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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

Page 6

support, he reached a position where he could gain the most benefit from
Cacheu~e)  So although the King of Mata retains the title, this only
relates to absolute and supreme sovereignty over the land, while in
practice Horcafem has greater sovereignty over the hearts of the heathen,
who respect only those who give them gifts, for in all Ethiopia what you
own counts for more than what you are. I said that he gained the most
benefit from Cacheu because this enemy of our holy faith is the affliction
of our people in this port, where he lords it over the dwellings,
interfering with them and losing all respect for the Portuguese. Not that
this signifies much in a man who has lost respect for God by demonstrating
such heretical infidelity and loose-living. I said that he lords it over
our dwellings because he carries out visitations of them, and for this
reason he is feared by the more cowardly and the least generous, just as
the corregador de alcada (circuit judge) is by criminals when-he visits
a town where he is normally a guest (?). Horcafem is a lascarim. When
a settler's slave, longing for the forest, razes away to Horcafem, if the
slave is to be returned to his master the master must be someone from
whom Horcafem has received geaerous gifts, since he has no respect for
those who are tight (with their money) and will not hesitate to sell their
slave to anyone he pleases. As well as the gift which boats and ships
give to the King of Mata, to whom this is due as the chief king and lord
of the land, they give another gift to Horcafem, to satisfy him. In this
way they keep to the full an agreement which the settlers made with him
after the last war he conducted against the port, in 1607.
Apart from the favours of Our Lady,(f) which are and always have
been the town's strongpoint "nd its tower most fully furnished with
of war, it owes a great deal to the /f.20v/ Reverend Bartolomeu Rebelo
Tavares, its Vicar, who as well as performing great services for His
(e) To those of little experience Horcafem has appeared to possess
greater power in the land, but this was so and had been so only
inasmuch as it was rendered him in virtue of his unjust claim.
Today Horcafem is the leading ruler for the common people.(?)
(f) Sicur turris David collum tuum, qua- aedificata est in propugnaculis
militum. Clipei pendent extra omnis armatura fortium. "Thy neck is
like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon hang
(a thousand) bucklers, all shields of mighty men" [Song of Solomon,


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