Page 15

charming phrase, "I am thy ashured Friend." W hile other supblack also. This, together with the cleanliness of his vessel, and porters of African colonization were intent on converting the nathe excellent order prevailing o n board, has exci ted very general tive Afri cans to a particular sect of Christiani ty (Baptist, Presbyattention. It has, I believe, opened the minds of many in tender terian, or Methodist), C uffe's w ritings reveal that he cared m ore feelings toward the poor suffering Africans, who, they see, are about them receiving moral guidance and self-governance than m en like themselves, capable of becoming, like Paul Cuffee, valua particular religious doctrine. This religio us tolerance aided his able and useful m embers both of civil and religious Soci ety." philanth ropic work, as he coordinated efforrs with English and Fo ur years later, afrer hostilities between the US and Great American ministers of vario us chu rches. Britain had cooled and it was safe to attempt another transAtPaul Cuffe's Quaker beliefs also enhanced his reputatio n as lantic voyage, C uffe sent Traveller back to Sierra Leone on its an exemplary sea captain. H e not only ran a "dry" sh ip but also m ost famo us voyage. Instead of grai n, this time it carried a m ore enforced a strict code of conduct. As he info rmed a prospective precio us cargo, thir ty-eigh t free black m en , wom en, and children crewmember in 18 15 : "those who Sail in my imploy are wished from Bosto n who wo uld becom e the first African-American setto be temperate in all things, not [given to] Swearing, Tarl ing tl ers in Wes t Africa. Cuffe appears to have absorbed m os t of the [sic], drunkeness nor quarelsom [sic]. I indeavour [sic] to provide cost of this voyage himself, but he had tried valiantly to enlist help Sui tabel [sic] provisions onboard, but do not furni sh Spirituous from his personal and business co nnections. W riting to his close liquors." These rules were no t just spiri tual but also practical: fri end, p rominent black Philadelphia sailmaker Jam es Forren in during their freq uent cargo runs to Virginia and 18 15, Cuffe proposed that Philadelphia's caT41f'v/ "/If,, ~>n,,;;,J D//Ae.._,.,,. §A_,_ South Carolina, Cuffe and his crews Stuaboli tio nist society buy half of C uffe's d iously avoided giving southern autho ri- . VJrif J9p,,,d'<'l.r.f'"':P /"""' ~,,.,.,;,, /c-r•../.w~k 268-to n ship Alpha. The vessel could ties any excuse to arrest or harass them . /nA',t;;,,, <l't u:&.t / 'i /Vv#/c / J> /_,- (-.·~· "',.,,., then be used either to transport settlers C uffe's ethnicity, coupled with his faith, triggered his interest in African colonization, but it was the sal twater in his veins and his nose fo r a good business opportuni ty that drove him to act.


to Africa or in the African whalefishery. Thro ugho ut his letters, Cuffe reveals this 'Ji' ~; ,l'. re :.f/r sam e blend of compatible desires-to ~4,(,, .~ .,f, LM"''')',/2"';,,, 17,,.,. 11 ,. /;{),;,,,,., 4 ..,t t ' do good work while still turn a profi t. 7 -#frr,.,mfi,¢ ,. Th ough he was willing to be the catalys t . fa->t7 A .....-r; iY)1 ,He dreamed of starting a new "triangular --------fo r vario us philanthropic plans, he did ft,(""'Jlt/~· ·,m·:, .I d ,., _,,../ , \}/)f'7ir /,v//o."1d'A.. //PJt•1t not possess the unlimited wealth or natrade" linking Africa, the US, and G reat /,,.L,io/f _;,,,.,.,.;_, 4 ,?" - . cl'o<- ·~'='~ ,,_. ~;,,,Britain-one that wo uld replace the de- /.- ....4# ,A,..,..;.,•·- "!'""'°'' · l!l.f" ,,1£ ,... 11 <,i;c- li tu re to simply sign the bills. pendence on exporting enslaved Afri- .Jl-m1"",1,,_..,;,,,,,, y~~··' ,.<r. ..r,.,.,,,,1 ,,,<L;,,,~ .~ ·'· ~ The docum ents fro m Paul C uffe's last .. ,,,k.-;t...> Y.u'Nd / ' .•/r= C c~ -r~-)1a. u.dh;Jt- .. cans with raw m aterials harves ted by free . ,,,.,, ~.,, ,i(,,..;,,, !''- • . ~ . ~_,.;,, ,«flz4> .. f. ~ year oflife reaected his ongoing devotion blacks. The fo rmer whalem an was also . • ·,.,,,( ""' _,,,,,.,,,; / h '>;fo ./...,,,,.,,..1, ""-,;..,. ,.,,,,,,/#, ~ to the fo ur areas of his life: fam ily, race, kee n to develop the African whalefishery. ~11/0ll'I //,;.r.i;t. 9')",""..r" ~ religion, and business. In his fi nal letter 111 W hen Cuffe and his brig Traveller ...WM i'd~ ' ·•~' ~ to James Forren in March 18 17, the fiftyarrived in England in 18 11 , people lined , ~ nine year-old C uffe outlined another colthe river bank to see what the London 1 "";, "'"'" • •.,,, . ,,;:,,,,.(J)('-",Jr).',,,., iu-,..,,,,,,1} ~ onization plan : the US sho uld establish Times called "perh aps the fi rst vessel that P.,-,,,, ./ :, 9' "'........;. "'""' ~ ''"'~· ~..,~ - ~ two colonies fo r free blacks, one in Africa , 1 ..,1f';m_. !'/{( t iCt'l'i'//U <'t f /t'f.1,1'/t( ( /11;r4J t:;,,/;/;,.l)'u//,.u. if! Jf(~ ~ d h h h f h .l ever reac h ed E urope, [th at 1s enn re y c;,:p.J,,.4 . ,..., ~, ~< ,.. ;·.. ~<·-<- ,.(',,,,,....,.,, 9 .,., 8 an t e ot er wit in a remote part o t e US itself. He died the fo llowing Septemowned and navigated by Negroes." The ship carried an exotic cargo of palm oil, List of African-American families ber. In his estate, he generously p rov ided fo r elephant teeth, copal gum, and tro pigoing to Sierra Leone, 18 l 5. his children and grandchildren, distribu ting cal wood-all products of free African labo r. Cuffe hoped these his land, money, and ships am o ng them . sam ples would help him forge new trade agreem ents profiting Paul C uffe's nam e and the broad strokes of his rem arkable the African colonists and hi mself, instead of the white European career are well-known withi n the maritime history and African merchan ts in Sierra Leone, who kept a tigh t stranglehold on trade Am erican history communities . It is time to carry his story to going in and out of the colo ny. students of American history in general. H is wo rk to advance C uffe was kept busy meeting with English merchants, stratthe rights of African Am ericans, thro ugh his business practices, egizing with fe llow Q uake r abolitio nists, and arranging fo r the philanthro py, and progressive ideas, stro ngly im pacted the people release of his yo ung apprentice seaman, who had been illegally with whom he interacted, but it also furthered the aboli tionist im pressed by a Bri tish press gang on the Traveller's arrival. The cause as a whole on three continen ts. .1 people he encountered were imp ressed by the American captain. English Friend Stephen Grellet no ted in his journal: Elysa Engelman, PhD , is an exhibit developer and researcher at Mys"During the ti me I have been at Liverpool, Paul C uffee, tic Seaport, The Museum ofAmerica and the Sea. She researched and a black m an, owner and mas ter of a vessel, has come into port put together the new "Black H ands, Blue Seas" exhibition, on display fro m Sierra Leone on the coast of Africa. H e is a member of our through March 2 007. ( POB 6000, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, Society, and resides in New England. The whole of his crew are CT 06355; Ph. 860 572-5315; l../,J




"''fl Jn/I, 1-./,l~p · c/ 4,,...f,


.fJdut.t.~ J'd



-. -


,, 7. t!1-''f7116...,.1/I. Y ""U(//










Sea History 115 - Summer 2006  

8 Battle Off Flamborough Head: A Pivotal Victory for American Independence, by Joseph F. Callo • 12 Black Hands, BlUe Seas: Paul Cuffe and...

Sea History 115 - Summer 2006  

8 Battle Off Flamborough Head: A Pivotal Victory for American Independence, by Joseph F. Callo • 12 Black Hands, BlUe Seas: Paul Cuffe and...

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded