Much of Joseph Emidy’s story is known from the autobiography of James Silk Buckingham. Emidy was enslaved by the Portuguese, and then became a virtuoso violinist while in Lisbon. Kidnapped by the British Navy and held captive aboard ship during the French wars of the 1790s, he was then abandoned in Falmouth. He earned his living as a violinist and teacher and went on to become a prominent figure in the music scene in Cornwall, for the next thirty years becoming the leader of the Truro Philharmonic Orchestra (extract from Autobiography of James Silk Buckingham, 1855, vol. 1).
Yth aswonir meur a’n hwedhel Joseph Emidy der honanbewskrif James Silk Buckingham. Kethhes veu Emidy gans an Portyngalysi, hag ena y teuth ev krowder a vri hag ev yn Lisbon. Argibys gans an Lu Lestri Bretennek ha synsys a-bervedh lester dres an breselyow Frank y’n bledhenyow 1790, y feu ev forsakys ena yn Aberfala. Y tendyla ev y bygans avel krowder ha dyskador kyns bos person a vri y’n welva ilow Kernow, rag an nessa deg warn ugens bledhen owth hembronk an Orkestra Filharmonyk Truru (devyn a Honanbewskryf James Silk Buckingham, 1855, kev. 1).