Letter from a Slave in Barbary Coast

"DEARE FRIENDS,—It is now about 6 yeares since I was most unfortunately taken by a Turkes man-of- [70] warre on the coasts of Barbary, captive into Argiere (Algiers), since which time I have written oft to London to Master Southwood of the upper ground, to Richard Barnard of Duke's Place, Richard Coote of the Bankside, to Master Linger a haberdasher in Crooked Lane, and in that to Master Southwood I sent an inclosed to my father, if living, and other letters to my brothers and friends if not dead. I could never hear whether any of you were alive or dead, which makes me think the letters are either miscarried, or all of you deceased, or gone to other places, or else I know you are so much Christians and friends that you would have looked upon me in such a condition. O! my friends, once more I tell you I am a miserable captive in Argiere, taken by a Flemish vessell two years after I left the warres in Gilderland. My Patroone (master) is one Baron, a French Renegado, that lives in the country, but hires me and another Protestant captive (one Master Robinson, a Norfolk man) out in Argiere, for this time, and if we goe up to the country, you may never hear of us againe; our misery is that the price of our redemption will be no less than 250l, because we are thought to have good friends in England, and we must both goe off together. Master Robinson hath written to his friends, and we have deeply bound ourselves to each other, that we will engage our friends to us both equally. Ah! Father, Brother, friends and acquaintance, use some speedy means for our Redemption. Many hundred slaves have been redeemed from their misery since we came hither, which makes us hope still we may be the next, and then the next, but still our hopes are deceived. We doe pray you therefore, for the Lord Christ's sake that redeemed [71] you, that you would use all possible means for our redemption. There is now a party in England renowned over the Christian world for their piety in this way. O! make your addresse to those noble worthies in the name of Christ for whose sake we suffer. We did never so well understand the meaning of that Psalme, penned by those captive Jewes, held in Babilonish captivity, as now: By the waters of Babilon we sate down and wept when we remembered thee, O! Sion, when we remembered thee, O! England. O! good friends, we hope these our sighs will come to your eares, and move pity and compassion. We are told there is a merchant in London, one Mr. Stanner of St. Mary's Axe, that hath a factor in Legorne (Leghorn), and one Mr. Hodges and Mr. Mico, Londoners, that are dealers there who are able to direct you in the readiest way for our redemption. Deny us not your prayers if you can doe nothing else. It will be some comfort to heare from friends. There is a Post in London that conveys letters into all parts, and you may have an opportunity of letting us heare from you, if you please, within a month or six weeks. The Lord direct your thoughts with waies of love, and strengthen us with faith and Patience.—Your sorrowful friend and brother in Christ,


THOMAS SWEET.

RICHARD ROBINSON.


"From Barbary: September 29, 1646.

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