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

Page 8

inhabitants of Pinto, another Porto de Ale here in the Serra, whose
watering-place is notorious for (the visits of) all sorts of pirates,
who come there to refresh themselves and to make merry over the fat
loot they take from Portuguese ships. This has become so common
that, to make a change, a novel occurrence for this Province was
introduced in 1612,(O when thirty white men were left here by
Captain Lachennais, a Frenchman of Dieppe. They were given shelter
and food, and many rich goods were brought to them by all the
They are skilled at collecting from their guests the debts they
owe to others. They) make them pay up, and then ask (the debtecs) for
a share of what they have collected. Some of them are so greedy that
they buy out the debtee in order to collect the money. Not surpris-
ingly, they boast of acting as intermediaries between their wives ana
daughters and other men : in this way, they serve any kind of person
/f.56v/ who will employ them.
They are particularly suspicious, so much so that if we talk (in
Portuguese) in front of them, the less suspicious ask us openly what
we are talking about, and the more cunning inquire (from others)
behind our backs. Some of them, such as the nobles and those who have
been brought up among our people, understand Portuguese, and these
listen without saying anything, and then act privately (on what they
have heard). Hence, it is necessary for anyone here, as long as he has
little experience of the land, to keep a guard on h- s tongue. The
tongue, they say, is the key to men, and on it depends good or ill
fortune in life.   This gives it an ill name, as being responsible for
all evil, for St. James says: tThe tongue is all evil'. A mouth
which has an evil, tongue is worse than the mouth of hell, since the
latter only engulfs bad people while the former ruins good and bad.
Hence the tongue is all evil, for it makes men blasphemers, perjurers,
liars, rebels, murderers, thieves, forgers, heretics, apostates,
traitors, etc. All of which is evil. An evil tongue
and so it is the evil tongue which does most mischief in Guinea and
isn..4~-t-ue~in.   It provides the motive for the poisoning which
affects so many daily and kills them little by little. It is the
underlying cause of quarrels and divisions.

(g) Involving Jorge Mendes and IBarbosa the Bure.


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