Cuffee. I. Paul, a native Indian preacher of the Shinnecock tribe of Indians on Long Island, born in 1757, died March 7, 1812. He was for 13 years in the employ of the New York missionary society, and was regarded as an able preacher. He was a successor of the Rev. Samson Occom and the Rev. Peter John. II. Paul, a negro sea captain, born on one of the Elizabeth isles, near New Bedford, Mass., in 1759, died Sept. 7, 1818. His father was a native of Africa, and once a slave; his mother was of Indian extraction. He accumulated a handsome fortune in seafaring pursuits, and for many years commanded his own vessel, having a crew composed entirely of negroes, and visiting many American and foreign ports. He was an esteemed member of the society of Friends. It is related that on one occasion, when the custom house officer of Norfolk, Va., refused him a clearance because he was a negro, he proceeded at once to Washington to submit his case to President Madison, with whom he was well acquainted. "James," said he to the president, "thy customs collector at Norfolk refuses me my clearance; I wish an order from thee which shall compel him to give it me." Madison inquired into the circumstances, and wrote the required order.
In the latter part of his life Cuffee encouraged the emigration of free people of color to Sierra Leone. He corresponded with prominent friends of that enterprise in Great Britain and Africa, and in 1811 visited the colony in his own vessel to determine for himself its advantages. In 1815 he carried out to Sierra Leone 38 colored persons as emigrants, 30 of them at his own expense, and on his arrival there furnished them with the means of subsistence, spending in this enterprise nearly $4,000. He was anxious to carry other companies of emigrants; but while waiting for the permission of the British government, American vessels being at that time excluded from the trade of the British colonies, he was seized with the illness which terminated his life.