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into the woods, and firing behind the trees every now and then, they killed three or four of our men. We had not travelled above two miles in this wood, before we came to a large sandy plain, to which we could see no end, and here they determined to stop our progress; since, if we went much farther, we should be within hearing of king Samuel's subjects, who were their mortal enemies, and would readily assist us. They divided themselves, therefore, into several bodies, in order to break in upon us on all sides; and we being apprized of their designs, were resolved to sell our lives and liberties as dearly as possible. Hereupon our captains put us in as good a posture of defence as they could, and divided our men who bore arms into four classes : one under the command of each of our three captains, and the other under Mr. John Bembo; such as had no arms, or were disabled, were covered in a little valley; and with them were the two negro hostages.
We had not above six-and-thirty fire-arms amongst us all, and not many more persons fit to fight; so that we were a poor handful to withstand an army of two or three thousand. When they found we made a stand, they did so too; and according to their wonted manner (where it could be done), three or four of them in a place threw up the sand before them, and being also beneath us, we could see only their heads: their shot flew very fast over us, and we kept them in play from noon till six in the evening; by which time all our ammunition was spent. Those of us who had money made slugs of it; their next shift was to take the middle screws out of their guns, and charge their pieces with them. When they had used all these means, they knew not what to do farther: now we began to reflect on those who advised us to deliver up, first the king, and afterwards his son; since the keeping of them would have been our principal safeguard. The two negroes in our custody expected, no doubt, every minute to be killed, as very justly they might; but as their death would be of no service to us, we did them no injury.
At length it was unanimously agreed, that Dudey and her husband should be sent to them with a flag of truce, not only to prolong the time, but to know what they farther wanted : so we tied a piece of red silk to a lance, and despatched them away. They kept firing at us all this time, not knowing what we meant by not returning it. They shot at those who carried the flag, but perceiving that they were not armed, the prince ordered them to cease. Dudey was interpreter, and • told them that our captain was inclined to make peace with them, and to deliver up the two hostages, with the guns and ammunition we took with us, as soon as we were advanced a little farther into the country. They said they would suffer us to go in the morning, in case we would deliver up our arms and the men; but not that evening, because it was dark. Their true reason was this, they knew if we got away that night, we should send some of king Samuel's people, who were their utter enemies, to be revenged on them for the ill treatment we had met with.
We were at a loss what determination to come to: we were willing, indeed, to let the two men (whom they called generals) go; but loth to part with our arms: most of us, as well as our captain, were of opinion, that they followed us for nothing else, and were for delivering them up; but Captain Drummond, Captain Steward, and their people, with Mr. Bembo, and some of our men, opposed it. Captain Drummond, in particular, expressed a great concern to see us so easy to be imposed upon; and told us that it was too visible their words were not to be relied on: inost voices, however, carried it, and Captain Younge being of the opinion it was best to resign them, it was agreed; + and, in short, soon actually performed; for Dudey having orders to acquaint them with such resolution, they sent proper messengers immediately to receive them.
Captain Drummond, however, and his companions claimed theirs as their own right and property, and therefore would not deliver them; nor would Dudey's
husband part with his. The negroes well knew we had but few left, and went away to all outward appearance well contented for that night. Dudey returned, and assured us that they would let us go in the morning; and as night was coming on, we laid down upon the sand, to repose ourselves as well as our distressed circumstances would admit of; for besides the hunger and fatigue we had already suffered, we reflected a thousand times on the barbarities we had seen committed the day before; and that it was now in their power to treat us as they pleased.
The next morning, as soon as we could see, we missed Captain Drummond, Captain Steward, Mr. Bembo, Dudey, and her husband, and four or five more, who deserted us in the night, without communicating their intentions to us. Now we plainly saw destruction before us, and the end of this miserable journey; which, after so bold an attempt, we undertook for the preservation of our lives and liberty; and a tragical one it was. For,
No sooner was it broad daylight, than the negroes came up to us, and the ince had a short conference with Sam. Captain Younge asked him the purport of their discourse. He answered, they wanted to know what was become of Captain Drummond, and the rest. The words were no sooner out of his mouth, than one of the princes took hold of me, and delivered me to one of his attendants; there were three or four lads like myself, and much about my age, who were seized at the same time, and delivered to their people in the same manner; who bound our hands with cords.
The same prince who ordered my hands to be thus tied, stuck his lance into Captain Younge's throat, and afterwards into his sides. Having killed him, he went on to another; and the rest of his barbarous train immediately following his example, they soon murdered every man belonging to our company; they then stripped off their clothes, and, like inhuman butchers, ripped open several of their bellies.
As for my part, I expected death every moment, but in what shape 1
could not tell; for one of the generals lifted up his lance, with an intention to pierce me through, but was prevented by the man who had me in custody, for some reasons I could not then rightly understand; but as I heard afterwards, he informed him I was reserved to wait on the king's grandson. Though this saved my life, yet it would not hinder the officer from rifling me of what I had valuable about me; for he feeling my purse in my breeches pocket, and not readily finding it, in a fury, with his lance cut away my breeches, and narrowly missed my flesh.
When they had concluded this bloody scene, and clothed themselves with the spoils of the slain, they marched away in very great haste, for fear of the natives of Port Dauphine; whom they imagined Captain Drummond and the rest had by that time alarmed, and prevailed on them to send sorne forces down to our
Now, whether the negroes might not think we had sent them away on purpose to get such assistance, and thereby provoked them to murder us, I cannot say; but certain it is, we were the most unfortunate wretches in the universe : for I was afterwards informed, before our murdered people were well cold, two thousand of king Samuel's men came down to rescue us out of their merciless hands.
Perhaps the reader will say, why did we not send two or three of our people as soon as we had passed the river? To which I can only answer, I think we were all infatuated, for with ease it might have been done; especially since we had the woman Dudey to go with them as an interpreter; and we might have kept Sam with us. But none of these reasons at that time occurred to me; for I was but a raw, inexperienced youth. And what motives could induce Captain Younge to release both the king and his son, is what I cannot pretend to account for. The plot was doubtless well concerted, and as duly executed at first, but most shamefully conducted afterwards; and, indeed, it is scarcely credible, that such a number of us could be so stupid as we then were ; and since I have attained to a mature age, and been capable of any reflection, it is what I have been surprised at.
The only reason that can be offered I now think, is, that as all of us had a great affection for our captain's father, so it caused us to be too partial, and to entertain too good an opinion of the son. But I since found, to my great concern, that our captain wanted not only judgment, but experience in the world; for Captain Drummond, as I very well remember, frequently opposed him; but by whatsoever ill conduct or folly we might contribute towards our ruin, so it was; and I am relating a real fact, and not inventing a fiction, or telling the reader what might or ought to have been done in the unhappy situation of our affairs at that time; however, through his imprudence were my friends massacred, and myself, with three more, made perpetual slaves: the eldest of us was not above sixteen years of age, and we were immediately parted, for they marched directly off the spot. As for Sam, I do not reckon him as one of us, because he went off with the negroes. I never saw him afterwards, but was informed that he lived a freeman under deaan Crindo; and whether he was so faithful to us as in justice and gratitude he ought to have been, is somewhat dubious.
All the way we went I had the shocking prospect of our men's mangled bodies, as we passed through the woods to the river. I was not so thirsty now as when I passed it first; but so faint for want of victuals, that I could scarcely stand upon my legs, having had no sustenance for three days together. Though my master expressed some little concern for me, yet he would not bait till he was past the river; however, he ordered his ople to stop at the first commodious place, and make a fire. And now I was in hopes of some agreeable refreshment, for some of his servants had carried beef on their backs for that purpose. Though they cut it into long pieces, (like ropes,) with the hide, and dressed and eat it half-roasted, according to their custom, and gave it me in the same manner, yet I thought