Alexander Falconbridge, The African Slave Trade, 1788 -...

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AUTHOR: Alexander FalconbridgeTITLE: The African Slave TradeDATE: 1788As soon as the wretched Africans, purchased at the fairs, fall into the hands of the black5traders, they experience an earnest of those dreadful sufferings which they are doomed infuture to undergo. And there is not the least room to doubt, but that even before they canreach the fairs, great numbers perish from cruel usage, want of food, travelling throughinhospitable deserts, etc. They are brought from the places where they are purchased toBonny, etc. in canoes; at the bottom of which they lie, having their hands tied with a kind of10willow twigs, and a strict watch is kept over them. Their usage in other respects, duringthe time of passage, which generally lasts several days, is equally cruel. Their allowance offood is so scanty, that it is barely sufficient to support nature. They are, besides, muchexposed to the violent rains which frequently fall here, being covered only with mats thatafford but a slight defense; and as there is usually water at the bottom of the canoes, from15their leaking, they are scarcely every dry.Nor do these unhappy beings, after they become the property of the Europeans (fromwhom as a more civilized people, more humanity might naturally be expected), find theirsituation in the least amended. Their treatment is no less rigorous. The men Negroes, on20being brought aboard the ship, are immediately fastened together, two and two, byhandcuffs on their wrists, and irons riveted on their legs. They are then sent downbetween the decks, and placed in an apartment partitioned off for that purpose. Thewomen likewise are placed in a separate room, on the same deck, but without being ironed.And an adjoining room, on the same deck is besides appointed for the boys. Thus are they25placed in different apartments.But at the same time, they are frequently stowed so close, as to admit of no other posturethan lying on their sides. Neither will the height between decks, unless directly under thegrating, permit them the indulgence of an erect posture; especially where there are30platforms, which is generally the case. These platforms are a kind of shelf, about eight or
nine feet in breadth, extending from the side of the ship towards the centre. They areplaced nearly midway between the decks, at the distance of two or three feet from eachdeck. Upon these the Negroes are stowed in the same manner as they are on the deck

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Atlantic Slave Trade, african slave trade, Alexander Falconbridge

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