Imatges de pÓgina

and many

had gone down below the horizon, the must go in the new ship. In vain he crew of the Mary were startled at dawn pleaded he was no mariner; in vain he (for at that time the sea swarmed with argued with his own sensitive conscience robbers) by seeing three ships about three whether he could without sin fight against or four leagues to leeward. After some Christians. His court of conscience was consultation the master of the Mary de abruptly broken up by his patron's comcided not to ran, but to stay and speak mand to put to sea at once; but the Moor to them. The three ships soon looming gave Okeley money, clothes, and provisions, larger, proved to be Moorish men-of-war, and he was, by his orders, treated with who quickly bore down on them. The some mercy. In nine weeks up and down master of the Mary resolved at first to the Straits, the corsair only picking up one fight, then too late weakly tried to run, prize, an Hungarian - French man-of-war, which vacillating councils were ended at the Moor called Okeley back to land, and daybreak by the Moors, after a short ordered him to earn him two dollars skirmish, boarding and taking the three every month. It seemed impossiblesloops. In the Mary six men were slain, bricks without straw, interest without

wounded. There were many principle--there was but one conclusion, English prisoners in the Moorish ship, says Okeley, "to commit myself to God, and with these lamenting wretches the who had brought me into this strait, benew comers to purgatory condoled, and, seeching Him to bring me out of it." during the five weeks afloat, learnt from Okeley first applied to an English slave, them scraps of lingua-franca likely to be who kept a tailor's shop, feeling, as he useful in the days to come of slavery in wisely said, “that nothing that was Algiers.

honest could be base, and that necessity Arrived in Algiers, they were locked for would ennoble a far meaner employment. the first night in a filthy cellar, and the next The man readily closed with him, and day were driven to the viceroy's palace, that Okeley's heart grew larger, for he felt that potentate having, by right of office, a claim he could now escape the lash; “but God to every tenth slave captured by the Moorish had not tried him enough,” he adds, for galleys. The next market-day they were the next day the tailor meanly backed out dragged to the market-place. The slaves of his promise. Wandering about forlorn, were led up and down the market, and he scarcely knew or cared whither, Prowhen any one made a bid the owner shouted, vidence directed him to another English, “Arache! arache! there is so much bid, slave sitting in a cheery way in a perfectly who'll bid more ?” Then the cautious pur- bare shop. Okeley disconsolately told him chaser looked at their teeth, felt their limbs, his story, and the good-natured fellow and by their beard and hair tried to at once invited him to become a partner. guess their age, giving more if the slave It appeared that the man was driving a had white and tender hands, since from good but secret trade with unorthodox gentlemen and merchants they expected Moors in strong waters and wine, selling, large sums for ransom. All this time the besides, tobacco, lead, iron, and shot. His man who bid decried the slave, the dealer, new friend lent Okeley some money to on the other hand, praised him; his chest, trade with, and to this the latter added his shoulders, his strength, his growth, his a small sum he had concealed. The intelligence, his skill, or his temper. The world smiled on the two slaves; they sale effected, the slave was driven back to bought a butt of wine, and divided the the viceroy to first see if he cared to take profits of this business every week; but him at the price offered.

prosperity soon turned the head of Okeley's The first market-day Okeley was sold to partner, and he grew drunken and idle. a Tangerine merchant of Moro-Spanish At this juncture it fell out that there one descent, and for half a year was employed day came straggling to the shop John in trudging on errands and carrying bur- Randall

, a brother sailor of Okeley's. He dens. At the end of this time his patron's and his wife and child were slaves, and. man-of-war, yveeping the Mediterranean, had to beg to earn the dollars remorselessly captured an English merchant vessel laden exacted from them by their patron. Okeley's. with plate from Spain, and he resolved to fit good heart warmed to his old comrade: her with more guns, and start her as a cor- "I could not,” he says, “but consider the sair. Okeley was employed to help the car- goodness of God to me that I should now penters and shipwrights engaged on this be in a condition to advise and help work. But now came the sharpest trial. another which so lately wanted both myOne day the stern patron told Okeley he self, and it had this operation on me that


I would not suffer a poor distressed Having drawn out mentally a rough countryman — a fellow-captive, a fellow- sketch of it, the brave and resolute man Christian-to stand begging at that door confided it to Mr. Sprat, the minister, who where I had so lately stood myself. Shall gravely pronounced it possible, that was I shut the door of my heart upon him, I all he could say. Then Okeley broke it to thought, when God has opened a door of another fellow-slave, Robert Lake,

a wise hope to me in the day of my trouble ? and religious person, an old man, who Shall I so requite the Lord's kindness to pronounced his blessing on it, and wished me ?” Okeley, therefore, kindly bade the it“ godspeed.” Next he told his firm friend, man in, and set him to make canvas clothes John Randall, still sore from the batoon, for slaves, letting him remain in the shop who approved of it, yet would not run the rent free.

fearful risk of its miscarriage, he having So passed four irksome years of slavery, a wife and child. As for Robert Lake, he till Okeley grew almost inured to misery, was too old to be useful, or to bear the yet still, like a good Calvinist, lamenting fatigue, and as for Mr. Sprat, Captain Pack, that there was no one to “preach the of London, was already on his way with Word.” At last an English ship was taken ransom to release him without danger. by the corsairs, and among the slaves was Okeley had still, therefore, to choose his a Mr. Devereux Sprat, a sober, grave, re- companions. It was indispensable that ligious" minister of the gospel," whose they should be trusty, brave, religious, and monthly toll to his patron, Okeley and some strong men.

The comrades he chose were, other zealous slaves agreed to provide. John Anthony, a carpenter, who had been Three times a week this “ godly faithful a slave fifteen years; William Adams, a servant of Christ” prayed to three or four bricklayer, who had been a captive eleven score Christian slaves in a cellar which years; John Jephs, a seaman, who had Okeley had hired as a store-room. This, been five years among the Moors; John, he says, strengthened his faith and com- a carpenter, who had served the same term, forted his drooping spirit.

and two others. These, with Okeley himself, One day Randall, not feeling well, he and made a band of seven, and all eager for Okeley took a walk along the sea-shore, liberty, though not all equally resolute, bebeyond the mile-tether allowed to slaves. fora being told the scheme, took a solemn Seized by a spy, and accused of attempting oath never to disclose it, directly or into escape, Okeley was liberated, but poor directly, for fear or flattery, whether they Randall was condemned by his more relent. did or did not finally approve it. Then in the less master to three hundred blows with the morbidly conscientious breast of this Puritan batoon (a tough short truncheon) on the captain arose a thousand casuistic scruples soles of the feet.

as to whether it was justifiable to God and Soon after this, Okeley's padrone, dis- man to attempt an escape from a master abled by losses in privateering, was com- who so dearly loved him, so courteously pelled to sell his slaves, whom he had long treated him, and had so fairly bought him. before mortgaged, to a cap-maker and an First he thought, should he better himself old farmer. The two men cast lots for in England, where the civil war had now Okeley; he trembled lest he should fall broken out; but then he thought of “ Eng. to the “ brutish ill-humoured cap-maker;"' land, liberty, and the gospel.” Next, as to but Heaven was merciful to the poor the theft of himself; but he soon, like a man Puritan, and he became the property of the of sense, shook off this sickly scruple, defarmer, a good compassionate man, who ciding that a man is too noble a creature to regarded him with confidence, and treated be made the subject of a deed of sale, morehim like his own son. But his new patron's over, his consent had not been asked, nor farm was twelve miles from Algiers, and had he forfeited the rights of man. He Okeley felt sure that the Moor intended to would escape or die; the sweet word liberty make him his bailiff and vicegerent there. already made music in his ears, and his Once there all hope of escape was gone, longing heart danced to the tune of and he would be a slave for life. Fetters of it, as he eloquently tells us in his narrative gold are fetters still, so he resolved, with of the wonderful escape. But now all sorts hope kindling in his heart, once for all to of gloomy difficulties crowded in to dishave a wrestle for freedom. With aching courage the honest conspirators. They head he turned over every means of must build a boat, but how or where could escape ; at last, like a beam of sunshine, it be launched ? how could they escape the

plan, desperate but not impossible, sug- cruel Argus eyes watching them by day? gested itself.

how escape by night from a high-walled city, so strongly barred, so closely guarded? body of our infant boat, with earthen pots But Okeley's heart never faltered; he to melt down our materials in, and prefixed would allow of no fears; he laughed and a night wherein we might execute that trod under foot all cowardly suggestions of part of our labour. The two carpenters danger. “Let us be up and doing," he and myself were appointed to this service, cried, with a hearty voice, and in his cheery and the cellar was the place where we met. homely way," and God will be with us. Well Matters had hitherto run on very evenly and begun is half done.” In his own cellar the smoothly, but here we met with some disboat should be built piecemeal, so as to be couraging rubs. For when we had stopped easier of removal. Majorca was the place all the chinks and crannies of the cellar, he thought fittest to land at. In his bright that the steam of the melted materials might hope he already stood on that free rocky not creep out and betray us (there being no island shore, and the weakest nature chimney), we had not been long at our work drew strength and courage from him as before I felt exceedingly sick.' from a deep clear fountain.

Overcome with the pungent steam of We will use his own simple words to the pitch, and forced to go into the streets describe the building of the boat.

for air, Okeley swooned, fell, and cutting “In the cellar,” he says, with his usual his face, there lay till his alarmed comfervid piety," where we had worshipped panions found him, and carried him in God, we began our work, and it was not weak and unserviceable. Presently another the holiness, but the privacy of the place man fell ill, and the work stood stili. Okeley that invited us, and advised us to it. And saw the imminence of the danger, for none first, we provided a piece of timber about of the men had such faith and hope as himtwelve feet long to make the keel ; but self. Did their spirits once get cool they because it was impossible to convey a piece would soon freeze, so again he roused himself of timber of that length out of the city and urged them to the work. He therefore but it must be seen, and that suspicion boldly threw open the cellar door, and as would bring us into examination, and the soon as the steam. was gone and the men rack or batoon might extort a confession recovered their courage, pushed on the work out of the most resolved and obstinate at the canvas till nearly daybreak. The breast, we therefore cut it in two pieces, next night they met again, and throwing and fitted it for jointing just in the middle. open the door, happily finished the work. Our next care was the timbers or ribs of Okeley stood sentinel at the entrance the the boat, which we contrived thus ; every whole time, to signal any approaching one of the timbers was made of three pieces, danger, and while it was still dark helped and jointed in two places, because a whole to carry the prepared canvas to his shop rib, at its full length, would be liable to the a furlong off. In the cellar they next same inconveniences with the keel. Now adapted the framework to the keel, and understand that the joints of the ribs were the canvas to the framework, then fitted not made with mortise and tenon, but the in the seat, and took the whole apart ready flat side of one of the three pieces was laid for removal to some safe place on the seaover the other, and two holes were bored at shore. every joint. All this while there is no William Adams, the bricklayer, who had visible provision made for boards to often worked outside the walls, was chosen clothe the naked ribs of our boat, without to carry the keel. Trowel in hand, and which the keel and timbers looked but girded with dusty apron, Adams carried the like an useless anatomy; but neither had keel in two pieces, and hid it in a hedge. we, nor was it possible we should have, One of the washermen carried the ribany boards in our vessel. For the jointing timbers doubled together in a bag, among of these boards, and the nailing of them, to some dirty clothes, and stowed them away make the boat water-tight, would require in another seaside field not far from the hammering, and therefore from the first keel. The bulky tarpaulin was the most conception of the design I always resolved dangerous of all to carry; but at last upon a canvas. In pursuance of which it was put in a large sack, with a pillow thought, being all satisfied that it was over it, and taken by the washermen practicable, we bought as much strong safely through the gates by day, openly, canvas as would cover our boat twice over, and under the very eyes of the soldiers apon the convex of the carine; we pro- and spies. Oars are the fins of a boat, vided also as much pitch, tar, and tallow and these Okeley and his fellows made as would serve to make it a kind of tar- of the slit staves of a barrel. They then paulin cerecloth, to swaddle the naked | laid in but a small supply of bread, know

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ing that if they did not soon make land and, having tied down the seats, and they must be either drowned or recap- strengthened our keel with the fig-tree, we tured. Two goat-skins sewn together lastly drew on our double canvas case, served to hold fresh water. Okeley offered already fitted ; and really the canvas seemed himself to carry through the gates canvas a winding-sheet for our boat, and our boat sufficient for a sail. He had not got a coffin for us all. quarter of a mile from the town when, to “This done, four of our company took it his great agony, he saw the villanous spy upon their own shoulders, and carried it who had before arrested him and Randall down towards the sea, which was about half following him fast. The danger, however, a mile off. It was a little representation of a gave him promptitude of mind; he at once funeral, to see the four bearers marching in .walked boldly up to an English slave he deep silence, with something very like a saw washing clothes by the sea, and asked hearse and coffin upon their shoulders, and him to help him wash the canvas. They the rest of us decently attending the cerethen pretended to wash the sail, and spread mony; but we wanted torches, and, beit to dry on the top of the very rock where sides, it is not usual for any to wait upon the spy stood watching them. He soon their own coffins. But we durst not went away, but Okeley, still fearful, wait- grudge our boat that small and last office, ing till the canvas was dry, carried it to carry it half a mile, for we expected it mournfully back to the city.

should repay us that service and civility The day for attempting the escape was with interest, in carrying us many a league ; now fixed-—June the 30th, 1644; the time, we carried it at land, where it could not one hour " within night;" the place, a hill swim, that it might carry us at sea, where about a mile from the sea; and till then we could not walk. As we went along the conspirators dispersed, lurking here they that were in the gardens heard us passand there in hedges and ditches, till the ing by; and called to us, Who comes blessed moment arrived.

there?' but it was dark, and we had no There were two places thought suitable mind to prate, and therefore, without any for putting together the boat, a hill and a answer, we silently held on our way. valley. The hill, as we have before said, “ When we came to the seaside we imwas first agreed upon, as having a good mediately stripped ourselves naked, and, out-look; but when the night came they all putting our clothes into the boat, carried it suddenly preferred the valley, which was and them as far into the sea as we could encompassed and sheltered by hedges. Near wade, and this we did lest our tender boat the top of the hill grew a fig-tree, and this should be torn against the stones or rocks, tree two of the band were sent to saw and then all seven of us got into her. down, as it was needful to strengthen the But here we soon found how our skill in keel. Some Moors with barking dogs calculating the lading of our vessel failed passed near the sawyers, but they keeping us; for we were no sooner embarked but close, were not discovered. Moors were at she was ready to sink under us, the water work in a neighbouring garden, so that the coming in over the sides, so that once again Englishmen dared not speak, but they we must entertain new counsels. At last buckled to in good earnest at their serious one whose heart most failed him was willing work, pointing, pulling, nodding, and act to be shut out, and rather hazard the uning like builders of Babel, by signs and certain torments of the land than certainly gestures.

be drowned at sea ; then we made a second “The two parts of our keel," says Okeley, experiment, but still she was so deep laden we soon joined, then opening the timbers, that we all concluded there was no venturwhich had already one nail in every joint, ing out to sea; at length another went we groped out for the other hole, and put ashore, and then she held up her head very its nail into it; then we opened them at stoutly, and seemed hearty enough for our their full length, and applied them to the voyage. top of the keel, fastening them with rope- “ It was time now to commit and comyarn and small cords, and so we served all mend ourselves and vessel to the protection the joints to keep them firm and stable ; | and conduct of God, who rules the winds then we bound small canes all along the and the waves, and whose kingdom is in ribs lengthways, both to keep the ribs from the deep waters, imploriug mercy for the wearing, and also to bear out the canvas pardon of our sins, and resigning up our very stiff against the pressing water. Then souls to God, as if we had been presently we made notches upon the ends of the ribs to suffer death by the hand of the exeor timbers, wherein the oars might ply, cutioner ; and, taking our solemn fare

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well of our two companions, whom we good husbandry it lasted, but then pale left behind, and wishing them as much famine (which is the worst shape death happiness as could be hoped for in can be painted in) stared us in the face.” slavery, and they to us as long a life as The adverse wind doubled the cruel, could be expected by men going to their ceaseless labour, and yet defeated it. graves, we launched out upon the 30th They moved, but did not advance. The day of June, in the year of our Lord, 1644, waves strove hard to swallow up


poor a night for ever to be remembered by his wretches toiling for life and liberty. One or poor creatures, who are ourselves great two, soon losing heart, began to declare that monuments of Divine Providence.”

God, whom the wind obeyed, was fighting Five men only after all started; Okeley, against them, and proposed to bear up with John Anthony, John Jephs, John the wind, and return to slavery in Algiers. the carpenter, and William Adams, five But hope and Okeley again roused them, men in a frail canvas boat, with an adverse and at last they determined, whatever wind raging against them, and Algiers upon happened, to struggle on while they had the lee shrouded in the


darkness. breath, strength, and life. Their perse“We were now,” says the brave nar- verance was rewarded as

perseverance rator, “without helm or pilot, without generally is. The wind presently shifted anchor, tackle, or compass, but God was round like a feeble enemy, and sided with these, all these, and more than all these. them. Our number was small, our work was Still the danger was very imminent. Ungreat, we could not afford one idle hand, like tired sentinels who watch on, knowing not one idle finger; four of the company that the welcome relief will soon come, continually wrought at the oars, and in these poor fellows had to labour without deed we wrought for our lives, and then I intermission. They might shift, but they shall not need to say how we wrought; but could never rest. Another great evil was this I shall say, I can truly say it, I never the raging heat of the sun, which burned saw strength so strained, nor the atmost like a furnace. The only alleviation they of what nature could do for life and liberty could obtain was that the fifth man, who exerted so much in all my life. The em- kept baling the frail boat, threw sea-water ployment of the fifth man was more easy, over them, for their skin now began to rise but no less necessary, which was to free all over in blisters. In danger, in pain, the boat of that water which by degrees and almost in despair, Okeley and his men leaked through our canvas.

toiled all day quite naked, at night putting “We laboured the harder that night, on their shirts or loose coats, their only because we would gladly be out of the ken clothing. For steering they had no guide of our old masters by day; but when day but a pocket dial; by night they were appeared, we were yet within sight of their guided by the stars, and when the stars ships that lay in the haven and road, and were hidden, by the motion of the clouds. off the land; but our boat being small, and In this sad and miserable plight they lying close and snug upon the sea, either continued four long days and nights. On was not at all discovered, or else seemed the fifth day despair took its dismal place something that was not worth the taking among them, and hope flew from them. op; a little hope in the midst of great fears They laid down their oars, for their strength made us double and redouble our diligence; was all but gone, and gloomily baled the we tugged at the oars like those who are boat, loth to drown, loth to die, yet seeing chained to the galleys, because we had no no way to avoid a dreadful death from mind to be slaves to our old patrons.

famine or the waves. They now resolved, “But upon all occasions we found our in their dark and utter despair, to make want of forecast, for now our bread, which to any vessel they could discover, even an was to be the staff of our decayed strength, Algerine. While in this dead ebb of hope, had lain soaking in the salt water, like a God, who saved “Israel at the sea, and the drunken toast sopped in brine, and was three young men in the fiery furnace,” sent quite spoiled; and our fresh water in the relief. As they lay in a lull they suddenly bottles stank of the tanned skins and owse, discovered floating near them a large sleephaving lain in the salt water, which made ing tortoise. Not the sight of a Spanish it nauseous. But yet, that hope that plate fleet was more grateful to the eager hovered over us, and flattered us that we eyes of Drake. The boat was silently rowed should one day mend our commons, sweet- up, and they took the broad-shelled creaened all again. So long as bread was ture rejoicingly on board. Off went its bread, we complained not; three days with head, the blood they caught in a pot, and

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