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you, and whenever it is needful will produce it in your behalf.' Upon this I awoke, in a state of mind not to be described : I could hardly eat, or sleep, or transact my necessary business for two or three days; bui the impression soon wore off, and in a little time I totally forgot it; and I think it hardly occurred to my mind again till several
years afterwards." Nothing remarkable happened in the following part of that voyage. Mr. N. returned home in December, 1743, and, repeating his visit to Kent, protracted his stay in the same imprudent manner he had done before. This so disappointed his father's designs for his interest, as almost induced him to disown his son. Before any thing suitable offered again, this thoughtless son, unmindful of the consequence of appearing in a check shirt, was marked by a lieutenant of the Harwich man-of-war, who immediately impressed and carried him on board a tender. This was at a critical juncture, as the French fleets were hovering upon our coast : so that his father was incapable of procuring his release. A few days after, he was sent on board the Harwich at the Nore. Here a new scene of life was presented, and for about a month much hardship endured. As a war was daily expected, his father was willing he should remain in the navy, red him a recommendation to the captain, who sent him upon the quarter-deck as a midshipman. He might now have had ease and respect, had it not been for his unsettled mind and indifferent behaviour. The companions he met with here completed the ruin of his principles; though he affected to talk of virtue, and preserved some decency, yet bis delight and habitual practice was wickedness.
His principal companion was a person of talents and observation, an expert and plausible infidel, whose zeal was equal to his address. “I have been told,” says Mr. N.," that afterwards he was overtaken in a voyage from Lisbon in a violent storm; the vessel and people escaped, but a great sea broke on board, and swept him into eternity." Being fond of this man's company, Mr. N. aimed to discover what smattering of reading he had : his companion, observing that Mr. N. had not lost all the restraints of conscience, at first spoke in favour of religion ; and having gained Mr. N.'s confidence, and perceiving his attatchment to the Characteristics, he soon convinced his pupil that he had never understood that book. By objections and arguments Mr. N.'s depraved heart was soon gained. He plunged into infidelity with all his spirit; and, like an unwary sailor, who quits his post just before a rising storm, the hopes and comforts of the Gospel were renounced at the very time when every other comfort was about to fail.
In December 1744, the Harwich was in the Downs, bound to the East Indies. The captain gave Mr. N. leave to go on shore for a day; but, with his usual inconsideration, and following the dictates of a restless passion, he went to take a last leave of the object with which he was so infatuated. Little satisfaction attended the interview in such circumstances, and on new-year's day he returned to the ship. The captain was so highly displeased at this rash step, that it occasioned ever after the loss of his favour.
At length they sailed from Spithead, with a very large fleet. They put into Torbay, with a change of wind, but sailed the next day, on its becoming fair. Several of the fleet were lost at leaving the place, but the following night the whole fleet was greatly endangered upon the coast of Cornwall
, by a storm from the southward. The ship on which Mr. N. was aboard escaped unhurt, though several times in danger of being run down by other vessels ; but many suffered much: this occasioned their putting back to Plymouth.
IFhile they lay at Plymouth, Mr. N. heard that his father, who had an interest in some of the ships lately lost, was come down to Torbay. He thought, that, if he could see his father, he might easily be introduced into a service which would be better than pursuing a long and uncertain voyage to the East Indies. It was his habit in those unhappy days, never to deliberate : as soon as the thought occurred, he resolved to leave the ship at all events: he did 80, and in the worst manner possible. He was sent one day in the boat to preFent others from desertion, but betrayed his trust, and deserted himself. Not
knowing which road to take, and fearing to inquire, lest he should be suspected, yet having some general idea of the country, he found, after he had travelled some miles, that he was on the road to Dartmouth. That day, and part of the next, every thing seemed to go on smoothly. He walked fast, and thought to have seen his father in about two hours, when he was met by a small party of soldiers, whom he could not avoid or deceive: they brought him back to Plymouth, through the streets of which he proceeded guarded like a felon. Full of indignation, shame, and fear, he was confined two days in the guard-house, then sent on ship-board, and kept a while in irons ; next he was publicly stript and whipt, degraded from his office, and all his former companions forbidden to show him the least favour, or even to speak to him. As midshipman he had been entitled to command, in which (being sufficiently haughty and vain) he had not been temperate; but was now in his turn brought down to a level with the lowest, and exposed to the insults of all.
The state of his mind at this time can only be properly expressed in his own words :
** As my present situation was uncomfortable, my future prospects were still worse; the evils I suffered were likely to grow heavier every day. catastrophe was recent, the officers and my quondam brethren were somewhat disposed to screen me from ill usage; but during the little time I remained with them afterwards, I found them cool very fast in their endeavours to protect me. Indeed, they could not avoid such conduct, without running a great risk of shar. ing with me: for the captain, though in general a humane man, who behaved very well to the ship's company, was almost implacable in his resentment, and took several occasions to show it, and the voyage was expected to be (as it proved) for five years.
Yet nothing I either felt or feared distressed me so much, as to see myself thus forcibly torn away from the object of my affections, under a great improbability of seeing her again, and a much greater, of returning in such a manner as would give me hope of seeing her mine.
“ Thus I was as miserable on all hands, as could well be imagined. My breast was filled with the most excruciating passions, eager desire, bitter rage, and black despair. Every hour exposed me to some new insult and hardship, with no hope of relief or mitigation; no friend to take my part, nor to listen to my com. plaint. Whether I looked inward or outward, I could perceive nothing but darkness and misery. I think no case, except that of a conscience wounded by the wrath of God, could be more dreadful than mine. I cannot express with what wishfulness and regret I cast my last looks upon the English shore; I kept my eyes fixed upon it, till the ship's distance increasing, it insensibly disappeared'; and, when I could see it no longer, I was tempted to throw myself into the sea, which (according to the wicked system I had adopted) would put a period to all my sorrows at once. But the secret hand of God restrained me."
During his passage to Madeira, Mr. N. describes himself as a prey to the most gloomy thoughts; though he had deserved all, and more than all he had met with from the captain, yet pride suggested that he had been grossly injured; "and this so far," says he, « wrought upon my wicked heart, that I actually formed designs against his life, and that was one reason which made me willing to prolong my own. I was sometimes divided between the two, not thinking it practicable to effect both. The Lord had now to appearance given me up to judicial hardness ; I was capable of any thing. I had not the least fear of God before my eyes, nor (so far as I remember) the least sensibility of conscience. I was possessed with so strong a spirit of delusion, that I believed my own lie, and was firmly persuaded, that after death I should cease to be. Yet the Lord preserved me! Some intervals of sober reflection would at times take place: when I have chosen death rather than life, a ray of hope would come in (though there was little probability for such hope) that I should yet see better days, that I might return to England, and have my wishes crowned, if I did not wilfully throw myself away. In a word, my love to Mrs. N. was now the only restraint I had
left: though I neither feared God, nor regarded man, I could not bear that she should think meanly of me when I was dead.
Mr. N. had been at Madeira some time; and the business of the fleet being now completed, they were to sail the following day. On that memorable morning he happened to be late in bed, and would have continued to sleep, but that an old companion, a midshipman, came down, between jest and earnest, and bid him rise. “As he did not immediately comply, the midshipman cut down the hammock in which he lay; this obliged him to dress himself; and though very angry he durst not resent it, but was little aware that this person, without design, was a special instrument of God's providence. Mr. N. said little, but went upon deck, where he saw a man putting his clothes into a boat, who informed him he was going to leave the ship. Upon inquiry, he found that two men from a Guinea ship, which lay near them, had entered on board the Harwich, and that the commodore (the late Sir George Pocock) had ordered the captain to send two others in their room. Inflamed with this information, Mr. N. requested that the boat might be detained a few minutes; he then entreated the lieutenants to intercede with the captain, that he might be dismissed upon this occasion : though he had formerly behaved ill to these officers, they were moved with pity, and were disposed to serve him. The captain, who had refused to exchange him at Plymouth, though requested by Admiral Medley, was easily prevailed with now. In little more than half an hour from his being asleep in bed, he found himself discharged, and safe on board another ship. The events depending upon this change, will show it to have been the most critical and important.
The ship he now entered was bound to Sierra Leone, and the adjacent parts of what is called the windward coast of Africa. The commander knew his fatherreceived him kindly—and made professions of assistance; and probably would have been his friend, if, instead of profiting by his former errors, he had not pursued a course, if possible, worse. He was under some restraint on board the Harwich, but being now among strangers, he could sin without disguise. "I well remember," says he, “ that while I was passing from the one ship to the other, I rejoiced in the exchange, with this reflection, that I might now be as abandoned as I pleased, without any control; and from this time I was exc
xceedingly vile indeed, little, if any thing, short of that animated description of an almost irrecoverable state, which we have in 2 Pet. ii. 14. I not only sinned with a high hand myself, but made it my study to tempt and seduce others upon every occasion : nay, I eagerly sought occasion, sometimes to my own hazard and hurt. By this conduct he soon forfeited the favour of his captain : for, besides being careless and disobedient, upon some imagined affront, he employed his mischievous wit in making a song to ridicule the captain as to his ship, his designs, and his person; and he taught it to the whole ship's company.
He thus proceeded for about six months, at which time the ship was preparing to leave the coast; but, a few days before she sailed, the captain died. Mr. N. was not upon much better terms with his mate, who succeeded to the command, and upon some occasion had treated him ill. He felt certain, that, if he went in the ship to the West Indies, the mate would have put him on board a manof-war, a consequence more dreadful to him than death itself: to avoid this, he determined to remain in Africa, and pleased himself with imagining it would be an opportunity of improving his fortune.
Upon that part of the coast there were a few white men settled, whose business it was to purchase slaves, &c. and sell them to the ships at an advanced price: one of these, who had first landed in circumstances similar to Mr. N.'s, had acquired considerable wealth. This man had been in England, and was returning in the same vessel with Mr. N. of which he owned a quarter part. His example impressed Mr N. with hopes of the same success, and he obtained his discharge, upon condition of entering into the trader's service, to whose generosity he trusted without the precaution of terms. He received, however, no
compensation for his time on board the ship, but a bill upon the owners in England, who failing before his return, the bill was never paid; the day, therefore, on which the vessel sailed, he landed upon the island of Benanoes like one shipwrecked, with little more than the clothes upon his back.
"The two following years," says he, "of which I am now to give some account, will seem as an absolute blank in my life: but I have seen frequent causes since to admire the mercy of God in banishing me to those distant parts, and almost excluding me from all society, at a time when I was big with mischief, and, like one infected with a pestilence, was capable of spreading a taint wherever I went. But the Lord wisely placed me where I could do little harm. The few I had to converse with were too much like myself; and I was soon brought into such abject circumstances that I was too low to have any influence. I was rather shunned and despised than imitated, there being few, even of the Negroes themselves, during the first year of my residence, but thought themselves too good to speak to me.
I was as yet an outcast ready to perish; but the Lord beheld me with mercy-he even now bid me live; and I can only ascribe it to his secret upholding power, that what I suffered, in a part of this interval, did not bereave me either of my life or senses."
The reader will have a better idea of the situation Mr. N. was now in by his brief sketch of it.
“From Cape de Verd, the most western point of Africa, to Cape Mount, the whole coast is full of rivers: the principal are the Gambia, Rio Grande, Sierra Leone, and Sherbro. Of the former, as it is well known, and as I was never there, I need say nothing. The Rio Grande (like the Nile) divides into many branches near the sea. On the most northerly, called Cacheo, the Portuguese have a settlement. The most southern branch, known by the name of Rio Nuna, is, or was, the usual boundary of the white men's trade northward. Sierra Leone is a mountainous peninsula, uninhabited, and I believe inaccessible, upon account of the thick woods, excepting those parts which lie near the water. The river is large and navigable. From hence about twelve leagues to the south-east are three contiguous islands, called the Benanoes, twenty miles in circuit: this was about the centre of the white men's residence. Seven leagues farther, the same way, lie the Plantanes, three small islands, two miles distant from the continent, at the point which forms one side of the Sherbro. This river is more properly a sound, running within a long island, and receiving the confluence of several large rivers, rivers unknown to song,' but far more deeply engraven in my remembrance than the Po or Tiber. The southernmost of these has a very peculiar course, almost parallel to the coast : so that in tracing it a great many leagues upwards, it will seldom lead one above three miles, and sometimes not more than half a mile from the sea shore."
Mr. N.'s new master had resided near Cape Mount, but at this time had settled at the Plantanes, on the largest of the three islands. It is low and sandy, about two miles in circumference, and almost covered with palm-trees. They immediately began to build a house. Mr. N. had some desire to retrieve his time and character, and might have lived tolerably well with his master, if this man had not been much under the direction of a black woman, who lived with him as a wife, and influenced him against his new servant. She was a person of some consequence in her own country, and he owed his first rise to her interest
. This woman, for reasons not known, was strangely prejudiced against Mr. N. from the first; he also had unhappily a severe tit of illness which attacked him before he had an opportunity to show what he could or would do in the service of his master, Mr. N. was sick when his master sailed in a shallop to Rio Nuna, and was left in the hands of this woman. He was taken some care of at first, but not soon recovering: her attention was wearied, and she entirely neglected him. Sometimes it was with difficulty he could procure a draught of cold water when burning with a fever! His bed was a mat, spread !!po: a board or chest, with a log for his pillow. Upon his appetite returning, after ihe fever left him, he would gladly have eaten,
but" no one gave unto him." She lived in plenty, but scarcely allowed him sufficient to sustain life, except now and then, when in the highest good humour she would send bim victuals in her own plate after she had dined. And this (so greatly was he humbled) he received with thanks and eagerness, as the most needy beggar does an alms.
“Once,” says he, “ I well remember, I was called to receive this bounty from her own hand; but, being exceedingly weak and feeble, I dropped the plate. Those who live in plenty can hardly conceive how this loss touched me: but she had the cruelty to laugh at my disappointment, and though the table was covered with dishes (for she lived much in the European manner) she refused to give me any more. My distress has been at times so great as to compel me to go by night, and pull up roots in the plantation (though at the risk of being punished as a thief,) which I have eaten raw upon the spot for fear of discovery. The roots I speak of are very wholesome food, when boiled or roasted, but as unfit to be eaten raw in any quantity as a potato. The consequence of this diet, which after the first experiment I always expected, and seldom missed, was the same as if I had taken tartar emetic; so that I have often returned as empty as I went, yet necessity urged me to repeat the trial several times. have sometimes been relieved by strangers; yea, even by the slaves in the chain, who have secretly brought me victuals (for they durst not be seen to do it) from their own slender pittance. Next to pressing want, nothing sits harder upon the mind than scorn and contempt, and of this likewise I had an abundant measure."
When slowly recovering, the same woman would sometimes pay Mr. N. a visit, not to pity or relieve, but to insult him. She would call him worthless and indolent, and compel him to walk; which, when he could scarcely do, she would set her attendants to mimic his motions, to clap their hands, laugh, throw limes at him, and sometimes they would even throw stones. But though her attendants were forced to join in this treatment, Mr. N. was rather pitied than scorned by the meanest of her slaves, on her departure.
When his master returned from the voyage, Mr. N. complained of ill usage, but was not credited, and as he did it in her hearing, he fared worse for it. He accompanied his master in his second voyage, and they agreed pretty well till his master was persuaded by a brother trader, that Mr. N. was dishonest. This seems to be the only vice he could not be charged with, as his honesty seemed to be the last remains of a good education which he could now boast of: and though his great distress might have been a strong temptation to fraud, it seems he never once thought of defrauding his master in the smallest matter. The charge, however, was believed, and he was condemned without evidence. From that time he was used very hardly; whenever his master left the vessel, he was locked upon deck with a pint of rice for his day's allowance, nor had he any relief till his master's return. * Indeed,” says he, "I believe I should have been nearly starved, but for an opportunity of catching fish sometimes. When fowls were killed for my master's own use, I seldom was allowed any part but the entrails, to bait my hooks with: and at what we called slack-water, that is, about the changing of the tides, when the current was still, I used generally to fish (for at other times it was not practicable,) and I very often succeeded. If I saw a fish upon my hook, my joy was little less than any other person would have found in the accomplishment of the scheme he had most at heart. Such a fish hastily broiled, or rather half burnt, without sauce, salt, or bread, has afforded me a delicious meal. If I caught none, I might, if I could, sleep away my hunger till the next return of slack-water, and then try again.
" Nor did I suffer less from the inclemency of the weather, and the want of clothes. The rainy season was now advancing; my whole suit was a shirt, a pair of trowsers, a cotton handkerchief instead of a cap, and a cotton cloth about two yards long, to supply the want of upper garments: and thus accoutred, I have been exposed for twenty, thirty, perhaps near forty hours together, in incessant rains, accompanied with strong gales of wind, without the least shelter, when my master was on siiore. I feel to this day some faint returns of the violent pains I then con-'