not uncommon, but they pass away as suddenly as they come on. Lasting friendships are not known. Relations apparently the closest are suddenly broken up or changed into enmity by the most insignificant causes.
Melancholy tones can hardly be attributed to the negro spirit, and I would have averred that suicide was inconceivable among them, had I not learned from trustworthy sources that instances of it had occurred. These were, however, only among more nearly civilized individuals. The ruling passions of the race concern the gratification of pleasure and greed for property. The most serious troubles originate in these spheres. The theft of a goat will afford a chief a more ready provocation for war than a box on the ear. The ideas of honor and manliness are almost wholly wanting, at least among the common men. Blows are unpleasant to them only in so far as they cause pain. They will bear the cuffs of their lord with resignation and as matters of course, as a part of the contract, while they will most likely toward strangers put themselves timidly and passively in an attitude of defense.
The question, "Has the negro a religion?" can not be answered at once either affirmatively or negatively. It must first be made clear what is to be understood by religion. If it be defined as a system of conceptions, aspirations, hopes, and apprehensions, and the moral precepts suggested by their operation, then the negro has no religion. If we call a confused mixture of vague wants and superstitious impulses a religion, then he has one. We might, perhaps, say more correctly that the common human weaknesses which are among ordinary motives of religion—feelings of anxiety, longings, illusions, fancies, and the corresponding efforts to get light—are not wanting in the negro, but he lacks the deep reflective power to build up a symmetrical structure out of his theological raw material. As the negro is in the habit of dreaming of his dead relatives, and is very apt to imagine that this or that dead person allows him no rest in the night, and must be silenced by propitiatory offerings, he is not very far from believing in the immortality of the soul. I have frequently inquired of the most intelligent blacks under my command, of those who had been baptized and considered themselves Christians, what they thought of their future after death, and have never received any other answer than that "then life will be at an end, and we shall be buried in the ground and eaten by worms."
They have a word, nsambi, which might be translated by "God." The following are examples of the way it is used: Diulee dia nsambi, God's sky; Kalunga ka nsambi, God's sea; dikembi dia nsambi, God's sun; dikua dia nsambi, God's axe—the name of a grass that cuts very badly; the name nsambi is also applied to the mantis, r praying insect. Personally and practically however, this nsambi, as my Augustus once told me, is of no interest to the negroes. He does them