board one ship) why they did not go into the watering place at the west end of the Isle of Pines (near Cuba). They replied, that `they had attempted to get in, but got into shoal water." He then asked them what they intended to have done with their slaves if they had not fallen in with the Hound. The replied, `to make them walk the plank"-that is, to jump overboard. Mr. James asked them again why they did not turn a number of the slaves on shore at the Isle of Pines and endeavor to save the rest. They replied again ` that in such case they could not have recovered the insurance, and that the rest would have gotten on shore."" a
The supply of water usually taken appears to have been very scanty. The same witness, speaking of his experience on board the Britannia, says: " Their rooms were so hot and intolerable that they were continually calling out for water, and they generally came upon deck in a sweat. * * * They were served twice a day with water, which is given them in a pannikin of tin of such dimensions as to hold not quite half a pint." a
Dysentery and diseases of a similar character were common among them. The details, as furnished by eye-witnesses who have given their experience, are too loathsome for reproduction. Mr. Falconbridge, a surgeon in this trade, who published a work on this subject in 1789, after giving a minute description of the scene below, adds: "The deck or floor of their rooms resembled a slaughter-house. It is not in the power of the human imanigation to picture to itself a situation more dreadful or disgusting. Numbers of the slaves fainted and were carried on deck, where some of them died, and the others were, with difficulty, restored. It had nearly proved fatal to me also." b
That, under such a system, the average mortality should be very great can surprise no one. What the true average was is somewhat difficult to determine. That it was chiefly caused by the plan of packing human beings, sometimes for days and nights together, in a width of from twelve to sixteen inches each, is certain. The Rev. John Newton, who in early life had gone out as mate in a slaver, after stating that on his first voyage they buried one- third of the number taken, added that on a subsequent voyage they did not lose one-"the only instance of the kind that was ever known," he admits. Being cross-questioned as to the probable cause of this exceptional result, he said it was to be ascribed to the fact that "with room for 220 slaves, the number for which his cargo was calculated, they carried 90 only."
The mortality was least from the windward coast, greatest from Bonny, Calabar, Benin, and Gaboon. Individual instances were frequently adduced by the witnesses in which it was about 5 per cent. Occasionally a witness alleges that to be the average, but this was in the windward trade. From the other points named they usually admit an average of 10 per cent. Mr. James Penny, eleven years a slave captain, speaking of the trade generally, said, " on an average he estimated (from his own experience and the best information he could collect) that the mortality was one-twelfth.
The only official table on this subject given in the Lords" Report indicates a much higher rate of mortality than that admitted by these slave-traders. This table is taken from the books of the Board of
a Lords" Report, Part II, Sheet D 7.
b Falconbridge's Account of the Slave-Trade, p.31.
20 R R-SERIES III, VOL IV