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a Weekly Repository for MISCELLANEOUS LITERATURE,
OCTOBER 3, 1816.
Price only Four Pence.
Published every Thursday, at No. 6, Gilbert's PASSAGE, PORTUGAL STREET,--and served at the houses of the Subscribers by the Booksellers and Newsmen, in the same manner as Newspapers and Magazines.
THE NARRATOR. ---No. II.
PHILLIS, THE FAITHFUL AFRICAN.
I singam Fidelity, that neither bribe nor threat
All the virtues are in themselves delectable, if a single ray of glory attaches to one more than to another, it is surely to fidelity, It is the ruby that honors the mine whence it sprung, and shall ever, in the eye of the philosopher, outshine the brightest jewel in the circle of regality. Fidelity is pregnant with a thousand pleasures, and in society the source of as many comforts. With what satisfaction doth the merchant quit his home, and exchange his seats of ease for tempests and all the perils of the ocean; with what confidence doth he explore a foreign commerce and a frigid climate, when his mind is conscious of the fidelity of him he leaves behind in charge of his worldly interests. Finds not the traveller a charm to lighten the burden of his toils in the reflection that she at home, the partner of his bosom, will discharge to his credit all the offices of domestic propriety, even equal or perhaps with more scrupulous nicety than himself? Yes, it must be confessed, that such a faithful friend can make his crooked paths straight, and sprinkle them over with the blossoms of sweetest satisfac
MACPHERSON, PRINTER, RUSSELL COURT, PRURY LANE.
tion. What an immensity of pleasure must arise in the breast of the master tradesman who knows that the bond-servant of his counter possesses this virtue, and in the most eminent degree, that during his necessary absence, his profits advance as when beneath his own inspection ; and to see his trade improve and his credit flourish as if he himself had been the eye and the hand of such prosperity. Nor is fidelity less respectable in the upper circles of society, when the lord finds it in his bailiff or his steward, it becomes the spring of many delectable reflections ; but above all, when a sovereign prince distinguishes unshaken fidelity in the ruling minister, it is then the fountain of every good,--his country's prosperity--his people's happiness,-and equal to this—his own glory!
I was led into this train of thinking by the conduct of Phillis, a poor Negro wench, a bond-servant to an American Planter in the infancy of the settlements, when dangers stood at every door by day, and terrors too often disturbed the quiet of the night. Sometime about the beginning of the sixteenth century, when superstition and persecution with their iron rods began to scourge their more rational neighbours, denying them what all men have a right to enjoy, liberty of conscience. A family, left England for America, where having purchased land in an honorable way, they pitched their tents, hoping, under the protection of a divine Providence, by their honest endeavours, to become prosperous, which indeed was truly the case, un certain savage tribes, set on by the perfidy and injustice of their French neighbours, began to murder and lay waste the habitations of the defenceless English; the very friends who had first shown them the way to their iemple, and taught them to enjoy its fruits and its flowers, exempliiying to the full what the poet has wisely sung
Justice, as well as blind, is lame,
Lays by her sword, and breaks her scales. Mr.Minet a descendant of this persecuted family, having improved his estate, built a strong mansion on the banks of the Massachusets bay, right in front of the great waters that wash the shores of the Naraganset country: his family was not over numerous himself, a wife, two infant children, and an indented African girl named Phillis, beside a number of males employed to clear the woods and to convey the timber down the current to the destined markets ; but these were not inmates, they had their own cottages among the trees, and occasionally acted as a militia of defence, when
called on by their master for that purpose. The government had lately made a peace with the surrounding savage nations, and no evil was to be apprehended from their stratagem; all seemed as it were profound tranquillity, when one Sunday morning, the master of the settlement and his wife prepared themselves for a visit to the place of worship, a few miles distant from their habitation-Previous to their departure they called Phillis to them, and gave her in charge their two children, with orders not to open the doors to comers on any pretence whatever. Having done all they thought needful, they mounted their horses and rode off for the town. Phillis, after making all things secure, went cheerfully about her domestic concerns; a short time after, while she was looking from an upper window, the girl beheld a Canoe on the lake paddled by three Indians, seemin glyin a direct line for the farm, a circumstance that soon created suspicion, and she resolved to prepare for the worst. The fire arms were taken down from above the chimney piece, and being loaded and primed, placed ready in case defence became necessary : by this time the Naraganset Savages made good their landing, and were coming towards the inansion; the two children were instantly placed under two brass skillets, with the strictest injunction not to stir or to speak till she should call them forward. The Naragansets were now at the outer gate, making signs to be let in, when Phillis gave them to understand no one could be admitted ; at this the foremost uttered the war-howl, leaped the fence, and the rest followed, but the trusty wench saluted him with his mortal wound, as she did the second also, her last firelock, from some derangement, only flashed, and gave the third Naraganset time to reach the window, to which he was hastily forcing with his tomahawk. Poor Phillis! what could she do-her defence had failed her ;-0 ! brilliant thought, Poor Africans how art thou belied and abused ! what European in a moment so perilous could have entertained such an idea ? the moment she saw her danger she snatched up the large iron fire shovel, and filling it with the burning embers from the hearth, mounted to the casement, and just as the savage was about to enter, emptied the whole contents into his blanket, which was favourably open at the top and girt tight about his loins; the torture was insupportable, it was not to be relieved, the Naraganset fell howling to the earth, and as soon as he had got off his covering, with his body dreadfully lacerated and burnt, followed his bleeding companions into the woods. In a short time after the family returned from their devotions, and were made acquainted with all that had passed, and Phillis was honoured for her fidelity and heroism by all that surrounded her; the male servants reloaded the guns, and went in search of the Indians, two of which were found dead in the woods, the other had escaped in his Canoe over the great waters. This affair was soon known throughout the colony, and Mr. Minet, the master, requested to bring Phillis before the Massachuset governor, that she might be the narrator of her own exploits; which being done, she was presented with a pair of silver wrist-bands, inscribed-A REWARD FOR HEROISM AND FIDELITY. Her master, not to be behind in generosity, drew forth her indenture and burnt it before the court, rightly observing, that bonds were useless where so much fidelity adorned the human bosom.
If we look into the conduct of this poor sable African, we shall find more than an ordinary cause for our admiration; Phillis had no 'property to defend, no children of her own to protect, no lover, no parent; for what then did she venture her existence? for the purest of all human virtues, to shew herself the very cha. rácter that comforts in reflection the wandering merchant, the faithful dependant that makes the traveller's crooked paths straight, and sprinkles them with the sweetest flowers; the bond servant, the eye and the hand of his master's prosperity ; the Bailiff, the steward, that gladdens the breast of his lord; and the most virtuous minister, whose fidelity blesses the days of his sovereign, and crowns them with glory. Shall such become the slave of a Planter ? Forbid it heaven!
DESCRIPTION OF TOMBUCTOO.
(Continued from Page 19.)
Soudenny is a small negro village, having near it grass, shrubs and water; the huts were of clay, with roofs of sticks laid flat an: also covered with clay. The Moors lay in wait on the hills, and seized upon a woman with a child in her arms, and two boys; but were themselves soon after surrounded by a large party of armed Negroes, taken prisoners, and driven into the village. The governor was an ugly Negro of the name of Mahamoud, who ordered them to be imprisoned within a mud wall about six feet high, from which, Adams says, they could easily have escaped, had not the Moors been a cowardly set.
The dress of the Negroes was a blue nankin frock ; that of the chief was distinguished by some gold work on the shoulder like an epaulette ; they were armed with bows and arrows, with which they practised shooting at small marks of clay, and generally hit thein at fifteen or twenty yards distance.
Departing from this place, they proceeded easterly ten days, at the rate of from 15 to 20 miles a day; the Moors conceiving they were going to execution, endeavoured to escape, upon which fourteen were put to death at the village where they had now arrived ; and to strike terror into the rest, the head of one of them was hung round the neck of a camel for three days, until it became so putrid that they were obliged to remove it. The Negroes of this village wure gold rings in their ears, and through the cartilage of the nose. From this place shaping their course to the northward of East, and quickening their pace to 20 miles a day, they reached Tombuctoo in fifteen days.
The Moors were immediately thrown into prison ; but Adams and the Portugueze boy were taken to the king's house and kept there as curiosities. The king's name was Woollo, the queen's, Fatiina, both very old grey-headed Negroes. Their palace, built of clay and grass, consisted of eight or ten small rooms on the ground floor, surrounded by a clay wall, enclosing a space of about half an acre. At the end of six months a party of Moors came to Tombuctoo, and ransomed their countrynien, together with Adams and the boy, for five camel loads of tobacco, except about fifty pounds which was afterwards given for a man slave. Adams and the boy continued all the time at the palace, where they were treated with great kindness, and he believes, from the uncommon degree of curiosity which they excited, that the people of Tombuçtoo had never seen a white man before.' They walked about the town and as far as two miles south of it. He heard no mention here of the Joliba, though he recollects to have heard it afterwards at Wednoon; but a large river flows close by Tombuctoo, which is called by the Negroes La Mar Zarrah, the course of which is from the north-eastward ; it is about three quarters of a mile wide, and has little current; the water is brackish, but it is used by the natives. The canoes upon it are made of the trunks of fig trees hollowed out, about ten feet long, and capable of carrying three persons. They are mostly used in fishing ; the fish caught is chiefly a kind of red mullet, and a larger fish of a reddish colour, not unlike a salmon.
Adams supposes Tombuctoo to cover as much ground as Lisbon; the houses are low and square, built of sticks, clay, and grass ; their furniture earthen jars, wooden bowls, and grass matts on which the people sleep. He observed nò stone buildings, no walls, nor fortifications. The population consists wholly of Negroes; the only Moors he saw were those who came to ransom the prisoners ; but armed caravans of these people are said to arrive there for the purposes of trade, bringing tobacco, tar, gunpowder, blue nankins, blankets, earthen jars, and some silks, and taking back, in exchange, gold dust, ivory, . guin cowries, ostrich feathers, and goat skins.
The dress of the queen was a short shirt of blue nankin,