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hardly conceive how this loss touched me; an opportunity of catching fish sometimes. but she had the cruelty to laugh at my dis- When fowls were killed for his own use, appointment; and though the table was co- seldom was allowed any part but the entrails, vered with dishes, (for she lived much in the to bait my hooks with: and, at what we call European manner,) she refused to give me slack water, that is, about the changing of any more. My distress has been at times so the tides, when the current was still, I used great, as to compel me to go, by night, and generally to fish, (for at other times it was pull up roots in the plantation, (though at not practicable,) and I very often succeeded. the risk of being punished as a thief,) which If I saw a fish upon my hook, my joy was I have eaten raw upon the spot, for fear of little less than any other person may have discovery. The roots I speak of are very found, in the accomplishment of the scheme wholesome food, when boiled or roasted, but he had most at heart. Such a fish, hastily as unfit to be eaten raw in any quantity, as broiled, or rather half burned, without sauce, a potatoe. The consequence of this diet, salt, or bread, has afforded me a delicious which, after the first experiment, I always meal. If I caught none, I might, if I could, expected, and seldom missed, was the same sleep away my hunger till the next return as if I had taken tartar emetic; so that I of slack water, and then try again. Nor did often returned as empty as I went: yet ne- I suffer less from the inclemency of the cessity urged me to repeat the trial several weather and the want of clothes. The times. I have sometimes been relieved by rainy season was now advancing; my whole strangers; nay, even by the slaves in the suit was a shirt, a pair of trowsers, à cotton chain, who secretly brought me victuals (for handkerchief instead of a cap, and a cotton they durst not be seen to do it,) from their cloth about two yards long, to supply the own slender pittance. Next to pressing want, want of upper garments: and thus accoutred, nothing sits harder upon the mind than scorn I have been exposed for twenty, thirty, perand contempt: and of this likewise I had an haps near forty hours together, in incessant abundant measure. When I was very slowly rains, accompanied with strong gales of wind, recovering, this wornan would sometimes without the least shelter, when my master pay me a visit, not to pity or relieve, but to was on shore. I feel to this day some faint insult me.
She would call me worthless returns of the violent pains I then contracted. and indolent, and compel me to walk, which The excessive cold and wet I endured in when I could hardly do, she would set her that voyage, and soon after I had recovered attendants to mimic my motions, to clap from a long sickness, quite broke my contheir hands, laugh, throw limes at me; or, stitution and my spirits; the latter were soon if they chose to throw stones, (as I think restored, but the effects of the former still was the case once or twice,) they were not remain with me, as a needful memento of rebuked: but, in general, though all who the service and the wages of sin. depended on her favour must join in her In about two months we returned, and treatment, yet, when she was out of sight, I then the rest of the time I remained with was rather pitied than scorned, by the mean- him was chiefly spent at the Plantanes under est of her slaves. At length my master re- the same regimen as I have already menturned from his voyage; I complained of ill tioned. My haughty heart was now brought usage, but he could not believe me; and, as down, not to a wholesome repentance, not I did it in her hearing, I fared no better for it. to the language of the prodigal; this was But in his second voyage he took me with far from me; but my spirits were sunk; } him. We did pretty well for a while, till a lost all resolution, and almost all reflection. brother trader he met in the river, persuaded I had lost the fierceness which fired me him that I was unfaithful, and stole his goods when on board the Harwich, and which in the night, or when he was on shore. This made me capable of the most desperate atwas almost the only vice I could not be justly tempts; but I was no further changed than charged with: the only remains of a good a tyger tamed by hunger-remove the occaeducation I could boast of, was what is com- sion, and he will be as wild as ever. monly called honesty: and, as far as he had One thing, though strange, is most true. entrusted me, I had always been true; and Though destitute of food and clothing, dethough my great distress might, in some pressed to a degree beyond common wretchmeasure, have excused it, I never once edness, I could sometimes collect my mind thought of defrauding him in the smallest to mathematical studies. I had bought Barmatter. However, the charge was believed, row's Euclid at Portsmouth; it was the only and I condemned without evidence. From volume I brought on shore; it was always that time he likewise used me very hardly; with me, and I used to take it to remote whenever he left the vessel I was locked corners of the island by the sea side, and upon deck, with a pint of rice for my day's draw my diagrams with a long stick upon allowance; and if he staid longer, I had no the sand. Thus I often beguiled my sorrelief till his return. Indeed, I believe I rows, and almost forgot my feeling: and should have been nearly starved, but for thus, without any other assistance, I made
myself, in good measure, master of the first me the knowledge of himself, in the person six books of Euclid.—I am, your's as before. of Jesus Christ; in love to my soul he de January 17, 1763.
livered me from the pit of corruption, and cast all my aggravated sins behind his back. He brought my feet into the paths of peace.
This is indeed the chief article, but it is not LETTER VI.
the whole. When he made me acceptable
to himself in the beloved, he gave me favour DEAR SIR,—There is much piety and spirit in the sight of others. He raised me new in the grateful acknowledgment of Jacob, friends, protected and guided me through a “ With staff I passed this Jordan, and now long series of dangers, and crowned every I am become two bands.” They are words day with repeated mercies. To him I owe which ought to affect me with a peculiar it that I am still alive, and that I am not emotion. I remember that in some of those still living in hunger, and in thirst, and in mournful days, to which my last letter re- nakedness, and the want of all things: into fers, I was busied in planting some lime or that state I brought myself, but it was he lemon trees. The plants I put into the who delivered me. He has given me an ground were no longer than a young goose- easy situation in life, some experimental berry bush; my master and his mistress knowledge of his gospel, a large acquaintpassing by the place, stopped a while to look ance amongst his people, a friendship and at me; at last, "Who knows,” says he, “who correspondence with several of his most knows but by the time these trees grow up honoured servants. But it is as difficult to and bear, you may go home to England, ob- enumerate my present advantages, as it is tain the command of a ship, and return to fully to describe the evils and miseries of the reap the fruits of your labours; we see preceding contrast. strange things sometimes happen." This, as I know not exactly how long things conhe intended it, was a cutting sarcasm. I be- tinued with me thus, but I believe near a lieve he thought it full as probable, that I twelvemonth. In this interval I wrote two or should live to be king of Poland; yet it three times to my father; I gave him an acproved a prediction, and they (one of them at count of my condition, and desired his assistleast) lived to see me return from England ance, intimating at the same time, that I had in the capacity he had mentioned, and pluck resolved not to return to England, unless he some of the first limes from those very trees. was pleased to send for me; I have likewise How can I proceed in my relation, till I raise letters by me wrote to Mrs. N***** in that a monument to the divine goodness, by com- dismal period; so that at the lowest ebb, it paring the circumstances in which the Lord seems I still retained a hope of seeing her has since placed me, with what I was at that again. My father applied to his friend in time! Had you seen me, Sir, then go so Liverpool, of whom I have spoken before, pensive and solitary in the dead of night to who gave orders accordingly to a captain of wash my one shirt upon the rocks, and after- his, who was then fitting out for Gambia and wards put it on wet, that it might dry upon Sierra Leone. my back, while I slept; had you seen me so Some time within the year, as I have poor a figure, that when a ship's boat came said, I obtained my master's consent to live to the island, shame often constrained me to with another trader, who dwelt upon the hide myself in the woods, from the sight of same island. Without his consent I could strangers; especially, had you known that not be taken, and he was unwilling to do it my conduct, principles, and heart, were still sooner, but it was then brought about. This darker than my outward condition, how little was an alteration much to my advantage; I would you have imagined that one, who so was soon decently clothed, lived in plenty, fully answered to the otugnton xao us courros* of was considered as a companion, and trusted the apostle, was reserved to be so peculiar with the care of all his domestic effects, an instance of the providential care and ex- which were to the amount of some thousand uberant goodness of God. There was, at pounds. This man had several factories and that time, but one earnest desire in my white servants in different places, particuheart, which was not contrary and shocking larly one in Kittam, the river I spoke of which both to religon and reason; that one desire, runs so near along the sea coast. I was though my vile licentious life rendered me soon appointed to go there, where I had a peculiarly unworthy of success, and though a share in the management of business, jointly thousand difficulties seemed to render it im- with another of his servants: we lived as we possible, the Lord was pleased to gratify. pleased, business flourished, and our employBut this favour, though great, and greatly er was satisfied. Here I began to be wretch prized, was a small thing compared to the enough to think myself happy. There is a blessings of his grace: he spared me, to give significant phrase frequently used in those
parts, that such a white man is grown black * Hateful and hating one another.
It does not intend an alteration of com
plexion, but disposition. I have known several, fellow servant walking down to the beach who, settling in Africa after the age of thirty in the forenoon, saw a vessel sailing past, or forty, have at that time of life been gradu- and made a smoke in token of trade. She ally assimilated to the tempers, customs, and was already a little beyond the place, and, as ceremonies of the natives, so far as to prefer the wind was fair, the captain was in some that country to England; they have even demur whether to stop or not: however, had become dupes to all the pretended charms, my companion been half an hour later, she necromances, amulets, and divinations of the would have gone beyond recal; but he soon blinded negroes, and put more trust in such saw her come to anchor, and went on board things than the wiser sort among the na- in a canoe: and this proved the very ship I tivas. A part of this spirit of infatuation was have spoken of. One of the first questions growing upon me; in time, perhaps, I might he was asked, was concerning me; and when have yielded to the whole : I entered into the captain understood I was so near, he closer engagements with the inhabitants, and came on shore to deliver his message. Had should have lived and died a wretch amongst an invitation from home reached me, when them, if the Lord had not watched over me I was sick and starving at the Plantanes, I for good. Not that I had lost those ideas should have received it as life from the dead; which chiefly engaged my heart to England, but now, for the reasons already given, I but despair of seeing them accomplished heard it at first with indifference. The made me willing to remain where I was. I captain, unwilling to lose me, told a story thought I could more easily bear the dis- altogether of his own framing: he gave me appointment in this situation, than nearer a very plausible account, how he had missed home. But, so soon as I had fixed my con- a large packet of letters and papers, which nexions and plans with these views, the he should have brought with him ; but this, Lord providentially interposed to break them he said, he was sure of, having had it from in pieces, and save me from ruin in spite of my father's own mouth, as well as from his myself.
employer, that a person lately dead had left In the mean time, the ship that had orders me £400 per annum; adding further, that to bring me home arrived at Sierra Leone: if I was any way embarrassed in my cirthe captain made inquiry for me there and cumstances, he had express orders to redeem at the Benanoes; but understanding that I me, though it should cost one half of his was at a great distance in the country, he cargo. Every particular of this was false; thought no more about me. Without doubt nor could I myself believe what he said about the hand of God directed my being placed the estate; but, as I had some expectations at Kittam just at this time; for, as the ship from an aged relation, I thought a part of it came no nearer than the Benanoes, and staid might be true. But I was not long in sus. but a few days, if I had been at the Plantanes, pense: for though my father's care and deI could not perhaps have heard of her till sire to see me had too little weight with me, she had been sailed. The same must have and would have been insufficient to make certainly been the event, had I been sent to me quit my retreat, yet the remembrance of any other factory, of which my new master Mrs. N*****, the hopes of seeing her, and had several upon different rivers. But though the possibility, that accepting this offer might the place I was at, was a long way up a once more put me in a way of gaining her river, much more than a hundred miles dis- hand, prevailed over all other considerations. tant from the Plantanes, yet, by the peculiar The captain further promised (and in this he situation which I have already noticed, I kept his word,) that I should lodge in his was still within a mile of the sea coast. To cabin, dine at his table, and be his constant make the interposition more remarkable, I companion, without expecting any service was at that very juncture going in quest of from me. And thus I was suddenly freed from trade to a place at some distance directly a captivity of about fifteen months. I had from the sea, and should have set out a day neither a thought nor a desire of this change or two before, but that we waited for a few one hour before it took place. I embarked articles from the next ship that offered, to with him, and in a few hours lost sight of complete the assortment of goods I was to Kittam. take with me. We used sometimes to walk How much is their blindness to be pitied, to the beach, in expectation of seeing a who can see nothing but chance in events of vessel pass by, but this was very precarious, this sort! So blind and stupid was I at that as at that time the place was not at all re- time, I made no reflection. I sought no disorted to by ships for trade. Many passed rection in what had happened; like a wave in the night, others kept at a considerable dis- of the sea driven with the wind, and tossed, tance from the shore. In a word, I do not I was governed by present appearances, and know that any one had stopped while I was looked no further. But he, who is eyes to there, though some had before, upon observ- the blind, was leading me in a way that I ing a signal made from the shore. In Feb- knew not. ruary, 1747 (I know not the exact day,) my Now I am in some measure enlightened, I
can easily perceive that it is in the adjust-, business to employ my thoughts, but somement and concurrence of these seemingly times amused myself with mathematics : exfortuitous circumstances, that the ruling cepting this, my whole life, when awake, power and wisdom of God is most evidently was a course of most horrid impiety and prodisplayed in human affairs. How many such faneness. I know not that I have ever since casual events may we remark in the his- met so daring a blasphemer: not content tory of Joseph, which had each a necessary with common oaths and imprecations, I daily intluence in his ensuing promotion! If he invented new ones; so that I was often sehad not dreamed, or if he had not told his riously reproved by the captain, who was dream; if the Midianites had passed by a day himself a very passionate man, and not at all sooner or later; if they had sold him to any circumspect in his expressions. From the person but Potiphar; if his mistress had been relation I at times made him of my past ada better woman; if Pharaoh's officers had not ventures, and what he saw of my conduct, displeased their lord; or if any or all these and especially towards the close of the things had fallen out in any other manner or voyage, when we met with many disasters, tiine than they did, all that followed had he would often tell me that, to his great been prevented: the promises and purposes grief he had a Jonah on board; that a curse of God concerning Israel, their bondage, de- attended me wherever I went; and that all liverances, polity, and settlement, must have the troubles he met with in the voyage, were failed; and, as all these things tended to, and owing to his having taken me into the vessel. centered in Christ, the promised Saviour, I shall omit any further particulars, and after the desire of all nations would not have ap- mentioning an instance or two of the Lord's peared; mankind had been still in their sins, mercy to me, while I was thus defying his without hope, and the counsels of God's eter- power and patience, I shall proceed to somenal love in favour of sinners defeated. Thus thing more worthy your perusal. we may see a connexion between Joseph's Although I lived long in the excess of alfirst dream, and the death of our Lord Christ, most every other extravagance, I never was with ali its glorious consequences. So strong, fond of drinking; and my father has often though secret, is the concatenation between been heard to say, that while I avoided the greatest and the smallest events! What drunkenness, he should still entertain hopes a comfortable thought is this to a believer to of my recovery. But sometimes I would know, that amidst all the various inter promote a drinking-bout for a frolic's sake, fering designs of men, the Lord has one con- as I termed it: for though I did not love the stant design which he cannot, will not miss, liquor, I was sold to do iniquity, and delightnamely, nis own glory in the complete sal- ed in mischief. The last abominable frolic vation of his people; and that he is wise, of this sort I engaged in, was in the river and strong, and faithful, to make even those Gabon; the proposal and expense were my things, which seem contrary to this design, own. Four or five of us one evening sat subservient to promote it. You have allowed down upon deck, to see who could hold out me to comment upon my own text, yet the longest in drinking geneva and rum alterlength of this observation may need some nately; a large sea-shell supplied the place apology. Believe me to be, with great of a glass
. I was very unfit for a challenge respect, dear sir, your affectionate and of this sort, for my head was always incapaobliged servant.
ble of bearing much strong drink. However, January 18, 1763.
I began and proposed the first toast, which, I well remember, was some imprecation against the person who should start first. This prove
ed to be myself. My brain was soon fired: LETTER VII.
I arose and danced about the deck like a
madman; and while I was thus diverting DEAR SIR,—The ship I was now on board my companions, my hat went overboard. as a passenger, was on a trading voyage for By the light of the moon, I saw the ship's gold, ivory, dyers' wood, and bees' wax. It boat, and eagerly threw myself over the side requires much longer time to collect a cargo to get into her, that I might recover my hat of this sort than of slaves. The captain My sight in that circumstance deceived me, began his trade at Gambia, had been already for the boat was not within my reach, as I four or five months in Africa, and continued had thought, but perhaps twenty feet from there a year, or thereabouts, after I was with the ship's side. I was, however, half over him; in which time we ranged the whole board, and should in one moment more have coast, as far as Cape Lopez, which lies about plunged myself into the water, when somea degree south of the Equinoctial, and more body catched hold of my clothes behind, and than a thousand miles farther from England pulled me back. This was an amazing than the place where I embarked. I have escape, for I could not swim if I had been little to offer worthy your notice, in the sober; the tide ran very strong; my comcourse of this tedious voyage. I had no panions were too much intoxicated to save
me; and the rest of the ship's company were trade-winds. We sailed first westward, till asleep. So near I was, to appearance, of per- near the coast of Brazil, then northward, to Ishing in that dreadful condition, and sinking the banks of Newfoundland, with the usual into eternity under the weight of my own variations of wind and weather, and without curse!
meeting any thing extraordinary. On these Another time, at cape Lopez, some of us banks we stopped half a day to fish for cod; had been in the woods, and shot a buffalo or this was then chiefly for diversion; we had wild cow. We brought a part of it on board, provisions enough, and little expected those and carefully marked the place (as I thought) fish (as it afterwards proved) would be all where we left the remainder. In the even- we should have to subsist on. We left the ing, we returned to fetch it; but we set banks on the first of March, with a hard gale out too late. I undertook to be their guide; of wind, westerly, wluch pushed us fast but night coming on before we could reach homewards. I should here observe, that, the place, we lost our way. Sometimes we with the length of this voyage, in a hot cliwere in swamps up to the middle in water, mate, the vessel was greatly out of repair, and when we recovered dry land, we could and very unfit to support stormy weather; not tell whether we were walking towards the sails and cordage were likewise very the ship, or wandering farther from her. much worn out, and many such circumEvery step increased our uncertainty. The stances concurred to render what followed night grew darker, and we were entangled more dangerous. I think it was on the in inextricable woods, where perhaps the ninth of March, the day before our catastrofoot of man had never trod before. That phe, that I felt a thought pass through my part of the country is entirely abandoned to mind, which I had long been a stranger to. wild beasts, with which it prodigiously Among the few books we had on board, one abounds. We were indeed in a terrible was Stanhope's Thomas a Kempis; I carecase, having neither light, food, nor arms, lessly took it up, as I had often done before, and expecting a tiger to rush from behind to pass away the time; but I had still read every tree. The stars were clouded, and it with the same indifference as if it was enwe had no compass to form a judgment tirely a romance. However, while I was which way we were going. Had things con- reading this time, an involuntary suggestion tinued thus, we had probably perished; but arose in my mind : What if these things it pleased God, no beast came near us; and should be true? I could not bear the force atter some hours perplexity, the moon arose of the inference, as it related to myself: and pointed out the eastern quarter. It ap- and therefore shut the book presently. My peared then, as we had expected, that in- conscience witnessed against me once more, stead of drawing near to the sea side, we and I conciuded that, true or false, I must had been penetrating into the country; but abide the consequences of my own choice. by the guidance of the moon, we at length I put an abrupt end to these reflections, by came to the water side, a considerable dis- joining in with some vain conversation or Lance from the ship. We got safe on board, other that came in my way. without any other inconvenience than what But now the Lord's time was come, and we suffered from fear and fatigue.
ihe conviction I was so unwilling to receive, Those and many other deliverances were was deeply impressed upon me by an awful all, at that time, entirely lost upon me. The ad- dispensation. I went to bed that night in monitio is of conscience, which, from succes- my usual security and indifference, but was sive repulses, had grown weaker and weaker, awakened from a sound sleep by the force of at length entirely ceased; and for a space of a violent sea, which broke on board us; so many months, if not for some years, I cannot much of it came down below as filled the recollect that I had a single check of that cabin I lay in with water. This alarm was sort. At times I have been visited with followed by a cry from the deck, that the sickness, and have believed myself near to ship was going down or sinking. As soon wwiii, Lut I had not the least concern about as I could recover myself, I essayed to go the consequences. In a word, I seemed to upon deck: but was met upon the ladder by lave every mark of final impenitence and the captain, who desired me to bring a knife rejection; neither judgments nor mercies with me. While I returned for the knife, made the least impression on me.
another person went up in my room, who was At length, our business finished, we left instantly washed overboard. We had no Cape Lopez, and after a few days stay at the leisure to lament him, nor did we expect to island of Annabona, to lay in provisions, we survive him long; for we soon found the ship sailed homeward about the beginning of Ja- was filling with water very fast. The sea nuary 1749. From Annabona to England, had torn away the upper timbers on one without touching at any intermediate port
, is side, and made a mere wreck in a few mia very long navigation, perhaps more than nutes. I shall not affect to describe this seven thousand miles, if we include the cir-disaster in marine dialect, which would be cuits necessary to be made on account of the understood by few; and therefore I can give