Title of Primary Source: ACCOUNT OF THE SLAVE TRADE ON THE COAST OF AFRICA by ALEXANDER FALCONBRIDGE
The book was published in 1788 -- substantially after the events described took place. The time gap did not seriously affect the main content of the material because the events he describes were very serious and unforgettable ones. He wrote the material at the time he had already been a member of the Anti- Slavery Society leaving room for a little suspicion of his tendency to exaggerate some descriptions in his narrative. This been said, it is pertinent to note that it is unequivocally clear that the events he describes in this book are those he witnessed firsthand and they made a lasting impression on him. Consequently, this impression motivated him to not only join the Anti-Slavery Society, but to be actively involved as well.
The author Alexander Falconbridge, from the accounts in the book, is a British surgeon who wrote about (against) the slave trade aspect of “British commerce” as found in the preface of his account. He sailed with slave ships from 1780 through 1787 where according to him; he witnessed most of the things he gave account of in the book. He is a very appropriate as well as important source of information because he worked on board slave ships for very close to a decade. He was present from where the slaves are bought from their captors, on the ships used in transporting them through where they get to their final destination. He had the task of taking care and treating of the slaves which afforded him the opportunity of getting close to them and always been aware of the event taking place with them. Furthermore, he was not a merchant and most probably didn’t rely on the profit made on the slaves but on the wages he got for his services making him more objective than those who took this solely as business.
It is hard to pinpoint any of his biases except for him conforming to the general stereotype of the era which was that the “Negro” slaves were species of lesser intelligence than their slave masters. He even saw different tribes of the “Negro” slaves as different species and this he commonly made mention of in his account. These notwithstanding, he saw things objectively, wondering why the more humane Europeans didn’t treat the “Negro” slaves any better. In addition, given the fact that he was British, he most probably belonged to the Church of England (the Anglican Communion), but when he made reference to the god the people of Bonny worshiped, he gave a 100% accurate description without any biases.
In conclusion, the source hardly has any limitations, as in, it was based mostly on the authors’ eyewitness account some of which (the descriptions) could be verified till this day. The only thing that could raise a little (but not substantial) doubt could be the fact that he wrote and published the material at the time he had already been a member of the Anti- Slavery Society (as I mentioned earlier) leaving room for...