Chapter 6 The Twelve Hours

Sixth hour

Hunger and spoilage

Loading of a sugar ship. Shipwreck. Cannibalism. English criminal transport. The innocent deportee.

1. After you have sufficiently looked around a point of northern America, let us turn our eyes back to the sea coast and linger there for a few moments until this large ship that you see here on the coast, is fully loaded with sugar; only then will we take a trip with this ship, where the ship will set it's sails.

2. Now look a little further to this place; see how the slaves on the many carts drag large barrels and boxes to the shore. See here a heavy, wagon-like cart, how it is packed like a small mountain with crates; see, how in front of this cart at forty slaves are harnessed like oxen in front of the cart, and the slave bailiffs force them with whip-lashes to hasten with the freight, and how at each side of this cart mountain, a lot of slaves have to protect it with forks and ropes from falling over, and as soon as the cart makes only any hardly noticeable swing, the cruel whip is swung over their necks.

3. And look, now they have come quite close to the coast; it went well with the wagon. But you did not notice that one wheel of the wagon succumbed to the weight, breaks, and look at the twenty slaves now lying crushed under the great load of the too heavily packed wagon, and the other half, since they did not stop the wagon, is murderously maltreated because of it, and also the pulling slaves are not spared on this occasion, as you see, and because at the height of the wagon, a badly shod box had scattered barely three lots of the sugar flour from a crevice due to the violent fall, so at least three slaves have to pay for this great damage with their lives; and all the blame that lies on these vile avengers and their almost continuous drunkenness, must be repaid by these innocent lambs of mankind.

4. Now look, the rioters have had their fill; so first a new order is established, new and smaller carts are brought in, and with them, all these boxes are brought to the shore amid the howling and lamenting of the slaves.

5. Now see, everything is brought along. The Englishman takes over the goods, and compensates for it with the present accountant of the sugar-plantation owner.

6. Now these crates have to be brought into the ship, and this work is included in the trade, and falls again to the slaves.

7. See how they lift the crates, which often weigh many hundredweight, into small vehicles; but fortunately none of them falls into the sea, which sometimes happens, especially when some slave bailiff has poured too much brandy into his stomach and mistreated his poor subjects to pass the time.

8. If on such occasions such a tremendous damage occurs that the weakened limbs of the slaves are not able to lift such a box completely into the vehicle, and it falls into the water, and if it is also immediately fished out by the slaves, and not a drop of water has penetrated into it's contents, then such careless workers are either almost whipped to death, or sometimes, according to the cruel whim of such bailiffs, immediately shot and thrown into the sea.

9. And these poor people are out of danger only when all the goods have been successfully brought into the ship, where the carts are of course taken back again, and instead of the crates, the bailiffs lie down on them, where they have to go at a constant gallop for their amusement and pleasure, which they know how to accomplish with the crack of their whips.

10. You may ask, what happens to the crushed? I tell you: nothing, but look here and convince yourselves with the eyes of your spirit, how some of them with broken hands and feet wail, scream and howl and call for help after their kind; do you think that a surgeon will be fetched or they will be taken to some slave hospital?

11. Oh, there you are mistaken! These human devils know a much quicker way of healing than you do; a stone slab is hung on each one, and finally a general water envelopment is added to the bottom of the sea, and in this way they are healed for all eternity.

12. Now you may ask, when these galloping slaves have reached home with their captors, will there be at least one hour's rest for these poor people, or perhaps even a repose?

13. Oh, you see, such a thing is not usual in the country; but it often happens, if the owner is too much of an inhuman being, that they are maltreated for their carelessness under the command of the barbarian owner.

14. And do you want to know the true number of these unfortunates, whose lot in the sphere of misfortune offers no significant variations at all?

15. There are eleven million of them in the whole North American Free State area; and you must think that among these slaves there are not only blacks, but also at least a quarter of whites. But since a law forbids white slavery, white slaves are specially blackened with soot and considered black.

16. Now that we have observed just about everything, let us get into the ship, which, as you see, is just leaving the harbor ready to sail. Now watch how the sailors, like tightrope walkers, perform their equilibristic exercises on the sail masts.

17. Look a little at these sea-burned faces, whose nakedness is covered only by the most wretched rags. See how dehumanized and degraded they look, as if they belonged to a different line of beings than the human. See, these people are the much talked about English sailors.

18. Oh mankind! To what depths has your worldliness plunged you! How far you are from Me, the Source of life, and how close to the abyss of eternal ruin! The depth of the sea does not frighten you; My storms rush and roar past your forehead in vain; you know no one above you than yourself! You stare with your supposed sharp vision far over the deceptive surface of the waves.

19. You prophesy the storm and know all the cliffs and sandbanks in the sea. Carelessly you swim between life and death on light boards over incalculable abysses on the swaying surface from one area of the world to the other; but you do not consider that I - no longer your Father, but your inexorable Judge - am also on board of your floating board palace.

20. The way is known to you, and by the furrows of the sea you well recognize your road; Behold, your time is at an end, I touch the depths of the earth with a finger, and since you do not suspect anything, I have set you new cliffs on your road, which you do not know, and I, the invisible Helmsman, will know well to hurl your wretched work, this shameful box, which is full of the refuse of your shameful hopes, against the new hard face of the cliffs unknown to you, and thus ruin you.

21. Oh look, this packed ship is now running into the arms of such an unknown cliff. Look, and do not be frightened of how the wind drives it along as fast as an arrow. They do not suspect anything, for I have not raised the cliff above the water level for them.

22. But now look, two moments more, and the wretched box lies in ruins with all it's contents. Look now; see, now it beats with great force with the breast against the cliff. See how it is completely smashed, and how the ship begins to sink; see how these sailors struggle to untie the barges hanging from the great ship, and see how some of them gather boards with greatest haste, and, swimming in the water, push together a raft.

23. See, the wreck hangs on this cliff and a multitude of people cling to the ribs of the ship protruding above the water level, a smaller number swims on the wretched vehicles towards their certain death; but the captain and the owner of the goods crouch at the outstanding mast and, seized by the greatest despair, now already wrestle with death on the third day after the shipwreck; so also the other travelers on the ship's skeleton.

24. Do you think that one of these people has begged Me for any help? But they stare into the wide open sea, if not a vehicle would show itself to their sight. But their looking is in vain; for I will wisely know how to direct the other vehicles so that they shall not come near this place so soon.

25. Now see how these two wrestle with each other crouching on the mast, you will think that through this wrestling they try to cling to the mast all the more tightly. But this wrestling has something else in mind and is called: famine! And there one wants to kill the other, so that he gets something to eat.

26. And look at the ribs of the ship; there you can already see such a meal, as another English tradesman has just devoured the breasts of his dear wife, who has clung to him, with great greed.

27. And you see, this devouring of each other usually continues except for one, and this one continue to devour himself as far as he can reach; which scene usually ends after a few hours with bleeding to death.

28. As for the bones, they are gnawed off as much as possible, and the rest is often thrown into the sea, cursing.

29. And now that we have nothing more to live and see here, let us follow our three vehicles and see how it goes!

30. Now look, there is already one; look, but only three corpse-like human beings are still crouching in it; these are three heroes who have made it their law - since they had thrown the rest of the company into the water - not to devour each other, and now leave themselves barely alive to their blind chance.

31. So that you no longer need to dwell on these three, let us soon finish with them; behold, a mighty wave is beating against the weak vehicle, and a good-natured shark is already waiting with longing for the contents of this vehicle, which he has faithfully accompanied for a long time.

32. And now look, the wave has done it's work, and the shark has devoured it's eagerly awaited prey, and so there is nothing more for us to observe here, and let us seek out another of these vehicles.

33. Now you will think, where will this perhaps be? But I say to you, do not worry, whoever searches with Me, it will not be difficult for him to find it. Now, look, it is already here! - Count the people who are still inside; it will not be difficult for you to identify the scene.

34. Why then do you not count? - You say we see no-one. Just go closer here, and look inside the swaying ship; look, nothing but gnawed bones, and yet it is only the tenth day after the shipwreck! Now you want to know where the last one who gnawed on it went to, since he could not have eaten himself to the bare bone?

35. Now, look a little to the side; see, here in the more westerly half of the table, a mossy rock of a few fathoms circumference juts out above sea-level.

36. Look, there he crouches desperately in the middle of this extremely small island, and how he gathers the moss and the little grass, and pushes it into his mouth. See, this is the fate of this last one, and he is also the only one of all the stranded ones whom another ship will still take in alive in two days, so that he would bring news of what has happened; and he is also the only one who at least on this island has begun to remember Me a little.

37. And so we leave him there to await his salvation, and now we want to see where the boat is. Well, look here; there floats the boat! Look, there is no human being here either, but some bones are attached to a board with a rope, and likewise there in the middle of the raft, is a corked black bottle.

38. The last one wrote down the sinking of the ship, like his own, and fastened it together with the bottle also with a rope to a board, on which occasion he fell weakly and carelessly with one foot into the water, and thus preserved himself for some time holding on to the board with his hands, until a gourmand shark also tore off half of his body and finally consumed the other half.

39. Now, look, we are completely finished with our navigation; and since, according to your proverb, even death has lost it's rights, there is nothing left, we also want to give up our viewing rights here where death has robbed everything from before our eyes, and therefore look around a little onward on our water-presenting table - whether there is not something memorable for you to see, already floating.

40. Well, look here! There's an English ship-liner floating along; apart from the sailors and the helmsman, there's nothing living to be seen on the deck. Would you like to know what it's tarred boards enclose?

41. Well, look here! I will now thunder an epheta over this ship, and immediately the ship will become transparent, as if it were made of glass, and it's contents will jump into your eyes gruesomely enough; and so I say: Epheta!

42. Look now, and judge what is there; see in the lower rooms of the ship, a number of three hundred people covered with heavy chains, of both genders, almost completely naked; look at their bodies, how emaciated they are, count the bloody welts and look at the miserable food, which is given to them not from day to day, but from week to week - per person, a hardly three and a half pound stone bread and a jug measure of rotten water.

43. See how there, in one corner, an elderly man, on whose feet some rats have already made an attempt, begs the prison guard entering, for death; see there, in another corner, a true female Venus, according to your concept of beauty, with chains around her soft arms, fearfully screaming and pleading that she should be thrown into the sea, or that she should be given at least one hand free, so that she could rid her nose of the pungent filth.

44. But what does the keeper do? He takes a sharp broom and holds it in front of her nose so that she should clean herself; in this way he scratches and smears her whole face so that it finally becomes full of ulcers and pus. - And when she complains about such treatment, she is chastised on top of it.

45. Look down at her feet. Oh, those tender little feet! How they were only three weeks ago in high esteem with a horny and rich English pretender; but his rich promises in an effort to seduce this girl were of little avail, so his baseness knew how to vent and make way for his revenge, that he brought this poor girl as a fictitious, predetermined significant thieve, through secretly bribing the sworn judges, to where you see her just now.

46. And as this poor girl is deported here as a criminal, there are still some in this company, and therefore see fastened in the opposite corner, a still quite young person, who, being the only heir of a rich man, after the death of his father, was also brought there by his own mother with the help of one of her shameful lovers.

47. We will not pursue his story, but do a review of the beautiful tender feet of our beautiful prisoner. See how they diligently hop to ward off the ship-vermin, not also to make the attempt with her feet, as with the feet of that old one; and only look down still lower to her feet, how she has already prepared for herself by her diligence a whole formal rat-cushion!

48. And do you think that the lazy beasts of the ship would go down at least to clear the killed vermin from the ship? Oh no, they don't; instead they prefer to smoke out this unfortunate part of the ship with tar every day in order to prevent a possible ship sickness.

49. You will of course think that such inhumanity is beyond all comprehension, and doctors and priests must see to it that the external laws, if any, are observed.

50. But I tell you that in England every ship, as it leaves the harbor, has no other laws than the living one of the captain, and it is not long before all the ship's authorities are blowing the same horn, and so there is often only one baseness under one and the same deck, nor does it need more, as it was the case here that such a young beautiful deportee does not give ear to the wild passions of the often drunken commanders, and allows herself to be used for all imaginable lecherous perfidies, her most deplorable judgment for this world is already pronounced. Look, now you will already see why the vermin are not removed from the ship.

51. But that is not the only thing that such a poor deportee has to endure; on top of that, her comrades of both genders often howl the most horrible curses at her, since it would only be up to her to have made their fate more bearable.

52. And look around a little more in these sorrowful chambers, and now go up with your gazes into the shining chambers of the ship's masters; see how things are great and plenteous there!

53. From their cups sprays foaming wine; all shout a farewell to their commander, and one of them also shouts: Long live our beautiful prisoner! And all, as if seized by a madness, cheer him.

54. And look, now the chiefs put their heads together. What do they have in mind, you will ask? Do not worry about this secret, for it contains nothing but a clever trick to win over the poor beauty.

55. And what do you think this trick consists of? See, this trick consists in nothing else than this: The fair one is immediately freed from her bonds and immediately brought under effective medical care; now that she is restored, a formal marriage proposal is made to her, by means of which she can become the wife of one or the other shipmaster.

56. The poor woman, too frightened by the torture of hell in the lower chambers, does not see the subtle deception and unites herself under a false blessing, not by the priest, but of a disguised ship's soldier; in this way, her false husband uses her, and at night time, another one takes his place at will, and thus our poor prisoner unknowingly becomes the ship's whore.

57. Admittedly, nothing goes wrong for her stomach, and she is in the happy idea that she has made her fortune there. But her eyes are opened only in Botany Bay, on a coast of Australia, because she is exposed like the other criminals to the life-long scourging. The fate of this unfortunate one, follows in the seventh hour.

Chapter 6 Mobile view About us