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as we cannot deny to negroes the passions and affections of human nature, we must also suppose that they have their sufferings and regrets at the moment of separation from kind relatives and accustomed friends. The younger they are, therefore, when torn from those friends and relatives, the better; as early and short attachments are more easily effaced in the bosom of youth than maturer age. Even to the very soil there is an attachment in men long accustomed to it; besides that the heart becomes less elastic as years and experience creep on. At a negro sale, it is a common but affecting scene, to see groups of negroes with their arms entwined round each other's necks, and with pensive and anxious looks awaiting the expected moment of their separation. Perhaps they are sisters and friends—perhaps a mother and her children - perhaps a husband and wife.--In vain would the purchaser endeavour to separate them—they cling closer together --they weep, they shriek piteously-would it be humane, would it be discreet to tear them asunder? Soon, perhaps, if he did, would the buyer have to regret his folly and his want of feeling. Despair would probably seize on the objects of his choice, and they would either sink into a hapless dejection of spirits, or put a period to their sorrows and their lives !- Though scenes of this kind often occur, it is yet too notorious, that the unnatural wretch of an African father,
will sometimes sell his children to the Europeans; while the children will trepan their parents, and the friend the friend of his bosom! Avarice and revenge will at times prompt them to these unnatural deeds. This is no groundless allegation of the whites against the negroes; the author has often had recitals of this sort of conduct from their own mouths. One humorous anecdote, shewing the reality of such practices, he' perfectly recollects : A negro, who had been some years in the country, happened one day to see an elderly new negro, who had been just purchased from an African trader recently arrived, whom he recognized to be his father, who had some years before sold him to the Europeans. Without explanation or preface, he addressed to him a speech in his country dialect, which he thus translated to the bye-standers.
So, you old rascal, dem catch you at last-no? Buckra do good—you no care for your pickininnie (child)-but they will make you feel, work, pinch too."
But after all, it is not to be inferred, from such instances of treachery, rapacity, and unnatural violence, that there is no such thing in Africa as affection, fidelity, and the charities of life.
Metaphysical and religious ideas of the negroes.
- Punerals. Music.---Thoughts on converting them to Christianity.-Obeah. Ideas and practice of justice.
THE ideas of the negroes cannot be expected to extend to abstract and metaphysical subjects. Of the existence and attributes of a Deity, of a future state, and of duration and space, they have but imperfect notions. They cannot dilate and subdivide their conceptions into minuter distinctions and more abstract combinations i yet they will often express, in their own way;
, a wonderfully acute conception of things. These conceptions they sometimes compress into short and pithy sentences, something like the sens tentious proverbs of the Europeans, to which many
of them bear an exact analogy. These say: ings often convey an astonishing force and meaning; and would, if clothed in a more courtly dress, make no despicable figure even among those precepts of wisdom which are ascribed to the wisest of men. When they wish to imply, that a peaceable man is often wise and provident in his conduct, they say, “ Softly water run deep:” when they would express the oblivion and disregard which follows us after death, they say,
when man dead grass grow in him door ;": and when they would express the humility which is the usual accompaniment of poverty, they say,
Poor man never ver.” Instead of short familiar names, they give sometimes whole sentences as names to their dogs, and other domestic aniKeep what
you have; take care of. yourself, &c. and those who have been baptized, give a sort of pious appellation to these animals, as God give, God send, bless the Lord, tell God tankee." These latter names are exactly of a piece with the epithets assumed by the puritans in Oliver Cromwell's day--some of which were as follows: “Be faithful;", "Fly debate;" “Stand fast on high ;" God reward ;" “ Faint not;" "Fight the good fight of faith," &c.
Although the proverbial sayings of the negroes have often much point and meaning, they, however, no sooner begin to expatiate, and enter more minutely into particulars, than they become tedious, verbose, and circumlocutive, beginning their speeches with a tiresome exordium, mingling with them much extraneous matter, and frequently traversing over and over the same ground, and cautioning the hearer to be attentive, as if fearful that some of the particulars and points on which their meaning and argument hinged, should escape his attention.
So that by the time they arrive at the peroration of their harangue, the listener is heartily fatigued with it, and perceives
that the whole which has been said, though it may have taken up half an hour, could have been comprised in a dozen of words.
The African negroes, whatever theological notions they may bring with them from Africa, generally agree in believing in the existence of a Supreme Being, whom they also consider as the distributer of rewards and punishments, for good or evil actions, in a future life. But their ideas in other respects are peculiar and fanciful. They think, that for some unexpiated guilt, or through some unaccountable folly of the primitive black pair to whom they owe their origin, servitude was the unfortunate lot assigned to them; while dominion was given to the more favoured whites. . The poor creatures cherish the hope, that after death they shall first return to their native country, and enjoy again the loved society of kindred and friends, from whom they have been torn away in a luckless hour, and who would be so hard-hearted as to deprive them of the sweet consolation! It is true, this idea is, on their first arrival, sometimes carried to such a length, as, combined with their terrors, to produce acts of suicide. As an example, to deter others from this crime, the head of the unhappy wretch, who thus, from a mistaken hope and principle, lays violent hands on his own life, used to be cut off and fixed on a pole by the side of some public road, a melancholy and disgusting spectacle !