Elias Neau in the Dungeon. A French sailor who belonged to the Huguenot (Reformed) Church, he left for England then America when France revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had given Protestants limited religious freedom. In 1692 he commanded a merchant ship which was captured by a French privateer in Jamaica; when they discovered he was not Catholic, they reduced him to a galley slave and returned him to France, which imprisoned him, and eventually put him in solitary confinement when he wouldn’t renounce his faith. While in prison he wrote hymns and letters to his wife and the American Puritan preacher Cotton Mather. These were published after he was released, and the New York Huguenot church made him an elder. In 1702 he established the city’s first African free school with the help of the rector of Trinity Church and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. (rodama1789.blogspot.com)

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