July 1st 1784
The Hawk has set sail from Liverpool, bound for West Africa. We have a cargo of weapons and trinkets which we will trade for slaves once we reach Africa. This is my first trip on a slave ship so I don't know what to expect from it. I ate a good meal of salted meat and bread last night although I have been told this good food won't last. I asked the captain how long the journey to Africa will take and he told me we should reach Africa in 2-3 weeks, but that with a strong wind it could take only 1-2 weeks. The captain is a nice man but I get the feeling he doesn't agree with what the ship is doing. I don't think he agrees that black people should be used as slaves because they have a different colour skin. I don't know who to agree with, him or the first mate who seems to look upon this as just a job. He doesn't seem to care that he is ruining peoples lives by taking them away from their country. I explored the ship a bit earlier and I found out that the hold under deck is where the slaves will be kept. I also had a look in the galley. There is one cook, which hardly seems enough to prepare enough food to feed all the slaves when they come aboard. I will write in here again when we reach the port in Africa.
July 14th 1784
We reached West Africa earlier today and already there are about 20 slaves on board. We probably won't take many more slaves on board, perhaps 50 more. The crew go into Africa and catch the slaves themselves. I don't think slavery is right but it isn't as bad as some people have said. The slaves aren't packed that tightly together and I think they have been fed properly. Mr. Syers, the captain said we will probably stay here only a few days while the crew catch the slaves and stock up on food for the journey to America.
July 16th 1784
We will set sail for America in about a week, when we have stocked up on food and supplies. The slaves are being treated really badly. They don't get much food and are not exercised. There are know about fifty slaves and while they are lying down they aren't really cramped together. If many more slaves come on board though they will have no room to move about. The slaves are chained up without water or a toilet and the hold they are kept in smells really awful.
July 22nd 1784
We set sail earlier today. Altogether we have about 170 slaves on board. They are chained together with no space to move. They are lay down and the ones that have been here for days have back sores. They are lucky if they get food or water once a day and they haven't been exercised. A few of them are ill and I know if I was them I'd be ill with the awful smell in the hold.
July 24th 1784
The slaves were exercised earlier today for the first time since they came on the ship. They were taken on deck and whipped till they danced about. While they were being exercised the hold was cleaned out. They threw a badly injured man overboard. Also the crew threw salt water over the slaves backs. This irritated their back sores and made them scream out in pain. This journey should take about the same amount of time as the journey to Africa did. The captain doesn't have any part in beating and whipping the slaves-he doesn't agree with it.
July 30th 1784
The slaves haven't been exercised since the 24th. They have had water twice in four days and even less food. Whenever they shout out the crew tells them to shut up. They can't even talk to each other without whispering.
August 4th 1784
We reached the port of Jamaica earlier today. The slaves were exercised once more during the journey. They will be sold at auction tomorrow morning. The auctioneer is a man called Mr. Turner. The slaves will be sold then the money will be used to buy things that aren't available in England.
August 5th 1784
The slaves have been sold. The auction was awful and I'm now sorry that I went. The slaves were all let out of a small enclosure at once and the buyers-the people who use the slaves for work in their houses and businesses- all run and grab the slaves which they think will be useful to them for work.
Already we have set sail as the auction was this morning. The captain wasted no time in buying the cargo which is mainly tobacco and setting sail for England.
August 8th 1784
We will be home in about a week as there is a strong wind. The crew are all in good spirits as they know that when we get back they will sell the goods and make more money. The captain has been very quiet since the auction. He has hardly said a word. One of the crew told me this was his first trip on a slave ship and he wasn't expecting what happened. I can't say I blame him. The slaves have all lost their families, friends and even their names in the weeks since we set sail and the only reason for this is the colour of their skin.
BY CLARE INGRAM YEAR 8