The White Man's Grave: A Visit to Sierra Leone, in 1834, Volume 2

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R. Bentley, 1836 - Sierra Leone
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While the author has a highly unfavorable view of the African people, this book stops to give a good look at the ravages of the African slave trade

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Page 122 - ... and they •were instantly swung again by the arm into their loathsome cell, where another negro boatswain sat, with a whip or stick, and forced them to resume the bent and painful attitude necessary for the stowage of so large a number. The unfortunate women and girls, in general, submitted with quiet resignation, when absence of disease and the use of their limbs permitted. A month had made their condition familiar to them. One or two were less philosophical, or suffered more acutely than the...
Page 119 - Before us, lying in a heap, huddled together at the foremast, on the bare and filthy deck, lay several human beings in the last stage of emaciation - dying. The ship fore and aft was thronged with men, women, and children, all entirely naked, and disgusting with disease. The stench was nearly insupportable, cleanliness being impossible. I stepped to the hatchway; it was secured by iron bars and cross bars, and pressed against them were the heads of slaves below. It appeared that the crowd on deck...
Page 123 - The agony of the position of the crouching slaves may be imagined, especially that of the men, whose heads and necks are bent down by the boarding above them. Once so fixed, relief by motion or change of posture is unattainable. The body frequently stiffens into a permanent curve; and in the streets of Freetown I have seen liberated slaves in every conceivable state of distortion. One I remember who trailed along his body with his back to the ground by means of his hands and ankles. Many can never...
Page 119 - We easily leaped on board, as she lay low in the water. The first hasty glance around caused a sudden sickness and faintness, followed by an indignation more intense than discreet. Before us, lying in a heap, huddled together at the foot of the foremast, on the bare and filthy deck, lay several human beings in the last stage of emaciation — dying. The ship fore and aft was thronged with men, women, and children, all entirely naked, and disgusting with disease.
Page 121 - The following is a brief description given by an eye-witness, of the unloading of a captured slaver, which had been brought into Sierra Leone : "The captives were now counted ; their numbers, sex, and age, written down, for the information of the court of mixed commission. The task was repulsive. As the hold had been divided for the separation of the men and the women, those on deck were first counted ; they were then driven forward, crowded as much as possible, and the women were drawn up through...
Page 96 - Gloria," had left Loando, on the slave-coast, with a few bales of merchandise, to comply with the formalities required by the authorities from vessels engaged in legal traffic ; for the slave-trade, under the Brazilian flag, is now piracy. No sooner was she out of port than the real object of her voyage declared itself. She hastily received on board four hundred and thirty negroes, who had been mustered in readiness, and sailed for Rio Janeiro. Off the mouth of that harbour she arrived in November,...
Page 139 - Little apprehension of death is indicated by the countenances of the community. Active horsemen, bustling merchants, gay officials, move on all sides, with a cheerfulness little consistent with enduring dread of the king of terrors. The church, he thinks, must surely be filled with a population hourly looking for dissolution. He visits it ; it is nearly empty. There are a few black soldiers, a few black servants, and a goodly show of Sunday-school children, but scarcely any of the ill-fated whites...
Page 98 - Dropsy, eruptions, abscesses, and dysentery, were making ravages, and ophthalmia was general. Until formally adjudicated by the court, the wretched slaves could not be landed, nor even relieved from their sickening situation. With the green hills and valleys of the colony close to them, they must not leave their prison. I saw them in April ; they had been in the harbour two months, and no release had been offered them. But the most painful circumstance was the final decision of the court. The slaver...
Page 95 - I was indulging in the first view of the waters of the estuary glittering in the hot sun, and endeavouring to distinguish from the many vessels at anchor the barque which had brought me from England. Close in-shore lay a large schooner, so remarkable from the low sharp cut of her black hull, and the excessive rake of her masts, that she seemed amongst the other craft as a swallow seems amongst other birds.
Page 118 - May 1834, the signal-gun told of the approach of a vessel, which the looker-out on the signal hill announced, by the usual mode of hoisting a coloured ball to the top of a staff, to be a schooner or brig from the south. A sharp-built schooner with crowded canvas glanced up the estuary like lightning. Her nature was obvious. She was a prize. A painful interest prompted me to visit as speedily as possible this prison-ship. A friend offered the advantage of his company to a scene which has sometimes...

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