The following annotations to A Narrative of Some Remarkable Incidents in the Life of Solomon Bayley were compiled in the fall of 2014 by Amara Jordan and Jalyn Gatling, first-year students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as a class project in Professor William L. Andrews's First-Year Seminar on Slavery and Freedom in African American Literature and Film. We welcome any corrections, additions, or suggested revisions of these annotations. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilmington — A city in northern Delaware.
Camden — A city in southern New Jersey.
doth — do.
leach — teach (printer’s error).
State of Delaware — a colony and later one of the original United States. Delaware is the only state that depended on Africans (rather than Native Americans) for enslavement from the start of Delaware’s existence.
State of Virginia — a colony and later one of the original United States.
Richmond — the capital of Virginia.
waggon — wagon.
Father of all mercy — the Christian God.
"They that trust in the Lord, shall never be confounded" — Psalm 22:5.
dysentery — a disease, sometimes fatal, that causes loss of blood, severe diarrhea, and increase mucus intake that leads to infection.
Maker of heaven and earth — God.
persimmon — an orange fruit found in an eastern American tree.
Though he is high . . . goodness and his power — Psalm 138:6.
the river — the James River running east-west through Richmond.
Petersburgh — A town in Virginia south of Richmond.
providence — plan of God.
"Let all the world . . . power can shew." — From a hymn in J. and C. Wesley's Collection of Psalms and Hys. 1789.
"Miracle of grace . . . able to abase" — Daniel 4:37.
Chesapeake Bay — a body of water off the coast of Maryland and Virginia.
loom — the shaft of the rowing stick.
Dover — the capital of Delaware.
Almighty — God.
Camden — a town in Delaware south of Dover.
Portly — somewhat overweight.
Petersburgh — a town in Delaware southwest of Camden.
sally — a sudden charge out of a besieged place.
Creator of all things — God.
Surveyor's rod — a device used for measurement of lengths.
H’ant — hasn’t.
“Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" — Exodus 14:13.
Israel when at the Red Sea — fleeing Hebrew slaves rescued by God by the parting of the Red Sea. See Exodus 13:17-14:29.
"The ox knoweth . . . doth not consider" — Isaiah 1:3.
“Now unto the king immortal . . . ever. Amen.” — Timothy 1:17.
Word or phrase — Definition of word or phrase.
his majesty — God.
7th Mo. 24, 1799 — July 24th, 1799.
shew — shew.
forty pounds bond and security — forty pounds in British currency as payment for freedom.
sold me my time for eighty dollars — Bayley’s master let him hire himself out to work for wages, provided he paid the master 80 dollars.
whetted — to make something sharper or stronger (Source: www.merriam-webster.com/doctor).
the burning lake — hell.
Jonah — Old Testament prophet whose life is recounted in the Book of Jonah.
black crew — condemned sinners “black” because of their damnation.
methodist — an evangelical sect of Protestant Christianity.
Built on the sand — allusion to a parable of Jesus in Matthew 7:24-27.
my maker — God.
"they that resist . . . damnation" — Romans 13.2.
"believe on the . . . be saved" — Acts 16:31.
"Let the wicked . . . all that is passed." — Isaiah 55.7.
“Ask . . . shall find” — Matthew 7:7.
Jot or tittle — a small amount.
Servant Israel — Isaiah 44:1.
"Oh! that all may taste and see… "Would all mankind embrace!" — From a hymn by Charles Wesley published in Wesley’s Hymns and Sacred Poems (1849).
Ye — Plural of “you.”
back countries — a western rural area far away from Bayley.
One class-paper — Bayley and his wife’s master were members of the same Methodist church.
“He that loveth . . . not worthy of me” — Matthew 10:37.
that power which cut Rahab and wounded the Dragon — Isaiah 51:9.
Meeting day — A Sunday.
thirty one pounds Virginia money — At this time currency issued by various states was still in circulation.
pence — Plural of penny.
“. . . he took pet . . .” — Became peevish or sulky..
manumitted — To be released from slavery.
the war in America — The war of 1812, when a British army invaded the U.S..
crier — A town crier, who announces rulings of a court of law..
shilling — A form of currency.
West Indies — Islands in the Caribbean heavily involved in slavery, particularly for the production of sugar..
“this is their hour and the power darkness” — Luke 22:53.
Ring — Area where people stood to auction slaves.
“in his name . . . for ever be exalted.” — Psalm 89:16.
“Then should their sun in smiles decline,/ And bring a peaceful night;” — Interpolation of a hymn written by Welsh composer Aaron Williams.
Sion’s hill — Zion’s Hill, the easternmost hill upon which Jerusalem was built.
Connexion — alternate spelling of connection.
the society of friends — Also known as Quakers, a Protestant Christian sect that advocated the abolition of slavery.
Guinea — a country on the west coast of Africa.
Long Island — an island in the Bahamas.
Hagar — servant of Biblical patriarch Abraham and his wife Sarah, who bore a child, Ishmael, for them. After Sarah gave birth to Isaac, she banished Hagar and Ishmael.
Paul Cuffee — An African American Quaker sea captain and abolitionist.
canse — Cause (printer’s error).
prodigal son — central figure in a parable of Jesus in Luke 15:11-32.
“God works in a mysterious way” / “His wonders to perform” — allusion to a hymn by British poet William Cowper in 1773.