Annotation: This is a letter from an Amistad captive.
Document: Westville Jan. 4th 1841
I want to write you a few lines my dear friend because you love us, and because you talk to the great court, and tell America people to make us free. We want to go home to Mendi and see our fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters. When we in ship we have no waters; we came on shore for waters. We see American people. American people say we have no slaves and we make you free. They promise us to make us free. Mr. Tappan comes from New York and gives us Bible. He brings good tidings; he say we make you free. Then the court no let us go; then call Mendi people come to New Haven and Judge Judson say you be free, but Government say Kinne tell you manfriend no believe wicked people. Some White people, good, not all, some bad. Wicked people say Mendi people lie, steal, Mendi people drink wine, Mendi people swear, Mendi people all bad. Dear friend, bad people say so. Mendi people no lie, not steal, no swear, no drink rum, no fight. What Mendi fight for? Mendi people love one another. Mendi people pray every evening and every night and every morning. Mendi people pray God forgive their sins and make them good. Mendi people pray God bless their teachers and you, Dear Friend, and Mr. Baldwin, and help you talk to the great court. Mendi people pray God give success, a good heart that they let us go free, dear friend. May you have heart to see Mendi people. You thought Mendi people bad people. No. Bad people say Mendi people murderers because we kill Captain and cook. If we have knife and come to America people and say I kill and eat, what America people do? Mendi people no kill Captain and cook; they no kill us. Mendi people no hurt any body. Dear Friend Mr. Adams. We love you very much & beg you to tell court let Mendi people be free. We beg you to talk hard. You make us free and we thank you very much and we pray for you every day and when we go home to Mendi we tell our fathers and Mothers and brothers and sisters to pray for Mr. Adams, and they all will thank you very much my dear friend.
Your friend Kinna
Source: Mystic Seaport