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CAPTAIN PADDOCK

Captain James Riley of the American brig Commerce which was lost on the Barbary coast in 1815. The torments of his crew while in the hands of their Arab captors are really too dreadful to describe in detail. Captain Riley, a herculean sailor weighing more than two hundred pounds, was a mere skeleton of ninety pounds when he gained his liberty at Tangier, but he recovered to command other ships and lived to a ripe old age. His soul wrung with the memories of the experience, he wrote:

 

"Not less than six American vessels are known to have been lost on this part of the coast since the year 1800, besides numbers of English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc., which are also known to have been wrecked there, and no doubt many other vessels that never have been heard from,—but it is only Americans and Englishmen that are ever heard from after the first news of the shipwreck. The French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian governments, it is said, seldom ransom their unfortunate shipwrecked subjects, and they are thus doomed to perpetual slavery and misery,—no friendly hand is ever stretched forth to relieve their distresses and to heal their bleeding wounds, nor any voice of humanity to soothe their bitter pangs,—till worn out with sufferings indescribable they resign their souls to the God who gave them, and launch into the eternal world with pleasure, as death is the only relief from their miseries."

 

Farther to the southward on this African coast was the land of the black folk, and toward the Cape