Smeathman returns to the Bananas where, instead of collecting, he cultivates a large provision garden for the slave ships. His chief staples were Palma Christi, pepper, and Guinea rice but rice cultivation was James Cleveland’s preserve. Cleveland also objected to Smeathman’s attempts to intensify the women’s methods of growing and harvesting the rice. In the end Cleveland’s cattle destroy Smeathman’s garden. Broken in health, and dreading the oncoming wet season, Smeathman joins a fully slaved and leaky ship bound for the West Indies. As a passenger unconnected to the trade, Smeathman’s experience of the middle passage offers new perspectives and insights.
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