High resolution images of the original letter:
The paragraphs below are excerpted transcriptions from the first two pages
of Kale's four-page letter to John Quincy Adams.
"I want to write a letter to you because you love Mendi people, and you talk to the
grand court…We want you to ask the Court what we have done wrong. What for Americans keep
us in prison. Some people say Mendi people crazy, Mendi people dolt, because we no talk
America language. America people no talk Mendi language. American people crazy dolts? They
tell bad things about Mendi people and we no understand. . . . Mendi people feel bad. O,
we can't tell how bad. Some people say, Mendi people no have souls. Why we feel bad, we no
have no souls? We want to be free very much.
"Dear friend Mr. Adams, you have children, you have friends, you love them, you feel very sorry
if Mendi people come and take all to Africa. We feel bad for our friends, and our friends all
feel bad for us. Americans not take us in ship. We were on shore and Americans tell us slave
ship catch us. They say we make you free. If they make us free they tell truth, if they not
make us free they tell lie. If America give us free we glad, if they no give us free we sorry--we
sorry for Mendi people little, we sorry for America people great deal because God punish liars. . . .
Dear friend, we want you to know how we feel."