An Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce, Wrecked on the Western Coast of Africa, in the Month of August, 1815, with an Account of the Sufferings of the Surviving Officers and Crew, Who were Enslaved by the Wandering Arabs, on the African Desart, or Zahahrah….


p. 117, an attempt to recreate a reading experience of a letter with liberating news: My feelings, during the reading of this letter, may perhaps be conceived, but I cannot attempt to describe them; to form an idea of my emotions at that time, it is necessary for the reader to transport himself in imagination to the country where I then was, a wretched slave, and to fancy himself as having passed through all the dangers and distresses that I had experienced: reduced to the lowest pitch of human wretchedness, degradation, and despair, a skinless skeleton, expecting death at every instant: then let him fancy himself receiving such a letter from a perfect stranger, whose name he had never before heard, and from a place where there was not an individual creature that had ever before heard of his existence, and in one of the most barbarous regions of the habitable globe : let him receive at the same time clothes to cover and defend his naked, emaciated, and trembling frame, shoes for his mangled feet, and such provisions as he had been accustomed to in his happier days — let him find a soothing and sympathising friend in a barbarian, and one who spoke perfectly well the language of a Christian nation ; and with all this, let him behold a prospect of a speedy liberation and restoration to his beloved family: