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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 6: The port of Bichangor, its site and the fertility of the land, and the heathen of the district,   pp. 1-5

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meet him and called on him frequently, captivated by his gentle, meek
nature. When the saint was entertaining one of them, and looked at him
with thoughts of eternity and its joys, and then reflected how far the
savage was from heavenly understanding and enlightment, he wept. The
pagan king, seeing the heartfelt tributes of love fall from the eyes of
the blessed saint, was saddened /f.22v/, for he misunderstood the padre's
thoughts; but when the apostle explained their meaning, he was satisfied.
The Rambadim, the King of Bichangor, had come to visit our man of religion
because he was very attached to him. The padre engaged him in a discussion
about the conversion of his soul and he was so moved that he would have
been converted to our holy faith if the Lord had not tightened the reins
of life over him. One day the savage said to him: "Padre, the harmony
the Saviour's religion appeals to me; but I do not wish to offend Him
further or to deceive you, since I do not feel myself yet persuaded by
the heavens to give up my wivesC  of whom I have more than 400, or
Abandon the superstitious ceremonies of the idols which enable me to
govern my land" . The padre remained patient and put the matter in God's
hand. Nevertheless the king is a great friend of ours and he has a good
disposition. His brothers, nephews and kinsmen have already been bathed
in the sacred waters of baptism and are of service to the whites. The
sacred image of the Mother of Jesus, to whom the savage is so devoted
that he keeps her feast each year by offering a cow, will take care to
obtain from Jesus for him her son's singular benefit.
As we have already discussed the settlers, let us now discuss the
regular trade of the port. Apart from the great quantity of foodstuffs,
the chief trade there is in slaves, who are bought from the king and
gentry of the land. Otherwise merchants of another kind have permission
to make their way through all the lands, their merchandise being in my
view more circumspect~d)  The heathen closest at hand have by now been
corrupted by regular trade with us, as I stated in the previous chapter.
(c) His mazhanju did not recognise them in a group, they being so many.
Today, a poor man without a kingdom, he has 400 of them.
(d) Jewish merchants. Category of free heathen. Being Jewish, live
*only by trading. Our people here have a good opinion of them in
that they sell slaves only by day and openly, after buying them at
various fairs. They argue that the legal position is better because
by trading with these men it becomes a matter of purchased goods.
But who will relieve us of every point of scruple, since the limited
veracity and the covetousness of these heathen give a criminal aspect
to everything(?). Muddy waters.


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