Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Venture Smith

The narrative starts out describing the main background information about Broteer. It tells about his family and how in Guinea you were allowed to have more than one wife at a time as long as you had permission from the first wife, which is something that in America we are not used to. Broteer went on to explain how his father didn't have permission from his mother to marry another woman so she left him. She took her three children including Broteer to another country that was over a hundred miles away from their native town. Broteer's mother dropped him off at a local residents farm in the the country that they arrived in. The farmer gave him work to do on the farm as soon as he arrived there. His job was to tend to the sheep and drive them home every evening. But one evening when Broteer was on his way back, two dogs attacked him severely before the farmer could get to him. Once Broteer's father heard about this encounter, he demanded that Broteer be brought back to his native land immediately.

Once Broteer returned home with the man his father sent for him, he was welcomed with love and affection by his mother and father. In the reading it says that Broteer was six years old when he returned home from the farmer's home. Not long after Broteer had returned home, his father received a letter saying that the land that they lived on was being invaded and they had to evacuate. A few days later Broteer's father learned that if they didn't evacuate faster then the army was going to take over all of their belongings and rights. Broteer's father didn't want to surrender his peoples rights so he complied with them. Once Broteer's family left their native land along with the king and his family, they settled to a campground. After not being there long, they went under attack from the army. Broteer and all the women were tied up and brought back to the campground. The enemies tortured and taunted Broteer's father to try to get the discovery of his money out of him. The army led the Broteer and the women to the sea to do manual labor. On the walk towards the sea they came upon a large amount of cattle in which the enemies made them take control of and kill for them to have food. The march lasted for four hundred miles and the enemies made Broteer do ridiculous tasks such as carrying a large stone upon his head.

Once they reached the campground, Broteer and the other prisoners watched the enemies destroy the hillocks and caves of other natives to the land. In the process of smoking out some of the caves, poisoned arrows began to fall upon them and they had to treat the wounds with a antidote to stop the poisoning. When all of the inhabitants had come out of their caves the enemies roped them up as well and they kept on with their journey to the sea. The enemies placed them all on canoes and they were cast away into the sea on their journey to Rhode Island. On the way there the slaves were bought by different commanders. Broteer was bought by a man with the name of Robertson Mumford. Mr. Mumford renamed Broteer with the name of "Venture" since he was bought on Mumford's private venture.

On the venture to Barbadoes a lot of the prisoners got the widespread disease small pox and a little over a hundred of them did not make it there. Once they reached Rhode Island Venture's master sent him to live with his sister for a while until he could take him to live with him on Fisher's Island. Once he moved there his master left and made Venture promise not to give anyone the keys to his trunks. He fulfilled this promise and kept the keys until his master returned and he was very appreciative of Venture. As Venture worked for his master more and more, the master began to trust him with pretty much any task. Venture was given tasks that were even sometimes really hard to complete. After a while Venture was assigned to another master, which was his current master's son. The son wasn't that easy to get along with. Venture would have tasks to complete that day by the older master and the younger master would demand that he stop those tasks and do what he said. At one time Venture refused to quit what the younger master requested and got into a fight with him.

Venture lived there for 13 years and then he chose to marry another one of the servants there when he was at the age of twenty. One of the other workers there, Heddy, had secretly planned to run away. Venture decided to go with him leaving his wife behind and taking their master's boat to go to Mississippi. Once they arrived, Heddy disappeared and was no where to be found. Venture sent people after him and had Heddy returned to his master. After a little bit of time had passed, Venture was sold to another owner with his wife and one month old daughter. After a while Venture's new master bought his wife and daughter. Once day Venture's wife and her mistress got into a fight and Venture tried to take up for her. When the older master returned home, his wife told him about the incident and he just brushed it off and acted like it never happened. One day when Venture was loading firewood in the fireplace he was struck with a club by his younger master. Enraged at him, Venture fought back and then went to the Justice about it, in which they did nothing. After the first incident, the younger master wasn't finished with Venture. He then got his other brother, Robert, to help him fight against him. They stomped upon Venture and with him being highly mad about this situation Venture fought back this time with all he could. For Venture's punishment they handcuffed his wrists and ankles which permitted him to not be able to do any work.

One day Venture met a Hempsted Miner that requested for him to live with him. So Venture did as he requested and moved in with him and he removed the chains from him immediately. Venture then went back in saying that he lend on his master's some money in which was never returned to him. The note promising him the money was destroyed and he had no evidence that his master owed him money. After a while he was given the money in which he hid it underneath the ground a little ways down from where he resided. His master then wanted to sell him to another man by the name of William Hooker. Venture refused to go with Mr. Hooker and finally he found another master for him. Mr. Daniel Edwards became the new master of Venture and grew to trust and have compassion for him. Mr. Daniel gave Venture a horse to go see his wife, which lived with his old master. When he arrived there he learned that his old master had not given complete consent for him to have been sold. So Venture decided to work for Col. Smith. He worked for him all during the summer and the following winter. When Venture went to him to ask about taking a summer off to look for work, Col. Smith wouldn't allow it and demanded that he work with him.

Venture eventually went out and found work for six months in which he did hard labor and when he was done, he gave his salary to his master for his freedom. Finally at the age of thirty-six years old, Venture was a free man. Venture went and resided in Long Island and worked for numerous amounts of people to try to earn himself some money, since all of his belongings were gone. Venture never found it necessary to have luxorious items and he only bought the necessities. He still maintained jobs in cutting wood and worked in a place called Ram-Island, where he bought two sons of his, Solomon and Cuff. Venture went on to save a lot of his money and invest it in his sons, land, a house, and a negro man he bought. After having the negro man for some time, he escaped and ran away. He put his son's out in the working field to get them some experience as well. Church was setting out a voyage and needed some hands to help him maintain the ship and he chose Venture's son. Before Venture could object to it, his son was already gone. On the journey there his son died of scurvy.

On the twenty-seventh page the word "sloop" was used. I'm guessing it could be a boat or some kind of ship. Venture then bought his wife and learned that she was pregnant so he wasn't going to have to buy anymore children. He went on to describe the jobs he did to obtain money to take care of his family. Venture then began to purchase negro men to work but they never worked out and he always ended up returning them or they would run away. At age 46, Venture bought a daughter named Hannah. When Venture was forty-seven years old he got rid of all of his property in Long Island and moved to East- Haddam where he sold himself to work. After he had worked for a while he bought ten acres of land. He then goes on to explain all the land he bought and the house built. His daughter, Hannah, also gets married as well and then became really sick. Venture also decided to buy two more negro men which again, did him wrong and ran away without paying their debt.

When Venture traveled to New-London with a Indian on his boat to get there, they lost one of the hogsheads of molasses that belonged to the Captain Hart. When he was informed of this loss he took Venture to court because the Indian had no money to pay for it. Venture went to court and paid his dues for the loss of molasses. He is now sixty-nine years old and very crippled. After all Venture was faced with his owned three houses and over one hundred acres of land. He died at the age of sixty nine.

Throughout the narrative, Venture used the word shillings as a way of payment for things. I'm just curious to know if anyone knows the translation for that in American money?

Also on Page 27, he uses the word "sloop," does anyone know what the definition is?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Benjamin Franklin- Autobiography

In the beginning of Chapter One it seems like that the Autobiography is being addressed to Benjamin Franklin by maybe his father. The author states little things that try to jog Benjamin's memory about things they did when he was younger when he was with his father. I do not really understand what the author is trying to talk about in the first four paragraphs of this autobiography. In the last four paragraphs Benjamin is talking about how he felt feverish and sick as he started his journey to Philadelphia for a better job. He described the journey there as kind of a nightmare because it was raining and he was already feeling sick before he approached the boat. Once he arrived in Burlington he was taking in his surroundings and getting used to the area in which he was about to look for a job in. He mentioned a doctor who knew a lot about the area and helped him with minor details about Burlington. In the end of Chapter One he states how he found somewhere to sleep that night at a local inn and how he felt poor because he hadn't found a job yet. Chapter One was a bit confusing to me in the beginning and I didn't really understand what the author was trying to tell me. Can anyone help me with the first four paragraphs?

In Chapter Two Benjamin starts to wander the town and figure out where everything is. He stops along his journey to buy him some bread in which he gives two pieces away to a mother and child, like such a gentleman. He then eventually finds the printer shop in which he is looking for a job. The first printer shop doesn't have any work available so they send him to the only other printer shop in the town. Benjamin begins to wander around the town and starts to become a friendlier person and mingle with others. He meets a Quaker man and by their dialogue you can tell that they have a different way of saying things. For example he says in paragraph three of chapter  two "If thee wilt walk with me, I'll show thee a better." When reading the text throughout the autobiography, Benjamin doesn't speak in that dialect. Throughout the second chapter Benjamin stays at a different inn during the week. They feed him well but also questioned his background to make sure he isn't a stranger from another country. The owner of the final printer shop doesn't have anything for him to do as well that is permanent but he gives him a few minor jobs to do to occupy time until a position becomes available. When Benjamin went to Keimer's he figured out that the shop wasn't as professional as he expected. He soon learned that the printers were very "old school" and that Bradford and Keimer didn't really know how to operate them, so they job was left up to him. Once Benjamin had become acquaint with the town he began to become accustomed to the people that lived there and get along with everyone. He received a letter from his friend that he kept in touch with saying that his absence from Boston was a change and they were offering him a position to come back and work there, but Benjamin politely declined.

In Chapter Six it starts out with letters to Benjamin Franklin from people that seem to admire him and his abilities to affect society. When reading the letters I did not really understand what the men were trying to tell Benjamin at first but as I read farther down into the letter they were trying to persuade him to be a better person and not to change the way he was due to the opinions of other people. In the first letter I was really confused at what the author of it was trying to tell Benjamin. In the second letter it seemed like the writer looked up to Benjamin as a role model and wanted him to pursue his goals in life. Benjamin proceeded to write after the letters ended that he hadn't really had time to read the letters and respond back but he would try his best to do so. Benjamin then describes his environment around him and the workk he participated in. He mentions how poor people were back then and didn't have enough money to start much of any type of ongoing business. Benjamin then goes on to describe his home life and his family and how expensive things were and in what small demand they were in back then. The way money was portrayed then really is completely different from the way it is now. Benjamin also describes his religion and what he believes in and how it affects his life. Religion was a very important aspect of life back then and it defined who you were and how you got along with society. He states that he didn't attend service regularly but he paid his dues and practiced the 13 virtues that followed the characteristics of being Presbyterian. The 13 virtues resemble the 10 commandments in a way but they also go along with what you as a person think is right and what is wrong. Benjamin describes how he came up with this chart to record the virtues and how he focuses on one and let the other ones ease by. I don't really understand his process in how he determines this chart. Benjamin goes on to describe how he uses the 13 virtues in his everyday life and which ones gives him the most trouble. In Chapter Six, I had trouble figuring out the concept of the last few paragraphs and what Benjamin was trying to express to the reader. The way people talked back then is completely different from how it is now and it's a little confusing to understand when your not used to reading things that aren't from the 21st century. Can anyone help me on this?