a scathing indictment of the slave trade and of the Europeans who promoted it in the name of Christianity. The book appeared in a French translation in 1788. In it, Cugoano called slavery an injury and a robbery, saying there was not a trace in it of reason, justice, charity, or civilization. The Scots and the Dutch, he said, claimed to follow the Protestant religion and yet are among the worst specimens of'floggers and Negro-drivers'.
After Equiano's bid to lead the antislavery mission to Africa was rebuffed in London, it fell to the black veterans of the American Revolutionary War to pursue beyond the New World that dual vocation of antislavery and Christianity. Thomas Peters was one of these. Peters had been born around 1740 in Nigeria of Yoruba Egba parents. Kidnapped in 1760, he was sold to the French slave ship, the Henri Quatre. He eventually arrived in French Louisiana where his French master sold him to an Englishman. By 1770 he had been sold yet again, this time to William Campbell, a Scotsman in Wilmington, North Carolina, where Peters learned his trade as a millwright. When the war broke out in 1776, the town was evacuated, whereupon Peters joined the British side in the hope of gaining his freedom. After the British lost control of Philadelphia at the end of 1777, Peters, who had gone there, left with a contingent of demobilized troops bound for Nova Scotia. Twice wounded in battle, he survived the war and went with his wife to settle in Nova Scotia.
Peters organized a petition among the blacks in Nova Scotia, describing the harsh living conditions there in spite of assurances to the contrary by officials. In 1791, he took the petition to London and presented it to William Granville of the Foreign Office. The petition had immediate effect, with the directors of the newly formed Sierra Leone Company saying they 'concurred in applying to His Majesty's Ministers for a passage for [the blacks] at the expense of government, and having obtained a favourable answer to their application, they immediately availed themselves of the services of Lieut. [John] Clarkson, who very handsomely offered to go to Nova Scotia in order to make the necessary proposals, and to superintend the collecting and bringing over such free blacks to Sierra Leone, as might be willing to emigrate.'
Peters then returned to Nova Scotia to assist in organizing a disembarkation party amidst much misapprehension among the blacks as well as opposition among whites who worried about the drain on black labour. But in spite of the odds, the repatriation drive got underway, with Peters duly signing up for it, and succeeded in laying a trans-Atlantic trail that numerous others, and not only blacks, would follow.
The story of David George is a fitting testament to that repatriation effort. Born in slavery in the state of Virginia in about 1742, George was later converted
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