FOREWORD by Gerard van der Peet, Missionary of Africa
INTRODUCTION by Joseph Kenny, O.P.
FIRST LETTER, from Amsterdam, 16 May 1686
SECOND LETTER, from The tsland of Săo Miguel, 14 August 1686
THIRD LETTER, from Targa, 27 November 1686
FOURTH LETTER, from Agadez, 19 September 1687
FIFTH LETTER, Agadez, 29 April 1688
SIXTH LETTER, Salé, 15 April 1690
SEVENTH LETTER, Hamburg, 1 December 1690

by Gerard van der Peet, Missionary of Africa

The translation of Brother Pieter Fardé's Travels and Adventures, as the little book is called by his confrères, has given me great pleasure. (1) It invited me to serious thoughts about missionary work and made me wonder at his spirituality, how well I knew all this and yet how far off it seems today.

The text as it stands is a curious mixture, showing all the traces of its origin. It is dated 1686 - 1690, and people in those days had a rather solemn way of expressing themselves when writing. The author is Belgian and his language seems somehow not only old but also a little foreign, which gives an additional flavour to his text. And then, in the 1903 edition, his language was somewhat updated. All this makes very pleasant reading.

Brother Pieter's spirituality merits to be studied and meditated upon. His arguments, thoughts and prayers seem so much like those of our novitiate that I cannot but be surprised at the thought that between 1680 and 1950 so little seems to have changed, whereas since then everything has become different. But it is still to be proved that our actual spirituality would be as forceful as his, enabling us to do and suffer what he suffered and did.

Although he did not go out to be a missionary, to build a church, to win souls or whatever expression one might use, he was just so full of Christ that he made converts. He did not think of the future, of institutions or organizations; he just lived his faith. (We would very much like to know what became of those 200 Christians in Agadez.) He was just sent to Jerusalem to bring some money to his confrères there... He had no ethnological interest, no catechetical concern; he does not speak about the people and their way of life; he does not worry about liturgy or pastoral or so many other worries that occupy us nowadays. All this seems strange enough, and is full of substantial food for thought for actual missionaries. But then, his world was so straightforward, so clear cut, so simple: one was right or one was wrong. And he knew he was right, and said it. The others however knew also they were right, and almost killed him! I think I still prefer to live now, and let myself be inspired by Brother Pieter's travels and adventures.

by Joseph Kenny, O.P.

In 1686 a thirty-four year old Franciscan brother sailed from Amsterdam intending to assist his brothers working in Jerusalem. On the Mediterranean he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave to a man going to his home in Agadez, in the country now bordering the north of Nigeria. After two years of service he secured his release and tried to find his way to Elmina on the Atlantic coast. He missed his way, but eventually reached Luanda and after further mishaps finally returned home.

Pieter Fardé made no scientific observations and kept no journal as the great 19th century explorers did. His are only personal letters containing news and meditations on his condition. Nevertheless the seven letters he wrote and the other documents relating to him afford us a rare glimpse into the interior of Africa in the late 17th century, showing the astounding extent of communications and trade within Africa on a continental level.

The sources

The letters of Pieter Fardé, written in Flemish (Dutch), were first published in Brussels in 1706. (2) They were reprinted in Ghent in 1720 and again in Brussels in 1778.

Their authenticity was challenged in 1875 by M. Goblet d'Alviella, who stated, "Nous nous trouvons purement et simplement devant une ingénieuse supercherie littéraire." (3) Servasius Dirks undertook to reply to d'Alviella in a French translation of the letters which he published in 1878, (4) and in article published in 1887. (5) An Italian résumé of Dirks' translation was published in 1894 by Marcellino da Civezza, (6)who also makes use of a letter of Pieter's companion in chains, Daniel van Breuchel, a letter of Isaac Leck, who was captured with Pieter and shortly released, and a later letter by Pieter van Rampel, another released slave. (7) The last named, who took an interest in Pieter's fate, collected information about his mishaps at sea after sailing from Luanda and tried to get aid to him. I have not been able to find out whether the last two letters are still extant.

A new edition of the letters, with the Dutch slightly modernized, was published by Stephanus Schoutens at Hoogstraten in 1903, together with the letter of Daniel van Breuchel, the record of Pieter's religious profession and his death notice. This edition is used as the basis of the present study.

In 1911 Cajetan Schmitz published a German résumé of Pieter's letters, (8) which occasioned a revival of the controversy over their authenticity. In a review of the book showing no acquaintance with the debate between d'Alviella and Dirks, Joseph Schmidlin put the letters in the genre of Robinson Crusoe stories and considered them a "pious fraud" published a generation after Pieter's death to promote Franciscan missions. (9) The basis of his opinion was the lack of any confirming information outside the letters of Pieter himself and the vagueness of their historical and geographical details which show no evidence of first-hand experience.

In 1914 Jerome Goyens wrote a rebuttal of Schmidlin's opinion, gathering impressive evidence to show that Pieter Fardé really did exist, was captured by pirates, wrote the letters attributed to him and eventually returned home. (10) Goyens' article included the record of Pieter's admission to the novitiate, a photo-facsimile of his profession statement, a letter of the Franciscan Procurator General to the Provincial of Flanders, 13 February 1679, commending Pieter's help in putting out a fire in the Jesuit house in Ghent, the letter of another missionary in Smyrna, 12 September 1687, condoling his superior over Pieter's capture by pirates, Pieter's death notice, and the testimony of Pacificus Smit, who visited Pieter's tomb in Aachen in 1692. Goyens was able to examine the autograph of Pieter's sixth letter in the archives of the Belgian Franciscans and concluded that it was really authentic and that the published editions reproduced it without fabrication. "La confrontation, que nous avons faite de l'édition du P. Schoutens avec l'autographe, nous a pleinement convaincu, que l'éditeur s'est borné à rajeunir quelques tournures de phrases surannées." (11) A second part of Goyens' article notes that the Bollandists, as early as 1715, published a Latin version of Pieter's death notice. (12) Goyens, however, makes no mention of the letters of Isaac Leck and Pieter van Rampel.

In spite of Goyens' cogent arguments, the learned German professor, Joseph Schmidlin, makes no mention of Pieter Fardé in his Catholic Mission History. (13) Similarly Frans M. Olbrechts takes no note of Goyens, and with a scientistic imagination goes on to dissect the letters into authentic portions and supposed editorial interpolations. (14)

The attention given to the Fardé letters in modern times took place before a mature understanding of pre-colonial African history developed, and appeared in publications and journals scarcely seen in the English-speaking world. It is time now to include the Fardé episode among those few glimpses we have of pre-19th century central Africa. The evidence is sufficient to verify the authenticity of the letters and the fact of Pieter's capture and eventual restoration to his homeland. What is open to question is the accuracy of all the details in his account. An assessment can be made by surveying the contents of the letters and associated documents and discussing the problems they raise, each in its context.

The historical background

Belgium, where Pieter Fardé was born, was united with Spain since the beginning of the 16th century when Charles V inherited the Netherlands from his father and Spain from his grandfather. By 1600 the northern part of the Netherlands had broken away to form the independent state of Holland.

Portugal, annexed by Spain in 1580, regained its independence in 1640, but this was not recognized until 1668. In the meantime Holland became a great maritime power and intruded on Portugal's monopoly in Africa. Elmina, founded by the Portuguese in 1471 on the coast of modern Ghana, was captured by the Dutch in 1637. In 1641 the Dutch also captured Luanda and the other Portuguese ports in Angola, but lost them again in 1648. Congo had once been a thriving kingdom, but a civil war in 1665 left it divided into three parts. The former capital, São Salvador, was burned and abandoned in 1678 and not reoccupied until over thirty years later. The area remained, however, an active centre of trade with the outside world, a fact which presupposes an active internal network of trade. (15)

In the Muslim world the Ottoman Turks had moved into Egypt in 1517, in 1525 took Algiers, and thereafter controlled most of the North African coast through semi-independent pashas and beys. The Turks had absolute power on the Mediterranean until the battle of Lepanto in 1571. Subsequently they confined themselves to pirate raids, operating from North African bases. The pirate fleets, manned mostly by renegades or Europeans captured as children, reached the height of their activity in the 17th century. The defeat of the Turks at Vienna in 1683, followed by their loss of Budapest in 1687, Belgrade in 1688 and Bosnia in 1689, intensified anti-European feeling among the Turks during the time of Pieter Fardé's travels.

Morocco was never under Turkish rule. During the 15th to early 16th centuries the Portuguese and Spanish took advantage of Morocco's weakness to establish many forts along the coast. In 1673 the `Alawid sharîf Ismâ`îl inherited the country his father had reunited and began to retake the Portuguese and Spanish forts. After al-`Arâ'ish fell in 1689 Spain had only fur bases left, including Oran near Turkish Algeria, and Portugal one. Salé, on the Atlantic, was an important Moroccan pirate base.

Outside Morocco and the Turkish controlled coastal area of Algeria the Berber and Arab tribes lived independently, organized mainly under ûfî leaders. In the lower Sahara and Sahel, towns once part of the Songhay empire, like Timbuktu, Jenne and Gao, were ruled as independent city-states by men of mixed Moroccan, Berber and Black descendance. (16) Agadez too was governed by an independent sultan who ruled the whole region of Ahir. This sultanate was at the height of its power under Muammad al-Mubârak (1654-87) and his son and successor Ag-Abba. Around 1674 Agadez annexed the Hausa state of Adar and moved onwards to inflict on Kebbi a blow from which it never fully recovered. In 1685 and again in 1686 Agadez similarly struck at Zamfara and in 1689 attacked Gobir. In the meantime, however, al-Mubârak died on 20 April 1687, perhaps from the epidemic which raged in Agadez from about February 1686 for two years. (17) At this time Katsina and Kano were at peace with one another, but both were very weak because of devastating raids by Kwararafa, especially in 1671.

Pieter Fardé's letters portray a vigorous contest between Protestants and Catholics. This must be appreciated in the context of the times, when Western Christian unity had just recently been severed, and people were strongly intent on reforming wrongs, upholding the truth or restoring broken unity. People are more easily stirred up at the time of a split than generations afterwards.

Ethnic-religious terminology

The term "Barbary" is translated "North Africa" or, when applicable, as "Algeria". Sometimes the word "Algerian" is used; this always refers to the Turks or Turkish ruled territory of Algeria. The term "Moor" seems to have been used generally of any African Muslim or follower of traditional religion, whether Arab, Black or (as will be seen later) even of Indian extraction. In the early 16th century João de Barros referred to Muslim traders at Elmina as "Moors" (Mouros). (18) At the beginning of the 18th century Willem Bosman referred to the famous Aniaba of Assinie as a "Moor". (19) In the 5th letter, because of the context, it is translated specifically as "Moroccan". The word "Muslim" never occurs, and "Muhammadan" only once, in the 6th letter with reference to a Dutch renegade.

Events leading to Pieter Fardé's capture

Pieter Fardé was born in 1652. (20) On 11 September 1671 he received the habit of the Reformed Franciscans and began his novitiate in Ghent, (21) making his solemn profession as a Franciscan brother on 12 September 1672. (22) In the immediately following years his heroic action in helping to put out a fire in the Jesuit house in Ghent was commended in a letter of the Franciscan Procurator General to the Belgian Provincial. (23) During 1682 and 1683 Pieter visited Jerusalem where the Franciscans had a mission. This mission received the encouragement of a letter from Pope Innocent XI on 30 April 1686, which was the occasion for Pieter's volunteering to return to the Holy Land. (24)

On 16 May 1686 Pieter Fardé was already in Amsterdam awaiting departure when he wrote the first letter. It was addressed to his "brother"; this presumably is his married brother, (25) who was a go-between for communications with his other brother, Johannes, parish priest of Wondelghem, his sister Maria Seraphina (apparently a religious sister), (26) and his Franciscan brothers. The other letters must have been sent to the same brother, even though they sometimes say "Dear Brothers and Sister" or Dear Brothers".

—written to a friend before leaving Amsterdam—

Amsterdam, 16 May 1686

Peace be with you, dearest Brother in Christ!

Before leaving I will not neglect your request to write you another goodbye. This could well be the last time that I write to you, since our journey will be very dangerous. The Algerians have broken peace with the Dutch,and we know that they have already captured some Dutch ships both on the ocean and on the Mediterranean Sea. For that reason our departure has been postponed until the 24th or 25th of this month, in order to join some English ships which are going to the East as well. We entrust ourselves to the Lord's goodness and hope to obtain everything that is helpful to our salvation through your kind prayers, since I know that in your brotherly concern you constantly remember me in your prayers, poor sinner that I am, as well as many other needs. I too, with my weak ability, will not neglect to pray for you. I beg you to convey my hearty greetings to N. N. and to all the Fathers and Brothers whom I already greeted previously.

Goodbye then, dearest Brother in Jesus Christ, as though this were my last goodbye in this life. I sincerely confess my guilt for all the evil by which I have scandalized you and many others. I beg you to answer me once more before my departure, since you still have time before the first mail leaves. Goodbye for the last time, dear Brother. I am in a hurry.

Your humble servant,
Brother Pieter Fardé, Franciscan

—to his brothers and sister—

The Island of São Miguel, the Flemish Islands,

14 August 1686

Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ,

My humble greetings and peace to all of you. Since I have this chance, I must write and let you know how we fared before coming to this island.

As far as Lisbon in Portugal everything went as desired, praise God! We arrived all in good health on St. James' Day (25 July). There we heard some bad news for us, namely that in the months of April, May and June Algerian pirate ships on the ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea had captured about twenty Dutch ships, some coming in from the East and others going there. We heard that a good two thousand Dutchmen were taken into slavery, which did not make me happy, the more so since at Texel five young men embarked who were to go to Jerusalem with me. The oldest of them is only twenty-five. Three of them are english nobles and the other two are Dutch pensioners' sons, all good Catholics and highly recommended to me by their parents and friends. On 3 August we set sail again from Lisbon with good weather and the wind behind us, but on the 5th the wind turned completely against us, coming from the southwest. About five miles from land, off Cape St. Vincent, which is the corner between Lisbon and Cadiz, we saw six Algerian pirate ships coming straight towards us. We had three ships: One was a warship to protect us; the other two were freighters, and we were on one of these. Seeing that the pirates were going to pursue us, the captain of the warship blew a trumpet signal to the second captains of the freighters to come to him and plan what to do if the pirate ships attacked us. He gave an order that we should follow close behind him, but have the canon directed forward and prepare everything for battle, since he saw well that we could not flee from the Algerians who were sailing much lighter than we with our loaded ships. So we hoisted all the sails and because of the contrary wind and because we did not want to run straight into the mouth of the wolves who came from the Straits of Gibraltar where we were supposed to go, we changed direction from Cadiz and sailed straight before the wind, heading for the Canary Islands. But we could not reach them, since the wind began to blow from the south. Seeing that we took flight, the pirate ships followed us constantly until the 10th of this month when they overtook and encircled us. Their six ships had our three like a mouse in a trap. They intended to take us without a fight, but our people were ready to fight. We had prepared our three ships with window-houses; that is, we had fastened four masts across the deck of each ship; the masts protruded from each side of the ship the distance of about fourteen or fifteen feet, so that the Algerians could not easily board us from their ships and take us by surprise.

When everyone seemed well resolved to fight, the roll was read to announce what each person had to do, we passengers as well as the seamen. We were fifteen in number, nine bound for Cadiz and we six going to Jerusalem. Three of our group and the other nine were to bring powder and cannonballs, while we three, that is, two of the English noblemen and I, were assigned to bring the canon in and out for leading. After putting everyone at his post, the captain gave each a glass a brandy and encouraged all to fight well, since their survival was at stake. It was a matter of slavery or freedom, the one or the other. When he finished speaking I went up to my companions to warn them that I was convinced that the time had come for someone of our company to die, and we would be separated from one another by death. Therefore I said to them: "In the short time which we have let us act as good Christians; let us use all our effort to repent as best we can, asking God to forgive us all our sins." When they heard me speak of death, they looked at one another with sadness. It was good that all six of us had received communion at Lisbon on St. Ann's day (26 July). I exhorted them to use the opportunity, while we still had it, to pray. We could no longer flee from the Algerians, since they had come so close to us that they were within shotting range of our canon. When the captain of the warship saw that, he opened fire on them and we of the two other ships did likewise. The Algerians answered us all at once and so loudly that it seemed as if all the thunder in the sky was falling on our ships. The third blast broke our foremast. When the captain saw this he bounded up and down from one place to another with a bared sword in his hand, stirring everyone on without fear of the cannonballs which were falling on our ship as thickly as a hail storm. After about two hours of fighting the many canon shots caused us to lose our main mast as well. It fell into the sea along the right side and was a big hinderance to the ship's movement; so we were forced to cut all the ropes and let the mast float away.

Our captain saw that the people were beginning to give up hope, since after losing our two main masts the helmsman was shot and killed and we were beginning to lose men, but all the time he showed himself as courageous as ever and shouted constantly: "Courage, friends fighting for ourselves, not for others."

This took place on 10 August between the Canaries and the Azores. To the east was the island of Madeira, and to the west one called Santa Maria, very near to which is the island of Sao Michel, from where I am writing to you now.

The battle began around 2:00 in the afternoon and lasted until about an hour after sunset. Then we were separated from one another by a severe storm with lightning, thunder, rain and heavy wind, which lasted until 1:00 in the morning. When the weather calmed down we found ourselves separated not only from the Algerians, but also from our lead ship and the other freighter. The separation from our friends caused us much sorrow, because we did not know whether they were captured or lost. Within eight hours we had gone through two fierce storms.

When the weather calmed down, all of us who were not severely wounded went to see the state of our ship. It was hardly recognizable, only a wreck was left. This big ship had only a piece of the small mast, called the jib mast. We had also lost the blind sails, that is, the most forward sails that protrude in front of the ship. The cabin, the captain's room and all the deck were shot off as if they had never been there. The foremost part of the ship was pierced in more than fifty places, bu the worst was that the ship was leaking in seven places and was one third full of water. Most of the freight was spoiled and we were in danger of sinking.

The fist thing we did was to raise the cross sail and the jib. Then everyone busied himself pumping water out of the ship and repairing the leaks. This work lasted four hours. Then we let the ship drift by the grace of god. We took supper then, but not as much bread as usual was needed since, because of the dead and wounded, we were much fewer. We looked like monsters, black with powder and red with the blood which either was flowing or lay clotted all over the ship, making it look like a slaughterhouse of men. One could not put a foot down without finding dead people. The crying and moaning of the wounded was so dreadful to hear that our hearts seemed to fail from sorrow. The captain, the bravest of us all, told us to help one another through the works of mercy, caring for the wounded and burying the dead. That night we buried at sea twenty-three, including four passengers. One of the was from our company, one of the three English nobles who had been assigned with me to help the gunners. That same night nine legs and six arms were amputated. Five passengers underwent this operation, including two of our company, that is, one of the other Englishmen and an 18 year old Dutchman. The latter had his leg amputated one palm under the groin. He died the next day, however, and was buried at sea. There were also eleven people less seriously wounded, of whom I was one. While bringing the canon in to load it, I was straining hard to pull it and my body along with my habit were bent over to the left. A cannonball came flying right next to my left leg and pierced my habit without touching my leg, but a splinter of wood from the same ball hit me below the backbone, right in the buttocks, which immediately swelled as big as a head. The medic bandaged it, and I hope that with the grace of God all will be well.

The next day, the 11th of this month, seeing that the ship could go no further with the little sail that was left, we went onto a lifeboat and another craft to look for our mast and found it at an hour's distance from the ship. We put it up again as best we could and attached the sails that were still serviceable, so as to bring the ship to the island of Sao Michel, where we arrived the 13th of this month. Her the ship will have to be repaired.

Here we met two English ships bringing sugar and tobacco from the West Indies, having fled here because of the storm of three days ago. Hearing of our situation, some of their men came aboard our ship. One of their helmsmen, Cornelis Janssens by name, born in Oostende and a Catholic, seeing me in my habit, came up and asked whether he could render me any service; he would be pleased to do so, he said, but I should hurry and write, since he was leaving the next day. He told me also that when he delivered his ship in England he planned to go immediately to Amsterdam where he lives with his wife, and then he would go once more as helmsman on one of the ships that leave usually after Christmas for Smyrna, Cyprus and Egypt. I am taking this good occasion to write, knowing for sure that this letter will be delivered properly, because this helmsman is a competent person.

I beg you to be kind enough to answer me. he promises to see that your letter reaches me and will readily pay the postage from Ghent to Amsterdam. So be sure to write telling me how you are and how are my brother the parish priest and my beloved sister, Sr. Maria Seraphina. I beg you do not be troubled because of this news, but pray heartily to the good God who has brought me this far and delivered me from the hands of our enemies into which we had already fallen, so to speak. Beg him to carry us onward and protect us, as I hope, by his bitter passion and death, and by the intercession of his most holy Mother, of my holy guardian angel, of my holy Father Francis and of St. Anthony of Padua to whom I especially turn.

Up to now we have not gone far on our journey and we still have to go over the way the wolves roam most. But I trust in God's mercy and grace with the intercession of the saints named above that whether I live or die may serve the salvation of my soul; for three days ago quite a few preceded us and in a frightful manner, as you have read, and you can be sure that it was more frightful than I have described. My Brothers and Sister, when you have read this letter, carry it immediately to Brother Franciscus Simons, the porter, so that it may be read by the Very Reverend Father Provincial and by others who may so desire, for I have not enough time to write more than this, since the ship is leaving for England. Please offer them my excuses. My best wishes to the Very Reverent Father Provincial and to all the reverend Fathers and Brothers as well. Poor little brother that I am, I humbly recommend myself for God's sake to the holy sacrifices of the Fathers and the good prayers of the Brothers.

P.S. I beg someone to have the kindness to write telling me which of our Brothers have died, so that I may pray for them according to my obligations.

The address to put on the envelope so that my friend may deliver your letter to me is: Cornelis Janssens, helmsman, at the house of Michael Semele, the end of Laurier Street, near the Boom, in the Laurier, Amsterdam.

—to his brothers and sister—

Targa (27)
27 November 1686

Very dear Brothers and Sister,

Here in Algeria I found a way to send a short letter home, having met a slave born in Saardam who has been in slavery for three years and who tells me he has often written letters to his friends and always received an answer. I humbly bet you, if you receive this letter, to give it to the Very Reverend Father Provincial to read.

I am anxious to know whether you received the letter I wrote to you from the island of Sao Michel. If you have received it, please be so good as to answer it together with this one.

I will tell you briefly how I got here. I do not have enough time to explain at length, but when I reach the town of Agadez, about one hundred miles further (28) where my master lives, with the help of God I will tell you more about everything. From the island of Sao Michel I wrote you that our ship would be repaired there and as soon as it was ready it would sail again, as in fact happened. On 10 September we left the island of Sao Michel to continue our journey, and on 4 October we arrived at Cadiz where no one was allowed to go ashore except some debarking passengers. Since the wind was favourable, we left Cadiz the same day. Everything went admirably well until the 19th of the same month when we were between North Africa and Crete. Very early in the morning we found before us some ships heading in our direction. Seeing that they were Algerians, we shot the canon at them and they at us. From that shelling our ship caught fire. Seeing that we could not put the fire out, we thought it better to jump into the water than explode with the ship. Each of us kept only the trousers he was wearing and a life buoy with a rope. A half hour later the ship exploded and everyone looked for a piece of the wreck to float on.

There we floated until about noon, when we were picked up by the Algerian pirates. They put us in the hold, chained us two by two and brought us to the town of Annaba (29) where we were sold. Of the four of us (who were bound for Jerusalem) two went to a merchant of that town, while myself and the writer (30) went to a Moorish gentleman coming from Persia and returning to his country and town called Agadez. I must go there with him. He had been a slave himself for seven years in Livorno and speaks Italian. I need not write about the condition I am in at present, since you can easily surmise that from what normally happens in such cases. Nevertheless I have thousands of reasons to be grateful to Almighty God for many things which happened to me. The name of Jesus Christ be praised and blessed for all eternity by all tongues and all nations.

Every day I pray and will pray as long as I live to be allowed to suffer for my sins, which are many and great, because it is better to suffer in time than in eternity.

While writing this I am called to leave; it pains me not to be able to write more. My heartiest greetings to each of you. Pray to Almighty God for me that I may obtain love to cherish him above all and my neighbour as myself, because everything consists in that, the whole Law and the Prophets; and this love I also recommend to you, whatever be your situation.


Agadez, 19 September 1687

Dear Brothers,

I, Brother Pieter Fardé, your brother and now a slave of Sura Belin, (31) with you all the grace and peace of God our Father and the love of Jesus Christ, with the consolation of his Holy Spirit, health and happiness etc.

Your most welcome and consoling letter, dated 9 July 1687, was delivered to me at Agadez on 17 September. Reading it, I understand that both of you, my dearest Brothers, were quite saddened, along with my dearest Sister. Likewise in the letters of the Very Reverend Father Coen, Vicar Provincial,and of Brother Franciscus Simons I read that the Brothers are sad because of my mishap of encountering pirates and their terrible attack, followed by such a terrifying lightning and thunderstorm with blasting winds and pouring rain. The sea was so turbulent that from sheer fear our hair stood on end, for our ship was beaten by one wave after another as if it were going to be swallowed by the billowing waves that beat upon us as if crashing from high mountains into deep valleys. In this terrible storm we suffered more anxiety than in the fearsome battle against the pirates, as you can read in the letter I wrote from the island of São Michel. No less fearsome was the second encounter with Algerian pirates on the Mediterranean Sea on 19 October 1686 between Crete and North Africa when they fired at our ship, quickly setting it ablaze. We were forced to jump into the sea so as not to explode with the ship. Shortly after our ship exploded and sank we were all picked up by the Algerians from the sea. They chained us two by two by the feet in the hold of the ship and took us to the town of Annaba in Algeria, where they sold us. together with Daniel van Breuckel I was brought deep into the country of the Moors to the kingdom of Agadez. I am extremely sad about this because it makes your hearts anxious over what has happened to me. I know that your anxiety is rooted in the tender devotedness and brotherly love which you all have for me. My hope, however, is that it all happened through God's mighty hand to test me for some purpose unknown to me, because God's judgements are wonderful. In the meantime I thank Almighty God because in his unbounded grace and mercy he came to visit me with such a test, since he has given and still gives me the force and help to bear it; if not I would have collapsed long ago, because my spirit, as if to say, is pressed down by the many dreadful events that happened to me on this journey. Although God seems to test me a little now, I will not love him less, but on the contrary try to love him more and more and ask his Majesty for help and assistance. For it is said: "Call to me when trouble comes; I will save you" (Ps 50). Certainly we have been visited by the Lord our God; so I may aptly use the words of the Psalmist: "You have put us to the test, God; as silver is purified by fire, so you have tested us" (Ps 66). Tried by crosses, misery and adversity, I can truly say with Isaiah: "I have tested you in the fire of suffering, (not) as silver is refined in a furnace" (Is 48:10). This prophet means to say not as harshly as one purifies silver, but with mercy, because the Lord our God often uses such a manner of speaking regarding those he visits with adversity. so he says: "And I will test the third that survives and will purify them as silver is purified by fire. I will test them as gold is tested. Then they will pray to me, and I will answer them. I will tell them that they are my people, and they will confess that I am their God" (Zech 3:9). That is, when God by his grace has made us carry the cross of suffering until we have been converted with true repentance, then with his loving kindness he will shower his gifts on us again. For the Psalmist said: "When they call to me, I will answer them; when they are in trouble, I will be with them. I will rescue them and honour them" (Ps 40). Rightly David calls people happy who have been tried in such a way by the Lord, when he says: "Happy is the nation of whom this is true; happy are the people whose God is the Lord" (Ps 144). Yes, happy indeed is he who stands in the covenant and the grace of God. god is the source of all blessing and happiness, and in him is the highest good. He visits us, each in different ways, with great adversities and many sufferings. He lays crosses on us, but in a fatherly way. For our consolation we read in the first letter of St. Peter the purpose of these trials: "Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and os your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honour on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed. You love him, although you have not seen him, and you believe in him, although you do not now see him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express, because you are receiving the salvation of your souls, which is the purpose of your faith in him" (1 Pt 1:7-8). Therefore it should not sadden us to suffer when the Lord visits us in any way it pleases his divine Majesty. As Job says, "Happy is the man whom God corrects! Do not resent it when he rebukes you. God bandages the wounds he makes; his hand hurts you, and his hand heals (Jb 5:17-18). I remember having read in a small book in the library of Ghent a good saying, I think of St. Gregory, and it seems very appropriate here, since experience has brought home to me the truth of it. It goes like this: "Yes, there is no greater trial than no to be tried, and no heavier punishment than not to be punished," for punishment from the Lord is a sure sign that we are real children of God, who as a father sends it to us: "because the Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a son" (Hb 12:6). Therefore bear gladly what it pleases the Lord to lay on us. Perhaps you have a cross which is too heavy to be seen exteriorly. Thomas à Kempis says very well in the 12th chapter of his second book: "Whatever arrangement we make, we always have to suffer, for better or for worse." I advise you, my dearly beloved Brothers, to read that chapter often for your consolation. There you will see how good suffering is. Do not doubt it: by faith one can carry many, even heavy crosses; yes, one can do almost supernatural things, as the holy apostle Paul explains at length to the Hebrews (32) while telling what our ancestors did and suffered through faith. We must suffer steadfastly in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ until death, for its is written: "Whoever holds out to the end will be saved" (Mt 24:13).

Therefore we must follow with patience the course that has been set for us, while fixing our eyes on the supreme guide, the perfector of our faith, Jesus. should some strong temptation ever trouble us or be about to conquer us, then we must have recourse to God and exclaim with David: "I call to you in times of trouble, because you answer my prayer" (Ps 86). This means we must invoke him in truth with a humble and contrite heart when we are in danger, praying for mercy and grace.

I read in your letters that you received news about me from Malta, from two men named Isaac Leck and Pieter van Rampel who were liberated from slavery. Praised and blessed be god! and may he bless them. They wrote to you what happened to us on our journey; so I will not tell you any more about it, since they have said enough. I also gather from your letter that they told you about a change of faith which took place among some of the men. (33) Perhaps they wrote more about this than is really the case. I do not know, but what I do know is that for everything that happened all glory and honour must be given to God and that I was only the very least instrument of it. Had there been on hand anyone else of my rank (for lesser than I there is none), he would have shown more zeal for the name of Jesus Christ than this poor creature did. Meanwhile I thank God for his grace and mercy that they wrote to you anyway about this acquisition for our Religion, even though when we were still chained in the hold of the Algerian ship I begged them not to make known to anyone what happened. God must have wanted it otherwise, and since that is so, the following will let you see what has happened here in Agadez for the advantage of religion. But I am still in need of that same zeal and steadfast love for Christ which St. Paul had and which I desire for myself and for all men.

Arriving at Agadez with my master, I found a French Huguenot called Louis de la Place, who had been here as a slave of my master's brother for a year and a half. Seeing that I was a religious, he began to flatter me, saying that God had given me the grace to bring me into slavery so that I might so much the better be freed from my error and idolatry, as they cal the Roman Catholic religion. That is what they want to make the people believe, and they put it in their catechism in order to arouse their adherents from childhood with hatred against Roman Catholics. At any rate in their Heidelberg catechism called the White one, it is written concerning the holy Mass that this is nothing else but a denial of Jesus Christ's only sacrifice and suffering and a cursed idolatry. They talk the same way of the other sacraments.

Now this flattering tongue came to blandish me daily, saying that if I were willing to help him we could easily bring the people to the true Christian faith. He said that he belonged to the reformation of Calvin. I spoke against that as well as I could with God's help, maintaining that there was no true church to be found outside the Catholic Apostolic Roman Church; and thus we came to debate, although I have no ability for that. Nevertheless it was a good occasion to talk with one another about religious matters, since he had to help me with the construction of a house for my master. When the building is completed I am due to obtain my freedom together with Daniel van Breuckel. but the latter does not need it any more, for he died on 15 August from the heavy labour, so I think to which he was not accustomed; he melted away from the heat which is very great here. Pray God to have mercy on him and encourage me, for now I am the only one still here of about 90 persons who were on our ship.

When the Frenchman mentioned above saw that he could not succeed with me, but on the contrary in matters of faith I was opposing him and some other people here, he came to me and pretended to be ready to accept the Catholic faith, proclaiming to recognize and stand for the Roman Church as the only true church. He maintained this attitude for several days so as better to obtain the aim that he deceitfully cherished in his heart. God forgive him.

On 7 March he went with some Jews who were at one with him to the judges and accused me of leading the people to the Roan, papish, idolatrous Church. In order to confirm their accusation the Huguenot and the Jews became heathen (= Muslims). Then I was made a prisoner, with my master, who is a good man, taking the loss. God has given him the grace to become a Catholic with all his household, without any others who are not of his household knowing it. Before by imprisonment i was with him as though I were not a slave. My enemies also saw that, and they could not stand it. I had a beautiful occasion to talk about the faith; only they betrayed me so treacherously. It is true as David says: "A wicked man does not care about God.. His speech is filled with curses, lies and threats; he is quick to speak hateful and evil words" (Ps 10). Not only that, but he adds: "The wicked man plots against the good man... to slaughter those who do what is right" (Ps 37). The godless man knows who to do that to a good man, putting on the false front that he is his best friend; his heart is false and his tongue flatters. David says: "His words were as soothing as oil, but they cut like sharp swords" (Ps 55). Yes, they hut to death and try as much as they can to ruin, destroy and tear to pieces, as is shown when David had to flee before Saul, as he says: "Their teeth are like spears and arrows; their tongues are like sharp swords" (Ps 57).

The Frenchman mentioned above is at present, in recompense for his fidelity, supervisor over all the slaves who are in Agadez.

When they brought me into prison I was very ill the first day, and sill more the second day. I thought for sure that I would die, but that was not the Lord's wish.

After six days my master redeemed me for 600 patacons, because he needed me to finish his house; but the judges put the condition that as soon as the house was completed he should sell me outside the kingdom of Agadez and that all the time I stayed there I should speak no more about the Faith, under penalty of severe punishment. Fear of punishment would not have kept me from speaking, but my master asked me not to, saying that it would result in more harm than good. Taking everything into careful consideration, I thought it best to follow his advice, for fear that he and all his household might return to heathenism (= Islam).

Under these conditions I was taken out of prison and brought to my master's house to recover from my ailments. It did not please me much that they came to fetch me; I would have preferred to stay in their hands so that they might fulfil their original plan. But since the Lord would not have it, there was nothing better for me, as for all people, than to submit to God's will and good pleasure, as David teaches us: "How I love to do your will, my God" (Ps 40). Christ himself gave us the example when he submitted himself totally to the will of his heavenly Father: "Yet not what I want, but what you want" (Mt 26:39). Furthermore Christ says for our instruction: "Because I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me" (Jn 6:30> I hope that these numerous holy examples and your good prayers will strengthen me to bear my slavery patiently for the love of God, for the salvation of my soul, and for the edification of my neighbour.

The Frenchman mentioned above was also told by the judges to guard me; so he is now my foreman in the things I have to do for my master. I am not allowed to talk when outside the hearing and sight of my guards. As soon as I had recovered they came to take me from the house of my master and gave me, not far from the new building, a small cellar under the street to live in, where the light must come in from the front through the door. The Frenchman holds the key; he comes to take me out in the morning and shuts me in again at night. Every day he gives me two pounds of bread which he throws at me like a dog. He does not address me like a human being but like a beast, with angry and spiteful words; the least he says is "maudit papiste", that is, "damned papist". He looks at me with cruel eyes and cannot stand me at all, because it is not enough in his estimation for him to have been appointed my guard by the judges and to have power over me in everything. For he still may not beat me, because my master asked and obtained this restriction from the judges, and therefore he seems to burst with resentment.

What evil hasn't man's envy brought about ever since the beginning and still now, as one can see in Joseph's brothers. Because he was loved by his father they hated him and could not talk friendly with him. In the same way Eldad and Medad were envied by Josuah because they had the spirit of prophecy and prophesied in the camp (Cf. Nm 11:26-9). He envied them so much that he asked Moses to forbid them to prophesy. How much did Saul not envy David because the women cried and sang: "Saul has killed thousands, but David tens of thousands" (1 Sam 18:7). These words kindled such envy in Saul that he wanted to kill David, but he was delivered by God's almighty hand where he had put al his trust. He himself takes pride in having had confidence in God, as one can read in many of his psalms which teach us all to put our trust in god and not in man. It is also said: "Cursed is the man who puts his trust in man... whose heart turns from the Lord" (Jer 17:5). No, far from us should be the thought of trusting men or "fearing those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell" (Mt 10:28). When envious people see that they are not being feared they seem to burst with spite because they cannot attain their aim. Speaking of such people, the Psalmist says: "The wicked see this and are angry; they glare in hate and disappear" (Ps 112). Do we not see when Christ did miracles how the Jews and the elders of the Synagogue did not want to see him any longer because of the hatred they had for him, and how Pilate himself was convinced that they had delivered him into his hands out of envy? For it is written: "He knew very well that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous" (Mk 15:10). They wanted to force him to crucify Jesus and release Barabbas; yes, envy was so much at work here that the godless man was released and the innocent Christ had to suffer; for it is written: "Pilate wanted to please the crowd; so he set Barabbas free for them. Then he had Jesus whipped and handed him over to be crucified" (Mk 15:15). And it is written of Peter and the other apostles that after the example of christ they did many miracles by the power of their Lord and Master in Jerusalem, which seemed to make the high priests burst with envy. "Then the High Priest and all his companions, members of the local party of the Sadducees, became extremely jealous of the apostles; so they arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail" (Acts 5:17). All the apostles, all the courageous martyrs were treated after the example of their Lord Jesus Christ. This should be an incentive for me and for you, wen we are suffering, to bear it willingly and steadfastly for the love of him who suffered so much for us; for "God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16). God did this for our spiritual ailments, so that his Son would take our sins on himself, carry them and make up for them, as Isaiah said long ago about Christ: "He endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne... Because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did" (Is 53:4-5). St. Paul confirms this, saying: "God has shown us how much he loves us - it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us" (Rm 5:8). Certainly what a wonderful decision of our God! We sinned and yet he who has no sin, but on the contrary is the most just and innocent in heaven and on earth, pays our debt, undergoes the punishment for our sins, and that with love. "He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death, his death on the cross" (Phil 2:8). So he gave us an example of the utmost humiliation of himself, submitting himself in everything to the will of this Father. He teaches us that when he wishes to send us one cross or another we should accept it all from his divine hand and receive it willingly, for he knows what is necessary for our salvation, while up in heaven a great reward is awaiting us, as christ himself says: "Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the kingdom of heaven belongs to them" (Mt 5:10). Let us pray to God, then, that we may share in suffering as well as in the kingdom of heaven. The holy apostle Peter says: "But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are!" (1 Pt 3:14). Christ himself had to suffer, for Luke testifies: "Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?" (Lk 24:26). For our sadness we shall enjoy gladness, as Solomon says: "The hopes of god men lead to joy" (Pr 10:28). These are consoling words for those who suffer, for he who suffers patiently may expect that joy which is certain because it is founded on God's promise, as the Apostle points out to us: Patience, trouble and "hope do not disappoint us, for God has poured our his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us" (Rm 5:4). Not that oppression brings joy by its own nature, but Christ through his Spirit gives us strength for it, as is written: "I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world" (Jn 16:330. This means that wen we are in trouble for christ's sake we should not be upset, but should rely steadfastly on Christ's promise. He assures us that he will assist us in such trouble with his Spirit, who will not only console and strengthen us, but will also inspire us how we are to speak in our defence in times of oppression and persecution. Christ says: "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper... The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember al that I have told you" (Jn 14:16,26). That is, he will remind us again and again constantly what he said and taught while on earth, to strengthen us and enable us to speak in our defence when we have to suffer for his sake. We must suffer as members of Christ after the example of Christ: "Just as we have a share in Christ's many sufferings, so also through Christ we share in god's great help" (2 Cor 1:5) And so it is that al the other promises are fulfilled, in particular that of eternal happiness which will follow hereafter.

In all the things that happened to me on this journey I have been very much consoled by the thought that, when I was still in my province, I did not want to do or omit anything, nor to go or to stay anywhere, unless with the permission of my superiors; and they ordered me to make this journey. I left everything in their hands and to their decision, to do what they wished and thought best and not what I chose. That submission made many things easier for me than they really were. So, although I find myself now in a far away land, I don't want to do or omit anything without the advice and approval of my superiors, because in so doing I have found great peace.

Thereafter I beg my very reverent Superiors to advise me what I am to do in these circumstances. As soon as the construction is finished I must be sold outside the kingdom of Agadez. but my master asked me whether I could return the 200 patacons he had to give the judges for my release. Then he would not sell me, but according to his promise let me go free when his house is finished, which I think should be around May. It seems that my master clings too much to the money he had to pay the judges. Had I not happened to have been imprisoned I would have been free without having to give a penny. My master says that he gave that money three months after his promise to me. Yet I thanked him for his good car and asked him to be patient a bit more until I get your answer to the letter I wrote to you from Targa. He has allowed me this.

Meanwhile I heard that the town of St. George d'Elmina belongs to the States of Holland. It lies in Guinea on the sea in the south of Africa. The merchants living there carry on much trade with the surrounding kingdoms here which extend along the river Niger. In order not to waste any time I wrote there to a merchant to whom I was referred, named M. Colck. He answered me that if I could have the 200 rijksdaalders paid in Amsterdam to the account of his brother, Bartholomeus Colck, as soon as he learned that the money was paid he would come to my aid.

Now I recommend this to God. See whether you can afford to pay the amount mentioned. I would be extremely pleased if you could do so, but if it is difficult for you I will still be pleased and shall consider it God's will that I be sold again. Therefore I beg you not to blame me for writing to you for the means of my liberation, nor to think that I am demanding my right or have any right to the amount needed for my ransom and any money for my return journey. All that is up to your good pleasure, no less and no more. No, dear Brothers, far from me be the thought of exacting anything from you. If I recalled all the good things I received from you previously I would not dare to ask, but your letter moved me to tears and encouraged me to allow you to provide the means for my liberation. Yes, it was so sweet for me to read those words full of merciful love: "As for us, your two brothers, we wish to be able to contribute to your liberation with the best part of our blood. Jus indicate a way to do that; we will gladly accept it."

Likewise I read in the letter of the Very Reverent Father Coen, Vicar Provincial, that he ordered all the houses of the province to pray for me, so that they may know where I am kept in slavery and eventually offer me help and assistance. Not only in our province have they prayed for me, but also in that of Brabant, as Brother Franciscus Simons writes me. This was ordered by the Reverend Father Maes, General Commissary, when he visited that province. Brother Franciscus also lent me a helping hand, offering his services, if need be, to beg alms to help towards ransoming me. to Almighty God be praise and thanks for all eternity, since it pleased his divine mercy to move your hearts to compassion and to such an act of love. I hope he will not let it go unrewarded. Paul says that when he was persecuting the Christians of Damascus, he heard a voice crying: "Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?... I am Jesus" (Acts 9:4,5). In this way Christ lets us know that he considers persecution of his own as done to himself. The same holds for acts of love. Wanting to teach this to the Galatians, the same apostle says that the ceremonies of the Jews which are prescribed by the law are of no value in the kingdom of Christ under the New covenant: "For when we are in union with Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it makes any difference at all; what matters is faith that works through love" (Gal 5:6). Fro the whole Law is fulfilled in one commandment: "Love your neighbour as you love yourself." In this place Paul teaches that this commandment is a means of adopting and partaking in the justice of Christ; this is the reward for the love we show God and our neighbour. The holy apostle James calls this commandment the royal law given by God to Moses. Christ also gives it the highest recommendation: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind... Love your neighbour as you love yourself. The while law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments" (Mt 22:37-40). Writing to the Romans, Paul praises this commandment most highly and, after repeating most of the ten commandments, says that all are contained and summed up in the following: "Love your neighbour as you love yourself" (Rm 13:9). And talking to the Ephesians, he shows us whose footsteps we must follow: "Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us" (Eph 5:2). Christ so loved us that he allowed himself to be slaughtered for our redemption while we were all still slaves of the devil, and therefore he says: "I give you a new commandment: love one another" (Jn 13:34).

Continuing in his letter, St. James emphasises that faith in Christ consists in proving active love by deeds and not by words as many mouth-Christians do. The faith that justifies us before God is not only knowledge with assent or an exterior profession of the articles of the Faith, but also a steadfast confidence of the heart in the grace of God in Christ which conceives and brings forth good works of love in the true faithful. He says: "What good is it for someone to say that he has faith if his actions do not prove it? Can that faith save him? Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don't have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, 'God bless you! Keep warm and eat well! - if you don't give them the necessities of life?" (Jm 2:14-16). Again the same apostle says: "As the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without actions is dead" (Jm 2:26). Faith without works is like the faith of the devils. They too believe there is a God for whom they tremble and shudder. We must have the faith of Abraham. This holy patriarch was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. Rahab also, the common woman, was justified through her works, because she received in her house the spies of the sons of Israel sent by Josuah to spy the land of Jericho, and she released them from the hands of the king by letting them down through a window and showing them another way.

By these examples of Abraham and Rahab St. James proves to us that they were saved not just by faith but also by their works, as he says: "Can't you see? His faith and his actions worked together; his faith was made perfect through his actions" (Jm 2:22). Therefore show me your faith by your works. That is, if someone claims to have the true faith and takes pride in that he must show it by his works, as a good tree shows by its fruits that it is a good tree. The same apostle therefore says: "I will show you my faith by my actions" (Jm 2:18). That is to say, the fruits of true faith show that it is right. We will gain nothing by crying out that we have the true faith if we do not, as far as we can, comply with its demands; for "God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful" (Jm 2:13). It is also written: "Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do" (Mt 7:21). In God's judgement those who simply know the Law and take pride in it are not recognized and declared just but those who act according to the Law. "It is not by hearing the Law", says Paul, "that people are put right with God, but by doing what the Law commands" (Rm 2:13). It is therefore the will of God our heavenly Father and the highest commandment to love him with our whole heart and all our strength and out neighbour as ourselves without excepting any person. In that consists the total fulfilment of the Law. Therefore St. John admonishes us with the following loving words: "Let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God... for God is love... If someone says he loves God, but hates his brother, he is a liar. For he cannot love God, whom he has not seen, if he does not love his brother, whom he has seen" (1 Jn 4:7-8,20). He teaches that it is impossible for someone to love God if he does not support his suffering brother. He says: "If a rich person sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against his brother, how can he claim that he loves God?" (1 Jn 3:17). It is impossible for the love of god to remain in someone unless he opens his heart to it and helps his brother who is suffering, because when the crowds asked Jesus what they had to do, he answered: "Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none" (Lk 3:11).

Let us follow the advice of Christ, that we may avoid the merciless judgement of being cut off and thrown into eternal fire. There is no better means for that than really practising true love for our neighbour.

Dear Brothers, what more shall I write about love, since, as you well know, there is no end to love. Holy Scripture recommends to us nothing so strongly as love: love for God and love for our neighbour. All other gifts will come to an end, but love will be for all eternity. Yes, love, which is a joy of the spirit, enables us to love God for himself and our neighbour, that is all men, even our enemies, for God's sake. Above all put on love. It is the best clothing a Christian can wear. It is not only necessary, but also useful, as St. Paul showed. Christ said: "Then everyone will know that you are my disciples" (Jn 13:35); and St. Peter says: "Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins" (1 Pt 4:8).

I hope that all this is unnecessary, because I do not doubt, dear Brothers, that you know all I have said a thousand times better than I do, poor simple person that I am.

I notice from your letters that you have taken up the pen only to let me know how you are urged by brotherly love to help me, the more so because I took up my journey only out of obedience to my superiors. I myself out of love had undertaken to collect alms for the needy brothers of Jerusalem and Judea, and I considered that the superiors could not assign me to a more beautiful service of love. I find that Barnabas and Paul were given a similar service of love, namely to carry alms from Antioch to Jerusalem to the brothers suffering from want.

Now then, dear Brothers, the Lord wished me to be assigned to such a charitable service, and then to meet the Algerians and, to the greater glory of his name I trust, to be maltreated greatly by them. But why he has delivered me more than others from so many dangers of death, I do not know. Also it is not proper for me to inquire why God in his mercy wished to do so, for such hidden things belong to our Lord and God. But it is proper for us to adore the Supreme Majesty who rules heaven and earth, and to lose ourselves adoring him with holiness, having a humble opinion about ourselves and a great childlike carefulness, fearing to do or to omit anything whereby we might anger him. Therefore it is good to follow the advice of the apostle: "Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation" (Ph 2:12). We should zealously use the means which God recommended to us. With all our heart we must trust the Lord our God, not rely on our reason. We should recognize him in all our ways and all our doings; he will make our way straight. Let us not be wise in our own eyes, but fear the Lord and avoid evil. That is what the wise Solomon teaches us: Whatever we intend or begin, whatever we say, do or omit, we should regulate it all according to God's law, aiming in the right direction, in order to come to the longed-for final fulfilment of our life. No one is good in himself but only in so far as God, who alone is good, lets us share his goodness.

If I am writing to you for help, it is only on the advice of the Apostle who says: "Were you a slave when God called you? Well, never mind; but if you have a chance to become a free man, use it" (1 Cor 7:21). I would still not have done it, but I see in your letters that you desire nothing other than to have a chance to help me. You also know, as i observe in your letters, that you are only stewards appointed by God over all you possess, whether it is little or much, so that you may spend it for his service; it is not so that you can amass treasures for yourselves on earth but to help you obtain treasures in heaven. Well then, persevere in this good desire of yours, so that on the last day of judgement it may be said to each of us in particular: "Well done, you good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share my happiness!" (Mt 25:21).

Since I see that you are bent on ransoming me, we will have to consider the matter well and consult well with my reverent superiors. I will pray God to move your hearts to what is best for me: ransoming me or not. If you do so I will consider it God's will; yet, although I have written to you about the works of mercy, I tell you for the second time: if you do not ransom me I will also consider it God's will, for nothing is better or more necessary for our salvation, as Thomas à Kempis says, than to will what God wills and not to will what he does not will.

I beg you to answer me immediately you receive this letter, better by the first posting than by the second, because it will be Easter before I ever receive your letter. If you and my superiors agree to ransom em, I would advise you to do immediately to Jan Greniers, behind our monastery, who best can give you a letter of exchange for Amsterdam without demanding money for it. The amount is 200 patacons for my ransom, plus what you might judge necessary for my return journey. (34) You should enclose the letter of exchange in your letter and send it along with the letters destined for me to Mr. Bartholomeus Colck. Everything will be duly delivered. I have received a letter from St. George d'Elmina saying that letters of exchange to Amsterdam always arrive if they are brought to the post office, even if they contain thousands. You need not be afraid, because in Amsterdam letters of exchange arrive from all quarters of the world.

If you should not agree to ransom me, just send your letters all the same to Mr. Colck; they will be duly delivered.

Be glad for all of this, dearest Brothers and Sister. Be joyful, be one of mind, live in peace, and the God of love will be with you. My greetings to you together with all the reverend Fathers and pious Brothers and all friends and acquaintances likewise. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. I recommend myself to your prayers to obtain from the loving God that things may go well for me, your poor brother, especially for my soul. It is the recommendation of St. James that we should pray for one another, when he says: "The prayer of a good man has a powerful effect" (Jm 5:16).

With God's love I remain your humble servant and brother,
Brother Pieter Fardé,
unworthy Franciscan and slave of Sura Belin, at Agadez

—written from Agadez the day after Pieter Fardé's release from prison—

Dear Friend in Christ,

Having found an occasion to write to my uncle, I cannot forego reporting to you how things are with your brother, my good friend, at a time when he himself cannot make use of this occasion, although he has often desired to write to you from Agadez.

I want to inform you that we arrived at Agadez on 14 December 1686. During our journey from Annaba to Agadez he tried to please our master in all things and was very careful to do what he was told to do. Everything seemed to be easy for him, although what he had to do was difficult. He could converse in Italian with our master, who himself had been a slave in Livorno; they understood one another also in Arabic, which the Brother knew a little, and in Moorish in which the Brother was very fluent. (35) Our master was very pleased to see that the Brother was so clever in everything, and so slowly a certain intimacy developed between the two. Our master discovered that the Brother knew something about architecture, and that pleased him very much, since he intended to build a beautiful Italian-style palace outside the town. The brother drew various plans. Our master chose the one he like best and said: "As soon as this has been built you will be free, or get 200 rijksdaalders." Falling on his knees, he said that he was his slave and could not claim any money from such a kind gentleman and master. But when the construction was completed according to his wish and pleasure, "then," he said, "I ask liberty for myself and for my brother", meaning me, and while he said that he gave me a signal to fall on my knees as well. Seeing that he had such great compassion on his neighbour, the gentleman agreed to his request and said that he too had been a slave but never had experience of one slave interceding for another before he himself was free.

The construction started on 2 February 1687. The Brother was in charge of everything. All he asked, labourers and material alike, was given to him. There were many workers: Moors, Jews and Christian slaves, so that the construction made good progress. Since he had liberty to speak to everyone, he spoke sometimes of the Faith as well. Speaking as plainly as he could, he said that no salvation can be had except through Jesus Christ crucified, and in the true Catholic and Apostolic Church.

To the Jews he proved that Christ is the true Messiah promised by God to Abraham and his descendants. He demonstrated this to them mostly from the prophets, from Moses to Malachi. He also showed that the New Testament, written by the four Evangelists and the Apostles, testifies to us that in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ all has been accomplished which the prophets foretold about him, from his birth until his ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

The Moors did not seem to give him much trouble, because they knew little about anything. In three or four weeks' time more than two hundred, Jews as well as Moors, became Christians. Yes, our master himself, convinced by both his example and his teaching, had himself secretly baptized without letting anyone know.

A French Huguenot called Louis de la Place, who is a slave here too, together with some Jews could not endure seeing the Brother growing in esteem and attracting many people; so bursting with envy, they accused him before the judges, saying that he seduced the people and, if they did not punish him and forbid him to continue, he was capable in a short time of converting many to the false doctrine of papal Christendom.

Because of this accusation the judges had him arrested. When asked what he taught, he admitted all, affirming again that there is no salvation outside the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, and that by the merits of Jesus Christ crucified. Then and there they had him given one hundred strokes on the soles of his feet and then put him in prison. The next day, 8 March, they interrogated him again whether he would recant what he had falsely taught, and his answer was as on the day before. Hearing this, they put him naked on a moveable scaffold about 5 feet high, 6 wide and 8 long, on which stood a kind of gallows. At either angle of this they bound him by his hands, and on his feet they hung a weight of some 150 pounds. In this way he was transported through the streets of the town. Two men, one in front and one behind, flogged him all the time with whips so terribly that when they arrived back at the court he looked as if he were being taken out of a bath of blood. They had maltreated him from the shoulders to the soles of his feet. Nothing remained undamaged except his head and arms, which were too high for those who flogged him. When he was untied he fell down flat in his blood, crying incessantly: "Jesus, my Saviour!" Our master had to see all that and suffer that his slave was so injured; he did not even dare to say much, since it concerned a matter of religion. Nevertheless he took the risk of asking to have his own slave back, for fear they might kill him. Because he was a wealthy man who could afford building such a house, he had to pay 400 abokelpen - that is 300 rijksdaalders - to recover his slave; otherwise they would kill him. They finally agreed for 200, under condition that as soon as the building was completed the slave had to leave the kingdom and that he should speak no more of any religious matter under penalty of being burned and of our master being exiled from the kingdom. On that condition our master had him taken from prison and brought to his house, but the Brother was so stiff that he could not walk because of the scabs that had grown on his wounds; his skin looked more like the bark of a tree than the skin of a man. After the flogging he had spent five days in prison. How it will be with us from now on, God knows. Thank God we have a good master. He is taking proper care of the Brother and allows no one else to come near him. Now, as I have this chance to write I cannot speak to him. Therefore I write in his stead without his knowing it, out of love.

All this is only a brief description, because to tell all the circumstances would be too long and very dangerous if this letter should fall into their hands. I hope you received the letter your brother wrote to you from Targa. And if you have received it, I beg you please answer it according to his request, for he longs very much for a reply, even if your letter is very short. Also do not write unless the Brother, your brother, writes first, for we do not know what our master will do with him, I mean whether he will release him when the building is completed.

I also beg you, when you are answering any of his letters, do not mention anything regarding what he suffered for religion, since he would blame me for having written about it. Surely he has received as he desired, since when we were still on the ship he told us that he wished to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ's name. And in his present suffering he behaved like a man until the end. I believe he had no other thought but that they would kill him, as I could gather from his speaking and exhorting while he was being scourged.

My dearest ones, let this be enough, and be consoled in the Lord, for I do not doubt that all this happened by God's particular design. When I once asked him how he could remember all those Scripture texts, he answered me that his mouth was opened as it were by itself when he should speak about the Faith. All this is out of love.

I remain your humble servant,
Daniel van Breuckel,
slave of Sura Belin,
Agadez, 15 March 1687

—to his brothers—

Agadez, 29 April 1688

God be with us, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ fill all our hearts.

Dearest Brothers,

When I received your letters together with that of Mr. Colck of St. George d'Elmina, I could not admire enough, dear Brothers, the excellent love the two of you showed me.

May this letter, then, serve to express my gratitude for the benefits and kindness I have enjoyed from you. Your proofs of love and fidelity are evident to me. only the zeal of fraternal and Christian love spurred you to deliver me from my captivity. This great act of goodness is in accord with the command of the holy apostle Paul, who says that we should remember prisoners as if we were imprisoned with them and the oppressed as if we were oppressed ourselves, because we are all members of Christ's body. If one member suffers, all the other members also suffer and try to help the other member.

We are not only Christian brothers, but also blood brothers, and nature obliges us to help one another and to show love. Knowing this obligation, you have put it into practice, and your good work has become openly visible. Like St. Paul, when he remembered that Onesiphorus often consoled him in his captivity and was not ashamed to visit him in his chains, so do I wish for you the Lord's mercy on your house. This holy apostle recommends the love and fidelity of Onesiphorus to Timothy and complains about those of Asia, namely Phygelus and Hermogenes, who had abandoned him. but I can say that when I found myself in need, being chained in the hands of Moors and of barbarian people here in the middle of Africa, you have not abandoned me, but from the end of Europe have sent me consoling letters and the sacrifice of all sorts of aid. Therefore I ask God, who sees the deeds of men, to repay and reward abundantly the great kindness with which you relieved the suffering of my severe captivity. May he be merciful to you on the great day when he will judge all men, and let you harvest at that time what you have sown. I wish Almighty God to fill your house day and night with spiritual and material blessings, that you may see happiness in your days and be free from evil; I wish you all your hearts' desires and, since wishing is not enough, I beg God to fulfil all my wishes according to his divine will and good pleasure.

The time I will be able to return home from this Moorish land is still very uncertain, since Mr. Colck writes to me from St. George d'Elmina that there is no chance now to sail from there for Europe. The ship that brought your letter leaves as soon as it is unloaded for the Cape of Good Hope. I cannot be there soon enough to make use of that occasion, for St. George d'Elmina is a good 200 miles or more to the south, towards the equator. (36) Besides, my master asked me to stay another month or two, which I cannot refuse him, but as long as I am here I must stay in my ordinary dwelling in order not to let the Moors know of my departure. As soon as possible I will, according to the wish of Reverend Father Maes, try to take the first occasion to return. I had intended to come overland across the desert, from Targa to Algiers,with a caravan which passes by here sometimes coming from some kingdom around the Niger river, but my master advises against this absolutely. He says that the Moroccans and Algerians these days are very bitter against any sort of Christians because of the defeat of the Turks while fighting the Christian emperor. The Algerians are angry with the French and the Dutch, and the Moroccans with the Spanish because of Oran. It may be of little use for me to arrive there with a passport of freedom. He tells me frankly that it is not advisable for a Christian to travel that way, for one cannot know what the people's rage might lead them to do. My master thinks it best to choose the way of St. George d'Elmina and wait there for any ship that comes, and he promises to send with me one of his servants to bring me across the river Niger.

Time does not allow me to write longer; otherwise I would miss the chance offered to me to send my letter by land. Be assured with the knowledge that - praise God - all has been delivered well. I am giving my letter to a caravan of Moors which is just now passing by. It goes with merchandise to the kingdoms of Morocco and Fez. The letters it carries are sent via Cadiz.

I would have written a little letter of thanks, or asked you to do so, to Mr. Bartholomeus Colck for his zeal in arranging everything so well; but from the letter of Mr. Colck of St. George d'Elmina I learned that his brother, Mr. Bartholomeus Colck of Amsterdam, was about to go to sea in his capacity as captain of a warship in the service of his country. He was engaged for that by the Admiralty of Holland, since he is a courageous soldier and an experienced seaman.

In this month of April there have been terrible earthquakes at various times and places around here, so that flat fields as well as mountains are torn apart. Out of these clefts comes a smoky steam with an unbearable stench, as if from pools of sulphur and fire. Many huts and buildings of the inhabitants have fallen down. A countless number of people have been killed, to the fright of all who are still alive. but I hope that the good God will dispose everything for the best.

My warmest greetings to our dear sister Seraphina and to all the reverend Fathers and Brothers, no one excepted. I recommend myself humbly to your prayers and to those of our holy community, particularly to be able to keep steadfast in the Faith whatever happens, whether to me or to any of my faithful ones; for my master, together with a Jew born in Ferrara called Joshua, and also two Greeks from Rhodes have become so zealous in the Christian Catholic religion that they venture to catechise the people, but always very secretly. They come rather often to visit me in my prison, talking sometimes half the night with me through the bars of my door, and bring me refreshments now and then, but when the moon is hidden, so as not to be seen. The nights here are almost always as long as the days.

With this I remain, with God's love,
your faithful servant and brother,
Pieter Fardé, unworthy Franciscan,
until now slave of Sura Belin

P.S. Your letter, dated 17 October 1687, was delivered to me on 26 April 1688.

Agadez, 29 April 1688

The caravan is leaving. I greet with all my heart the household of Mr. Reylofs.

—to one of his brothers—

Salé, 15 April 1690

Dearest Brother in Christ,

I noticed in your letter of 8 March 1690 that you did not receive my letter of 27 December 1689, which I went you from Salé on a French ship going to St. Malo. In that letter I described to you my return journey until here almost in the same way as I will do so now. This journey does not seem any less full of mishaps than my previous one. Therefore I am no less full of admiration in noticing God's infinite goodness and mercy with me in my misery; for without that it would have been impossible for me to escape the great dangers of being devoured by wild animals in the desert, of drowning in the sea, and of succumbing from hunger and thirst during eleven months on a rough stony reef in the middle of the sea, as I am going to tell you.

Forty days before my departure 40 Italians were brought to Agadez as slaves. Among them there were two priests, whom I could see only twice, since they were given very little freedom by their master. I hope they will do much good there, if only they are not too rash. (37)

I left Agadez on 10 July 1688 for St. George d'Elmina with two Moors who by order of my master, Sura Belin, were to accompany me across the river Niger. Reasonably well provided with everything that could be useful for my trip according to local custom, I had a favourable journey as long as the Moors were with me. At the town of Gobir they took leave of me and returned to Agadez. (38)

Now alone, I continued my way for two days through flat country without meeting anyone. The third day I reached mountainous land, which was very difficult. (39) When evening came I put myself to rest under a tree, but when I had been lying there for about two hours, such a fear came over me that I began to tremble. I thought I was going to die on the spot from fear, for I heard such horrible raging and dreadful noise of wild animals that I turned my face to the ground for fear, praying God for mercy and asking that, if it were his divine will, he would release me from this miserable life, and if not, he would not abandon me in my anguish. I climbed the tree and stayed there until daybreak. (40) Then I continued my journey, straying in the wild mountains like a lost sheep. I often saw wild animals and feared constantly to be attacked by them. Out of fear I began to put my closed hand over my mouth and sound as loud as I could, as the hunters do at home with the trumpet. As soon as the animals heard that they fled from me. Therefore I did the same again as often as I noticed wild animals. At night I climbed a tree again in order to sleep and to guard myself as well as possible against the animals.

In this way I travelled four successive days without finding any beaten path. I orientated myself all the time towards the south, for I knew that St. George d'Elmina is to the south of Agadez. At last I met a beaten path, but it did not go south. It went from east to west, and I followed it eastward, hoping to find another one that would lead me to the south. (41) So I went on for two more days, again without meeting any human being, but indeed many wild animals. As soon as I saw them come, I always began to make a trumpet sound, to shout "ha! ha! ha!" and to make great noise. Since I saw that they fled because of this, my fear began to diminish a little.

The third day on this way I met four Moors. They addressed me and I did not understand them, but I experienced that they were more cruel than wild animals. They took everything I had, even my pants of rough cotton, my stick, which had a little axe and a pick and which my master had given me to protect myself as far as possible against wild animals, and my travelling bag, so that I was completely deprived of everything I had taken with me for my sustenance. It was not enough for them to have robbed me of everything. I still ran the risk of having my head split open with my own little axe. But about that they fell into disagreement. As far as I could notice, only one of them had this intention. The three others stopped him when he raised the axe to give me the blow and gave me a sign to go.

That day I did two more miles and then looked for a place to pass the night. I found it in a high tree. After I was there for some time I began to weep bitterly as I considered the situation I was in. Totally deprived of everything, I was ashamed of myself; besides, I did not know how I could manage any further without anything to keep me alive. I turned then during all that night to that most benevolent Father who commands us to call on him in anguish, and begged him not to abandon me in anything that might happen to me, whether living or dying.

Taking courage again, I set out in the morning and travelled for two consecutive days without finding any food. Then I became so weak that I could not go on any more and could hardly climb a tree to pass the night.

The third day I found a tree with fruits like wild figs, but they were not that. As I was starving, I ate some without trying to find out whether they were good or bad. A little while afterwards - excuse my description - I began to feel such cramps and great pain in my stomach as if I had taken poison. Unable to stand upright any more, I lay down under the same tree, writhing with pain like an eel. Then I began to have the runs, undergoing a purge from below and above. I became so weak that I could hardly help myself any more. Thinking that I was now finished and would soon be prey to wild animals, I recommended myself to God.

I continued lying there like this until one hour before sunset, when a caravan passed by of about 200 camels and 50 elephants. It had been to the Niger with merchandise and was returning now to Congo where it had come from. (42) Some people of the caravan passed by without looking at me; others stopped and looked at me as if they felt compassion, for I lay there powerless, writhing in my dirt like a little pig. At long last the leader of these men came. He spoke to me in Portuguese; I answered in Italian and made him understand what had happened to me. He ordered his servant to clean me and gave me a loincloth such as they wear for me to put on. Then he gave me balm to drink to calm my stomach and ordered his men to put me on one of the elephants that was lightly loaded. They did so, putting me between the packages so that I could not fall. I fell asleep and slept until the next day when the caravan halted. Then he ordered me to be fed, and I slept again all day until two hours before sunset, the time they resume their journey, for because of the heat they travel during the night and rest during the day.

That good Samaritan had me well cared for every day, so that in six days I completely recovered and started, like the others, to go on foot. I often got to talk to him and found that Moor as exemplary in life and trained in virtue as anyone I have ever met in my life. He often spoke to me about "Brachmanni" and then pointed always to the East, from which I could guess that he was of the religion they call Brachmanism. (43)

After fifty-seven days of travelling in that manner with him we arrived in Congo, (44) where he allowed me to rest fourteen days in his house and always provided me with food, as he had done during the journey. (45) Meanwhile once more a caravan was prepared with goods for Angola. On my arrival there I learned that an Angolan ship was ready to go to St. George d'Elmina and that it was only waiting for favourable winds to sail. I informed my good protector all about this and asked him permission to make use of this good occasion, and he left it to my discretion to make use of the occasion or to stay with him. (46)

Seeing that I intended to leave, he himself went with me to see the captain and made an agreement with him to take me for four sciebas (about 6 guilders in our country), which I would have paid to him by Mr. Colck at St. George d'Elmina. My protector also provided me with food for fourteen days. We left Angola with a favourable southeast wind and sailed thus for two and a half days. Then the wind turned and began to blow strongly from the northeast, so that we were driven completely back and out to sea. The ships of this country are totally unable to sail into the wind, but need a wind from behind or the side. This backwards drifting lasted until the 28th of the same month. (47) We were beyond St. Helena when, about two hours after midnight the next morning, our ship capsized by a windstorm and sank like a stone. That happened at the worst moment, for all the people, that is, three sailors and twenty-seven passengers, were sleeping down in the ship. No one was on deck except the captain, who was an old man standing at the helm, with two sailors to watch the sails and myself, who, as I always do when on sea, had come on deck to say my office when the midnight watch changed. The accident happened so fast and unexpectedly that when I came to the surface again I looked around for the ship and did not know how I got into the water.

Not finding the ship any more, I decided not to tire myself by swimming in this or that direction, since it would be of little use anyway, but only try to keep myself floating until daybreak, hoping to find something floating then; for I remembered having seen loose on the ship several planks and big pieces of wood. Meanwhile I heard one or two voices crying for help, but they seemed rather far from me.

About one hour before daybreak one of the big pieces of wood bumped against my body. In order to rest a bit I grabbed on to it, but this cost me much effort and I felt that because of the excessive roughness of the sea it would be difficult to hold on to it. I then took off my pants and tied them to it. When daylight came the weather calmed down a bit, but the wind remained northeast and consequently I drifted always further away. I noticed also other pieces of wood and gathered together as many as I could. I tore my pants into strips with which I bound together four of the biggest logs. On these I lay down to rest a bit, for I was very tired. After a short rest I swam around again to collect as much as possible of the wood in order to resist better the violence of the waves. I collected up to twenty-one pieces, of which I laid seven together on the raft, than seven across them, and again seven across this layer, but without being bound they could not remain loose one upon the other, for I could not lie on them up to an hour before they came loose because of the blows of the waves, except those that had been tied together before. I started swimming once more to see if I could find a rope, and I swam up to two hours among the other pieces of wood without finding anything. I then turned back, contenting myself to keep only the wood that was tied together, but while swimming back I unexpectedly found a bark rope, about one finger thick and about ten fathoms (189 meters) long. Had it been of bark mixed with hemp I would not have found it, for it would have sunk. In that country ropes are usually made of bark, because hemp is very scarce. One end of the rope I tied around my waist and swam with it to the collected wood that was already being dispersed. I gathered it together again as before, bound the pieces together as best I could and lay down on top to rest, forI was very tired from all that labour. I recommended myself to the Helmsman above that he might bring me to the haven which would please his divine will.

I drifted steadily southeastwards for three days and the better part of four nights, when two hours before daybreak I hit a rock. Now I thought I had gained everything, for I hoped to find people there and also food to fill a hungry stomach which all that time had been without nourishment.

When day came I went onto the island, where I found not the slightest thing to nourish me, except a puddle of rainwater full of creeping things, bred no doubt by the heat of the sun. Although it stank very much I drank a little, and this seemed to revive me. I looked in all the crooks and corners of that stony reef to see if I could find anything to eat, which could easily have been the case. The reef was very small: forty yards long, thirty wide, and egg-shaped. It was surrounded by many small reefs which rose only very little above the water.

All my concern was to find means of keeping alive, for I began to become so weak that my legs could not carry me any more; yes, I was obliged to creep on my hands and feet, which were immediately worn through because of the sharpness of the rock as well as because I was so starved that hardly had skin over the bones. Consequently I fell often from weakness from one side to the other. I also felt as if I were becoming empty in the head, for it was the fourth day since I came on the island and the seventh since I was without food.

A little later I saw something floating close to the island and i tried my best to get to the edge of the water. On my arrival I found it was a drowned man, so stinking and badly swollen that it was dreadful to look at, let alone to handle. They say "Hunger is a sharp sword;" that I noticed. For I paid little attention to his condition and pulled him ashore as best I could, with the intention to use him as food. First I searched his pockets, in which I found a knife and a tobacco box and also an English Psalter, from which I guessed that an English ship had been wrecked. i took the knife in my hand, cut all the clothes off his body and took him by the hair in order to cut off his head and throw it into the sea and then eat the body. I thought that if I could not see the head it would not be so dreadful. But before I did so I considered whether it would not be an evil deed in God's eyes. While I was busy with that thought I looked up and noticed something else floating towards the island about one hundred steps away from me. I decided to wait with the man, and when the object came nearer I saw that it was a fish. It landed near the place where the man was lying, and stank no less than he did. I grabbed it immediately and cut a piece out of the neck, praising and thanking God for his wonderful providence. I ate that time up to a pound, but while eating I stopped both my nostrils with some paper from the Psalter because of the unbearable stench. Nevertheless the fish did not cause me any trouble and I ate of it that day up to another six times. Now that I was somewhat invigorated, I started to cut the fish into slices on the spot where it lay, for it was so big that it was impossible for me to pull it ashore; it was up to sixteen feet long and as wide as a beer keg. When evening came I tied the rest of the fish to the pieces of wood on which I had come here in order to slice it up further the next day, and I put the man to sea again to let him float away. In the morning I began to cut again and found in the fish two musket balls, from which I guessed that it had been shot by some boatmen. Having finished slicing, I put the bones of the fish to sea as well and put the slices together in the sun to dry, in order to eat some every day. I think there was something like five or six hundred pounds of fish. The tobacco box I used for drinking from the stinking water I mentioned, which quenched my thirst better than the sea water.

After twenty-one days it started to rain. Seeing that, I removed as quickly as I could all the dirty water and cleaned all the rot out of the pool with the fresh water. I did this afterwards each time I saw that it was going to rain.

Now I had food and drink to live on. I also gradually began to get stronger, and decided to bring the wood onto the island in order to make myself a tent with it. Although I was not completely recovered and the pieces were rather heavy, being about nine feet long, ten inches wide and six thick, I worked all the same until I got them up. I put three of them over the water pool to serve as my bed and the other eighteen I stood up leaning against one another like a roof, so that I had a shelter to protect my naked body against the terrible heat of the sun, particularly at noon when there is no shadow here. So also I prevented the water pool from being spoilt so easily, and the water was not so unspeakably hot to drink. I found also that when the sea withdrew some fish remained in the inlets between the reefs and could not get away when the tide was low, so that I got plenty of fish. Every day I spent on the island I collected them.

After one hundred and forty-five days I happened to see about one mile away a ship carrying a Dutch flag. With signals I begged them to come near and take me from the reef. I ran many times up to the highest point of the reef and then down again, making all sorts of gestures to arouse compassion, but to the contrary the ship was trying its best, as I could sea, to stay away from the island. Then I jumped into the sea to reach the ship by swimming, but it was impossible. The sea was too wild, for the weather was bad, and I could not hold on any longer against the force of the waves; I even had difficulty getting back to the island. I also saw that the ship was drifting more and more to he south, until at last it disappeared from my sight. (48)

After this incident I remained another one hundred and seventy-nine days on the island, when on a beautiful day with a southeast wind I saw again a ship coming from the south. It sailed very near the island so that I could easily hail it. As soon as I was sighted a boat was put to sea which came to me. They asked me how and when I had arrived there and, after I told them, they asked me where I was from. I answered that I was a Dutchman and had sailed from Amsterdam, without mentioning my birthplace, for I noticed that they were pirates from Salé and at war with Spain, so that it was not advisable to say that I was from Ghent. The one I spoke tot was a renegade from Veurne near Nieuwpoort, and I did not trust him at all, since I knew that renegades are worse than other Moors. They then allowed me to come into the boat and brought me to the ship. The captain asked me what I desired. I repeated that I would like to go to the continent. Then he asked me if I had anything to pay for that. I said that I had nothing, as he could well see for himself, since I stood there naked before him without anything to cover my naked members. Then he asked me if, once he brought me to Salé, I could obtain three hundred abokelken for him there. I answered no, because in any case I did not own or have anything. On hearing this he ordered the same men that brought me to take me back to the island again. I beseeched him and begged that he would bring me to some country or other. Knowing that he had to sail by one of the islands of St. Helena, where they were not allowed to land because they were pirates, I said that he would have no trouble putting me ashore, that I would swim to it when the ship was still one hour from there. He refused again. I then entered the boat once more in order to be taken back to the island. When we were a little away from the ship, the captain called us back and asked me if I did not know some craft. I said that I knew a little carpentry. Then he said that if I would bond myself to him for three years to bring home to him ten stuivers every day, while taking care of my food and all my knees by myself, he would take me to Salé. I readily agreed to that, trusting in God's goodness which in all previous accidents, even when I thought I was finished, had helped me unexpectedly at the last moment; so now he would continue to stand by me with his divine blessing. I then got back onto the ship and sailed on with it. The captain gave me one of his shirts, a pair of pants and a jacket, so that I was dressed once again. The fifth day I was on the ship I became very sick because of the change of food, so I thought. This lasted as long as I was on the ship, but once ashore I soon got well. I arrived at Salé on 20 December 1689, the thirtieth day after I was taken from the reef. On the way we always had good weather, praise God! Eight days after our arrival I was fresh once again. The captain obtained work for me in the inner room of a ship, where I earn twenty-eight akoras, that is , as much as eighteen stuivers of our country, so that I keep eight for my food. I can manage, praise God, with four stuivers, for the cost of living is low here.

Dear Brothers, how I was in all these adventures is easier for you to imagine than for me to describe. You can understand with what complaining, weeping and desire I asked the Father of all consolation for help and assistance while in the desert as well as floating on the sea and during the more than eleven months that I remained on the rough reef. How miraculously God has always provided me with means to keep me alive you can see clearly enough.

I am writing all this to you to let you know what happened to prevent me from writing to you since my letter from Agadez in April 1688. The 9th of this month [April] 1690 two Dutch ships entered the port after a prosperous journey: twenty-seven days from Texel to here. The helmsman of one of the ships, named Paulus van den Berghe, handed to me your very welcome letter which I read with great surprise, since I discovered in it again God's great providence. First, how did you know that I arrived at Salé, since you did not receive my former letter? (49) Secondly, how God's mercy moved your hearts to compassion to be ready to assist me in everything! That is clear from the generous offer you made without being asked, as you can read in my previous letter if you have received it in the meantime. Truly I am ashamed for these never deserved benefits of God and for your great love for me.

Please do not blame me for exceeding your orders by drawing six Flemish pounds more than you authorized for me. The reason is that if I had the money all together to pay the captain I hoped to obtain some discount. I figured that for three years ten stuivers every day would amount to a little less than five hundred guilders; I also feared that there could be a war and who knows what would happen to me then? I therefore went to a merchant from Hamburg called Abraham Agena, who invites me for dinner sometimes and seems very devoted to me, and asked him to make an agreement with the captain about me, for he could do that with more authority than I myself, since he is a famous merchant. I told him that he should pretend to lend me the money, and he readily assented. He then made an agreement with the captain for four hundred guilders, including what the captain had already received, that is, fifty guilders for one hundred days. I had saved over my food cost another fifteen guilders, of which I took fourteen to add to the fifty-six flemish pounds which I got from you, and altogether that made four hundred guilders, so that now I am completely free. Praised be God for all eternities!

I firmly trust that God will judge what you have done a just offering, and that he will reward you doubly in other things, for we read in many passages of Scripture that he recompenses abundantly such works. Who knows if for this reason he has not spared you some accident or tragedy that would otherwise have happened to you. But if because of the money you gave me now or formerly you feel in fact noticeably hurt, then be sure that I am ready with God's help to earn by my labour or by any other fitting way, whether here or elsewhere, as the opportunity presents itself, and repay you what you have spent for my sake. In spite of my great weakness, for you are fully aware of my two great mishaps, I pledge myself to be at your service always in so far as this is in my power.

All the time I remain here I will stay in the house of the merchant mentioned above, that is, until there is some occasion to sail for Hamburg, since only this town has free access to all Christian countries.

Meanwhile I will try to earn something to pay the skipper who will transport me. The merchant I mentioned promised to give me his clothes with which he came from Hamburg, since he does not wear them anyway, for he dresses in the way of this country.

Dear Brother, as soon as you receive this letter, please be so kind as to go with it to our brother Johannes Fardé, parish priest of Wondelghem, and also to our dear sister Seraphina, for I do not doubt that you are all of one mind in the way that brothers and sisters should be. Wherever that is the case, according to David, it is agreeable to be there (cf Ps 133). That is why I am writing only one letter, for what is written to one is also written to the others.

Greetings, then, to all from my heart. May you all be filled with the divine Spirit of love and peace. Let us pray for one another that w may come to the end for which we have been created.

Please also go to Brother Franciscus Simons, if he is still in Ghent; if not, to anyone else of the convent, and ask them to kindly write to me the names of the Brothers who have died since September 1687, that I may fulfil my duty as far as possible. Also give my warmest greetings to all the Brothers, requesting them once again to pray for me their poor brother, who for four years now have been beaten like a tennis ball from one side to another.

Dear Brothers, there are still many things to say, but I will not write them, for the letter would be too long and this is long enough. It would also not be good for some of these things to be written by me. I will leave them, therefore, to God, who is powerful to reveal everything in due time.

Your most devoted servant and brother,
Brother Pieter Fardé,
unworthy Franciscan


Hamburg, 1 December 1690

Dearest Brothers in Christ,

As soon as God's goodness was pleased to bring me happy and healthy again to a Christian country, having left Salé nine weeks ago, (50) my first concern, according to my duty, is to let you know of my arrival.

The reason why we were so long on our journey was the bad weather with the continual stormy winds we had most of the time, so much so that between Dunkirk and Calais we were obliged to drop anchor, hoping for nothing better than to run aground there. On the way we met several wrecks and the merchandise of wrecked ships; among other things we picked up two quarter vessels of wine and one cask of brandy. I think I will be with you the first or second week of next year, 1691, God willing.

Your letter of 9 June was delivered to me in Morocco on 14 September.

Dear Brothers, I ask you to report my arrival here to Reverent Father Bonifacius Maes, Commissary General, to Reverend Father A. Coen, Provincial, or if none of them is in Ghent, to the Reverent Father Guardian. Greet them and all the other Brothers most warmly on my behalf, and humbly ask Reverent Father Maes, Commissary General, and Reverent Father Coen, Provincial, to forgive me that I am writing at the door of the postmaster while he is busy packing his letters for departure. I did not come by ship all the way here, for we could not sail up the river Elbe, since the wind was straight in front of us. Having sailed up and down for two days, we anchored near Melder, only twenty miles from Hamburg. With some other people I left the ship and came here overland.

As I promised, I hope with God's help to tell you everything myself very soon.

Dear Brothers and Sister, my warmest greetings. The Holy Spirit of love and peace reign over you.

Greet also Mr. Reylofs and our sister-in-law with their dearest ones. Let us pray for one another.

Your most humble servant,

Brother Pieter Fardé, Franciscan


I, Brother Pieter Fardé, born at Ghent and twenty years old, have received on trial the habit of the Order of St. Francis of the Friars Minor Recollect in the convent of Ghent. Having completed the year of trial, I made my solemn profession at the hands of the Reverend Father Guardian of the same convent on 12 September 1672.

Brother Pieter Fardé

Fr. Carolus Leroy, Guardian
Fr. Joseph de Bloys, Diffinitor of the Province
Fr. Marcellianus Couberghe, Vicar


Jesus - Mary - Francis

In the year of the Lord 1691, on 16 June, there died piously in the convent of Friars Minor Recollect at Aachen, having received the sacraments of our holy Mother the Church, our dear brother

Brother Pieter Fardé, lay-brother

of the Province of St. Joseph in the duchy of Flanders, at the age of 41 years, after 20 years of profession. (51)

He travelled all through the Holy Land, meditating devotedly the footsteps of our Saviour. Out of obedience he undertook to return there and put to sea once again. After a heavy battle with Algerian pirates he was captured and brought in slavery to Agadez. There he began to speak quietly about the Catholic Faith to his master with such spirit and effectiveness that he converted him and all his family, with about 200 slaves of different religions. When the judge was informed of that by a renegade, they put him into prison; then, questioned about the truth, he confessed everything freely. Hung naked on a moveable structure like a gallows, with his arms suspended from above and a one hundred and forty pound weight attached to his legs, he was led through the town, all the time being flogged, so that when arriving at the court he seemed to have been taken from a bath of blood. He would certainly have died of these torments or the judges would have killed him in some other way had his master not ransomed him. After that he left again for his Mother Province. Suffering shipwreck and floating three days and four nights on the waves of the sea, he reached a reef that projected above the sea. Climbing naked upon it, he kept alive for eleven months with water that fell from heaven and the raw fish that remained behind in the inlets at low tide; from there he was miraculously saved by pirates that sailed along, brought to Salé, and returned to his province. Occupied in the service of his Reverend Father Provincial at Aachen, (52) he was overcome by a steadily growing fever. Thanking God and the holy Virgin Mary for all the benefits he received from them in so many remarkable needs, he died quietly in the Lord. Therefore we rightly trust that, while dying, he could cry to the Lord his Creator with the Apostle: "I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance and kept the faith. And now there is waiting for me the prize of victory awarded for a righteous life, the prize which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day" (2 Tim 4:7). Should he, however, be held back from that because of human frailty - for God's judgements are an abyss - we humbly ask that by your prayers and sacrifices his faults may be effaced.


1652 Pieter Fardé is born
1671 11 Sept. receives habit and begins novitiate in Ghent
1672 12 Sept. Solemn profession, aged 20
1679 13 Feb. Letter of OFM Minister General referring to Pieter's fighting a fire in SJ house in Ghent
1682-3 To Jerusalem and back

1686 30 Apr. Innocent XI asks OFM Minister General for help for Holy Land mission
16 May 1st letter, before leaving Amsterdam
24/25 May scheduled departure from Amsterdam
c. 20 July actual departure
25 July arrives at Lisbon
3 Aug. departs from Lisbon
5-10 Aug. chased by pirates
10 Aug. battle and storm
13 Aug. arrives at São Michel in Azores
14 Aug. 2nd letter
10 Sept. departs from São Michel
4 Oct. stops at Cadiz
19 Oct. off Crete: captured by pirates, taken to Annaba, sold
27 Nov. 3rd letter, from Targa (Touggourt)
14 Dec. arrives at Agadez
16872 Feb. begins construction of Sura Belin's house
7 March accused and arrested
8 March tortured
14 March released to master on payment
15 March letter of Daniel van Breuckel
15 Aug. Daniel van Breuckel dies
17 Sept. letter from home of 9 July received
19 Sept. 4th letter, from Agadez
1688 26 April letter from home of 17 Oct 1687 received, with ransom
29 April 5th letter, from Agadez
c. May house of Sura Belin scheduled to be completed
1 June 40 Italian slaves arrive, including 2 priests
15 July leaves Agadez:
so many days to Gobir (6?)
4 days south
5th day turns east
8th day attack
11th day picked up by caravan
6 days recovering while riding elephant
57 days to Congo
14 days resting in Congo
so many days travelling to Luanda (10?)
(Agadez-Luanda total: 106 days = 30 Oct., but trip must have taken longer)
c.21 Dec. sails from Luanda: 2+˝ days smooth sailing
c.23 Dec. wind from northeast drives ship off course - for some days
29 Dec. ship sinks; Pieter drifts on raft
16891 Jan. arrives on reef, stays there "over 11 months"
25 May a Dutch ship passes (after 145 days)
20 Nov. pirate ship picks him up (after another 179 days)
20 Dec. arrives at Salé (after 30 days on ship)
27 Dec. letter sent home, lost
1690 9 April letter from home of 8 March received, with ransom draft
15 April 6th letter, from Salé
14 Sept. letter from home of 9 June received
c.28 Sept. sails from Salé (9 weeks on sea)
1 Dec. 7th letter, on arrival at Hamburg
1691 1st or 2nd week of Jan. due to arrive at Ghent
then to Aachen as Commissary for the Holy Land
16 June dies at Aachen, aged 41

1. Fr. Van der Peet translated the letters, and I edited the English.

2. Copie van de Brieven van den godvruchtigen religeus Broeder Pieter Fardé, Minderbroeder Recollect van de provincie S. Ioseph in 't Graefshap van Vlandern, en ander brieven van divershe, etc. (Tot Brugge bij de weduwe van Franciscus Beernaerts, 1706).

3. In Patria Belgica, partie 3, livraison 28.

4. Voyages et aventures de Fr. Pierre Fardé (Ghent: Vanderschelden, 1878).

5. "Les voyageurs belges et le Patria Belgica", Magasin littéraire et scientifique (Ghent: Leliaert), v. 3 (1887), pp. 471-489.

6. In his Storia universale delle missioni francescane, vol. 7, part 4 (Florence, 1894), pp. 447-502.

7. See Pieter's 4th letter.

8. Quer durch Afrika. Reisen und Abenteuer des Franziskanerbruders Peter Fardé von Gent in den Jahren 1686-1690 (Trier, 1911), vol. 1 of the series Aus allen Zonen.

9. In Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft, 1 (1911), pp. 349-350.

10. "Notes biographiques et documents du fr. Pierre Fardé O.F.M., voyageur en Afrique (1652-1691)," Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, 7 (1914), pp. 20=31, and 8 (1915), pp. 371-2.

11. Ibid., p. 28.

12. In Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, 8 (1915), pp. 371-372; cf. the Bollandists, Acta Sanctorum (Antwerp, 1715), vol. 6, tome 3, p. 143, "Appendix addendorum et mutandorum ad acta Junii", for 18 June.

13. Translated by M. Braun (Techny, 1933).

14. Vlaandern zendt zijn zonen uit (Leuven, 1942), pp. 209-232.

15. On the general area at this time see P.M. Martin, The external trade of the Loango coast 1576-1870 (Oxford, 1972).

16. See the slightly earlier descriptions of as-Sa`dî (1596-1655), Ta'rîkh as-Sûdân, ed. O. Houdas (Paris, 1913-14), and Ibn-al-Mukhtâr (1665), Ta'rîkh al-fattâsh, ed. O. Houdas (Paris, 1913-14); note N. Levtzion, "A seventeenth-century chronicle by ibn-al-Mukhtâr: a critical study of Ta'rîkh al-Fattâsh", B.S.O.A.S., 34 (1971), 571-593.

17. Cf. Y. Urvoy, "Chroniques d'Agadès", Société des Africanistes, 4 (1934), pp. 172-3.

18. Asia, década I, 54, ch. 3 (Lisbon, 1945), vol. 1, p. 88.

19. In his Nauwkeurige Beschryving van de Guinese Goud-Tand-en Slavekust (Amsterdam, 1718), 20th letter, II, pp. 209-10.

20. Judging from his age on his religious profession; cf. Goyens, op. cit., p. 23.

21. See his reception document in Goyens, op. cit., p. 24.

22. See the autograph of his profession in Goyens, op. cit., p. 23.

23. The text is in Goyens, op. cit., p. 24.

24. Cf. Goyens, op. cit, p. 25, for references to documents in the archives of the Belgian Province of Franciscans.

25. See the 7th letter for reference to his "sister-in-law".

26. Named in the 2nd, 5th & 6th letters.

27. In the edition of E. Klemp. op. cit., maps dating from 1595 to 1737 list "Targa" as a country and sometimes a town in the Sahara. Gerhard Mercator the Younger, 1595 (map n. 16), Henricius Hondius, 1631 (n. 17), W.T. Baeu, 1642 (n. 18), P. Schenk & G. Valk, 1700 (n. 26) and F. de Wit, 1671 (n. 19) all place it far to the west of the direct route between `Annâba (Bne) and Agadez. The same is true of J.M. Hasa, 1737 (n. 20), still following the descriptions of Leo Africanus. Only G. de l'Isle, 1707 (n. 25), and N.S. d'Abbeville, 1679 (n. 46), put Targa directly north of Agadez. Targa, however, simply refers to the place the Tuareg live; cf. H.T. Norris, The Tuaregs (Warminster, 1975), ch. 2. If any particular town can be identified with Targa it may be Touggourt. Pieter's estimation of the distance tween Targa and Agadez as "100 miles further" is to be taken with the same seriousness as his estimation of the distance from Agadez to Elmina as "200 or more miles" (Letter 5).

28. The distance is much more: about 1,800 miles if Targa is identified with Touggourt.

29. Referred to by Pieter as "Bona", a European name for the town.

30. "ik en de schrijver", a surprising insertion! The only other slave going with Pieter to Agadez was Daniel van Breuckel. Why was he writing for Pieter? Could Pieter have been incapacitated from wounds?

31. In Dutch "Soura Belijn", sometimes spelt "Belyn".

32. Pieter follows the opinion of the time that Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews.

33. From Protestantism to Catholicism.

34. In this letter and the next there are variations and discrepancies in the ransom amount. For Daniel van Breuckel it was 200 abokelpen, 400 of which equal 300 rijksdaalders. For Pieter it was 600, then 200 patacons. The only clear fact, in the absence of further information about these currencies, is that Pieter was requesting 200 rijksdaalders.

35. The "Moorish" spoken by Pieter Fardé can only have been the dialectical Arabic spoken in Algeria and the Sahara, for which his stay in the Holy Land would have prepared him. No doubt he was weak in classical Arabic.

36. The distance is much more: about 1,120 miles, not to the south but to the southwest.

37. We may suppose that the arrival of these priests and Christian slaves nurtured the precarious existence of the Agadez Christian community for some further years. In October 1710, just twenty-two years later, two Franciscan priests came from Tripoli to Agadez and after a short time went on to Katsina; they were looking for the rumoured Christians of Borno and Kwararafa. We do not know whether the Christian community started by Pieter Fardé still existed or not, because the two priests never returned to tell the story, dying from a plague in Katsina. (Cf. R. Gray, "Christian traces and a Franciscan mission in the Central Sudan, 1700-1711", Journal of African History, 8, 1967, pp. 383-393.) Yet when these Franciscans stopped in Agadez Ag-Abba was still king and certainly Pieter Fardé and the Christianity he planted must have been at least a living memory.

38. For the town where he separated from his guides Pieter has "Gobel", but there can be no doubt in identifying this with Gobir, the only important town/state south of Agadez. It was originally located in the Ahir mountains and then moved south to Birnin Lalle, in present-day Niger. If Pieter's account is true, this move cannot have been in the 18th century, as S. Hogben and A. Kirke-Greene maintain (The emirates of Northern Nigeria, Oxford, 1966, p. 369). E.W. Bovill puts the move in the 15th century (The golden trade of the Moors, 1st ed., Oxford, 1958, p. 107, note 1). Possibly the defeat of Gobir at the hands of Askiya Muhammad Ture (mentioned by Leo Africanus) in the early 16th century occasioned the move. R.H. Adely attributes the move from Ahir to the foundation of the Agadez sultanate in the 15th century (In "Hausaland and Borno 1660-1800", ch. 14 of J.F. Ajayi & M. Crowder, History of West Africa, vol. 1, p. 560). Gobir's capital moved again to Tsibiri, just west of Maradi, "during the second half of the seventeenth century", he says (Ibid., p. 584). The Tsibiri location fits well with the route Pieter goes on to describe.

39. Pieter's route, during the early rains when the grass is not high, would have led him through the no-man's land between Katsina to the east and Zamfara and Kebbi to the west in what is still largely bush land. Travelling due south he would have gone over flat land until he came to the neighbourhood of Kwatorkwashi where there are high inselbergs.

40. Even now hyenas roam the Kwatorkwashi countryside. H. Clapperton has a similar description how in 1826 the servant of Richard Lander climbed a tree to escape hyenas in the same general area (Journal of a second expedition into the interior of Africa, London, 1829, pp. 233-4 & 264).

41. On the 5th day Pieter would easily meet any road going west from Kano. From personal conversation with people in the area I learned that there was a pre-colonial route coming from Kano to Gwarzo, Gora, Kankara, Yandoto (Chafe), etc. This would naturally continue along the north of the river Ka to meet the Niger at Gaya, at which point caravans could follow the Niger to the northwest or cross over and continue to Sansanne-Mango, Yendi, Salaga (where the Gonja state was formed in the early 16th century), Kumasi and Elmina. The other route from Kano, going to Zaria, Birnin Gwari, Bussa, Nikki, Salaga etc., and followed in part by Clapperton and Lander, was too southerly for Pieter to have met in so short a time (N. Levtzion discusses these routes in his Muslims and chiefs in West Africa, Oxford, 1968, p. 24). Pieter's mistake was to think that Elmina lay due south. That is why we find him on the road leading away from Elmina towards Kano.

42. This is the only reference I know of to elephants being used for transport in tropical Africa. (Note, however, the picture of a boy riding an African elephant in the cartouche of Frederik de Wit's Totius Africae accuratissima tabula of around 1670.) Yet elephants, presumably African ones, were used in the armies of antiquity; think of Hannibal's war against Rome and the Ethiopian Abrahah's siege of Mecca in 570. One only need visit the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago to see African elephants performing circus tricks. The keeper informed me that the African elephants may be a little more difficult than the Asian ones, but they can be perfectly domesticated and mounted. Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia says: "The record made by Carl Hagenbeck, the famous German animal dealer, is an extreme example of this docility. Within two days he trained six African elephants which had never been worked before to carry loads and their drivers. Hagenbeck and many other experienced men say that there is no foundation for the belief that the African elephant is more savage and dangerous, or less easily trained, than the Asiatic elephant. In recent years many elephants have been trained to work in the Belgian Congo" (Chicago, 1959, vol. 4, p. 385).

43. We may wonder why, if elephants were at all domesticated in Africa, this was so rare or not much noticed. The word "Brachmanism" may give us a clue. One possible interpretation is that the "Moor" Pieter met was a Muslim, that "Brachmanni" is a corruption of the divine name "ar-Ramân", and that the East, to which the man pointed, was the direction of Mecca. I am more inclined, however, to accept Marcellino Da Civezza's supposition that the man was a Brahman from India. Eric Axelson, in Portuguese in southeast Africa 1600-1700 (Johannesburg, 1964), shows that numerous Indians had settled in the Portuguese towns on the Zambeze as early as the 16th century (pp. 4-5). Canarins (= Goans) were employed on Portuguese ships (pp. 87, 163), who were also encouraged to settle along the Zambeze (pp. 101, 178-180). In particular, Canarins and Brahmans were urged to explore the interior, all the way across to Angola (p. 115). By 1678 the Portuguese were regretting the presence of the large number of Indians, who out-competed them in trade (p. 151). A Brahman led the way in trading for ivory with the Amvuas, far up the Zambeze (p. 137). Indians who were used to training elephants, therefore, could easily have moved through Africa to Angola, Congo and beyond. Their skill with elephants, however, seems never to have been picked up by Africans, and the phenomenon of domesticated elephants did not last long.

44. Pieter must have been near Kano when he was picked up. It is not surprising that, travelling by night and in his condition, he makes no mention of Kano or any other place of note during the rest of the journey. Since it was the rainy season, the caravan would likely have continued east beyond Yola, to bypass the Benue, and then turned south. As for the route thereafter, J. Vansina describes routes in Angola and the immediately surrounding areas, which are well documented ("Long-distance trade routes in central Africa", Journal of African History, 3:3, 1962, pp. 375-390), but we have no written sources for any route connecting Congo with Cameroon and Nigeria. Then there is the question of the tsetse fly.

45. We wonder where in the Congo the home of Pieter's benefactor could have been. São Salvador was destroyed at this time, but there were many towns and small kingdoms in the area (cf. F. Bontinck, Diaire Congolais, 1690-1701, Louvain, 1970, pp. xlvi-xlix). Fording the Zaire river with camels and elephants would be another problem. It may be that the man's home was in Loango, since this was once part of the Congo kingdom.

46. What kind of shipping connection was there between Portuguese Angola and Dutch Elmina? At this time Dutch ships were plentiful at the Loango ports of Buali, Malemba and Cabinda. Pieter would more likely find a ship going to Dutch-held Elmina from one of these ports than at Portuguese Luanda. The letter of Van Rampel, quoted by M. da Civezza, says that Pieter departed from Luanda. It may be significant that Pieter's death notice summarizes his experience in Agadez and moves straight to his being shipwrecked and being picked up from the reef by pirates, without any mention of a trip to Angola.

47. It must be December (1688) to match the number of days he gives before the next fixed date, his arrival at Salé. Van Rampel, however, says that the departure was in November; cf. M. da Civezza, op. cit., p. 497.

48. According to Van Rampel the ship was returning from Madagascar and had narrowly missed being lost on rocks at the Cape. Van Rampel places the sighting in April, a month earlier than the date calculated form Pieter's data, the same as he did for the departure from Luanda; cf. M. da Civezza, op. cit., pp. 492 & 497.

49. It seems Van Rampel was responsible for gathering the information of Pieter's arrival at Salé.

50. Putting his departure from Salé around 28 September 1690.

51. This does not accord with the information on Pieter's profession record, which would make him 39 years old and 19 years professed at the time of his death.

52. On his return Pieter was given the office of Commissary for the Holy Land and assigned to the Franciscan house in Aachen (cf. J. Goyens, op. cit., p. 25).