"Sambo" 1657, antedates OED 1704-

Thu Sep 11 13:36:01 UTC 2008

        What does "wore black or eat green" mean?  The only examples I
see on Google are from this text.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Joel S. Berson
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2008 7:52 AM
Subject: "Sambo" 1657, antedates OED 1704-

Sambo 1657, antedates OED 1704-

[I use underlines to enclose italics.]

p. 49
"... therefore was faine to take a Compasse with me ... This _Negre
[sic] Sambo_ comes to me, and seeing the needle wag, desired to know the
reason of its stirring ..."

p. 50
"I promised to do my best endeavor: and when I came home, spoke to the
Master of the Plantation, and told him that poor _Sambo_ desired much to
be a Christian. But his answer was, That the people of that Island were
governed by the Lawes of _England_, and by those Lawes, we could not
make a Christian a Slave. ... So I was struck mute, and poor _Sambo_
kept out of the Church; as ingenious, as honest, and as good a natur'd
poor soul as ever wore black, or eat green."

p. 54
"The substance of this, in such language as they had, they delivered,
and poor _Sambo_ was the Orator; by whose example the others were led
both in the discovery of the Plot, and refuseall of the gratitude."

Richard Ligon
_A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados ..._
London: Printed for Humphrey Mosely, at the Prince's Arms in St.
Paul's Church-yard, 1657

Discussed in Trevor Burnard, "Slave Naming Patters: Onomastics and the
Taxonomy of Race in Eighteeenth-Century Jamaica (Journal of
Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Winter, 2001), 325--346.


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