Letter from A.F. Williams to Lewis Tappan
Austin F. Williams has been awaiting a letter and response from Lewis Tappan regarding the Committee's opinion on purchasing a place for the Amistad Africans, as well as an answer from John Quincy Adams as to whether he will deliver an address in Broadway Tabernacle in New York. Williams believes it is important for the Africans to "have every facility for acquiring our language & become savingly acquainted with the religion of Jesus" for fear they will be lead to crime and ruin by wicked men. Williams writes about purchasing a house in Farmington for the Africans and asks how far the Committee is willing to go to provide for them. He asks about apparel for the Africans and lists clothes already procured and states a tailor has been employed. Williams says he and others have attempted to make the Africans "as comfortable as the rooms we have engaged will admit" but that larger quarters are needed. He describes their daily meals and states that the Africans seem pleased with their fare. He mentions that the Africans had grown accustomed to jump and talk for money and they will not talk with visiting men and women unless they are paid, which is "getting to be quite an annoyance." He writes that they are sometimes "decoyed into stores" in Farmington. The Africans have promised their teacher, Sherman M. Booth, that they will no longer jump for money and do what he says. They have been working piling and splitting wood. Williams explains that he has spoken with the Africans about the Mendi country and discusses its fertility and agriculture. He believes that "if these men advance as rapidly as they have done for a few days they will surprise this whole nation." He discussed with Cinque, Foole, and Bartu the fate of Stanton Pendleton and Biblical teachings. Williams says some people are anxious that the Africans "should not come into Town" and asks "under what authority do we act, as a self-constituted [committee] or as individuals." Williams may request money soon and asks if $400-500 may be deposited to draw from.