Book 3, Chapter 4

Having received the letters I left Cassange for the mission of Queen of Queen Ginga.  Carmelite Fathers go to assist in the quilombo of Giaga Cassange and it is shown that forces not human but divine are those that convert people to our Holy Faith; and what happened.   Chapter IV

I left Cassange, dear reader, with only my breviary, leaving what I had taken to the mission to their barbarous discretion, and when the secretary saw my determination since to go alone without provisions was very hard and difficult, he wished although he was a septuagenarian to accompany me for the space of five days which was a great toil to both of us, and finally with the soles of my feat swollen and weary with walking  I reached the Lunino river where I found Father Benedetto who was a great comfort to me, and the secretary returned to the quilombo, and when the Giaga saw I had left behind everything I had taken he sent everything after me, and also flour to eat, these things arrived by there was no talk of eating them because it had already been divided between them.  Finally I reached Embaqua whence the Father took the road to Massangano and I that of Matamba, Court of Queen Ginga, who having news of my going sent ten slaves to meet me and on arriving at Court I was received with great joy and celebration by the Queen, and by my Superior.  The barbarous Cassange was much consoled by my departure [27] but the rewarder of good and punisher of evil did not wait long before making himself known as supreme Lord and showing them how in his hand remain the Crowns and whips which he extends to everyone as he deserves, and he extended to the inhuman Cassange the punishment of pestilence, and took the life of many without a remedy being found, and the living were continually made mouthpieces of the dead, their weeping and sobbing was heard in every corner and path for the death of their dear ones, friends and spouses, and the fury of the pestilence reached such a point and its dreadful symptoms struck people down so much that the barbarian felt angry and troubled, and ordered that not only those victims must not be touched, but that nobody must dare to mourn the dead; now I say, dear reader, speaking to our loving Lord: “Lord of my soul, why not castigate the barbarous Cassange, and pardon so many innocents who are dying without being guilty of anything?”  Our loving God may answer that the barbarian does not deserve to be cured with quick and brief medicine, but his true punishment is reserved for him in the next life.  Seeing the fury of the plague grow worse he gathered his Priests and Witch-doctors together so that they might with their art extinguish the cause of all these deaths, O mad barbarian; the ignorant ministers uttered their lies, and concluded that the cause was the curse laid on them by the Capuchin Priest, and as a remedy it was necessary to order under severe penalties that all kitchens and places where fires were lit and food usually prepared were to be broken up, the garbage taken out of the quilombo, and the ashes taken to the square in baskets, and after the Priests and people had taken them out in procession, and the banned things had been thrown away and the garbage taken out of the quilombo, they removed the ashes from the quilombo, as I have said, in procession, then returned with great joy and celebration and ordered new fires to be lit and cooking done according to their custom, and this ignorance seemed to me similar to that great madness of some pagans, who walk about the surroundings of their cities bearing arms, and say they are frightening away illness, and that it will flee them, what could be greater madness?

Cassange was deceived and the plague did not cease until it pleased the divine Mercy to see whether they were repenting of the sins they had committed, but seeing them obstinate God sent the second punishment which their natural bent towards evil had warranted and this was a great famine; to keep one of their quixille the barbarian [28] had decided to wage war, and commanded under rigorous penalties that nobody must dare to sow any kind of food crop which could sustain people’s life, until victory was gained, without thinking that the prosperity of adversity of events depended on this divine gift, the war was delayed, the time of sowing passed, and after its expiry three thousand soldiers returned; the only remedy remaining for people’s help was sowing maize, but the ground was too dry, and so the barbarian was punished, and there followed a great famine, nor was he brought to repentance by this, and even the obstinate man’s punishment persevered because he waged war in the Songo Province and lost more that four thousand soldiers, [1] and this was in the year 1661.  In this year he also sent out another army, and returned to sending one, and God once more afflicted the army with plague, and many people died, but he did not change his life owing to these adverse events but became more obstinate yet in showing his natural bent towards evil, because he wished to maintain and observe their diabolical ceremonies in all their rigour; a child had been taken in the army before he had teeth as their barbarous custom demanded, and as the delinquent could not be put to death as he was a slave of the Portuguese, he was ordered to be soundly beaten, and this was punctiliously executed.  It was necessary afterwards to purify the polluted quilombo, and to this end he in person with his chief wife, the greatest people in his army, and their Priests poorly dressed and very sad because of the violation of their law, went to the border of the quilombo where the Witch-doctor Priest killed a Congolese for the Congo,[2] that is to say a bearded man and a eunuch conducted the ceremonies of blessing, sprinkling the blood and eating the flesh, and gaily and festively they returned to the quilombo having purified it of the sin committed there.

So while events were adverse to that barbarian it appeared to some that the mechanical arts were like the art of saving souls and they did not greatly esteem the skill of the Capuchins in executing them; and it was not enough for them to hold this opinion privately [29] but they also wanted to spread it abroad, and make it understood that only they could convert souls to God.  But I say that man is nothing but a mere instrument and trumpet which does not sound without the strength of the trumpeter’s breath; the missionary is simply an instrument and human strength does not convert souls, but our loving God sets out to love them, because by loving him we love our neighbour, and desire the good of his soul and body, and procure it for him with love, charity, patience and humility, as if it were only human strength the hundreds of thousands of people who have been baptised by Capuchin missionaries would not have been baptised.

The Sacred Religion of our Lady the Virgin of the Canticle decided to send two Priests to Cassange, and for this enterprise the Reverend Father Luis di S. Antonio and Father Thomaso de Jesu, Barefoot Carmelites,[3] were elected to help with the barbarian and to see him return to the straight way from which he was going far astray, and we could say he was voluntarily lost.  The Priests left Loanda where they were staying, and went to where the barbarian lived in the Province of Gangella, where they arrived after a month’s journey and were courteously received by the barbarian, but with feigned sentiments for such are hypocrites, and it was not long before they discovered that under his sheep’s clothing was hidden a furious wolf.  The Priests began to exercise their office and apostolic ministry with great zeal for the salvation of souls, and the barbarian appeared with his false appearance to welcome their zeal, and gave the Priests so many favours that they believed the sentiments he showed to be true and wrote full of spiritual joy not only to Loanda, but also to Portugal giving notification of the good beginning which gave promise of something better to follow, and an ending which was better still, but as they did not test whether his spirit belonged to God or to Satan as the Apostle teaches they were deceived as a result, because however much eagerness the barbarians showed for their spiritual health their deeds showed the opposite, because they gave no satisfaction except in words, it was all tomorrow, tomorrow, it was all promises, without any result being seen, something which is not new but old among evil and perverted Christians, but [30] ordinarily there is no lack of due punishment corresponding to the sins they have committed nor was it lacking for this barbarian as you shall see from the following story.

In the same year MDCLXI towards the end of October while the Priests were attending to their office, the barbarian determined to wage war on Queen Ginga, and his determination was at once put into practice without the priests being able to prevent him; first they carried out their usual preliminary practices with devilish sacrifices and other diabolical ceremonies during which a Witch-doctor priest arose, and said that if they waged war against the Queen he would be destroyed, and the barbarian smiled at this prophecy and said “When war starts you shall go and see whether you have guessed right or not”.  He sent about two thousand soldiers under the command of his sergeant general, to prey on some Vassals of the Queen a day’s journey from the Court, and so as not to give any indication of their intentions they also did some harm to some Vassals of Cassange himself, from whom they brought back more wounds than money, and finally they came to the Sovi of Queen Caole, and Dalangue,[4] gave the assault at the rising of Phoebus, captured many people and killed all the little children and all the soldiers, and only preserved the lives of the women and children who could walk, and turned round to attack another Vassal on their retreat, but there happened to them what usually happens to him who wants everything and comprehends nothing, because while they were assuring themselves of a place where they thought they could fill their sacks with plunder, many of them were captured and killed, and the others took flight and they returned to the Court from the war on the ninth day of November, a day after the departure of the enemy.  It was midday, and this retreat was signalled with triple firing of guns; the Queen was asleep and was suddenly awaked by her Courtiers and came to me in the Church, and kneeling before the holy Cross exposed her needs to the author of life, and how she was constrained to defend herself.  And when this was over she went out into the square, left her throne surrounded by her ladies carrying bows and arrows, and a great number of soldiers.  Soldiers came from all sides, and meanwhile cataracts poured from Heaven, and sent continuous rain with thunder and lightning in such abundance that it lasted for three days and nights in succession without ever ceasing, something I have not seen in twelve years [31] of living in this interior of Ethiopia.  He sent his soldiers to follow the enemy who would not follow them; they reached the river Cambo[5] which was not very wide, but deep and precipitous, and they were able to cross it, but being confident that the furious current would be lower in the morning they stayed facing the river that night, but it did not diminish but rose much higher.  The Witch-doctor, advised by his master Satan, confirmed what he had said before leaving Cassange, and repeating to his people that they would shortly be destroyed he applied himself to saving his own person, and that of his disciple, and without sheltering from the rain or the darkness of the night he crossed the river and returned to Cassange.  In the morning, when Phoebus appeared, he described the war to the Queen with such spirit and force that they sent news to Coltello about the war with Cassange, and 150 people they had captured alive with 16 flags, and some who tried to cross the river and were drowned; there were ten Captains, and four higher officers like Colonels in Europe, each of whom sheds blood when he pleases, and without his judicial powers depending on Cassange; they also captured a fair number of weapons and many military musical instruments, of which he ordered nails to be made for the service of the Church, and the Witch-doctor’s prophecy was verified.

After that slaughter they formed a mound of the heads of the dead officers, and ate part of their bodies, and took part into their homes, as such a barbarous custom cannot be prevented especially in a time of war, for such is the hate that one man bears another; nor was anything left except the stripped bones, and then they gave their funeral to those heads, and said to them various wicked psalms and lessons, and showed them scorn and derision in various ways, and used flour, tavulla leaves and dust and incense, and various beverages according to their barbarous custom as holy water; when the funeral was over, they returned victorious to their Court, and on the day of the Presentation of our Lady the Virgin[6] I offered the flags to the same Blessed Virgin Saint Mary [32] with great joy and celebration for the victory obtained, and giving many thanks to blessed God; this was no slight punishment to the barbarian, but he did not mend his ways for this, indeed when he had the bad news he wanted to rise in person, but was dissuaded by the Fathers, and exhorted to change his life, but all was in vain because he grew angrier than a harpy, fiercer than a lion, crueller than a tiger, but until now he had not been able to vindicate himself, but rather grows worse and worse with continual losses without ever catching up or amending himself, which was a great affliction to the Priests, who saw themselves deceived, and as they were bound by what they had written to Loanda and Portugal, at that time I received a letter from the sacristan of the said Reverend Fathers, Paullo Cariglio, who had fulfilled the same office for Father Antonio da Serrauezza and this follows, translated into our Italian idiom from the Portuguese so that from it may be seen Cassange’s natural bent towards evil.[7]

Copy of the letter

Reverend Father Brother Giovanni Antonio da Montecuculo Capuchin apostolic missionary of the Italian nation.

I arrived in this quilombo of the Giaga Cassange with the Reverend Fathers Ludovico da Santo Antonio, Father Thomaso di Giesu, barefoot Carmelites, to see if he wished to abandon the inhuman life of a Giaga, and be converted in his heart to God and our Holy Faith, and condescend to the Articles which Father Antonio da Serrauezza made when he was present there in this quilombo, or those which you, Reverend Father, brought on the orders of the Reverend Father Antonio Romano, Superior of the Mission.  Father Ludovico, as the Superior, dealt with Cassange to ask him if he would concede the above Articles and their execution which would be done little by little, at first he said yes with his mouth but not with his heart, and did not wait long before showing it because he did not want to observe any of them and until now we Reverend Fathers have been unable to do anything in the service of blessed god and the salvation of souls, and when Father Ludovico saw it was all wasted labour we went to the Court of Cassange, and the Father said to him that he took no account of what had been preached to him until now about their salvation and he was deceiving them as he had the Capuchins, making conditions that they would let the Witch-doctors go and would cease to eat human [33] flesh, and would not sack and loot, and it was all a deceit; he made some articles to Father Ludovico and promised to observe them, but kept their Idols, and so that we should see openly that they were deceiving us they killed two people that same day, and removed a quarter of their bodies in front of me, and Father Thomaso, and white Portuguese, and on the following day he killed people and threw their internal organs across the place where we had to pass, such were the barbarities that Cassange is accustomed to, which cause us great annoyance, scandal and disturbance; when his secretary saw how little shame he had he went to Cassange to warn him of what he was doing, but he presently rose up with this diabolical answer: “just as Christians esteem their law, so I esteem mine, and that of my ancestors.”  The Secretary answered him that he should let the Fathers go, and he answered that he kept them for reasons of state and convenience; finally they decided to leave and I caused the barbarian to gather his officers together with them, and they said they did not need to abandon their Idols, and the Father asked him why he had been baptised if he did not want to keep God’s law, and he answered that he had been baptised to please the Father and the Ambassador, and that he was not baptised, and did not want to keep any law except that of a Giaga.  It is enough for you, Reverend Fathers, to know what they did to the Reverend Father when he made them the spiritual discourse on that day of the glorious Assumption of the Virgin our Lady; they rose against the Reverend Fathers with arms, and also spoke against the Most Holy Virgin; but O unfortunate ones who have still to pay for everything!  Cassange is so tied to the devil that it would be a great mercy of blessed God if he would leave his Idolatry, there is nothing he does not adore, no barbarity he does not commit, and as a final sign of his ill-will he ordered a black man to be cut in pieces while still alive in front of the Church while the Father was saying mass, and they ate him within sight of us.  Such are the deeds of this renegade that it would need much paper and time to write them, and these are the reasons why we shall leave this quilombo so as not to waste any more time to no purpose because God will not fail to pay us for our goodwill, and give these unfortunates the punishment they deserve.  I end here.  Cassange, 12 June 1663

Paullo Cariglio d’Huellara[8]

[34]                  Having received this letter I wrote to Father Ludovico, and had the answer enclosed here which I have translated from Portuguese into our Italian idiom as a further authentication of the barbarities of Cassange, and his lack of stability in the things of our Holy Faith, and it is as follows word for word.[9]

Most reverend and loving Father in Christ Father Brother Giovanni Antonio da Montecuccolo Apostolic missionary.

I received the letter from you, Reverend Father, and was greatly cheered, and with regard to what you, Reverend Father, ask me about the Christianity of Cassange, and you will rejoice greatly in the Lord that he is making great progress.  I confess to you, Reverend Father, that I find myself embarrassed by not knowing how to answer and only say that I would have great pleasure and incomparable joy if I saw the Catholic faith increasing and the Christian religion flourishing in this quilombo, because if it were so I should be blessed and praised, and my labour of service would have been fruitful and well employed, but you, Reverend Father, will be sorry.  I have great sorrow in my heart in this respect, and more than I can say in words, but to obey you, Reverend Father, in what you ask me I must say something not of progress being made in Christianity because it is not being made but indeed the rebellion and hardness of heart of those unfortunate people; Cassange has a harder heart than Pharaoh in the things of our Holy Faith, the words of God have no effect on him, I have been in this quilombo for two years, and until the present have baptised no adults, nor are they so disposed that either I or my companion could in all conscience baptise them.  Can there be greater sorrow?  I feel so much for those poor souls that I cannot mention it without tears.  May it please the divine Clemency to use his infinite pity and mercy on these rebels, and touch them with his grace, that they may open their eyes and ears to God’s words; it cannot be believed or said how tightly closed they keep them, which is another thing which afflicts me extremely because the Apostle says faith enters through the ears but if these unfortunates will not give ear to doctrine, or obey the Gospel, what fruit can be expected from this tree?  I call God to witness of this truth.  Lord, who believest what we heard, did Cassange perchance believe even occasionally what I preached to him so many times?  Was there one man in his quilombo who gave [35] any credit to the truth of the Gospel which I have taught so many times, was there not one, I say this to you Reverend Father with great sorrow in my heart, then were you about to say so?  It was never through not applying myself that I might have abandoned undertaking the work of teaching and persuading them of the truth with all possible diligence; they never said they did not want to hear the truth, and thus deceived me for a long time, but when I found it was all a waste of time, unprofitable, to try to constrain them, as they had been baptised by my predecessor in the mission Father Antonio da Serrauezza, to keep the promises they had made and to which they had committed themselves on baptism, which I cited in order to say that they should keep them, and I have the powers which the said Father gave to me; Cassange seeing himself under constraint, without knowing how to answer, said: “all these things are true”.  I put this at the end of this letter so that you, Reverend Father, may see that he had said, promised and agreed them with the said Father, while his intention and that of his people was merely to see the Father leaving his quilombo because he did not wish to be baptised, nor to put into practice what they had often promised, and following this be obliged to return with people promising to be baptised, and do what had been commanded them; and Cassange would at once be baptised and married, and some of his principal subjects would do the same and others would follow his example, but they said and did this because they knew that they could not in any other or better way oblige him to return to the quilombo because they wanted to hold counsel with him as they saw that while he was with them they were sure of war with the whites, and this was the only reason for their pretenses, and they did not want to abandon the practices of their ancestors with which they were born and grew up, and that they had always observed and kept, and with which they had won so many victories in war, and they never intended to abandon these things, and if they made promises to the Father it was to keep him happy and force him to return to the quilombo, and not to keep the promises which were contrary to the laws of their ancestors, who were Giaghi, and they wanted to keep them, observe them, live and die in them, and only did a few things which were not contrary to them such as being baptised, married, going to Church [36] and they also promised to observe them because it did not matter at all to them, cost them anything or give them any trouble, because they said the salt of the Father who baptises is ours and can do no harm, and they were washed and went to Church because it cost them nothing.  But as for the rest I did not try to meddle as it was a waste of effort, as they had no intention of abandoning their Witch-doctors who are their teachers and instruct them, their Priests who conduct their sacrifices and other ceremonies, and they said many other things which would take a long time to relate; but if I had to describe in detail what I have undergone with that renegade apostate of the faith, I should need not paper, but a book, and so as not to overrun the paper it will be enough for this brief notification to satisfy what you, Reverend Father, ask of me, and I only add that I envy the good which is being enjoyed in the Christian community of Matamba where you are working, may God be praised and glorified, who wishes to pay you, Reverend Father, not only with the eternal reward of everlasting glory, but also in this life with the glory of bringing fruit from souls, and being an instrument of the glorification of God, whom I ask that he should advance Christianity and grant to you, Reverend Father, health and long life in his holy service.

Dated Cassange 13 August 1663

Fr. Ludovico da S. Antonio, Barefoot Carmelite

Articles of the above-named Father for good Christianity

1 I insist that they should come to Church on the feastdays 2. 4. 6. and on Sundays, by command.

2 That they should throw out and expel the Witch-doctors because they cannot be taught by them, who are ministers of the devil, who teach lies, but by the Priests of God who teach the truth.

3 That they must make no sacrifices to the devil either in public or in private or secretly so that he may grant them good success in war, but only address prayers to God.

4 That nobody kill Conghi[10] (who are bearded people) or anyone else on the occasion of funerals, or quiluija,[11] and the burial of their dead, or sacrifice for the souls of the dead because such sacrifices are diabolical, and Christians cannot make them.

(Picture of priest speaking to a lion)


5 That they must not eat human flesh.

6 That all women must give birth in the quilombo as they do in the quilombo of Queen Ginga, and that nobody may kill the babies who are born.

7 That all people are obliged to inform the missionary Father when people are about to die whether they are adults or children, and this on pain of being sold.

8 That no Witch-doctor must remain in the quilombo, nor go in public, nor be allowed to appear in the seat either of Cassange or any subject, nor raise a sun-shade, on pain of the same punishment.

The answer they gave

They promised to observe these articles, but then betrayed their obligation because they not only did not keep them but openly declared that they did not wish to keep them, nor to observe the law of God as they had promised, but wished to live and die as their ancestors had done.

Articles of Father Antonio da Serrauezza, apostolic Capuchin missionary.

If Cassange Caquingurij Captain General of this quilombo in the Province of Gangella wishes to receive Holy Baptism, and become a Christian, he must believe in one true God confessing the ministry of the Most Holy Trinity, and the Incarnation of the son of God born of the Virgin Mary and the mystery of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist with the other mysteries,[12] and the twelve articles which are contained in the creed,[13] professing entire faith as the Holy Mother Roman Church teaches, believes and professes, and render obedience to the Supreme Pontiff Vicar of Christ and successor of St Peter.

2 He must renege all the idols and devils enemies of God, and prohibit all sorts of Witch-doctors, nor permit any Witch-doctor to appear in the seat of Cassange, or any of his subjects, or any other dignitary residing in this quilombo, nor let the Witch-doctor be borne in a net with a sunshade, but must be totally expelled in refutation of his lies.

3 If Cassange or any other person wishes to be baptised, if he is not willing to remain continent, and maintain a celibate life, he must marry one woman only who may be his chief wife, or any other he chooses, on condition that she becomes [38] a Christian.

4 Cassange and all others who are baptised must frequent the Church on Sunday, and by commandment be present at mass, and other spiritual functions according to the custom of Holy Mother Church, and the dead must be buried there, or in the cemetery outside the Church.

5 No Christian may eat human flesh as it is an abominable cruelty, but any Christian may eat the flesh of whatever animal, fruit etc. he chooses with the necessary exception of the days of Lent.

6 That neither Cassange nor any of his subjects may kill Conghi, nor allow men or women to be killed by Witch-doctors, nor let their blood be taken, nor let them be eaten, to hold funerals and sacrifices for any dead person as these sacrifices are diabolical and offend God, but it will be permitted to kill in justice enemies in wartime and thieves and murderers convicted by witnesses and confessing out of their own mouths.

7 That in whatever place Cassange situates his quilombo it will be possible to build a Church in which to celebrate Holy Mass and baptisms and in which divine parochial offices may be exercised by any priest legitimately sent by his Superiors and when this Priest comes he may claim gifts, tithes and payments according to the custom of the Holy Church.

8 That by public proclamation licence should be conceded as Queen Ginga has done, that all women may legitimately give birth inside the quilombo, and in any place where they may find themselves at the time of birth, prohibiting any woman to kill her child on pain of being publicly whipped with the sum of 39 or 40 lashes, and the same to those who tear their children to pieces, or throw them in rivers or to the dogs, and the same should apply to adulterers or those who give orders not to let children into the quilombo to be baptised until they have teeth, because nobody must die without Holy Baptism not only for its usefulness, but because of its good example to the world.

9 Finally that public swearing must be abolished, and its Priest condemned to [39] slavery if he is not willing to abandon this abuse, and become a Christian, and all the baptised people are obliged to keep and observe the ten commandments of the law of God and the five of Holy Mother Church.[14] If Cassange and all his officers will promise to keep and observe the above Articles or at least consent to this pact with the greater number of his subjects of good will, I should baptise Cassange, and whatever pagan wishes to be baptised on these conditions.

Dated this quilombo of Cassange 9 July 1657

I wrote to Brother Antonio da Serrauezza apostolic missionary and signed with my own hand, and I had understood Cassange had heard the above Articles explained to him in his own language by his Secretary and with his subjects have his consent and promised to observe and keep them all, and when he had conformed I baptised him with the name of D. Pasqual and his Tandala with the name of D. Giovanni, there was great joy and celebration and the Ambassador, Captain Antonio Rois Maccado[15] was Godfather.

Dear reader, you have heard the Articles of both of them, and observed the promises and their execution, now you must know to make the facts clearer that when the Reverend Father Prior of the Carmelites was informed of what was happening in Cassange and of the hardness of those barbarians, and their obstination, and what the religious had to endure in that quilombo, he ordered that they should leave there according to the Gospel and when they had the orders of their Superior they determined not to leave jointly in order to see whether the fear of their departure would bear any fruit, and first in anticipation they wrote me the following letter to give further proof of the obstinacy of Cassange.

Reverend and most Beloved Father Giovanni Antonio Jesu, and Maria Josefo.

Let there remain in your soul, Reverend Father, and let Heaven award you many blessings with the life and health which we wish for you, I and my companion Father Tomaso de Jiesu and with that we give thanks to God.  We bear you, Reverend Father, holy envy for what we hear of the fruit which God by means of yourself, Reverend Father, causes to be borne in the quilombo of the above Queen Ginga, so you, Reverend Father, will feel great compassion for what you will hear, for [40] working so much to bring forth any fruit we do so little in this quilombo of Cassange, we are already exhausted by working with these barbarous people, although we do not despair of their salvation and remedy, because it lies only in the amendment of their life and the salvation of the souls of those who are eternally condemned already, and S. Augustine gave no grounds for despair.  We are already tired of working with them, and are determined to give you news, having already told everything to our Prelate.

We are determined to spend the day in this quilombo, so as to receive your blessing, Reverend Father, and to thank the Queen for all her help as Christianity is increasing in her quilombo, and because the way is more comfortable and convenient for many reasons, so you Reverend Father can tell the Lady Queen, whom we hope in God to see.  We expect at present to give you this news, Reverend Father, owing to the necessity in which we find ourselves to deserve your great charity, and notify you that we lack hosts, which makes it impossible to say mass except on feast days, let blessed God be praised and glorified, who wished to deprive us of even our only consolation of celebrating every day, and I shall be forever obliged to you for your charity, and end this letter in this quilombo of Cassange 15 January 1663, your servant, Reverend Father.

Brother Ludovico da S. Antonio, Barefoot Carmelite


So Father Thomaso left and Father Ludovico stayed for six months without being able to see in Cassange or any of his people any sign of piety in their souls, but only barbarous obstinacy and perversity, and if before they were stones they became diamonds, marble, jasper, and so persevered until the end, unless God in his mercy softens their hearts, and removes them from the blindness in which they live; and the above Father seeing that it was all wasted labour, he too carried out the order of his Prelate, making the journey to this Court of Queen Ginga in which he arrived on the 21st day of October 1663 and after a few days’ rest left for Loanda.

It is enough to make one weep tears of blood to hear the story of the barbarities and [41] cruelties and obstinacy of Cassange and his Vassals, and the hardness of their hearts; but what punishment will come to them?  what misfortunes hand over them?  We can guess form what you have heard in previous Chapters, and to end this treatise I add that in the year 1661 while Cassange was talking with the lord Governor’s Ambassador [16] he was given notice that the relations of one of his concubines who was present had run away, and at the same time a blood brother of hers came past, the barbarian ordered him to be stabbed and having committed this barbarous ordered that his concubine should eat his raw flesh, and when she refused to, he had her beaten, and made her eat her own brother’s flesh.

[1]. The province of songo was probably to the south and southwest of Kasanje, ruled by a king with the title Munzumbo a Kalunga.  Cadornega records a series of wars between them in the 1670’s and 1680’s, Historia 2:     and 3:

[2]. Congo per Congo = Kongo per Kongo, called zungo in Istorica Descrizione, Book 7, no. 55.  Perhaps the same custom as recorded two centuries later in Bihe by Lazlo Magyar, called “OuriKongo” or “eating the old man”, see Reisen in Sud Afrika, (Budapest, 1859, reprinted New York, 1973), p

[3]. Luis de Sao Antonio and Tomas de Jesus, Carmelite priests who arrived to establish the Descalced Carmelites in Angola in 1659.  They remained

[4]. Catole = Katole; Dalangue = Ndalange.  Istorica Descrizione, Book 7, no. 58 has them near Njinga’s court and adds that they attack and (unnamed) third soba as well.

[5]. Cambo river = Kambo river, near the boundary between Kasanje and Matamba.

[6]. Day of the Presentation of the Virgin =

[7]. A somewhat different version of the letter is in Istorica Descrizione, Book 7, no. 59, reprinted in Brasio, Monumenta 12: