Monday, May 02, 2011

Captain Seagrave

Will it be permitted me to adduce, on this Occasion, an Instance of the like Honour in a poor unenlightened African Negroe. I find it in Capt. Seagrave's Account of his Voyage to Guinea.

He relates that a New-England Sloop, trading there in 1752, left their second Mate, William Murray, sick on Shore, and sailed without him.

Murray was at the House of a Black, named Cudjoe, with whom he had contracted an Acquaintance during their Trade. He recovered,and the Sloop being gone, he continued with his black Friend, till some other Opportunity should offer of his getting home.

In the mean while, a Dutch Ship came into the Road, and some of the Blacks going on board her, were treacherously seized, and carried off as Slaves. Their Relations and Friends, transported with sudden Rage, ran to the House of Cudjoe to take Revenge, by killing Murray.

Cudjoe stopt them at the Door, and demanded what they wanted?

The White Men, said they, have carried away our Brothers and Sons, and we will kill all White Men; -- give us the White Man that you keep in your House, for we will kill him.

Nay,said Cudjoethe White Men that carried away your Brothers are bad Men, kill them when you can catch them; but this White Man is a good Man, and you must not kill him. 

-- But he is a White Man, they cried; the White Men are all bad; we will kill them all.

-- Nay, says he, you must not kill a Man, that has done no Harm, only for being white. This Man is my Friend, my House is his Fort, and I am his Soldier. I must fight for him. You must kill me, before you can kill him. -- What good Man will ever come again under my Roof,if I let my Floor be stained with a good Man's Blood! 

-- The Negroes seeing his Resolution, and being convinced by his Discourse that they were wrong, went away ashamed.

In a few Days Murray ventured abroad again with Cudjoe, when several of them took him by the Hand, and told him they were glad they had not killed him; for as he was a good (meaning an innocent) Man, their God would have been angry, and would have spoiled their Fishing. 

-- I relate this, says Captain Seagrave, to show, that some among these dark People have a strong Sense of Justice and Honour, and that even the most brutal among them are capable of feeling the Force of Reason, and of being influenced by a Fear of God (if the Knowledge of the true God could be introduced among them) since even the Fear of a false God, when their Rage subsided, was not without its good Effect.

1 comment:

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