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to give their inferior deities, which, as they say, attend on their owleys) tell them in their dreams what ought to be done, or warn them of what ought to be avoided; more especially after a sacrifice, or a prayer to God, and an invocation of this demon. I well remember our discourse this evening turned principally upon this topic. The next morning deaan Murnanzack came to me as I was alone, and discoursed very freely with me about several things; and in particular he advised me to take what beef I wanted, and could carry with me; for we should have no more opportunities of killing any wild cattle. Observing him fond of conversation, Í told him, if there were any dependance on dreams, as some had asserted the night before, I should incur his anger that day; having dreamt that I was at home with my parents, and all my relations round about me; that my pockets were full of gold, and they added still to my store. This, I said, did not only throw me into a melancholy when I awaked, to find myself naked in a wood and in a strange country, but it likewise gave me some concern, for that I had always observed, not only when I was a lad in England, but since under my master Mevarrow, that to dream of plenty of gold money was a certain indication of anger. At this deaan Murnanzack smiled, and made answer, “I wonder that you, who laughed but last night at the talk of God's sending dreams by the good demons, should today be afraid of one.” However,” says he, “I dare say you will be once mistaken; for I don't know any thing you can do to make me angry.”. I would not have my reader imagine, that I have introduced this story, merely for the sake of telling an idle dream ; but it proved the introduction to something very remarkable, and furnished us with a discourse the next evening, that may possibly be thought an agreeable amusement.
The next day we roasted our beef and laid it to cool, in order to bind up in a burden, which we called an enter, to carry at our backs. All I had to do, was to
, was pretty well loaded, and as well contented, for I lived in plenty; my honey, likewise, mingled with water, made a pleasant drink. This was the last day of our passage through these groves and habitations of the wild cattle; some of which they attempted once more to surround, more for the sake of their diversion than want of beef: and in this, not wilfully, but for want of knowledge, I spoiled all their sport, by traversing the way they were running, which was directly to. wards the place where deaan Murnanzack lay in ambush for them. This made them run quite another way, and put him into such a violent passion at first, that he lifted
up his lance, and frowning, threatened to kill me, and, indeed, I expected no less, which made me get out of his sight as soon as possible, being apprehensive of some such barbarous treatment as I had before met with from deaan Mevarrow. This prince, however, was of a more generous disposition; for when his passion was over, he sent for me in a very courteous manner, and desired I would spend the evening with him as usual, and sit down by him, which, accordingly, I did. After we had discoursed on a variety of subjects, he, at last, pressed me to give him some account of the customs of my country, and in a more particular manner to inform him, what god or gods we worship, since I seemed to have so little veneration for theirs; and that I would be ingenuous, and tell him, as I had been a great traveller, what things I had seen, in order to improve the evening to the best advantage. “And
pray, says he, “what God is that you adore ?" Upon this the company drew round me, and I began by asking them in the first place, if they were not satisfied that there was a God above the skies? I could not say above the heavens, because there was no term in their language expressive of them; nor had they, as I could perceive, any idea of what we christians mean by heaven, as the peculiar residence of the Almighty, and the glorious mansions of the saints after their decease. They told me that they firmly believed there was a God above, who was the supreme Lord of all other gods, demons, or spirits, of what nature or kind soever.
“ That very
God," said I, " is the deity we adore, for we know of no other God, nor do we pay the tribute of divine worship to any other object than this one-this supreme and only God."
“Do not you then,” said they, “make prayers and sacrifices, and invoke some guardian demons to assist you in the knowledge of the will of that God; and to warn you of any approaching dangers ? If your countrymen had such owleys as ours, your good demons would have assisted you that night you lay upon the sands, and have told you in dreams of the danger, and directed you to escape before the morning."
To this I replied, " that all good men in England acknowledged an overruling Providence; and I am fully persuaded, that it was by the providence of that divine power that I was preserved at that time; and why God did not see fit that the rest should save their lives, is a secret I do not pretend to pry into ; but I cannot conceive that your owleys, to which you seem to pay a divine homage, and pray to for their aid and assistance, should have a spirit or a god within them; or visit you in the night when you are asleep, and forewarn you of such misfortunes as you would willingly avoid. I plainly perceive, that they are nothing more than pieces of wood, and alligators' teeth dressed up; I plainly discern, likewise, how they are made; and I am certain that other wood, and other alligators' teeth are not liv. ing spirits, have no power of speech, and are incapable of knowing things present, much less things to come; for which reason, we look upon it as an act of idolatry to pay that adoration, which belongs to the great God alone, to any created thing, or the likeness of any created thing above, or here below, since he has strictly forbid the worship of any thing but himself.”
Deaan Murnanzack listened to this serious discourse of mine with abundance of attention, and then turned to some of his people and argued with them for some time; partly in vindication of what I had asserted, and partly in endeavouring to explain to them the nature of their owleys, which I am sensible I had not a just notion of at that time. But I was too young when first I was reduced to this slavery, and had neither friends nor books to assist me; besides, I was not capable of making such just remarks then, as I could do now.
But, to proceed; as soon as the deaan 'had done discoursing with them, he turned again to me and said, “To me it seems very strange, that you, who, but thi very morning, told me a dream of your own, and founu it happened true, should argue against these owleys of ours; for you mistake us; it is not the wood, nor the alligators' teeth that we worship; but there are certain guardian demons, who take care of all nations, families, and private persons; and should you be possessed of one of these owleys, and give it the name of some guardian spirit, it will undoubtedly attend you; for how could you know this morning that I should be angry with you, had not one of these good demons visited you and discovered it; and if you had not had such friendly notice, you might, probably, have been killed, though I did not design it; but men's passions are unruly, and I was highly provoked, I own, though I say not this to reproach you, as if I imagined you wilfully spoiled our sport, for I am fully satisfied you meant no harm. I only mention this to put you in mind that you argue against yourself; besides, if the spirits of our forefathers, or these guardian demons did not declare these to mankind, how should they know them? No one could tell that I should be angry with you, when you had given me no offence; neither did you intend to provoke me, and nothing was done that any such accident should have happened. You do not imagine, I hope that the great God himself came down to tell you, since these inferior spirits, of whom there are such numbers, could more conveniently attend you.
observed just now, as I remember, that the great supreme God had forbid you the worship of any thing but himself. Pray did any white man ever see this great God above ? or does he often condescend to talk with your people, and not with ours ?"
To which I made answer, that no man ever saw God, but some of our forefathers, many ages ago, heard his
voice when he descended in a cloud. “But,” says he,“ if this was so many years ago, and there is no man now living, black or white, that ever heard the voice of this God, how are you sure it is true? And since, as you allow it was many ages ago, things may be so altered or misrepresented from what they were when your
first forefathers told them, that you cannot rely upon their certainty.” I was here at some loss, as they had no knowledge of letters, and consequently, I could not make them comprehend any thing of the sacred scriptures; I only told them, therefore, that we had a way of preserving the memory of things, which they were wholly unacquainted with; and by that means, I said, we had an account of the beginning of the world, and of its creation by God, and that I could tell them a great many strange things in relation thereto, which they then seemed very desirous of hearing.
And, accordingly, I told them that the world was originally dark, and a confused chaos or mass; and that God, by the word of his power, made the sun and inoon, the beasts, fish, fowl, trees, herbs, and every thing else. They still persisted in their first objection, and as they imagined with much more reason than before; “for,” said one of them," though it is possible you may have a better method of preserving the memory of things than we have, yet you could never have the knowledge of what was done before there was any man created.” To this I replied, that God hath revealed the knowledge of this, and much more to particular persons; which, they listening attentively to, I went on to the creation of man, and then of woman's being made out of a rib, which God took from him while he was asleep. At this they all broke out into astonishment and laughter; and deaan Murnanzack said it was a manifest untruth, and that, therefore, it was a shame to tell such a story with a serious countenance ; by this, he said, he was convinced that all the rest was false; for, were this true, a woman would have a rib more than a man, and a man be defective on one side,