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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3
        SKETCH OR BIOGRAPHY OF MY LIFE.                279

Town, Captain Benson, his family and I went on shore.  A feel-
ing of the greatest satisfaction passed through my mind as I put
my foot on the land of my ancestors.  Here I saw my race in
their native garb, and heard them talk their own language.
Some of them came to me, got hold of my hand and began to
speak to me. How I wished to have been able to converse with
them!  Besides myself, Captain Benson had one male andl two
female servants (white).  The Negroes seemed to be greatly sur-
prised at my close intimacy with these white people, and would
gather around in large numbers, looking with great astonish-
ment.    Captain Benson gave me three pounds sterling to
chance and distribute among them.  We remained on shore
three days, during which time we drove out a long way into the
country or out of town. The fifth day after our arrival, having
spent a very pleasant time on shore, enjoying the fine grapes,
etc., we sailed away for Australia, and in due time arrived at
Sydney, near Botany Bay, the place of Captain Cook's first
landing.  On landing at Sydney, I little knew or thought this
place was destined to be a turning point of my life.  It was
here that I received the saddest news one can ever receive in
this world, viz., the death of my mother.
  We stayed at Sydney about a week; then sailed for New Zea-
land, calling at Auckland and Picton, in Cook's Strait. We
arrived at Wellington  about fourteen  days after leaving
Australia.  I found New Zealand a very nice country, the first
few months; but, when the winter season began, it proved more
than I could stand. I became very ill and nearly frost-bitten.
I at last forgot the good treatment of Captain Benson, his good
wife and children, and asked him to get me a berth on board
one of his ships, which he did, appointing me as purser's
steward on board the S. S. "Matura.1" This was a position of
great, trust, as I had a great amount of money in my care. The
run of these steamers was from Sydney, Australia; Wellington,
New Zealand; Panama, Central America, and back, with the
head-quarters at Wellington.  I was often trusted with large
sums of money at these different places. I had a great deal to
contend with, viz., the jealousy and prejudice of some of my
shipmates, which often led to pitched battles. I was the only
colored man on board, and for the first time was placed in a
position to take care of myself. On one occasion, the second
steward, after first insulting me by calling me a black b-----,
took it upon himself to strike me; but I feel quite certain that
he will not be in such readiness to strike a black fellow again.
The case was taken by the officer on watch to the captain, who
told the second steward that he had been justly punished.  The
captain put several questions to me, viz., if he struck me, would
I strike him back?  I answered, "I will strike any man that
strikes me, if I have strength enough left in me to do so." He
punished the second steward, and the purser asked me to say
nothing of the matter to Captain Benson. On arriving at New
Zealand this second steward became one of my greatest friends
on board.


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OHS/National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center Serial Collection

African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 6, Num. 3

Volume:  06
Issue Number:  03
Date:  01/1890


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