation was left uncultivated, and he was now returning to Jamaica to purchase more slaves and stock it again.  On the 14th of October the Indian Queen arrived at Kingston in Jamaica.  When we were unloaded I demanded my wages, which amounted to eight pounds and five shillings sterling; but Captain Baker refused to give me one farthing, although it was the hardest-earned money I ever worked for in my life.  I found out Doctor Irving upon this, and acquainted him of the captain’s knavery.  He did all he could to help me to get my money; and we went to every magistrate in Kingston (and there were nine), but they all refused to do any thing for me, and said my oath could not be admitted against a white man.  Nor was this all; for Baker threatened that he would beat me severely if he could catch me for attempting to demand my money; and this he would have done, but that I got, by means of Dr. Irving, under the protection of Captain Douglas of the Squirrel man of war.  I thought this exceedingly hard usage; though indeed I found it to be too much the practice there to pay free men for their labour in this manner.  One day I went with a free negroe taylor, named Joe Diamond, to one Mr. Cochran, who was indebted to him some trifling sum; and the man, not being able to get his money, began to murmur.  The other immediately took a horse-whip to pay him with it; but, by the help of a good pair of heels, the taylor got off.  Such oppressions as these made me seek for a vessel to get off the island as fast as I could; and by the mercy of God I found a ship in November bound for England, when I embarked with a convoy, after having taken a last farewell of Doctor Irving.  When I left Jamaica he was employed in refining sugars; and

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