Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

mon cause.

zack's success had made them despair of one upon any honourable terms, yet Providence threw an accident in the way, by which it was effected. Rer Vovvern, king of Feraigner, which is St. Augustin-bay country, had declared war against Woozington, our common enemy; and had sent an ambassador, one Ry-Nanno by name, a very able and experienced person, whose commission was to reconcile the contending lords of Anterndroea; and procure their friendship and assistance in the com

No sooner was he arrived at Fennoarevo, than the joyful news spread round the country, and reached our ears. Deaan Crindo, without any hesitation, permitted Ry-Nanno to make the first overtures from him to his nephew Murnanzack; to whose residence the ambassador was then gone when he heard it.

It was with no small reluctance, that this prince listened to a peace; for not only his uncle's deportment, but that of his sons too, was so inhuman and savage, in destroying the cattle belonging to their nearest relations, rooting up their plantations, and committing other flagrant enormities, that he almost forgot his own private wrongs, and looked upon deaan Crindo as the general enemy of mankind, who, to gratify his unruly passions, endeavoured to lay his country waste; notwithstanding he himself, at the first breaking out of the quarrel, had shown him so glorious an example. With what generosity did he treat both Crindo and Mundumber, and all who belonged to them? How careful was he of their towns and effects ? Evidently demonstrating that he aimed at nothing more than doing himself justice, and deciding a controversy that was too warmly pursued, and that the murder of men in cool blood, and the destruction of countries, were actions of horrid impiety. And as Ry-Nanno told me afterwards, it was his innate virtue that at last determined him to a reconciliation; for he thought the Supreme Being could never look down with a favourable eye on a man who would refuse to relieve his fellow-creatures from such calamities as his countrymen then laboured under. And this was the principal motive, in the height of his success, to wave the prosecution of his own interest, when it stood in competition with the public good. These were the truly noble sentiments and generous resolutions of this great man, notwithstanding his contempt of revelation; or, at least, of the christian religion, as I had represented it to him in a disadvantageous light. I wish our priests who build so much on their superior knowledge of God's will, would be as exemplary in their lives and conversations, and would teach princes as well as others, to be in reality so truly just, honourable, and good as this gallant black prince was in all his actions; and yet I doubt not, but he will be stigmatized with the odious character of an illiterate heathen.

As soon as Ry-Nanno had concluded his negotiation with deaan Murnanzack, he passed by deaan Afferrer, well knowing he would acquiesce with what his brother had done, and came to us, in order to compromise the quarrel we were engaged in with Chahary and Frukey. He condemned them for their rashness in the prosecution of their private resentments to the ruin of themselves and their country, and told them it was represented in a very bad light to all the kings on the island. He met with no great difficulty in the accomplishment of the reconciliation he ained at; which being effected, he told them that Rer Vovvern had a pique against Woozington, for several very gross affronts. Amongst others, he had called a dog by the name of Rer Vovvern; and Ry-Nanno expected he should wait on them next summer to beg their assistance against Woozington; but his errand was at that time principally out of friendship, to put an end to their destructive divisions. In a few days a peace was concluded and publicly proclaimed all over the country.

While Ry-Nanno was delivering his first speech to Rer Mimebolambo and deaan Mevarrow, I observed that he fixed his eye attentively upon me, and seemed to view me with some concern; and calling to me in broken English-you, white man, come hither. When he asked me my name, he turned to my master and asked, here is a white bird among a parcel of crows; in our country, indeed, they are common enough, ships come there frequently, but then they wear clothes, and eat and drink with our lords. This poor young lad looks piteously: why do you suffer him to go naked? Pray show some charity to a distressed stranger, and do not use him with inhumanity. Deaan Mevarrow answered, I have used him more tenderly than he deserves ; you do not know how his friends served deaan Crindo. Yes, says Ry-Nanno, I know the whole story perfectly well; and that deaan Crindo treated them in a barbarous manner in refusing to let them go at their request to a seaport, where ships come, in order to return to their native home. Had Rer Vovvern this white man, he would give him some of the clothes which his countrymen have left behind them, and take as much care of him as he would of his own son, till some ship should come to carry him home to his friends.

I listened to this discourse with the utmost attention, and waited with impatience for a favourable opportunity of talking with him in private, which I did that night; for he brought part of the cattle which deaan Murnanzack gave him, as he very well knew that we had none, and I was sent for to kill a bullock. I einbraced this lucky opportunity, and told him in broken English, that I would wait on him at night. Accordingly I went, and he received me with abundance of humanity and respect. After we were seated, he inquired into the whole history of our shipwreck and misfortunes. I gave him a long and faithful detail thereof, not forgetting to acquaint him with the cruel treatment I met with from my master, and to set my wretched state of slavery in the strongest light. The relation of this melancholy tale, not only made me weep, but drew tears likewise from his eyes. He told me he would endeavour to purchase me of deaan Mevarrow, and desired me not to be too much dejected. I stayed late with him, and when we parted, the hopes I had entertained of his kind intentions to release me, kept me awake all night. The next day, after he had discoursed with my master about their own private affairs, he asked him if he was inclined to sell his white man; and in case he was, he would give him in exchange a handsome young fellow, capable of doing him more service, or a buccaneer gun, if that would be a more agreeable compensation.

I was sitting among my fellow slaves, and waiting with the utmost eagerness and attention to hear the result of this conference. When my master ordered me to stand up, I was in hopes it was to strike the bargain; but, instead of that, says he, look on that white slave there; for looking after cattle, digging of wild yams, and improving of honey, there is not his fellow; and though a buccaneer gun is the common price of a slave, I will not take two for him. Ry-Nanno thereupon showed him three or four slaves, but Mevarrow told him in direct terms that he would not part with me on any conditions whatever. Then turning to me, he asked if I was not willing to dig some wild yams for him, as well as his other slaves who were just gone on the same errand before. Not daring to refuse, I was forced to take up my hatchet, shovel, and lance, and go into the woods; but instead of searching for yams, i sat down and wept till I was almost blind. However, I was under an indispensable obligation to find some to carry home, which was no easy task, for the stalks were now withered; yet I made up a bundle, after roasting them, but had none myself. When I came home, my master thought I had been idle, and said, you are mightily concerned I suppose, that Ry-Nanno is not your master. I went home and laid me down on my mat, and had nothing but a log of wood under my head for a pillow till some considerable time after it was dark, and then I stole privately to Ry-Nanno.

I was no sooner seated, than he told me he was glad to see me again, and asked me what success 1 had met with, which I told him ; and, moreover, that my master had abused me to the last degree for bringing no more yams. He said I was the first man he ever saw who had a black for his master; and though he could no: purchase me, yet he did not question, but Rer Vovvero would find some ways or means to get me into Feraignher, when he came next summer into this country. To that I replied, that I was afraid my master would not take me to the wars for that very reason, and that I despaired of ever regaining my liberty; but I was determined to make the experiment as soon as ever my master went out on another expedition, and left me behind him. Ry-Nanno endeavoured all he could to comfort me, and said, the same Providence which has hitherto preserved you, will deliver you at last; and I have great hopes of seeing you at St. Augustine-bay; for, said he, since Tuley Noro's death, there are but few ships come now to Port-Dauphine, though that, indeed, is the nearest seaport, for ours is a great way off. I desired to be informed how many days' journey it was, and which way he came; for I am determined, said I to attempt my escape; if they overtake me, I am sensible I shall be killed, but then I shall be freed from my present bondage, which is worse than death; and should I fall into any other master's hands, it is morally impossible he should treat me worse than this has done. The whole country of Merfaughla, said Ry-Nanno, lies between us, extending itself from the utmost part o: Anterndroea, where deaan Murnanzack's cattle are al: kept, to the river Oneghayloghe, which runs into St. Augustine-bay; and I think I was about forty and two days on my journey, but could have performed it in less than half the time, had we not hunted by the way; for the whole country, said he, is so well stocked with proper subsistence, that no one need carry any provisions, unless he be in a more than ordinary hurry. There are abundance of wild cattle in great part of it; besides, there is a large quantity of faungidge, verlaway, wild honey, and wild yams to be had, wherever you go. I inquired what kings lived in the way? He said three. Rer Trortrock is the first to the northward; the nexi Rer Chulu-Mossu-Andro, and Zaffentampoey; this last resides at the head of the river Oneghayloghe, to the eastward; all their people, however, live near two long days' journies from the road. The nearest way, said

« PoprzedniaDalej »