I inquired of them what was to be done with us? To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. Kamille Stone Stanton and Julie A. They are totally unacquainted with strong or spiritous liquors; and their principal beverage is palm wine. I used to be sometimes employed in assisting an elderly woman slave to cook and take care of the poulty; and one morning, while I was feeding some chickens, I happened to toss a small pebble at one of them, which hit it on the middle, and directly killed it. He told me he had got me the very best master in the whole island, with whom I should be as happy as if I were in England, and for that reason he chose to let him have me, though he could sell me to his own brother-in-law for a great deal more money than what he got from this gentleman. Soon after this the other ship got her boats out, and they came on board of us, and the people of both ships seemed very glad to see each other.
They had also the very same customs as we. Our covering is calico or muslin, the same as our dress. Such is the imperfect sketch my memory has furnished me with of the manners and customs of the people among whom I first drew my breath. John Clarke, formerly Dean of Sarum, in his Truth of the Christian Religion: both these authors concur in ascribing to us this original. I remember two of those ominous snakes, each of which was as thick as the calf of a man's leg, and in colour resembling a dolphin in the water, crept at different times into my mother's night-house, where I always lay with her, and coiled themselves into folds, and each time they crowed like a cock. I was trained up from my earliest years in the arts of agriculture and war; and my mother adorned me with emblems, after the manner of our greatest warriors. Cruickshanks Ottobah Cugoano, or John Stewart D The Right Hon.
It was about the beginning of the spring 1757 when I arrived in England, and I was near twelve years of age at that time. The dress of both sexes is nearly the same. When I was carried on board I was immediately handled, and tossed up, to see if I were sound, by some of the crew; and I was now persuaded that I had got into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me. They told me I was not; and one of the crew brought me a small portion of spiritous liqour in a wine glass; but, being afraid of him, I would not take it out of his hand. I was very fond of my mother, and almost constantly with her. I saw many convenient well-built sheds along the roads, at proper distances, to accommodate the merchants and travellers, who lay in those buildings along with their wives, who often accompany them; and they always go well armed.
The fact that an eleven year old boy could not play like a kid, but was forced to watch out for slave traders in fear of being kidnapped is a shame. It was my folly, and thy weakness. They are made something like an anchor; but I do not remember either their value or denomination. This part was very disgusting. At last the French line was entirely broken, and we obtained the victory, which was immediately proclaimed with loud huzzas and acclamations. He used often to tell him jocularly that he would kill me to eat. I was told they had: 'Ande why,' said I, 'do we not see them? Life in Africa for Equiano was hard.
I climbed a tree at some distance, from which I beheld the fight. The captain then told me my former master had sent me there to be sold; but that he had desired him to get me the best master he could, as he told him I was a very deserving boy, which Captain Doran said he found to be true; and if he were to stay in the West Indies he would be glad to keep me himself; but he could not venture to take me to London, for he was very sure that when I came there I would leave him. This practice of kidnapping induces me to think, that, notwithstanding all our strictness, their principal business among us was to trepan our people. The West India planters prefer the slaves of Benin or Eboe to those of any other part of Guinea, for their hardiness, intelligence, integrity, and zeal. The buyers might have thought that this was cool, meanwhile this was a tough reality for the slaves. He paints a picture of children always having to be on high alert, not being able to play freely and always have to worry about defending themselves.
This common is often the theatre of war; and therefore when our people go out to till their land, they not only go in a body, but generally take their arms with them for fear of a surprise; and when they apprehend an invasion they guard the avenues to their dwellings, by driving sticks into the ground, which are so sharp at one end as to pierce the foot, and are generally dipt in poison. Every circumstance I met with served only to render my state more painful, and heighten my apprehensions, and my opinion of the cruelty of the whites. Those Embrence, or chief men, decided disputes and punished crimes; for which purpose they always assembled together. We had been all at work in it one day as usual, when our people were suddenly attacked. Equiano was convinced the white men were spirits who would sacrifice him.
Thus every great event, such as a triumphant return from battle, or other cause of public rejoicing is celebrated in public dances, which are accompanied with songs and music suited to the occasion. Are any pains taken to teach them these? I have already acquainted the reader with the time and place of my birth. When they buy any eatable the seller kisses it all round before the buyer, to shew him it is not poisoned; and the same is done when any meat or drink is presented, particularly to a stranger. King allowed Equiano to buy his freedom, which he achieved in 1766. It is, therefore, I confess, not a little hazardous, in a private and obscure individual and a stranger too, thus to solicit the indulgent attention of the public; especially when I own I offer here the history of neither a saint, a hero, nor a tyrant. Those that touched the dead at any time were obliged to wash and purify themselves before they could enter a dwelling-house.
Newton was played by and Equiano by. I believe that Equiano believe that the separation and breaking up of families is the most disturbing of it all. Of these the most considerable is the kingdom of Benen, both as to extent and wealth, the richness and cultivation of the soil, the power of its king, and the number and warlike disposition of the inhabitants. Soon after I had a fan put into my hand, to fan the gentleman while he slept; and so I did indeed with great fear. Pascal favoured Equiano and sent him to his sister-in-law in Great Britain so that he could attend school and learn to read and write.