National Geographic : 1992 Sep
The prisoners knew nothing of their desti nation or their ultimate fate. English trader William Snelgrave wrote that "these poor People are generally under terrible Appre hensions ... many being afraid that we design to eat them." As they waited, the slaves must have been racked by emotions-fear, anger, disbelief, defiance, resignation-each exacting a price. Yet, as their subsequent behavior would show, many also found an inner resolve not to be vanquished, not to yield control over one's inner sanctuary to one's captors. Dr. Thomas Trotter, a ship's surgeon who watched the slaves being brought aboard, reported that they "show signs of extreme distress and despair from a feeling of their situation and regret at being torn from their friends and connections." Traders described their haunting moans as the ship began its journey into the unknown. and souls to their limits. The human cargoes were arranged on wooden platforms "like books on a shelf" on various levels in the cramped hold. Rarely was there space for an adult to stand erect.