Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CANOT, Theodore, adventurer, born in Florence, Italy, about 1807. He was the son of a captain and paymaster in the French army. After an ordinary school education he shipped as a seaman in the American ship " Galatea," of Boston, from Leghorn to Calcutta. He made several voyages from Boston, was wrecked near Ostend, and again on the coast of Cuba where he was captured by pirates. One of these claimed to be his uncle, and sent him to an Italian grocer near Havana, who was secretly engaged in the slave-trade. At Havana he shipped on a slaver, and made his first voyage to Africa in 1826, landing at the slave factory of Ba.ngahmg, on the River Pongo. Senegam-bia. After quelling a mutiny on board, and aiding to stow away 108 slaves in a hold twenty-two inches high, he entered the service of the owner of the factory. In 1827 a friend in Havana. consigned to him a slave schooner, which he loaded with 217 Negroes, receiving $5,565 commission, while the Cuban owners realized a clear profit of $41,438. Canot then established a slave-station at Kambia, near Bangalang. He became a favorite with the native chiefs, and by their aid soon collected a stock of slaves. Another vessel was sent out to him from Cuba; but, the captain dying, he took command and sailed for Regla, but was soon captured by two British cruisers after a severe fight. He made his escape in a small boat, with one companion, and reached the River Pongo. After the destruction of his factory and goods by fire in May, 1828, he purchased a vessel at Sierra Leone, in which, with a. cargo of slaves, he sailed to Cuba.. Three more expeditions soon followed; in the first he lost 300 slaves by small-pox ; in the last he was taken by the French, and condemned to ten years' confinement in the prison of Brest, but a year after he was pardoned by Louis Philippe. He returned to Africa, and was the pioneer of the slave traffic at New Sestros, and in 1840 shipped 749 slaves from there to Cuba. He established in 1841 a trading and farming settlement, under the name of New Florence, at Cape Mount, where he had obtained a grant of land; but in March, 1847, New Florence was destroyed by the British, who suspected it to be a slave-station, and Cannot removed to South America, where he engaged in commerce. He resided for some time in Baltimore, and finally received from Napoleon III an office in one of the French colonies in Oceania. A narrative of his adventures, compiled by Brantz Mayer from his own notes, and entitled "Captain Canot, or Twenty Years of an Africa, n Slaver," has been published (New York, 1854).
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