...We sailed in the month of October, and arrived safe at St. George���s Granada....
...I wrought a great deal on shore and had a number of blacks under me. They are a thoughtless, merry race; in vain their cruel situation and sufferings act upon their buoyant minds. They have snatches of joy that their pale and sickly oppressors never know. It may appear strange, yet it is only in the West Indian islands that the pictures of Arcadia are in a faint manner realised once in the week.
When their cruel situation allows their natural propensities to unfold themselves on the evenings of Saturday and Sabbath, no sound of woe is to be heard in this land of oppression ��� the sound of the Benji and rattle, intermixed with song, alone is heard. I have seen them dancing and singing of an evening, and their backs sore from the lash of their cruel task-masters. I have lain upon deck of an evening, faint and exhausted from the heat of the day, to enjoy the cool breeze of evening, and their wild music and song, the shout of mirth and dancing, resounded along the beach and from the valleys. There the negroes bounded in all the spirit of health and happiness while their oppressors could hardly drag their effeminate bodies along, from dissipation or the enervating effects of the climate.
These meetings are made up and agreed upon often long before they arrive. The poor and despised slaves will club their scanty earning for the refreshments and to pay Benji men. Many of them will come miles to be present. The females dress in all their finery for the occasion, and the males are decked with any fragments of dress they can obtain, Many of them are powdered. They ape all the manners of their masters as much as in their power.
John Marriner, mariner, born 1755 in Currie near Edinburgh, recounted his travels over 25 years of seafaring to John Howell of Edinburgh in 1822. : The Benji is made of an old firkin [a small cask] with one end out, covered with shark skin, and beat upon with two pieces of wood. The rattles are made of a calabash shell, and a few small pebbles in it, fixed on a wooden handle; these they shake to the time of the Benji