Hammon 2 - Briton Hammon Narrative Dorothy Porter ed Early Negro Writing 1 760-1837(Beacon Press Boston 1971 pp 522-528 This document is a short

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Unformatted text preview: Briton Hammon, Narrative. Dorothy Porter, ed., Early Negro Writing, 1 760-1837 (Beacon Press, Boston, 1971), pp. 522-528. This document is a short narrative on the adventures of Briton Hammon, an African American man living in colonial New England in the mid-eighteenth century. He, like many other men of African descent, went to work on the ships that carried the growing transatlantic trade around the various ports of the British Empire by the 17405. His adventures show the perils such a life entailed. As the Atlantic economy expanded, wars between the different imperial powers such as England, France, and Spain became increasingly common. How does Hammon’s tale show what that conflict could mean for the people working on ships? What was the relationship between Hammon and his master like? How was his life similar to or different from most African slaves in eighteenth century America? V Copyright 1971 by Dorothy Porter . Library of Congress catalog card number: 71—101325 Ihtemational Standard Book Number: 0—8070—5452—6 All rights reserved I Beacon Press books are published under the 'auspices of the Unitarian Universalist Association Published'simultaneously in Canada by Saunders of » Toronto, Ltd. ‘ ' r Printed in the United States of America ' by - ' Doroéhy, Poéter r ' I“! ,cmmmwm C? b , Beacon fies; Bystou’ wwwnm‘fim 5., m' : ' ‘ . i3 ‘ « WNW, A NARRATIVE OF THE Uncommon Sufferings, AND Surprising Deliverance OF BRITON HAMMON, ' A NEGRO MAN,—SERVANTVT0 General Winslow, 0F MARSHFTELD, IN NEW ENGLAND; WHO RETURNED To BOSTON, AFTER nAerc ‘BEEN ABSENT ALMOST THIRTEEN YEARS. CONTAINING An account of the many hardships he underwent from the time he left his master’s house, in the year 1747, to the time of his return to Boston—How he was cast away in the capes of Florida,—the horrid Cruelty and inhuman Barbarity of the Indians in murdering the whole ship’s crew,—-the manner of his being carry’d by them into captivity. Also, an account of his being confined four years and seven 1 months in a close dungeon,-—And the remarkable manner in which he 522 Narrative by Briton Hammon 523 met with his good old master in London; who returned to New En- ' gland, a passenger, in the‘same ship. ' BOSTON, Printed and sold by GREEN & RUSSELL, in Queen—Street, 1760. " _ ' * To the Reader, AS my capacities and condition of life are very low, it cannot be expected that I should make these remarks on the sufferings I have met with, or the kind Prooidence of a good God for my preservation, as one in a higher station; but shall leave that to the reader as he goes along, and so I shall only relate matters of fact as they occur to my mind. ON Monday, 25th dayof December, 1747, with the leave of my master, 1. went from Marshfield, with an Intention to go a voyage to sea, andthe next day, the 26th, got to Plymouth, where I immedi- ately ship’d myself on board of a Sloop, Capt; John Howland, Mas- ter, bound to Jamaica and the Bay. We sailed from Plymouth in a short time, and after a pleasant passage of about 30 days, arrived at Jamaica; we'was detain’d at Jamaica only 5 days, from whence we sailed for the Bay, where we arrived safe in 10 days. We loaded our vessel with lrrngood, and sailed from the Bay the 25th day of May ‘ following, and the 15th day of June, we were cast away on Cape Florida, about 5 leagues from the shore; being now destitute of every help, we knew not what to do or what course to take in this our sad condition: The captain was advised,” entreated, and beg’d on, by every person on board, to heave over but only 20 ton of the Wood, ‘ and we should get clear, which if he had done, might have sav’d his I 7' vessel and cargo, and not only so, but his own life, as well as the Lives of the mate and nine hands, as I shall presently relate. After being upon this reef two days, the captain order’d the boat to be hoisted out, and then ask'd who were willing to tarry on board? The whole crew was for going on shore at this time, but as the boat : would not carry 12 persons at once, and- to prevent any uneasiness, the Captain, 3 passenger, and one hand tarry’d on board, :while the mate, with seven hands besides myself, were order’d to go on shore in the boat, which as soon as we had reached, one half were to he landed, and the other four to return to the sloop, to fetch the captain and the Others on shore. The captain order’d us to take with us our 524 Narratives, Poems, and Essays arms, ammunition, provisions and necessaries for cooking, as also a sail to make a tent of, to shelter us from the weather; after having left the sloop we stood towards the shore, and being within two leagues of the same, we espy’d a number of canoes, which we at first took to be rocks, but soon found our mistake, for we perceiv’d they moved towards us; we presently saw an English colour hoisted in one of the canoes, at the sight of which we were not a little rejoiced, but on our advancing yet nearer, we found them, to our very great sur- prise, to be Indians of which there were sixty; being now so near them we could not possibly make our escape; they soon .came up with and boarded us, took away all our arms, ammunition, and pro— vision. The whole number of canoes (being about twenty) then made for the sloop, except two which they left to guard us, who order’d us to follow on with them; the eighteen which made for the sloop, went so much faster than we that they got on board above three hours he- ’d Captain Howland, the pas- fore we came along side, and had kill senger and the other hand; we came to the larboard side of the sloop, and they order’dus round to the starboard, and as we‘ were passing round the how, we saw the whole number of Indians advancing for- ward and loading their Guns, upon which the mate said, “my Lads we are all dead Men,” and before we had got round they discharged their small arms upon us, and kill’d three of our hands, viz. Reuben Young of Cape Cod, mate; Joseph Little and Lemuel Doty of Plym— outh, upon which I immediately jump’d overboard, chusing‘rather to be drowned, than to be kill’d by those barbarous and inhuman savages. In three or four minutes after, I heard another volley which dispatched the other five, viz. John Nowland and Nathaniel Rich, both belonging to Plymouth, and Elkanab Collymore and James Webb, strangers, and Moses Newmock, Mulatto. As soon as they had lcill’d the whole of the people, one of the canoes paddled after me, and soon came up with me, hawled me into the canoe, and beat me most terribly. 'th a cutlass; after that they ty’d me down, then this canoe stood for the sloop again and as soon as she came along- side, the Indians on board the sloop betook themselves to their canoes, then set the vessel on fire, making a prodigious shouting and hallowing like so many devils. As soon as the vessel was burnt down to the water’s edge, the Indians stood for the shore, together with our boat, on board of which they put 5 hands. After we came to the shore, they led me to their huts, where I expected nothing but im- mediate death, and as they spoke broken English, were often telling that they intended to me, while conung from the sloop to the shore, roast me alive. But the Providence of God order’d it otherways, for He appeared for my help, in this MOunt of Difficulty, and they were Narrative by Hammon 525 better to me than my fears, soon unbound me, but set a guard pver me every night. They kept me with them about five weeks dur- ing. which tirnethey us’d megpretty well, and gaVe me boil’dbom which was what they often ate themselves. The way I made my escape from these villains was this; A Spanish schooner arriving there from St. Augustine, the master of which, whose Name was Romond, asked the Indians to let me go on board his vessel, which they granted, and the captain knowing me very well,‘ weigh’d an- chor and carry’d me oil to the Havana, and after being there four Days the Indians came after me, and insisted on having me again as I was their prisoner. They made applicatio to the governor, and lie. manded me again from him; in answer t which the gOVemor told them, that as they had put the whole crew to death, they should not have me again, and so paid them ten dollars for me, adding, that he would not have them kill any person hereafter, but take as many of them as they could of those ,that should cast away and bring them to him, for which he would pay them-ten dollars’a head. At the Havana I lived with the governor in the castle about a 'twelve- ' month, where I was walking thro’ the street, I met with a press-gang who immediately prest me, and put me into igaol, and with a Num- ber of others I was confin’d till next Morning, when we were all brought out, and ask’d who would go on board the King's ships four of which having been lately built, were bound to Old Spain,‘arld on my refusing to serve on board, they put me in a close dungeon where I was Wconfin’d four years and seven "months; during which time I often application the governor; by persons who came to see the prisoners, but they acquainted him with it, nor did he know all this time what beiame of me, which was the means of my being confin’d there so long. But kind Providence so order’d it, that after I had been in this place so long as the time mention’d above, the captain of a merchantman, belonging to Boston having sprung a leakwas obliged to put into the Havana to refit, and while he was at dinner at Mrs. Bettngoward’s, she told the captain of my deplorable condition, and she would glad, if he could by some means or other relieve me; the captain told Mrs. Howard he would use his best endeavours for my relief and enlargement. ‘ Accordingly. after dinner came to the ‘ 2 I l f ’ eeper’ ‘ I . ‘ , , pnson, and askd the k if he might see me; upon his request I was brought out of the dun- geon, and after the captain had interrogated me, told me, he would ‘ The way I came to know this I: ' ' - gentleman was, by his bein taken last .by an Englishiprrvateer, and brought into Jamaica whilegl was there.war 526 Narratives, Poems, and Essays intercede with the governor for my relief out of that miserable place, whichrhe did, and the neXt day the governor sent an order to release me; I with the governor about a year after I was delivered from the dungeon, in which time I endeavour’d three times to make my escape, 5the last of which proVed effectual; the first time I got on board of Captain Marsh, an English twenty-gun ship, with a number of others, and lay on board conceal’d that night; and the next day the ship being under sail, I thought myself safe, and so made my k, but-as soon as we were discovered the cap- a arance u' on dec tsil’leordered file boat out, and sent us all on shore. I entreated the captain to let me, in particular, tarry on board, begging, and crying to him, to commiserate my unhappy condition, and added, that I had been confin’d almost five years in a close dungeon, but the captaip Would not hearken to any entreaties, for fear of having the governor s displeasure, and so was obliged to go on shore. , After being on shore another twelvemonth, I endeavour (l to make my escape the second time, by trying to get on board of a sloop bound to Jamaica, and as I was going from the city to the sloop, was unhappin taken by the guard, and ordered back to the castle, and there confined. However, in a short time I was set at liberty, and order’d with a number of others to carry the Bishop” from the castle, thro’ the country, to confirm the old people, baptize children, tire, for-which hereceives large sums of money. I was employ’d in this service about seven months; during which time I lived very well, and then returned to the castle again, where I had my liberty to walk abOut the city, and do work- for myself;—The Beaver, an English Man of War, then lay in the harbour, and having been informed by some of the ship’s crew that she was to sail in a few days, I had noth- ing now to do but to seek an opportunity how I should make my escape. Accordingly one Sunday night the lieutenant of the ship with a ‘ number of the barge crew Were in a tavern, and _Mrs. Howard, who _ had before been a friend to me, interceded with the lieutenant to carry me on board. The lieutenant said he would with all his heart, and immediately I went on board in the barge. The next day the Spaniards came along side the Beaver and demanded me again, With a number of others who had made their escape from them, and got on board the ship, but justpbefore I did; but the captain, who a true Englishman, refus'd them, and said he could not answer it, to I ‘ He is carried (by Way of Respect) in a large two-arm chair; the chair is lin’d with crimson velvet, and supported by eight persons. Narratioegby Briton Hammer: 527 deliver up any Englishmen under English Colours. In a few days ’ we set sail-rim Jamaica, ,where we arrived safe, after a short and ' pleasantifipassage. 3 After being at Jamaican short time We sail’d for London, as con- voy to a fleet of merchantmen, who all'arrived safein the Downs. I was turned over to another ship, the Arcenceil, and there remained about a month. From thisiship I went on board the Sandwich of 90 guns; on board the Sandwich, I tarry’d 6 Weeks, and then was or- der’d on board the Hercules, Capt. John Porter, a 74-gun ship, we sail’d on a (rinse, and met with a French 84—gun ship, and had a very smart engagement,” in Which about 70 of our hands were kill’d and wounded, the captain lost his leg in the engagement, and I was wounded in the head bya small shot. We should have taken this ship, if they had not cut away the most of our rigging; however, in about three Hours after. a 64—gun ship came up with and took her. I was discharged from the Hercules the 12th day of May 1759 (having been on board of that ship 3 months) on account of my be- ing disabled in the arm and render’d incapable of service, after being honourany paid the wages due to me. Iiwas put into the Greenwich Hospital where I stay’d and soon recovered. I then ship’d myself a cook on board Captain Martyn, an arm’d ship in the King‘ 3 Service. v I. was on board this ship almost two months, and after being paid my wages, was discharg’d in the month of October. After my discharge from Captain Martyn, l was taken sick in,London of a fever, and was , confin’d about 6 \Veeks, iéhere I expendédrall my money, and left in , very pooé Cig’cumstances; unhappy frirfme‘ I knew nothing of my good Masters being in London at this very difficult time. After I got well 'of my sickness, I ship’d myself on board of a large ship bound to Guinea, and being in a publick house one evening, I over- heard a number of persons talking about rigging a vessel bound to .New England; I ask’d them to what part of New England this ves— sel was bound? they told me, to Boston; and having ask’d them who r was commander? they told me, Capt. \Vatt. In a few minutes after this the of the ship game in, and Ii‘ask’d him if Captain Watt did not “tannin cook, who tbld inc he didfzand that the captain would - be in, in a few minutes; and in about half an hour the captain came in, and then I ship’d myself at once, after begging off from the ship bound to Guinea; I work’d on board Captain Watt’s ship almost three months before she sail’d, and one day being at work in the ’ A particular account of this engagement has been publish’d in the Boston > newspapers. _ 528 Narratives, Poems, and Essays hold, I overheard some persons (in board mention the name of Wins- low, at the name of which I was very inquisitive, and having ask’d what Winslow they were talking about? they told me it was General Winslow; and that he was one of the passengers. I ask’d them what General Winslow? For I never knew my good Master, by that title before; but after enquiring more particularly 1 found it must be Master, and in a few days’ time the truth was joyfully verify’d by ahappy sight of his person, which so overcome me that I could not speak to him for some time-My good master was exceeding glad to see me, telling me that I was like one arose from the dead, for he thought I had been dead a great many years, having heard noth- ing of me for almost thirteen years. , I think I have not deviated from truth in any particular of this my narrative, and tho’ I have omitted a great many things, yet what is wrote may suflice to convince the reader, that I have been most grievously amicted, and yet thro’ the Divine Goodness, as miracu~ lously preserved, and delivered out of many dangers; of which I de- sire to retain a grateful remembrance, as long as I live in the World. And now, That in the Providence of that God, who delivered his servant David out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, I am freed from a long and dreadful captivity, amongpworse savages than they; And am return’d to my own native land, to show how great things the Lord hath done for me; I would call upon all men, and say, 0 magnifiy the Lord with me, and let us exalt his Name together! 0 that men would praise the Lord for His Goodness, and for his Wonderful Works to the children of men! EVENING THOUGHT salvation by Christ, . ’ ’ WITH PENETENTIAL cams: Composed by lupiter Harnmon, a Negro belonging to Mr. Lloyd, of Queen’s Village, on Long Island, the 25th of December, 1760. Salvation comes by Jesus Christ alone, The only Son of God; Redemption now to every one, That love his holy Word. Dear fesus we wouldéfly to Thee, ’ And: leave oil ever}? Sin, Thy tender Mercy well agree; Salvation from our King. ' ’ Salvation comes now from the Lord, Ourvictorious King; His holy Name be well ador’d, Salvation surely bring. Dear Jesus give thy Spirit now, 'I‘hfiGrace to every Nation, That han’t the Lord to whom we how, The Author of Salvation. Dear Jesus unto Thee we cry, Give us thy Preparation; Turn not away thy tender Eye; We seek thy true Salvation. Salvation comes from God we know, The true and only One; 529 ...
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Hammon 2 - Briton Hammon Narrative Dorothy Porter ed Early Negro Writing 1 760-1837(Beacon Press Boston 1971 pp 522-528 This document is a short

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