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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)

Introduction,   pp. 1-7 ff.


Page 2

Guerreiro   (I   have translated both).<7>     Fran Sierra Leone he
supplied
information which appeared in Barreira's 1609 report and hence in Guerreiro;
and
also in Barreira's 1610 report  (all translated).<8>   His annual report
for
1611-1612 was incorporated in a more general report by Barreira, but also
appears within the present text (I have translated and edited it).<9>
His next
annual report, for 1613, was also incorporated within a more general report
and
also appears within the present text. None of these 1611-1613 reports were
published contemporaneously, but a small section of Alvares' 1613 report,
referring to the death of Barreira, was included in a 1647 history of the
Portuguese Jesuits.<10>    If Alvares made any later annual reports
they do not
appear to be extant, but we have a letter, or part of a letter, written in
1616
(not yet published in Portuguese but available in English).<11>   
 Finally, we
have the present text, which is described below.
A much younger man than Barreira, Alvares" reports from Sierra Leone
were not
given the publicity of Barreira 's earlier reports, partly because the reported
success of the early years of the mission was now patently wearing thin -
or
perhaps it is fairer to say that idealistic hype was giving way to a more
realistic approach, since we need not hold that all of Alvares' efforts were
in
vain. But after Alvares' death the Jesuits abandoned Sierra Leone.
'Etipia Menor e descrippAo geogr~fica da ProvIncia da Serra LeoaK
This text of about 90,000 words was given to me in a transcript with the
following notes on the title page. First, this in Portuguese - 'Composed
by
Padre Manuel Alvares of the Society of Jesus, when he was resident in this
Province of Serra Leoa, but never completed or put in a clean copy on account
of
his death in 1616. Copied from his own original preserved in the Royal Convent
of S. Francisco in Lisbon'. The reference being to a manuscript of 143 ff.
in
the Biblioteca da Sociedade de G6ografia in Lisbon <12>, I take it
that this
note appears on the manuscript and is of earlier date. The transcript then
has
the following note, in pencil in Teixeira da Mota's hand and in English,
added
for my benefit -   'Original reading by Dr Luis de Matos.        Most of
the
corrections by T.M. Most of the punctuation has been introduced. Many passages
still to find the meaning of or to render clear (revising punctuation or
after
discovering the probable errors of the copyist). ' The transcript is in partly
modernized spelling (e.g. Alvares for Alvarez). I take it that the title
given
on the transcript is the actual title of the manuscript and of Alvares
original.
The text deals with the coast of western Guinea, from the Senegal River
southeastwards to Sierra Leone, in that geographical order, but in two Parts.
The first Part covers the Northern rivers and coasts, the second Sierra Leone,
where Alvares was living as he wrote the account.
I must emphasise that I have not had the opportunity to see the manuscript.
Had
Teixeira da Mota lived, when I completed the translation from his transcript
I
would have signalled difficult passages to him and he would undoubtedly have
checked both my translation and the transcript against the manuscript.
Therefore what you have here is a not-finally-revised translation of a
not-finally-revised transcript of a not-finally-revised text.   I draw attention
especially to the lack of punctuation in the original, which helps to excuse
sane of my difficulties with certain passages.
As with all the earlier translations, a draft translation was prepared for
me by
my faithful assistant, Mrs Pamela Horner.        This I revised considerably,
in
particular in the light of my knowledge of the historical and African
background, but also with the guidance of a French translation of Part II
by
-2-


 


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