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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)
(1990)

Chapter 2: About the character of the heathen that live in this province, so various in name and language,   pp. 1-11


Page 11



11.
such as gold, which we assume /f.57v/ that some of them hoard. It is
not among the more savage peoples that a set of drinking-vessels for
birds would be valued at thirteen hundred or so cruzados, which is
what the King of Bungo paid; nor would an old and mended pot-holder
be worth one thousand four hundred cruzados here. These heathen
always look for value.
They show little curiosity about music and instruments of music.
However, they have their own guitars made from calabashes, some with
only two strings, others more like a harp, all crudely made as one
would expect from them. They have bambalous and various drums large
and small; and the lords have trumpets. They are enemies of any kind
of secret, and a jealous people. Yet they deserve great praise in
that they are so strict about theft.(J) Goods may be left in the
streets and outside houses, and no-one will take them. Nothing goes
missing from the churches. They consider immorality an abominable
thing. They similarly detest the Fhcdding of human blood, which they
punish severely. Because of these two laws, and because the people
are fearful of breaking them, this country is normally peaceful. When
there are quarrels among the whites, they say to the Dutchman or the
Frenchman, 'Go back to sea and stop fighting on land, where the lords
value peacet. This is what happened in Porto de S.Pedro in 1612,
following some discord which had bcen sown by a wicked man. The king
settled it, pacifying everyone with a proclamation (worthy) of a
true Christian and a friend of ours. A proclamation is also made,
if anything disappears, and the man who has taken it puts it down in
fear.  They practice Lm~yelending&for a'period, and if the period
ends and the borrower does not return what was lent, the lender seeks
interest, saying that money should earn money: raca sonco raca
'goods from goods'.
(j) The more 'advanced' among thenm begin to do this, and the excuse
they give for stealing from the whites is that we have no simis,
which means the severe punishment which operates among
themselves.


 


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