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cook and carry food to their husband, but are not allowed to partake of a meal in his presence. Sometimes his children eat with him, but more frequently he eats alone. On one occasion, when Mr. Hutchinson paid a visit to the croom of Apóko, one of the greatest men in Ashantee, he had the opportunity of witnessing a domestic scene. About the middle of the day, a large pot of yams, and another of boiled fish, were placed in a side room, whither Apóko repaired and dined ; after which he divided the remaining yams and fish into a given number of portions, when the door opened, and about twenty of his sons and daughters received their respective shares in calabashes with which they came furnished. In the after-part of the day, four of his wives arrived from Coomassie, a distance of about three miles, with some prepared food; but as he was disposed to sleep, he sent them word that they were not to enter the room, but leave the meat, and go back again to town. • The children are left chiefly to the care of their mothers, and
grow up without correction, until at length, when the perverseness of a boy can no longer be endured, the Ashantee father punishes him by cutting off an ear.
Some of the Ashantees, however, appeared to admit the force of Mr. Freeman's arguments in favor of early and moderate core rection,'—pp. 124–127.
The superstition of the people is extreme. It is believed that the supreme Being created three white and three black men, with an equal number of women, and that the difference at present observable in the condition of the white and black races is traceable to the choice which they respectively made, when a calabash and a sealed paper were placed before them by their Creator. The black men having the first choice, were allured by the promising appearance of the calabash, which on being opened was found to contain only some metals, of the use of which they were ignorant; whilst the white men on opening the sealed paper, discovered the elements of knowledge and civilization. Such is the miserable trifling by which human ignorance seeks to explain the facts which are around it. The belief of a future state prevails universally, but the notion entertained of its character partakes of the grossest and most deluding superstition. The following account of an annual ceremony exhibits a pitiable view of the religious condition of the natives.
• The existence of the devil is also an article of negro belief. He is called by the Fantees and Ashantees Abonsun, or Aiyen. This evil being is supposed to be ever at hand for purposes of mischief; for when a person rises from his seat, his attendants are accustomed immediately to lie down upon their side, to prevent the devil from slipping into their master's place. Whatever may be the case in other parts of Africa, it does not appear that the devil is worshipped by the Fantees and Ashantees; on the contrary, he is annually driven away on the
Gold Coast, with great form and ceremony. This custom is observed at Cape Coast Town about the end of August. Preparation is made for the ceremony in the course of the day ; as the hour of eight o'clock in the evening draws nigh, the people are seen collecting in groups in the streets, armed with sticks, muskets, and other weapons ; at the instant when the eight o'clock gun is fired from the castle, a tremendous shouting, accompanied with the firing of muskets, breaks forth from all parts of the town; and the people rush into their houses, and beat about with their sticks in every corner, shouting and hallooing with all their strength. This sudden outburst of all kinds of noises often alarms Europeans who have recently arrived, inducing them to suppose that an enemy has attacked the place. When it is imagined that the devil is excluded from all the houses, a simultaneous rush is then made out of the town, and the people in a body pursue the invisible enemy, with lighted flambeaux, shouts, and the firing of muskets, until it is concluded that he is completely routed and put to flight. After this achievement they return; and, in some of the towns, the women proceed to wash and purify their wooden and earthen vessels, to prevent the devil from returning to their houses.'—Pp. 183—185.
A numerous priesthood is maintained in connexion with the popular superstition, and their influence is now powerfully exexerted in opposition to the labors of the Wesleyan missionaries. Human sacrifices are frequently offered on state occasions, and at the funeral of distinguished personages. When an Ashantee of rank dies, his slaves immediately attempt to conceal themselves, as it is usual instantly to sacrifice some of their number in order that the deceased may have such attendance as comports with his rank. This horrible custom grows out of the popular superstition, and has come to be regarded as an indispensable expression of respect and affection for the deceased. Mr. Beecham furnishes ample evidence of the brutalizing tendency of the popular faith.
• The funeral customs for kings and members of the royal family are conducted on a scale corresponding with the rank of the deceased. The okras, who are slaves peculiarly devoted to the king, and distinguished by a large circle of gold suspended from the neck, amounting in number to more than a hundred, are always sacrificed, with many women, on the tomb of the king. When Osai Quamina died, the funeral-custom was repeated every week for three months, two hundred slaves being sacrificed, and twenty-five barrels of powder being fired un each occasion ; but when the king's brother died, during the invasion of Fantee, the king devoted three thousand victims, two thousand of whom were Fantee prisoners, and nearly one thousand more were furnished by various towns; making, in the whole, about four thou. sand human beings who perished at the
grave of this royal personage. * When the king dies, Ashantee is, in fact, one vast Aceldama ; for all the customs which have been made for deceased subjects during his reign, must be repeated by their families, simultaneously with the
custom which is celebrated, in all the excess of extravagance and barbarity, for the departed monarch himself. During the first two or three days after the death of the king, scarcely any one is safe, for the relatives of the king, bursting forth with their muskets, carry havoc and death around; and few persons, even of the highest rank, dare, for a time, to stir from their houses. The funeral-customs of the kings of Ashantee are frequently repeated ; and Bantama, the royal sepulchre, is ever and anon made to reek with the blood of newly-slain victims.
• The annual Yam-Custom furnishes another exhibition of the true character of the national superstitions. This festival is celebrated about the end of the month of August, or the beginning of September, when the yam is ready for use; and the feast is intended as a public acknowledgment, on the part of the people, of the kindness of the fetishes in preserving them through another year, and permitting them to see the new yam...
• At a Yam-Custom which Mr. Bowdich saw, there was a display of the same barbarous splendor which is witnessed on all state-occasions ; and this was made on the largest possible scale, seeing that there was present a full representation of all the power and wealth of the empire. Spectacles the most appalling were also exhibited on the occasion. Every caboceer, as he arrived, sacrificed a slave at the gate of the capital by which he entered ; and, in the procession of the first day, all the heads of the kings and caboceers who had been conquered, from the reign of Osai Tutu down to that time, with those who been ex. ecuted for rebellion, were carried by two parties of executioners, each consisting of upwards of a hundred individuals. In the skulls were inserted sprigs of thyme, to prevent the spirits of the deceased from troubling the king; and as the bearers of those horrid trophies passed along in an impassioned dance, they clashed their knives upon the skulls either with the most frightful gestures, or with an expression of indescribable irony and ridicule. The festivity was kept up during the greater part of the night ; and on the following morning, which happened to be the Christian sabbath, the king ordered a large quantity of rum to be poured into brass pans, for the use of the people, in various parts of the town. A most beastly scene resulted ; for, in less than an hour, excepting the principal men, not a sober individual was to be seen. Towards the evening, another splendid procession took place. The third day was chiefly occupied with state-palavers; and on the day after (Tuesday) the assembly broke up, and the caboceers took their leave.
• In the course of these proceedings about one hundred persons were killed at various places in the capital. Several slaves were also sacri. ficed at the royal sepulchre of Bantama, over the enormous brass pan which is used there for sacrificial purposes ; and the streaming blood of the victims was mingled with various vegetable and animal matter, partly fresh and partly putrified, for the purpose of making the most powerful fetish. All the chiefs, likewise, killed several slaves, and caused their blood to flow into the holes from which the new yams were taken ; and those who could not afford to kill slaves, took the head of one already sacrificed, and placed it upon the hole. .....
Mr. Hutchinson remarks, that the greatest sacrifice of human life which took place while he resided at Coomassie (Kumási), occurred on the eve of the little Adai-Custom. He had a friendly caution given him respecting it, from a quarter which he did not feel himself at liberty to name. • Christian,' said his kind monitor, 'take care and watch over your family: the angel of death has drawn his sword, and will strike on the neck of many Ashantees. When the drum is struck on Adai-eve, it will be the death signal of many. Shun the king if you can, but fear not.' As the time approached to beat the drum, and Mr. Hutchinson sat meditating on the horrors of the ensuing night, he suddenly received a message to attend the king. This was a somewhat startling summons, as obnoxious caboceers are frequently thus sent for on such occasions, ostensibly to talk a palaver, but, on entering the palace, they are seized and led to execution. Mr. Hutchinson, however, waited upon the king ; and, while he remained with him, the officers appointed to attend the sacrifices came in with their knives, and other weapons of destruction.
• The design of the sacrifice was to propitiate the fetish, and secure its 'assistance in the approaching war with Buntuku. The bones of the king's mother and sisters were, in the first place, taken out of their coffins, and bathed in rum and water; and after having been wiped with silks, they were rolled in gold-dust, and wrapped in strings of rockgold, aggry beads, and other most costly materials. Those against whom the king had any cause of complaint were then sent for in succession, and immolated as they entered, in order that their blood might water the graves of the royal personages whose bones had been exhumed. During the whole of the night the king's executioners traversed the city, and all whom they met were dragged away for execution ; but the intended massacre having by some means become known, the king was disappointed in securing many of the most distinguished individuals, who had been marked out as victims. Next morning desolation seemed to reign over the capital, and no persons appeared in the market-place, but the king and his attendants. When the day closed, the human sacrifices were again renewed ; and during the night, the bones of the royal deceased were removed to the sacred tomb at Bantama, accompanied by a splendid procession. The chiefs and their attendants were all habited in their military costume; the stools, and all the ornaments used on great occasions, were borne by the proper officers; the human victims, in chains, with their hands tied behind them, preceded the bones ; while, at intervals, the chanting of the war-song indicated the eagerness which prevailed to march against the enemy. When the procession returned, on the following day, the king proceeded to the market-place; his horns sounded the well-known' wow, wow, wow,' interpreted, death, death, death ;' and the work of sacrifice was at once resumed. The king sat with a goblet of palm-wine in his hand, and every time the executioners cut off a head, he imitated a dancing motion in his chair. The terrors of the day ended when the king returned to his palace; and the chiefs, issuing from their places of concealment, paraded the streets, rejoicing that they had, for that time, escaped death. - pp. 236-247.
This is a sufficiently dark picture, and men of morbid sensibility will turn from it as too disgusting to be dwelt on. Such however is not the course which Christian philanthropy suggests, and we rejoice to learn from the concluding chapters of Mr. Beecham's volume, that the Wesleyan Missionary Society have commenced and are vigorously carrying on their labors of love in these dark regions of the earth. It is in the nature of Christianity to triumph over ignorance and superstition: she has done so on many past occasions—and her energy is still as vital and her faith as efficacious as when the rude nations of Europe bowed submissively before her. The hopes of the world are identified with the progress of Christian truth, for there is no other element of social or moral renovation that is capable of combating successfully the dark agencies which are abroad. The Wesleyan Mission to this part of Africa was commenced towards the end of the year 1834, and soon assumed a most promising appearance. It was severely tried by the death of several of its earliest missionaries; but the Spirit of the Lord has given testimony to the word of his grace, by causing many to turn from their degrading idolatry to the service of the one living and true God. The following brief account of the last moments of Mr. Dunwell, the first Wesleyan missionary, will be read with deep interest
“On the 24th instant,' Mr. Smith says, “Mr. Dunwell sent for me this morning ; and, to my great sorrow, I found him worse than I expected. On my first entering the room, he called me by name, and, having conversed with me for a considerable time on various subjects, desired me to pray for him. I knelt by the side of his bed, and engaged in prayer for about a quarter of an hour : he also prayed himself. He besought the Lord to let the cup pass from him, as the sons of this part of Africa would be left to grope in darkness, if he were removed away by death. At this I was uncommonly sorry ; but he encouraged me to hope in the Lord; for the debt of nature must be paid. He repeated the fourth verse of the twenty-third psalm : • Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.' If I may use the expression, I would say, “ Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.' When it was now time to leave him, and attend the school, he said, with tears, · Brother Smith, we have passed many agreeable evenings in conversing on instructive subjects; but I have to tell you I shall soon be absent from you, and be present with the Lord. I am going hence, and shall be no more seen; but watch over the flock, and strengthen them in the Lord, when I am gone.' About four o'clock in the afternoon I visited him again. He was quite insensible ; the pangs of death had seized him, and every hope of his recovery was then lost : between eight and nine o'clock he expired.' Thus died the Rev. Joseph Dunwell. No words of disappointment or regret escaped his lips, on account of his having