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reaching La Mina Jan. 19, 1482, gave immediate Notice of his Arrival to Caramansa, a petty Prince of that Part of the Country, whom he very earnestly invited to an immediate Conference.
Having received a Meflage of Civility from the Negro Chief, he landed, and chose a rising Ground, proper for his intended Fortress, on which he planted a Banner, with the Arms of Portugal, and took Pof. feflion in the Name of his Master. He then raised an Altar at the foot of a great Tree, on which Mass was celebrated, the whole Aflembly, says Lafitau, breaking out into Tears of Devotion at the Prospect of inviting these barbarous Nations to the Profeflion of the true Faith. Being secure of the Goodnefs of the End, they had no Scruple about the Means, nor ever conlidered how differently from the primitive Martyrs and Apostles they were attempting to make Profelytes. The first Propagators of Christianity recommended their Doctrines by their Sufferings and Virtues ; they entered no defenceless Territories with Swords in their Hands; they built no l'orts upon Ground to which they had no Right, nor polluted the Purity of Religion with the Avarice of Trade, or Insolence of Power.
What may still raise higher the Indignation of a Christian Mind, this Purpose of propagating Truth appears never to have been ferioully pursued by any European Nation; no Means, whether lawful or unlawful, have been practised with Diligence and Perseverance for the Conversion of Savages. When a Fort is built, and a Factory established, there remains no other Care than to grow rich. It is soon found that Ignorance is most easily kept in Subjection, and that by enlightening the Mind with Truth, Fraud and Usurpation would be made less practicable, and less fecure.
In a few Days an Interview was appointed be. tween Caramansa and Azambue. The Portuguese ut6
tered motion ;
tered by his Interpreter a pompous Speech, in which he made the Negroe Prince large Offers of his Mafer's Friendship, exhorced him to embrace the Religion of his new Ally, and told him, that as they came to form a League of Friendship with him, it was necessary that they should build a Fort, which might serve as a Retreat from their common Enemies, and in which the Portuguese might be always at hand to lend him Assistance.
The Negroe, who seemed very well to understand what the Admiral intended, after a short Pause, returned an Answer full of Respect to the King of Portugal, but appeared a little doubtful what to determine with relation to the Fort. The Commander saw his Diffidence, and used all his Art of Persuasion to overcome it. Caramansa, either induced by Hope, or constrained by Fear, either desirous to make them Friends, or not daring to make them Enemies, consented, with a Shew of Joy, to that which it was not in his power to reTuse, and the new Comers began next Day to break the Ground for the Foundation of a Fort
Within the Limit of their intended Fortification were some Spots appropriated to superstitious Practices; which the Negroes no fconer perceived in Danger of Violation by the Spade and Pickax, than they ran to Arms, and began to interrupt the Work. The Portuguese per Gifted in their Purpole, and there had soon been Tumult and Bloodlhed, had not the Admiral, who was at a Distance, to superintend the unlading the Materials for the Edifice, been informed of the Danger. He was told at the fame Time, that the Support of their Superstition was only a Pretence, and that all their Rage might be appeised by the Presents which the Prince expected, and of which he had been offended by the Delay.
The Portuguese Admiral immediately ran to his Men, prohibited all Violence, and topped the Com
motion ; he then brought out the Presents, and fpread them with great Pomp before the Prince; if they were of no great Value, they were rare, for the Negroes had never seen such Wonders before, they were therefore received with Extafy, and perhaps the Portuguese derided them for their Fondness of
Trilles, without confidering how many Things derive their Value only from their Scarcity; and that Gold and Rubies would be Trifles, if Nature had scattered them with less Frugality.
The Work was now peaceably continued, and such was the Diligence with which the Strangers hastened to fecure the Poffeflion of the Country, that in twenty Days they had fafficiently fortified themful.es against the Hostility of Negroes. They then proceeded to complete their Design. A Church was built in the Place where the first Altar had been raised, on which a Mass was established to be celebrated for ever, once a Day, for the Repose of the Soul of Henry', the first Mover of these Discoveries.
In this Fort the Admiral remained, with fixty Soldiers, and sent back the Rest in the Ships, with Gold, Slaves, and other Commodities. It may be observed that Slaves were never forgotten, and that wherever they went, they gratified their Pride, if not their Avarice, and brought some of the Natives, when it happened that they brought nothing else.
The Portuguese endeavoured to extend their Do, minions still iarther. They had gained some Knowledge of the Falofs, a Nation inhabiting the Coast of Guinea, between the Gambia and Senegal. The King of the Faloffs being vicious and luxurious, remitted the Care of the Government to Bemoin, his Brother by the Mother's Side, in Preference to two other Brothers by his Father. Bemoin, who wanted neither Bravery nor Prudence, knew that his Station was invidious and dangerous, and therefore made an Alliance with the Portuguese, and retained them
in his Defence by Liberality and Kindness. At last the King was killed, by the Contrivance of his Brothers, and Bemoin was to lose his Power, or maintain it by War.
He had Recourse in this Exigence to his great Ally, the King of Portugal, who promised to support him, on Condition that he should become a Christian, and sent an Ambassador, accompanied with Missionaries. Bemoin promised all that was requested, objecting only that the Time of a Civil War was not a proper Season for a Change of Religion, which would alienate his Adherents ; but said, that when he was once peaceably established, he would not only embrace the true Religion himself, but would endeavour the Conversion of the Kingdom.
This Excuse was admitted, and Bemoin delayed his Conversion for a Year, renewing his Promise from Time to Time. But the War was unsuc-' cessful, Trade was at a Stand, and Bemoin was not able to pay the Money which he had borrowed of the Portuguese Merchants, who sent Intelligence to Lisbon of his Delays, and received an Order from the King, commanding them, under severe Penalties, to return Home.
Bemoin here saw his Ruin approaching, and hoping that Money would pacify all Refentment, borrowed of his Friends a Sum fufficient to discharge his Debts; and finding that even this Enticement would not delay the Departure of the Portuguese, he embarked his Nephew in their Ships, with an hundred Slaves, whom he presented to the King of Portugal, to folicit his Aslistance. The Effect of this Embasly he could not stay to know; for being soon after deposed, he fought Shelter in the Fortress of Arguin, whence he took Shipping for Portugal, with twenty-five of his principal Followers.
The King of Portugal pleated his own Vanity and that of his Subjects, by receiving bim with
great State and Magnificence, as a mighty Monarch who had fled to an Ally for Succour in Misfortune. All the Lords and Ladies of the Court were assembled, and Bemoin was conducted with a splendid Attendance into the Hall of Audience, where the King rose from his Throne to welcome him. Bemoin then made a Speech with great Ease and Dignity, representing his unhappy State, and imploring the Favour of this powerful Ally. The King was touched with his Amiction and struck by his Wisdom.
The Conversion of Beingin was much defired by the King, and it was therefore immediately proposed to him that he should become a Chritian. Ecclesiasticks were sent to instruct him, and having now no more Obstacles from Interest, he was easily persuaded to declare himself whatever would please these on whom he now depended. He was baptized on the third Day of December 1489, in the Palace of the Queen with great Magnificence, and named John after the King.
Some Time was spent in Feasts and Sports on this great Occafion, and the Negroes signalized themselves by many feats of Agility, far surpassing the Power of Europeans, who having more Helps of Art, are leis diligent to cultivate the Qualities of Nature. In the mean Time twenty large Ships were fitted out, well manned, stored with Ammunition, and laden with the Materials necessary for the Erection of a Fort. With this powerful Armament were feut a great Number of Missionaries under the Direction of Alvarez the King's Confeffor. The Command of this force, which filled the Coast of Africa with Terror, was given to Pedro Vaz d' Arugna furnamed Bisogu; who foon after they had landed, not being well picaled with his Expedition, put an End to its Inconveniences by stabbing Lemoin suddenly to the Heart. The King heard of