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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 9: The famous islands of the Bijagos heathen, the fertility of their soil, and the character and industry of their inhabitants,   pp. 1-6

Page 6

worst enemy of Guinea, for if the blacks know that you have it and are
denying them it, then you have a quarrel on your hands. You are permitted
to deny them anything except wine. To bring them to conclude a deal it is
necessary to behave generously. Hence, of the cargo which the ships bring,
a third is intended as gifts. But despite all these little ways of keeping
the blacks sweet, one has to be careful about one's speech, for they are
evil that they take offence at the smallest thing.
In connection with this I want to say what it is about these heathen
that enables us to entertain the notion that they like us. Almost everyone
holds that if they are attached to us it is an attachment to our goods alone.
If the native of these parts is a friend to the white man's property,   he
also a friend to him, because, as long as the white man is about, there is
always hope of acquiring and possessing some of his material good things.
But if the heathen shows little interest in our goods, be on guard against
living near him for this is the surest sign that he does not want our
friendship. This is what is generally believed here on the subject of the
savages' goodwill, to wit, that whatever goodwill they have towards us is
always at our own expense. /f.36/
(m) These heathen in Guinea only love the Portuguese to the extent
that they value his money.


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