Chapter 10

 

One morning three planters, who just like me needed more workers, came to me and asked me to join them on a secret journey to Guinea. If the expedition was successful, I would receive some new slaves. It was a fair proposition, and I started arranging the necessary documents. I made a formal will, leaving all my belongings, in case I did not return, to my friend, the captain.

Looking back at it now, I regret returning to sea so rashly and leaving my comfortable life in Brazil. I went on board on the same date, the 1st of September that I had left my parents’ house in Hull eight years earlier. Our ship was very big, but carried only 17 men and six guns. It was loaded with goods for trade such as glass beads, mirrors, knives, scissors, and similar things.

At the beginning of our journey the weather was very good, but very hot. In two weeks’ time a hurricane came upon us and was threatening our ship for the next twelve days. One man died of fever, and during the storm two men were washed overboard. After the hurricane passed, we saw that we had gone quite far from our original route and were instead close to the northern part of Brazil near the Orinoco River. The ship was so badly damaged that we could no longer go to Africa. The captain wanted us to go back and repair the ship, but I strongly disagreed with him. He and I went over the maps and decided that the best thing to do was to go to Barbados and repair the ship there.

When we set out on this short trip, a second storm came upon us and drove us far out to sea. The next morning one of the sailors cried out, “Land!” and that very moment the ship ran aground in shallow water. We expected the ship to break apart at any moment because of the strong wind, so we all got into the small boat the ship carried. This was very dangerous because the eleven of us still alive crowded the boat, and it had no sail. We knew that we would crash into the shore because the wind was still very strong.