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Custom-house at Bristol. He used to call upon me at the Merchants' Hall, while I was transcribing the muster-rolls of the seamen there. short, he seemed to be interested in all my movements. He became also a warm supporter both of me and of my
Among others, who were useful to me in my pursuit, was Mr Henry Sulgar, an amiable minister of the gospel belonging to the religious society of the Moravians in the same city. From him I first procured authentic documents relative to the treacherous massacre at Calabar. This cruel transaction had been frequently mentioned to me; but as it had taken place twenty years before, I could not find one person who had been engaged in it, nor could I come, in a satisfactory manner, at the various particulars be. langing to it. My friend, however, put me in possession of copies of the real depositions which had been taken. in the case of the King against Lippincott and others, relative to this event, namely, of captain Floyd, of the city of Bristol, who had been a witness to the scene, and of Ephraim Robin John, and of Ancona Robin Robin John, two African chiefs, who had been sufferers by it. These depositions had been taken before Jacob Kirby, and Thomas Symons, Esquires, commissioners at Bristol for taking ahdavits in the court of King's Bench. The tragedy, of which they gave a circumstantial account, I shall present to the reader in as concise a manner as I can.
now mentioned, joined in sending several letters to the inhabitants of Old Town, but particularly to Ephrain Robin John, who was at that time a grandee or principal inhabitant of the place. The tenor of these letters was, that they were sorry that any jealousy or quarrel should subsist between the two parties; that if the inhabitants of Old Town would come on board, they would afford them security and protection; adding at the same time, that their intention in inviting them was, that they might become mediators, and thus heal their disputes.
The inhabitants of Old Town, happy to find that their differences were likely to be accommodated, joyfully accepted the invitation. The three brothers of the grandee just mentioned, the eldest of whom was Amboe Robin John, first entered their canoe, attended by twenty-seven others, and, being followed by nine canoes, directed their course to the Indian Queen. They were dispatched from thence the next morning to the Edgar, and afterwards to the Duke of York, on board of which they went, leaving their canoę and attendants by the side of the same vessel. In the mean time, the people on board the other canoes were either distributed on board, or lying close to, the other ships.
In the year 1767, the ships Indian Queen, Duke of York, Nancy, and Concord, of Bristol; the Edgar, of Liverpool, and the Canterbury of London, lay in old Calabar river.
It happened at this time, that a marrel subsisted between the principal nhabitants of Old Town and those of New Town, Old Calabar, which had riginated in a jealousy respecting laves. The captains of the vessels
This being the situation of the three brothers, and of the principal inhabitants of the place, the treachery now began to appear. The crew of the Duke of York, aided by the captain and mates, and armed with pistols and cutlasses, rushed into the cabin, with an intent to seize the persons' of their three innocent and unsuspicious guests. The unhappy men, alarmed at this violation of the rights of hospitality, and struck with astonishment at the behaviour of their supposed friends, attempted to escape thro? the cabin windows, but being wounded, were obliged to desist and to submit to be put in irons.
In the same moment, in which this
atrocious attempt had been made, an order had been given to fire upon the canoe, which was then lying by the side of the Duke of York. The canoe soon filled and sunk, and the wretched attendants were either seized, killed, or drowned. Most of the other ships followed the example. Great numbers were additionally killed and drowned on the occasion, and others were swimming to the shore.
At this juncture the inhabitants of New Town, who had concealed themselves in the bushes by the water-side, and between whom and the commanders of the vessels the plan had been previously concerted, came out from their hiding-places, and embarking in their canoes, made for such as were swimming from the fire of the ships. The ships' boats also were manned, and joined in the pursuit. They but chered the greatest part of those whom they caught. Many dead bodies were soon seen upon the sands, and others were floating upon the water; and including those who were seized and carried off, and those who were drowned and killed, either by the firing of the ships, or by the people of New Town, three hundred were lost to the inhabitants of Old Town on that day.
The carnage, which I have been now describing, was scarcely over, when a canoe, full of the principal people of New Town, who had been the promoters of the scheme, dropped along-side of the Duke of York. They demanded the person of Amboe Robin John, the brother of the grandee of Old Town, and the eldest of the three on board. The unfortunate man put the palms of his hands together, and beseeched the commander of the vessel, that he would not violate the rights of hospitality by giving up an unoffending stranger to his enemies. But no entreaties could avail. The commander received from the New Town people a slave, of the name of Econg, in his stead, and then forced
him into the canoe, where his head was immediately struck off in the sight of the crew, and of his afflicted and disconsolate brothers. As for them, they escaped his fate; but they were carried off with their attendants to the West Indies, and sold for slaves.
I determined to inquire into the truth of the reports that seamen had an aversion to enter, and that they were inveigled, if not often forced into this hateful employment. For this purpose I was introduced to a landlord of the name of Thompson, who kept a public-house called the Seven Stars. He was a very intelligent man, was accustomed to receive sailors, when discharged at the end of their voyages, and to board them till their vessels went out again, or to find them births in others. He avoided however all connection with the Slave-trade, declaring that the credit of his house would be ruined, if he were known to send those, who put themselves undcr his care, into it.
From him I collected the truth of all that had been stated to me on this subject. But I told him I should not be satisfied until I had beheld those scenes myself, which he had described to me; and I entreated him to take me into them, saying that I would reward him for all his time and trouble, and that I would never forget him while I lived. To this he consented; and as three or four slave-vessels at this time were preparing for their voy. ages, it was time that we should begin our rounds. At about twelve at night we generally set out, and were employed till two and sometimes three in the morning. He led me from one of those public houses to another, which the mates of the slave-vessels used to frequent to pick up their hands. These houses were in Marshstreet, and most of them were then kept by Irishmen. The scenes witnessed in these houses were truly distressing to me; and yet, if I wished to know practically what I had purposed, I
could not avoid them. Music, dancing, rioting, drunkenness, and profane =swearing, were kept up from night to night. The young mariner, if a stranger to the port, and unacquainted with the nature of the Slave-trade, was sure to be picked up. The novelty of the voyages, the superiority of the wages in this over any other trades, and the privileges of various kinds, were set before him. Gulled in this manner, he was frequently enticed to the boat, which was waiting to carry him away. If these prospects did not attract him, he was plied with liquor till he became intoxicated, when a bargain was made over him between the landlord and the mate. After this his senses were kept in such a constant state of stupefaction by the liquor, that in time the former might do with him what he pleased. Seamen also were boarded in these houses, who, when the slave-ships were going out, but at no other time, were encouraged to spend more than they had money to pay or; and to these, when they had thus exceeded, but one alternative was given, namely, a slavevessel, or a gaol. These distressing scenes I found myself obliged frequentd to witness, for I was no less than ineteen times occupied in making these hateful rounds. And I can say from my own experience, and all the information I could collect from Thompson and others, that no such practices were in use to obtain seamen for other trades.
during the voyage, the wages then due to them should be paid in the currency where the vessel carried her slaves, and that half of the wages due to them, on their arrival there, should be paid in the same manner, and that they were never permitted to read over the articles they had signed. By means of this iniquitous practice, the wages in the slave trade, tho' nominally higher, in order to induce seamen to engage in it, were actually lower than in other trades, All these usages I ascertained in such a manner that no person could doubt the truth of them. I actually obtained posses sion of articles of agreement belonging to these vessels, which had been signed and executed in former voyages. I made the merchants themselves, by sending those seamen, who had claims upon them, to ask for their accounts current with their respective ships, furnish me with such documents as would have been evidence against them in any court of law. On whatever branch of the system I turned my eyes, I found it equally barbarous. The trade was, in short, one mass of iniquity, from the beginning to the end.
I employed myself occasionally in the Merchants-hall, in making copies of the muster-rolls of ships sailing to different parts of the world, that I might make a comparative view of the loss of seamen in the slave trade with that of those in the other trades from the same port. The result of this employment showed me the importance of it: for, when I considered how impartial the inhabitants of this country were to their fellow-citizens, the seamen belonging to it, and in what estimation the members of the legislature held them, by enforcing the navigation act, which they considered to be the bulwark of the nation, and by giving bounties to certain trades, that these might become so many nurseries for the marine, I thought it of great im portance to be able to prove, as I was then capable of doing, that more per
The treatment of the seamen employed in the Slave-trade had so deeply interested me, and now the manner of procuring them, that I was determined to make myself acquainted with their whole history; for I found by report, that they were not only personally ill treated, as I have already painfully described, but that they were robbed by artifice of those wages which had been held up to them as so superior in this service. All persons were obliged to sign articles, that in ease they should die, or be discharged,
sons would be found dead in three slave vessels from Bristol, in a given time, than in all the other vessels put together, numerous as they were, belonging to the same port.
I procured also an account of the exports and imports for the year 1786, by means of which I was enabled to judge of the comparative value of this and the other trades.
In pursuing another object, which was that of going on board the slaveships, and learning their constructions and dimensions, I was greatly struck, and indeed affected, by the appearance of two little sloops, which were fitting out for Africa, the one of only twenty-five tons, which was said to be destined to carry seventy; and the other of only eleven, which was said to be destined to carry thirty slaves. I was told also, that which was more affecting, namely, that these were not to act as tenders on the coast, by going up and down the rivers, and receiving three or four slaves at a time, and then carrying them to a large ship, which was to take them to the West Indies, but that it was actually intended, that they should transport their own slaves themselves; that one if not both of them were, on their arrival in the West Indies, to be sold as pleasurevessels, and that the seamen belonging to them were to be permitted to come home by what is usually called the
This account of the destination of these little vessels, though it was distressing at first, appeared to me after wards, on cool reasoning, to be incredible. I thought that my informants wished to impose on me, in order that I might make statements which would carry their own refutation with them, and that thus I might injure the great cause which I had undertaken. And I was much inclined to be of this opinion, when I looked again at the least of the two; for any person, who was tall, standing upon dry ground by the side of her, might have overlooked
every thing upon her deck. I knew also that she had been built as a pleasure-boat for the accommodation of only six persons upon the Severn. I determined, therefore, to suspend my belief till I could take the admeasurement of each vessel. This I did; but lest, in the agitation of my mind on this occasion, I should have made any mistake, I desired my friend George Fisher to apply to the builder for his admeasurement also. With this he kindly complied. When he obtained it he brought it me. This account, which nearly corresponded with my own, was as follows:-In the vessel of twenty-five tons, the length of the upper part of the hold, or roof, of the room, where the seventy slaves were to be stowed, was but little better than ten yards, or thirty-one feet. The greatest breadth of the bottom, or floor, was ten feet four inches, and the least five. Hence, a grown person must sit down all the voyage, and contract his limbs within the narrow limits of three square feet. In the vessel of eleven tons, the length of the room for the thirty slaves was twentytwo feet. The greatest breadth of the floor was eight, and the least four.The whole height from the keel to the beam was but five feet eight inches, three feet of which were occupi ed by ballast, cargo, and provisions, so that two feet eight inches remained only as the height between the decks. Hence, each slave would have only four square feet to sit in, and, when in this posture, his head, if he were a fullgrown person, would touch the ceil ing, or upper deck.
Having now received this admeasurement from the builder, which was rather more favourable than my own, I looked upon the destination of these little vessels as yet more incredible than before. Still the different per sons, whom I occasionally saw on board them, persisted in it that they were going to Africa for slaves, and also for the numbers mentioned, which they
small divisions on the stem; and accordingly when the hydrometer is immersed in any liquid until it sinks to the middle point on the stem, the specific gravity of such fluid will be indi
they were afterwards to carry to the West Indies themselves. I desired, however, my friends, George Fisher, Truman Harford, Harry Gandy, Walter Chandler, and others, each to make a separate inquiry for me on this sub-cated by the sum of the weight of the ject; and they all agreed that, impro- instrument, and the grains added in bable as the account both of their des- the upper cup. To accommodate it tination, and of the number they were to the use of those who are concerned to take, might appear, they had found with spirituous liquors and of brewers, it to be too true. I had soon after the inventor attaches a scale, shewing wards the sorrow to learn from official the relation between specific gravities, documents from the Custom-house, and the commercial or technical denothat these little vessels actually clear- mination of per centage with the fored out for Africa, and that now no- mer, and pounds per barrel with the thing could be related so barbarous of latter. this traffic, which might not instantly be believed.
Memoirs of the Progress of MANUFACTURES, CHEMISTRY, SCIENCE, and the FINE ARTS.
MR GEORGE ATKINS has publish-
M. V. AUARIE, apothecary of Valence, has recently made a number of chemical experiments, on the saccharine matter contained in the stalk of Indian corn. The results deduced from this examination are: 1. That the stalk of Indian corn cannot be employed for the extraction of sugar,
because the expence would exceed the
A capuchin of Vicenza, named JOHN BAPTIST DE SAINT MARTIN, has invented a very useful instrument for ascertaining the quantity of saccharine matter in unferniented wine, and showing how to extract it. This instrument, called an enometer, has been examined by the academy of Sciences at Naples, who were satisfied that it fully answered the purposes for which it was intended.
A new volcano has made its appearance in one of the Azore islands. An interesting account of it is given in the following letter from the American Consul at Fayal, to a friend at St Michael's, dated June 25th, 1808.