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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 7: Aptitudes of these heathen, and their superstitious rites and ceremonies,   pp. 1-14

Page 9

antidotes in the form of emetics as I mention in Part II, when I discuss
the judicial system of the Sapes. They attack the household /f.27/ of this
forsaken wretch and confiscate all his goods. And this provides one of
the most common justifications put forward by traders in these parts for
acquiring and possessing, without the necessary conditions for true
ownership, a large number of those chattels for which Guinea is renowned.
Since this is a poor justification offered in bad faith it is not in
keeping with the intention of His Holiness, or with that of His Majesty
in the decrees which he has published concerning freedom in this trade,
a matter full of pitfalls and truly a labyrinth for consciences. More
generally it is a matter threatening eternal condemnation for souls,
because of the carelessness and negligence often manifested on the part
of the commercial agents when considering the justice or injustice of
the causes of enslavement in individual cases, a requirement pressed on
the Most Christian kings by the Supreme Pontiff. they also make use of
the ordeal by red-hot iror neseious case:         The iron is heated and
placed in the palm of the hand, with some very slight pieces of grass
under the iron. The accused takes several turns around a set area and if
he is not burnt and withstands the heat he is immediately absolved from
the charge. The Lord sometimes permits the devil to perform this (trick)
to punish the heathen for having corrupted the dictates of natural law by
their multiplicity of vices. This is what St Paul says about these savages
"They have known and know God   all confess Him but they neither glorify
nor honour Him as they know Fe deserves   chastised they remain blind,
without understanding what a great God they are called on to serve, and
they have turned to objects of creation and worshipped these instead of
God".  Although these (Banhus), like the people in the text, are aware
and state that there is a God, because vice keeps them in darkness they
live like madmen, running hither and thither and resembling the players of
Blind Man's Buff.  In their wars these Banhus use various amulets, and
they often employ a bexerin as a magician to prepare for them magic
medicines which are made from certain herbs, in the same way as in Moorish
geomancy. And if these are not successful, they make new ones.
(r) Paul : "Qui cum Deum cognovissent, non sicut Deum glorificaverunt,
obscuratum est cor eorum. etc"   Z ".. .when they knew God, they
glorified him not as God... and their foolish heart was darkened",
Romans 1:21 7


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