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Page:Sketch of Connecticut, Forty Years Since.djvu/99

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FORTY YEARS SINCE.

ry of his own countrymen, whom he was hazarding his life to defend. The next day we were put on board the slave-ship. Here our miseries were increased, to what seemed at first view insupportable. We were forced between two low decks, where the grown people could not stand upright. So crowded were we, that scarcely twenty inches of space were allotted each in his living coffin. Our sufferings for want of air, in this confined prison, I cannot adequately describe. When in bad weather, the tarpaulin was drawn over the hole whence we received fresh air, the noise of hundreds drawing their breath as if in suffocation, was mingled with piercing cries of "kickeraboo! we die! we die!"

"Every day, except in cases of severe storms, they were brought on deck to take their dinner, which consisted of boiled horse-beans, and rice. After this they were compelled to jump for exercise, as high as their chains would permit. If they refused, they were punished with the cat of nine tails; if they complied, the irons on their limbs caused excoriations of the flesh, and sprains of the joints. They were ordered to sing also. But only lamentations were heard, or fragments of songs, broken with sobs, speaking of the palm-tree shade, and the home of their fathers. Their thrilling and mournful voices, with whatever burden they burst forth, ended in the same word, "Africa! dear Africa!"

"When the short space allotted to breathe the fresh air had expired, if any testified reluctance to be packed into