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Mota, A. Teixeira da (Avelino Teixeira); Hair, P. E. H. (Paul Edward Hedley) / Jesuit documents on the Guinea of Cape Verde and the Cape Verde Islands, 1585-1617: in English translation
(1989)

25,   pp. [unnumbered]-4 ff.


Page 3

3.
failed to go out of fear of the enemy, did go there and returned safely,
to the great comfort of the people.
To heathen blacks we have shown charity. For they used to let
them die unbaptized, and through the gate when we arrived there used
to pass bodies being carried to the rubbish dump, though (the blacks
themselves) wished to be baptized and their owners treated it very
lightly (?) since they would not be losing two pence. We gave
instructions that the children of the city should let us know about
any heathen black who was sick so tha~t he could be baptized, and we
asked the masters to send us any who were scattered over the island,
so that we could catechize them, there being plenty of interpreters
here, and baptize them, which the masters carefully did. And very many
souls were sent to heaven who would have perished if this remedy had
not been applied.
On the same matter of baptism, we hit on a. very important point
in relation to the salvation of the blacks who come from Guinea, for
they arrive in such a way that it cannot be discovered whether they
have been baptized or not.: Indeed their masters give Christian names
to those who are heathens /f.91v/ and hence there is great confusion
when they are embarked for Cartagena, for when the parish priests go
to ships about to sail, in order to baptize the blacks, as is the
local custom, they cannot recognise which are the ones to baptize. I
myself, when I went there to see how things were managed~coUld not
find a solution.  Because of this problem, I am asking whoever can lay
down the law regarding all this (to proclaim) that all blacks coming
from Guinea should be baptized, hefore they are scattered over the
island, by the roes who come on their ships (?). If this is
thoroughly carried out, as we hope, there will not be as many
unbaptized souls to be conveyed in the licenced ship (navio de regis r)
as there would be without this precaution.
The dire needs of many persons have been met, partly by alms,
partly by influencing those who treat them badly. Many important
friendships have been established, some prisoners have been delivered,
many sins have been shunned. The land being as luxuriant and wanton
as those lands which are most (notoriously so) a notable amendment
among the whites and blacks has been seen, for which we give a
thousand thanks to the Lord. He brought us here, when we least
expected it, so that we could turn to good use all the troubles we


 


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