05: Comparing Turks and Christians in Slave-Keeping

William Burling in his preface mentions something of the Lord’s dealing with him when he was about ten or twelve years of age—which I suppose is about fifty years ago—when there was much discourse about many English and Dutch people being taken into Turkey or by the Turks into slavery, and sold in the market for term of life, as beasts in the field. As our brave Christians so-called do and have done for many years in Philadelphia and elsewhere in America by the poor Negroes, which is ten times worse in us, all things considered. But what crying, wringing of hands, what mourning and lamentations there was then by their relations, wives for their husbands, parents for their children, relations for their friends, one neighbor for another! What exclaiming against the Turk for his tyranny and oppression and cruel dealing and treatment towards their friends, and maybe cursing and calling for damnation to him and his God too.

Well my Friends, consider of it, and make an application suitable to the circumstance of your own slaves. For I do not believe in my soul the Turks are so cruel to their slaves as many Christians so-called are to theirs, by what I have seen and heard of in Barbados and elsewhere, and I give you a reason for it: I was near 18 months on board a large vessel of 400 tons in a voyage to Scanderoon in Turkey, with four men that had been 17 years slaves in Turkey, and I never did understand by them that they were so badly used as the poor Negroes are by some called Christians.

And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them, from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat. And they kept the feast seven days with joy:  for the Lord made them joyful (Ezra 6:21–22), that had separated from the filthiness of the heathen.