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we saw them approaching us, we all stood together in a body, with our captain at the head of us. When they drew near, he called Sam, which was the man's name he sent to us, and asked him who was our captain. As soon as he was informed, he came up to him and took him by the hand, and said in a familiar manner, “salamonger, captain;" which is a term of salutation, much like our saying “your servant, sir." The captain returned the compliment; Sam having informed him before in what manner he should behave himself to the king. His majesty brought with him four large bullocks, six calabashes of toake, ten baskets of potatoes, and ten pots of honey; all which he presented to our captain, and gave us moreover two or three earthen pots to dress our victuals in: we immediately roasted the potatoes. He stayed two hours with us, before he withdrew to the cottage, where he proposed to lodge that night; and asked several questions about our ship, and the manner of her being lost. He told the captain he was heartily sorry for his misfortunes, though in my opinion that was nothing but a compliment; for, as I found afterwards, he was more brutish and dishonest than most of the other kings on the island; and his whole nation was clothed for many years out of the effects they saved from our wreck. At this time he took no notice to our captain of carrying us up to his own residence.
The next morning he paid us another visit, and then he told us that he expected we should prepare to go along with him to his town; and there we should want for nothing the country could afford us. Captain Younge ordered the interpreter to acquaint the king, that he returned him a thousand thanks for the civilities he had already received; and th he was not only unable to make him satisfaction, but very unwilling to put him to further trouble, and charge of maintaining so great a number of people. The king replied, that if we were as many more, he should not think us either a burthen or a charge; since he should look upon it as an honour to have so many white men in his dominions.
The captain, by this last artful speech, perceived his whole intention ; which shocked him to that degree, that he could scarce tell what to say to him; but after a little reflection, and looking wishfully on Sam, he directed him to say that we have wives, children, and relations, who are impatient to see us, and we are as desirous of seeing them; that it was impossible for us to live here always; and for that reason, we begged he would permit us to go to some port where we might meet with ships, and return to our native country. The king paused awhile before he made any reply; but at length he ordered Sam to tell us, that we should stay in his country till some ships should come there to trade; and that then we should go home. The captain, knowing there was no port in his dominions, nor any harbour for a ship to put into, took it to be artifice all, and a mere compliment, for we might stay for ever, before a ship came there with the view he proposed. He therefore desired Sam to tell him he would think of it, and return an answer the next day: upon this the king departed, and gave us no farther trouble at that time.
As soon as he was gone, the captain called us all together, and in a very pathetic speech addressed himself to us in the following manner:-“
“I am now on an equality with the meanest man here present, my fortune is as low, and my life is as little to be regarded ; I do not pretend, therefore, to command, but to consult with you what is most expedient to be done in the present unhappy situation of our affairs. However,” said he, “I am happy in this, that though my life and liberty are lost as well as yours, yet this misfortune is not any ways chargeable on me, for I would rather have kept on my course to the Cape of Good Hope, and relied on Providence in a leaky ship, than put in here, but you strenuously opposed it; for death, in my opinion, is to be preferred to our present slavery, and the consequences that will naturally attend it. In death our sorrows will have an end, but now, who can tell the troubles and torments we shall yet undergo;
(at this the tears stood in his eyes.) Consider, gentlemen,” said he, “we have neither arms nor ammunition wherewith to defend ourselves; and I have endeavoured to prevail on the king to give us a passage through his country to a seaport, but in vain; think of it, therefore,” says he, “and consult your own safety as well as you can; be but of one mind, and I am ready to comply with any thing you would have me: as for my own life, I set no value upon it; it would not now be worth preserving but for the hopes I have of being serviceable to my friends. Remember I must return an answer to-morrow morning, and I will advise nothing, nor do any thing without your concurrence.”
We went together and consuited, as the captain advised, and came soon to an agreement, for the matter in debate lay within a small compass; the king had refused to give us leave to go to a seaport, and we had no arms to fight and force our way, if we could have found it; we therefore determined to go quietly up the country with the king, to the place of his residence, where we were in hopes of seeing and conversing with Captain Drummond, Captain Steward, and the other people, who (being gallant and courageous men, and by this time somewhat acquainted with the natives,) might probably be capable of giving us more proper and seasonable advice.
We then acquainted the captain with our resolution, and he seemed to be very well contented with it; for, indeed, he was not over solicitous what became of himself, since he had in so unhappy a manner lost his ship and fortune, and despaired of ever getting off the island.
Next morning the king paid the captain a visit; they saluted each other in their usual manner, and sat down together upon the sand, whilst we all stood round them; soon after, the king ordered Sain to ask the captain if he was ready to go, for it would be best to walk in the cool of the morning, and rest at noon. The captain observed that he did not ask whether he
was inclined to go or not, as might reasonably be expected, since he pretended to give him time to consider of it, but peremptorily asked if he was ready to go.
As the captain saw there was no avoiding it, and having our consent, it signified nothing to dispute it; so he told him we were ready to wait on him when he pleased. At this the king seemed fully satisfied, and ordered Sam to tell us he would breakfast first, and advised us to do so too, that we might be the better enabled to perform our journey.
We had little satisfaction, however, in eating and drinking, especially since the hour was come in which we were obliged to leave the seaside; and it galled us severely, to think how we were forced up the country like a flock of sheep, at the pleasure of a parcel of barbarous negroes, without any power to make terms for ourselves like men. Some cursed, and others bewailed their hard fortune, nor were reflections wanting; for my own part, though I could not at that time see any reason for complaint, yet I have since thought that our captain was young, and had not so much experience as his father, who would not have put to sea from Mauritius in a leaky vessel, but have taken out the company's cargo, and left it there till another ship had been sent for it, and saved all our lives; however, Providence ordained it otherwise.
The king sent, and the word was given to march. I was ready in an instant, for I carried nothing with me but what I brought ashore; but many of our people took pieces of silk and fine calico. sembled together, and went to see the place where the king's tent was pitched. We were no sooner come,
was for marching. We left the sea with heavy hearts, looking very wishfully back as long as we could discern it; and as oft as we did, we observed the negroes hard at work, breaking up our bales, and enriching themselves with the plunder of our goods ; in short, they were so busy, that but few went back with the king
Our people were but ill-disposed for travelling, since every body was tired with working, and want of rest; many were lamed with hurts received in getting on shore; some were also without shoes, and most of us had but bad ones; then again, the country near the seaside and some few miles further, is full of short underwood and thorny shrubs, which tore our clothes to rags, for the path was very narrow, and before this accident but little frequented; the ground also was sandy, so that when the sun was advanced pretty high, it scorched our feet to that degree that we were scarcely able to walk.
About noon we came to one of their small mean villages, consisting of about eight or ten houses, or rather huts, for they were not above six or seven feet high, and about eight or nine feet in length, and their doors not above three or four feet high; our people crept into these hovels to rest, and to see what they could meet with to refresh themselves. Some found honey, others milk, and others beef, for the king had given us free permission to take what eatibles soever came to hand. The inhabitants were all absent, the men at the seaside making advantage of our wreck, and the women and children fled into the woods at our approach. We passed several of these poor villages, but saw few of the people. Here we reposed ourselves till the heat abated, when we made ourselves but a poor compensation by robbing them of their trifles, while they were enriching themselves with our most valuable commodities; however, I observed some of our people found a secret pleasure in gratifying their resentment.
In the cool of the evening we marched again, and in a little time came to a more open and better road. As we were now some miles from the sea the king left us, and went before to his seat, leaving us to march at our leisure; having before taken care that we should not want provisions, and left his chief officer (whom I shall call his general) strict orders to supply us with whatever we wanted, and what the country would afford.