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Astley, Thomas, A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol II, London, 1745 (excerpts)
The Gold Coast blacks
are generally of a middle stature, well-limbed, and proportioned, with
good oval faces, sparkling eyes, small ears, and their eyebrows lofty
and thick. Their mouths are not too large. Their teeth are curiously
clean, white and well-ranged; and their lips red and fresh. . . They
have little beards before they are thirty, and their elderly men wear
them pretty long. They are usually broad-shouldered, with large arms,
thick hands, long fingers, and long hooked nails, small bellies, long
legs, broad large feet, with long toes, strong waists, and little hair
on their bodies. Their skin, though not very black, is always
smooth and sleek. . . They are very careful in washing their bodies
morning and evening, and annointing them with palm-oil. . .
. Breaking wind, upwards or downwards, they have in great detestation,
and will die sooner than offend that way.
These negros are for the most part of a quick apprehension, and good memory. In the greatest hurry of business they discover no confusion, yet they are very slothful and idle, so that nothing but necessity makes them industrious. They seem, as to temper, indifferent either to prosperity or adversity. . . They are generally cunning, deceitful, and addicted to theft, as well as given to avarice, flattery, drunkenness, gluttony, and lust.. . . They are very vain and proud in their carriage, and bad paymasters.
The women of the Gold Coast are straight, of a middle size, and pretty plump, having small, round heads, sparkling eyes, for the most part high noses, somewhat hooked, long curling hair, little mouths, fine, well-set white teeth, full necks, and handsome breasts.
They are very sharp and witty, extremely talkative, and by Europeans represented as very wanton. . . It is certain they are good house-wives at home . . .They are very fond of their children, frugal in their diet, and tight and cleanly in their persons.
The negros . . . are much addicted to women, so that the foul disease is very frequent here; but they think nothing of it.
. . . they think it no crime to steal from the Dutch; but value themselves on cheating them, considering it as a proof of their skill and ingenuity.
. . . they have incomparable memories; for, though they can neither read nor write, yet they manage their trade with the greatest exactness; so that you shall see one of them manage four marks of gold for twenty particular persons, each of whom wants five or six different commodities, and perform it without hesitation or mistake.
1 Their Diseases, Physicians and Remedies
Arhin, Kwame (ed.) The Cape Coast and Elmina Handbook: Past, present and future, Inst. of African Studies, University of Ghana, 1995. Contains an essay by Kwame Arhin on Cape Coast and Elmina in Historical Perspective.
Debrunner, Hans. W., A History of Christianity in Ghana, Accra 1967.
Royal African, The. _The Royal African; or, Memoirs of the Young Prince of Annamaboe._ London: W. Reeve, c. 1750.
An account by a prince from Anomabo who describes the Gold Coast (18th century), his father the chief, how his brother went to France, how he was sold into slavery and then redeemed, and his reception in England as a prince.