Primary Document Analysis
Primary document analysis
Gottlieb Mittelberger voyaged to Pennsylvania from Germany in 1750 on a vessel chiefly occupied with poorer settlers and going to be indentured servants after reaching at Philadelphia. Author was not a servant, he was a school master and returned to Germany in 1754.
It was not an easy journey, the passengers were tightly loaded at ship or in other words the ship was fully packed with people and other stuff like oil, water barrels, tools etc. with 400-600 people. Each individual get 2 feet wide and 6 feel long place to sleep. Passengers don’t have any money left with them and hunger with poverty was clearly visible. It was taking more than usual time to reach, and this created disappointment and hunger. Due to expired and salty food diseases were common. Rotten meat and foul water forced people to get sick and die. According to Mittelberger, “children from 1 to 7 years rarely survive the voyage” (Mittelberger1). More than 32 corpses of children were thrown in sea.
Due to long duration disease, sea sickness, vomiting , headache, constipation , mouth ulcer, stomach aches. Fever, loose stomach, heat, scurvy and some kind od cancers were found from Miltenberger’s letter. Other than disease death, fumes ,smell, fear, doubts, horror was common among passengers.
It took long than usual to reach at land. Mostly passengers were tired and lazy ,when they reach at Philadelphia , after a long voyage. Only those who paid for voyage permitted to leave the ship and mandatory for others to stay in ship. They were not allowed to leave ship till any one buy them as slave then they will be allowed to leave ship with their master or purchaser. Here another issue faced by those who were lazy or sick because purchasers only like to purchase healthy and active people. Due to this reason many dies after 2-3weekswhen no one purchased them, and they don’t have any money to pay. All those who had some money to pay for their freedom were allowed to leave ship as well.
It was a great opportunity for Englishmen ,Dutch and Germans to visit ship and buy slaves for them. Nearly everyday buyers use to come to buy slaves and their first preferences were strong and active young man. Some buyers reaches after travelling 30-40 hours to buy passengers arrived from Europe. The purchase depends according to buyer’s choice and need. They used to bargain and mostly slaves purchased for their entire life. The amount paid according to age, physical health and need of the buyer. There were some children under 21 years old and they were obligated to serve till hey reach at 21 years old.
3-13 Olaudah Equiano, The Middle Passage (1788)
The starting areas of the western slave trade did not necessarily coincide with those from which the captives came, sometimes coming from far into the continent. The main boarding area was West-Central Africa (Congo and Angola), preceded by the number of deported the Gulf of Benin, the Gulf of Biafra (Nigeria), Côte-de-l'Or and Sierra Leone and, to a lesser extent, Senegambia and East Africa.
The author was in state of fear when he found men at ship. They were different from their color most probably white men with long hair and speaking some strange language that he never heard before. That must be English or French or may be German, but it was different from people on ship. He was clear that he will be killed soon as he saw a large copper furnace along with lots of black men in chains. The expression of all black men was not good . there was sorrow, anger, fear and dejection. Then he fainted out. When he recovered, he asked that those men eat us but one man told no and one of the ship crew offered me a small portion of liquor that I refused to drink dur to horror.
When they reached at North America, they were told to do plantation. One day his owner was sick, and he supposed to do some work for him. At his home , he found a black slave woman, who use to cook food for him , was in some kind of iron machine and due to that she was not even able to talk. Ans later on he learned that it was iron muzzle, that us to put on the mouth of slaves.
Olaudah's conclusions related to civilization of his master was totally based on their behavior as he stated that "I know wished for the last friend, death to relieve me; but soon to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables: and on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by my hands, and laid me across I think the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely”( Olaudah1). He never faced or experienced this kind of behavior in past and other example is related to iron muzzle.
4-9 J Hector St. John Crevecoeur, “What is an America?’ (1782)
J. Hector St. John is a significant figure in American history and literature. His book of letter from American farmers published in 1782. He studies nature, life and manners Americans and Native American tribes. The idyllic life of the farmer philosopher in surrounded by the family was unexpectedly interrupted by the outbreak of the American Revolution.
Crevecoeur imagined through his experienced by Englishmen when they visit America. idealized picture of patriarchal America, reminiscent of utopia. At the same time, there are a lot of valuable economic and social observations, vivid sketches of nature and the life of the colonies. Writer sees that a new nation is being born in America, and tries to determine what American and what is its difference from European ancestors: "An American is one who, leaving behind all the old traditions and prejudices, gains new customs as a result of the new lifestyle that he leads, a new the political system to which he obeys, and the new position that he takes in society.
He arrived on a new continent; modern society relies on its review, it differs from what he had seen hitherto. It does not consist, as in Europe, of the famous lords who own everything, and human mob, which does not own anything. There are no aristocratic families, there are no courts, no kings, no bishops, no dominions of confessors, no invisible power that provides the few with quite visible power, no large industrialists hiring thousands of workers, no impressive sophistication of luxury. The rich and the poor are not as far apart as in Europe.
He becomes an American, finding himself in the vast bosom of our great Alma mater. Here, individual representatives of all nations unite in an alloy, forming a new human race, whose work and whose descendants will one day lead to enormous changes in the world. Americans are Western pilgrims who carry with them not only energy and hard work, but also a huge amount of knowledge from the field of arts and sciences that have long been born in the East; they will complete this great cycle. Once upon a time, today's Americans were scattered throughout Europe; here they entered, with a compound suit, into one of the best social systems that ever existed, which from now on will be influenced by the various climatic conditions in which Americans live.
Crevecoeur, H. S. J. D. (1957). Letters from an American Farmer. 1782. New York: EP Dutton.
Gottlieb Mittelberger.The Passage of Indentured Servants. (1750).
Olaudah Equiano. The Middle Passage. Retrieve.(1788)
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