Francis Brooks (1693), Barbarian Cruelty..., pp. 77-118.

In the Year 1688, the Emperor of Morocco sent a Letter to the Algerines, acquainting them that he heard they had a great many Christian Slaves; and since he had a great deal of Work to do, if they would sell him any of them, he would give them 150 Dollars a Head for five hundred of them, and send them away with all speed. They gathered three hundred French Men, and brought them to Tittivan; being landed there, the Governour had them to Macqueness to the Emperor, to see them, and asked him if he liked them? who answered, Yes. Immediately by the Emperor's Order they were driven away by the Negroes in a barbarous manner. The Algerines expecting their Money from the Emperor, having waited a long time for Payment, they resolved at once to demand it from him. When they asked him for it, he answered, he did not use to give Money for Christians that were brought into his Land. Then they charged him with breach of Promise, saying, they hoped he would not serve them so. He said, if they did not retire out of his Country, he would cut off all their Heads. So they retiring to Algier with speed, acquainted the King and his Pateroons how they had sped with the Emperor, giving Relation of what he said concerning the Christians. The King presently rais'd an Army of 50000 Men, preparing Ammunition and Field-pieces, who marched through Trimsind, a place at or near the Emperor's Dominions, where they entred without Resistance; and as they passed along, several of Mully Ishmael's People ran to them: Mully Ishmael's Coydes, or Governours, acquainted him that the Algerines were coming against him: Mully Ishmael hearing thereof, raised an Army of Eighty thousand Horse and Foot, and made his Son Mully Sedan General thereof. Whilst his Army was preparing, the Algerines were got as far as a Town called Tezzo, within two days Journey of Fez, where they pitch'd. Mully Sedan went against them; and being there, the Algerines wrote a Letter to Mully Ishmael, acquainting him, that they did not come to fight with his Son, but to have met himself in Person: he sent them word back that his Son was able enough for them. Soon after they had received his Letter, they engaged Mully Sedan's Army, and slew abundance of them. Many of Mully Sedan's People deserted him, joining with the Algerines. Then he sent with all speed to the Emperor his Father, giving him account what had happened. When Mully Ishmael understood that, he gave out, that if any Christians would help, and stand by the great Guns, if he prevailed against the Algerines, he would give them their Liberty. So eight Englishmen told him they knew what belonged to the Guns, and they would go with him. So he ordered an hundred Moors to assist them, and to take out six great Guns (that they judged might be most serviceable) from the place where they lay betwixt the Walls. They told him they wanted Carriages: He sent for Carpenters immediately, charging them to make Carriages strong and good, and that with all speed, upon pain of losing their Heads in case they neglected. Mully Sedan again sent the Emperor his Father word, that if he did not hasten to Battel, the Algerines would be in Fez in four days time. Mully Ishmael hearing that, was forced to go with all speed, raising what Forces he could, leaving for haste his Field-pieces behind him. The Emperor being come where his own Army lay, he made Peace with the Algerines General, and in order thereto, gave forty eighty Mules laden with Gold, and an Horse and Furniture worth 200000 Crowns.

About a Month before I came from Macqueness, one of our own Nation, namely Elias Roberts, being by the said Emperor put to look after a parcel of Sheep, he came himself to view them; and telling them over, found three of his number wanting, who thereupon sent for one of his chief Negroes that kept an account of them, and examined him what was become of them? he replied, the Christian kept the Key, and lock'd them up every Night, and carried it with him to the place where he went to sleep under Ground. The Tyrant immediately sent his Blood-hounded Negroes to fetch the poor Christian, who was not far from them; being come, he asked him what was become of those Sheep that were wanting? he made Answer, he went home every Night, having first fastned the Door, and that the Negro had a false Key to the Door; so turning to the Negro, and upon Examination finding him faulty, he presently shot him to Death, running his Launce through his Body in several places, and threatned the Christian for not acquainting him therewith sooner, saying, if he would not turn Moor, he would kill him, as he had done the Negro, who lay dead before them. The Christian boldly replied, he was brought up in the Faith of Jesus Christ, and he would not turn Moor, and that he feared God, whose Power was greater than his; so the Emperor fell to cutting him, and afterwards had him very inhumanly stretched out by those bloody Negroes, and beaten till he was left for dead. Then he went away to his Works where English Captives were, and told them he had killed one of the Dogs their Brother, for taking no better care of his Sheep, and calling them Dogs in his own Language, and bidding them fetch that Dog away; five or six of them went and brought the poor Man away, who had been so cruelly beaten by the wicked Wretch, his Body was so exceedingly bruised, he could not stir neither hand nor foot; neither could he feed himself for several days, but as we help'd him. Yet through God's Mercy, he was pretty well recovered before my Departure from thence. And thus when the poor Captives are by this unmerciful, and rather, as we may term him, inhuman Brute, beaten and killed at his pleasure, none dare make any Complaint to him; for instead of taking any Pity of them, he matters no more to kill a Christian than to kill a Dog; and if any of them seeks for Favour from this Tyrant, he's either killed, or sorely beaten by either him or his bloody Negroes.

A Moor, one of the Natives of the Country, having Compassion on me, and seeing my sad Condition that I was kept daily in, which I cannot at large insert here, came to me, speaking his own Language, being Arabick, knowing I could understand him; and he asked me if I would go to my Native Country? I replied, Are you in earnest or not? he answered, Yes, and would direct me, and go along with me himself to Marsegan, a Garison belonging to the King of Portugal. I told him, if he expected any Reward or Satisfaction from me for his Pains, I had nothing to give him; he said he knew that by my Condition. So I enquired of him where he lived? he answered, at a place called Assimore, which is not far from the Christian Garison; and he said, he would trust to the Benevolence of the Governour of that place, provided I would speak to the said Governour for a Gratuity for him, when we should arrive there: I told him I should be worse than a Jew, if I did not do that; and they themselves count the Jews the worst and falsest of all People. Then I asked him in what time we should provide for our Journey? he said, as soon as I could find convenient opportunity; and I farther prevailed with him to take in two more English-men along with us, whose Names were Tristram Bryan, born in Plymouth, and Edward Tucker, who came from New-England. And in five days time after we were fitted with a small quantity of Bread for the Journey, supposing we might accomplish our Journey in ten Nights time, for we must of necessity hide our selves in the Day for fear of being discovered; yet we found it difficult enough to perform in two and twenty days, in which time we were put to great Hardships and Necessities on the way. The Particulars are as follow.

On the 26th of June, 1692, in the Evening, we set forward from Macqueness, and travelled as far as we could that Night in great fear of being pursued, with our Moor to direct us in the way, knowing that if they had found us, we had been killed, if not burnt, which would have been the Moor's Lot had we been taken: towards day we had a great River to pass; when we were got over, we found a small Coppise or Wood, where we rested the Day following, being the 27th. In the Evening when the Sun was set, our Guide was forward to be going, not knowing how the Event would prove, and I had much ado to perswade him from going before 'twas dark. When we came into the Road out of the Wood we met ten Moors, and Mules and Asses laden with Goods for the Emperor, being Iron, which they had taken from one Savage an English Master that came from Bilboa; so we followed our Guide the Moor, who gave them the time of the Night, and they him likewise; and so we passed that time without any further trouble, they supposing us to be Moors, being we had on their sort of Apparel. So we travelled that Night, making what haste we could, and still in great fear, lest we should have been discovered by the Moors: when we rested, it was towards Day, in some Brambles or Bushes, seeing them pass along by us, driving of Sheep and Bullocks; but through Mercy they did not see us. And the next Night, being the 28th, we travelled all Night; and when Day appeared, we could not find a convenient place to lodg in, which we sought for; and about Sun-rising we found a place betwixt two Mountains where were Holes made with the Winter Rains coming off the Hills near a Path-way, to which we made, and espied several Moors who went along the Road, that had Mules and Asses loaden with Iron, who saw us not. Some part of the Day we slept; and the Moor and I watcht; in which time the Moor gathered Palm, and made a Sling, to sling Stones at Lions and other wild Beasts that appeared.

So in the Evening, after Sunset, (being the 29th) we travelled till we came to a River-side, where were a great parcel of Moors and Mules a baiting, that had Bail-Goods, which the Sally-Moors had taken in Prizes, to carry to the Emperor at Macqueness; who strictly enquired of our Moor, from whence we came, and whither we were going? He made answer, To Salley, and came from Macqueness, and so our Moor bad them Good-night; and we travelled on (without further enquiry) along the River-side before we could get over. When we were over, there were a great many Bramble-bushes and Rush-bushes; and our Moor feared there were Lions in that Place, so we made what haste we could up a Hill, on the top of which was a great Plain; and being very thirsty, we travelled on a good way further, and heard a noise of Frogs and Toads; to which Place we came, and found a standing Water, which stunk; however we drank thereof to stay our Thirst, and 'twas sweet to us: and so went on till we found a ruined Castle, which had formerly belonged to the Portugues, at which our Moor would fain have rested; but I told him there might happen to be Moors there, because they usually rested in such Places in the Night. So we went further, till we came to a place where grew a great parcel of high Weeds, and there we rested that Day.

The 30th at Night, after Sunset, we set forwards; but were very thirsty, the Sun having shone hot upon us that Day, having lain without shelter, only the Weeds. I asked our Moor, how long it would be e're we could find any Water? He said, A little further there was a small River; but we thought it a long way to it, our Throats being so parch'd with Drought; so we drank Water, and eat a little Bread, which did greatly refresh us; and we went forward till near break of Day, where we rested in some Weeds till about two in the Afternoon; at which time three Women disturbed us two or three times, but saw not our Faces: So we three went forward, and our Moor stood, and enquired of them the way to Salley. Then the Women asked from whence we came? Who answered, From Tapholet, which was a City in that Country. They further asked, if he had lain in that place all Night? and asked what they were that were with him? He told them, Three of his Neighbours, and that they had lain there all Night, being Strangers. They said, It was a wonder that the Lions had not destroyed us, there being so many in that place, they devoured some of their Cattel almost every Night; and they told him it was about four Leagues to Salley.

After Sunset (July 1.) we travelled till we came to a Wood, where the Moor would have had us to rest; but seeing of Lights which the Country People had in their Tents, and hearing a Lion roar thereabouts, we went further, and came to a ruined Tower, where was a good Spring of Water; we drank and refreshed our selves, but durst not stay for fear of Moors being in that place; and going a little farther, we came into a Valley, where was a Hole the Winter Rains had made, there we rested; and after the Sun was risen, two Moors came to cut Palm: At which I awaked our Moor, who spoke to them, and gave them the time of Day, and they likewise to him. They enquired of him from whence he came, and whither he was going? He told them, he came from beyond Tapholet, and was going to visit a great Saint at a Town called Temsnah; and asked further, if there were none with him? He answered, there were three more. They asked, if we had lain there all Night? He said, we had; They said, it was to be wondred that the Lions had not devoured us; and came to look at us where we lay, speaking Arabick; but the Moor told them, we could not speak that Lingua; and we were covered all over with our white Blankets, being such as the Moors commonly wear. So they went away and left us, telling us, We did well in going to visit the Saint. So we got up, and espying a parcel of Bushes a little distance off, we removed thither, lest the two Moors should have informed of us at Salley, and so have come back to the place and found us. The Bush where we were hid, was near a River-side, but we durst not go to drink thereat, by reason of People which passed to and fro there by us all Day long.

July 2. After Sun-Set, we attempted to go over the River; but it being so strong a Stream, and deep, we could not pass over it: And in our going a great way further up the River-side, there happened to be several of the Moors; yet being Night, they saw us not, save only one Man of the Natives, which had tied up a bundle of Canes fast together to pass over the River with them; to whom our Moor gave the time of the Night; and he answering with the like to us, we parted: and going higher up, we found a place not so deep as the other part of the River; so got over, and travelled up a Hill on the other side, where we found some Bushes, and there we rested, and our Moor lay on the out-side of them. In the Morning when the Sun was risen, came by us two Moors with two Asses, who said one to the other, it was wonder the Lions had not devoured that Man, meaning our Moor, who they saw lying by the side of the Bushes.

On the third Instant, after the Sun was set, we set forward, endeavouring to get to the Sea-side: but there being several People in the way, watching with their Dogs to keep the wild Beasts from their Gardens; which we hearing, were fain to flee further from them: so we travelled a little further, and rested among some Rushes.

The next Night, being the 4th of July, we travelled after Sun-setting as far as we could, being weary and faint, and rested.

On the 5th; on which Day after Sun was set, we set forward, and travelled till we came to a place where was a standing Water, being thereto led by a noise of Frogs; which although the Water stunk, yet drinking thereof, it was sweet to us; with that, and a little Bread, we were much refreshed; but at this time our Bread was gone, so we travelled a little further, and rested.

The 6th Instant, after Sunset, we went forward, and discovered a great many Lights which the Natives had in their Tents where they lodg: So we parted a while one from another, to find out the Roads. At length I came to a place where the Country People use to go to Market, where we again met together; and travelling awhile, we heard some Dogs, as I thought, did scent us; and near that place we met with a Lion lying by the Way-side; which the Moor seeing, before he roused, he struck him fair over the Head. So the Lion roared at him, and followed us half a Mile or more; but our Moor kept slinging of Stones at him so fast, that he left us. Then we came to a Valley, where was a Wood on each side: When Day appeared, we rested in the Wood, having no Bread to sustain us; but we durst not enter the Wood till it was Daylight, for fear of the Lions: We then found a piece of Pot in the Wood, with which our Moor brought us some Water out of the Valley; for we durst not fetch it our selves, lest the People saw us: so when the Moor had brought us a Pot full of Water, (but in the mean time we were lamenting our sad Condition for want of Bread, having then no Sustenance but Palm-Berries, Grass and Weeds, and any thing we could eat, which was sweet to us) he said, in his own Language, God was great. So went from us about the space of four Hours; in which time he sold his Sash, and bought us a small quantity of Bread (about a pound and an half) therewith, and brought us a little of it, which we ate; and he fetch'd us a little more Water in the Pot: After we had eaten and drank of the Water, we went to sleep, two us watching.

On the 7th, after Sun-set, we travelled on; and the Moor slung Stones, whilst we passed through the Wood, lest there be Lions lurking thereabouts: having refreshed our selves with the Bread and Water, we rested amongst some Brambles, but could find no more Water that Night.

Then on the 8th Day at Night we came to another Wood, in which we travelled a great way, and kept two of us awake to watch against Lions and other wild Beasts.

On the 9th we set forward, and travelled in the same Wood, and still had no Water.

The 10th, after Sun-setting, we went till we came to an Hill of Rocks; at the bottom whereof we found a Spring of Water, and drinking thereof, we were greatly refreshed: and there was a little River, from which we went, till we came to some Trees or Bushes, and there rested.

About eight a Clock in the Morning, July 11. (it raining fast) we ventured to travel that Day, after we had rubb'd out a little Corn, and eaten, that the Moor had brought us, having no Bread to eat: so went to the top of an Hill, on which grew a Tree, which we climb'd upon, and espied the Sea at a great distance from us. We travelled all that Day, and the Night following, till towards Day, that we rested, but had neither Bread nor Water.

On the 12th at Night, after Sun-setting, we travelled a good way, and heard a noise of Frogs and Toads; to which we made, and found Water, which we drank of; and although it was very brackish, yet it was pleasant to us, by reason of our sore Drought. A little from thence we met with a Person of Quality, as we judged by his Habit and Attendance, having ten Men with him; to whom our Moor paid his Respects, and gave him the time of the Night. He answered him again in his own Language, and asked him whither we were going? Our Moor answered, To Santa Cruse: So he bid us, God speed: Afterwards our Moor asked him from whence he came? He answered, From Assimore. So we departed away, and travelled till we found some Bushes, wherein we rested that Day.

July 13. After Sun-setting we set out, and came so near Assimore, that, listening, we heard the People in it, and saw the Town, which stood on the South-side of a Hill, and a River by the Town, which was so deep, that we could not get over, because one of our Men could not swim. Then we travelled along the North-side of the River, till we came to a place here Cains grew, and there we rested by the River-side.

July 14. After it was Day, our Moor went to see his Family which dwelt there in that Town. We having been a considerable time without Bread, I requested our Moor to bring us a little, (which he did) and likewise to see if he could find any thing to carry my Country-man over the River; and about four in the Afternoon he returned with some Bread, and said, he had found a Tree. After Sun was set, we went to view it, and found it not fit to swim withal: So we returned, and went back to the Cains, and there staid.

On the 15th Instant, when the Sun was risen, I desired our Moor to go and enquire of the People, where we might pass over the River? The People told him, there was no Passage but by a Boat at the Town. So our Moor went about a League further in the Country, where he saw a Man and a Woman upon a Mule crossing the River, and marked the place with some Stones, that we might find it, and so returned to us, and rested till Sun-setting. So we set forward, and had gone but a little way before we heard a Lion roar, but he did not come in our sight; then we came to the place where the Moor laid his Mark, and sat down to consult how to pass over there, we hearing of People in a Garden were near at hand: and in the interim, we heard a Lion just behind us; so we hastened and got over the River, and travelled a little further, and rested.

July 16. After Sun-setting we travelled about a Mile further, where we saw a Town, that our Moor said was a Saint's Town, to which the People, that were not able to pay their Taxes to the Emperor, fled for Refuge.

July 17. After Sun-setting we travelled; and going till about Midnight we came within call of the Garison, * which was at Mersygan, belonging to the King of Portugal: So I called out, and the Souldiers made answer to me, and asked what we were? I replied, We were three Christians and a Moor: Which they presently acquainted the Governour of, and bid us hasten nearer, lest there should be any Moors in the hearing of us. Which we did, and running to a wrong place, they called to us again to make to the two Draw-bridges, where we sate down. So the Governour, and the rest of the Officers, came to the Wall; and after he had examined us, he and the Guard let us in; and he ordered his Servants to bring us into the House, and to give us some Relief; and he himself came to us, and wondred that so little satisfied us in our eating and drinking: So had us into another Room, and asked me, If I did not know of three Men that were taken by the Moors from that Garison? I answered, I knew of two, but not of the third. He bid me speak to the Moor, and ask him, If he would undertake to bring them thither to that place? So I spoke to the Moor, who bid me tell the Governour, That he would endeavour it to the utmost of his Power. So the Governour ordered us a Lodging; and in the Morning ordered his Clerk to write a couple of Letters, and gave them to the Moor, with forty pieces of Eight for bringing us thither, saying, If he did bring the two Portugueses, he would give him as much more as should maintain his Family as long as he lived. The Moor said, He would do his endeavour. So the Governour ordered Dinner for us: And about four a Clock he again sent for me and the Moor; and bid me tell him, in his Language, That if he feared any thing in his Return, he would send some of his Troopers to conduct him on the Way. The Moor made answer, He should go more safe alone. After Sun was set, the Governour gave him Victuals to serve him, till he could shift for himself. And the Moor taking his leave, returned, and went on his Journey.

About three Weeks after, a Portuguese Man of War came into that Garison to fetch about 1800 Souldiers off from thence: So I desired of the Governour we might go aboard with them: Which he was willing, and in four Days after we had been aboard, most of the Souldiers being come off, the Captain sent a Letter to the Governour, by the Coxon of the Pinnace, desiring him to hasten the remainder away. When the Pinnace went ashore, his Crew wondered to see any Moors there, and asked, What they did there? The Portuges told them, They came with a Flag of Truce, to treat for three Moors they had taken. They offered the Governour two thousand Dollars for them, being one of them was a Shack, or Governour; or Bullocks, or Sheep, or Corn, in lieu of Money. He answered, No; for they had taken three Troopers belonging to his Garison; and he heard that two of them were at Macqueness. They replied, They knew by whom he heard that, for the Christians that the Moor brought, had acquainted him therewith; but he had paid dearly for it, for, said they, he was taken with the Pieces of Eight, and Letters about him, and carried up to the Emperor and burnt: At which the Governour was very sorry when he heard it. The Governour then told them, he heard two of his Troopers were alive at Macqueness, but he feared the third was dead, because he heard nothing of him; and bid them go up to the Emperor, and prevail with him, if they could, for the two Christians, and bring them, and they should have the three Moors. They told him, they could not do that. He made answer, Then they should never have the Moors. So at Night when they came on Board, I asked them what was the best News? Who said, Very bad; for they had seen a parcel of Moors, who had given account to the Governour, that the Moor that brought us to the Garison, was taken and burnt. At which I was much grieved, knowing the poor Moor's true-heartedness towards us, in bringing and directing us on our Journey, when we made our escape from Macqueness. So setting sail for Lisbon, through God's Mercy we safely arrived there, and went to the King's Palace, giving him Thanks for the Kindness the Governour had bestowed upon us, and the Moor that brought us to the Garison.

When we came thither, several of the Nobility enquired of us, What Nation we were of? and told us, if we desired it, we might speak with the King; and acquainted him of us, who ordered us to come before him; and enquired of us if we could speak French or Portuguese? I said we could speak some Portuguese, and a little Lingua Franc: So he enquired from whence we came? And I gave him account of our narrow escape from that Slavery we had been in under the Emperor, &c. and told him how our Bread was gone in ten Days time, and that we had been two and twenty Days in coming from Macqueness to the Garison, and did eat nothing but Reach till the 23d Night. He much wondered how we were kept alive the rest of the time after our Bread was gone. I told him, through God's Assistance we had shifted as well as we could; for our Liberty being sweet to us, had caused us to run these great hazards we were exposed to. He further enquired after those Christians that are still in Slavery; of which I gave him an Account of all I could remember: And desired him, out of the abundance of his Goodness and Clemency to remember them in their Afflictions. He told me, it was more than he ever heard before, and said, he would, before Winter came, take care to send them Relief, to buy them Victuals and Clothes; and enquired of me, Whether any of his Subjects desired me to lay their Condition before him? I answered, No; but (by God's Permission) I had in part undergone the same Afflictions they were in, and knew well enough how it was with them. He made answer, God would bless me for it. He likewise asked, If I knew what number of Ships were at Salley? I told him, eleven Sail. He said, He knew Venetia, for he had formerly been at his Palace. I said, It was our late King James's Pleasure to give him his Liberty; with much more that passed betwixt us.

When this Venetia returned home to the Emperor, the Emperor ordered him to build a Ship; and several English-men, that were newly taken Slaves he caused to draw Timber in a Cart from Memora to Salley (which was twelve Miles distant) like so many Oxen, driving and whipping of them in a very barbarous manner. The Name of Venetia caused me to insert this here, to show the barbarous Cruelty of this inhumane Wretch; and so I shall leave him, and proceed.

We having taken our leaves here, took our Passage for Holland, where my two Country-men staid; but I took my passage for England, where, praised be God for his Great Mercies, I arrived safely, being by his good Providence at last delivered from under the Hands of this Inhumane Tyrant, and his Hellish Crew of Negroes; beseeching Almighty God, that all my Country-men, in all their Affairs and Negotiations, may ever escape from his cruel Hands.

Francis Brooks.



* The distance between Macqueness and Marsegan, being two hundred Miles or more; but travelling in the Night, occasioned our missing the Way: so that we went at least three hundred Miles before we came to the Garison.

This page is by James Eason

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