The Interesting Narrative of the Life
of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African
(London, 1789; vol. I)
Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned and proofread by Kathleen Diekhoff, May 1998.
Proofread and posted by Raluca Preotu, August 1999.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.
"To the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain."
The author's account of his country, and their manners and customs--Administration of justice-- Embrenche--Marriage ceremony, and public entertainments--Mode of living-Dress--Manufactures Buildings--Commerce Agriculture--War and religion--Superstition of the natives--Funeral ceremonies of the priests or magicians--Curious mode of discovering poison--Some hints concerning the origin of the author's countrymen, with the opinions of different writers on that subject.
The author's birth and parentage--His being kidnapped with his sister--Their separation-surprise at meeting again--Are finally separated--Account of the different places and incidents the author met with till his arrival on the coast--The effect the sight of a slave ship had on him--He sails for the West Indies--Horrors of a slave ship--Arrives at Barbadoes, where the cargo is sold and dispersed.
The author is carried to Virginia--His distress--Surprise at seeing a picture and a watch--Is bought by Captain Pascal, and sets out for England--His terror during the voyage--Arrives in England--His Wonder at a fall of snow--Is sent to Guernsey and in some time goes on board a ship of war with his master--Some account of the expedition against Louisbourg under the command of Admiral Boscawen in 1758.
The author is baptized--Narrowly escapes drowning--Goes on an expedition to the Mediterranean--Incidents he met with there--Is witness to an engagement between some English and French ships--A particular account of the celebrated engagement between Admiral Boscawen and Mons. Le Clue, off Cape Logas, in August 1759--Dreadful explosion of a French ship--The author sails for England--His master appointed to the command of a fire-ship--Meets a negro boy, from whom he experiences much benevolence--Prepares for an expedition against Belle-Isle--A remarkable story of a disaster which befel his ship--Arrives at Belle-Isle--Operations of the landing and siege--The author's danger and distress, with his manner of extricating himself--Surrender of Belle-Isle--Transactions afterwards on the coast of France--Remarkable instance of kidnapping--The author returns to England--Hears a talk of peace, and expects his freedom--His ship sails for Deptford to be paid off, and when he arrives there he is suddenly seized by his master and carried forcibly on board a West India ship and sold.
The author's reflections on his situation--Is deceived by a promise of being delivered--His despair at sailing for the West Indies--Arrives at Montserrat, where he is sold to Mr. King--Various interesting instances of oppression, cruelty, and extortion, which the author saw practised upon the slaves in the West Indies during his captivity from the year 1763 to 1766--Address on it to the planters.
Some account of Brimstone-Hill in Montserrat--Favourable change in the author's situation--He commences merchant with three pence--His various success in dealing in the different islands, and America and the impositions he meets with in his transactions with Europeans--A curious imposition on human nature--Danger of the surfs in the West Indies--Remarkable instance of kidnapping a free mulatto--The author is nearly murdered by Doctor Perkins in Savannah.
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