Page images



Dr. Toulmin to the Editor. SIR,

WHEN I was a youth, I fre- or, as in our maps, Catumbo, in the quently heard of Job, the African, kingdom of Futa, in Africa; which lies as a character which, some years be- 'on both sides the river Senegal, and on fore, had attracted notice. I have the south side reaches as far as the ribeen since in po ession of his histo ver Gambia. The town of Boonda had ry, drawn up by a gentleman who been founded about twenty years bewas intimately acquainted with him, fore his birth, by Hibrahim, the Mr. Thomas Bluett. It is, in my grandfather of Job, in the reign of opinion, too interesting and curious Bubaker, then king of Futa, who to be permitted to sink into oblivion; was, by his permission, the lord and and, if I mistake not, it will prove proprietor of it, and at the same time instructing and entertaining to your high priest or alpha; so that he had numerous readers. With these views power to make what laws he thought I offer it for a place in your miscel- proper for the increase and good golany, recomposed from Mr. Bluett's vernment of his new city. Sometime narrative, and differently arranged after the settlement of this town It will appear that he was himself a Hibrahim died ; and as the priesthood very respectable person ; and his his was hereditary in that country, Salutory, if it were necessary, might men his son, the father of Job, became serve to rekindle the joy, which rec. high priest. When Job was fifteen titude and philanthropy have felt on years old, he assisted his father, as the abolition of an inhumane and emaum, or subpriest. About this iniquitous traffick.

time he married the daughter of the I am, sir, your's respectfully, alpha of Tombut, who was then only

JOSHUA TOULMIN, eleven years old. By her he had a Birmingham, Sept. 7, 1808.

son, when she was thirteen years old,

called Abdollah ; and after that two A MEMOIR OF JOB,

sons, called Hibrahim and

Sambo. About two years before his JOB'S name, according to the captivity, he married a second wife, custom of his country, in which the daughter of the alpha of Tourga, appellations that distinguished indi. by whom he had a daughter named viduals included their progenitors Fatima, after the daughter of their several degrees backwards, was Hyu- prophet Mahomed. Both these wives, ba, Boon Salumena, Boon Hibraha- with their children, were alive when ma; i. e. Job, the son of Solomon, he came from home. the son of Abraham. The surname In February 1730, Job's father, of his family was Jallo. He was born hearing of an English ship lying in about the year 1702, at a town called Gambia river, sent him, with two Boonda, in the country of Galumbo, servants as attendants, to sell two



and some

negroes, and to buy paper

form him of his son's situation, that other necessaries ; but desired him he might adopt measures for his li. not to venture over the river, because beration. But the distance of this the Mandingoes, the inhabitants of friend's residence from Job's father, the country on the other side of the being a fortnight's journey, and the river, were in a state of hostility with ship sailing about a week afterwards, the people of Futa. The ship was he was carried with the other slaves commanded by captain Pike, in the to Annapolis, in Maryland, and deservice of captain Henry Hunt, bro- livered to Mr. Hunt's factor, Mr. ther to Mr. William Hunt, a mer. Vachell Denton ; by whom he was chant in Little Tower street, London. sold to Mr. Tolsey, in Kent Island, Job, not agreeing with the captain, in Maryland. sent back the two servants to acquaint His owner put him to work in his father with it, and to inform him making tobacco ; but he soon perof his intentions to go further. Ac- ceived that Job had never been used cordingly, he engaged a man, named to such labour. He every day showLoumein Yoal, who understood the ed more and more uneasiness under Mandingoe language, to accompany this toil ; and, unable to bear it, he him as his interpreter ; crossed the grew sick, so that his master was river Gambia ; and disposed of his obliged to find easier work for him, negroes for some cows.

On his re and employed him to tend the cattle. turn home, he stopped for some re. Job would often leave the cattle, freshment at the house of an old and withdraw into the woods to pray ; acquaintance; and the weather being but a white boy frequently watched hot, he hung up his arms in the him, and whilst he was at his devohouse, while he refreshed himself. tion, would mock him, and throw The arms were valuable, consisting dirt in his face. This treatment of a gold-hilted sword, a gold knife very much disturbed Job, and aggra. worn by the side, and a rich quiver vated his misfortunes ; all which of arrows. A company of the Man

were heightened by his ignorance of dingoes, who live upon plunder, the English language, which preventpassing by, and observing Job un. ed his complaining, or telling his armed, rushed in, to the number of case to any one near him. Grown seven or eight, at a back door, and in some measure desperate by his pinioned him, together with his in- sufferings, he resolved to travel at a terpreter, before he could reach his venture, in hope that possibly he arms. They then shaved their heads might fall into the hands of a master and beards, which Job and his man who would use him better, or that resented as the highest indignity, by some happy incident his grief though the Mandingoes meant no might be alleviated or removed. He more by it than to give them the ap- travelled through the woods till he pearance of slaves taken in war. On came to the county of Kent, upon the 27th of February they were pur Delaware Bay. Job, according to a chased by captain Pike at Gambia, law in force through Virginia, Pennand on the 1st of March put on board. sylvania, and Maryland, as far as to

Soon after, Job found means to ac Boston in New i ngland, not being quaint captain Pike, that he was the able to give an account of himself, same person who had traded with was cast into prison. him a few days before, and after This happened in June 1731, when what manner he had been taken. Mr. Thomas Bluett, a gentleman The captain permïtted him to redeem who was attending the courts in Mahimself and his attendant. Job sent ryland, having heard of Job, went to an acquaintance of his father's with several gentlemen to the gaoler's near Gambia, who promised to in- house, which was a tavern, and dee

sired to see him. He was introduced the situation of Job, gave his bond to them ; but as he could not speak to Mr. Hunt for the payment of a one word of English, signs being certain sum on the delivery of him made to him, he wrote a line or two in England. On this Mr. Hunt before them; and when he had read wrote to Mr. Denton, who purchased it, pronounced the words Allah and him again for the same sum which Mahomed. By this, and his refusal he himself received for him of his of a glass of wine which was offered master, who, finding him no ways to him, it was discovered that he was fit for his business, was very willing a Mahomedan. But they were per- to part with him. fectly at a loss to ascertain of what The rivers of Maryland were then country he was, or how he came frozen up, so that no ship could sail there. It was easy to perceive, from for some time.

In this interval, his affable deportment and the com while Job resided with Mr. Denton, posure of his countenance, that he he ingratiated himself with many was not a common slave.

persons by his good nature and affa. After Job had been confined for bility; and, in particular, became acsometime, an old negro man who quainted with the rev. Mr. Hender. lived in the neighbourhood, and could son, a gentleman of great learning, speak the Jallop language, which Job minister of Annapolis, and commisalso understood, went to see and con sary to the bishop of London, who verse with him. From this negro gave Job the character of a man of the gaoler learnt to whom Job belong. great piety and learning. ed, and the cause of leaving his mas In March 1733, he set sail in the ter; to whom, therefore, he wrote, William, captain George Uriel comand who soon after fetched him home, mander. Mr. Bluett, the gentleman and treated him with more atten- mentioned before, happened to be a tion and kindness than before, allowa passenger in the same ship. He and ing him a place to which he might the captain, from the character which retire for his devotions, and affording they had received of him at Anna. him some other conveniences in or. polis, were induced, as he could der to make his slavery as easy as speak but few words, and those possible. But confinement and slavery scarcely intelligibly, in English, to to which he had never been used, teach him as much as they could of were by no means agreeable to him. the language. They applied them. In hope that some means of redeem- selves to this as soon as they were ing him might be found, he wrote a out at sea; and in about a fortnight's letter in Arabick to his father, giving time he had learnt is letters, and to an account of his misfortunes. This spell almost any single syllable, if letter he sent to Vachel Denton, de- distinctly pronounced to him ; but siring that it might be forwarded to he and Mr. Bluett falling sick, his Africa by captain Pike. He being progress was for that time impeded. gone to England, Mr. Denton en When they arrived in England, the closed the letter in another to Mr. latter end of April, he had learnt Hunt, to be committed to the care of so much of the language, that he captain Pike.

Previously to the re was able to understand most of what ceipt of it, he had sailed to Africa. was said in common conversation ; Mr. Hunt, therefore, kept it in his and they who were used to his manown hands till a proper opportunity ner of speaking, could tolerably unof transmitting it should offer. In derstand him. the mean time the letter was seen by During the voyage, on no pretence, James Oglethorpe, Esq. who, accord- notwithstanding the weather, during ing to his wonted goodness and gene- all the time, was very tempestuous, rosity, moved with compassion for would he ever omit his devotions.

He re

As he eat no flesh, unless he had pleased with his company, and conkilled the animal with his own hands, cerned for his misfortunes. or knew that it had been killed by ceived several handsome presents, a Mussulman, he was often permitted and a subscription for the payment of to kill the fresh stock of the ship, the money to Mr. Hunt was proposed. that he might partake of it himself. The night before they set off again He had no scruple about fish, but for London, the footman of Samuel would not eat pork, as it was express- Holden, Esq. brought a letter directly forbidden by his religion. By his ed to sir Bigby Lake. This was degood nature and affability, he conci- livered at the African house; upon liated the good will of all the sailors, which the house was pleased to order who, not to mention other kind ser that “ Mr. Hunt should bring in a vices, showed him all the way up the bill of the whole charges which he channel, the headlands, and remark. had been at about Job, and be there able places; the names of which he paid." This was done, and the sum carefully wrote down, and the ac amounted to 591. 68. 11 1-2d. On counts that were given him about the payment of this amount, Mr. them.

Oglethorpe's bond was delivered up to On their arrival in England it was the company. Job's fears of being told them, that Mr. Oglethorpe was sold again as a slave were now regone to Georgia, and that Mr. Hunt moved: but yet he could not be perhad provided a lodging for him at suaded but that, when he got home, Limehouse. There Mr. Bluett, after he must pay an extravagant sum for he had paid a visit to his friends in his ransom. Mr. Bluett, as the sum the country, went to see him. He was great and Job's acquaintance in found him very sorrowful: for he had England was very limited, had also his been informed that Mr. Hunt had doubts concerning the success of a been applied to by some persons to subscription. He, therefore, to give sell him, under the pretence of their Job's mind ease, spoke to a gentleintention to send him home. This man who had been all along in a reexcited his fears, that they would markable manner his friend. This either sell him again as a slave, or if gentleman, so far from discouraging they sent him home, would expect the measure, began the subscription an unreasonable ransom for him. himself with a handsome sum, and Mr. Bluett took him to London, and promised his further assistance at a waited on Mr. Hunt to request his dead lift. Several other friends, both permission to carry him to Cheshunt, in London and in the country, readily in Hertfordshire, which was granted. added their charitable contributions. He owned that he had received such Yet there was a deficiency of 201. applications as Job suggested, but de- but the worthy and generous gentleclared that he did not intend to part man who opened the subscription with himn without his own consent ; made up the defect, and the sum was but as Mr. Oglethorpe was out of completed. England, if any friends would ad Mr. Bluett, being desired, went to vance the inoney, he would accept it, the African company and stated the on condition that they would engage

matter. When he had made his reto send him to his own country; and port, the orders of the house were he also promised that he would not shown him. These were, “that Job dispose of him till he heard again should be accommodated, at the comfrom Mr. Bluett.

pany's expense, till one of their ships Job, during his abode at Cheshunt, should sail for Gambia, in which he had the honour of being invited to should be sent back to his friends their houses by most of the gentry without any ransom. The company of that place. They were greatly then asked Mr. Bluett, if they could

do any more to make Job easy ; and he embarked on board a ship of the upon his desire, they ordered" that African company bound for Gambia. Mr. Oglethorpe's bond should be Job's stature was five feet and cancelled,” which was immediately ten inches; his limbs were straight, done ; " and that Job should have his and his constitution naturally good ; freedom in form." This he received though the fatigues he underwent, handsomely engrossed, with the com and his practice of religious abstipany's seal affixed. After which, nence gave him a weakly and lean the full sum of the whole charges, appearance. His countenance, though viz. 591. 68. 11 1-2d. was paid in to grave and composed, was exceedingtheir clerk, as was before proposed. ly pleasant. His hair, very different Job's mind was now perfectly easy, from that of the negroes commonly and he cheerfully visited his friends brought from Africa, was long, black, in town and country. One day, at and curled. sir Hans Sloane's, he expressed a His natural parts were remarkably great desire to see the royal family. good; his head clear; his judgment Sir Hans promised to get him intro- solid ; and his memory tenacious and duced when he was provided with a quick in recollection. There was proper dress. Job knew how kind nothing overstrained, trifling, or disa friend he might apply to on the oc- sembling in his reasonings : but his casion; and he was soon furnished manner of arguing and debating was with a rich silk habit, made after the marked by strong sense, joined with fashion of his country, and introduced an innocent simplicity, a strict reto their majesties and the royal fa- gard to truth, and a desire to find it. mily. Her majesty was pleased to Notwithstanding it was natural for present him with a rich gold watch. him to have prejudices in favour of On the same day he had the honour his own religious principles, it was to dine with the duke of Montague very observable that he would reason and others of the nobility, who, after upon any question of that kind in dinner, made him handsome pre- conversation with great temper and sents. His grace, afterwards, often impartiality ; at the same time he took Job into the country with him, framed his replies in a manner caland showed him the tools necessary culated at once to support his own for tilling the grounds, both in fields opinion, ard to oblige or please his and gardens; and directed his servants opponent. It was a considerable disto teach him how they were used. advantage to him in company, that He also furnished Job with all sorts he was not sufficiently master of our of implements and other rich pre- language ; yet they who were accussents, which he ordered to be care tomed to his way, by making proper fully packed up in chests, and put on allowances, always found themselves board for his use. The favours which agreeably entertained by him. he received from the duke and other The acuteness of his genius apnoblemen and gentlemen were too peared upon many occasions. He many to be enumerated. They dis- readily conceived the mechanism of played a singular generosity; and most of the ordinary instruments the goods and articles, which he subjected to his inspection. When carried over with him from these do a plough, a grist mill, or a clock was nations, were worth upwards of 5001. taken to pieces before him, he was Besides this he was liberally furnish- able to put them together again withed with money to meet any accident out any further direction. It is a proof which should oblige him to go on of the powers of his memory, that shore, or occasion particular charges at the age of sixteen he could say the at sea.

About the latter end of July, whole Koran by heart. While he

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »