Of the honest galley slave, and other Catalans of colour

James Howell, Epistolae Ho-Elianae: Familiar Letters Domestic and Foreign (1754):

I am now in Barcelona; but the next Week I intend to go on through your Town of Valencia to Alicant, and thence you shall be sure to hear from me farther, for I make account to winter there. The Duke of Ossuna passed by here lately, and having got Leave of Grace to release some Slaves, he went aboard the Cape Galleys, and passng through the Churma of Slaves, he asked divers of them what their Offences were: Every one excused himself; one saying, That he was put in out of Malice, another by Bribery of the Judge, but all of them unjustly: Amongst the rest there was one little sturdy black Man, and the Duke asking him what he was in for; Sir, said he, I cannot deny but I am justly put in here; for I wanted Money, and so took a Purse hard by Tarragone, to keep me from starving. The Duke, with a little Staff he had in his Hand, gave him two or three Blows upon the Shoulders, saying, You Rogue, what do you do amongst so many honest innocent Men? Get you gone out of their Company. So he was freed, and the rest remained still in statu quo prius, to tug at the Oar.

I pray commend me to Signior Camillo, and Mazalao, with the rest of the Venetians with you; and when you go aboard the Ship behind the Exchange, think upon

Yours, J. H. Barcelona, 10 Nov. 1620.

I am not brown, I am black, so get used to it!” How incredibly boring. I saw Ari Puello once and she looked perfectly purple to me.

(More items from Mr Howell over at the El nuevo libro verde de Barcelona)

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