About twenty-two days later we landed in All Saints’ Bay in Brazil. I will never forget the captain’s kindness. He bought a lot of my property from the boat. I left the ship with about two hundred and twenty pieces of eight.
In Brazil I saw how well the sugar planters lived. They grew rich quickly. I decided to settle in Brazil and become a sugar planter. The first two years were difficult, but then my plantation grew prosperous. I was sorry that I had sold my boy Xury, for I needed help.
I was not happy in my new life. This was the middle state of which my father had spoken. I often said to myself, ‘I could have done this at home, instead of coming five thousand miles to do it among strangers and savages.’
I thought I was like a man stranded alone upon an island.
Never compare your situation to a worse one! God may place you in the worse situation, so that you long for your old life! I say, God was just to leave me on an island, where I really was alone! If I had been content to stay as I was, I would have been rich and happy. By leaving me on an island, God made me understand this.
The captain of the Portuguese ship advised me to send for some money. I had left my money with a friend in London. My friend sent me the money in the form of English goods. When they arrived, I thought that my fortune was made. I sold the goods at a great profit for about four hundred pounds. As soon as I got this money, I bought myself a Negro slave.
After four years, I had learned the language and made some friends among my fellow planters. I told them of the trade in Negro slaves on the African coast. ‘If a merchant takes knives, hatchets, and other things of little value,» I said, ‘he can easily trade them for gold and Negro slaves.’
They listened very attentively, especially to the part about buying slaves. There were very few slaves in Brazil at the time, and they cost a lot of money. Three planters came to me the next morning. They said they planned to buy a ship and sail to the African coast to buy slaves. They wanted to make one voyage only, then share the slaves among their plantations. They asked me if I would go on this voyage, and they promised that I would have a share of slaves without spending any money.
I agreed to go. I went aboard the ship on the first of September 1659, exactly eight years after my first voyage from Hull. We sailed up the coast to Cape St Augustino, then we lost sight of land. Twelve days later, a hurricane hit our ship. For twelve days the winds blew strongly. Every day I expected the sea to swallow us.
On the twelfth day, the weather was a little calmer. The ship was filling with water, so I advised the captain to sail for Barbados. As we sailed another storm hit us. The wind blew us far away from the trading routes. If we came to land, we would probably be eaten by savages.
One morning, a sailor cried out, ‘Land!’ We ran out to look, but at that moment the ship struck sand. The waves broke over the ship, and we thought we would all die.
We could not move the ship off the sand. We were sure that the ship would soon break into pieces. Therefore, we climbed into a boat and left the ship. We rowed through that wild water towards the land, knowing that we were rowing towards our greatest danger. Then a great wave came and the boat turned over.
Though I was a good swimmer, I could not get my breath in this stormy sea. A wave carried me along towards the shore. It left me on the sand, half-drowned. I stood up and walked fast towards the beach. I knew another wave would soon break over me. The sea rose behind me like a mountain. I held my breath, and the wave carried me closer to the shore. I tried to stand up and get my breath again, but another wave broke over me. I was carried with great force and speed towards the shore. Then my head shot above the water, and I was able to breathe for a moment. I was covered with water again, then that wave too began to withdraw.
I felt the earth under my feet. I ran towards the shore, but twice more the waves came over me. The last time nearly killed me. The sea threw me hard against a rock. I held on to the rock as the next wave broke over me. When the wave withdrew, I ran to the beach, climbed over the rocks, and lay down on the grass.