Africans Liberated from a Captured Slave Ship, 1846


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This record was last updated on 13 Nov 2013

Image Reference
mariners07

Source
Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, ed., The Story of the Sea (London, 1895-96), vol. 2, p. 441

Comments
Caption: "They were Free." Included in a lengthy chapter on the slave trade, this scene illustrates a detailed description of Africans liberated from a Brazilian slaving vessel, the "Paqueta de Rio," by a British naval vessel, the "Cygnet," off Sherbo, in West Africa. The account initially appeared in the "Sierra Leone Watchman" (November 15, 1846) which reported that there were 547 Africans on board the slaver: "The slaves were all stowed together, perfectly naked . . . The slaves who were confined in the hold--it being utterly impossible for the whole of them to remain on deck at one time--were in profuse perspiration . . . The smell on board was dreadful . . . . the greater part of the slaves were chained together with pieces of chain, which were passed through iron collars round their necks; iron shackles were also secured round their legs and arms . . . .[After they were freed, the slaves] set to work, and, with the billets of wood which had hitherto formed their bed, knocked off each other's shackles . . . . They were branded like sheep. Letters were burnt in the skin two inches in length. Many of them, from the recent period it had been done, were in a state of ulceration . . ." (p. 442). Although this illustration is sometimes reproduced in secondary sources on slavery which erroneously give the impression it is based on an eye-witness drawing, the illustration is the late nineteenth century artist's imaginative rendering and is a complete fabrication.