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William Evans.

The Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds online

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sel, forming a between-decks of about twenty-
three inches in height, which was the intended
receptacle of the car^ of human beings which
captain Sanguines designed to procure. Beneatii
this platform, with one of the boards resting upon
his body, jammed into the crevice between two
water casks, was found this wretched negro, in a
situation so extremely distressing, that it was matp
ter of great astonishment to find him alive. The
search for the other twelve proving fruitless, the
officers and crew of the Tartar recollected with
feelings of horror the casks which they had seen
floating on the ocean ; the painful conviction now
forced itself upon their minds tliat the captain,
fearing lest he should be captures! by the Tartar
and detainc4, had during tlic chase, packed up his



** This was the sin of Sodom; pride, fulness
of bread, and abundance of idleness was
found in her, and in her daughters ; neither
did she strengthen the hands of the poor and
needy."



slaves in casks and thrown them into the sea; an
apprehension which is corroborated by the reflec-
tion, that had he thrown them overboard without
some such coverincf, their bodies would in all pro-
bability have met ttie view of the officers and crew
of the Tartar, and disclosed the horrid catastrophe.
But alas I it was now too late to attempt any plan
for rescuing them. The chase had carried them
many leagues to the windward of the casks, and
should they even &11 in with them, which was
scarcely possible, there was not the smaUest pro-
bability of finding any of the wretched negroes
alive, for the casks being tight they must have
perished from suffocation. See Papers laid on the
table of the House of Commons — Report of Sax
George Collier — Speech of Due de Boglie — ^Re-
port of African Institution, vol. 16.

The schooner , Don Morales, master, ar-

rived in the Rio Pongos, where she took on board
two hundred slaves. Our informant states, that
Morales while trading for the cargo, exhibited
many instances of savage ferocity towaid ^e
slaves, but after leaving the river, his cruelty
seems to have had full scope.

The number of slaves on board being greatly
disproportioned to the stowage of the schooner, he
was obliged from the first to issue short rations of
water and rice, in consequence of which some of
the slaves evinced some signs of disoootent.
Morales, deaf to their wants, kept them all below
for three days without food of any kind, and with
a barbarity unparalleled except amongslave traders,
discharge aU the fire arms in his vessel among
the wretched beings, bound down and diained to-
gether as they wero. Some of the aulors pre-
sumed to intenere, but the barbarian silenced thev
complaints by killing the foremost of them with
his sabre. He then made nil again for the Rk>
Pongos, where, with the assistance of the slave
Actors, he got every thing put to ri^^hts, took in
slaves to supply the nuniber he haa killed, and
bore away for Havanna.

Captain Hayes, R. N., mentions the case of a
slaver, having a large cargo of human beings
chained together: *The master of the vessel^
with more humamty than his fellows, permitted
some of them to come on deck, but stiU chained
together, for the benefit of the air, when they im-
mediately commenced jumping overboard, hand in
hand, and drowning in couples.' He explains the
cause of this circumstance by saying, ' they were
just brought from a situation between decks, and
to which they knew they must return, where the
scalding perspiration was running from one to the
other, covered also with their own filthy and where
it is no uncommon occurrence for women to be
bringing forth children, and men dying by their
side, with, full in their view, living and dead bo*
dies chained together, and the living, in addition
to all their other torments, labouring under the
most famishing thirst, being in very few instances
allowed more than a pmt of water a day.* He



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In a revolt so deep as this, when much
blood has been shed unrighteously, in carry-
ing on the slave trade, and in supporting the
practice of keeping slaves, which at this day
IS unatoned for, and crieth from the earth
and from the seas against the oppressor;
while this practice is continued, and under a
great load of guilt there is more unrighteous-
ness committed, the state of things is very
moving.

There is a love which stands in nature,
and a parent beholding his child in misery
hath a feeling of the affliction ; but in Divine



love the heart is enlarged towards mankind
universally, and prepar^ to sympathize with
strangers, though in the lowest stations in life.

Of this the prophet appears to have had a
feeling, when he said, <* Have we not all one
Father? Hath not one God created us? Why
then do we deal treacherously every man with
his brother, in profaning the covenant of our
fathers?"

He who of old heard the groans of the
children of Israel under the hard task-masters
in Egypt, I trust hath looked down from his
holy habitation on the miseries of these deep-



goes on to say, "I have now an officer on board the
' Dryad/ who, on examining one of these slave-
vessels, found not only living men chained to dead
bodies, but the latter in a putrid state ; and we
have now a case which, if true, is too horrible and
dimisting to be described."

uk a letter from captain Wauchope, dated 13th
of eighth month, 1838, he says, "In second m<xith,
1836, 1 was informed by Commander Puget, that
the Spanish slaver, Argus, three months before
this date, was chased by the Charybdis, Lieutenant
Mercer; that during the chase ninety-seven slaves
had been thrown overboard, and that a Spanish
captain he had captured, declared he would never
hesitate to throw the slaves overboard, to prevent
being taken/'

"Captain Wauchope in the same letter informs,
that on the 18th of ninth month, 1836, tho Thalia
captured the Portuguese brig Felix, five hundred
and ninety slaves on board. ' After capture,' he says,
* I went on board, and such a scene of horror it is
not easy to describe ; the long-boat on the booms,
and the deck aH, were crowded with little chil-
dren, sickly, poor little unhappy things, some of
them rather pretty, and some much marked and
tattoed; much pains must have been taken by
their miserable parents to ornament and beautify
them.

"'The women lay between decks aft, much
crowded, and perfectly naked; they were not
barred down, tiie hatchway, a small one, being
off; but the place for the men was too horrible,
the wretches, chained two and two, gasping and
striving to get at the bars of the hatchways, and
such a steam and stench as to make it intolerable
even to look down. It requires much caution at
first, in allowing them to go on deck, as it is a
common practice for them to jump overboard to
get quit of their misery.

** * The slave-Hleck was not more than three feet
six inches in height, and the human beings stowed,
or rather crushed as close as possible ; many ap-
peared very sickly. There was no way of getting
into the suivo-room but by the hatchway. I was
told, when they were all on deck to be counted,
that it was impossible for any of our people to go
into the slave-room for a single minute, so intole-
rable was the stench. The colour of these poor
creatures was of a dark squalid yellow, so difer-
ent from the fine glos^ black of our liberated Af-
ricans and Kroomen. I was shown a man much bit
and bruised; it was done in a struffele at the grat-
ings of their hatchways, for a mouUdiil of fresh air.'



" The Carolina, captured in 1834, off Wydah.
This vessel was only seventy-five tons burden, yet
she had three hundred and fifty negroes crammed
on board of her, one hundred and eighty of whom
were literally so stowed as to have barely sufllcient
height to hold themselves up, when in a sittinjp^
posture. The poor creatures crowded round theur
deliverers, with their mouths open and their
tonffues parched for want of water, presenting a
perfect spectacle of human misery.

" In a letter from the Cape of (rood Hope, of
date 20th of first month, 1837, we find it stated that
the British brig £k)lphin, had latelv captured the
corvette Incomprehensible; and Uiat on taking
possession of her, * the scene presented on boara
was harrowing in the extreme. One hundred had
died from siclmess, out of the eight hundred em-
barked ; another hundred were lying nearly life-
less on her decks, in wretchedness and misery, and
all the agony of despair ; the remaining six bun*
dred were so cramped €rotn the close manner in
which they were packed, like herrings in a barrel,
and the length of time thev had been on their
voyage, and 3ie cold they had endured in rounding
the Cape, in a state of nudity, that it took the ut-
most exertions of the English sailors, favoured by
a hot sun, to straighten them.'

In a letter from Colonel Nicolls, at the Baha-
mas, of date 1st of eighth month, 1837, it is stated
that 'the Esperanza, a Spanish slave schooner, had
been wrecked on one of these islands during the
preceding month. It was ascertained that this
vessel had embarked three hundred and twenty
negroes on the coast of Africa ; of these only two
hundred and twenty were landed at the time of
the wreck. It appears that between sixty and
seventy murders had been committed during the
voyage on the helpless Africans ; and in this man-
ner : — When any of the slaves refused their food
or became sick, the boatswain's mate, with a
weighty club struck them on the back of the
neck, when they fell, and were thrown overboard."

Shocking as these details are, the truth of them
is indisputable ; and while a system exists which
inflicts such sufferings upon our innocent fellow-
creatures, it cannot he a matter of indifierence or
unconcern to us. But especialljr are we called
upon deeply to ponder this afiecting subject, and
to dwell under the weight of it, by the fact that
our own country is impficated, in no small degree
in the guilt of the traffic, it being well ascertamed
that American vessels, American capital and Amer-
, ican citizens, are employed in its prosecution.

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LIFE OF JOHN WOOLMAN.



ly oppressed people. Many lives have been
shortened through extreme oppression, while
they laboured to support luxury and worldly
greatness; and though many people in out-
ward prosperity may think little of those
things, yet the gracious Creator hath regard
to the cries of the innocent, however unno-
ticed by men.

The Lord in the riches of his goodness is
leading some into the feeling of the condition
of this people, who cannot rest without la-
bouring as their advocates ; of which in some
measure I have had experience, for in the
movings of his love in my heart, these poor
sufferers have been brought near to me.

The unoffending aged and infirm are made
to labour too bard, kept on a diet less com-
fortable than their weak state requires, and
exposed to great difficulties under hard-hearted
men, to whose sufferings I have oflen been a
witness, and under the heart-melting power of
Divine love, their misery hath felt to me like
the misery of my parents.

Innocent youth are taken by violence from
their native land, from their friends and ac-
quaintance; put on board ships with hearts
laden with sorrow; exposed to great hard-
ships at sea, and placed under people where
their lives are attended with great provocation
to anger and revenge.

With the condition of these youth my mind
has oAen been affected, as with the afHictions
of my children, and in a feeling of the misery
of these people, and of that great offence which
is ministered to them, my tears have been
oflen poured out before the Liord.

That holy Spirit which affected my heart
when I was a youth, I trust is oflen felt by
the negroes in their native land, inclining
their minds to that which is righteous; and
had the professed followers of Christ in all
their conduct toward them, manifested a dis-
position answerable to the pure principle in
their hearts, how might the holy Name have
been honoured amongst the Gentiles, and how
might we have rejoiced in the fulfilling of that
prophecy, " I the Lord love judgment, I hate
robbery for burnt-offerings, and I will direct
their work in truth, and make an everlasting
covenant with them. Their seed shall be
known amongst the Gentiles, and their off-
spring amongst the people ; all that see them
shall acknowledge them, that they are the
seed which the Lord hath blessed."

But in the present state of things, how con-
trary is our practice to that meek spirit, in
which our Saviour laid down his life for us,
that all the ends of the earth might know sal-
vation in his name !

How are the sufferings of our blessed Re-



deemer set at naught, and his name blas-
phemed amongst the Gentiles, through the
unrighteous proceedings of his profes^ fol-
lowers !

My mind has oflen been afiected, even from
the days of my youth, under a sense of that
marvellous work, for which God in infinite
goodness sent his Son into the world.

The opening of that spring of living wa-
ters, which the true believers in Christ expe-
rience, by which they are redeemed from pride
and covetousness, and brought into a state of
meekness, where their hearts are enlarged in
true love toward their fellow creatures univer-
sally ; is a work that to me has been precious,
and spreading the knowledge of the Truth
amongst the Gentiles, is very desirable. And
the professed followers of Christ joining in
customs evidently unrighteous, which mani-
festly tend to stir up wrath and increase wars
and desolations, has oflen covered my mind
with sorrow.

If we bring this matter home, and as Job
proposed to his friends, <*Put our soul in their
soul's stead ;" if we consider ourselves and
our children as exposed to the hardships which
these people lie under in supporting an ima-
ginary greatness, and in such case, beheld an
increase of luxury and superfluity amongst
our oppressors, and therewith felt an increase
of the weight of our burdens, and expected
our posterity to groan under oppression afler
us; under all this misery, had we none to
plead our cause, nor any hope of relief from
man, how would our cries ascend to the God
of the spirits of all flesh, who judgeth the
world in righteousness, and in his own time
is a refuge for the oppressed !

If they who thus afflicted us, continued to
lay claim to religion, and were assisted in
their business by others, esteemed pious peo-
ple, who through a friendship with them
strengthened their hands in tyranny ; if when
we were hunger-bitten, we could not have
sufficient nourishment, but saw them in ful-
ness pleasing their taste with things fetched
from far ; if when we were wearied with la-
bour, we were denied the liberty to rest, and
saw them spending their time at ease ; if gar-
ments answerable to our necessities were de-
nied us, while we saw them clothed in that
which was costly and delicate; under such
affliction, how would these painful feelings
rise up as witnesses against their pretended
devotion I And if the name of their religion
was mentioned in our hearing, how would it
sound in our ears like a word which signified
self-exaltation and hardness of heart !

When a trade is carried on productive of
much misery, and they who suflfer by it are



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LIFE OF JOHN WOOLMAN.



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some thousands of miles off, the danger is
the greater, of not laying their sufferings to
heart.

In procuring slaves on the coast of Africa,
many children are stolen privately ; wars also
are encouraged amongst the negroes, hut all
is at a great distance.

Many groans arise from dying men, which
we hear not.

Many cries are uttered by widows and fa-
therless children, which reach not our ears.

Many cheeks are wet with tears and faces
sad with unutterable grief, which we see not.

Cruel tyranny is encouraged. The hands
of robbers are strengthened, and thousands
reduced to the most abject slavery, who never
injured us.

Were we for the term of one year only to
be eye witnesses to what passes in getting
these slaves ;

Was the blood which is there shed to be
sprinkled on our garments ;

Were the poor captives bound with thongs
and heavy laden with elephants' teeth, to pass
before our eyes on their way to the sea :

Were their bitter lamentations day afler
day to ring in our ears, and their mournful
cries in the night to hinder us from sleeping :

Were we to hear the sound of the tumult
when the slaves on board the ships attempt to
kill the English, and behold the issue of those
bloody conflicts :

What pious man could be a witness to these
things, and see a trade carried on in this
manner, without being deeply affected with
sorrow ?

Through abiding in the love of Christ we
feel a tenderness in our hearts toward our
fellow-creatures, entangled in oppressive cus-
toms; and a concern so to walk, that our
conduct may not be a means of strengthening
them in error.

It was the command of the Liord through
Moses, " Thou shalt not suffer sin upon thy
brother: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy
brother, and shalt not suffer sin upon him."

Again; '*Keep far from a false matter;
and the innocent and righteous slay thou not."

The prophet Isaiah mentions oppression as
that which the true church in time of outward
quiet should not only be clear of, but should
be far from it ; " Thou shalt be far from op-
pression." Now these words, far from^ ap-
pear to have an extensive meaning, and to
convey instruction in regard to that of which
Solomon speaks, " Though hand join in hand,
the wicked shall not go unpunished."

It was a complaint against one of old,
<* When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst
with him."

The prophet Jeremiah represents the de-



grees of preparation toward idolatrous sacri-
fice, in the similitude of a work carried on by
children, men and women. *'The children
gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and
the women knead the dough to bake cakes for
the queen of heaven."

It was a complaint of the Lord against Is-
rael, through his prophet Ezekiel, that ** they
strengthened the hands of the wicked, and
made the hearts of the righteous sad."

Some works of iniquity carried on by the
people were represented by the prophet Hosea,
in the similitude of ploughing, reaping and
eating the fruit; <' You have ploughed wicked-
ness, reaped iniquity, eaten the fruit of lying,
because thou didst trust in thy own way, to
the multitude of thy mighty men."

I have felt great distress of mind since I
came on this island, on account of the mem-
bers of our Society being mixed with the
world in various sorts of business and traffic,
carried on in impure channels. Great is the
trade to Africa for slaves; and in loading
these ships abundance of people are employed
in the manufactories.

Friends in early time refused on a religious
principle, to make or trade in superfluities, of
which we have many large testimonies on re-
cord, but for want of faithfulness some gave
way, even some whose examples were of note
in society, and from thence others took more
liberty. Members of our Society worked in
superfluities, and bought and sold them, and
thus dimness of sight came over many. At
length Friends got into the use of some super-
fluities in dress, and in the furniture of their
houses, and this hath spread from less to
more, till superfluity of some kinds is common
amongst us.

In this declining state many look at the ex-
ample one of another, and too much neglect
the pure feeling of Truth. Of late years a
deep exercise hath attended my mind, that
Friends may dig deep, may carefully cast
forth the loose matter and get down to the
rock, the sure foundation, and there hearken
to that Divine voice which gives a clear and
certain sound.

I have felt in that which doth not deceive,
that if Friends who have known the Truth,
keep in that tenderness of heart where all
views of outward gain are given up, and their
trust is only on the LiOrd, he will graciously
lead some to be patterns of deep self-denial,
in things relating to trade and handicraft la-
bour ; and that some who have plenty of the
treasures of this world, will example in a plain
frugal life, and pay wages to those whom they
may hire, more liberally than is now custom-
ary in some places.

The prophet speaking of the true church,



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LIFE OF JOHN WOOLMAN.



said, *' Thy people also shall be all righteous."
or the depth of this Divine work several have
spoken.

John Gratton, in his Journal, page 45, said
^' The Lord is my portion, I shall not want.
He hath wrought all my works in me. I am
nothing but what I am in him."

Gilbert Latey, through the powerful opera-
tions of the spirit of Christ in his soul, was
brought to that depth of self-denial, that he
could not join with that proud spirit in other
people, which inclined them to want vanities
and superfluities. This Friend was oAen
amongst the chief rulers of the nation in
times of persecution, and it appears by the
testimony of Friends, that his dwelling was
so evidently in the pure life of Truth, that in
his visits to those great men, he found a place
in their minds ; and that King James the se-
cond, in the times of his troubles, made par-
ticular mention in a very respectful manner
of what Gilbert once said to him.

The said Gilbert found a concern to write
an epistle, in which are these expressions;

"Fear the Lord, ye men of all sorts, trades
and callings, and leave off all the evil that is
in them, for the Lord is grieved with all the
evils used in your employments which you
are exercised in."

" It is even a grief to see how you are ser-
vants to sin, and instruments of satan." See
his works, page 42, &c.

George Fox, in an epistle writes thus:
" Friends, stand in the eternal power of God,
witnesses against the pomps and vanities of
this world.

" Such tradesmen who stand as witnesses
in the power of God, cannot fulfill the peo-
ple's minds in these vanities, and therefore
they are offended at them.

"Let all trust in the Lord, and wait pa-
tiently on him; for when Truth first broke
forth in London, many tradesmen could not
take so much money in their shops for some
time, as would buy them bread and water,
because they withstood the world's ways,
fashions and customs; yet by their patient
waiting on the Lord in their good life and
conversation, they answered the Truth in peo-
ple's hearts, and thus their business increased."
Book of Doctrinals, page 824.

Christ our holy leader graciously continueth
to open the understandings of his people, and
as circumstances alter from oge to age, some
who are deeply baptized into a feeling of the
state of things, are led by his holy spirit into
exercises in some respects different from those
which attended the faithful in foregoing ages,
and through the constrainings of pure love,
are engaged to open the feelings they have to
others.



In faithfully following Christ, the heart is
weaned from the desire of riches, and we are
led into a life so plain and simple, that a little
doth suffice, and thus the way openeth to de-
ny ourselves, under all the tempting allure-
ments of that gain, which we know is the
gain of unrighteousness.

The apostle speaking on this subject, ask-
eth this question; "What fellowship hath
righteousness with unrighteousness?" And
again saitb, "Have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather re-
prove them." Again, "Be not partaker of
other men's sins, keep thyself pure."

Where people through the power of Christ
are thoroughly settled in a right use of things,
and freed from all unnecessary care and ex-
pense, the mind in this true resignation is at
liberty from the bands of a narrow self-inter-
est, to attend from time iq time on the mov-
ings of his spirit upon us, though he leads
into that through which our faith is closely
tried.

The language of Christ is pure, and to the
pure in heart this pure language is intelligi-
ble; but in the love of money, the mind being
intent on gain, is too full of human contriv-
ance to attend to it.

It appears evident that some channels of
trade are defiled with unrighteousness, and
that the minds of many are intent on getting
treasures to support a life, in which there are
many unnecessary expenses.

I feel a living concern attend my mind,
that und^r these difficulties we may humbly
follow our heavenly Shepherd, who graciously



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 95 of 104)