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Captain Francis Messervy, first time captain on the slave ship Ferrers and perhaps overly ecstatic after his most recent successes at sea, maneuvered unprotected below deck to inspect his newly purchased Africans. As he lurched further down into the Ferrers, Messervy would have seen sailors whose duty it was to guard against insurrection and the three hundred or more Africans he had recently purchased following a war between two neighboring polities near Cetre-Crue. What Messervy perceived as good fortune, fellow captain William Snelgrave saw as cause for concern, noting that controlling "many Negroes of one Town and Language" had its inherent risks. These suspicions, borne from experience as a slave ship captain, proved correct a few months later when news on the Guinea coast highlighted a large-scale insurrection aboard the Ferrers. Captains and tars alike shared tales of Africans who "beat out his [Messervy's] brains with the little Tubs," and ofthe ensuing battle in which nearly eighty Africans died.


This paper was a recipient of the 2010 Booth Library Awards in Student Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.

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