Slave Trade Pack. Document 5/2 extracts
Extracts from The Interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, the African.
"It was very common in several islands, particularly in St Kitt's, for the slaves to be branded with the initial etters of their master's name; and a load of heavy iron hooks hung about their necks. Indeed on the most trifiling occasions they were loaded with chains; and often instruments of torture were added. The iron-muzzle, thumbscrews, &c. are so well known , as not to need a description, and were sometimes applied for the slightest faults. I have seen a negro beaten till some of his bones were broken, for even letting a pot boil over. Is it surprising that usage like this should drive the poor creatures to despair, and make them seek refuge in death from those evils which render their lives intolerable..."
" When I went in I made my obesiance to my master, and with money in my hand and many fears in my heart, I preyed him to be as good as his offer to me, when he was pleased to promise me my freedom as soon as I could purchase it....he began to recoil: and my heart that instant sank within me...My master then said, he would not be worse than his promise; and, taking my money, told me to go to the Secretary at the Register Office, and get my manumission drawn up. These words of my master were like a voice from heaven to me: in an instant all my trepidation was turned into unutterable bliss; and I most reverently bowed myself with gratitude, unable to express my feelings, but by the over-flowing of my eyes..."
"When I came to Kingston, I was surprised to see the number of Africans who were assembled together on Sundays... Here each different nation of Africa meet and dance after the manner of their own country. They still retain most of their native customs: they bury their dead, and put victuals, pipes and tobacco, and other things, into the grave with the corpse, in the same manner as in Africa"