Chapter 4

 

I travelled to London by land. The whole way I was wondering what to do and where to go. I was too ashamed of myself to go back home.

In London I met the captain of another ship who had already been to the coast of Guinea before. He offered me to travel with him and be his companion for the journey. As I still had some money, I chose to travel as a passenger and not as a sailor. The captain of the ship also promised me that he would carry back to England any treasure I might make in Africa.

When leaving London, he advised me what to buy for trade in Africa. At the time I only had £40 which I managed to get with the assistance of my relatives. This journey was my only successful one because I returned to England with some gold dust which was worth almost £300. The journey was also good for me because the captain taught me a bit about mathematics and navigation. I learned what was necessary in order to become a sailor and a merchant.

Still, this trip wasn’t perfect. I was constantly sick and had fever. Soon after we came back to England my friend, the captain, died. I decided to make the same journey with the same ship back to Guinea. I left £200 with the widow of my friend so I had only £100 to trade in Africa.

This was one of the unhappiest journeys a man has ever taken. The first disaster happened when we were between the Canary Islands and the African shore. Early one morning a Turkish ship started chasing us. This continued the whole day and about three in the afternoon the pirates came very close. We had twelve guns and the pirates eighteen. There was an attack, but we managed to drive them away. On the second attempt, sixty of their men came on the ship and started destroying everything. We managed to push them off board twice, but they kept returning. Some of our sailors were killed and some were badly injured, so we had to surrender. All of us were taken prisoner.