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Broadside entitled 'The life of James Revel'


The Life of JAMES -REVEL,


Giving a Sorrowful account of his fourteen years' transportation to Botany Bay,
New South Wdles, in February, 1808, and his return home to London, in March
1 st, 1823, with a serious word of advice to all young men and women.

MY loving countrymen pray lend an ear
Unto these relationa I bring you to hear,
My sufferings at large I will unfold;
Though strange, it is as true as ever was told.
Of honest parents I did come but poor,
Who besides me had children never more;
Near Temple Bar was born their darling son,
And in virtue's path for sometime I did run.
My parents in me took great delight,
And sent me to school to read and write,
And cast accounts likewise, as it appears,
Until that I was aged thirteen years.
Unto a tin-man I was an apprentice bound,
My master and my mistress good I found,
Who liked me well, my business I did mind.
From me my parents comfort then did find.
Near to Moor-fields my master he did dwell,
Where into wicked company there I fell;
To wickedness I quickly was inclined,
So soon it tainted on my youthful minds
With them a thieving I did go,
But little did my tender parents know
I followed courses which were most wild ;
My absence grieved them being their darling child.
Strong liquors banished the thoughts of fear,
But justice stopt us in our wild career.
One night was taken up one of our gang,
Who five impeached, and three of them were hung
I was one of the five that was tried and cast.
Yet transportation I did get at last
A just reward for all my actions base,
But justice overtook meat the last,
Invain I grieved, in vain my   parents weep.
For I was quickly sent on board of ship :
With melting kisses, and with heavy heart,
From my tender parents I then did part.
In a few days we left the river quite,
And in a short time of land we lost the sight
The captain and the sailors used us well,
But kept us under lest we should rebel.
Five of our number on the passage died,
Who buried were on the ocean wide.
After sailing seven months or more,
We at Port Jackson were all put on shore :
Then to refresh us we were all made clean,
That to our buyers we might better seem,
The things were given that to each did belong,
And they that had clean linen put it on;
The women separated from us stood,
As well as we to be of them void.
In a short time some men up to us came,
And ask'd our trades, and others ask'd our names
Some eyed our limbs, and turn'd us round,
Examined us like horses, to see if we were sound.
" What trade my lad ?"?-said one of them to me,
"A tin-man, sir "    ' that will not do for me"
At length a grim old gentleman up to me came,
He asked my trade, likewise my name,
I told him a tin-man was my trade,
Not eighteen years of age, I also said ;
To him I told the cause which brought me there,
That transported I was for fourteen-years;
And when he from me that did understand,
He bought me from the captrin out of hand.
Down to the harbour I was taken again,
On board of a ship bound in an iron chain,
Which I was forced to wear night and day,
And fear I from the sloop should run away;
And when the ship was loaded we were sent
A hundred miles up the river went.
The weather cold, and hard was my fare,
My lodgings on the deck both hard and bare.
At last to my new master's house I came,
In a large town New Caledonia by name ;
When my European clothes were taken from me,
Which I never after then could see,
A canvas shirt and trowsers they me gave,
A hop sack frock unto which I was a slave;
No shoes or stockings had I for to wear,
Nor hat nor cap, my head and feet went bare.
Distrest, I next to the field did go,            
Amongst tobacco plants to work with a hoe.

At day-light in the morning our work begun.
And lasted till the setting of the sun;
And when our hard days work was done;
Away to the mill we must be gone
Until twelve or one o'clock at night a grinding corn,
And we must be up by day break in the morn,
And if we offer once to run away,
For every hour we must serve a day;
For every day a week....they are so severe?
For every week a month and for every month a year
At last it pleased God I sick did fall,
Yet no favour I received at all,
For I was forced to work while I could stand,
Or hold the hoe within my hand.
Down on my kpees the Lord I did implore,
To let me see my native land once more,
And thro' his gracious mercy my life I would amend
And be a comfort to my nearest friends.
The Lord had seen the grief that sprung my heart,
And his gracious mercy to me he did impart,
My health I got again 'twas all I then did want,
It pleased the Lord he to me such grace did grant,
That though in barbarous place, and in exile
I served him in fear, and many blessings I did feel
Now twelve years being past, and only two to stay
When death did my cruel master then call away.
But that was no relief to me at all,
For the widow would not her plantation sell,
At last a planter who, at Sidney town did dwell,
Came down to view it, and he liked it well;
He bought the negros who for life were slaves.
But no transported felons would he have,
So we were put like sheep, into a fold,
Unto the highest bidder to be sold,
A gentleman who seemed very grave,
Said unto me, " how long are you to slave?
" Not quite two years" I to him then replied.
" That is but very short, indeed !" he cried.
He said no more, but from me short did turn,
W hilst from my eyes the tears did trinkling run ;
I saw him to my overseer go,
But what he said to him I do not know.
Then straight to me he came again and said,
" No longer here remain, but go with me.
For I have bought you here this very day,
He said he would not use me as a slave,
But as a servant if I'd well behave,
And if I pleased him when my time expired.
He'd send me home again if I required.
My new master in a smooky town did dwell.
By trade a Cooper and he lived well
And if at any time he did ride out,
I with him rode the country round about,
At length my fourteen years expired quite,
Which filled my very soul with great delight,
To think no longer there I should remain,
But to Old England once return again.
My master unto me expressed much love.
And according to his promise he did prove ;
He got me a ship and I came home again.
With joy and comfort tho' I went with pain,
My father and my mother well I found,
To see me with joy they did abound ;
My mother over me did weep for joy,
My father cried once more I see my darling boy,
I told them all the dangers I came through,
Likewise my sickness and perils too.
Which filled their tender hearts with sad surprise,
Whilst melting tears ran trickling down their eyes.
My countrymen take warning before it is too late,
Lest you may share my hard unhappy fate;
Though little crimes which you may have done,
Think of seven or fourteen years to come,
Forced from your home to go amongst negroes,
To work as a slave in different countries ;   
Young men and women take pains your lives all to amend
Take my advice as one that is your friend ;
Though but little about it any of you may care,
Hard is your lot if cnce you go there.

          Edinburgh?Printed for John Smith.

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Date of publication: 1823   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(12)
Broadside entitled 'The life of James Revel'
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