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A Brazilian Slaver

In the year 1851 I was on a voyage to Melbourne, Australia, on the sailing ship "Severn." This was shortly after the opening of the gold mines. We left Southampton with about one hundred passengers, and had a very fine run with fair weather. There was no incident to mar the enjoyment of the trip until we neared the coast of Brazil, when one morning we saw a smart-looking brig hove to, waiting for us to come up, and when we came near our passengers became very much excited, as we could see there was an unusual number of men on her deck; the idea was that it was a pirate vessel.

When we came very near to her, a boat was put off from her, and an officer brought a letter from her captain asking for provisions and water, saying that the vessel was bound for the port of Santos, and had been blown off the coast in a pampero. Neither the officer nor the boat's crew could or would speak English. They could only ask in Spanish for "tabac." Some of our sailors protested that they were either British or--Americans. Well, they were supplied with salt beef and pork, canned meats, water, etc. Several trips were made by the boat, and when all was finished, and the boat was at some distance from us, these marauders stood up and gave us three rousing cheers in good plain English, and called out "Good-bye boys, and good luck to you for feeding the blackbirds." The brig was full of slaves.

This "slave" business was then near its end in Brazil, and, probably this vessel had been chased off the coast by a British war-vessel, as every possible effort was being made by the British Government to suppress the slave trade.