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palace, we were much surprised to see, placed on a rude kind of table, several emblems of the catholic religion, consisting of crucifixes, mutilated saints, and other trumpery. Some of these articles were manufactured of brass, and others of wood. On inquiring how they came into their present situation, we were informed that several black Portuguese missionaries had been at Warré, many years since, endeavouring to convert the natives into Christians; and the building in which they performed their mysteries, we found still standing.
A large wooden cross, which had withstood the tooth of time, was remaining in a very perfect state, in one of the angles formed by two roads intersecting each other. We could not learn that the Portuguese had been successful in making proselytes; indeed, king Otoo's subjects appeared to trouble themselves very little about religion of any kind.
The government although monarchical, appeared to us mild; and, from the apparent equality and freedom that existed among the natives generally, to partake more of the republican form than the monarchical. Polygamy is common here, as in other parts of Africa; and the number of wives which the black monarch had exceeded sixty; for such I judged to be the amount, as one day in my rambles, I inadvertently peeped into the royal seraglio. This building is at some distance from the king's residence, and has the form of a quadrangle with a large open area, in the centre; the doors and windows of the various apartments which compose the sides opening into it. The external walls are comparatively high, and have but one opening. Hearing the noise of many voices, and the door standing invitingly open, I walked in, when loud screams from a vast number of women and
children assailed my ears. As I perceived that my presence very much alarmed them,
I did not advance far beyond the threshold of the door, where I first entered, but remained stationary a few minutes, in order to observe what their various employments were; and here indeed were queens actively engaged in all the duties and embellishments of domestic life, from the toilette to the washing tub. And as we often hear of king's being called (allegorically) the fathers of their people, the extraordinary fact seemed to be verified in old king Otoo's person; as, from the number of young
children in this establishment, it would be no great stretch of the imagination to fancy the population of Warré to have been principally of his own creation.
When I called on the king the day following this adventure, he with much good humour informed me that he had heard of it; but as I was a stranger, and unacquainted with their customs, he would excuse the mistake; but added, by way of warning, perhaps, to some of his courtiers
who were present, that had any of his subjects been guilty of such a trespass, the consequences to them would have been much more serious.
The houses are built of clay baked in the sun, and are cemented together by the same material in a liquid state; and there is a degree of neatness and uniformity in their construction, which pleased me. Many of them have projecting roofs in front, which are supported from the ground by wooden pillars, and form piazzas which allow their inhabitants to enjoy the air without being exposed to the sun or rain. The natives are very black, and without any national mark, and resemble the Fantees in their persons and manners.
I observed great quantities of yams brought here in canoes: it is probable, therefore, that the produce of the island is not adequate to the support of its inhabitants.
The town of BONNY is placed on the left
bank of a river, about five miles from the sea. It is built on a morass (in fact, the surrounding country is little else), having the river on the west, and a creek on the north, which leads to Little Bonny, a branch of which also communicates with the river Adony.
This place is the wholesale market for slaves, as not fewer than 20,000 are annually sold here; 16,000 of whom are natives of one nation, called Heebo, so that this single nation has not exported a less number of its people, during the last twenty years, than 320,000; and those of the same nation sold at New and Old Calabar, probably amounted in the same period of time to 50,000 more, making an aggregate amount of 370,000 Heebos. The remaining part of the above 20,000 is composed of the natives of the brass country, called Allakoos, and also of Ibbibbys or Quaws.
Fairs, where the slaves of the Heebo nation are obtained, are held every five or