Black Ivory

Robert Michael Ballantyne

Black Ivory, by R.M. Ballantyne

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Black Ivory, by R.M. Ballantyne This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: Black Ivory
Author: R.M. Ballantyne
Illustrator: Pearson
Release Date: June 7, 2007 [EBook #21748]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Black Ivory
by R.M. Ballantyne.

In writing this book, my aim has been to give a true picture in outline of the Slave Trade as it exists at the present time on the east coast of Africa.
In order to do this I have selected from the most trustworthy sources what I believe to be the most telling points of "the trade," and have woven these together into a tale, the warp of which is composed of thick cords of fact; the woof of slight lines of fiction, just sufficient to hold the fabric together. Exaggeration has easily been avoided, because--as Dr Livingstone says in regard to the slave-trade--"exaggeration is impossible."
If the reader's taste should be offended by finding the tragic and comic elements in too close proximity I trust that he will bear in remembrance that "such is life," and that the writer who would be true to life must follow, not lead, nature.
I have to acknowledge myself indebted to Dr Ryan, late Bishop of Mauritius; to the Rev. Charles New, interpreter to the Livingstone Search Expedition; to Edward Hutchinson, Esquire, Lay Secretary to the Church Missionary Society, and others, for kindly furnishing me with information in connexion with the slave trade.
Besides examining the Parliamentary Blue-books which treat of this subject, I have read or consulted, among others, the various authoritative works to which reference is made in the foot-notes sprinkled throughout this book,--all of which works bear the strongest possible testimony to the fact that the horrible traffic in human beings is in all respects as bad at the present time on the east coast of Africa as it ever was on the west coast in the days of Wilberforce.
I began my tale in the hope that I might produce something to interest the young (perchance, also, the old) in a most momentous cause,--the total abolition of the African slave-trade. I close it with the prayer that God may make it a tooth in the file which shall eventually cut the chains of slavery, and set the black man free.
R.M. Ballantyne.
"Six feet water in the hold, sir!"
That would not have been a pleasant announcement to the captain of the `Aurora' at any time, but its unpleasantness was vastly increased by the fact that it greeted him near the termination of what had been, up to that point of time, an exceedingly prosperous voyage.
"Are you sure, Davis?" asked the captain; "try again."
He gave the order under the influence of that feeling which is styled "hoping against hope," and himself accompanied the ship's carpenter to see it obeyed.
"Six feet two inches," was the result of this investigation.
The vessel, a large English brig, had sprung a leak, and was rolling heavily in a somewhat rough sea off the east coast of Africa. It was no consolation to her captain that the shores of the great continent were visible on his lee, because a tremendous surf roared along the whole line of coast, threatening destruction to any vessel that should venture to approach, and there was no harbour of refuge nigh.
"She's sinking fast, Mr Seadrift," said the captain to a stout frank-looking youth of about twenty summers, who leant against the bulwarks and gazed wistfully at the land; "the carpenter cannot find the leak, and the rate at which the water is rising shows that she cannot float long."
"What then do you propose to do?" inquired young Seadrift, with a troubled expression of countenance.
"Abandon her," replied the captain.
"Well, you may do so, captain, but I shall not forsake my father's ship as long as she can float. Why not beach her somewhere on the coast? By so doing we might save part of the cargo, and, at all events, shall have done the utmost that lay in our power."
"Look at the coast," returned the captain; "where would you beach her? No doubt there is smooth water inside the reef, but the channels through it, if there be any here, are so narrow that it would be almost certain death to make the attempt."
The youth turned away without replying. He was sorely perplexed. Just before leaving England his father had said to him, "Harold, my boy, here's your chance for paying a visit to the land
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 116
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.