Francis Brooks (1693), Barbarian Cruelty..., pp. vi-xxiv.
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William and Mary,
Of Great-Britain, France and Ireland,
King and Queen.
Most Gracious Soveraigns,
AMIDST the throng of those weighty and important Cares that fill your Royal Breasts, it is indeed a high presumption, in one so inconsiderable as I am, to offer the interrupting them by ths Address. But since such is your Royal Clemency, as not to deny Access to the meanest of Your Subjects, Permit me, with awful Reverence and Humility, to lay the ensuing Narrative at Your Majesties Feet, with hopes You will vouchsafe to shelter it under Your Royal Patronage.
The deporable and miserable Condition, wherein many of Your Majesties Subjects, with other Christians, now lie groaning in Slavery, and under the barbarous Tyranny and Inhumanity of Mully Ishmael Emperor of Morocco, is a Subject that may perhaps not altogether be thought unworthy of the Cognizance of Your Majesties; it being manifest to all the World how much it has been the Glorious Design of Your Majesties whole Life and Reign, to set Mankind at Liberty, and to free the Distressed from the Yoke of Tyranny and Oppression. May that Almighty Hand that has framed Your Majesties for the Support and Joy of the Universe, continue to Crown all Your Affairs with uninterrupted Success, giving You more and more the Hearts of Your Subjects, and the Necks of Your Enemies. And after Your Majesties have reaped many Harvests of Lawrels, may You plant such an Olive of Peace, under the Branches whereof all Europe may for successive Ages rejoice.
Which is and shall be the constant Prayer of Your Majesties poor and distressed, tho Loyal Subject,
THOUGH I must own my self incapable to write upon this Subject, any thing worthy to be exposed to the publick View, since my Eduction hath not given me those Advantages of Stile and Composition, altogether necessary for such an Undertaking: Yet considering I had the miserable Experience of what hath been barbarously inflicted on me, with many others my Fellow Sufferers, who are still groaning under the most insupportable Miseries; I thought my self bound in Duty to publish, as well as I can express it, what was plain Matter of Fact, to the end it might more powerfully move your Compassion, and excite your Charity for the Redemption of those who remain to this Day under their Egyptian Task-masters. A full Account of which you have in the ensuing Relation, wherein I have made it my Business, to give you a clear and particular View of the most remarkable Passages that happened during the unfortunate time of my Confinement among those barbarous Savages. I shall offer nothing but Truths, which ten Years Sufferings have made me too long acquainted with. We were not only banished from our Native Country, (being English-men, and my self born in Ratcliff-Parish in Bristol) but from all the Spiritual as well as Temporal Comforts. We were confin'd amongst those whose Religion was composed of Cruelty, whose Customs were Extravagant, and whose Usages almost Intolerable; what from the hardness of our Labours, and the coarsness of our Provisions, we were reduced to the most pressing Extremities, which caused us to think and contrive all Ways and Means to procure our desired Liberties; which considering how narrowly we were watch'd, and how closely kept, was almost impossible to be effected.
I need not mention here how I made my Escape, with two others of my Companions, since I have given you an exact Account of it, with all its Circumstances, in the following Relation, with what happened afterwards to the Person who was instrumental in our happy Deliverance, for which we are in Duty bound, during the whole Course of our Lives, to own the particular Providence of God, to whose Assistance and Protection we owe our present Safety.
The chiefest Design of my publishing this Book, is to Caution all Seafaring Men, whose particular Voyages carry them into the Streights, that they take all possible care not to be trapan'd by these subtile Pirates who infest those Coasts, where we unfortunately fell into their Hands; and that reflecting on the Barbarities they must expect to suffer from those merciless Enemies, it will be their surest Interest to defend themselves to the utmost of their Power, even to the last Extremity, Death it self being to be preferred before that, or any other Slavery.
Another Motive is, That I hope what I write, may be a Means to procure Liberty for these my Country-men, who are now labouring under the most pressing Miseries, and who would be very serviceable at this Time against the Common Enemy; whose deplorable Condition hath been not long time since published and recommended in a Brief to be continued for two whole Years, as followeth.
William and Mary, by the Grace of God, King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, &c. To all and singular Arch bishops, Bishops, &c.
Whereas a great number of Our good Subjects, peaceably following their Emploments at Sea, have been taken by the Turkish Pirates of Algiers, Salley, Barbary, and other Places on the Coast of Africa, and now remaining Slaves, in Cruel and Inhumane Bondage, without any Days of Rest, either on the Turkish Sabbath or Ours, except four Days in a Year, being kept to extream Labour; from which some endeavourng a little Rest, several of them were barbarously Murdered. Neither is their Diet any more Tolerable than their Labour, great Numbers being allowed no other Food than decayed Barley, which stinketh so that the Beasts refuse to eat it: And often they are not permitted to go from their Labour to fetch Water, which is their only Drink; and sometimes driven about by Black-a-moors, who are set over them as Task-masters; and some by them have been so severely whipp'd, that they have dropp'd down Dead. Whose miserable Conditions being represented to Us, and We having now an Offer from the Emperor of Fez and Morocco, by his Envoy sent hither to Treat about a general Redemption of all the English that are his Slaves; and the Dey of Algiers having now also invited Us to redeem Our Subjects there in Slavery, &c.
So that if the before-recited End may have its desir'd Success, it will make sufficent Amends for any Censures or Reflections that may be made on me, upon the account of my imperfect Performance: therefore I shall only refer their disressed Case to your Benevolence and Charity, as I do my Book to your Pardon and Candour; which, I hope, will neither be denied to them, nor
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This page is by James Eason