Equiano's account of the middle passage

I inquired of these what was to be done

with us; they gave me to understand

we were to be carried to these white

people's country to work for them. I

then was a little revived, and thought,

if it were no worse than working, my

situation was not so desparate: but still

I feared I should be put to death, the

white people looked and acted, as I

thought, in so savage a manner; for

I had never seen among any people

such instances of brutal cruelty; and

this not only shown towards us blacks,

but also to some of the whites them-

selves. One white man in particular

I saw, when we were permitted to be

on deck, flogged so unmercifully with

a large rope near the foremast, that he

died in consequence of it; and they

tossed him over the side as they would

have done a brute. This made me

fear these people the more; and I ex-

pected nothing less than to be treated

in the same manner.  

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foremast = the mast nearest to the bow in a sailing ship

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