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Book Reviews Edited by Thomas D. Hamm Captain Paul Cuffe's Logs and Letters, 1808-1817: A Black Quaker's "Voice form within the Veil." Ed. by Rosalind Cobb Wiggins, with an Introduction by Rhett S. Jones. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1996. xxi + 529 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, and index. $34.95. As a major figure in the development of African-American institutions during the post-Revolutionary period, Paul Cuffe deserves a scholarly edition ofhis papers. In this volume, Rosalind Cobb Wiggins has collected and transcribed Cuffe's outgoing and incoming correspondence, his ship logs (published here with repetitive material deleted), and journals. Born in 1759 in Massachusetts to Kofi, ofGhana, who had been enslaved and freed by Quakers, and Ruth Moses, a Wampanoag woman, Cuffe prospered through seafaring and trade. During the Revolutionary War, still in his teens, he built a small boat and passed through the British blockade to supply Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. When charged taxes on the family estate in 1780, as a property holder Cuffe demanded (and later won) the right to vote. Throughout his life, in commerce, politics, and religion, Cuffe ignored threats and barriers of every kind. He survived harrowing transatlantic voyages, sailed to southern states with all-black crews despite the danger of kidnapping, and attempted to establish trade with the British colony of Sierra Leone during the Napoleonic wars. He is best known for carrying thirty-eight African American immigrants to Sierra Leone in 1816, paying more than $3,000 of the costs himself. In planning the enterprise, Cuffe's goals were to Christianize and train African people in agriculture and trades, to draw "them from being so strongly influenced with the slaves trade &c" (p. 411). Though considered an early emigrationist, he was much more interested in altering the nature of American commerce with Africa than in providing a route for blacks to escape slavery and racial discrimination in the United States. In the process, Cuffe expected to reap profits for himself from the African trade. As Rhett Jones argues in his introduction, the Quaker sea captain was an integrationist, striving against all restrictions to achieve the American dream. The story of his stagecoach journey to Washington in 1 81 2, when he simply ignored efforts to segregate him in the coach and at meals, is emblematic of his life. Yet another example of Paul Cuffe's willingness to challenge racial barriers was his decision to join the Society of Friends, which at the time discouraged blacks from becoming members despite its antislavery stance. As a Friend and successful mer- Book Reviews57 chant, Cuffe became active in the international abolitionist network of William Allen and Thomas Clarkson of Great Britain, and James Forten, James Pemberton, and Peter Williams, Jr., of the United States. Rosalind Cobb Wiggins has performed a valuable service in compiling and transcribing Cuffe's papers forpublication. She was correct in retaining his idiosyncratic spelling, for thus we are reminded that this extraordinary individual—who could navigate politics on three continents as well as storm-tossed seas—was entirely self-taught. Wiggins is less successful in her introductory essays and endnotes, which are not well organized and include numerous errors. She states several times, for example, that Quakers had no ministers, when she means paid ministers, of course. At other points she suggests that Native Americans could not be slaves, and that Benjamin Franklin was a founder of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Unfortunately, such mistakes reveal Wiggins' limited research about the Society of Friends, slavery, and the abolitionist movement in which Cuffe played such an important role. Jean R. SoderlundLehigh University An Indian Tapestry: Quaker Threads in the History ofIndia, Pakistan,andBanghdeshfrom the Seventeenth CenturytoIndependence. By Marjorie Sykes. Ed. and completed by Geoffrey Carnali. York: Sessions, 1997. ? + 327 pp. Maps, illustrations, notes, and index. Paper, £10. Few could be as qualified as Marjorie Sykes to write the history of Friends in India. During her sixty years in India she was a school teacher, a peace educator, a friend, co-worker, and translator of Rabindranath Tagore, and a teacher in Gandhi's ashram Sevagram. Marjorie Sykes worked among Friends in Madras in the south, in Bengal, and in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 56-57
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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