Black People : Speech from DAHOMEY king on slavery 1792

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by THE-GOD, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. THE-GOD

    THE-GOD Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    ADANZU II: I admire the reasoning of the white men; but with all their sense, it does not appear that they have thoroughly studied the nature of the blacks, whose disposition differs as much from that of the whites, as their colour.

    The same great Being formed both; and since it hath seemed convenient for him to distinguish mankind by opposite complexions, it is a fair conclusion to presume that there may be as great a disagreement in the qualitie of their minds; there is likewise a remarkable difference between the countries which we inhabit.

    You, Englishmen, for instance, as I have been informed, are surrounded by the ocean, and by this situation seem intended to hold communication with the whole world, which you do, by means of your ships; whilst we Dahomans, being... hemmed in amidst a variety of other people, of the same complexion, but speaking different languages, are obliged by the sharpness of our swords, to defend ourselves from their incursions, and punish the depredations they make on us.

    Such conduct in them is productive of incessant wars. Your countrymen, therefore, who alledge that we go to war for the purpose of supplying your ships with slaves, are grossly mistaken. ...

    In the name of my ancestors and myself, I aver, that no Dahoman ever embarked in war merely for the sake of procuring wherewithal to purchase your commodities.

    I, who have not been long master of this country, have without thinking of the market, killed many thousands, and I shall kill many thousands more. When policy or justice requires that men be put to death, neither silk, nor coral, nor brandy, nor cowries, can be accepted as substitutes for the blood that ought to be spilt for example sake[.]

    Besides if white men chuse to remain at home, and no longer visit this country for the same purpose that has usually brought them thither, will black men cease to make war? I answer, by no means, and if there be no ships to receive their captives, what will become of them?

    I answer, for you, they will be put to death. ... Did not you see me make custom – annual ceremony – for Weebaigah, the third king of Dahomey? And did you not observe on the day such ceremony was performing, that I carried a bow in my hand, and a quiver filled with arrows on my back?

    These were the emblems of the times; when, with such weapons, that brave ancestor fought and conquered all his neighbors. ...

    Did Weebaigah sell slaves? No; his prisoners were all killed to a man. What else could he have done with them? Was he to let them remain in this country to cut the throats of his subjects?

    This would have been wretched policy indeed; which, had it been adopted, the Dahoman name would have long ago been extinguished, instead of becoming as it is at this day, the terror of surrounding nations. ...

    You have seen me kill many men at the customs; and you have often observed delinquents at Grigwhee and others of my provinces tied, and sent up to me. I kill them, but do I ever insist on being paid for them?

    Some heads I order to be placed at my door, others to be strewed about the market place, that the people may stumble upon them, when they little expect such a sight. This gives a grandeur to my customs, far beyond the display of fine things which I buy; this makes my enemies fear me....

    Besides, if I neglect this indispensable duty, would my ancestors suffer me to live? Would they not trouble me day and night, and say that I sent no body to serve them? That I was only solicitous about my own name, and forgetful of my ancestors?

    White men are not acquainted with these circumstances; but I now tell you that you may hear and know, and inform your countrymen, why customs are made, and will be made, as long as black men continue to possess their country[.]

    [T]he few that can be spared from this necessary celebration, we sell to the white men; and happy, no doubt, are such, when they find themselves... to be disposed of to the Europeans. “We shall still drink water,” say they to themselves; “white men will not kill us. ...”
     
  2. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    From where did you get this?

    I would be cautious of these sort of things.

    Still, were I to accept a translation, possibly this one would be better:

    Source: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/37240/37240-h/nos93_104.html

    REMARKABLE SPEECH
    OF ADAHOONZOU, KING OF DAHOMY,


    AN INTERIOR NATION OF AFRICA,
    ON HEARING WHAT WAS PASSING IN ENGLAND RESPECTING THE SLAVE-TRADE.
    I admire the reasoning of the white men; but, with all their sense, it does not appear that they have thoroughly studied the nature of the blacks, whose disposition differs as much from that of the whites, as their colour. The same great Being formed both; and since it hath seemed convenient for him to distinguish mankind by opposite complexions, it is a fair conclusion to presume, that there may be as great a disagreement in the qualities of their minds; there is likewise a remarkable difference between the countries which we inhabit. You, Englishmen, for instance, as I have been informed, are surrounded by the ocean, and by this situation seem intended to hold communication with the whole world, which you do, by means of your ships; whilst we Dahomans, being placed on a large continent, and hemmed in amidst a variety of other people, of the same complexion, but speaking different languages, are obliged, by the sharpness of our swords, to defend ourselves from their incursions, and punish the depredations they make on us. Such conduct in them is productive of incessant wars. Your countrymen, therefore, who alledge that we go to war for the purpose of supplying your ships with slaves, are grossly mistaken.
    You think you can work a reformation, as you call it, in the manners of the blacks; but you ought to consider the disproportion between the magnitude of the two countries; and then you will soon be convinced of the difficulties that must be surmounted, to change the system of such a vast country as this. We know you are a brave people, and that you might bring over a great many of the blacks to your opinions, by the points of your bayonets; but to effect this, a great many must be put to death, and numerous cruelties must be committed, which we do not find to have been the practice of the whites: besides, that this would militate against the very principle which is professed by those who wish to bring about a reformation.
    In the name of my ancestors and myself I aver, that no Dahoman ever embarked in war merely for the sake of procuring wherewithal to purchase your commodities. I, who have not been long master of this country, have, without thinking of the market, killed many thousands, and I shall kill many thousands more. When policy or justice requires that men be put to death, neither silk, nor coral, nor brandy, nor cowries, can be accepted as substitutes for the blood that ought to be spilt for example sake: besides, if white men chuse to remain at home, and no longer visit this country for the same purpose that has usually brought them hither, will black men cease to make war? I answer, by no means; and if there be no ships to receive their captives, what will become of them? I answer, for you, they will be put to death. Perhaps you may be asked, how will the blacks be 340b furnished with guns and powder? I reply by another question, had we not clubs, and bows, and arrows, before we knew white men? Did not you see me make custom—annual ceremony—for Weebaigah, the third King, of Dahomy? And did you not observe, on the day such ceremony was performing, that I carried a bow in my hand, and a quiver filled with arrows on my back? These were the emblems of the times; when, with such weapons, that brave ancestor fought and conquered all his neighbours. God made war for all the world; and every kingdom, large or small, has practised it more or less, though perhaps in a manner unlike, and upon different principles. Did Weebaigah sell slaves? No; his prisoners were all killed to a man. What else could he have done with them? Was he to let them remain in his country, to cut the throats of his subjects? This would have been wretched policy indeed; which, had it been adopted, the Dahoman name would have long ago been extinguished, instead of becoming, as it is at this day, the terror of surrounding nations. What hurts me most is, that some of your people have maliciously represented us in books, which never die; alledging that we sell our wives and children, for the sake of procuring a few kegs of brandy. No! we are shamefully belied, and I hope you will contradict, from my mouth, the scandalous stories that have been propagated; and tell posterity that we have been abused. We do, indeed, sell to the white men a part of our prisoners, and we have a right so to do. Are not all prisoners at the disposal of their captors? and are we to blame, if we send delinquents to a far country? I have been told you do the same. If you want no more slaves from us, why cannot you be ingenuous, and tell the plain truth; saying, that the slaves you have already purchased are sufficient for the country for which you bought them; or that the artists, who used to make fine things, are all dead, without having taught any body to make more? But for a parcel of men, with long heads, to sit down in England, and frame laws for us, and pretend to dictate how we are to live, of whom they know nothing, never having been in a black man’s country during the whole course of their lives, is to me somewhat extraordinary! No doubt they must have been biassed by the report of some one who has had to do with us; who, for want of a due knowledge of the treatment of slaves, found that they died on his hands, and that his money was lost; and seeing others thrive by the traffic, he, envious of their good luck, has vilified both black and white traders.
    You have seen me kill many men at the customs; and you have often observed delinquents at Grigwhee, and others of my provinces, tied, and sent up to me. I kill them, but do I ever insist on being paid for them? Some heads I order to be placed at my door, others to be strewed about the market-place, that people may stumble upon them, when they little expect such a sight. This gives a grandeur to my customs, far beyond the display of fine things which I buy; this makes my enemies fear me, and gives me such a name in the Bush*. Besides, if I neglect this indispensable duty, 341 would my ancestors suffer me to live? would they not trouble me day and night, and say, that I sent nobody to serve them? that I was only solicitous about my own name, and forgetful of my ancestors? White men are not acquainted with these circumstances; but I now tell you, that you may hear, and know, and inform your countrymen, why customs are made, and will be made, as long as black men continue to possess their own country: the few that can be spared from this necessary celebration, we sell to the white men; and happy, no doubt, are such, when they find themselves on the path for Grigwhee, to be disposed of to the Europeans—“We shall still drink water,” say they to themselves; “white men will not kill us; and we may even avoid punishment, by serving our new masters with fidelity.”

    * The country expression for the woods.
    Meaning—“We shall still live.”


    Original: 1793 History of Dahomy by Archibald Dalzel
    Underlying source: “collected from the communications of” Lionel Abson, governor since 1766 (“Whydah” aka Ouidah).

    Background: “Whydah” is also spelled Ouidah. “Adahoonzou” or Adanzu died in 1789 of smallpox.
    Notes: The interpolated words “annual ceremony” after “make Custom” are not in the original. The word “Customs” is capitalized throughout. Footnotes are in the original.
     
  3. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    so let me get this straight,

    he is telling some invader he feels racialism is a fault,

    war is good as well as war against one neighbor

    and he has the right to sell those captured in war?

    That kind of mindset is what keeps Africa disunited and open to white and yellow colonization right now
     
  4. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brother Ankhur,

    This is an ancestor of your own. Listen to him.

    Were I to analyze this, I would note that the Dahomey Empire was post-colonialism. Naturally, it's not to blame for the colonization or disunity of Africa, it's a product of those crimes. As to 'war is good,' of course it can be--this Africans need to understand. And look at the words that he uses. His wars were for 'justice'--how can you disagree with that? And as to selling those captured--he does say that, for those captured, it's better to sell them then kill them [You realize that those sold are our ancestors, right? Those killed, like those dead on the ships, are less likely our ancestors than those who survived]. Granted, this King never spoke English so who is to say what his exact words were? Nevertheless, listen to him. If you truly care for your history, listen to your ancestors and who your ancestors faced. To wit, the Dahomey Empire is unique in African History studies as perhaps the largest slave trader on the continent. But again--it is post-colonialism. Perhaps even a response to their enslavement.

    And yes--they were entirely destroyed. It's interesting to note that so-called "Vodoo" or "Vodon" has links with Dahomey.
     
  5. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    No we not going there bro, sorry any cionversation regarding religion will be in the religion section and I dont care if he was my own grandfather
    what I said is clear

    Africa is in the situation it is in today because we fail to adopt a racial consciousness of Black first and foremost.


    This war lust has on each other has to end , child soldiers, military dictatorships all of that, if there is to be Pan Africanims
    Saying it is ones god given right to be the terror of ones neghbors, is nothing honorable and I dont give a darn who says it! We have some great things about African culture and we have some things we need to let go of!

    And as far as modern day slavery in Africa;
    seems like , no leaders, or organizations desire to touch that one.

    Dude can talk all of that stuff to the white man and then be proud of dawging his own brother?? That is what Papa Doc was known for!!!
     
  6. ru2religious

    ru2religious Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ankhur its been a while since I've agreed with you on anything and I have to say that I actually agree with you this time. That seems like a very sick mentally that for this King to have or any man/woman to have. So many lives lost - so many have died because of these customs ...
     
  7. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Bruh I know you feeling me

    cause right now the way the Black grassroots community is catching nuff hell
    on every part of this planet
    and aint no organization or leader is doing squat

    A Black politician should be judged on what they do
    not how they mouth off

    and that goes for a king or a president cause
    we done seen a Black politician invade an African nation,
    we don't need no history book on this ish,
    to tell us right from wrong!
     
  8. Asomfwaa

    Asomfwaa Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    What does Black first and foremost mean when there are nation-states competing? You are blaming the Dahomey Empire for colonialism when it is after colonialism.

    If you want to blame someone for colonialism blame the Moors. They taught the Europeans how to colonize. Don't blame the colonized.

    And you are jumping all around. How can the Dahomey Empire have 'race consciousness' when the colonizers had Africans in tow?

    Get the story straight. Only then will any of this make sense.
     
  9. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    No you get your reading comprehension straight and read the entire response in context!
     
  10. THE-GOD

    THE-GOD Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This was published in JOURNAL OF NEGRO HISTORY by CARTER G WOODSON. Who did the translation I don't know as I doubt that the Dahomey king spoke English.

    The concept of "black as 1" is an American concept. In truth Africans from all over the continent are tribal and not racial. They'll kill each other at the drop of a dime and wouldn't touch an outsider till this day. In certain parts of West Africa they have monuments dedicated to European slave traders like Don Francisco de Souza for instance. An Asante king wrote to the British after the British abolished slavery asking why they didn't want to do business anymore. The reason they British didn't want to do business because they didn't want the number of Africans to increase in their colonies because rebellion would be more likely.

    Those of you who have this romanticized view of Africans, really don't know them
     
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