The Two Princes of Calabar [Chapter 6] Sparknotes

Chapter 6: “We Go Home to Old Calabar”

  • Feb. 1774, the ship they were to head home on (the Maria) left, but had to come back in to port again because of the weather. They were finally able to leave port on March 12, 1774.
  • Surprise surprise, it was a slave ship, and was very old. The captain was William Flyod, who had been serving on the Indian Queen as second captain at the time of the Massacre. The ship wrecked off the desert island of Boa Vista, “an accident that Ephraim and Ancona blamed on the drunken incompetence of Captain Floyd.” They were rescued by a ship that was passing by, and had to return to Bristol.
  • Ephraim was the more stressed out of the two by the whole situation, while Ancona was pretty chill (according to Elizabeth Johnson, with whom they stayed after returning to Bristol)
  • The kindness of Thomas Jones by this point was “exhausted, or, more likely, the Africans were proving more of an economic liability than an asset.” He vocalized often of how much they owed to him, and Ephraim worried a lot about paying him back.
  • The book tries to explain why the RJs would go back to slave trading (which they did). Long story short, it was engrained into them, as the way we hate slavery is into us.
  • September 1774 – Jones, who is all this time bound by the treaty in court, finds another ship for the RJs to travel home on.
  • October 14, 1774, the RJs set sail on the Cato for OC.
  • It was more than a year before those who had grown close to the RJs in Bristol got word of their safe arrival home.
  • “Evidence suggests that Little Ephraim did engage in the slave trade after his return; he had little choice, as he suggested to Wesley, given the economic importance of the trade to Old Calabar and his position in the family. Oral tradition from Old Calabar relates that Little Ephraim and Ancona were responsible for the spread of Christianity there after their return.”
  • Many missions/missionaries came to the area in the years that followed the ordeal, though sometimes they were sought out more for their ability to teach and less for their desire to evangelize.
  • “It does not appear that the Robin Johns’ efforts to teach Christianity made any lasting impressions on Old Calabar; at least the early missionaries found no trace of Christian worship there.”
  • Many Methodists used the story of the RJs to teach.
  • The book describes the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and how many of the men in the society worked for abolition.
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