Horrors of Slavery, or, The American Tars in Tripoli

By William Ray; Hester Blum | Go to book overview

Explanatory Notes

TITLE PAGE

1. Ray is drawing from at two least sources. The second line is taken from Samuel Foote’s play The Devil upon Two Sticks (1778). The third line, and possibly the first, is somewhat misquoted from Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (1768); the original line in Sterne’s account is “Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery, said I, still thou art a bitter draught.”


EXORDIUM

1. At the outset of the French and Indian War in 1754, Windham, Connecticut, residents were terrified by screams in the night, which were taken for attackers. Morning revealed that the sounds had been made by an unexplained, catastrophic die-off of frogs in the local pond.

2. A journalist and editor of the Lichtfield, Connecticut, newspaper Witness, jailed for defaulting—out of principle—on a libel payment.

3. An early American form of bankruptcy law.

4. Ray’s term for the Pasha (a political rank in the Ottoman Empire), ruler of Tripoli. In Horrors of Slavery “the Bashaw” refers to Yusef Qaramanli, also called Jusef or Joseph Caramanly. The “Ex-Bashaw” Ray refers to later in the narrative is Yusef’s deposed brother, Hamet Qaramanli.

5. Conspirators; after the first century BCE Roman politician Lucius Sergius Catilina.

6. The word Turk was used beginning in the fifteenth century to describe Muslims in North Africa, referring to the Ottoman Empire’s long occupation of the region.


CHAPTER I — INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

1. From Jefferson’s fifth State of the Nation address, 1805; spoken in reference to the liberation of the captives in Tripoli.

2. Jonathan Cowdery was ship’s doctor aboard the Philadelphia; his short narrative, American Captives in Tripoli; or, Dr. Cowdery’s Journal in Miniature; Kept During His Late Captivity in Tripoli, was published in 1806.


CHAPTER II — COMMENCEMENT OF SERVICE

1. Spoken by Cassius in an Act 4, Scene 3, confrontation with Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

2. Robert Treat Paine, Jr., “Song. To Arms, Columbia!”; Paine (no relation to Thomas) was an early nineteenth-century poet and editor whose father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

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