Olaudah Equiano
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.


Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid for the Lord Jehovah is my Strength and my Song; He also is become my Salvation.
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people.
(Isaiah xii. 2, 4).

To the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

PERMIT me, with the greatest deference and respect, to lay at your feet the following genuine Narrative; the Chief design of which is to excite in your august assemblies a sense of compassion for the miseries which the Slave-Trade has entailed on my unfortunate countrymen. By the horrors of that trade was I first torn away from all the tender connexions that were naturally dear to my heart; but these, through the mysterious ways of Providence, I ought to regard as infinitely more than compensated by the introduction I have thence obtained to the knowledge of the Christian religion, and of a nation which, by its liberal sentiments, its humanity, the glorious freedom of its government, and its proficiency in arts and sciences, has exalted the dignity of human nature.

I am sensible I ought to entreat your pardon for addressing to you a work so wholly devoid of literary merit; but, as the production of an unlettered African, who is actuated by the hope of becoming an instrument towards the relief of his suffering countrymen, I trust that such a man, pleading in such a cause, will be acquitted of boldness and presumption.

May the God of heaven inspire your hearts with peculiar benevolence on that important day when the question of Abolition is to be discussed, when thousands, in consequence of your Determination, are to look for Happiness or Misery!

I am, My Lords and Gentlemen, Your most obedient, And devoted humble Servant, OLAUDAH EQUIANO OR GUSTAVUS VASSA.

Union-Street, Mary-le-bone, March 24, 1789.

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