I am researching the history of black people in Ireland in the eighteenth century. I came across a newspaper reference1 to a black man who claimed to have been one of Captain Cook’s crew. He was robbed in Dublin. As you can see from the newspaper article below, he mentions his prize money, etc. Unfortunately, the article does not mention his name.
I suspect many people have claimed to have travelled with Captain Cook but do you have any knowledge about black crew members? I saw a reference to two negro servants “frozen to death”, but nothing else.
I would love to find out this man's name, to verify the story and, indeed, the amount of prize money he says he was awarded.
- Finns Leinster Journal. 1 March, 1788. Page 4.
DUBLIN, February 26
At the commission of oyer and terminer held at the court of king’s bench last week, a trial came on which interested every auditor in behalf of an unfortunate negroe man, who was the prosecutor. It appeared in evidence upon oath, that this negroe had been one of captain Cooke’s crew, in his voyage round the world, &c. whose share of prize money amounted to one thousand pounds, which, however, was reduced to three hundred pounds, and seeing himself so far reduced, he became a waiter to an inn in England, where he remained for some time, having lodged 150l [£150] in the bank of England, and the remainder in Liverpool securities; however, prompted by curiosity he resolved to see Ireland, for which purpose he took a seat in a stage to Scotland, and was shipwrecked upon the irish coast, by which he lost his all, save only paper securities for 150l [£150] and in this melancholy situation he arrived at the Broad Stone, upon Glesnevin road, about five weeks ago, when being much fatigued after walking fifty-six miles, he met a man whom he asked for lodging and refreshment; the man inquired of the negroe if he had any money? He answered in the negative, but said he had papers; which the fellow had ingenuity enough to have inspected; and finding them of value, he led this unfortunate, fatigued stranger through many bye places, till at length he brought him to Fordam’s-alley, in the Liberty, where he knocked him down and robbed him, and in this deplorable situation left this wretched creature, pennyless, jaded, and unknown; a passenger touched with compassion took him up, learned his story, and in a few days this horrid miscreant, as if pointed out by the finger of providence, was apprehended; and, upon the prosecution of the wretched negroe, whose testimony was delivered in the most affecting manner, was condemned to be hanged. The recorder, touched with compassion for this distressed creature, humanely set forward a subscription in the court for his relief; indeed his story was so truly pitiable as to call forward a tear of sympathy from every person who heard it.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 20, volume 39, number 3 (2016).