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At last an officer of the frigate lying in the harbour,
passed ; Please buy my ship," said Johnny, imploringly.
The officer stopped and asked him if he had made it him-
self, and poor Johnny poured out his artless tale to him.
THE AFRICAN TRADER;
bfUntuse of Parxm Bagforb.
WILLIAM H. G. KINGSTON.
GALL & INGLIS.
Lonoton: Etinburgt :
25 PATERNOSTER SQR. I BERNARD TERRACE.
[The right of Translation is reserved ]
My father, after meeting with a severe reverse of fortune,
dies, and my sisters and I are left destitute.-Our faith-
ful old black nurse, Mammy, takes care of my sisters,
while I, invited by a former acquaintance, Captain Willis
of the 'Chieftain,' sail with him on a trading voyage to
the coast of Africa, 9
The 'Chieftain' arrives off the coast of Africa, and- we
carry on a brisk trade with the natives, who come off to
us through the surf.-At length Captain Willis proposes
to run up the river Bonny to complete our cargo.-Not
forgetful of my promise to Mammy, I make inquiries for
her son Cheebo, 22
We enter a river.-Its scenery described.-Receive a visit
from the King, and trade with the Natives.-The pro-
ducts of Africa, for which we trade, mentioned, and the
curious mode in which trade is conducted--Fever breaks
out on board, and several of the crew die.-Sad end of
poor Bob.-The Boatswain and Mates attacked with
fever.-More deaths.-The Captain's unwillingness, not-
withstanding this, to leave the river till his cargo is
More victims to the fever.-The Captain himself attacked.
-We ship some Krumen and other blacks, among whom
is a Christian, Paul Balingo.-Paul instructs the Captain
and me in the truth.-Captain Willis gets somewhat
better, and we prepare for sea, 51
We at length get out of the river into the open sea, but a
calm comes on, and the Captain again becomes very ill.-
No one on board understanding navigation, I doubt
whether I shall find my way to Sierra Leone.-The Cap-
tain does not believe that he is in danger.-Paul pleads
with him about the safety of his soul.-A fire breaks out
in the hold.-We in vain endeavour to extinguish it.-
The rest of the crew desert us.-Paul and I endeavour to
save the Captain, but driven from the cabin by the
flames, leap overboard, and reach a small boat, which we
right and get into.-See a schooner approaching us, 68
A calm comes on, and we remain during the night suffering
from hunger and thirst.-Paul tells me his history, and I
find that he is Cheebo, of whom I am in search.-His
joy at hearing of his mother makes him regardless of the
sufferings we are enduring.-The schooner picks us up.
-Paul suspects her character.-Before long we discover
that she is a slaver, and she runs up a river to receive
her cargo on board, 86
I witness the embarkation of slaves collected at the barra-
coons, and the cruel way in which they are treated and
packed in the hold of the slaver.-Unwilling to desert
Paul, I remain on board, and the slaver puts to sea.-
Paul is threatened for attempting to comfort the slaves
with the Gospel news.-The schooner receives more
slaves on board along the coast.-Some are drowned
coming off.-The slaver gets on shore just as a man-of-
war is seen in the offing -A fog comes on, and the
schooner's crew make desperate efforts to get her off.-
She escapes, to my bitter disappointment, from the man-
of-war's boats, along the coast, 100
The Spaniards believing the man-of-war to be far away,
steer to the westward.-We sight her, and she chases
us.-Cruel device of the slaver's crew to assist their
escape.-Paul, among others, being thrown overboard that
the man-of-war might heave-to to pick them up.-I fear
that he has been lost.-My life preserved by one of the
officers, when threatened by the slaver's crew.-The
schooner escapes; but is dismasted in a gale, and again
overtaken.-Paul and my cousin Jack come on board, and
I join the corvette as a midshipman.-Returning to Eng-
land I restore Cheebo to his mother.-My adventures
show that all works together for good to them who love
God.-Jack becomes a Commander, marries my sister
Mary, and I find ample means for supporting the rest of
my dear sisters, 1
THE AFRICAN TRADER;
e Ebjentures of StarrE 3Sasfor.
THE AFRICAN TRADER.
My father, after meeting with a severe reverse of fortune, dies,
and my sisters and I are left destitute.-Our faithful old
black nurse Mammy, takes care of my sisters, while I,
invited by a former acquaintance, Captain Willis of the
'Chieftain,' sail with him on a trading voyage to the coast
UR school was breaking up for the mid-
summer holidays-north, south, east,
and west we sped to our different desti-
nations, thinking with glee of the pleasures we
believed to be in store for us.
I was bound for Liverpool, where my father, a
West India merchant, now resided. He had for
10 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
most of his life lived in Jamaica, where I was
born, and from whence I had a few years before
accompanied him to England to go to school.
'I am sorry we shall not see you back Bay-
ford,' said the good doctor, as he shook me warmly
by the hand. 'May our heavenly Father protect
you, my boy, wherever you go.'
'I hope to go as a midshipman on board a
man-of-war, sir,' I answered. My father expects
to get me appointed to a ship this summer, and I
suppose that is the reason I am leaving.'
The doctor looked kindly and somewhat sadly
at me. 'You must not, Harry, raise your hopes
on that point too high,' he answered, in a grave
tone. When I last heard from your father, saying
he desired to remove you, he was very unwell. I
grieve to have to say this, but it is better that you
should be prepared for evil tidings. God bless you
Harry Bayford. The coach will soon be up; I
must not detain you longer.'
The doctor again warmly wrung my hand.
I hastened after Peter the porter, who was
wheeling my trunk down to the village inn where
the coach stopped, and I had just time to mount on
the top when the guard cried out, 'All right;' the
HARRY'S RETURN FROM SCHOOL. 11
coachman laid his whip gently over the backs of
the horses, which trotted gaily forward along the
My spirits would naturally have risen at finding
myself whirled along at the rate of ten miles an
hour on my way homeward, but the last words
spoken by the doctor continually recurred to me,
and contributed greatly to damp them. I managed,
however, at length, to persuade myself that my
anticipations of evil were mere fancies. On reach-
ing Liverpool, having called a porter to carry my
things, I hurried homewards, expecting to receive
the usual happy greetings from my father and
sisters. My spirits sank when looking up at the
windows, I saw that all the blinds were drawn
down. I knocked at the door with trembling hand.
A strange and rough-looking man opened it. Is
my father at home ?' I asked, in a low voice. The
man hesitated, looking hard at me, and then said,
' Yes; but you can't see him. There are some
ladies upstairs-your sisters, I suppose-you had
better go to them.'
There was an ominous silence in the house; no
one was moving about. What had become of all
the servants? I stole gently up to Jane and
12 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
Mary's boudoir. They, and little Emily ouk
younger sister, were seated together, all dressed
in black. Sobs burst from them, as they threw
their arms round my neck, without uttering a word.
I then knew to a certainty what had happened-
our kind father was dead; but I little conceived the
sad misfortunes which had previously overtaken
him and broken his heart, leaving his children
Jane, on recovering herself, in a gentle sad
voice told me all about it. 'Mary and I intend
going out as governesses, but we scarcely know
what to do for dear Emily and you Harry, though
we will devote our salaries to keep you and her at
'Oh, I surely can get a place as a nursemaid,'
said Emily, a fair delicate girl, looking but ill-
adapted for the situation she proposed for her-
self. And I, Jane, will certainly not deprive
you and Mary of your hard-earned salaries, even
were you to obtain what would be required,' I
answered, firmly. I ought rather to support you,
and I hope to be able to do so by some means or
My sisters even then were not aware of the sad
MAMMY'S STORY. 13
position in which we were placed. Our father had
been a man of peculiarly reserved and retiring
manners; he had formed no friendships in England,
and the few people he knew were simply business
acquaintances. An execution had been put into the
house even before his death, so that we had no
power over a single article it contained.
The servants, with the exception of my sisters'
black nurse, had gone away, and we had not a
friend whose hospitality we could claim. She, good
creature (Mammy, as we called her), finding out, on
seeing my trunk in the hall, that I had arrived,
came breathless, from hurrying up stairs, into the
room, and embracing me, kissed my forehead and
cheeks as if I had still been a little child; and I
felt the big drops fall from her eyes as she held me
in her shrivelled arms. Sad all this, Massa Harry,
but we got good Fader up dere, and He take care
of us though He call massa away,' and she cast her
eyes to heaven, trusting with a simple firm faith to
receive from thence that protection she might have
justly feared she was not likely to obtain on earth.
' We all have our sorrows, dear children,' she con-
tinued, 'massa had many sorrows when he lose
your mother and his fortune, and I have my sor-
14 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
rows when I was carried away by slaver people,
and leave my husband and piccaniny in Africa, and
now your sorrows come. But we can pray to the
good God, and he lift us out of dem all.'
Mammy had often told us of the cruel way in
which she had been kidnapped, and how her hus-
band had escaped with her little boy; and after she
became a Christian (and a very sincere one she
was) her great grief arose from supposing that her
child would be brought up as a savage heathen in
ignorance of the blessed truths of the gospel. My
sisters and I, as children, had often wept while she
recounted her sad history, but at the time I speak
of, I myself was little able to appreciate the deeper
cause of her sorrow. I thought, of course, that
it was very natural she should grieve for the loss
of her son, but I did not understand that it arose
on account of her anxiety for his soul's salva-
I pray day and night,' I heard her once tell
Jane, dat my piccaniny learn to know Christ, and
I sure God hear my prayers. How He bring it
about I cannot tell.'
We and Mammy followed our father to the
grave, and were then compelled to quit the house,
MY SISTERS. 15
leaving everything behind us, with the exception
of my sisters' wardrobes and a few ornaments,
which they claimed as their property. Mammy did
her best to cheer us. She had taken, unknown to
my sisters, some humble, though clean, lodgings in
the outskirts of the town, and to these she had
carried whatever we were allowed to remove.
'See, Massa Harry,' she said, showing me an
old leather purse full of gold. We no want food
for long time to come, and before then God find us
friends and show us what to do.'
My sisters possessed various talents, and they
at once determined to employ them to the best ad-
vantage. Jane and Mary drew beautifully, and
were adepts in all sorts of fancy needle-work.
Emily, though young, had. written one or two
pretty tales, and we were sure that she was
destined to be an authoress. Mammy, therefore,
entreated them not to separate, assuring them that
her only pleasure on earth would be to labour and
assist in protecting them. Had they had no other
motive, for her sake alone, they would have been
anxious to follow her advice.
I was the only one of the family who felt un-
able to do anything for myself. I wrote too bad a
16 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
hand to get a situation in a counting-house, and as
I had ardently wished to go to sea, I thought
I might fall in with a place in a ship, in some
capacity or other, and rise in the service. I was
the more hopeful, for on one of my visits to the
docks I heard of a lad, called Johnnie Salter, who
like me was anxious to go to sea, and one day a
thought struck him,-he got a piece of wood and
carved it into a boat, and with this in hand he
applied to the officers of several vessels, but in vain.
At last an officer of the frigate lying in the har-
hour passed. "Please, buy my ship," said Johnnie
imploringly, the officer stopped and asked him if
he had made it himself, and poor Johnnie poured
out his artless tale to him. The officer took him
on board his ship, at first as a cabin-boy; from this
as he got older he was advanced, till, for his good
conduct in a great emergency, he was made a
I had wandered one day down to the docks, and
was thinking of all this, when I observed a tall
good-looking man, in the dress of a merchantman's
captain, step out of a boat which had come from
a brigantine lying out in the stream. I recognized
him at once as the junior mate of the 'Fair
CAPTAIN WILLIS. 17
Rosomond,' in which vessel we had come home
from Jamaica, and a great chum of mine. 'Mr
Willis,' I said, 'do you remember me? I am
Not by looks, but by your voice and eyes I do,
my boy,' he answered, grasping my hand and
shaking it heartily. But what has happened ? I
see you are in mourning.'
I told him of my father's misfortunes and death;
and as we walked along frankly opened out on my
views and plans. You will have no chance in the
navy without means or friends, Harry,' he answered.
'There's no use thinking about the matter; but if
your mind is set on going to sea I'll take you, and
do my best to make a sailor of you. I have com-
mand of the Chieftain," an African trader, the
brigantine you see off in the stream there. Though
we do not profess to take midshipmen, I'll give you
a berth in my cabin, and I don't see that in the
long run you will run more risk than you would
have to go through on board vessels trading to
other parts of the world.'
Thank you, Captain Willis, very much,' I
exclaimed, 'I little expected so soon to go to
18 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
Don't talk of thanks, Harry,' he answered,
'your poor father was very kind to me, and I am
glad to serve you. I had intended calling on him
before sailing; and if your sisters will'allow me, I'll
pay them a visit, and answer any objections they
may make to your going.'
After dining with the captain at an inn, I
hurried home with, what I considered, this good
news. My sisters, however, were very unwilling
to sanction my going. They had heard so much of
the deadly climate of the African coast, and of
dangers from slavers and pirates, that they dreaded
the risk I should run. Captain Willis, according to
his promise, called the next day, and not without
difficulty quieted their apprehensions.
Mammy, though unwilling to part with me,
still could not help feeling a deep interest in my
undertaking, as she thought that I was going to
visit her own still-loved country; and while assist-
ing my sisters to prepare my outfit she entertained
me with an account of its beauties and wonders,
while I promised to bring her back from it all sorts
of things which I expected to collect. And sup-
pose, Mammy, I was to fall in with your little
piccaniny, shall I bring him back to you?' I asked,
JANE'S ADVICE TO HARRY. 19
with the thoughtlessness of a boy-certainly not
intending to hurt her feelings. She dropped her
work, gazing at me with a tearful eye.
He fine little black boy, big as you when four
year old,' she said, and stopped as if in thought,
and then added, Ah, Massa Harry, he no little boy
now though, him great big man like him fader, you
no know him, I no know him.'
But what is his name, Mammy ? That would
be of use,' I said.
'Him called Cheebo,' she answered, heaving a
deep sigh. 'But Africa great big country-
tousands and thousands of people; you no find
Cheebo among dem; God only find him. His eye
everywhere. He hears Mammy's prayers, dat
'That it is, indeed,' said Jane, fearing that my
careless remarks had needlessly grieved poor Mam-
my, by raising long dormant feelings in her heart.
' And oh, my dear Harry, if you are brought into
danger, and inclined to despair-and I fear you
will have many dangers to go through-recollect
that those who love you at home are earnestly
praying for you; and at the same time never for.
get to pray for yourself, and to feel assured that
20 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
God will hear our united prayers, and preserve you
in the way He thinks best.'
'I will try to remember,' I said, but do not
fancy, Jane, that I am going to run my head into
all sorts of dangers. I daresay we shall have a
very pleasant voyage out, and be back again in a
few months with a full cargo of palm oil, ivory,
gold dust, and all sorts of precious things, such
as I understand Captain Willis is going to trade
You will not forget Cheebo though, Massa
Harry,' said Mammy, in a low voice. The idea
that I might meet her son was evidently taking
strong possession of her mind.
'That I will not,' I answered. 'I'll ask his
name of every black fellow I meet, and if I find
him I'll tell him that I know his mother Mammy,
and ask him to come with me to see you.'
'Oh, but he not know dat name,' exclaimed
Mammy. Me called Ambah in Africa; him fader
called Quamino. You no forget dat.'
'I hope not; but I'll put them in my pocket-
book,' I said, writing down the names, though I
confess that I did so without any serious thoughts
about the matter, but merely for the sake of pleas-
HARRY ON BOARD THE 'CHIEFTAIN.' 21
ing old Mammy. When I told Captain Willis
afterwards, he was highly amused with the notion,
and said that I might just as well try to find a
needle in a bundle of hay as to look for the old
woman's son on the coast of Africa.
The day of parting from my poor sisters and
our noble-hearted nurse arrived. I did not expect
to feel it so much as I did, and I could then under-
stand how much grief it caused them.
'Cheer up, Harry,' said Captain Willis, as the
'Chieftain,' under all sail, was standing down the
Mersey. 'You must not let thoughts of home
get the better of you. We shall soon be in blue
water, and you must turn to and learn to be a
sailor. By the time you have made another voy-
age or so I expect to have you as one of my
mates, and, perhaps, before you are many years
older, you will become the commander of a fine
craft like this.'
I followed the captain's advice, and by the
time we had crossed the line I could take my trick
at the helm, and was as active aloft as many of the
elder seamen on board.
The Chieftain' arrives off the coast of Africa, and we carry
on a brisk trade with the natives, who come off to us
through the surf.-At length Captain Willis proposes to run
up the river Bonny to complete our cargo. Not forgetful
of my promise to Mammy, I make inquiries for her son
T was my morning watch. I was indulg-
ing in the pleasure particularly enjoyable
after sweltering in the close hot atmo-
sphere of the cabin, of paddling about with
bare feet on the wet deck, over which I and
some of the men were heaving buckets of water,
while others were lustily using holy-stones and
scrubbing brushes, under the superintendence of
Mr Wesbey, the first mate. The black cook was
lighting his fire in the caboose, from whence a
wreath of smoke ascended almost perpendicularly
in the clear atmosphere. The sea was smooth as
glass, but every now and then a slowly heaving
THE COAST OF AFRICA. 23
swell lifted the vessel, and caused her sails, which
hung down against the masts, to give a loud flap,
while here and there the surface was broken by the
fin or snout of some monster of the deep swimming
round us. Our monkey, Quako, who had been
turned out of his usual resting-place, was exhibiting
more than his ordinary agility-springing about the
rigging, and chattering loudly, now making his
way aloft, whence he looked eastwards, and now
returning to the caboose, as if to communicate his
ideas to his sable friend.
'What makes Quako so frisky this morning ?'
I asked of Dick Radford, the boatswain, a sturdy
broad shouldered man of iron frame, who, with
trousers tucked up, and bare arms brawny as those
of Hercules, was standing, bucket in hand, near
me, deluging the deck with water.
He smells his native land, Harry,' he answered,
'and thinks he is going to pay a visit to his kith
and kindred. We shall have to keep him moored
pretty fast, or he will be off into the woods to find
them. I have a notion you will get a sight of it
before long, when the sea breeze sets in and sends
the old barky through the water.'
'What the coast of Africa !' I exclaimed, and
24 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
thoughts of that wonderful region, with its unex-
plored rivers, its gloomy forests, and its black
skinned inhabitants, with their barbarous customs
and superstitious rites, rose in my mind.
'Aye, sure and it will be a pleasant day when
we take our departure from the land, and see the
last of it,' observed Dick. If those niggers would
trade like other people we might make quick work
of it, and be away home again in a few weeks, but
we may thank our stars if we get a full cargo by
this time next year, without leaving some of our
'What? I should not fancy that any of our fel-
lows were likely to desert,' I observed.
'No; but they are likely to get pressed by a
chap who won't let go his gripe of them again,'
'Who is that ?' I asked.
'Yellow-fingered Jack we call him sometimes,
the coast fever,' said Dick. If they would but
take better care of themselves and not drink those
poisonous spirits and sleep on shore at night, they
might keep out of his clutches. I give this as a
hint to you, Harry. I have been there a score of
times, and am pretty well seasoned, but I have felt
THE BOATSWAIN'S ADVICE TO HARRY. 25
his gripe, though I do not fear him now.' I thanked
the boatswain for his advice. It was given, I sus-
pected, for others' benefit as well as mine.
As the bright hot red sun rose in the sky,
casting his beams down on our heads, and making
the pitch bubble up from the seams in the deck-as
it had done not unfrequently during the voyage-a
few cats' paws were seen playing over the mirror-
like deep. The sails bulged out occasionally, again
to hang down as before; then once more they
swelled out with the gentle breeze, and the brigan-
tine glided through the water, gradually increasing
her speed. I was eagerly looking out for the coast;
at length it came in sight-its distant outline ren-
dered indistinct by the misty pall which hung over
it. As we drew nearer, its forest covered heights
had a particularly gloomy and sombre appearance,
which made me think of the cruelties I had heard
were practised on those shores, of the barbarous
slave trade, of the fearful idolatries of its dark
skinned children, of its wild beasts, and of its
deadly fevers. There was nothing exhilirating,
nothing to give promise of pleasure or amusement.
As our gallant brigantine glided gaily on, sending
the sparkling foam from her bows through the tiny
26 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
wavelets of the ocean, which glittered in the radi-
ance of a blue and cloudless sky, and her sails
filled with the fresh sea breeze, these feelings
rapidly wore off. Now, on either side, appeared a
fleet of fishing canoes, the wild songs of their naked
crews coming across the water, as with rugged
sails of matting lolling at their ease, they steered
towards the shore. We overtook some of them,
and such a loud jabber as they set up, talking to
each other, or hailing us, I had never heard.
Being near enough to the dangerous coast, we
hove-to, and watched them as they fearlessly made
their way to shore on the summits of a succession
of rollers which burst in fearful breakers on the
beach. With our glasses we could see hundreds
of dingy figures like black ants, hurrying down to
meet them, and to assist in hauling up their canoes.
As I cast my eye along the coast I could see many
a bay and headland bordered with a rim of glittering
white sand, fringed by an unbroken line of spark-
ling surf. Now we could make out the mud walls
and thatched roofs of the native villages, scattered
here and there along the shore, mostly nestling
amid groves of graceful cocoa-nut trees, while
further inland appeared, at distant intervals, that
FIRST VIEW OF AFRICA. 27
giant monarch of the tropical forest, the silk cotton
tree, stretching its mighty limbs upwards towards
the sky, and far and wide around. Such was my
first view of the African coast.
Well, what do you think of it?' asked Captain
It looks better than I expected,' I said. But
I don't see how we are ever to reach it, much less
carry on any trade with the people. How can we
possibly send any goods on shore ?'
'You will see presently,' he answered. 'We
have hoisted our trading signal, and before long we
shall have plenty of dealers along side unless some
other vessel has been before us; if so, we may
have to wait some days till the black merchants
can bring more goods down from the interior. The
people about here are imbued with the very spirit
of commerce. They understand too how to make
a sharp bargain. We have to be wide awake, or,
naked savages as they are, they will contrive to
Our various assortments of cotton and other
goods had been got up from the hold ready for the
expected trade. The captain had also taken out
from his strong box a supply of sovereigns and
28 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
Spanish dollars, should coin be demanded, though
he relied chiefly on the more advantageous proceed-
ing of barter.
After standing off and on the coast for some
hours, we perceived several large canoes about to be
launched. On either side of each canoe stood a dozen
or fifteen men, holding to the gunwale with one
hand, and carrying a paddle in the other. At a signal
from their head man the canoe was hurried into the
foaming surf ; but, instead of getting in, they swam
by her side, guiding her course, until the first
heavy swell was past, then they threw themselves
simultaneously into her, and began to paddle with
might and main till they got beyond the outer
swell, and on they came, shouting with satisfaction
at the success of their enterprise. Two got off
without accident; but three others, when in the
very midst of the breakers, were swamped, and I
thought that their crews, and, at all events, their
cargoes, would be lost. But no such thing. As I
watched them through the glass I saw that they
were all holding on to the gunwale, shoving her
from side to side, until the water was thrown out,
when in they got again, and began to gather up
numerous articles floating around them. This ac-
TRADING WITH NATIVES. 29
complished, off they came as if nothing had hap-
pened. As they got alongside I discovered the
reason why their effects did not sink-some were
casks of palm oil, which naturally floated, while
the elephants' tusks and other pieces of ivory, were
fastened to large floats of cork-wood, and several
of the men had small light wooden boxes, which
contained gold dust, secured to their waists. Though
these were of a weight sufficient greatly to incum-
ber, if not to sink, an ordinary swimmer, so expert
were they in the water that they appeared in no
way to be inconvenienced. Several of them re-
cognized Captain Willis, who had frequently before
been off the coast, and having been fairly dealt
with by him, and aware that he knew the price
they would be ready to take, gave him very little
trouble. Some, however, tried to outwit him, but
he was very firm with them, and let them under-
stand that he was indifferent to trading except on
equitable terms. Altogether he was well satisfied
with the result of his first day's business.
We stood off the coast before the sea breeze
died away, and returned again on the following
morning. This sort of work we continued for
several days. It was, however, a very tedious
30 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
mode of proceeding. At length we found that the
amount of produce, brought off from day to day,
rapidly diminishing, while the natives began to
demand higher prices than at first. We accord-
ingly stood down the coast towards another native
town, with the inhabitants of which we began to
trade in the same way as before.
From the time we first came into these latitudes
we kept a bright look out night and day. I asked
old Radford what was the use of doing this when
we were engaged in a lawful commerce, which
must of necessity prove an advantage to the
negroes. 'Why, you see, Harry, there are other
gentry visit this coast with a very different object
in view,' he answered. 'For the Spaniards and
Portugese, especially, come here to carry off the
unfortunate inhabitants as slaves, and sometimes
the villainous crews of their craft, if in want of
provisions and water, will help themselves, without
ceremony, from any merchantman they may fall
in with. And should she have a rich cargo on
board, they have been known, I have heard say, to
make her people walk the plank, and sink or burn
her, so that no one may know anything about the
matter. Now our skipper has no fancy to be
AFRICAN TRADING. 31
caught in that fashion, and if we were to sight a
suspicious looking sail, as the Chieftain" has got
a fast pair of heels of her own, we should do our
best to keep out of her way. You see when once
fellows take to slaving they go from bad to worse.
I have known something of the trade in my time,
and it made my heart turn sick to see the way in
which they crowd hundreds of their fellow-crea-
tures down on the slave decks of their vessels,
packed as close together as herrings in a cask, for
their run across the Atlantic to the Brazils or Cuba.
It may be, before we leave this coast, you will
have the opportunity of seeing for yourself, so I
need not tell you more about it now.'
After this I was as vigilant as anyone on board
in looking out for suspicious craft,-for I had no
fancy to be caught by a piratical slaver, and be
made to walk the plank, and have our gallant little
'Chieftain' sent to the bottom.
We continued cruising along the coast for
some weeks, slowly exchanging our cargo for
At length Captain Willis got tired of this style
of doing business. 'I am going to run up the
river Bonny, Harry, where we are certain in time
32 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
to get a full cargo of palm oil, though I would
rather have filled up without going into harbour at
all, for the climate, I own, is not the healthiest
possible, and we may chance to have a touch of
sickness on board.'
He spoke, however, in so unconcerned a way
that I had no serious apprehensions on that
I had not forgotten my promise to Mammy,
and had asked all the blacks I could manage to
speak to if they could tell me anything of Cheebo.
I need scarcely say that my question was received
with a broad grin by most of them. Plenty
Cheebos,' was the general reply. Dat black fel-
low Cheebo; and dat, and dat, and dat Quamino,'
was added, when I said that such was the name of
the father of the Cheebo of whom I was in search,
but none of them answered the description of poor
Mammy's son. At length I felt very much inclined
to give up my inquiries as hopeless.
y4'-' ... '
We enter a river.-Its scenery described.-Receive a visit from
the King, and trade with the natives.-The products of
Africa, for which we trade, mentioned, and the curious
mode in which trade is conducted.-Fever breaks out on
board, and several of the crew die.-Sad end of poor Bob.-
The boatswain and mates attacked with fever.-More
deaths.-The Captain's unwillingness, notwithstanding
this, to leave the river till his cargo is completed.
TANDING in towards the coast with the
sea breeze we saw before us an opening
between two low mangrove covered
points, which formed the mouth of the river
we were about to ascend. The scarcely ever
ceasing rollers, coming across the wide Atlantic,
broke on the bar which ran across its entrance with
somewhat less violence than on the coast itself.
Still there was an ugly looking line of white foam
which had to be crossed before we could gain the
smooth water within. We hove-to, making the
34 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
signal for a pilot. A canoe in a short time came off,
having on board a burly negro, dressed in a broad
brimmed hat, nankeen trousers, and white jacket,
with a sash round his waist. He produced several
documents to show that he was capable of taking
a vessel over the bar.
'Wait bit captain,' he said, 'high water soon,
and den ship go in smooth-batten down hatches
though, case sea break aboard.
Captain Willis followed this advice; it was well
that he did so. Up helm now captain-bar berry
good-plenty breeze.' We stood on with all canvas
set; the hands at their stations ready to shorten
sail when necessary. Soon we found ourselves
mounting to the top of a high roller, then on we
glided, till in another instant down we came amid
the hissing roaring breakers, their foam-topped
summits dancing up on either side, and deluging
our decks. I saw our black pilot holding on pretty
tightly by the main shrouds-I followed his ex-
ample, for I expected every moment to feel the
vessel's keel touching the bar, when I knew that if
she were to hang there even for the shortest pos-
sible time, the following sea might break over her
stern, and make a clean sweep of her deck. Op
CROSSING THE BAR. 35
she sped though, lifted by another huge roller;
downwards we then glided amid the eddying
creamy waters on to the calm surface of the
river, up which the next minute we were gliding
The appearance of the banks on either side was
not attractive. As far as the eye could reach was
one dense jungle of mangrove bushes, and though
we ran on for several miles it in no way improved.
The wind died away as we advanced, and the at-
mosphere became hot and oppressive. I had ex-
pected to see pleasant openings, with neat cottages,
plantations of maize, rice, and other grain, pepper,
palms and palmetos; but instead, a uniform line of
the sombre tinted mangrove alone presented itself,
the trees just too high to prevent our having a
view over them of any more attractive scenery
which might have existed beyond.
I asked our black pilot when we should come
to the town. By by den you see,' he answered
with a look which denoted that we should in time
witness something worth beholding.
The water was as smooth as glass. Here and
there coveys of birds might be seen skimming
along the surface, while overhead a flight of scarlet
36 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
winged flamingos swept in wide circles, their plum-
age flashing in the sun as they prepared to descend
on one of the many sandbanks in the stream, to
carry on their fishing operations. As we advanced,
now and then a canoe would shoot out from among
the jungle; the black skinned paddlers coming
quickly alongside, to ascertain our character and
the objects for which we wished to trade. Some-
times too we could see troops of monkeys making
their way among the branches, their small grinning
faces peering out at us as we glided by through
some channel near the shore. Hour after hour
thus passed by, but at length, towards evening,
the belt of mangrove bushes diminished in thick.
ness, and other trees of more attractive appearance
began to take their place, and openings appeared
with a few huts scattered about on the slopes of
gently rising ground.
As evening was closing in we caught sight, in
the far distance, of a congregation of huts, and the
pilot gave the captain the welcome information,
that he might shorten sail, and prepare to come to
an anchor. By the time we had made everything
snug darkness closed down upon us. We could
just see a few lights twinkling ahead, while on
BONNY RIVER. 37
either side, across the stream, appeared the dark
outline of the tall trees which clothed the river's
banks. Silence reigned around us, with the excep-
tion of the ripple of the water against the vessel's
bows; but from afar off came a confused mixture
of sounds, which appeared like the croaking of
frogs, the chirruping of crickets, and other creeping
and flying things, the screeching and chattering of
monkeys, mingled with the voices of human beings
making merry round their huts.. The air was
damp and heavy and hot; at the same time I felt
that I should like to be seated by a roaring drying
We kept a watch on deck as it we were at sea,
with arms ready for use, for though our pilot had
assured us 'that all good people here,' Captain
Willis was too well acquainted, both with the
character of the natives, and the sort of gentry who
might possibly be in the river waiting for a cargo
of slaves, to put himself in their power.
I tumbled and tossed about during the night in
my berth, unable to sleep, both on account of the
Seat, and, strange to say, of the perfect quiet which
prevailed. Next morning a large canoe was seen
coming off from the shore, in which was seated a
38 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
white headed old negro in a glazed cocked hat, a
red hunting coat on his shoulders, a flannel petticoat
round his waist, and a pair of worsted slippers on
his feet. The pilot, who had remained on board,
notified to the captain, with great formality, that
he was King Dingo, coming to receive his dash or
payment for allowing us to trade with his people.
His majesty was received with due ceremony, and
conducted into the cabin, when, as soon as he was
seated, notwithstanding the early hour of the day,
he signified that it was his royal pleasure to be
presented with a bottle of rum. Having taken two
or three glasses, which seemed to have no other
effect on him than sharpening his wits, he handed
it to one of his attendants, and then applied himself
to the breakfast, which had just been placed on the
table, and I dare not say how many cups of coffee,
sweetened to the brim with sugar, he swallowed in
rapid succession. Having received half a dozen
muskets, as many kegs of powder, brass pans, wash
basins, plates, gunflints, and various cotton articles,
as his accustomed dash, and requested a dozen
bottles of rum in addition, he took his departure,
promising to come again and do a little trade on
his own account.
TRADERS ON THE BONNY RIVER. 39
The subjects of the sable potentate were now
allowed to come on board, and several canoes were
seen approaching us from different parts of the
shore. One brought a tusk of ivory, others jars of
palm oil, several had baskets of India-rubber, or
gum-elastic, as it is called. Besides these articles,
they had ebony, bees'-wax, tortoise-shell, gold-
dust, copper-ore, ground nuts, and others to dis-
We soon found that the business of trading
with these black merchants was not carried on at
the rate we should have desired.
The trader, having hoisted his goods out of his
canoe, would place them on deck, and seat himself
before them, looking as unconcerned as if he had
not the slightest wish to part with them. Some
would wait till the captain came forward and made
an offer; others would ask a price ten times the
known value of the article, extolling its excellence,
hinting that very little more was likely to be
brought down the river for a long time to come,
and that several other traders were soon expected.
The captain would then walk away, advising the
owner to keep it till he could obtain the price he
asked. The trader would sit still till the captain
40 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
again came near him, then ask a somewhat lower
price. On this being refused he would perhaps
make a movement as if about to return to his
canoe, without having the slightest intention of so
doing; and so the game would go on till the
captain would offer the former price for the article,
when, perhaps, the trader would sit on, time being
of no consequence to him, in the hopes that he
might still receive a larger amount of goods. On
other occasions the captain had to commence bar-
gaining, when he invariably offered considerably
below the true mark, when the trader as invariably
asked something greatly above it. The captain
would then walk aft, and, perhaps, come back and
talk about the other ports he intended to visit,
where the natives were more reasonable in their
demands. Captain Willis was too cool a hand to
show any impatience, and he thus generally made
very fair bargains, always being ready to give a
just value for the articles he wished to purchase.
As each jar of oil, each tooth or box of gold-dust,
or basket of India-rubber, could alone be procured
by this process, some idea may be formed of the
time occupied every day in trading.
Palm oil was, however, the chief article we
FEVER ON BOARD. 41
were in search of; but two weeks passed by, and
still a considerable number of our casks remained
unfilled. Fever too had broken out on board.
Three of our men were down with it, and day after
day others were added to the number. The two
first seized died, and we took them on shore to be
buried. This had a depressing effect on the rest.
When we returned on board we found that a
third was nearly at his last gasp. Poor fellow,
the look of despair and horror on his countenance
I can never forget. Harry,' he exclaimed, seiz-
ing my hand as I went to him with a cup of cool-
ing drink, I am not fit to die, can no one do any
thing for me ? I dare not die, can't some of those
black fellows on shore try to bring me through-
they ought to know how to man handle this
I am afraid that they are but bad doctors, Bob,'
I answered, 'however, take this cooling stuff it
may perhaps do you good.' A river of it wont
cool the burning within me,' he gasped out. 'Oh
Harry, and if I die now, that burning will last for
ever and ever. I would give all my wages, and
ten times as much, for a few days of life. Harry,
I once was taught to say my prayers, but I have
42 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
not said them for long years, and curses, oaths,
and foul language have come out of my lips in-
stead. I want to have time to pray, and to recol-
lect what I was taught as a boy.' I tried to cheer
him up, as I called it, but alas, I too had forgotten
to say my prayers, and had been living without
God in the world, and though I did not curse and
swear, my heart was capable of doing that and
many other things that were bad, and so I could
offer the poor fellow no real consolation. I per-
suaded him to drink the contents of the cup; but
I saw as I put it to his lips that he could with
difficulty get the liquid down his throat.
You have had a hard life of it Bob, and per-
haps God will take that into consideration,' I said,
making use of one of the false notions Satan sug-
gests to the mind of seamen as well as to others.
Bob knew it to be false.
That won't undo all the bad things I have
been guilty of; it won't unsay all the blasphemies
and obscene words which have flowed from my
lips,' he gasped out.
'Then try to pray as you used to do,' I said,
'I will try and pray with you, but 1 am a bad
hand at that I am afraid.'
DEATH OF A SEAMAN. 43
'Oh, I can't pray now, it's too late! too late !'
he exclaimed in a low despairing voice, as he
sank back on his pillow, turning his fast glazing
eye away from me. He had been delirious for
some time before then, but his senses had lately
been restored. He seemed instinctively to feel
that I could offer him none of the consolation he
While I was still standing by the side of his
bunk, one of the mates came forward to see how
the sick were getting on. He spoke a few words to
try and comfort the dying man. They had no more
effect than mine, he only groaned out, 'It's too
late too late too late !' His voice rapidly grew
weaker-there was a slight convulsive struggle;
the mate lifted his hand, it fell down by his side.
'Poor Bob has gone,' he said, there will be
more following before long, I fear. If I was the
captain I would get out of this river without wait-
ing for a full cargo, or we shall not have hands
enough left to take the vessel home.'
This scene made a deep impression on me; too
late! too late! continued sounding in my ears.
What if I were to be brought to utter the same ex-
pression ? Where was poor Bob now ? I tried not to
44 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
think of the matter, but still those fearful words
'too late' would come back to me; then I tried to
persuade myself that I was young and strong, and
as I had led a very different sort of life to most of
the men, I was more likely than any one to escape
the gripe of the fever.
We had another trip on shore to bury poor
Bob. The captain seemed sorry for him. 'He
was a man of better education than his messmates,
though, to be sure, he had been a wild chap,
he observed to me. Bob's conscience had been
awakened; that of the others remained hardened
or fast asleep, and they died as they had lived,
foul, unwashed, unfit to enter a pure and holy
I am drawing a sad and painful picture, but it
is a true one. I did not then understand how full
of horror it was, though I thought it very sad to
lose so many of our crew.
We continued to carry on trade as before, and
the captain sent messengers urging the natives
to hasten in bringing palm oil on board, but they
showed no inclination to hurry themselves; and
as to quitting the river till he had a full cargo on
board, he had no intention of doing that.
'BLACK JACK.' 45
Hitherto the officers had escaped; but one
morning the second mate reported that the first
mate was unable to leave his berth, though he
believed that it was nothing particular; but Dick
Radford, who was considered to be the strongest
man on board, when he had tried to get up that
morning, had been unable to rise. The captain
sent me forward to see him.
Some hours must have passed since he was
attacked. He was fearfully changed, but still
Black Jack has got hold of me at last, Harry,
but I'll grapple with him pretty tightly before I let
him get the victory, do you see,' he observed, when
I told him that the captain had sent me to see him.
I'm obliged to him, but if he wishes to give me a
longer spell of life, and to save the others on board,
he will put to sea without loss of time, while the
land breeze lasts. A few mouthfuls of sea air
would set me up in a trice. If we don't get that
there will be more of us down with fever before
The boatswain had scarcely said this when he
began to rave and tumble and toss about in his
berth, and I had to call two of the men to assist
46 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
me in keeping him quiet. When I got back to the
cabin, 1 told the captain what Radforth had said.
' Oh, that's only the poor fellow's raving. It will
never do to leave the river without our cargo, for
if we do some other trader will sure to be in directly
afterwards and take advantage of what has been
collected for us. However, I have had notice that
lots of oil will be brought on board in a few days,
and when we get that, we will put to sea even
though we are not quite full.'
The captain shortly afterwards paid Radforth a
visit; but the boatswain was raving at the time, and
never again spoke while in his senses. The follow-
ing day we carried him to his grave on shore. The
death of one who was looked upon as the most
seasoned and strongest man, had, as may be sup-
posed, a most depressing effect among the crew. It
was soon also evident that the first mate was ill
with the fever, and indeed more than half our
number were now down with it.
Still the captain could not bring himself to quit the
river. In a few days very possibly we shall have
a full cargo Harry,' he. said to me. In the mean-
time, I daresay, the rest will hold out. Radforth
overworked himself, or he would not have caught
SICKNESS CONTINUES. 47
the fever. Take care Harry you don't expose your-
self to the sun, and you will keep all to rights my
boy,-I am very careful about that-though I am
so well seasoned that nothing is likely to hurt
'I wish we were out of the river, Captain Willis,'
I could not help replying. The mates and the men
are always talking about it, and they say the
season is unusually sickly or this would not have
'They must mind their own business, and stay
by the ship, wherever I choose to take her,' he ex
claimed, in an angry tone, and I saw that I should
have acted more wisely in not making the obser-
vation I had just let fall. Still, to do him justice,
Captain Willis was as kind and attentive as he
possibly could be to the sick men; he constantly
visited the first mate, and treated him as if he had
been a brother.
All this time not a word about religion was
spoken on board; I had, it is true, a Bible in my
chest, put there by my sisters, but I had for-
gotten all about it, and there was not another in
Except in the instance I have mentioned, and in
48 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
one or two others, not even the sick men seemed
concerned about their souls. The only consolation
which those in health could offer to them, was the
hope that they might recover. Cheer up Dick,' or,
:cheer up Tom, you'll struggle through it, never
say die-you will be right again before long old
boy,' and such like expressions were uttered over
and over again, often to those at their last gasp,
and so the poor fellows went out of the world be-
lieving that they were going to recover and enjoy
once more the base pursuits and unholy pleasures
in which their souls' delighted. Alas, I have often
though what a fearful waking up there must have
been of those I had thus seen taking their de-
parture from this world, yet the rest of us remained
as hardened, and in most cases as fearless, of con-
sequences as before.
The death of the first mate, which very soon
occurred, made the second mate, I perceived, some-
what more anxious than before about himself. The
first mate had been a strong healthy man, and had
often before been out on the coast, while the se-
cond mate was always rather sickly, and this was
his first visit to the shores of Africa. Whether or
not his fears had an effect upon him, I cannot say,
FEARS OF THE CREW. 49
but he began to look very ill, and became every day
more anxious about himself. The captain tried to
arouse him, telling him that we should be at sea
enjoying the fresh breeze in a few days, and that
he must hold out till then. Still it is of no use
Harry,' he said to me, as I was walking the deck
with him one evening, trying to get a few mouth-
fulls of air. 'I know I shall never leave this
horrible place alive unless the captain would give the
order at once to trip the anchor, then perhaps the
thought of being free of it would set me up again.'
I told the captain when I went into the cabin
what the poor mate had said, for I really thought
our going away might be the means of saving his
life, as well as that of others aboard. He took what
I said in very good part, but was as obstinately
bent in remaining as before. 'Those are all fancies,
Harry,' he answered. He has taken it into his
head that he is to die, and that is as likely to kill
him as the fever itself.'
But then he fancies that he would get well if
we were at sea,' I replied. 'Perhaps that really
would set him up again.'
'Well, well, just tell him that you heard me
say I hoped to get away in two or three days,
50 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
perhaps that will put him to rights,' answered the
captain, laughing. Now, Harry, don't let me hear
any more of this sort of thing; I have bother
enough with these black traders without having to
listen to the fancies of my own people.'
I told the mate what the captain had said. 'If
the vessel does get away at the time he mentioned,
I hope that I may be able to help in taking her to
sea, if not, mark my words Harry, there will be a
good many more of us down with the fever.' He
spoke too truly. The traders continued to arrive
but slowly, as before, with their oil. The captain
waited and waited like an angler anxious to catch
more fish. Before the week was over the second
mate was dead, and we had only two men fit for
duty on board.
More victims to the fever.-The captain himself attacked.-We
ship some Krumen and other blacks, among whom is a
Christian, Paul Balingo.-Paul instructs the captain and
me in the truth.-Captain Willis gets somewhat better, and
we prepare for sea.
HE ship was almost full, and we had a
few more empty casks, and were ex-
pecting some traders on board during
the day with oil which would fill them up. When
I turned out of my berth, just as morning broke, I
found the captain seated in his cabin, with his
head resting on his hands. He felt a little ill, he
acknowledged, but said he was sure it was nothing.
'We will get under weigh at daylight to-morrow
morning, when the tide makes down, and I shall
soon be all to rights,' he observed. Still, I could
not help remarking that he looked pale, and moved
with difficulty. I have agreed to ship half-a-
52 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
dozen Krumen, and two or three other black sea-
men, who are knocking about here,' he added.
' This fever has made us terribly short-handed;
but I hope the fellows who are sick will come
round when we are in blue water again. Harry,
go forward and see how they are getting on, and
send Tom Raven to me.' Raven was one of the
two men who had hitherto escaped the fever, and
being a good seaman, had been promoted to the
rank of mate.
I went on deck, but saw neither him nor Grin-
ham, the other man. I made my way forward to
where the crew were berthed, under the topgallant
forecastle, expecting to find them there. Grinham
was in his berth; he and two other poor fellows
were groaning and tossing with fever, but the rest
were perfectly quiet. I thought they were asleep.
What was my horror, on looking into their berths,
to find that their sleep was that of death !
Water, water,' murmured Grinham. I ran and
fetched some, and as I gave it to him I asked
where Raven was. I don't know,' he answered,
somewhat revived by the cool draught. It's his
watch on deck. He said he felt a little ill when he
FEVER STRICKEN SHIP. 53
Having done what I could for the other man,
I went to look for Raven. I found him in the se-
cond mate's berth. He too was ill with fever, and
seemed to have forgotten that he ought to have
been on deck, and that the vessel had been left
without anyone to look out. I told him that the
captain had resolved to put to sea the next day.
' Had he gone a week ago the lives of some of
us might have been saved, but it is too late now,'
he answered with a groan.
Sick at heart, after attending to him, I
returned to the cabin, to make my report to the
'What, all! everyone of them sick!' he ex-
claimed, sighing deeply. 'Then God have mercy
upon us. You must not fall ill, Harry.
'Not if I can help it, sir,' I replied.
'I must keep up,' he said, and if I can get
these Krumen on board we will still put to sea.
They are trustworthy fellows, and, Harry, you
must be my mate. You are somewhat young; but
you have got a head on your shoulders. You must
keep your wits alive.
'I'll do my best, sir,' answered, feeling not a
little proud of the rank to which I thus was raised.
54 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
I had, indeed, for some time past been performing
the duties of mate, supercargo, steward, and not
unfreqnently, helping the black cook, Sambo, and,
indeed, lending a hand to everything which required
to be done. Now Sambo and I were literally the
only two people capable of working on board.
The captain himself I feared greatly had got the
fever, notwithstanding his assertions to the con-
trary. It was surprising that I, the youngest in
the ship, and least inured to the climate, should
have escaped. I had always been very healthy;
had never done anything to hurt my constitution,
and had followed the captain's advice in keeping
out of the sun, and was inclined to feel somewhat
self-satisfied on that account-not considering that
it was owing to God's mercy and loving-kindness
that I had been preserved.
The captain said he would go and see Raven;
but having got up, after moving a few paces, he
sat down again with a groan, and a deadly palour
came over his countenance. He felt that he, too,
had got the fever. I advised him to lie down
again and rest, but to that he would not consent.
He was determined to carry on the trade as usual
during the day, and to get ready for sea as soon
BLACK SAILORS. 55
as the black seamen, whom he expected every hour
on board, arrived. He sent me up frequently to
see whether they were coming off, and& now, when
too late, he seemed as anxious as anyone had been
to get the vessel out of the river.
I was thankful when at length I found two
canoes alongside with the expected blacks. The
Krumen were fine athletic fellows, neatly dressed
in shirts and trousers, and having all served on
board men-of-war or in merchant vessels, spoke a
little English. They had been hired by the cap-
tain's agent on shore; and as their wages had been
settled, and they knew the duties they were re-
quired to perform, they went to work at once under
their head man, who had been appointed to act as
boatswain, and seemed inclined to be orderly and
obedient. Besides the Krumen there were, as I
have before said, several other black seamen en-
gaged, who had been mostly recaptured slaves,
and had afterwards entered on board men-of-war
or merchant vessels touching at Sierra Leone. I
was struck with the manner of one of them, a fine
active man, as I, now the only representative
of the Chieftain's' officers and crew, stood near
the gangway to receive them. Touching his hat
56 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
in a respectful manner, he asked after Captain
Willis. He know me, Paul Balingo. I sail once
with him some time ago. He kind man, so I come
again.' I told him that the captain was rather
unwell. He had charged me not to let the blacks
fancy that he had the fever. I added, that I
was sure he would be glad to see him in the
'I go when you tell I come on board,' answered
Paul. Sorry to hear him ill.'
'Oh, he says its nothing,' I observed, and as
soon as the tide serves we are to go down the
river, and put to sea.'
I made this remark in obedience to the cap-
tain's instructions. I now gave directions to the
black boatswain to get the cargo stowed without
The captain was much pleased to hear that
Paul Balingo had joined the vessel, and said he
would see him at once. 'I remember him well,'
he observed, 'a good steady fellow.'
I told Paul to come down, and he received a
friendly welcome. I then reminded the captain
that there was another duty to be performed. It
was to bury the men who had died during the
PAUL BALINGO. 57
night. This was beyond the strength of those
who still survived.
'I see to it, sir,' said Paul.
'The sooner the better then,' observed the
captain. 'And when you return we will trip
the anchor, if there is wind enough to help us
Four bodies were lowered into the canoe, and
Paul and some of his companions took them on
shore. He had fastened them up in canvas, for
there was no time to make coffins; indeed, the
carpenter was among them. I should like to have
accompanied him to pay the last mark of respect
I could to the poor fellows, but there were too
many duties to be performed on board to allow of
this. I watched them, however, through the glass
as they stood on the beach, which formed our
burial place. To my surprise, after the graves
were dug, I observed Paul Balingo take off his hat
-his companions imitating his example-when he
seemed to be lifting up his hands in prayer. Then
he addressed a number of natives who were stand-
ing round, and the bodies were carefully lowered
into the graves, and covered up.
When he returned on board I told him that the
58 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
captain was very much obliged to him for what he
had done. 'And I saw too,' I observed, 'that
you were praying for the poor fellows.'
'No, massa; I no pray for dem,' he answered.
'If when dey died dey loved Jesus Christ, den
dey no want my prayers; if dey no love Him, den
He no love dem. No, massa, me pray for dose
that stand round, and for dose still alive. I pray
dat God's Holy Spirit would come into der hearts,
and told dem to love Jesus, and dat He died for
sinners. I prayed dat dey would hear His Word,
and love Him and serve Him. Den I tell dem that
Jesus Christ came down on earth, and become
man, and be obedient to God, and do all dat good
child should do who lub him parents, and dat He
pure and holy like lamb widout spot or blemish, and.
dat He died on de cross, and be punished instead of
wicked man, and dat God den say dat one who
not deserve punishment being punished He will
forgive all dose His dear Son present to Him, who
lub Him and serve Him. Den I tell dem dat
Jesus Christ died for dem, and dat if dey trust to
Him He put away all dere sins, and God not look
at der sins any more. Den I turn de matter about,
and I say dat you and all men are poor and naked
PAUL BALINGO. 59
and covered with dirt and sores, and not fit to go
into de presence of pure and holy God; but if you
love Christ and trust dat He died and was punished
instead of you, den He put on you a white robe,
cover you wid His righteousness, and den where,
you go to God He longer see that you are poor and
naked, but He only see the white robe, and He
say, Now you may come into dis pure and bright
heaven, and live wid Me.' Then once more I say
again, look here, God put you into this world, and
you owe God everything. You ought to obey Him
and serve Him, and give Him all your strength
and health, and to try and please Him in all things
every moment of your life. Next I remind dem
dat none of us do it, so we owe God a debt, and
the longer we live the greater is the debt. It is
not den all the things that we do dat God reckon,
but the many things that we ought to do and
which we leave undone. We receive all the good
things from God, and we give Him nothing in
return. Then we have no means to pay this debt,
so Jesus Christ, because He love us, say He pay
it, and God say He accept His payment and set us
free. Den I say to the people, Do you believe dis?
If you do, and try to love God, and serve God.
60 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
and do what Jesus Christ did when He was on
earth, den you have living faith, and you are free,
and God no say longer that you owe Him debt,
but He call you His dear children, and when you
leave this world He receive you in heaven.'
Why, Paul,' I exclaimed, after listening with
astonishment to what he had said, 'I little ex-
pected to hear such things come out of a --
(I was going to say negroe's mouth, but changed
it to) 'African sailor's mouth. You ought to be
Every Christian man ought to be a mission-
ary,' he answered. If he love the Lord Jesus,
and know that the Lord Jesus love him, then he
ought to tell that love to others, and if he knows
the value of his own soul then he values the souls
of others, and try to win those souls for Christ.
The truth is, massa, I do want to be missionary,
and I seek to go to England to learn more. I
there learn to preach the gospel, and when I come
back I carry the glad tidings of salvation to my
I was very much struck with Paul's earnest-
ness and zeal, though at that time I could scarcely
comprehend all he said-I myself knew nothing
PAUL BALINGO. 61
experimentally of the great love of Jesus of which
he spoke. The poor black Christian was far
more enlightened than I was. Still I felt a satis-
faction at having him on board. He at once
showed that he was not a mere theoretical Chris-
tian, for as soon as his duty on board the ship
was over, he devoted himself to attending on the
sick men. All the hours he could snatch from
sleep he spent by the side of their bunks, urging
them to trust to Jesus, and to repent of their sins
while yet there was time.
The poor second mate grew worse and worse.
Paul visited him, and he heard from the lips of the
black seaman, perhaps for the first time, the full
and free message of salvation; and, I believe, from
what Paul told me, and from the remarks the
mate made to me before he died, that he had
fully accepted God's gracious offer of reconcilia-
I am going ahead though too fast in my nar-
rative. Before the morning came that we were to
have left our anchorage Captain Willis himself was
laid prostrate with the fever, and having now no
one on board to navigate the vessel, we could not
venture to sea. I would have done my best to
62 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
find our way to Sierra Leone, but the black boat-
swain refused to leave the harbour without an
officer capable of taking charge of the brigantine.
We were compelled, therefore, to wait till Captain
Willis should recover sufficiently, or till the
arrival of another English vessel which could
spare one of her mates to take charge of the
Before many days were over Captain Willis,
and Sambo, the black cook, and I, were the only
persons of those who had come into the river, still
alive on board. Had the Krumen been badly dis-
posed, they might, without difficulty, have taken
possession of the vessel, and made off with her
rich cargo; but they appeared, as far I could
judge, to intend to act faithfully, and perform their
various duties as well as if the captain's eye had
been constantly upon them. About Paul I had no
doubt. Little as I knew of vital religion myself,
I was sure that he was a true man, and that he
acted according to his professions. Nothing could
exceed his attention to the captain; he or I were
constantly at his bedside; and Paul showed con-
siderable skill in treating the disease. I believe
that it was mainly owing to him, through God's
CAPTAIN WILLIS AND PAUL BALINGO. 63
mercy, that the captain did not succumb to it, as
the rest of the crew had done.
'Paul,' said the captain one morning, when he
felt himself getting a little better, I owe you my
life, I will try not to forget you.'
'Oh, no, no captain, poor fellow like me not
able to do you good; give God de praise,' he
answered solemnly, looking upwards. Oh, if
you did but know how God loves you, how He
takes care of you, and gives you all the good
things of life, and saves you from danger, and
wishes you to come and live with Him, and be
happy for ever and ever, you would try to love
Him and serve Him, and obey Him in all
'I don't think that God can care for one who
has cared so little for Him,' answered the captain.
'I don't mean to say that I call myself a bad man,
or that I have many great sins on my conscience,
and so, I suppose, if I died He would not shut me
out of heaven altogether.'
'Captain,' said Paul, fixing his eyes steadily on
him, 'the debil told you dat; he a liar from the
beginning. God says, "There is none that doeth
good,no not one," "The soul that sinneth shall surely
64 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
die." What does dat mean ? Not, surely, that if
you sinner He let you get into heaven. I ask you,
captain, whether you are a sinner, or whether you
pure and holy, and trust to Christ, and love Christ,
and fit to go and live for ever and ever in the pure
and holy heaven with Him ? Understand, I do
not ask whether you are a great sinner in your own
sight, but whether you have ever committed any
sins; and remember, God says, "the soul that
sinneth," not only the soul that is a great sin-
The captain looked much annoyed. 'Yes, of
course, I have committed some sins; but I don't
see why God has any right to charge them against
God made this world, and all things that are
therein. God rules this world, and God made His
laws, and He says they are just and right, and
God says, The soul that sinneth shall surely
die,"' answered Paul, solemnly. Captain under-
stand, it is not I who say that. God says it. But
though God is a God of justice He is full of love
and mercy, and He has therefore formed a plan
for the benefit of sinning men, by which man's
sins can be washed away, by which His justice
PAUL INSTRUCTS CAPTAIN WILLIS. 65
will be satisfied, His love and mercy shown.
He has allowed another to be punished in-
stead of the sinner,' Paul continued, explaining
to the captain God's plan of salvation much in
the same terms as he had already explained it to
I never understood that matter before,' said
the captain. But still I do not see how God can
expect us to be as good as you say.'
Massa Captain, I do not say dat God expect
us to be good; but still He has a right to demand
that we should be good. He made man pure and
holy and upright, and He gave him free will to act
as he chose; but man disobeyed God and went
away from Him, and forgot Him, and so God has
the right to punish man. But den God is full of
love and mercy, and He does not want to punish
him, but wants him to come back to Him, and so
lie has sent His message to man to tell him how
he may do that. Now as man cannot be good and
pure and holy and do nothing but good, but, on the
contrary, does much harm, he must either accept
God's plan of salvation, or be punished. You
have heard, captain, about the thief on the cross,
even when he was dying he put faith in Jesus, and
66 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
Jesus told him that he should be that night with
Him in paradise. So you see, captain, there is
hope for the sinner, even at the last, and this
shows that God does not expect us to do anything
good in order to be saved, but only just to put
faith in the sacrifice of His dear Son-that is to
say, to believe that He was punished instead of
us. But then remember, captain, that only one
thief was saved; and that shows to us that we
must not put off turning to Jesus to the last, and,
therefore, I pray you, captain, go to Him at
once; trust to Him now, and you will not feel
unhappy; and if this fever takes you away, as
it has taken away so many people on board this
ship, you will hab no fear of death, for you will
go to live with Jesus, and be happy with Him for
ever and ever.'
Captain Willis groaned. 'I'll pray wid you,
captain,' said Paul, and he knelt down by the side
of the bed, and lifted up his voice in prayer, and
earnestly besought God to send His Holy Spirit to
soften the captain's heart, and to enlighten his
I had listened attentively to all that Paul had
said, and I prayed that the blessing which he asked
THE CAPTAIN RECOVERS. 67
for the captain might descend on me also; for I had
begun to discover that my heart was very hard,
and prone to evil, and that I had no love for Jesus,
no desire to obey His law. Thus the truths of the
gospel, as they fell from the lips of the black sailor,
first came home to my heart.
Several days passed by-the 'Chieftain' was
got ready for sea, and the captain considered him-
self well enough to take the command.
We at length get out of the river into the open sea, but a calm
comes on, and the Captain again becomes very ill.-No one
on board understanding navigation, I doubt whether I shall
find my way to Sierra Leone.-The Captain does not be-
lieve that he is in danger.--Paul pleads with him about the
safety of his soul.-A fire breaks out in the hold.-We in
vain endeavour to extinguish it.-The rest of the crew de-
sert us.-Paul and I endeavour to save the Captain, but
driven from the cabin by the flames leap overboard and
reach a small boat, which we right and get into.-See a
schooner approaching us.
T day-break the pilot came on board, the
sails were loosed, the anchor hove up,
and the 'Chieftain,' with a hot land
breeze, which still blew strong, glided down the
river. Captain Willis, who had been brought from
his cabin by Paul and Sambo, sat propped up with
pillows on the deck. It was melancholy to see
him, his once strong frame reduced to a mere
THE CHIEFTAIN' LEAVES THE RIVER. 69
skeleton, his countenance pale and haggard, and
his strong voice now sounding weak and hollow,
and scarcely to be heard by those to whom he
issued his orders. I stood by him to repeat them.
I saw him cast an eye towards the spot which con-
tained the graves of our shipmates, and I could
divine his thoughts. Perhaps he might have re-
flected that had he not been so greedy of gain,
many of them might be still alive, while he him-
self might be enjoying health and strength.
The mangrove covered shores looked even more
sombre and monotonous than before, in the grey
light of morning, as we glided down between them.
The air was hot and oppressive, and full of pes-
tilence, and it seemed a wonder to me that I should
have lived so many weeks while breathing such an
atmosphere. I dreaded lest the breeze should fail
us, and we should be compelled to spend another
night under its influence; but the wind held, the
tide was in our favour, and we had nearly reached
the mouth of the river before the wind dropped,
and we had to bring up. A few minutes after-
wards the fresh sea breeze came rushing in, pure
and sweet, and comparatively cool. With what
delight did I gulp it down. I quickly felt like
70 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
another creature. The captain also seemed to re-
vive rapidly under its influence, and I began to
hope that he would ultimately recover.
I eagerly watched the sparkling lines of white
foam as the ocean waves, meeting the ebbing cur-
rent of the river, broke across the bar. How I
longed for the evening, when the land breeze would
again fill our sails, and carry us out into the open
bounding ocean. It seemed to me that then all
difficulty would be passed, and we should only have
to shape our course for England, and steer on till
we should reach it.
The captain, unwilling again to go below, sat all
day on deck under an awning, ready for the moment
when we might venture to weigh anchor. It came
at last. Just before sunset the hot wind began to
blow. Although the bar still wore a threatening
aspect, the pilot declared that, without fear, we
might venture over it.
Not a moment was lost, on we stood towards
it. In a short time foaming breakers were hissing
and bubbling around us. Once more I felt the
vessel rising to the heaving wave, and welcomed
the showers of spray which flew over her deck.
On she sped, but very slowly; now she sank
THE CAPTAIN HAS A RELAPSE. 71
downwards, and it seemed as if the next roller
would send her back on the bar. It glided under
her, however, and then she appeared floating,
as it were, almost at rest on its summit, and then
downwards she slid, slowly making her onward
In a few minutes more we were in the free open
ocean, and the dark sombre river, with its gloomy
associations, was far astern. Every inch of canvas
the vessel could carry was set, that we might get
a good offing before nightfall, when a calm was to
I never wish to see that place again,' I could
not help exclaiming.
SDon't say that, Harry,' answered the captain.
'We may hope to have better luck the next time.
If you ever want to grow rich you must run some
risk. We have had an unusually sickly season,
which may .not again occur; and if the owners
ask me to go back, I am not the man to refuse
to do so, and I should look to you to go along with
Can it be possible, I thought, that a man, after
running so fearful a risk, would willingly again
expose himself to the same danger, merely for the
72 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
sake of rapidly gaining wealth? I forgot at the
moment that people not only hazard their health
but their souls, for that object. Had I remembered
the fact, I should not have been surprised at what
the captain had said.
We had got out of sight of land, but the wind
was very light, and we made little progress. In a
short time it fell calm altogether, and the vessel
lay like a log on the water. The heat, too, was
very great, and the captain appeared to suffer from
it. It was evident, indeed, that he was falling
rapidly back, and he had now no strength to come
on deck. I was much alarmed onhis account, for I
thought it too likely that, after apparently being so
near recovery, he would die. I was anxious also
on our own account, for knowing so little as I
did about navigation, I could not tell how I should
take the vessel into port. I got out a chart and
studied it, and marked the spot where I believed
we then were. I then drew a line from it to Sierra
Leone, the place for which I intended to steer. It
lay about north-west of us, and I hoped that if I
could sight the land to the southward I might coast
along till I came to it. There were, however, I
knew, strong currents running, which might take
HARRY AND THE CAPTAIN. 73
us out of our course, and we might have contrary
winds, which would further increase the difficulty.
I thought that very likely some of the blacks knew
more about the matter than I did, but I did not like
to confess my apprehensions to them lest they might
be tempted to play some trick, and perhaps run
away with the vessel altogether.
The only person in whom I could confide was
Paul. I knew that I could trust him thoroughly,
but then I suspected that he was not a better navi-
gator than I was, as he had only served on board a
man-of-war and merchantmen, when he would not
have been able to learn anything about the matter.
The captain caught sight of me through the
open door of his berth, as I was poring over the
chart spread out on the table of the main cabin.
'What are you about, Harry ?' he asked.
I told him that I was looking at the chart to
see what course we ought to steer.
Don't trouble yourself about that, lad,' he
answered; I shall be well as soon as the breeze
comes. It's this hot calm keeps me down. If the
wind had continued, I should have been myself
again by this time, though I have had a narrow
squeak for it I'll allow.'
74 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
His face looked so pale and haggard, his eyes
so sunken, his voice so weak and trembling, that I
could not help fearing that he was mistaken. I
was unwilling to alarm him, but it was so import-
ant that I should know how to act in case of his
death, that I could not help saying,-' But suppose
anything was to happen to you, sir, what should
you advise me to do '
I do not intend that anything shall happen to
me, Harry,' he answered, evidently annoyed at my
remark. After having got this valuable cargo on
board we must not think of such a thing. Why
Harry, in all my voyages I have never collected
half so rich a freight.'
I earnestly hope that you may recover your
health, sir,' I said. 'I mentioned the subject
simply in case of accidents, 'and I did not suppose
that you would be offended.'
Of course I am not, Harry,' he replied. You
don't suppose that I am a coward and afraid to die;
and if it was not for the sake of the vessel and her
freight, I should not care, I fancy, so much about
the matter; but it would never do now to knock
under-so don't, Harry, put those gloomy thoughts
again into my head.'
CAPTAIN WILLIS. 75
On going on deck I told Paul my fears about
the captain. Yes, he very bad,' he said; but I
more sorry about him soul. He think more of the
cargo, which may go to the bottom in one moment,
than of his soul, which live for ever and ever. 0
Massa Harry, we must speak again to him about
dat. We will plead with him with tears in our
eyes, that he think about his soul, and we will tell
him not to trouble about the vessel.'
Without loss of time we went to the captain.
At first he listened somewhat coldly to what Paul
said, but he did not grow angry. I thank you for
interesting yourself about me,' he said at last.
'You may be right, and if you will pray with me I
will try to join you.'
Paul and I thereon knelt down, as we had done
before, and Paul, in very plain language, earnestly
besought God to send His Holy Spirit to soften
the captain's heart, to show him that he was a lost
sinner, and had need of a Saviour-to enlighten his
mind, and to enable him to take hold of Christ as
the only way whereby he could be saved.
The captain remained for a long time afterwards
silent. At length he put out his hand and grasped
Paul's. I see it now,' he said, sighing deeply.
76 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
'I have been, and still am, a great sinner. Oh.
that I knew better how I could be saved.'
'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved,' said Paul, in a firm voice. That
is God's loving message. He sends no other; and,
captain, if all the ministers of your country were to
come to you, they could bring you no other. If
you do believe on Jesus, and are to die this very
day, He says to you just what He said when
hanging on the cross on Calvary to the dying thief,
" This night thou shalt be with me in paradise."'
The captain was greatly moved, and I heard
him, between his sobs, exclaiming, Lord, I believe,
help Thou my unbelief.'
Oh how necessary is that prayer! and I am
sure it is one which is always answered, when the
sinner is truly desirous of turning from his sins,
and is seeking, by every means in his power, to
strengthen his belief.
I had got out my Bible several days before,
and I now read it constantly to the captain, as well
as to myself. Whenever I came to a passage
which seemed to meet his case, he desired me to
read it over and over again. Notwithstanding this,
the desire was strong within him to recover, for the
sake of carrying home the vessel and her rich
freight in safety. That was but natural, and I
earnestly hoped that he might be restored to health.
Instead, however, of gaining strength, he appeared
to grow weaker and weaker.
The calm had now continued for several days.
Often as I looked over the side I saw dark trian-
gular fins just rising above the surface, and mov-
ing here and there round the ship, and frequently
the whole form of the monster could be discerned
as it glided by; and when I saw its keen cruel
eyes glancing up towards me, I felt a shudder pass
through my frame, such as, according to the vulgar
notion, a person feels when it is said that some
one is walking over his grave. Occasionally, when
anything was thrown overboard, a white flash was
seen rising out of the deep, and a large pair of jaws,
armed with sharp teeth, opening, gulped it down,
and directly afterwards the creature went swim-
ming on, watching for any other dainty morsel
which might come in its way. How dreadful it
would be to fall overboard,' I thought. Calm as
the sea is, a person, with those creatures around,
would have very little chance of escaping with
78 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
Dark clouds had been gathering around, and
the wavelets began to play over the hitherto calm
ocean. Although as yet there was not much wind,
the sails were trimmed, and, by the captain's orders,
the vessel was put on a north-west course. I
concluded, consequently, that he at all events in-
tended touching at Sierra Leone, to obtain a mate
and some white hands. The wind, however, rapidly
increased, sail was taken in, and before long it was
blowing a perfect hurricane. This made the poor
captain more anxious than ever to get on deck, but
when he attempted to move he found that he had
not strength even to sit up. The wind howled
and whistled, the vessel tumbled fearfully about,
and the seas, which rose up in foaming masses,
frequently broke on board, deluging her deck.
I had gone down to the captain, who had di-
rected me to visit him every quarter of an hour to
let him know how things were going on, when, as
I entered the cabin, I discovered a strong smell of
burning, and directly afterwards I saw thin wreaths
of black smoke making their way through the for-
ward bulk-head. The dreadful conviction came
upon me that the vessel was on fire. I sprang on
deck, and calling the boatswain and Paul, I told
THE SHIP ON FIRE. 79
them my fears. That they were too well founded
we had soon fearful evidence, for the smoke, now
in thick volumes, rose above the deck, both fore
and aft. Still there might be time to extinguish
the fire. To do this it was necessary to take off
the main hatchway, and, in spite of the risk of a
sea beating over us, it was done. The instant it
was off dense masses of black smoke rose up from
below, preventing all attempts which the boatswain
and some of his men made to discover the seat of
We must take to the boats,' he exclaimed, the
ship soon all in flames, then the boats burn and we
no get away.'
Paul and I as well as Sambo tried to persuade
him and his Krumen to make more efforts to put
out the fire before they lowered the boats. With
the sea then running, indeed there was every pro-
bability that they would be swamped. We set
them the example, by rigging the pumps, and filling
buckets from alongside to heave down the hold.
Thus encouraged, they laboured for a short time,
but finding their efforts of no effect, they abandoned
the work and began to lower the boats.
The wind had happily by this time somewhat
80 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
moderated; while most of the people were engaged
in launching the long boat, Paul and I with two
other men set to work to lower one of the smaller
boats. We had not forgotten the poor captain,
and as the smoke had not yet made its way into his
cabin, I did not intend to let him know what had
occurred till the last, when I hoped, with the assist-
ance of Paul and others, to get him lowered safely
into one of the boats.
All hands were working away with frantic haste,
for we could not tell at what moment the flames
might burst forth, and render the deck untenable.
At length the long boat was launched, and the
boatswain and the Krumen leaped into her. They
called to Sambo and the rest to follow. I thought
Sambo would have remained faithful to the captain,
and have come to assist him, but at that moment a
forked flame burst up from the hold, so alarming
him, that he followed the rest. Paul and I entreated
the other men to remain by the smaller boat, while
we went into the cabin to bring up my poor friend
the captain. As I was descending the companion
hatch, I heard the boatswain shouting to the other
men, and caught sight of them running to the side.
Still I hoped that should they desert us, Paul and I
SHIP DESERTED BY CREW. 81
might be able, after placing the captain in the boat,
to lower her in safety.
'The ship on fire,' exclaimed Captain Willis,
when I told him what had occurred, Heave water
down the hold. Do all you can to save our rich
freight, that must not be lost on any account.'
I told him that we had done what we could,
and that the rest of the crew had already.deserted
The captain sank back on his pillow, I have no
strength to move,' he murmured, and you and
Paul cannot lift me.'
'We will try Massa Captain,' said Paul.
I proposed that we should lift him in his cot
through the skylight. The captain at length agreed
to this. I sprang on deck, intending to secure a
tackle to the main boom, by which we might carry
out my proposal with greater ease. What was my
horror on reaching the deck, to find that the blacks,
on quitting the falls, had neglected to secure them,
and that the boat having fallen into the water had
been washed away and capsized. The flames, too,
which were now ascending through the main-hatch-
way had caught the other boat, and already her
bows were burned through
82 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
With this appalling intelligence I returned be-
low. Escape seemed impossible. I proposed
building a raft, it was a desperate resource, and
there might not be time even to lash a few spars
together. I could not bear the thought of allow-
ing the poor captain to perish miserably without
an attempt to save him. He divined my thoughts.
'Its of no use Harry, I am prepared for death, and
resign myself to the arms of that merciful God
whom I have so lately learned to know,' he said,
with perfect calmness.
Paul, while the captain had been speaking,
seized a bright axe which hung against the bulk-
head as an ornament, intending to cut away what-
ever might assist in forming a raft, and had sprang
on deck with it. He now came down through the
skylight hatch, It is too late,' he exclaimed, 'the
flames come aft.'
He spoke too truly. At that instant dense
masses of smoke rushed into the cabin, and the
flames burst through the after bulk head. I was
scorched, by the heat and almost suffocated. So
dense was the smoke which filled the captain's berth,
that I could no longer see him.
I felt Paul grasping my hand, 'Come Harry,
HARRY AND PAUL LEAVE THE SHIP. 83
come, too late to save poor captain,' he said, drag-
ging me after him. I was almost stifled, and gasped
for breath. In another moment I should have
fallen, indeed I was so overcome with the smoke
that I did not know what was happening.
Happily however I kept firm hold of Paul,
and suddenly I found myself plunged headlong into
the water. He had hauled me through the cabin
'Now strike out Massa Harry, I see boat not
far off, we get to her,' he exclaimed. I did as he
directed me, but the thought of the horrid sharks
I had seen swimming about the vessel, almost
paralyzed my senses, and every moment I expected
to find myself seized by the cruel jaws of one of
'Cheer up Harry, cheer up,' shouted Paul;
'there is the boat, we got Friend in heaven who
look after us; never fear, we reach her soon, cheer
With such like cries he continued to animate
me. He shouted thus not only for that object,
but to keep any sharks which might be inclined
to seize us at a distance. The boat, as we got
near her, was, I saw, keel upwards.
84 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
Never fear Massa Harry,' said Paul, we soon
We at length reached the boat, and Paul show-
ing me the way, after some exertion, he going ahead
and I keeping astern, we managed to turn her
over. We then shook her from side to side till we
had hove out a considerable amount of water in her.
He told me to get in over the stern, and to begin
bailing with my hat. I did as he advised, thankful
to find myself out of the grasp of the sharks. He
kept splashing about with his heels, and con-
stantly turning round to see that none of the
monsters were near. Looking up I caught sight
of the long boat standing away from us under sail
towards the shore. She had already got too far off
to allow of our cries reaching her, or even indeed
for those on board to see us. We were thus cruelly
deserted by our shipmates. We could only hope for
their credit that they supposed we had already lost
our lives, and that there would be no use looking
At length I having partially cleared the boat,
Paul also got in, and we both began bailing away
as hard as we could with our hats. While thus
employed I saw a huge shark approaching, and I
A SAIL IN SIGHT. 85
fancied looking disappointed at our having escaped
his hungry maw. Happily the sea by this time had
gone considerably down, or our task would have
been rendered hopeless. As it was it took us a
considerable time to lessen the water in the boat,
for deep as she was, the water which leaped in often
again nearly refilled her. Still we persevered, for
we were, we knew, labouring for our lives. Mean-
time the shark, as if longing to make us its prey,
kept swimming round and round the boat. At a
short distance the brigantine was burning furiously,
and already the flames, ascending the masts, had
caught the rigging and sails.
While as I could not help doing, I turned my
gaze at her I saw far away in the horizon the white
sail of a vessel. A sail! a sail!' I shouted; we
are saved Paul, we are saved.'
Paul looked up for a minute. Yes,' he said,
'she standing this way. The burning ship bring
her down to us. She big schooner. May be good,
may be bad! though.'
A calm comes on, and we remain during the night suffering
from hunger and thirst.-Paul tells me his history, and I
find that he is Cheebo, of whom I am in search.-His joy at
hearing of his mother makes him regardless of the suffer-
ing we are enduring.-The schooner picks us up.-Paul
suspects her character.-Before long we discover that she
is a slaver, and she runs up a river to receive her cargo on
CARCELY had we caught sight of the
stranger than the wind entirely fell and
she lay totally becalmed. The smooth
sea enabled us to free the boat completely, and
now we had nothing to do but to sit down and
watch the burning brigantine.
,First one of the tall masts, completely encircled
by the flames, fell hissing into the water. The
other, after standing awhile in solitary grandeur,
formed a fiery pinnacle to the flaming hull below.
At length it followed its companion, and then the
HARRY AND PAUL IN A BOAT. 87
fire ran riot fore and aft. Sometimes wearied by
the sight, I put my hands before my eyes to shut
it out, but then I could not help thinking of the sad
fate of the poor captain, whose body lay on its
funeral pile on board.
'Ah, he happy now,' whispered Paul. He had
also been thinking of him. 'He say he love Jesus;
he trust to Jesus, no fear for him.'
Paul's words brought consolation to my heart.
Our own condition might well have made me de-
pressed, yet I felt supported by the strong faith of
my companion in a way I formerly should not have
We had no food, and not a drop of fresh water
to quench our burning thirst.
Some way off we could see pieces of burnt
spars floating about. I thought of trying to paddle
the boat up to them with our hands, hoping to find
some which might serve as oars, and enable us to
reach the schooner in the distance. I quickly,
however, gave up the attempt, for scarcely had I
put my hand into the water than I saw a huge
pair of jaws darting towards it, and I had just
time to pull it out before they made a snap close
to me, which would, in a moment, have bitten it off.
88 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
Night soon came down upon us as we thus sat
utterly helpless in our boat, while the sea around
was lighted up with the flames of the burning
vessel. Loaded as she was almost entirely with
Combustible materials, they burned with unusual
fierceness. Her whole interior, as the sides were
burned away, appeared one glowing mass, sur-
rounded by a rim of flames which fed upon her
stout timbers and planking. Suddenly there came
a loud hissing noise across the water, then a dense
vapour ascended from her midst, and in an instant
after all was darkness. The remains of the Chief-
tain' had sunk into the depths of ocean.
I am afraid our chance of being picked up by
the schooner is gone,' I observed to Paul. She
very probably, when the breeze comes, will stand
away from us.'
There is no such thing as chance, Massa
Harry,' he answered. If it is God's will she come,
if not, He find some other way to save us. Let
us pray that He do what He judge best.'
Thereon Paul, without waiting for my reply,
knelt down in the bottom of the boat and lifted up
his voice in prayer to our merciful Father in heaven,
for that protection which we more than ever felt we
PAUL RELATES HIS HISTORY TO HARRY. 89
so much needed. I imitating his example, heartily
As we sat in the boat side by side talking
together, for neither of us were inclined to sleep, I
asked him how it was that he, a common sailor,
had become so well instructed a Christian ?
Ah, Massa Harry, I knew about Jesus when
I quite a little boy; but only a few years ago I
learned to love Him and trust to Him as I now
do,' he answered. 'I'll tell you how dis was.
When I piccaniny I hab kind fader and moder, and
we live in Yourba country, in our own village, far
away. One night the enemy come and attack the
village, and carry off many men and women and
children. My fader take me up and run away into
de wood, my moder follow, but she fall, and the
slaver people catch her and take her with the rest.
My poor fader, like to break him heart, but for my
sake he live and hide away till the slaver people
gone. He tried to find my moder, but from dat
day to dis he neber hear of her more. After some
time it was told him dat a great many people go
to a place called Abeokuta, and dat dere day built
town, and let no slave-takers come near them, so
my fader go there, and we live there, and work
90 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
and grow rich, and many more people come, and
we not fear any of our enemies. All the people
were heathens, and prayed to the fetish.
After some time many people come from Sierra
Leone, who had been carried off in slavers, and
taken by the English cruisers, and landed there.
They find relations and friends in Abeokuta, and
so they stop to live with us. Some of them had
learned in Sierra Leone about God and His Son
Jesus Christ, and they tell us, and many of the
people of Abeokuta say they will no longer pray to
the fetish, but will only pray to God, and love Him
and serve Him. My fader was among these, and
now the only thing he cared for in life was to listen
to the missionaries and hear about Jesus Christ.
Only one thing made him unhappy, that was that
my poor moder should not learn the truth of the
gospel. He knew that she was carried away by
bad people, and he afraid that she become bad like
them; but he pray day and night that God in His
mercy would make known to her His great love,
as He had made it known to him.
Oh, if I could but hear that she had become a
Christian how happy I should be!' he used to say
to me over and over again. Paul,' that was the
PAUL'S HISTORY. 91
name I had got when I was christened, you must
pray for your moder wid me, and I am sure that
God will hear our prayers.'
At last my fader grew sick, and he made me
promise, if he died, that I would go to Sierra Leone
and try to find if my moder was dere. My fader
grew worse and worse, but still him very happy,
and taking my hand, he say, Paul, you must meet
me in heaven, and you must bring your moder
there, and then we all live together for ever and
ever, where there are no more slave-dealers, and no
more war, and no more cruelty,' and den him die.
After dat I set off to go to Sierra Leone, but
slave-dealer catch me on the way and take me on
board slaver, with nearly four hundred other black
fellows, and we were all put down in ship's hold,
and carried away to the coast of Brazil. But Eng-
lish man-of-war catch the slaver. The English
captain find out that I was a Christian, and so he
ask me if I like to serve on board de man-of-war,
and I say yes. The captain, good Christian man
himself, so I learn to speak English, and he taught
me to read Bible, and I learn still more about Jesus
than I did in Abeokuta. At last we got back to
Sierra Leone, and then I remember my promise to
92 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
my father, and while I on shore trying to learn
about my modern, the ship sail away, and no more
come back. I no hear about my moder, and have
no money, so I ship on board merchant vessel, and
after sailing in her along the coast for some time I
go on board another, and then I again go on board
man-of-war. At last I get back to Sierra Leone,
and fall very sick, and sent to hospital, then a good
missionary come to me and I tell him what my
fader had said, and he ask me if I think I going to
heaven, and then he tell me more about the right
way, and pray with me. And now I find Jesus as
my own Saviour and Friend, and love Him, and
wish to serve Him, and obey Him. Then the wish
came into my heart to preach the gospel to my
countrymen, but I, still poor and very ignorant,
and I thought if I could make two or three voyages
and save money, I would go to England and study
there, and be better able to declare the glad tidings
of salvation, and that the people would more wil-
lingly listen to me.
It was on the second trip I made that the vessel
I was in was wrecked not far from the mouth of
the Bonny, and I was making my way with some
of those who had escaped with me to Sierra Leone
HARRY TELLS PAUL ABOUT HIS MOTHER. 93
when Captain Willis engaged us to serve on board
While Paul was giving me this sketch of his
history an idea had forcibly taken possession of my
mind. Tell me,' I exclaimed suddenly, 'what
was your name before you were christened ? '
Cheebo,' he answered.
'And your father's name,' I inquired eagerly.
My father, him called Quamino,' he said, in a
'Oh Paul!' I cried out, seizing his hand, 'I
have indeed then good news for you. Your father's
and your prayers have been answered, for I can
assure you that your mother is a true and faithful
Christian. I have known her all my life, her name
she has told me was Ambah, and that she was torn
away from her husband and child as your mother
was from you.'
'Yes, yes, Ambah was my mother's name,
and did she tell you that her husband's name was
Quamino, and their piccaniny was called Chebo '
he asked, almost gasping for breath.
Those were the very names she gave me, and
I wrote them in my pocket book so that I might
not forget them,' I answered.
94 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
Oh, Massa Harry, that is indeed joyful news,'
he cried out. Then I and my mother and father
will all meet in heaven, Praise God! I now not
fear what man can do unto me.'
It would be difficult to do justice to the feeling
displayed by Paul, even were I to repeat all he
said, his piety, his gratitude, and his joy. He
could talk of nothing else during the night. He
seemed to be insensible to hunger and thirst, and
to forget altogether the dangerous position in which
we were placed. Now he kneeled down in prayer,
now he gave vent to his feelings in a hymn of
praise. I could not help sympathising with him,
and rejoicing that I had been the means of giving
him the information which made him so happy.
Still I must confess that I myself suffered not a
little from the pangs of hunger, and would have
given much for a glass of cold water.
When morning dawned the schooner was still
in sight. I looked anxiously round for the sign of
a breeze, hoping that if it did come the stranger
would stand towards us. At all events it seemed
probable that having seen the burning vessel those
on board, in common humanity, would sail over the
spot where she had been, on the chance of picking
PICKED UP. 95
up any of her crew who might have escaped.
Paul, however, did not seem to wish this as much
as I did. I saw him narrowly watching the vessel,
then he shook his head as if he did not like her
The sun rose high in the sky, and beat down on
our heads. My thirst became intolerable, and
whatever might be the character of the stranger, I
could not help longing that she would pick us up.
The breeze came at last, her sails filled. How
eagerly I watched her.
She is standing towards us,' I cried out, we
must soon be seen.' I stood up on a thwart and
waved a handkerchief.
Better not Massa Harry,' said Paul, but I did
not heed him.
The schooner came on rapidly. Again I waved
my handkerchief, and held it between my two
hands, so that it might flutter in the breeze. The
stranger approached. She was a fine large square
topsail schooner, with a black hull and taunt raking
masts. She rounded to close to us, so that she
could drop down to where our boat lay.
A rope was hove to us, and I clambered up her
side, Paul following me. We were both so weak
96 THE AFRICAN TRADER.
when we reached her deck that we could scarcely
stand. I pointed to my mouth, just able to mur-
mur, 'water! water!'
Si, si, aqua aqua,' said a man, who appeared to
be an officer; when one of the men dipped a mug
into a cask on deck, and brought it to us. I took
part of the contents then handed it to Paul; but the
seaman signed to me to drain it myself, casting, I
thought, a contemptuous glance at my negro com-
panion. However, he brought another cup full,
and even though I emptied it to the bottom, still
my thirst was scarcely quenched.
An officer now appeared from below, and ad-
dressing me in English, asked me how I came to be
in the boat. I told him exactly what had oc-
It is fortunate for you that we picked you up,
for another vessel might not pass this way for days
to come,' he observed. But what a pity so rich a
cargo should have been lost.'
The unhappy fate of the poor captain did not
seem to concern him much.
I could not make out the character of the
She was Spanish, I guessed, and her officers