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Abbeokuta; or Sunrise within the Tropics
An Outline of the Origin and Progress of the Yoruba Mission

By Sarah Tucker

New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1854.


I. (Page 10.)

Since the preceding pages were printed, we have had the opportunity of hearing a few more particulars about the Fellatahs, and as their sudden awakening to war and conquest seems to be the last effort of the Mohammedan power to recover somewhat of its former glory, anything relating to them becomes the more interesting. It appears that the meaning of their name, whether Pellatah, Foulah, or Fellani, is yellow, which has probably been adopted to distinguish them from the whole negro race, from whom, as we have said, they entirely differ in feature, complexion, and hair. They were roused from their quiet pastoral life by, it is said, a vision, in which Mahomet himself appeared to one of their priests, and reproached the people with their sloth and supineness in thus remaining quiet among the Kafirs, by whom they were surrounded, and commanded them to arise and take the sword, and save the souls of the infidels by converting them to the true faith. Messengers were immediately dispatched to Timbuctu, and to all the countries in which the Fellatahs had spread themselves, and the numbers that responded to the call enabled Danfodio to commence [275/276] his operations without delay. The town he built in the "woods of Ader" was Sokatu, which has ever since been the capital of the Fellatah empire. But here, as in other countries, the crescent is waning, coming, as we believe, "to his end, and none shall help him."

II. (Page 28.)

The following are some of the Yoruba proverbs, given by Mr. Crowther in his vocabulary of the language: [Vocabulary of the Yoruba language, compiled by Rev. S. Crowther, with introductory remarks by the Bishop of Sierra Leone.--Seeleys, Fleet Street.]

"There is," says the Bishop of Sierra Leone in his introductory remarks, "a degree of moral light in them which renders them peculiarly interesting, presenting us with a lively comment on the words of St. Paul concerning the Gentiles, 'which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.' These proverbs, in many instances, display ideas concerning the providence of God, the moral rectitude of actions, or the practice of social virtues, which (to say the least) we should hardly have expected to find in a people so wholly separated from the influences, direct or indirect, of that revelation which God was pleased to make of Himself to man."

For example:--

He who injures another, injures himself.

[277] The time may be very long, but a lie will be detected at last.

He to whom kindness is shown, and he does not return thanks, you may do him ill, and he will not feel that either.

He who has done you a kindness should never be ill used.

Ear, hear the other side before you decide. Anger does nobody good. Patience is the pest disposition. Anger draws arrows from the quiver. Good words draw kola-nuts from the bag.

He who despises another despises himself.

Contempt should never be shown to a fellow-man-

A sick person should never be laughed at; for what happens to him to-day, may happen to you to-morrow.

Disobedience is the father of insolence.

He who sees another's fault knows well how to talk about it, but he covers his own with a potsherd.

He who claps hands for a fool to dance, is himself no better than a fool.

If you have no money to give to a person in distress, you may pay frequent visits; if you cannot visit, you may send good words of the mouth.

He who cannot take up an ant, and yet tries to take up an elephant, will find out his folly.

Every thing has its price; but who can set a price on blood?

A slave is not a block of wood. When a slave dies, his mother hears nothing of it: but when a child dies, there is lamentation; yet the slave was once a child in his mother's house.

[278] You may say that it is only a gentle stroke, but you do not recollect that it hurts the snail.

He who boasts much, can do very little.

A thing that cannot be accomplished should never be undertaken.

No one should ask the fish what is done in the plain, nor should the rat be asked of what takes place in the water.

The dawn does not come twice to wake a man.

He who possesses patience, possesses all things.

Covetousness is the father of unsatisfied desire.

A proverb is the horse of conversation: when conversation flags, a proverb revives it.


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