Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

and a few cattle among the richest and chiefest wen; who were in fact very good, and communicated to their poor neighbours.

The town being so absolutely demolished, as not to be repaired, deaan Mevarrow determined to build a new one; and searching for a commodious place, at length he found a wood so thick, that a dog could not creep into it. This, therefore, was more than half fortified to his hand, and pitched upon accordingly. A vacancy was soon made in it, the men cut down the trees, bushes, and briars, and the women and children conveyed them away; so that in about three days, we cleared a large space to erect our houses on : however, as it was summer time, we were not in so much haste for houses, as for fences against an enemy. We fortified it, therefore, with bodies of trees, which we cut about sixteen or eighteen feet in length; these we drove into the ground so close together, that no creature whatever could possibly get between them. But as one row only of these poles of trees was not thought a sufficient security, we made three or four, one within another, round the whole circumference of the town; leaving no other vacancy than a small and private passage for the conveyance of our women, children, and slaves away with safety, in case of an enemy's approach; and this was so contrived, as not to be discerned with ease or known by strangers. We made but one gateway or entrance, and that not only varrow too, but defended with four prodigiously thick and substantial doors, one within another.

The walls being completed, nothing more remained to do, but each man to erect a house of what extent he thoughıt proper for himself and his family. We, who were slaves to deaan Mevarrow, took care to build his first; some of us cut wood, others fetched grass in order to fill up the sides; whilst I and about thirty more, went a tedious way, at least ten miles, for annevoes, which are the leaves of a tree like those of a cocoa-nut. These we split and covered the house with, for they make a thatch much neate: and stronger

proved

than any in England, but these trees were so scarce, and at such a distance, that a single man could not go often enough, in any reasonable time, to collect the leaves;

and notwithstanding we went in such a body, we were obliged to go twice for a sufficient quantity to cover my master's house.

When we had finished my master's seat, we went about our lesser apartments, and as at deaan Mephontey's a small one served my turn, so it did here in like manner; for, notwithstanding all our strong walls and fortifications, I much questioned whether we should be able to keep them long; neither did we, as it soon after: so I made my hut no bigger than just to have room sufficient to stretch myself at full length, and make a fire in, should I, by good fortune, find any victuals to dress.

About a week after we were settled in our new town, a messenger, (or rather, an ambassador,) arrived from deaan Murnanzack, with about twenty in his retinue. His business was to sound deaan Mevarrow's inclinations, and (if they found a favourable opportunity) to desire his friendship and assistance. He soon found there were good grounds to hope for success, and for that reason delivered his message the first night he

To which deaan Mevarrow returned in answer, he would take it into consideration, consult with his people, and give him his determinate answer the next morning. In the mean time, he gave him a slave's house for his immediate accommodation, as is customary on such occasions; and sent a bullock for the entertainment of him and his attendants. In the next place, be sent out messengers to all the chiefs and freemen to come and consult with him on an affair of the last importance. I was present, and saw this assembly. As soon as deaan Mevarrow and his brother deaan Sambo were seated, the principals placed themselves on either hand, and the other freemen on each side of them,

Dean Mevarrow opened the consultation, by telling them, that deaan Murnanzack had sent a very honour

came.

ance.

able messenger to him to ask his friendship and assist

We must not forget, says he, that deaan Murnanzack proved of singular service to us in the quarrel we once had with deaan Termerre; therefore, consider we are much indebted to him upon that score. Consider, moreover, that Chahary and Frukey will ever be irreconcilable enemies, so long as we detain their wives and families ; and you concur with me not to deliver them without a due return of all our cattle, which they obstinately refuse : then, as deaan Crindo is their father, he, doubtless, will be partial, notwithstanding his seeming pretensions to peace, and affected regard for justice; but in what manner he has lately used us, is too fresh in all your memories to need repetition. The justice of deaan Murnanzack's claim to the dominion, is, I presume, indisputable; whether deaan Crindo may not justify himself, as affairs now stand, in assuming the authority, is what we shall not, at this juncture, take into consideration ; but it is highly requisite for us to consider, whether deaan Murnanzack has strength enough to maintain the dispute, and protect us, and uch other nds as may be inclined to join him. This requires the most mature deliberation : the chance of war is very precarious, and you have families, slaves, and cattle to lose as well as I; weigh well, therefore, the matter in hand, and let me have your resolution, with which I shall readily concur.

They argued the point for some considerable time, and consulted not only what would be most conducive to their interest, but reflected on the dangerous situation they were in; and that it was most probable they should be safest in joining with deaan Murnanzack. Thereupon they agreed, that one of them should declare the result of their consultation to the deaan. In the name of the rest, therefore, he desired him, if he approved of their opinion, to contract and enter into a solemn friendship with deaan Murnanzack; and if so, they would faithfully observe and support him to the utmost of their power. After I had seen the manner and formality of this

grand assembly, our parliament in Great Britain ran strangely in my head : I imagined this the very in age of it: and though I was but a lad when I went from home, yet as my father kept a public house, to which the best of gentlemen resorted, I remember, I have heard them often disputing with one another about the power of the prince, to oblige the people to do what he pleased without consulting them; whilst others insisted that a king had no power without a parliament. Then they would dispute about the origin of parliaments and their power, and by whose means the use of them was brought first into England; in this too they seldom agreed. Some said the Saxons introduced it; others maintained that it was of a more modern date; whilst many were of different opinions from both. Now methinks this article might be adjusted without any reference to authors and historians; that parliaments were established long before the Saxons or Romans either: for I imagine, that not only England, but several other countries besides, were once like Madagascar, without the knowledge of letters and coined money ; and if that be the case, it was then impossible for princes to exert that authority over the people, or to dispose of them contrary to their interest, or inclinations : for I look upon those princes to be like my master, who neither had, nor could have any separate army or interest; but when any neighbour desired their assistance, or any enemy had injured them, they assembled before the house of their chief; and there debated what measures were most proper to be taken for the good of their country. If war were agreed on, the same men took their arms, and the sovereign or chief headed them, as my master did here; and when they returned, each man went home to his own family. Thus the people are their own army and defence; and the lord could never oblige them to do what the majority did not think convenient to be done, because he had no army to compel them. This was, doubtless, the condition of all other countries once, and must have rontinued so, had not people subjected themselves

unwarily to the power of one man, by giving him wealth and authority, not only sufficient to raise an army, but to keep it in pay himself, and use it at discretion for their defence; with which he most shamefully insulted and abused them. However, in the state of nature, and the first establishment of societies, this was the form of government; and with due submission to the learned, I am of opinion we need not turn over many volumes to find the original of British parliaments, for they are of much earlier date than all their histories, or than letters themselves and as to their power, it is grounded on the strongest basis, reason and nature. But to return to our story.

The alliance being unanimously resolved upon, deaan Mevarrow sent for the messenger the next morning; and told him that he and his people, after mature deliberation, were agreed to assist deaan Murnanzack ; and desired that their friendship might be ratified, and confirmed with the usual solemnity. Hereupon an ox was immediately brought and killed, the liver roasted, and stuck on lances, and deaan Murnanzack's ambassador, and a deputy of deaan Mevarrow's, eat the liver between them, repeating the imprecation we have mentioned before; that they wished it might prove poison, and a farther curse might be sent by God upon that party who first broke the alliance.

After this solemn ratification, the ox was divided between the ambassador's people and ours, who were present, and both eat it together; after which, he and his attendants departed. And now deaan Mevarrow repented that he had built this new town, for he would have gone and lived near deaan Murnanzack, whose country bordered on Merfaughla on one side, and was within ten or a dozen miles on the other side of Fenno

He had three brethren; deaan Mussecorrow, who lived near him ; deaan Afferrer, who lived on the mountains of Yong-gorvo, of whom we shall have occasion to give a large account hereafter; and Rer Mimebolambo, the youngest, who lived but about five miles from us to the eastward ; and this last being so

arevo.

« PoprzedniaDalej »