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1538-9 Mission To Benin - Culture - Nairaland

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1538-9 Mission To Benin by samuk: 12:52am On May 22
1538-9 mission to Benin

3-8-1539 Missionaries to João III

The Fathers, Master Miguel of the habit, Friar Antonio and Friar Francisco of the Order of St. Francis, whom your Highness sent to the king of Benin for information of conscience and matters of our holy Catholic Faith, have been there for more than a year and want to inform your Highness that they have no confidence at all in the pretended arguments of that king to be converted to Christianity, but he is now persevering more than ever in his human sacrifices, with idolatrous practices and diabolical invocations day and night, and in dedicating his people twice a day to the Enemy of man, which is the devil. Sometimes he sends for us while he is anointed with human blood and many other superstitions, abominations and errors that he keeps.

He did not receive us with much satisfaction, because he knew that we were not bringing him temporal advantages. Despising spiritual advantages, he never values them as he should were he to know them. The favour that your Highness did in sending him your letter, which, kissing and bowing our heads we gave him with much respect, he did not receive as he should have, but threw it into a basket or box which he had on his left and did not open it until three months later, and he then called us. He keeps us under guard as guests in houses of gentiles with many idols and fetiches, where all pass over us night and day. Because of the many disturbances, noise and lack of peace we cannot recite our daily office. All we had has been stolen and we have been badly treated and insulted by his men.
Re: 1538-9 Mission To Benin by samuk: 12:55am On May 22
We preached to him concerning the affairs of the Faith and his dangerous situation, because of which he abhorred us so much that he has not seen us for a long time. And if we try to see him, he cuts us off by the root. And if we go out to walk he orders us to stay indoors, and, what is worse, if we don't know how he treats his own men, they shut the door in our face and sometimes beat us. Our life her is to sell all that we brought to save our lives from hunger, which is very rampant here because of the dryness of this year and because we receive little or no charitable help from anywhere, except from your Highness, and even of that the French robbed us of all that you sent us last year, which was to come to us in the commercial ships, which they robbed. For these and other reasons we asked him to let us depart with a reply to the letter of your Highness, but he refused and said that we could not leave this place without an ambassador of your Highness to carry his letter, and he wanted to say that we are his captives, which is true because of the guards that he keeps over us, and we cannot go out of the city. By these and other things and by the hunger which we suffer he is killing us little by little. We do not want to ask him for anything, since he knows our needs, and if we tell him that he robbed us, he tells us publicly before everybody that we are lying.

The letters of your Highness, which we offered him through his boys, he did not want to accept, but rather forbad their teacher, Afonso Añes, a Christian captive, to teach them with these letterssince they do not know the things of the Faith. He commanded Gregorio Lourenço, a native Christian, not to baptize his children and women, asking who had him permission to do so. The king asked for the cross and and image of our Lady, and these were taken to him with much pomp and the priests in their vestments. After seeing this, sitting on a throne on a three-step platform, he touched everything with his hands, and had the crucifix put on the step where he put his feet. He did this for Antonio, who had become a Christian in the island where he was before, for which reason we drew him to ourselves.


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