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The Misericordia barracoon stood just off a busy road that connected the city and the white palace of the Governor General.
Cinque say, “Me think and by and by I tell you.” Cinque then said, “If we do nothing, we be killed.
We may as well die in trying to be free as to be killed and eaten.” A nail hidden by Cinque under his arm became the captives’ means to freedom.
Although they had papers, Montes and Ruiz knew their vessel was subject to search by British slave patrol boats.
The papers showing the captives to be ladinos, or legal slaves born in Spanish territory, would not fool a conscientious enforcer of the anti-importation treaty.
They connected each collar by a chain to another slave, and whole string of collars they chained to the wall.
The Africans were kept in the suffocating heat of the hold most of the voyage.
Indicating with his hands, Celestino told Cinque that the slaves would have their throats slit, be chopped to pieces, salted, and eaten as dried meat.
Cinque, who had seen the barbarism of the Middle Passage, believed him.
He ordered blacks to stand in a row, then inspected their bodies and teeth one-by-one.
Ruiz bought the forty-nine adult males that passed his inspection for 0 each.