Lander's Travels eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 909 pages of information about Lander's Travels.
in a few days, their lamented companion.  “And now, for the first time in all our distresses,” says Captain Lyon, “my hopes did indeed fail me.  Belford, as well as he was able, hastened to form a rough coffin out of their chests, while the washers of the dead came to perform their melancholy office.  The protestant burial service was read over the body, in secret, during the night, and on the next day, the remains were committed to the grave.  At the grave, it was deemed necessary to keep up the farce of Mahommadism, by publicly reciting the first chapter of the Koran, which the most serious Christian would consider as a beautiful and applicable form on such an occasion.”

Within an hour after the funeral, a courier arrived from Tripoli, announcing that a further allowance of L1,000 had been made by the British government towards the expenses of the expedition.  Had this welcome intelligence reached them a little sooner, many of their distresses would have been prevented.  The efforts and mental exertions which the survivors of the party had undergone, proved, however, too much for their strength, and, for ten days, both were again confined to their beds.  During this time, they were most humanely attended by Yusuf and Haji Mahmoud, and by a little girl, who was their principal nurse.  At length, Captain Lyon sufficiently recovered his health, to undertake, during the months of December and January, two excursions to the east and south of Mourzouk, preparatory to his return to England.  On the 9th of February, he finally left Mourzouk; and on the 25th March, exactly one year from the day on which the party left Tripoli, the Captain and Belford, his surviving companion, re-entered that capital.

CHAPTER XIX.

Death had hitherto been the lot of the African adventurers, but nothing could shake the determination of the British government, to obtain, by some means or other, a competent degree of information respecting the unknown countries of Africa.  The great favour enjoyed at the court of Tripoli, was still regarded as an advantageous circumstance.  It was chiefly due to the prudence and ability of Mr. Warrington, without whose advice scarcely any thing of importance was transacted.  The bashaw was therefore disposed to renew his protection to whatever mission Britain might send; nor could the support of any sovereign have been more efficient, for the influence of this petty prince, and the terror of his name, were almost unbounded in the greatest kingdoms of central Africa.  One weapon, the gun, in the hands of his troops, gives him all this superiority; for the remoter nations, from the Nile to the Atlantic, scarcely know any other arms besides the spear, the bow, and the javelin.  A musket among those tribes is an object of almost supernatural dread; individuals have been seen kneeling down before it, speaking to it in whispers, and addressing to it earnest supplications.  With troops thus armed, the bashaw of Tripoli is esteemed, in northern Africa, the most potent monarch on earth; and it is a matter of surprise amongst the natives, that he has not ere now compelled all Europe to embrace the Mahommedan faith.  He could, therefore, assure the English, that for any but physical obstacles, they might travel in safety from Tripoli to Bornou, as from Edinburgh to London.

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