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Here I was guilty of a gross error through ignorance, however, I think myself obliged ingenuously to confess it. I hope our divines and all good christians will consider the circumstances I was in, and readily forgive me; for I had so little wit, as peremptorily to insist on the truth of it, and affirmed what I had heard, when a child, from illiterate persons, that a man had one rib less on one side than the other; nay, I had so much assurance as to put the whole argument upon this issue, and offered to lay any wager on the fact. The prince laughed at me, though he was willing to be convinced; we had two women with us, one was very lean, whom he ordered to be called, her ribs were told and found to be equal; and after that, a man was examined, and his ribs were the same. They were not all of them, indeed, convinced of the exact number, nor could I myself, in attempting to count them after them. From this time, I perceived deaan Murnanzack treated all I had said on religion with contempt, and immediately resumed his former objection with more vigour, and said, that to talk of what was done before man was created, was perfect nonsense; that what I had asserted in relation to God's conversing with men, and telling them such and such things, had no manner of evidence; and that the things I pretended to know and talk of, were, in short, nothing more than old women's tales. says he, “pray go on, and give us some farther account of this God of yours, who, in former ages, was thus familiar with mankind.” Then I went on with the scripture story of God's displeasure with the whole world, and the flood which destroyed all men and beasts on the earth, except those in the ark; and of Noah's taking male and female of every species into it to preserve 'them. Upon this, one of them shortly replied, “ if they had been all destroyed, could not that God who made them at first, make more of them at his pleasure ?” But I went on and told them of the rainbow, that it was appointed for a sign of God's promise not to drown the world again. To this deaan Murnanzack replied, that tiey had no such tradition handed down to them; “but
besides," says he, “if none but Noah, with his sons and daughters, were saved, pray was Noah a white or a black man?" To which I answered, “Sir, I perceive you give no credit to what I say of this nature."
He said, “There are many things which I do not rightly understand, and shall be glad to be informed of; nay, I would give credit to any thing that a reasonable man can desire, but most of these things are no better than old women's fictions, and I am fully persuaded that all white men will not talk thus idly as you do.” These were his very words, which he repeated several times, and with which this evening's conference concluded. It was no small concern to me to find how the truth suffered by my weakness; but I was in hopes that deaan Murnanzack, who was a man of penetration, might consider that I was but a child when I left England, and for that reason, not well acquainted with the topics I undertook to explain.
The next day we went directly forwards, for we were then past all the wild cattle, and deaan Murnanzack therefore hastened homewards. About three in the afternoon, we came to a place where the road divided ; here the prince halted, as I perceived, with no other view then to take his leave of me, ordering two men to conduct me and my cattle to his cow-keeper. Here we parted, and we lay that night near the banks of a river, which are the boundaries of deaan Murnanzack's country, and leads into Madamvovo, the great river which runs through Anterndroea. To this place where I was going, all the cattle come to water. As we were passing through the woods, we met a company of men and women going to fetch water; they stopped and gazed at me with admiration, having never seen a white man
efore, asking those who accompanied me, who I was ? and from whence I came? who waggishly told them they found me in the forest arnong the wild cattle, and intended to make a present of me to the prince. In order to carry on the jest, I ran towards the women, and talking gibberish, frightened one of them to that degree that she fell into such violent fits, that the rest
had much to do to recover her, for which I was after wards extremely sorry;
This wood extended from the river about seven miles, without any break or plain, till within a mile of the town. It was no small concern to me to think what a great way I had to drive my cattle to water every other day, but it did not prove so great a fatigue as I expected; for there being eight or ten of us, we took our turns, so that it came to each man's turn but once in about sixteen or twenty days; besides, as there was no grass by the way, there was no impediment or interruption; and when they returned hungry, they would go home fast enough of themselves.
As the people here had never seen a white man before, I was a very surprising sight to them at first; but they were soon acquainted with me, and I became of singular service to them: for whenever they had an ox to kill they were obliged, till now, to go a great way for one of the royal family; this trouble I saved them, and lived very plentifully myself by that means. I was frequently sent for upon these occasions, and had always my fee, which was four or five ribs to carry home with me, besides the leg roasted for my entertainment whilst I was with them. I seldom went without a boy to wait on me, as there were always several at hand, and willing enough, because I was able to oblige them with part of my beef. I had also sufficient to live like those who are free and generous, in communicating some portion of whatever they bave to their neighbours. As soon as I came home, I used to put on the pot, and send messes out to all my acquaintance, which they did not fail to return when in their power: and it may be observed in the whole course of this history, that all the people of this island delight in this free, goodnatured, and sociable way of living.
Whenever I was sent for, the house was always set in order, the owley dressed, and placed in view. I was frequently employed to kill a sacrifice, in case of a circumcision, or when any one was sick; and since I. had the conference above related with deaan Murnan
zack, I had the curiosity to listen to their prayers; and more than once I attempted to speak in favour of the christian religion. When I mentioned the resurrection of the body, they told me it must be a mere romance ; and to talk as I did of burning in fire after death, was to them inconceivable; for (said they) no man can feel after he is dead, and unless they could see some person raised from the grave, they would give no credit to my assertion. I told them farther of God's appearing, and giving the ten commandments, but it had no influence over them; “for” (said they) “all mankind have the purport and meaning of them by the dictates of nature.
Here are laws against adultery, theft, and murder; and they have such a veneration for their they revere them even after death; there is also a fine inflicted on any one who shall presume to curse another man's parents. They never swear profanely, but allow oaths sometimes requisite, because, as they said, they were necessary and convenient; and men could not live one by another if there were not such laws; and for that reason there was no occasion for the great God himself to prescribe those rules. The fourth commandment, indeed, they seem to have no idea of; unless it be that they allow even their slaves to spend one day in seven, as they think proper, without controul; but they have no religious duties to perform. And when informed that we kept it holy, because God rested on the seventh day, they said this was as improbable as any thing I had before asserted ; and asked, how I could tell what God did before there was a man living ? And indeed, I could plainly perceive that they despised me for talking of these things, and looked on me as a common notorious liar, insomuch that I was obliged to desist.
In short, I had no way to prove what I asserted : and that mistake in regard to the rib, in my conversation with deaan Murnanzack, was a mortifying stroke to me; and though at first I imagined my ill success in the argument was wholly to be imputed to my own
ignorance, I have since had a thousar i scrupulous thoughts arise in my mind upon that head. i am, that all was not owing to my weakness, for our divines have not furnished us with sufficient arguments to defend it. And I do not know, since miracles are ceased, but they would find it a difficult task to demonstrate those truths themselves to these people's satisfaction. Nor do I know what miracle could possibly now be wrought to prove what was done before any mortal man was in being. Though they are fools enough here to be imposed on by the umossees, or conjurors, yet they will entertain no notion of conversing with the great God. They allow, indeed, that there are demons or spirits, which may be good or bad, who appear to them in dreams, and discover to these umossees many surprising things; yet they do not look upon them to be more pious or better men than others, though, indeed, they imagine they are more knowing. The awe, however, that my education has impressed on my mind prevented me from joining in their worship, lest it should be idolatrous; and there never was such a thing as persecution for religion ever thought of amongst them ; so that I was free to think and do as I thought proper, so long as I took care not to affront them: and I think it is both a shame and a sin that it should be countenanced or practised by any sect of christians whatsoever. I have not here forgot deaan Mevarrow's threatening to kill me at first; but it must be observed there was nothing more in that transaction than a secret pride and ill-nature peculiar to the man; as appeared by deaan Sambo's preventing him, and reconciling us, without laying me under any obligation to join in the ceremony.
I had not lived here above six weeks, before I heard that deaan Crindo had attacked Rer Mimebolam bo's town, and reduced it to ashes, killing two men, and taking some of their wives and children captive, with almost their whole stock of cattle. This ill news affected me very much, notwithstanding deaan Mevarrow had several times in his passion attempted to kill me, yet