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Unchained Voices

Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century

Vincent Carretta EDITOR
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 2
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    Unchained Voices
    Book Description:

    Vincent Carretta has assembled the most comprehensive anthology ever published of writings by eighteenth-century people of African descent, capturing the surprisingly diverse experiences of blacks on both sides of the Atlantic--America, Britain, the West Indies, and Africa--between 1760 and 1798.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4408-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Unchained Voicesreproduces the major works published during the eighteenth century by authors of African birth or descent who wrote or dictated their stories in English. Non-aboriginal Americans born in the Americas were called Creoles during the eighteenth century. Some of the African and Creole authors included inUnchained Voiceswere born slaves; some had slavery thrust upon them; and some were never slaves. All the authors inUnchained Voicesspent at least part of their lives in Britain or its colonies, and all were subjects of the British monarch before the American Revolution. Many of them chose to remain...

  5. A Note on the Texts and Editorial Policy
    (pp. 17-17)
  6. A Note on Money
    (pp. 18-18)
  7. Notes on the Illustrations
    (pp. 19-19)
  8. Briton Hammon
    (pp. 20-25)

    On Monday, 25th Day ofDecember,1747, with the leave of my Master,³ I went fromMarshfield,with an Intention to go a Voyage to Sea, and the next Day, the 26th, got toPlymouth,where I immediately ship’d myself on board of a Sloop,⁴ Capt.John Howland,Master,⁵ bound toJamaicaand theBay⁶—We sailed fromPlymouthin a short Time, and after a pleasant Passage of about 30 Days, arrived atJamaica;we was detain’d atJamaicaonly 5 Days, from whence we sailed for theBay,where we arrived safe in 10 Days. We loaded our...

  9. Jupiter Hammon (17 October 1711-ca. 1800)
    (pp. 26-31)
  10. James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw (ca. 1710-1772+)
    (pp. 32-58)

    THISAccount of the Life and spiritual Experience ofJAMES ALBERTwas taken from his own Mouth, and committed to Paper by the elegant Pen of a youngLADYof the Town ofLEOMINSTER,⁴for her own private Satisfaction, and without any Intention at first that it should be made public. But she has now been prevail’d on to commit it to the Press, both with a view to serveALBERTand his distressed Family, who have the sole Profits arising from the Sale of it; and likewise⁵ as it is apprehended, this little History contains Matter well worthy the...

  11. Phillis Wheatley (1753?-5 December 1784)
    (pp. 59-71)

    Who made his exit from this transitory state, to dwell in the celestial Realms of Bliss, on Lord’s-Day, 30th of September, 1770, when he was seiz’d with a fit of the asthma, at Newbury-Port, near Boston, in New-England. In which is a Condolatory Address to his truly noble benefactress the worthy and pious Lady Huntingdon, and the Orphan-children in Georgia; who, with many thousands, are left, by the death of this great man, to lament the loss of a Father, Friend, and Benefactor.

    By Phillis, a Servant Girl of 17 Years of Age, belonging to Mr. J. Wheatley, of Boston,...

  12. Francis Williams (ca. 1697–1762)
    (pp. 72-76)

    “To That most upright and valiant Man, GEORGE HALDANE, Esq; Governor of the Island ofJamaica;Upon whom All military and moral Endowments are accumulated.”

    AT length revolving fates th’ expected year

    Advance, and joy the live-long day shall cheer,

    Beneath the fost’ring law’s auspicious dawn

    New harvests rise to glad th’ enliven’d lawn.

    With the bright prospect blest, the swains repair

    In social bands, and give a loose to care.

    Rash councils now, with each malignant plan,

    Each faction, that in evil hour began,

    At your approach are in confusion fled,

    Nor, while you rule, shall rear their dastard...

  13. Ignatius Sancho (1729–1780)
    (pp. 77-109)

    THE Editor of these Letters thinks proper to obviate an objection, which she finds has already been suggested, that they were originally written with a view to publication. She declares, therefore, that no such idea was ever expressed by Mr. Sancho; and that not a single letter is here printed from any duplicate preserved by himself, but all have been collected from the various friends to whom they were addressed. Her motives for laying them before the publick were, the desire of shewing that an untutored African may possess abilities equal to an European; and the still superior motive, of...

  14. John Marrant (15 June 1755-15 April 1791)
    (pp. 110-133)

    THE following Narrative is as plain and artless, as it is surprising and extraordinary. Plausible reasonings may amuse and delight, but facts, and facts like these, strike, are felt, and go home to the heart. Were the power, grace and providence of God ever more eminently displayed, than in the conversion, success, and deliverances o! John Marrant? He and his companion enter the meeting at Charles-Town² together; but the one is taken, and the other is left. He is struck to the ground, shaken over the mouth of hell, snatched as a brand from the burning; he is pardoned and...

  15. Johnson Green (7 February 1757-17 August 1786)
    (pp. 134-141)

    IJOHNSON GREEN,having brought myself to a shameful and ignominious death, by my wicked conduct, and, as I am a dying man I leave to the world the following History of my Birth, Education, and vicious Practices, hoping that all people will take warning by my evil example, and shun vice and follow virtue.

    I was born at Bridgwater, in the County of Plymouth, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was twenty-nine years of age the seventh day of February last. My father was a negro, and a servant to the Hon. Timothy Edson, Esq., late of Bridgwater, deceased. My...

  16. Belinda
    (pp. 142-144)

    THAT seventy years have rolled away, since she, on the banks of the Rio de Valta,¹ received her existence. The mountains, covered with spicy forests—vallies, loaded with the richest fruits spontaneously produced—joined to that happy temperature of air, which excludes excess, would have yielded her the most complete felicity, had not her mind received early impressions of the cruelty of men, whose faces were like the moon, and whose bows and arrows were like the thunder and the lightning of the clouds. The idea of these, the most dreadful of all enemies, filled her infant slumbers with horror,...

  17. Quobna Ottobah Cugoano (CA.1757-1791+)
    (pp. 145-184)

    As several learned gentlemen of distinguished abilities, as well as eminent for their great humanity, liberality and candour, have written various essays against that infamous traffic of African Slave Trade, carried on with the West-India planters and merchants, to the great shame and disgrace of all Christian nations wherever it is admitted in any of their territories, or place or situation amongst them; it cannot be amiss that I should thankfully acknowledge these truly worthy and humane gentlemen with the warmest sense of gratitude, for their beneficent and laudable endeavours towards a total suppression of that infamous and iniquitous traffic...

  18. Olaudah Equiano (ca. 1745-31 March 1797)
    (pp. 185-318)

    AN invidious falsehood having appeared in the Oracle of the 25th,³ and the Star of the 27th of April1792,⁴ with a view to hurt my character,⁵ and to discredit and prevent the sale of my Narrative, asserting, that I was born in the Danish island of Santa Cruz, in the West Indies,⁶ it is necessary that, in this edition, I should take notice thereof, and it is only needful of me to appeal to those numerous and respectable persons of character who knew me when I first arrived in England, and could speak no language but that of Africa.⁷


  19. Benjamin Banneker (9 November 1731-9 October 1806)
    (pp. 319-324)

    I am fully sensible of the greatness of that freedom which I take with you on the present occasion, a liberty which seemed to me scarcely allowable, when I reflected on that distinguished and dignified station in which you stand, and the almost general prejudice and prepossession, which is so prevalent in the world against those of my complexion.

    I suppose it is a truth too well attested to you, to need a proof here, that we are a race of beings that have long labored under the abuse and censure of the world; that we have long been looked...

  20. George Liele (CA. 1751-1825)
    (pp. 325-332)

    A LETTER from the late Rev. Mr. Joseph Cook of the Euhaw, upper Indian Land, South Carolina, bearing date Sept. 15,1790, says, “A poor negro, commonly called, among his own friends, Brother George, has been so highly favoured of God, as to plant the first Baptist Church in Savannah, and another in Jamaica.” This account produced an earnest desire to know the circumstances of both these societies. Hence letters were written to the Rev. Mr. Cook, at the Euhaw; to Mr. Jonathan Clarke, at Savannah; to Mr. Wesley’s people at Kingston; with a view to obtain information, in which particular...

  21. David George (1743?-ca. 1810)
    (pp. 333-350)

    I was born in Essex county, Virginia,¹ about so or 6o miles from Williamsburg, on Nottaway² river, of parents who were brought from Africa, but who had not the fear of God before their eyes. The first work I did was fetching water, and carding³ of cotton; afterwards I was sent into the field to work about the Indian corn and tobacco, till I was about 19 years old. My father’s name was John, and my mother’s Judith. I had four brothers, and four sisters, who, with myself, were all born in slavery: our master’s name was Chapel⁴—a very...

  22. Boston King (1760?-1802)
    (pp. 351-368)

    IT is by no means an agreeable task to write an account of my Life, yet my gratitude to Almighty God, who considered my affliction, and looked upon me in my low estate, who delivered me from the hand of the oppressor, and established my goings, impels me to acknowledge his goodness: And the importunity of many respectable friends, whom I highly esteem, have induced me to set down, as they occurred to my memory, a few of the most striking incidents I have met with in my pilgrimage. I am well aware of my inability for such an undertaking,...

  23. Venture Smith (1729?-19 September 1805)
    (pp. 369-388)

    THE following account of the life of VENTURE, is a relation of simple facts, in which nothing is added in substance to what he related himself. Many other interesting and curious passages of his life might have been inserted; but on account of the bulk to which they must necessarily have swelled this narrative, they were omitted. If any should suspect the truth of what is here related, they are referred to people now living who are acquainted with most of the facts mentioned in the narrative.

    The reader is here presented with an account, not of a renowned politician...

    (pp. 389-400)