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:

— here let him pause, and his heart must, like mine, expand near to bursting with gratitude to his all-wise and beneficent Creator, who had upheld his tottering frame and preserved in his bosom the vital spark, while he conducted him, with unerring wisdom and goodness, through the greatest perils and sufferings, by a continued miracle, and now prepared the heart of a stranger to accomplish what had been before determined.

p. 196: The whole number pf inhabitants in Suse [Suez], including white and black slaves, is estimated at more than one million: they are all strict

observers of the Mohammedan doctrine and ceremonies, and appear to be enthusiasts in religion, though like the Moors they are not generally

taught the arts of reading and writing, and are in consequence considered by the, wandering Arabs much beneath them in acquirements, as well as in point of natural abilities. Their language is the corrupt Arabic, not easily understood by the Arabs of the desart, who pretend to speak and write that ancient and beautiful language in its greatest purity.