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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 5: The trade of this port and the characters of the settlers there and of the heathen who surround them,   pp. 1-8


now emerge from the labyrinth and speak of trade of a less morally
delicate sort, that in milho and ride. At Bichangor some 300 moios
of the two staples are bought annually, of which the greater part g4;|
to Cacheu to sustain the population and victual the ships, together
with 400 moios from Buguendo and what comes from the three ports of
Songo, Jandem and Sara. According to those who make exact calculatei
this town of Cacheu accounts for 1000 moios of milho and rice, witho4
including what is grown within it.   The quantity (in demand) is so g
that    no year when an alqueire is worth less than one white cloth,'1t
exchange-currency employed here, which corresponds to a tostgo in o
money in the Indies, this high price being because the land is an e4 i
ive one. However this (supply of foodstuffs) does not exhaust the goo
works of the settlers, for in the use of their goods they act very
liberally towards all, reserving a large portion for the poor and si4 At
in this category a> regularly many of the sailors and other men ,
employed on the ships arriving from Iberia : to these. if they do nos (i
immediately leave again, the land offers the normal advantages and a
convalescence.   The settlers take them into their homes, as if they Will
their own sons, so the homes of our people here are alms-houses (c4afaot!
de misericordia), and if it had chanced otherwise the sick would have|
little hope of escaping death. All the people here have been endowed
the Lord with deep sentiments of piety.      The best proof of this is -t
frequent losses have not sufficed to lead them to abandon their holy |
rather it has so increased that the settlers are envious of each other
and have pious disputes over which of them will take a poor wretch hol.Jn
(a)A gentleman has told me that this charitable behaviour has been greatJ
revived today. What has made me doubt, and still makes me doubt, L
whether there is any charity at the moment among the laity is that it l
was so lacking in the case of a Benedictine religious.    He left Cache
because he saw there so much greed, in the clergy as well as in the
laity, since they gave him no welcomeand thejfailed to provide a habi
or full vestments when he once went there from here at short notice(?
He found charity only from a poor woman. When the Saints are so
poorly served, rarely met is praise of the charity which Your Majesty 3
gives to those in need, as in this case. A Benedictine religious, a
holy and solemn man.
I -1



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