irreverence; for, in God’s ways, there is nothing less inscrutable than his law of right. That law is never qualified in this world. It moves with the irresistible certainty of organized nature, and, while it makes man free, in order that his responsibility may be unquestionable, it leaves mercy, even, for the judgment hereafter. Such a system of divine law can never palliate the African slave trade, and, in fact, it is the basis of that human legislation which converts the slaver into a pirate, and awards him a felon’s doom.
For these reasons, we should discountenance schemes like those proposed not long ago in England, and sanctioned by the British government, for the encouragement of spontaneous emigration from Africa under the charge of contractors. The plan was viewed with fear by the colonial authorities, and President Roberts at once issued a proclamation to guard the natives. No one, I think, will read this book without a conviction that the idea of voluntary expatriation has not dawned on the African mind, and, consequently, what might begin in laudable philanthropy would be likely to end in practical servitude.
Intercourse, trade, and colonization, in slow but steadfast growth, are the providences intrusted to us for the noble task of civilization. They who are practically acquainted with the colored race of our country, have long believed that gradual colonization was the only remedy for Africa as well as America. The repugnance of the free blacks to emigration from our shores has produced a tardy movement, and thus the African population has been thrown back grain by grain, and not wave by wave. Every one conversant with the state of our colonies, knows how beneficial this languid accretion has been. It moved many of the most enterprising, thrifty, and independent. It established a social nucleus from the best classes of American colored people. Like human growth, it allowed the frame to mature in muscular solidity. It gave immigrants time to test the climate; to learn the habit of government in states as well as in families; to acquire the bearing of freemen; to abandon their imitation of the whites among whom they had lived; and thus, by degrees, to consolidate a social and political system which may expand into independent and lasting nationality. Instead, therefore, of lamenting the slowness with which the colonies have reached their vigorous promise, we should consider it a blessing that the vicious did not rush forth in turbulent crowds with the worthy, and impede the movements of better folks, who were still unused to the task of self-reliance.
Men are often too much in a hurry to do good, and mar by excessive zeal what patience would complete. “Deus quies quia æternus,” saith St. Augustine. The cypress is a thousand years in growth, yet its limbs touch not the clouds, save on a mountain top. Shall the regeneration of a continent be quicker than its ripening? That would be miracle—not progress.
Accept this offering, my dear Willis, as a token of that sincere regard, which, during an intimacy of a quarter of a century, has never wavered in its friendly trust.
Baltimore, 1st July, 1854.
|CHAP. I.—My parentage and education—Apprenticed at Leghorn to an American captain—First voyage—its mishaps—overboard—black cook—Sumatra—cabin-boy—Arrival in Boston—My first command—View of Boston harbor from the mast-head—My first interview with a Boston merchant, William Gray
|CHAP. II.—My uncle tells my adventure with Lord Byron—Captain Towne, and my life in Salem—My skill in Latin—Five years voyaging from Salem—I rescue a Malay girl at Quallahbattoo—The first slave I ever saw—End of my apprenticeship—My backslidings in Antwerp and Paris—Ship on a British vessel for Brazil—The captain and his wife—Love, grog, and grumbling—A scene in the harbor of Rio—Matrimonial happiness—Voyage to Europe—Wreck and loss on the coast near Ostend
|CHAP. III.—I design going to South America—A Dutch galliot for Havana—Male and female captain—Run foul of in the Bay of Biscay—Put into Ferrol, in Spain—I am appropriated by a new mother, grandmother, and sisters—A comic scene—How I got out of the scrape—Set sail for Havana—Jealousy of the captain—Deprived of my post—Restored—Refuse to do duty—Its sad consequences—Wrecked on a reef near Cuba—Fisherman-wreckers—Offer to land cargo—Make a bargain with our salvors—A sad denouement—A night bath and escape
|CHAP. IV.—Bury my body in the sand to escape the insects—Night of horror—Refuge on a tree—Scented by bloodhounds—March to the rancho—My guard—Argument about my fate—“My Uncle” Rafael suddenly appears on the scene—Magic change effected by my relationship—Clothed, and fed, and comforted—I find an uncle, and am protected—Mesclet—Made cook’s mate—Gallego, the cook—His appearance and character—Don Rafael’s story—“Circumstances”—His counsel for my conduct on the island
|CHAP. V.—Life on a sand key—Pirates and wreckers—Their difference—Our galliot destroyed—the gang goes to Cuba—I am left with Gallego—His daily fishing and nightly flitting—I watch him—My discoveries in the graveyard—Return of the wreckers—“Amphibious Jews”—Visit from a Cuban inspector—“Fishing license”—Gang goes to Cape Verde—Report of a fresh wreck—Chance of escape—Arrival—Return of wreckers—Bachicha and his clipper—Death of Mesclet—My adventures in a privateer—My restoration to the key—Gallego’s charges—His trial and fate
| CHAP. VI.—I am sent from the key—Consigned to a grocer at Regla—Cibo—His household—Fish-loving padre—Our dinners