Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

foreign slavery. In such commercial proceedings their king have been principally benefited, no individual reaping an ac vantage tiom them, but such as could privately scize or kidnap another, and convey him by stealth on board any slave vessel which might be lying upon the coast.

That the kings have been chiefly benefited by this commerce may b: learned from the following interesting accounts.

In tlie first place, the greatest of all the sources of supplying the slave trade in these parts is called the Great Pillage. The way of practising it is this. When the kings of Cayor, Sin, and Sarum are in want of slaves, that is, to procure the commodities brought to them by the slave vessels, and intend to procure them in this manner, they assemble their military, consisting of horse and foot. These are armed with sabres, lances, bows and arroys, pistols an: guns. The number they assemble is proportiomte to their own strength, and the strength of the village to be attacket. The king of Cayor once sent out four thousand, and the kings of Sin and Sallum about twelve hundred each at a time. The hour of calling them together depends upon the distance of the village whose inhabitants are destined for the prey. This village is sometimes near, at other times far oil, and perhaps at the distance even of a journey of four days. The practici, bowever, is to set out at such a time as to come uron it in the dead of night. The villages in thee countries are generally open, and have no brea twork or defence.

As soon as the military arrive at the destined place, they surround it, but never attack it at that time. They wait always for the dawn of day. It is then that the women rise and employ themselves in pounding millet for the purpose of reclucing it to flour, or cusc's, to serve as bread. The sound of the pestle is the signal for the attack. They directly run in and seize all they can. There are reasons for making their attack at this moment: first, because they can see better ; secondly, because, though the wonien are up, the men are in bed, and the doors of the huts are opened ; and thirdly, because the natives of these parts never like, from superstitious motives, to perform any enterprise at night.

It sometimes happens, that the kings accompany their troops on these occasions. It is customary tor them, however, not to enter the village. They remain always on the outside till the business is over.

As soon as the unfortunate inhabitants are capturel, they are driven oil. Th men and women are rale o walk. T children are put on horseback. If the journey should be three

or four days long, they are driven or carried to one of what are called “the Kings' villages," which lie in the way, at night. There they are made to stay. The inhabitants are obliged to turn out for them, or to make them room. The captives are always guarded. In the morning they set off again. It sometimes happens, that they meet with others of the natives in their way. These are travelling about with their merchandize upon their heads, or are going out on their ordinary business, or returning home. All sich they seize, and oblige to accompany the expedition, as slaves. When they arrive at the kings residence, they enter it with the sound of drums, horns, and other instruments of their country music, the Guerriots and others having been made to attend them for this purpose. Soon after this they are soll. The pillaged persons in Cayor, Sin, and Sallum amount to about three liundred in number annually. All these are sold for the benefit of the kings alone. The same countries turnish also about two hundred annually from other sources. When a slave ship is on the coast, the same kings do not scruple to employ half a dozen of their military to way-lay and kidnap such individuals as may be passing. This, however, is done without any parade, as in the former case. Several are caught in this manner. The rest are procured in consequence of accusations, false or true, of supposed or real crimes. In some cases the kings have the whole, and in others two-thirds, of the profits arising from their sale. But let us hope that this nefarious commerce exists no longer. At least we, as Englishmen, have it in our power to prevent it; for, being in possession of Fort St. Louis and the island of Goree, the only gates through which slaves were ever passed out of these countries to the ships, it would be inexcusable, and now indeed a crime in the eye of the legislature, if the oflicers, on whom we dlepend there, were now to allow their sale, or to fayour their transit in any manner.

ALFRED. [Written for the Liverpool Mercury.]

“ On the first of the present month of August 1811, a vessel

“ arrived at Liverpool, with a cargo from Sierra Leone, 6 the owner, master, mate, and whole crew of which are ~ free Negroes. The master, who is alo owner, is the

son of an American slave, and is said to be very well " skilled both in trade and navigation, as well as to be “ of a very pious and moral character. It must have been “ a strange and animating spectacle to sce this free and en“ lightened African entering, as an independent trader, 66 with his black crew, into that port which was so lately “the nidus of the Slave Trade."-Edinb. Review, August 1811.

We are happy in having an opportunity of confirming the above account, and at the same time of laying before our readers an authentic memoir of Capt. Paul Cuffee, the master and owner of the vessel above referred to, who sailed from this port on the 20th ult. with a license from the British Government to prosccute his intenıled voyage to Sierra Leone,

The father of Paul Cullee was a native of Africa, whence he was brought as a slave into Massachussetts. He was there purchased by a person named Slocum, and remained in slavery a considerable portion of his life. lle was named Cuffie, but, as it is usual in those parts, took the name of Slocum, as expressing to whom be belonged. Like many of his country, men, he possessed a minul superior to his condition ; and although lie was cliligent in the business of his master and faith, ful to his icterist, yet by great in:dustry and economy he was enabled to vechiase his personal liberty.

At this time the remains of several Indian tribes, who originally possed the right of soil, resided in Massachussetts. Cu flee became acyuainted with a woman descended fion one of those tribs, nained Ruth Moses, and married her. lle continued in habits of inciustry and frugality, and soon afterwards purchase a farm of 100 acres in Westport in Massachussetts.

Cufee and Ruth bad a family of ten children. The three eldest sons, David, Jonathan, and John, are farmers in the neighbourhood of Westport, filling respectable situations in society, and endowed with good intellectual capacities. They are all married, and have families to whoin they are giving good etłucations. Of six daughters four are respectably married, while two remain single.

Paul was born on the Island of Cutterhunkker, one of the Elizabeth Islands near New Bedford, in the year 1759: when he was about fourteen years of age bis father died, leaving a considerable property in land, but which being at that time unproductive aflordel but liiik provision for his numerous family ; aud thus the care of supporting his mother and sisters devolved upon his brothers and hinsel

At this time Paul conceived that commerce furnished to industry more ample rewards than agriculture, and he was conscious that he possessed qualities which under proper culture would enable him to pursue commercial employments with prospects of success: he therefore entered at the age of sixteen as a common hand on board of a vessel destincal to the bay of Mexico, on a whaling voyage. His second voyage was to the West Indies; but on his third lie was captured by a British ship during the American war about the year 1776: after three months detention as a prisoner at New York, he was permitted to return home to Westport, where owing to the unfortunate continuance of hostilities he spent about two pears in his agricultural pursuits. During this interval Paul and his brother John Cutiée were called on by the collector of the district, in which they resided, for the payment of a pirsonal tax. It appeared to them, that, by the laws of the constitution of Massachusetts, taxation and the whole rights of citizenship were united. If the laws demanded of them the payment of personal taxes, the same laws must necessarily and constitutionally invest them with the rights of representing, and being represented, in the State legislature. But they had never been considered as entitled to the privilege of voting at elections, nor of being elected to places of trust and honour. Under those circumstances, they refused payment of the demands. The collector, resorted to the force of the laws, and after many delays and vexations, Panland his brother deemed it most prudent to silence the suit by payment of thed mands. But they resolved, if it were possible to obtain the rights which they believed to be connected with taxation.

They presented a respectful petition to the State legislature, TOL. II.

From some individuals it met with a warm and almost indignant opposition. A considerable majority was however iavourable to their object :—they perceived the propriety and justice of the petition, and with an honourable magnanimity, in defiance of the prejudice of the times, they passed a law, rendering all free persons of colour liable to taxation, according to the ratio established for white men, and granting them all the privileges belonging to other citizens. This was a day equally honourable to the petitioners and the legislature; a day which ought to be gratefully remembered by every person of colour within the boundaries of Massachussetts, and the names of John and Paul Cuffee should always be united with its recollection.

At this time being about twenty years of age, he thought himself sufficiently skilled to enter into business on his own account He laid before his brother David a plan for opening a commercial intercourse with the state of Connecticut. His brother was pleased with the prospect; they built an open boat and proceeded to sea.

Here for the first time his brother found himself exposed to the perils of the ocean, and the hazard of a predatory warfare which was carried on by the refugees.They had not traversed many leagues before his brother's tears began to multiply and magnify its dangers ; his courage sunk, and he resolved to return. This disappointment was a severe trial to a young man of Paul's adventurous and intrepid spirit; but he was affectionate, and many years younger than his brother, and was obliged to submit to the determination. Paul returned to his farm and laboured diligently in his fields, but his mind was frequently revolving new schemes of commercial enterprise. Ile again collected the materials for another effort, and made the attempt. He went to sca, and lost all the little treasure which by the sweat of his brow he had gathered. Paul however seems to have possessed that active courage which is the offspring of a mind satisfied of the practicability of its plans, and conscious of its power to accomplish its purpose. lle therefore resolutely determined to persevere in the road which he had marked oui for himself. The necessity of aiding his mother and her family was a constant and strong incitement to renew his efforts. His funds were not sufficient to purchase a boat; but in order to obviate this difficulty, he set himself earnestly to work, and with bis own hands formed and completed a boat, from kecl to gunwale. This vessel was without a deck; but he had been on a whaling voyage, and was therefore perfectly skilled in its management.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »