Log of the Arthur:
May 4, 1701: Arrived Holetown, Barbados. Sixty eight Negroes were lost to illness during the voyage. Four hundred ninety one remayne, many are ill. Some crew are also ill. Midshipman Collin Aldworth will not continue the voyage. He has been relieved of his commission and put off at Holetowne for disciplinary reasons. – 1st Officer, Lt. Heath
Considerable disappointment spread through Holetown at learning the Arthur, having dropped anchor in the small harbor, bore little of the island’s needs. In fact she herself would need to be resupplied for her continuing voyage. She was just another consumer of the supplies that were running low all over the island, in spite of local wealth and enterprise. Queen Anne’s War, as it was being called locally, had brought difficult times to the island of Barbados, as with all the colonies of the Caribbean and the Atlantic coast. Prior to the difficulties of the Spanish Succession, the Dutch had been keeping the island supplied with foods and finished goods from Europe, but now, allied with England against France and Spain, their ships had been recalled to be converted for Naval use. The few English ships making the stop at Holetown could barely keep the island supplied with basic needs. A slave ship, like the Arthur, was hardly cause for celebration. Its cargo simply amounted to more mouths to feed, driving prices for essentials up and up until the common settlers, those who owned no land, were leaving for Jamaica.
Collin’s Journal, Bridgetown, Barbados, May, 1701
My many disagreements with Captain Doegood have gotten me put off the ship in Barbados. I am on my own here, penniless and hungry. On advice from Fr. Robert, a priest at the chapel of Saint James in Holetown, I have come to Bridgetown looking for work. At the local tavern I was introduced to a certain Edward Stede, agent for the Royal African Company of England, with whom I pleaded for help, but was summarily rejected and ordered to leave.
On the docks, looking for work, or a ship on which I could work for passage back to England, or some point along the way, I met a man and wife of religious leanings, who called themselves, Quakers. They offered, kindly, to buy me a meal. Having been rejected for work at every turn, for being, “too young”, I accepted their invitation and they returned me to the tavern where Edwin Stede was no longer present.
While I ate, the Quaker couple sat with me and politely listened to my tale of woe. They explained that Jesus Christ was opposed to the trade in slaves in which I had been employed, that it was he who had caused my recent circumstances and he that would save me from them. They prayed for me then handed me a pamphlet which they said would explain all. As they were leaving, a gentleman of the island, well known to them, entered the tavern, loud and rude. He chastised the couple for their work among the slaves of the island and threatened them with harm if they wouldn’t immediately leave the premisis. They politely complied, but before leaving pointed me out and suggested he might have a place to employ me among his many enterprises.
His name was Michael Austin and I have used the term “gentleman” in its most general meaning, for he was no such thing in truth, but he did offer work, meals and loging at his own inn, Ye Mermaid Inn, at a place called Oistin’s Town, further around the coast of the island. Having no other options before me, I have accepted his offer and will travel there today, on my own, for he intends to remain in Bridgetown for the day and the morrow. He has told me where to find the inn and invited me to make myself at home there.
Bridgetown, Barbados, May, 1701