Observations Upon the Windward Coast of Africa eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 148 pages of information about Observations Upon the Windward Coast of Africa.
government, localities, and religion; I suggested to him that “I understood he was a powerful king, and a great warrior, had many wives and children, that he ruled over much people, and a fine country, that I hear he get much head, that he far pass any of his enemies, and that I be very happy to look so great a king:”  or, in other words, that I understood he was a great general, was very rich, was more wise than all his contemporary chiefs, and that it gave me much pleasure to pay my respects to so great a prince:  but the former idiom of language is best adapted to convey meaning to the interpreters of the chiefs of Africa, in whatever tongue it may be spoken; being that which they use in translation; and when they are addressed in this phraseology, they convey their ideas with more perspicuity and literal interpretation.  But to return to the dialogue.

Marraboo.—­“I be very glad to look you for that, I have much trouble all my life—­great deal of war—­my son some time since killed in battle.”  This was accompanied by such a melancholy expression of countenance, that could not fail to excite my compassion, I therefore avoided touching more on the subject of his wars; only observing, “that I hear he be too much for all his enemies, and that he build great wall that keep his town and people safe.”

Marraboo.—­“The king of Darnel’s people cannot pass that—­they all be killed—­they come there sometimes, but always go back again.”  My curiosity was excited to obtain the history of this enchanted wall, which on my approach to the town, I had discovered to be apparently little more than three or four feet high, and situated within the verge of their wells of fresh water, open at several places, and without any defence.

Upon enquiry, I found that Marraboo had been early in life fetish man, or high priest, to Damel, king of Cayor, a very powerful chief bordering upon the Senegal, and that he had artfully contrived to gain over to his interest a number of adherents, who, in process of time, became formidable, rebelled against their lawful sovereign, and took possession of that part of the country towards Cape Verd:  to strengthen their position, Marraboo caused a wall to be erected, commencing from the sea shore, and extending towards the Cape; which, in the estimation of the natives, and in consequence of his sacerdotal office, incantations, and charms, was rendered invulnerable:  the hypocritical priest well knew the natural disposition of his countrymen, and the effect his exorcisms would produce upon their minds; which operated so effectually, that when his army was beaten by the powerful Damel, they uniformly retired behind their exorcised heap of stones, which in a moment stopt their enemy’s career, and struck them with such dread, that they immediately retired to their country, leaving their impotent enemy in quiet possession of his usurped territory; whom otherwise they might have annihilated with the greatest facility.  Superstition is a delusion very prevalent in Africa; and its powerful influence upon the human mind is forcibly illustrated by the foregoing instance.

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Observations Upon the Windward Coast of Africa from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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