- O R O O N O K O
R o y a l S l a v e.
H i s t o r y.
Oroonoko was no sooner return'd from this last Conquest, and receiv'd at Court with all the Joy and Magnificence that cou'd be express'd to a young Victor, who was not only return'd triumphant, but belov'd like a Deity, when there arriv'd in the Port an English Ship.
This Person had often before been in these Countries, and was very well known to Oroonoko, with whom he had traffick'd for Slaves, and had us'd to do the same with his Predecessors.
This Commander was a Man of a finer sort of Address, and Conversation, better bred, and more engaging, than most of that sort of Men are; so that he seem'd rather never to have been bred out of a Court, than almost all his Life at Sea. This Captain therefore was always better receiv'd at Court, than most of the Traders to those Countries were; and especially by Oroonoko, who was more civiliz'd, according to the European Mode, than any other had been, and took more Delight in the White Nations, and, above all, Men of Parts and Wit. To this Captain he sold abundance of his Slaves; and for the Favour and Esteem he had for him, made him many Presents, and oblig'd him to stay at Court as long as possibly he cou'd. Which the Captain seem'd to take as a very great Honour done him, entertaining the Prince every Day with Globes and Maps, and mathematical Discourses and Instruments; eating, drinking, hunting, and living with him with so much Familiarity, that it was not to be doubted, but he had gain'd very greatly upon the Heart of this gallant young Man. And the Captain, in Return of all these mighty Favours, besought the Prince to honour his Vessel with his Presence, some Day or other, to Dinner, before he shou'd set Sail: which he condescended to accept, and appointed his Day. The Captain, on his part, fail'd not to have all things in a Readiness, in the most magnificent Order he cou'd possibly: And the Day being come, the Captain, in his Boat, richly adorn'd with Carpets and Velvet-Cushions, row'd to the Shoar to receive the Prince; with another Long-Boat, where was plac'd all his Musick and Trumpets, with which Oroonoko was extreamly delighted; who met him on the Shoar, attended by his French Governor, Jamoan, Aboan, and about an hundred of the noblest of the Youths of the Court. And after they had first carry'd the Prince on Board, the Boats fetch'd the rest off; where they found a very splendid Treat, with all sorts of fine Wines; and were as well entertain'd as 'twas possible in such a place to be.
The Prince, having drunk hard of Punch and several Sorts of Wine, as did all the rest (for great Care was taken, they shou'd want nothing of that part of the Entertainment), was very merry, and in great Admiration of the Ship, for he had never been in one before; so that he was curious of beholding every place where he decently might descend. The rest, no less curious, who were not quite overcome with Drinking, rambl'd at their pleasure Fore and Aft, as their Fancies guided 'em: So that the Captain, who had well laid his Design before, gave the Word, and seiz'd on all his Guests; they clapping great Irons suddenly on the Prince, when he was leaped down into the Hold to view that part of the Vessel; and locking him fast down, secur'd him. The same Treachery was used to all the rest; and all in one Instant, in several places of the Ship, were lash'd fast in Irons, and betray'd to Slavery. That great Design over, they set all Hands to work to hoist Sail; and with as treacherous as fair a Wind, they made from the Shoar with this innocent and glorious Prize, who thought of nothing less than such an Entertainment.
Some have commended this Act, as brave, in the Captain; but I will spare my Sence of it, and leave it to my Reader, to judge as he pleases.
It may be easily guess'd, in what manner the Prince resented this Indignity, who may be best resembl'd to a Lion taken in a Toil; so he rag'd, so he struggl'd for Liberty, but all in vain: and they had so wisely manag'd his Fetters, that he cou'd not use a Hand in his Defence, to quit himself of a Life that wou'd by no Means endure Slavery; nor cou'd he move from the Place, where he was ty'd, to any solid part of the Ship, against which he might have beat his Head, and have finish'd his Disgrace that way: So that being deprived of all other means, he resolved to perish for want of Food: And pleased at last with that Thought, and toil'd and tired by Rage and Indignation, he laid himself down, and sullenly resolved upon dying, and refused all things that were brought him.
This did not a little vex the Captain, and the more so, because, he found almost all of 'em of the same Humour; so that the loss of so many brave Slaves, so tall and goodly to behold, wou'd have been very considerable: He therefore order'd one to go from him (for he wou'd not be seen himself) to Oroonoko, and to assure him he was afflicted for having rashly done so unhospitable a Deed, and which cou'd not be now remedied, since they were far from shore; but since he resented it in so high a nature, he assur'd him he wou'd revoke his Resolution, and set both him and his Friends a-shore on the next land they shou'd touch at; and of this the Messenger gave him his Oath, provided he wou'd resolve to live: And Oroonoko, whose Honour was such as he never had violated a Word in his Life himself, much less a solemn Asseveration, believ'd in an instant what this Man said; but reply'd, He expected, for a Confirmation of this, to have his shameful Fetters dismiss'd. This Demand was carried to the Captain, who return'd him answer, That the Offence had been so great which he had put upon the Prince, that he durst not trust him with Liberty while he remained in the Ship, for fear lest by a Valour natural to him, and a Revenge that wou'd animate that Valour, he might commit some Outrage fatal to himself and the King his Master, to whom this Vessel did belong. To this Oroonoko replied, he wou'd engage his Honour to behave himself in all friendly Order and Manner, and obey the Command of the Captain, as he was Lord of the King's Vessel, and General of those Men under his Command.
This was deliver'd to the still doubting Captain, who cou'd not resolve to trust a Heathen he said, upon his Parole, a Man that had no sense or notion of the God that he Worshipp'd. Oroonoko then replied, He was very sorry to hear that the Captain pretended to the Knowledge and Worship of any Gods, who had taught him no better Principles, than not to Credit as he wou'd be Credited: but they told him the Difference of their Faith occasion'd that Distrust: For the Captain had protested to him upon the Word of a Christian, and sworn in the Name of a Great GOD; which if he should violate, he would expect eternal Torment in the World to come. Is that all the Obligation he has to be Just to his Oath? replied Oroonoko. Let him know, I Swear by my Honour, which to violate wou'd not only render me contemptible and despised by all brave and honest Men, and so give my self perpetual pain, but it wou'd be eternally offending and displeasing all Mankind, harming, betraying, circumventing, and outraging all Men. But Punishments hereafter are suffer'd by ones self; and the World takes no cognizances whether this God have revenged 'em, or not, 'tis done so secretly, and deferr'd so long: While the Man of no Honour, suffers every moment the scorn and contempt of the honester World, and dies every day ignominiously in his Fame, which is more valuable than Life: I speak not this to move Belief, but to shew you how you mistake, when you imagine, That he who will violate his Honour, will keep his Word with his Gods. So, turning from him with a disdainful smile, he refused to answer him, when he urg'd him to know what Answer he shou'd carry back to his Captain; so that he departed without saying any more.
The Captain pondering and consulting what to do, it was concluded that nothing but Oroonoko's Liberty wou'd encourage any of the rest to eat, except the French-man, whom the Captain cou'd not pretend to keep Prisoner, but only told him he was secured because he might act something in favour of the Prince, but that he shou'd be freed as soon as they came to Land. So that they concluded it wholly necessary to free the Prince from his Irons, that he might show himself to the rest; that they might have an Eye upon him, and that they cou'd not fear a single Man.
This being resolv'd, to make the Obligation the greater, the Captain himself went to Oroonoko; where, after many Compliments and Assurances of what he had already promis'd, he receiving from the Prince his Parole, and his Hand, for his good Behavior, dismiss'd his Irons, and brought him to his own Cabin; where, after having created and repos'd him a while, for he had neither eat nor slept in four Days before, he besought him to visit those obstinate People in Chains, who refus'd all manner of Sustenance; and entreated him to oblige 'em to eat, and assure 'em of that Liberty on the first Opportunity.
Oroonoko, who was too generous not to give Credit to his Words, shew'd himself to his People, who were transported with Excess of Joy at the sight of their Darling Prince; falling at his Feet, and kissing and embracing 'em; believing, as some Divine Oracle, all he assur'd 'em. But he besought 'em to bear their Chains with that Bravery that became those whom he had seen act so nobly in Arms; and that they cou'd not give him greater Proofs of their Love and Friendship, since 'twas all the Security the Captain (his Friend) cou'd have, against the Revenge, he said, they might possibly justly take, for the Injuries sustain'd by him. And they all, with one Accord, assur'd him, they cou'd not suffer enough, when it was for his Repose and Safety.
After this, they no longer refus'd to eat, but took what was brought 'em, and were pleas'd with their Captivity, since by it they hop'd to redeem the Prince, who, all the rest of the Voyage, was treated with all the Respect due to his Birth, though nothing cou'd divert his Melancholy; and he wou'd often sigh for Imoinda, and think this a Punishment due to his Misfortune, in having left that noble Maid behind him, that fatal Night, in the Otan, when he fled to the Camp.
Possess'd with a thousand Thoughts of past Joys with this fair young Person, and a thousand Griefs for her eternal Loss, he endur'd a tedious Voyage, and at last arriv'd at the Mouth of the River of Surinam, a Colony belonging to the King of England, and where they were to deliver some part of their Slaves. There the Merchants and Gentlemen of the country going on Board, to demand those Lots of Slaves they had already agreed on; and, amongst those, the Over-seers of those Plantations where I then chanc'd to be, the Captain, who had given the Word, order'd his Men to bring up those noble Slaves in Fetters, whom I have spoken of; and having put 'em, some in one, and some in other Lots, with Women and Children (which they call Pickaninnies) they sold 'em off, as Slaves, to several Merchants and Gentlemen; not putting any two in one Lot, because they wou'd separate 'em far from each other; not daring to trust 'em together, lest Rage and Courage shou'd put 'em upon contriving some great Action, to the Ruin of the Colony.
Oroonoko was first seiz'd on, and sold to our Over-seer, who had the first Lot, with seventeen more of all sorts and sizes, but not one of Quality with him. When he saw this, he found what they meant; for, as I said, he understood English pretty well; and being wholly unarm'd and defenceless, so as it was in vain to make any Resistance, he only beheld the Captain with a Look all fierce and disdainful, upbraiding him with Eyes, that forc'd Blushes on his guilty Cheeks, he only cry'd, in passing over the Side of the Ship, Farewell, Sir: 'Tis worth my Suffering to gain so true a Knowledge both of you and of your Gods by whom you swear. And desiring those that held him to forbear their pains, and telling 'em he wou'd make no Resistance, he cry'd, Come, my Fellow-Slaves; let us descend, and see if we can meet with more Honour and Honesty in the next World we shall touch upon. So he nimbly leap'd into the Boat, and shewing no more Concern, suffer'd himself to be row'd up the River, with his seventeen Companions.
The Gentleman that bought him was a young Cornish Gentleman, whose Name was Trefry; a Man of Great Wit, and fine Learning, and was carry'd into those Parts by the Lord-Governor, to manage all his Affairs. He reflecting on the last Words of Oroonoko to the Captain, and beholding the Richness of his Vest, no sooner came into the Boat, but he fix'd his Eyes on him; and finding something so extraordinary in his Face, his Shape and Mien, a Greatness of Look, and Haughtiness in his Air, and finding he spoke English, had a great mind to be inquiring into his Quality and Fortune; which, though Oroonoko endeavour'd to hide, by only confessing he was above the Rank of common Slaves, Trefry soon found he was yet something greater than he confess'd; and from that Moment began to conceive so vast an Esteem for him, that he ever after lov'd him as his dearest Brother, and shew'd him all the Civilities due to so great a Man.
Trefry was a very good Mathematician, and a Linguist; cou'd speak French and Spanish; and in the three Days they remain'd in the Boat (for so long were they going from the Ship to the Plantation) he entertain'd Oroonoko so agreeably with his Art and Discourse, that he was no less pleas'd with Trefry, than he was with the Prince; and he thought himself, at least, fortunate in this, that since he was a Slave, as long as he wou'd suffer himself to remain so, he had a Man of so excellent Wit and Parts for a Master: So that before they had finish'd their Voyage up the River, he made no scruple of declaring to Trefry all his Fortunes, and most part of what I have here related, and put himself wholly into the Hands of his new Friend, whom he found resenting all the Injuries were done him, and was charm'd with all the Greatnesses of his Actions; which were recited with that Modesty, and delicate Sence, as wholly vanquish'd him, and subdu'd him to his Interest. And he promis'd him on his Word and Honour, he wou'd find the Means to re-conduct him to his own Country again: Assuring him, he had a perfect Abhorrence of so dishonourable an Action; and that he wou'd sooner have dy'd than have been the Author of such a Perfidy. He found the Prince was very much concern'd to know what became of his Friends, and how they took their Slavery; and Trefry promis'd to take care about the enquiring after their Condition, and that he shou'd have an Account of 'em.
Though, as Oroonoko afterwards said, he had little Reason to credit the Words of a Backearay, yet he knew not why; but he saw a kind of Sincerity and awful Truth in the Face of Trefry; he saw an Honesty in his Eyes, and he found him wise and witty enough to understand Honour: for it was one of his Maxims, A man of wit cou'd not be a Knave or Villain.
In their Passage up the River they put in at several Houses for Refreshment; and ever when they landed, numbers of People wou'd flock to behold this man; not but their Eyes were daily entertain'd with the sight of Slaves, but the Fame of Oroonoko was gone before him, and all People were in Admiration of his Beauty. Besides, he had a rich Habit on, in which he was taken, so different from the rest, and which the Captain cou'd not strip him of, because he was forc'd to surprize his Person in the Minute he sold him. When he found his Habit made him liable, as he thought, to be gaz'd at the more, he begg'd Trefry to give him something more befitting a Slave; which he did, and took off his Robes. Nevertheless he shone through all, and his Osenbrigs (a sort of brown Holland Suit he had on) cou'd not conceal the Graces of his Looks and Mien; and he had no less Admirers, than when he had his dazeling Habit on: The Royal Youth appear'd in spite of the Slave, and People cou'd not help treating him after a different manner, without designing it: As soon as they approach'd him, they venerated and esteem'd him; his Eyes insensibly commanded Respect, and his Behaviour insinuated it into every Soul. So that there was nothing talk'd of but this young and gallant Slave, even by those who yet knew not that he was a Prince.
I ought to tell you that the Christians never buy any Slaves but they give 'em some Name of their own, their native ones being likely very barbarous, and hard to pronounce; so that Mr. Trefry gave Oroonoko that of Cæsar; which Name will live in that Country as long as that (scarce more) glorious one of the great Roman; for 'tis most evident, he wanted no part of the Personal Courage of that Cæsar, and acted things as memorable, had they been done in some part of the World replenish'd with People and Historians that might have given him his due. But his Mis-fortune was to fall in an obscure World, that afforded only a Female Pen to celebrate his Fame; though I doubt not but it had liv'd from others Endeavours if the Dutch, who, immediately after his Time, took that Country, had not kill'd, banish'd, and dispers'd all those that were capable of giving the World this great Man's Life much better than I have done. And Mr. Trefry, who design'd it, dy'd before he began it, and bemoan'd himself for not having undertook it in time.
For the future, therefore, I must call Oroonoko Cæsar, since by that Name only he was known in our Western World, and by that Name he was receiv'd on Shoar at Parham-House, where he was destin'd a Slave. But if the King himself (God bless him) had come a-shore, there cou'd not have been greater Expectation by all the whole Plantation, and those neighbouring ones, than was on ours at that time; and he was receiv'd more like a Governor than a Slave. Notwithstanding, as the Custom was, they assign'd him his Portion of Land, his House, and his Business up in the Plantation. But as it was more for Form, than any Design, to put him to his Task, he endur'd no more of the Slave but the Name, and remain'd some Days in the House, receiving all Visits that were made him, without stirring towards that part of the Plantation where the Negroes were.
At last, he wou'd needs go view his Land, his House, and the Business assign'd him. But he no sooner came to the Houses of the Slaves, which are like a little Town by itself, the Negroes all having left Work, but they all came forth to behold him, and found he was that Prince who had, at several times, sold most of 'em to these Parts; and from a Veneration they pay to great Men, especially if they know 'em, and from the Surprize and Awe they had at the sight of him, they all cast themselves at his Feet, crying out, in their Language, Live, O King! Long live, O King! And kissing his Feet, paid him even Divine Homage.
Several English Gentlemen were with him; and what Mr. Trefry had told 'em was here confirm'd; of which he himself before had no other Witness than Cæsar himself: But he was infinitely glad to find his Grandure confirm'd by the Adoration of all the Slaves.
Cæsar, troubl'd with their Over-joy and Over-Ceremony, besought 'em to rise, and to receive him as their Fellow-Slave; assuring them, he was no better. At which they set up with one Accord a most terrible and hideous Mourning and condoling, which he and the English had much a-do to appease; but at last they prevail'd with 'em, and they prepar'd all their barbarous Musick, and every one kill'd and dress'd something of his own Stock (for every Family has their Land apart, on which, at their leisure-times, they breed all eatable things;) and clubbing it together, made a most magnificent Supper, inviting their Grandee Captain, their Prince, to Honour it with his Presence; which he did, and several English with him; where they all waited on him, some playing, others dancing before him all the time, according to the Manners of their several Nations; and with unwearied Industry endeavouring to please and delight him.
While they sat at meat, Mr. Trefry told Cæsar that most of these young Slaves were undone in Love, with a fine she Slave, whom they had had about Six Months on their Land; the Prince, who never heard the Name of Love without a Sigh, nor any mention of it without the Curiosity of examining further into that tale, which of all Discourses was most agreeable to him, asked, how they came to be so Unhappy, as to be all Undone for one fair Slave? Trefry, who was naturally Amorous, and lov'd to talk of Love as well as any body, proceeded to tell him, they had the most charming Black that ever was beheld on their Plantation, about Fifteen or Sixteen years old, as he guest; that, for his part, he had done nothing but Sigh for her ever since she came; and that all the white Beauties he had seen, never charm'd him so absolutely as this fine Creature had done; and that no Man, of any Nation, ever beheld her, that did not fall in Love with her; and that she had all the Slaves perpetually at her Feet; and the whole Country resounded with the Fame of Clemene, for so said he, we have Christen'd her: But she denys us all with such a noble Disdain, that 'tis a Miracle to see, that she, who can give such eternal Desires, shou'd herself be all Ice, and all Unconcern. She is adorn'd with the most Graceful Modesty that ever beautifyed Youth; the softest Sigher - that, if she were capable of Love, one would swear she languish'd for some absent happy Man; and so retir'd, as if she fear'd a Rape even from the God of Day; or that the Breezes would steal Kisses from her delicate Mouth. Her Task of Work, some sighing Lover every day makes it his Petition to perform for her; which she accepts blushing, and with reluctancy, for fear he will ask her a Look for a Recompence, which he dares not presume to hope; so great an Awe she strikes into the Hearts of her Admirers. I do not wonder, replied the Prince, that Clemene shou'd refuse Slaves, being as you say, so Beautiful; but wonder how she escapes those who can entertain her as you can do; or why, being your Slave, you do not oblige her to yield. I confess, said Trefry, when I have, against her will, entertain'd her with Love so long as to be transported with my Passion even above Decency, I have been ready to make use of those advantages of Strength and Force Nature has given me. But oh! she disarms me with that Modesty and Weeping, so tender and so moving, that I retire, and thank my Stars she overcame me. The Company laught at his Civility to a Slave, and Cæsar only applauded the nobleness of his Passion and Nature, since that Slave might be Noble, or, what was better, have true Notions of Honour and Vertue in her. Thus past they this Night, after having received from the Slaves all imaginable Respect and Obedience.
The next Day, Trefry ask'd Cæsar to walk, when the heat was allay'd, and designedly carried him by the Cottage of the fair Slave; and told him, she whom he spoke of last Night liv'd there retir'd. But, says he, I would not wish you to approach, for, I am sure, you will be in Love as soon as you behold her. Cæsar assur'd him, he was proof against all the Charms of that Sex; and that if he imagin'd his Heart cou'd be so perfidious to Love again, after Imoinda, he believ'd he shou'd tear it from his Bosom: They had no sooner spoke, but a little shock Dog, that Clemene had presented her, which she took great Delight in, ran out; and she, not knowing any body was there, ran to get it in again, and bolted out on those who were just Speaking of her. When seeing them, she wou'd have run in again, but Trefry caught her by the Hand, and cry'd, Clemene, However you fly a Lover, you ought to pay some Respect to this Stranger: (pointing to Cæsar). But she, as if she had resolv'd never to raise her Eyes to the Face of a Man again, bent 'em the more to the Earth, when he spoke, and gave the Prince the Leasure to look the more at her. There needed no long Gazing, or Consideration, to examine who this fair Creature was; he soon saw Imoinda all over her; in a Minute he saw her Face, her Shape, her Air, her Modesty, and all that call'd forth his Soul with Joy at his Eyes, and left his Body destitute of almost Life; it stood without Motion, and, for a Minute, knew not that it had a Being; and, I believe, he had never come to himself, so opprest he was with over-Joy, if he had not met with this Allay, that he perceiv'd Imoinda fall dead in the Hands of Trefry: this awaken'd him, and he ran to her aid, and caught her in his Arms, where, by degrees, she came to herself; and 'tis needless to tell with what transports, what extasies of Joy, they both a while beheld each other, without Speaking; then Snatcht each other to their Arms; then Gaze again, as if they still doubted whether they possess'd the Blessing: They Graspt, but when they recovered their Speech, 'tis not to be imagin'd, what tender things they exprest to each other; wondering what strange Fate had brought them again together. They soon inform'd each other of their Fortunes, and equally bewail'd their Fate; but, at the same time, they mutually protested, that even Fetters and Slavery were Soft and Easy, and wou'd be supported with Joy and Pleasure, while they cou'd be so happy to possess each other, and be able to make good their Vows. Cæsar swore he disdain'd the Empire of the World, while he cou'd behold his Imoinda; and she despis'd Grandure and Pomp, those Vanities of her Sex, when she cou'd Gaze on Oroonoko. He ador'd the very Cottage where she resided, and said, That little Inch of the World wou'd give him more Happiness than all the Universe cou'd do; and she vow'd, It was a Palace, while adorn'd with the presence of Oroonoko.
Trefry was infinitely pleas'd with this Novel, and found this Clemene was the Fair Mistress of whom Cæsar had before spoke; and was not a little satisfi'd, that Heaven was so kind to the Prince, as to sweeten his Misfortunes by so lucky an Accident; and leaving the Lovers to themselves, was impatient to come down to Parham House (which was on the same Plantation) to give me an Account of what had hapned. I was as impatient to make these Lovers a Visit, having already made a Friendship with Cæsar, and from his own Mouth learn'd what I have related, which was confirm'd by his French-man, who was set on Shore to seek his Fortune, and of whom they cou'd not make a Slave, because a Christian; and he came daily to Parham Hill to see and pay his Respects to his Puple Prince: So that concerning and interesting my self in all that related to Cæsar, whom I had assur'd of Liberty, as soon as the Governor arriv'd, I hasted presently to the Place where these Lovers were, and was infinitely glad to find this Beautiful young Slave (who had already gain'd all our Esteems, for her Modesty and her extraordinary Prettiness) to be the same I had heard Cæsar speak so much off. One may imagine then, we paid her a treble Respect; and though from her being carv'd in fine Flowers and Birds all over her Body, we took her to be of Quality before, yet, when we knew Clemene was Imoinda, we cou'd not enough admire her.
I had forgot to tell you, that those who are Nobly born of that Country, are so delicately Cut and Rac'd all over the fore-part of the Trunk of their Bodies, that it looks as if it were Japan'd, the Works being raised like high Poynt round the Edges of the Flowers: Some are only Carv'd with a little Flower, or Bird, at the Sides of the Temples, as was Cæsar; and those who are so Carv'd over the Body, resemble our Ancient Picts, that are figur'd in the Chronicles, but these Carvings are more delicate.
From that happy Day Cæsar took Clemene for his Wife, to the general Joy of all People; and there was as much Magnificence as the Country wou'd afford at the Celebration of this Wedding: and in a very short time after she conceiv'd with Child, which made Cæsar even adore her, knowing he was the last of his Great Race. This new Accident made him more Impatient of Liberty, and he was every Day treating with Trefry for his and Clemene's Liberty; and offer'd either Gold, or a vast quantity of Slaves, which shou'd be paid before they let him go, provided he cou'd have any Security that he shou'd go when his Ransom was paid: They fed him from Day to Day with Promises, and delay'd him, till the Lord Governor shou'd come; so that he began to suspect them of falshood, and that they wou'd delay him till the time of his Wives delivery, and make a Slave of that too, For all the Breed is theirs to whom the Parents belong: This Thought made him very uneasy, and his Sullenness gave them some Jealousies of him; so that I was oblig'd, by some Persons who fear'd a Mutiny (which is very Fatal sometimes in those Colonies, that abound so with Slaves, that they exceed the Whites in vast Numbers), to discourse with Cæsar, and to give him all the Satisfaction I possibly cou'd; they knew he and Clemene were scarce an Hour in a Day from my Lodgings; that they eat with me, and that I oblig'd 'em in all things I was capable of: I entertain'd them with the Lives of the Romans, and great Men, which charm'd him to my Company; and her, with teaching her all the pretty Works that I was Mistress off; and telling her Stories of Nuns, and endeavouring to bring her to the knowledge of the true God. But of all Discourses, Cæsar lik'd that the worst, and wou'd never be reconcil'd to our Notions of the Trinity, of which he ever made a Jest; it was a Riddle, he said, wou'd turn his Brain to conceive, and one cou'd not make him understand what Faith was. However, these Conversations fail'd not altogether so well to divert him, that he lik'd the Company of us Women much above the Men, for he cou'd not Drink; and he is but an ill Companion in that Country that cannot: So that obliging him to love us very well, we had all the Liberty of Speech with him, especially my self, whom he call'd his Great Mistress; and indeed my Word wou'd go a great way with him. For these Reasons, I had Opportunity to take notice to him, that he was not well pleas'd of late, as he us'd to be; was more retir'd and thoughtful; and told him, I took it Ill he shou'd Suspect we wou'd break our words with him, and not permit both him and Clemene to return to his own Kingdom, which was not so long a way, but when he was once on his Voyage he wou'd quickly arrive there. He made me some Answers that shew'd a doubt in him, which made me ask him, what advantage it wou'd be to doubt? it wou'd but give us a Fear of him, and possibly compel us to treat him so as I shou'd be very loath to behold: that is, it might occasion his Confinement. Perhaps this was not so Luckily spoke of me, for I perceiv'd he resented that Word, which I strove to Soften again in vain: However, he assur'd me, that whatsoever Resolutions he shou'd take, he wou'd Act nothing upon the White-People; and as for my self, and those upon that Plantation where he was, he wou'd sooner forfeit his eternal Liberty, and Life itself, than lift his Hand against his greatest Enemy on that Place: he besought me to suffer no Fears upon his Account, for he cou'd do nothing that Honour shou'd not dictate; but he accus'd himself for having suffer'd Slavery so long; yet he charg'd that weakness on Love alone, who was capable of making him neglect even Glory it self; and, for which, now he reproaches himself every moment of the Day. Much more to this effect he spoke, with an Air impatient enough to make me know he wou'd not be long in Bondage; and though he suffer'd only the Name of a Slave, and had nothing of the Toil and Labour of one, yet that was sufficient to render him Uneasy; and he had been too long Idle, who us'd to be always in Action, and in Arms. He had a Spirit all Rough and Fierce, and that cou'd not be tam'd to lazy Rest; and though all endeavours were us'd to exercise himself in such Actions and Sports as this World afforded, as Running, Wrastling, Pitching the Bar, Hunting and Fishing, Chasing and Killing tigers of a monstrous Size, which this Continent affords in abundance, and wonderful Snakes, such as Alexander is reported to have incounter'd at the River of Amazons, and which Cæsar took great Delight to overcome; yet these were not Actions great enough for his large Soul, which was still panting after more renown'd Actions.
Before I parted that Day with him, I got, with much ado, a Promise from him to rest, yet a little longer with Patience, and wait the coming of the Lord Governor, who was every Day expected on our Shore; he assured me he wou'd, and this Promise he desired me to know was given perfectly in Complaisance to me, in whom he had an entire Confidence.
After this, I neither thought it convenient to trust him much out of our View, nor did the Country, who fear'd him; but with one accord it was advis'd to treat him Fairly, and oblige him to remain within such a compass, and that he shou'd be permitted, as seldom as cou'd be, to go up to the Plantations of the negroes; or, if he did, to be accompani'd by some that shou'd be rather in appearance Attendants than Spies. This Care was for some time taken, and Cæsar look'd upon it as a Mark of extraordinary Respect, and was glad his discontent had oblig'd 'em to be more observant to him; he receiv'd new assurance from the Overseer, which was confirm'd to him by the Opinion of all the Gentlemen of the Country, who made their court to him. During this time that we had his Company more frequently than hitherto we had had, it may not be unpleasant to relate to you the Diversions we entertain'd him with, or rather he us.
My stay was to be short in that Country; because my Father dy'd at Sea, and never arriv'd to possess the Honour design'd him (which was Lieutenant-General of Six and thirty Islands, besides the Continent of Surinam) nor the advantages he hop'd to reap by them; so that though we were oblig'd to continue on our Voyage, we did not intend to stay upon the Place: Though, in a Word, I must say thus much of it, That certainly had his late Majesty, of sacred Memory, but seen and known what a vast and charming World he had been Master off in that Continent, he wou'd never have parted so Easily with it to the Dutch. 'Tis a Continent whose vast Extent was never yet known, and may contain more Noble Earth than all the Universe besides; for, they say, it reaches from East to West one way as far as China, and another to Peru: it affords all things both for Beauty and Use; 'tis there Eternal Spring, always the very Months of April, May, and June; the Shades are perpetual, the Trees bearing at once all degrees of Leaves and Fruit, from blooming Buds to ripe Autumn: Groves of Oranges, Lemons, Citrons, Figs, Nutmegs, and noble Aromaticks, continually bearing their Fragrancies. The Trees appearing all like Nosegays adorn'd with Flowers of different kind; some are all White, some Purple, some Scarlet, some Blue, some Yellow; bearing, at the same time, Ripe Fruit and Blooming Young, or producing every Day new. The very Wood of all these Trees has an intrinsick Value above common Timber; for they are, when cut, of different Colours, glorious to behold,; and bear a Price considerable, to inlay withal. Besides this, they yield rich Balm and Gums; so that we make our Candles of such an Aromatick Substance, as does not only give a sufficient Light, but, as they Burn, they cast their Perfumes all about. Cedar is the common Firing, and all the Houses are built with it. The very Meat we eat, when set on the Table, if it be Native, I mean of the Country, perfumes the whole Room; especially a little Beast call'd an Armadilly, a thing which I can liken to nothing so well as a Rhinoceros; 'tis all in white Armor, so joynted, that it moves as well in it as if it had nothing on; this Beast is about the bigness of a Pig of Six Weeks old. But it were endless to give an Account of all the divers Wonderfull and Strange things that cCountry affords, and which we took a very great Delight to go in search of; though those adventures are oftentimes Fatal, and at least Dangerous: but while we had Cæsar in our Company on these Designs, we fear'd no harm, nor suffer'd any.
As soon as I came into the Country, the best House in it was presented me, call'd St. John's Hill. It stood on a vast Rock of white Marble, at the Foot of which the River ran a vast depth down, and not to be descended on that side; the little Waves still dashing and washing the foot of this Rock, made the softest Murmurs and Purlings in the World; and the Oposite Bank was adorn'd with such vast quantities of different Flowers eternally Blowing, and every Day and Hour new, fenc'd behind 'em with lofty Trees of a Thousand rare Forms and Colours, that the Prospect was the most raving that Sands can create. On the Edge of this white Rock, towards the River, was a Walk or Grove of Orange and Lemon Trees, about half the length of the Marl hear; whose Flowery and Fruity bare Branches meet at the top, and hinder'd the Sun, whose Rays are very fierce there, from entering a Beam into the Grove; and the cool Air that came from the River made it not only fit to entertain People in, at all the hottest Hours of the Day, but refresh'd the sweet Blossoms, and made it always Sweet and Charming; and sure, the whole Globe of the World cannot show so delightful a Place as this Grove was: Not all the Gardens of boasted Italy can produce a Shade to outvie this, which Nature had joyn'd with Art to render so exceeding Fine; and 'tis a marvel to see how such vast Trees, as big as English Oaks, cou'd take footing on so solid a Rock, and in so little Earth, as cover'd that Rock; but all things by Nature there are Rare, Delightful, and Wonderful. But to our Sports;
Sometimes we wou'd go surprizing, and in search of young Tigers in their Dens, watching when the old Ones went forth to forage for Prey; and oftentimes we have been in great Danger, and have fled apace for our Lives, when surpriz'd by the Dams. But once, above all other times, we went on this Design, and Cæsar was with us; who had no sooner stol'n a young Tiger from her Nest, but going off, we incounter'd the Dam, bearing a Buttock of a Cow, which he had torn off with his mighty Paw, and going with it towards his Den; we had only four Women, Cæsar, and an English Gentleman, Brother to Harry Martin, the great Oliverian; we found there was no escaping this inrag'd and ravenous Beast. However, we Women fled as fast as we cou'd from it; but our Heels had not sav'd our Lives if Cæsar had not laid down his Cub, when he found the Tiger quit her Prey to make more speed towards him; and taking Mr. Martin's Sword, desir'd to stand aside, or follow the Ladies. He obey'd him, and Cæsar met this monstrous Beast of might, size and vast Limbs, who came with open Jaws upon him; and fixing his awful stern Eyes full upon those of the Beast, and putting himself into a very steady and good aiming posture of Defence, ran his Sword quite through his Breast down to his very Heart, home to the Hilt of the Sword: the dying Beast stretch'd forth her paw, and going to grasp his Thigh, surpris'd with Death in that very moment, did him no other harm than fixing her long Nails in his Flesh very deep, feebly wounded him, but cou'd not grasp the Flesh to tear off any. When he had done this, he hollow'd to us to return: which, after some assurance of his Victory, we did, and found him lugging out the Sword from the Bosom of the Tiger, who was laid in her Bloud on the Ground; he took up the Cub, and with an unconcern that had nothing of the Joy or Gladness of a Victory, he came and laid the Whelp at my Feet: We all extreamly wonder'd at his Daring, and at the Bigness of the Beast, which was about the highth of an Heifer, but of mighty great and strong Limbs.
Another time being in the Woods, he kill'd a Tiger, which had long infested that part, and borne away abundance of Sheep and Oxen, and other things, that were for the support of those to whom they belong'd; abundance of People assail'd this Beast, some affirming they had shot her with several Bullets quite through the Body, at several times; and some swearing they shot her through the very Heart, and they believ'd she was a Devil rather than a Mortal thing. Cæsar, had often said, he had a mind to encounter this Monster, and spoke with several Gentlemen who had attempted her; one crying, I shot her with so many poyson'd Arrows, another with his Gun in this part of her, and another in that; so that he remarking all these Places where she was shot, fancy'd still he shou'd overcome her, by giving her another sort of a Wound than any had yet done; and one day said (at the Table), What Trophies and Garlands Ladies will you make me, if I bring you home the Heart of this Ravenous Beast, that eats up all your Lambs and Pigs? We all promis'd he shou'd be rewarded at all our Hands. So taking a Bow, which he chus'd out of a great many, he went up in the Wood, with two Gentlemen, where he imagin'd this Devourer to be; they had not past very far in it, but they heard her Voice, growling and grumbling, as if she were pleas'd with something she was doing. When they came in view they found her muzzling in the Belly of a new ravish'd Sheep, which she had torn open; and seeing herself approach'd, she took fast hold of her Prey with her fore Paws, and set a very fierce raging Look on Cæsar, without offering to approach him; for fear, at the same time, of loosing what she had in Possession. So that Cæsar remain'd a good while, only taking aim, and getting an opportunity to shoot her where he design'd; 'twas some time before he cou'd accomplish it; and to wound her, and not kill her, wou'd but have enrag'd her the more, and indanger'd him. He had a Quiver of Arrows at his side, so that if one fail'd, he cou'd be supply'd; at last, retiring a little, he gave her opportunity to eat, for he found she was Ravenous, and fell too as soon as she saw him retire, being more eager of her Prey than of doing new Mischiefs. When he going softly to one side of her, and hiding his Person behind certain Herbage that grew high and thick, he took so good aim, that, as he intended, he shot her just into the Eye, and the Arrow was sent with so good a will, and so sure a hand, that it stuck in her Brain, and made her caper, and become mad for a moment or two; but being seconded by another Arrow, she fell dead upon the Prey: Cæsar cut him Open with a knife, to see where those Wounds were that had been reported to him, and why he did not Die of 'em. But I shall now relate a thing that possibly will find no Credit among Men; because 'tis a Notion commonly receiv'd with us, That nothing can receive a Wound in the Heart and Live; but when the Heart of this courageous Animal was taken out, there were Seven Bullets of Lead in it, and the Wounds seam'd up with great Scars, and she liv'd with the Bullets a great while, for it was long since they were shot: This Heart the Conqueror brought up to us, and 'twas a very great Curiosity, which all the Country came to see; and which gave Cæsar occasion of many fine Discourses; of Accidents in War and Strange Escapes.
At other times he wou'd go a Fishing; and discoursing on that Diversion, he found we had in that Country a very Strange Fish, call'd a Numb Eel, (an Eel of which I have eaten) that while it is alive, it has a quality so Cold, that those who are Angling, though with a Line of never so great a length, with a Rod at the end of it, it shall, in the same minute the Bait is touched by this Eel, seize him or her that holds the Rod with benumb'dness, that shall deprive 'em of Sense, for a while; and some have fall'n into the Water, and others drop'd as dead on the Banks of the Rivers where they stood, as soon as this Fish touches the Bait. Cæsar us'd to laugh at this, and believ'd it impossible a Man cou'd loose his Force at the touch of a Fish; and cou'd not understand that Philosophy, that a cold Quality shou'd be of that Nature: However, he had a great Curiosity to try whether it wou'd have the same effect on him it had on others, and often try'd, but in vain; at last, the sought for Fish came to the Bait, as he stood Angling on the Bank; and instead of throwing away the Rod, or giving it a sudden twitch out of the Water, whereby he might have caught both the Eel, and have dismist the Rod, before it cou'd have too much Power over him; for Experiment sake, he grasp'd it but the harder, and fainting fell into the River; and being still possest of the Rod, the Tide carry'd him, senseless as he was a great way till an Indian Boat took him up; and perceiv'd, when they touch'd him, a Numbness seize them, and by that knew the Rod was in his Hand; which with a Paddle (that is, a short Oar) they struck away, and snatch'd it into the Boat, Eel and all. If Cæsar were almost Dead, with the effect of this Fish, he was more so with that of the Water, where he had remain'd the space of going a League; and they found they had much a-do to bring him back to Life: But, at last, they did, and brought him home, where he was in a few Hours well Recover'd and Refresh'd, and not a little Asham'd to find he shou'd be overcome by an Eel; and that all the People who heard his Defiance, wou'd Laugh at him. But we cheared him up; and he, being convinc'd, we had the Eel at Supper, which was a quarter of an Ell about, and most delicate Meat; and was of the more Value, since it cost so Dear, as almost the Life of so gallant a Man.
About this time we were in many mortal Fears about some Disputes the English had with the Indians; so that we cou'd scarce trust our selves, without great Numbers, to go to any Indian Towns, or Place, where they abode; for fear they shou'd fall upon us, as they did immediately after my coming away; and that it was in the possession of the Dutch, who us'd 'em not so civilly as the English; so that they cut in pieces all they cou'd take, getting into Houses, and hanging up the Mother and all her Children about her; and cut a Footman, I left behind me, all in Joynts, and nail'd him to Trees.
This feud began while I was there; so that I lost half the satisfaction I propos'd, in not seeing and visiting the Indian Towns. But one Day, bemoaning of our Misfortunes upon this account, Cæsar told us, we need not Fear; for if we had a mind to go, he wou'd undertake to be our Guard: Some wou'd, but most wou'd not venture; about Eighteen of us resolv'd, and took Barge; and after Eight Days, arriv'd near an Indian Town: But approaching it, the Hearts of some of our Company fail'd, and they wou'd not venture on Shore; so we Poll'd, who wou'd, and who wou'd not: For my part, I said, if Cæsar wou'd, I wou'd go. He resolv'd; so did my Brother and my Woman, a Maid of good Courage. Now, none of us speaking the Language of the People, and imagining we shou'd have a half Diversion in Gazing only, and not knowing what they said, we took a Fisherman that liv'd at the Mouth of the River, who had been a long Inhabitant there, and oblig'd him to go with us: But because he was known to the Indians, as trading among 'em; and being, by long Living there, become a perfect Indian in Colour, we, who resolv'd to surprize 'em, by making 'em see something they never had seen (that is, White People), resolv'd only my self, my Brother, and woman shou'd go: so Cæsar, the Fisherman, and the rest, hiding behind some thick Reeds and Flowers, that grew in the Banks, let us pass on towards the Town, which was on the Bank of the River all along. A little distant from the Houses, or Huts, we saw some Dancing, others busy'd in fetching and carrying of Water from the River. They had no sooner spy'd us, but they set up a loud Cry, that frighted us at first; we thought it had been for those that shou'd Kill us, but it seems it was of Wonder and Amazement. They were all Naked; and we were Dress'd, so as is most commode for the hot Countries, very glittering and Rich; so that we appear'd extreamly fine: my own Hair was cut short, and I had a Taffaty Cap, with Black Feathers, on my Head; my Brother was in a Stuff Sute, with Silver Loops and Buttons, and abundance of Green Ribbon; this was all infinitely surprising to them, and because we saw them stand still, till we approach'd 'em, we took Heart and advanc'd, came up to 'em, and offer'd 'em our Hands; which they took, and look'd on us round about, calling still for more Company; who came swarming out, all wondering, and crying out Tepeeme; taking their Hair up in their Hands, and spreading it wide to those they call'd out too; as if they would say (as indeed it signify'd), Numberless Wonders, or not to be recounted, no more than to number the Hair of their Heads. By degrees they grew more bold, and from gazing upon us round, they touch'd us; laying their Hands upon all the Features of our Faces, feeling our Breasts and Arms, taking up one Petticoat, then wondering to see another; admiring our Shoes and Stockings, but more our Garters, which we gave 'em; and they ty'd about their Legs, being Lac'd with Silver Lace at the ends, for they much Esteem any shining things: In fine, we suffer'd 'em to survey us as they pleas'd, and we thought they wou'd never have done admiring us. When Cæsar, and the rest, saw we were receiv'd with such wonder, they came up to us; and finding the Indian Trader whom they knew, (for 'tis by these Fishermen, call'd Indian Traders, we hold a Commerce with 'em; for they love not to go far from home, and we never go to them), when they saw him therefore they set up a new Joy; and cry'd, in their Language, Oh! here's our Tiguamy, and we shall now know whether those things can speak: So advancing to him, some of 'em gave him their Hands, and cry'd, Amora Tiguamy, which is as much as, How do you, or Welcome, Friend; and all, with one din, began to gabble to him, and ask'd, If we had Sense, and Wit? if we cou'd talk of affairs of Life and War, as they cou'd do? if we cou'd Hunt, Swim, and do a thousand things they use? He answer'd 'em, We cou'd. Then they invited us into their Houses, and dress'd Venison and Buffelo for us; and, going out, gathered a Leaf of a Tree, call'd a Sarumbo Leaf, of Six Yards long, and spread it on the Ground for a Table-Cloth; and cutting another in pieces instead of Plates, setting us on little bow Indian Stools, which they cut out of one intire piece of Wood, and Paint, in a sort of Japan Work: They serve every one their Mess on these pieces of Leaves, and it was very good, but too high season'd with Pepper. When we had eat, my Brother, and I, took out our Flutes, and play'd to 'em, which gave 'em new Wonder; and I soon perceiv'd, by an admiration, that is natural to these People, and by the extream Ignorance and Simplicity of 'em, it were not difficult to establish any unknown or extravagant Religion among them; and to impose any Notions or Fictions upon 'em. For seeing a Kinsman of mine set some Paper a Fire, with a Burning-glass, a Trick they had never before seen, they were like to have Ador'd him for a God; and beg'd he wou'd give 'em the Characters or Figures of his Name, that they might oppose it against Winds and Storms; which he did, and they held it up in those Seasons, and fancy'd it had a Charm to conquer them; and kept it like a Holy Relique. They are very Superstitious, and call'd him the Great Peeie, that is Prophet. They show'd us their Indian Peeie, a Youth of about Sixteen Years old, as handsome as Nature cou'd make a Man. They consecrate a beautiful Youth from his Infancy, and all Arts are us'd to compleat him in the finest manner, both in Beauty and Shape: He is bred to all the little Arts and cunning they are capable of; to all the Legerdemain Tricks, and Slight of Hand, whereby he imposes upon the Rabble; and is both a Doctor in Physick and Divinity. And by these Tricks makes the Sick believe he sometimes eases their Pains; by drawing from the afflicted part little Serpents, or odd Flies, or Worms, or any Strange thing; and though they have besides undoubted good Remedies, for almost all their Diseases, they cure the patient more by Fancy than by Medicines; and make themselves Fear'd, Lov'd, and Reverenc'd. This young Peeie had a very young Wife, who seeing my Brother kiss her, came running and kiss'd me; after this, they kiss'd one another, and made it a very great Jest, it being so Novel; and new Admiration and Laughing went round the multitude, that they never will forget that Ceremony, never before us'd or known. Cæsar had a mind to see and talk with their War Captains, and we were conducted to one of their Houses; where we beheld several of the great Captains, who had been at Councel: But so frightful a Vision it was to see 'em no Fancy can create; no sad Dreams can represent so dreadful a Spectacle. For my part I took 'em for Hobgoblins, or Fiends, rather than Men; but however their Shapes appear'd, their Souls were very Humane and Noble; but some wanted their Noses, some their Lips, some both Noses and Lips, some their Ears, and others Cut through each Cheek, with long Slashes; through which their Teeth appear'd; they had several other formidable Wounds and Scars, or rather Dismemberings; they had Comitias, or little Aprons before 'em; and Girdles of Cotton, with their Knives naked, stuck in it; a Bow at their Backs, and a Quiver of Arrows on their Thighs; and most had Feathers on their Heads of divers Colours. They cry'd Amora Tigame to us, at our entrance, and were pleas'd we said as much to them; they seated us, and gave us Drink of the best Sort, and wonder'd as much as the others had done before, to see us. Cæsar was marveling as much at their Faces, wondering how they shou'd all be so Wounded in War; he was impatient to know how they all came by those frightful Marks of Rage or Malice, rather than Wounds got in Noble Battle. They told us, by our Interpreter, That when any War was waging, two Men, chosen out by some old Captain whose Fighting was past, and who cou'd only teach the Theory of War, these two Men were to stand in Competition for the Generalship, or Great War Captain; and being brought before the old Judges, now past Labour, they are ask'd, What they dare do to shew they are worthy to lead an Army? When he, who is first ask'd, making no Reply, Cuts off his Nose, and throws it contemptibly on the Ground; and the other does something to himself that he thinks surpasses him, and perhaps deprives himself of Lips and an Eye; so they Slash on till one gives out, and many have dy'd in this Debate. And it's by a passive Valour they shew and prove their Activity; a sort of Courage too Brutal to be applauded by our Black Hero; nevertheless, he express'd his Esteem of 'em.
In this Voyage Cæsar begot so good an understanding between the Indians and the English, that there were no more Fears, or Heart-burnings during our stay; but we had a perfect, open, and free Trade with 'em: Many things Remarkable, and worthy Reciting, we met with in this short Voyage; because Cæsar made it his Business to search out and provide for our Entertainment, especially to please his dearly Ador'd Imoinda, who was a sharer in all our Adventures; we being resolv'd to make her Chains as easy as we cou'd, and to Compliment the Prince in that manner that most oblig'd him.
As we were coming up again, we met with some >Indians of strange Aspects; that is, of a larger Size, and other sort of Features, than those of our Country; Our Indian Slaves that Row'd us, ask'd 'em some Questions; but they cou'd not understand us; but shew'd us a long Cotton String, with several Knots on it; and told us, they had been coming from the Mountains so many Moons as there were Knots, they were habited in Skins of a strange Beast, and brought along with 'em Bags of Gold Dust; which, as well as they cou'd give us to understand, came streaming in little small Chanels down the high Mountains, when the Rains fell; and offer'd to be the Convoy to any Body, or Persons, that wou'd go to the Mountains. We carry'd these Men up to Parham, where they were kept till the Lord Governour came: And because all the Country was mad to be going on this Golden Adventure, the Governour, by his Letters, commanded (for they sent some of the Gold to him) that a Guard shou'd be set at the Mouth of the River of Amazons, (a River so call'd, almost as broad as the River of Thames) and prohibited all People from going up that River, it conducting to those Mountains of Gold. But we going off for England before the Project was further prosecuted, and the Governour being drown'd in a Hurricane, either the Design dy'd or the Dutch have the Advantage of it: And 'tis to be bemoan'd what his Majesty lost by loosing that part of America.
Though this digression is a little from my Story, however since it contains some Proofs of the Curiosity and Daring of this great Man, I was content to omit nothing of his Character.
It was thus, for sometime we diverted him; but now Imoinda began to shew she was with Child, and did nothing but Sigh and Weep for the Captivity of her Lord, her Self, and the Infant yet Unborn; and believ'd, if it were so hard to gain the Liberty of Two, 'twou'd be more difficult to get that for Three. Her Griefs were so many Darts in the Great Heart of Cæsar, and taking his Opportunity one Sunday, when all the Whites were overtaken in Drink, as there were abundance of several Trades, and Slaves for Four Years, that Inhabited among the Negro Houses; and Sunday being their Day of Debauch (otherwise they were a sort of Spies upon Cæsar;) he went pretending out of Goodness to 'em, to Feast among 'em; and sent all his Musick, and order'd a great Treat for the whole Gang, about Three Hundred Negros; and about an Hundred and Fifty were able to bear Arms, such as they had, which were sufficient to do Execution with Spirits accordingly: for the English had none but rusty Swords, that no Strength cou'd draw from a Scabbard; except the People of particular Quality, who took care to Oyl 'em, and keep 'em in good Order: The Guns also, unless here and there one, or those newly carri'd from England, wou'd do no good or harm; for 'tis the Nature of that Country to Rust and Eat up Iron, or any Metals, but Gold and Silver. And they are very Unexpert at the Bow, which the Negros and the Indians are perfect Masters off.
Cæsar, having singl'd out these Men from the Women and Children, made an Harangue to 'em of the Miseries and Ignominies of Slavery; counting up all their Toyls and Sufferings, under such Loads, Burdens, and Drudgeries, as were fitter for Beasts than Men; Senseless Brutes, than Human Souls. He told 'em, it was not for Days, Months, or Years, but for Eternity; there was no end to be of their Misfortunes: They suffer'd not like Men who might find a Glory and Fortitude in Oppression; but like Dogs that lov'd the Whip and Bell, and fawn'd the more they were beaten: That they had lost the Divine Quality of Men, and were become insensible Asses, fit only to bear; nay, worse: an Ass, or Dog, or Horse, having done his Duty cou'd lie down in Retreat, and rise to Work again, and while he did his Duty indur'd no Stripes; but Men, Villanous, Senseless Men, such as they, Toyl'd on all the tedious Week till Black Friday; and then, whether they Work'd or not, whether they were Faulty or Meriting, they promiscuously, the Innocent with the Guilty, suffer'd the infamous Whip, the sordid Stripes, from their Fellow Slaves till their Blood trickled from all Parts of their Body; Blood, whose every drop ought to be Reveng'd with a Life of some of those Tyrants, that impose it. And why, said he, my dear Friends and Fellow-sufferers, shou'd we be Slaves to an unknown People? Have they Vanquish'd us Nobly in Fight? Have they Won us in Honourable Battel? And are we, by the chance of War, become their Slaves? This wou'd not anger a Noble Heart; this wou'd not animate a Souldiers Soul; no, but we are Bought and Sold like Apes, or Monkeys, to be the Sport of Women, Fools, and Cowards; and the Support of Rogues, Runagates, that have abandon'd their own Countries for Rapin, Murders, Theft, and Villanies: Do you not hear every Day how they upbraid each other with infamy of Life, below the Wildest Salvages; and shall we render Obedience to such a degenerate Race, who have no one Human Vertue left, to distinguish 'em from the vilest Creatures? Will you, I say, suffer the Lash from such Hands? They all Reply'd with one accord, No, no, no; Cæsar has spoke like a Great Captain, like a Great King.
After this he wou'd have proceeded, but was interrupted by a tall Negro of some more Quality than the rest, his Name was Tuscan; who Bowing at the Feet of Cæsar, cry'd, My Lord, we have listen'd with Joy and Attention to what you have said; and, were we only Men, wou'd follow so great a Leader through the World: But oh! consider, we are Husbands and Parents too, and have things more dear to us than Life; our Wives and Children, unfit for Travel in these unpassable Woods, Mountains, and Bogs. We have not only difficult Lands to overcome, but Rivers to Wade, and Monsters to Incounter; Ravenous Beasts of Prey - To this, Cæsar Reply'd, That Honour was the First Principle in Nature, that was to be Obey'd; but as no Man wou'd pretend to that, without all the Acts of Vertue, Compassion, Charity, Love, Justice, and Reason; he found it not inconsistent with that, to take equal Care of their Wives and Children, as they wou'd of themselves; and that he did not Design, when he led them to Freedom and Glorious Liberty, that they shou'd leave that better part of themselves to Perish by the Hand of the Tyrant's Whip: But if there were a Woman among them so degenerate from Love and Vertue, to chuse Slavery before the pursuit of her Husband, and with the hazard of her Life, to share with him in his Fortunes; that such a one ought to be Abandon'd, and left as a Prey to the common Enemy.
To which they all Agreed, - and Bowed. After this, he spoke of the Impassable Woods and Rivers; and convinc'd 'em, the more Danger, the more Glory. He told them that he had heard of one Hannibal a great Captain, had Cut his way through Mountains of solid Rocks; and shou'd a few Shrubs oppose them, which they cou'd Fire before 'em? No, 'twas a trifling Excuse to Men resolv'd to die, or overcome. As for Bogs, they are with a little Labour fill'd and harden'd; and the Rivers cou'd be no Obstacle, since they Swam by Nature, at least by Custom, from the First Hour of their Birth: That when the Children were Weary they must carry them by turns, and the Woods and their own Industry wou'd afford them Food. To this they all assented with Joy.
Tuscan then demanded, What he wou'd do? He said, they wou'd Travel towards the Sea; Plant a New Colony, and Defend it by their Valour; and when they cou'd find a Ship, either driven by stress of Weather, or guided by Providence that way, they wou'd Seize it, and make it a Prize, till it had Transported them to their own Countries; at least, they shou'd be made Free in his Kingdom, and be Esteem'd as his Fellow-sufferers, and Men that had the Courage, and the Bravery to attempt, at least, for Liberty; and if they Dy'd in the attempt, it wou'd be more brave than to Live in Perpetual Slavery.
They bow'd and kiss'd his Feet at this Resolution, and with one accord Vow'd to follow him to Death. And that Night was appointed to begin their March; they made it known to their Wives, and directed them to tie their Hamaca about their Shoulder, and under their Arm like a Scarf; and to lead their Children, that cou'd go, and carry those that cou'd not. The Wives, who pay an intire Obedience to their Husbands obey'd, and stay'd for 'em, where they were appointed: The Men stay'd but to furnish, themselves with what defensive Arms they cou'd get; and All met at the Rendezvous, where Cæsar made a new incouraging Speech to 'em, and led 'em out.
But as they cou'd not march far that Night, on Monday early, when the Overseers went to call 'em all together to go to Work, they were extreamly surpris'd, to find not one upon the Place, but all fled with what Baggage they had. You may imagine this News was not only suddenly spread all over the Plantation, but soon reach'd the Neighbouring ones; and we had by Noon about Six hundred Men, they call the Militia of the County, that came to assist us in the pursuit of the Fugitives: But never did one see so comical an Army march forth to War. The Men, of any fashion wou'd not concern themselves, though it were almost the common Cause; for such Revoltings are very ill Examples, and have very fatal Consequences oftentimes in many Colonies: but they had respect for Cæsar, and all hands were against the Parhamites, as they call'd those of Parham Plantation; because they did not, in the first place, love the Lord Governor; and secondly, they wou'd have it, that Cæsar was Ill us'd, and Baffl'd with; and 'tis not impossible but some of the best in the Country was of his Council in this Flight, and depriving us of all the Slaves; so that they of the better sort wou'd not meddle in the matter. The Deputy Governor, of whom I have had no great occasion to speak, and who was the most Fawning fair-tongu'd Fellow in the World, and one that pretended the most Friendship to Cæsar, was now the only violent Man against him; and though he had nothing, and so need fear nothing, yet talk'd and look'd bigger than any Man: He was a Fellow, whose Character is not fit to be mention'd with the worst of the Slaves. This Fellow wou'd lead his Army forth to meet Cæsar, or rather to pursue him; most of their Arms were of those sort of cruel Whips they call Cat with Nine Tails; some had rusty useless Guns for show; others old Basket-hilts, whose Blades had never seen the Light in this Age; and others had long Staffs, and Clubs. Mr. Trefry went along, rather to be a Mediator than a Conqueror, in such a Batail; for he foresaw, and knew, if by fighting they put the Negroes into dispair, they were a sort of sullen Fellows, that wou'd drown, or kill themselves, before they wou'd yield; and he advis'd that fair means was best: But Byam was one that abounded his own wit, and wou'd take his own Measures.
It was not hard to find these Fugitives; for as they fled, they were forc'd to fire and cut the woods before 'em: so that Night or Day they pursu'd 'em by the light they made, and by the path they had clear'd. But as soon as Cæsar found he was persu'd, he put himself in a Posture of Defence, placing all the Women and Children in the Reer; and himself, with Tuscan by his side, or next to him, all promising to Dye or Conquer. Incourag'd thus, they never stood to Parley, but fell on Pell-mell upon the English, and kill'd some, and wounded a good many; they having recourse to their Whips, as the best of their Weapons. And as they observ'd no Order, they perplex'd the Enemy so sorely, with Lashing 'em in the Eyes; and the Women and Children seeing their Husbands so treated, being of fearful Cowardly Dispositions, and hearing the English cry out, Yield, and Live! Yield and be Pardon'd; they all run in amongst their Husbands and Fathers, and hung about them, crying out, Yield, yield; and leave Cæsar to their Revenge; that by degrees the Slaves abandon'd Cæsar, and left him only Tuscan and his Heroick Imoinda, who, grown big as she was, did nevertheless press near her Lord, having a Bow, and a Quiver full of poyson'd Arrows, which she manag'd with such dexterity, that she wounded several, and shot the Governor into the Shoulder; of which Wound he had like to have Dy'd, but that an Indian Woman, his Mistress, suck'd the Wound, and cleans'd it from the Venom: But however, he stir'd not from the Place till he had Parly'd with Cæsar, who he found was resolv'd to dye Fighting, and wou'd not be Taken; no more wou'd Tuscan or Imoinda. But he, more thirsting after Revenge of another sort, than that of depriving him of Life, now made use of all his Art of talking and dissembling, and besought Cæsar to yield himself upon Terms, which he himself should propose, and should be Scarcely assented to and kept by him: He told him, It was not that he any longer feared him, or cou'd believe the force of Two Men, and a young Heroine, cou'd overcome all them, and with all the Slaves now on their side also; but it was the vast Esteem he had for his Person, the desire he had to serve so Gallant a Man, and to hinder himself from the Reproach hereafter of having been the occasion of the Death of a Prince, whose Valour and Magnanimity deserv'd the Empire of the World. He protested to him, he look'd upon this Action as Gallant and Brave, however tending to the prejudice of his Lord and Master, who wou'd by it have lost so considerable a number of Slaves; that this Flight of his shou'd be look'd on as a heat of Youth and a rashness of a too forward Courage, and an unconsider'd impatience of Liberty, and no more; and that he labour'd in vain to accomplish that which they wou'd effectually perform, as soon as any Ship arriv'd that wou'd touch on his Coast. So that if you will be pleas'd, continued he, to surrender your self, all imaginable Respect shall be paid you; and your Self, your Wife, and Child, if it be here born, shall depart free out of our land. But Cæsar wou'd hear of no Composition; though Byam urg'd, If he persu'd, and went on in his Design, he wou'd inevitably Perish, either by great Snakes, wild Beasts, or Hunger; and he ought to have regard to his Wife, whose Condition required ease, and not the fatigues of tedious Travel; where she cou'd not be secur'd from being devoured. But Cæsar told him, there was no Faith in the White Men, or the Gods they Ador'd; who instructed 'em in Principles so false, that honest Men cou'd not live amongst 'em; though no People profess'd so much, none perform'd so little; that he knew what he had to do, when he dealt with Men of Honour, but with them a Man ought to be eternally on his Guard, and never to Eat and Drink with Christians, without his Weapon of Defence in his Hand; and, for his own Security, never to credit one word they spoke. As for the rashness and inconsiderateness of his Action he wou'd confess the Governor is in the Right; and that he was asham'd of what he had done, in endeavouring to make those Free who were by Nature Slaves, poor wretch'd Rogues, fit to be us'd as Christians Tools; Dogs, treacherous and cowardly, fit for such Masters; and they wanted only but to be whipt into the knowledge of the Christian Gods to be the vilest of all creeping things; to learn to Worship such Deities as had not Power to make 'em Just, Brave, or Honest. In fine, after a thousand things of this Nature, not fit here to be recited, he told Byam he had rather Dye than Live upon the same Earth with such Dogs. But Trefry and Byam pleaded and protested together so much that Trefry, believing the Governor to mean what he said, and speaking very cordially himself, generously put himself into Cæsar's Hands, and took him aside, and perswaded him, even with Tears, to Live, by Surrendering himself, and to name his Conditions. Cæsar was overcome by his Wit and Reasons, and in consideration of Imoinda; and demanding what he desir'd, and that it shou'd be ratify'd by their Hands in Writing, because he had perceiv'd that was the common way of contract between Man and Man, amongst the Whites: All this was perform'd, and Tuscans Pardon was put in, and they surrender'd to the Governor, who walked peaceably down into the Plantation with 'em, after giving order to bury their dead. Cæsar was very much toyl'd with the bustle of the Day, for he had fought like a Fury; and what Mischief was done he and Tuscan perform'd alone; and gave their Enemies a fatal Proof that they durst do any thing, and fear'd no mortal Force.
But they were no sooner arriv'd at the Place, where all the Slaves receive their Punishments of Whipping, but they laid Hands on Cæsar and Tuscan, faint with heat and toyl; and, surprising them, Bound them to two several Stakes, and whipt them in a most deplorable and inhuman manner, rending the very Flesh from their Bones, especially Cæsar, who was not perceiv'd to make any Mone, or to alter his Face, only to roul his Eyes on the Faithless Governor, and those he believ'd Guilty, with Fierceness and Indignation; and to compleat his Rage, he saw every one of those Slaves, who but a few Days before, Ador'd him as something more than Mortal, now had a Whip to give him some Lashes, while he strove not to break his Fetters; though, if he had, it were impossible: But he pronounced a Woe and Revenge from his Eyes, that darted Fire, that 'twas at once both Awful and Terrible to behold.
When they thought they were sufficiently Reveng'd on him, they unty'd him, almost Fainting, with loss of Blood, from a thousand Wounds all over his Body; from which they had rent his Cloaths, and led him Bleeding and Naked as he was; and loaded him all over with Irons, and then rubbed his Wounds, to compleat their Cruelty, with Indian Pepper, which had like to have made him raving Mad; and, in this Condition made him so fast to the Ground that he cou'd not stir, if his Pains and Wounds wou'd have given him leave. They spar'd Imoinda, and did not let her see this Barbarity committed towards her Lord, but carry'd her down to Parham, and shut her up; which was not in kindness to her, but for fear she shou'd Dye with the Sight, or Miscarry; and then they shou'd loose a young Slave, and perhaps the Mother.
You must know, that when the News was brought on Monday Morning, that Cæsar had betaken himself to the Woods, and carry'd with him all the Negroes. We were possess'd with extream Fear, which no perswasions cou'd Dissipate, that he wou'd secure himself till Night, and then, that he wou'd come down and Cut all our Throats. This apprehension made all the Females of us fly down the River, to be secur'd; and while we were away, they acted this Cruelty: For I suppose I had Authority and Interest enough there, had I suspected any such thing, to have prevented it; but we had not gone many Leagues but the News overtook us that Cæsar was taken and whipt like a common Slave. We met on the River with Colonel Martin, a Man of great Gallantry, Wit, and Goodness, and whom I have celebrated in a Character of my new Comedy, by his own Name, in memory of so brave a Man: He was Wise and Eloquent, and, from the fineness of his Parts, bore a great Sway over the Hearts of all the Colony. He was a Friend to Cæsar, and resented this false Dealing with him very much. We carried him back to Parham, thinking to have made an Accommodation; when he came, the First News we heard was, that the Governor was Dead of a Wound Imoinda had given him; but it was not so well: But it seems, he wou'd have the Pleasure of beholding the Revenge he took on Cæsar; and before the cruel Ceremony was finish'd, he drop'd down; and then they perceiv'd the Wound he had on his Shoulder was by a venom'd Arrow, which, as I said, his Indian Mistress heal'd, by Sucking the Wound.
We were no sooner Arriv'd but we went up to the Plantation to see Cæsar; whom we found in a very Miserable and Unexpressable Condition; and I have a Thousand times admired how he liv'd, in so much tormenting Pain. We said all things to him, that Trouble, Pitty, and Good Nature cou'd suggest; Protesting our Innocency of the Fact, and our Abhorrence of such Cruelties. Making a Thousand Professions and Services to him, and Begging as many Pardons for the Offenders, till we said so much that he believ'd we had no Hand in his ill Treatment; but told us, he cou'd never Pardon Byam; as for Trefry, he confess'd he saw his Grief and Sorrow, for his Suffering, which he cou'd not hinder, but was like to have been beaten down by the very Slaves, for Speaking in his Defence: but for Byam, who was their Leader, their Head; - and shou'd, by his Justice, and Honor, have been an Example to 'em. - For him, he wish'd to Live, to take a dire Revenge of him, and said, It had been well for him, if he had Sacrific'd, me instead of giving me the contemptible Whip. He refus'd to Talk much, but Begging us to give him our Hands; he took 'em, and Protested never to lift up his, to do us any Harm. He had a great Respect for Colonel Martin, and always took his Counsel, like that of a Parent; and assur'd him, he wou'd obey him in any thing, but his Revenge on Byam. Therefore, said he, for his own Safety, let him speedily dispatch me; for if I cou'd dispatch my self, I wou'd not, till that Justice were done to my injur'd Person, and the contempt of a Souldier: No, I wou'd not kill my self, even after a Whiping, but will be content to live with that Infamy, and be pointed at by every grinning Slave, till I have compleated my Revenge; and then you shall see that Oroonoko scorns to live with the Indignity that was put on Cæsar. All we cou'd do cou'd get no more Words from him; and we took care to have him put immediately into a healing Bath, to rid him of his Pepper; and order'd a Chirurgeon to anoint him with healing Balm, which he suffer'd, and in some time he began to be able to Walk and Eat; we fail'd not to visit him every Day, and, to that end, had him brought to an apartment at Parham.
The Governor had no sooner recover'd, and had heard of the Menaces of Cæsar, but he call'd his Council, who (not to disgrace them, or Burlesque the Government there) consisted of such notorious Villains as Newgate never transported; and, possibly originally were such, who understood neither the Laws of God or Man, and had no sort of Principles to make 'em worthy the Name of Men: But at the very Council Table, wou'd Contradict and Fight with one another; and Swear so bloodily that 'twas terrible to hear and see 'em. (Some of 'em were afterwards Hang'd when the Dutch took possession of the place, others sent off in Chains). But calling these special Rulers of the Nation together, and requiring their Counsel in this weighty Affair, they all concluded, that (Damn 'em) it might be their own Cases; and that Cæsar ought to be made an Example to all the Negroes, to fright 'em from daring to threaten their Betters, their Lords and Masters: and, at this rate, no Man was safe from his own Slaves; and concluded, nemine contradicente that Cæsar shou'd be Hang'd.
Trefry then thought it time to use his Authority, and told Byam his Command did not extend to his Lord's Plantation; and that Parham was as much exempt from the Law as White-hall; and that they ought no more to touch the Servants of the Lord - (who there represented the King's Person) than they cou'd those about the King himself; and that Parham was a Sanctuary; and though his Lord were absent in Person, his Power was still in Being there, which he had intrusted with him, as far as the Dominions of his particular Plantations reach'd, and all that belong'd to it; the rest of the Country, as Byam was Lieutenant to his Lord, he might exercise his Tyrany upon. Trefry had others as powerful, or more, that interested themselves in Cæsar's Life, and absolutely said, He shou'd be Defended. So turning the Governor, and his wise Council, out of Doors, (for they sate at Parham-house), they set a Guard upon our Lading Place, and wou'd admit none but those we call'd Friends to us and Cæsar.
The Governor having remain'd wounded at Parham, till his recovery was compleated, Cæsar did not know but he was still there; and indeed, for the most part, his time was spent there; for he was one that lov'd to Live at other Peoples Expense; and if he were a Day absent, he was Ten present there; and us'd to Play and Walk, and Hunt and Fish with Cæsar, So that Cæsar did not at all doubt, if he once recover'd Strength, but he shou'd find an opportunity of being Reveng'd on him: Though, after such a Revenge, he cou'd not hope to Live; for if he escap'd the Fury of the English Mobile, who perhaps wou'd have been glad of the occasion to have kill'd him, he was resolv'd not to survive his Whipping; yet he had, some tender Hours, a repenting Softness, which he called his fits of Coward; wherein he struggl'd with Love for the Victory of his Heart, which took part with his charming Imoinda there; but, for the most part, his time was past in melancholy Thought, and black Designs; He consider'd, if he shou'd do this Deed, and Dye, either in the Attempt, or after it, he left his lovely Imoinda a Prey, or at best a Slave, to the inrag'd Multitude; his great Heart cou'd not indure that Thought. Perhaps, said he, she may be first Ravag'd by every Brute; exposed first to their nasty Lusts, and then a shameful Death. No, he cou'd not Live a Moment under that Apprehension, too insupportable to be born. These were his Thoughts, and his silent Arguments with his Heart, as he told us afterwards; so that now resolving not only to kill Byam, but all those he thought had inrag'd him; pleasing his great Heart with the fancy'd Slaughter he shou'd make over the whole Face of the Plantation. He first resolv'd on a Deed, that (however Horrid it first appear'd to us all) when we had heard his Reasons, we thought it Brave and Just. Being able to Walk, and, as he believ'd, fit for the Execution of his great Design, he beg'd Trefry to trust him into the Air, believing a Walk wou'd do him good; which was granted him, and taking Imoinda with him, as he us'd to do in his more happy and calmer Days, he led her up into a Wood, where (after with a thousand Sighs, and long Gazing silently on her Face, while Tears gust, in spighte of him, from his Eyes) he told her his Design, first of Killing her, and then his Enemies, and next himself, and the impossibility of Escaping, and therefore he told her the necessity of Dying; he found the Heroick wife faster pleading for Death that he was to propose it, when she found his fix'd Resolution; and, on her Knees, besought him not to leave her a Prey to his Enemies. He (griev'd to Death, yet pleas'd at her noble Resolution) took her up, and imbracing of her with all the Passion and Languishment of a dying Lover, drew his Knife to kill this Treasure of his Soul, this Pleasure of his Eyes; while Tears trickl'd down his Cheeks, hers were Smiling with Joy she shou'd dye by so noble a Hand, and be sent in her own Country, (for that's their Notion of the next World) by him she so tenderly Lov'd, and so truly Ador'd in this: for Wives have a respect for their Husbands equal to what any other People pay a Deity; and when a Man finds any occasion to quit his Wife, if he love her, she dyes by his Hand; if not, he sells her, or suffers some other to kill her. It being thus, you may believe the Deed was soon resolv'd on; and 'tis not to be doubted but the Parting, the eternal Leave taking of Two such Lovers, so greatly Born, so Sensible, so Beautiful, so Young, and so Fond, must be very Moving, as the Relation of it was to me afterwards.
All that Love cou'd say in such cases being ended; and all the intermitting Irresolutions being adjusted, the Lovely, Young, and Ador'd Victim lays her self down before the Sacrificer; while he, with a Hand resolv'd, and a Heart breaking within, gave the Fatal Stroke, first cutting her Throat, and then severing her, yet Smiling Face from that Delicate Body, pregnant as it was with the Fruits of tend'rest Love. As soon as he had done, he laid the Body decently on Leaves and Flowers, of which he made a Bed, and conceal'd it under the same cover-lid of Nature; only her face he left yet bare to look on: But when he found she was Dead, and past all Retrieve, never more to bless him with her Eyes, and soft Language, his Grief swell'd up to Rage; he Tore, he Rav'd, he Roar'd, like some Monster of the wood, calling on the lov'd Name of Imoinda; a thousand times he turn'd the Fatal Knife that did the Deed toward his own Heart, with a Resolution to go immediately after her; but dire Revenge, which was now a thousand times more fierce in his Soul than before, prevents him; and he wou'd cry out, No, since I have sacrific'd Imoinda to my Revenge, shall I lose that glory which I have purchas'd so dear, as the Price of the fairest, dearest softest Creature that ever Nature made? No, no! Then, at her Name, Grief wou'd get the ascendant of Rage, and he wou'd lye down by her side, and water her Face with showers of Tears, which never were wont to fall from those Eyes: And however bent he was on his intended Slaughter, he had not power to stir from the Sight of this dear Object, now more Belov'd, and more Ador'd than ever.
He remain'd in this deplorable Condition for two Days, and never rose from the Ground where he had made her sad Sacrifice; at last, rousing from her side, and accusing himself of living too long, now Imoinda was dead, and that the Deaths of those barbarous Enemies were deferr'd too long, he resolv'd now to finish the great Work; but offering to rise, he found his Strength so decay'd, that he reel'd to and fro, like Boughs assail'd by contrary Winds; so that he was forc'd to lye down again, and try to summons all his Courage to his Aid; he found his Brains turn round, and his Eyes were dizzy, and Objects appear'd not the same to him they were wont to do; his Breath was short, and all his Limbs surprised with a Faintness he had never felt before. He had not Eat in two Days, which was one occasion of his Feebleness, but excess of Grief was the greatest; yet still he hop'd he shou'd never recover Vigour to act his Design, and lay expecting it yet six Days longer; still mourning over the dead Idol of his Heart and striving every Day to rise, but cou'd not.
In all this time you may believe we were in no little affliction for Cæsar, and his Wife; some were of Opinion he was escap'd never to return; other thought some Accident had hap'ned to him: But however, we fail'd not to send out a hundred People several ways to search for him; a Party, of about forty, went that way he took; among whom was Tuscan, who was perfectly reconcil'd to Byam; they had not gone very far into the Wood, but they smelt an unusual Smell, as of a dead Body; for Stinks must be very noisom that can be distinguish'd among such a quantity of Natural Sweets, as every Inch of that Land produces. So that they concluded they shou'd find him dead, or somebody that was so; they past on towards it, as Loathsome as it was, and made such rusling among the Leaves that lye thick on the Ground, by continual Falling, that Cæsar heard he was approach'd; and though he had, during the space of these eight Days, endeavour'd to rise, but found he wanted Strength, yet looking up, and seeing his Pursuers, he rose, and reel'd to a Neighbouring Tree, against which he fix'd his Back; and being within a dozen Yards of those that advanc'd, and saw him; he call'd out to them, and bid them approach no nearer, if they wou'd be safe: So that they stood still, and hardly believing their Eyes, that wou'd perswade them that it was Cæsar that spoke to 'em, so much was he alter'd; they ask'd him, What he had done with his Wife? For they smelt a Stink that almost struck them dead. He, pointing to the dead Body, sighing, cry'd, Behold her there; they put off the Flowers that cover'd her, with their Sticks, and found she was kill'd, and cry'd out, Oh Monster! that hast murder'd thy Wife: Then asking him, Why he did so cruel a Deed? He replied, he had no leisure to answer impertinent Questions; You may go back, continued he, and tell the Faithless Governor, he may thank Fortune that I am breathing my last; and that my Arm is to feeble to obey my Heart, in what it had design'd him: But his Tongue faultering, and trembling, he cou'd scarce end what he was saying. The English, taking Advantage of his Weakness, cry'd, Let us take him alive by all means: He heard 'em; and, as if he had reviv'd from a Fainting, or a Dream, he cry'd out, No, Gentlemen, you are deceiv'd; you will find no more Cæsars to be Whipt; no more find a Faith in me: Feeble as you think me, I have Strength yet left to secure me from a second Indignity. They swore all a-new, and he only shook his Head, and beheld them with Scorn; then they cry'd out Who will venture on this single Man? Will no body? They stood all silent while Cæsar replied, Fatal will be the Attempt to the first Adventurer, let him assure himself, and, at that Word, held up his Knife in a menacing Posture, Look ye, ye faithless Crew, said he, 'tis not Life I seek, nor am I afraid of Dying; and, at that Word, cut a piece of Flesh from his own Throat, and threw it at 'em, yet still I wou'd Live if I cou'd, till I had perfected my Revenge. But oh! it cannot be; I feel Life gliding from my Eyes and Heart; and if I make not haste, I shall fall a Victim to the Shameful Whip. At that, he rip'd up his own Belly, and took his Bowels and pull'd 'em out, with what Strength he cou'd; while some, on their Knees imploring, besought him to hold his Hand. But when they saw him tottering, they cry'd out, Will none venture on him? A bold English cry'd, Yes, if he were the Devil (Taking courage when he saw him almost Dead) and swearing a horrid Oath for his farewell to the World, he rush'd on Cæsar, with his Arm'd Hand met him so fairly, as stuck him to the Heart, and he fell Dead at his Feet. Tuscan seeing that, cry'd out, I love thee, oh Cæsar; and therefore will not let thee Dye, if possible: And running to him, took him in his Arms; but, at the same time, warding a blow that Cæsar made at his Bosom, he receiv'd it quite through his Arm; and Cæsar having not the Strength to pluck the Knife forth, though he attempted it, Tuscan neither pull'd it out himself, nor suffer'd it to be pull'd out; but came down with it sticking in his Arm; and the reason he gave for it was, because the Air shou'd not get into the Wound: They put their Hands a-cross, and carried Cæsar between Six of 'em, fainted as he was; and though they thought Dead, or just Dying; and they brought him to Parham, and laid him on a Couch, and had the Chirurgeon immediately to him, who dress'd his Wounds, and sow'd up his Belly, and us'd means to bring him to Life, which they effected. We ran all to see him; and, if before we thought him so beautiful a Sight, he was now so alter'd that his Face was like a Death's Head black'd over; nothing but Teeth and Eyeholes: For some Days we suffer'd no body to speak to him, but caused Cordials to be poured down his Throat; which sustained his Life, and in six or seven Days he recover'd his Senses: For, you must know, that Wounds are almost to a Miracle cur'd in the Indies; unless Wounds in the Legs, which they rarely ever cure.
When he was well enough to speak, we talk'd to him, and ask'd him some Questions about his Wife, and the Reasons why he kill'd her; and he then told us what I have related of that Resolution, and of his Parting, and he besought us, we would let him Dye, and was extreamly Afflicted to think it was possible he might Live; he assur'd us, if we did not Dispatch him, he wou'd prove very Fatal to a great many. We said all we cou'd to make him Live, and gave him new Assurances; but he begg'd we wou'd not think so poorly of him, or of his love to Imoinda, to imagine we cou'd Flatter him to Life again: but the Chirurgeon assur'd him, he cou'd not Live, and therefore he need not Fear. We were all (but Cæsar) afflicted at this News, and the Sight was ghastly; his Discourse was sad; and the earthly Smell about him so strong, that I was perswaded to leave the Place for some time; (being my self very Sickly, and very apt to fall into Fits of dangerous Illness upon any extraordinary Melancholy) the servants, and Trefry, and the Chirurgeons, promis'd all to take what possible care they cou'd of the Life of Cæsar; and I, taking Boat, went with other Company to Colonel Martin's, about three Days' Journey down the River; but I was no sooner gone, but the Governor taking Trefry, about some pretended earnest Business, a Day's Journey up the River, having communicated his Design to one Banister, a wild Irish Man, and one of the Council; a Fellow of absolute Barbarity, and fit to execute any Villany, but was Rich. He came up to Parham, and forcibly took Cæsar, and had him carried to the same Post where he was Whip'd; and causing him to be ty'd to it, and a great Fire made before him, he told him, he shou'd Dye like a Dog, as he was. Cæsar replied, this was the first piece of Bravery that ever Banister did, and he never spoke Sence till he pronounc'd that Word; and, if he wou'd keep it, he wou'd declare, in the other World, that he was the only Man, of all the Whites, that ever he heard speak Truth. And turning to the Men that had bound him, he said, My Friends, am I to Dye, or to be Whip'd? And they cry'd, Whip'd! no; you shall not escape so well: And then he replied, smiling, A Blessing on thee; and assur'd them, they need not tye him, for he wou'd stand fixt, like a Rock, and indure Death so as shou'd encourage them to Dye; But, if you Whip me, said he, be sure you tye me fast.
He had learn'd to take Tobaco; and when he was assur'd he shou'd Dye, he desir'd they wou'd give him a Pipe in his Mouth, ready Lighted, which they did; and the Executioner came, and first cut off his Members, and threw them into the Fire; after that, with an ill-favoured Knife, they cut his Ears, and his Nose, and burn'd them; he still Smoak'd on, as if nothing had touch'd him; then they hacked off one of his Arms, and still be bore up, and held his Pipe; but at the cutting off the other Arm, his Head Sunk, and his Pipe drop'd; and he gave up the Ghost, without a Groan, or a Reproach. My mother and Sister were by him all the while, but not suffer'd to save him; so rude and wild were the Rabble, and so inhumane were the Justices, who stood by to see the Execution, who after paid dearly enough for their Insolence. They cut Cæsar in Quarters, and sent them to several of the chief Plantations: One Quarter was sent to Colonel Martin, who refus'd it; and swore he had rather see the Quarters of Banister, and the Governor himself, than those of Cæsar, on his Plantations; and that he cou'd govern his Negroes without Terrifying and Grieving them with frightful Spectacles of a mangl'd King.
Thus Dy'd this Great Man; worthy of a better Fate, and a more sublime Wit than mine to write his Praise; yet, I hope, the Reputation of my Pen is considerable enough to make his Glorious Name to survive all the ages; with that of the Brave, the Beautiful, and the Constant Imoinda.
F I N I S.