Lander's Travels eBook

Lander's Travels

The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.

(c)1998-2002; (c)2002 by Gale. Gale is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Gale and Design and Thomson Learning are trademarks used herein under license.

The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

All other sections in this Literature Study Guide are owned and copyrighted by BookRags, Inc.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section Page

Start of eBook1

Page 1


Previously to entering upon the immediate subject of the origin and progress of the different voyages, which have been undertaken for exploring the interior of Africa, it may be not only interesting, but highly instructive, to take a rapid survey of the great Peninsula, as it appeared to the earlier travellers, and as it was found by the last of them, amongst whom may be included the individual, whose adventures in the present work, claim our chief attention.  It is on record, that the coasts of Africa have been navigated from as early a period, as six hundred years before Christ, and, according to the earliest records of history, the circumnavigation of Africa was accomplished by the Phoenicians, in the service of Pharaoh Necho.  On referring to Herodotus, the earliest and most interesting of Greek historians, and to whom we are indebted for the knowledge of many important facts relative to Africa, in the earliest periods of its history, we find, in corroboration of the circumnavigation of Africa by the Phoenicians, “that taking their course from the Red Sea they entered into the Southern Ocean; on the approach of autumn, they landed in Lybia, and planted some corn in the place, where they happened to find themselves; when this was ripe, and they had cut it down, they again departed.  Having thus consumed two years, they in the third passed the columns of Hercules, and returned to Egypt.  Their relation may obtain attention from others, but to me it seems incredible, for they affirmed that having sailed round Africa, they had the sun on their right hand.

It is worthy of remark, that the very circumstance, which led Herodotus to attach discredit to the circumnavigation of Africa by the Phoenicians, on account of their having the sun to the right, is the very strongest presumption in favour of its truth.  Some historians have indeed endeavoured to prove, that the voyage was altogether beyond any means, which navigation at that early era could command; but in the learned exposition of Rennell, a strong degree of probability is thrown upon the early tradition.  At all events it may be considered, that the obscure knowledge, which we possessed of the peninsular figure of Africa, appears to have been derived from the Phoenicians.  Herodotus, however, was himself a traveller, in those early times, of no mean celebrity.  Despairing of obtaining accurate information of the then known part of the habitable world, he determined to have recourse to travelling, for the purpose of completing those surveys, which had been undertaken by his predecessors, and which had been left in a dubious and indefinite state.  He resided for a considerable period in Egypt, during which, he entered into a friendly communion with the native priests, from whom he obtained much accurate information, as well as a great deal that was false and exaggerated relative to the extensive region, which extends from the Nile to the Atlantic.  According

Page 2

to his description it is much inferior in fertility to the cultivated parts of Europe and Asia, and suffering extremely from severe drought; yet he makes mention of a few spots, such as Cinyps, and the high tract Cyrene, which, undergoing the process of irrigation, may stand comparison with the richest portions of the globe.  Generally, however, in quitting the northern coast, which he terms significantly the forehead of Africa, the country became more and more arid.  Hills of salt arose, out of which the natives constructed their houses, without any fear of their melting beneath a shower in a region where rain was unknown.  The land became almost a desert, and was filled with such multitudes of wild beasts, as to be considered their proper inheritance, and scarcely disputed with them by the human race.  Farther to the south, the soil no longer afforded food even to these wild tenants; there was not a trunk of a tree, nor a drop of water—­total silence and desolation reigned.

This may be considered as the first picture on record of the northern part of Africa; a country, which, even after the lapse of two thousand years, presents to the eye of science, as regards its interior recesses, a blank in geography, a physical and not less a moral problem; a dark and bewildering mystery.  The spirit of enterprise has carried our mariners to the arctic seas, braving the most appalling dangers in the solution of a great geographical problem; by the same power, civilization has been carried into the primeval forests of the American continent, and cities have arisen in the very heart of the Andes.  The interior of Africa, however, notwithstanding its navigable rivers, has been hitherto almost a sealed chapter in the history of the globe.  The deserts, which extend from Egypt to the Atlantic, and which cover a great surface of the interior, have proved a barrier to the march of conquest, or civilization; and whatever science has gained, has been wrested by the utmost efforts of human perseverance and the continual sacrifice of human life.

It must, however, be allowed that there are obstacles existing to the knowledge and the civilization of central Africa, which cannot be overcome by the confederated power of human genius.  Extending 5000 miles in length, and nearly the same extent in breadth, it presents an area, according to Malte Brun, of 13,430,000 square miles, unbroken by any estuary, or inland sea, and intersected by a few long or easily navigable rivers; all its known chains of mountains are of moderate height, rising in terraces, down which the waters find their way in cataracts, not through deep ravines and fertile valleys.  Owing to this configuration, its high table lands are without streams, a phenomenon unknown in any other part of the world; while, in the lower countries, the rivers, when swelled with the rains, spread into floods and periodical lakes, or lose themselves in marshes.  According to this view of the probable structure of the unknown interior,

Page 3

it appears as one immense flat mountain, rising on all sides from the sea by terraces; an opinion favoured by the absence of those narrow pointed promontories, in which other continents terminate, and of those long chains of islands, which are, in fact, submarine prolongations of mountain chains extending across the main land.  It is, however, not impossible, that in the centre of Africa, there may be lofty table lands like those of Quito, or valleys like that of Cashmeer, where, as in those happy regions, spring holds a perpetual reign.

In regard to the population, as well as its geographical character, Africa naturally divides itself into two great portions, north and south of the mountains of Kong and the Jebel el Komar, which give rise to the waters of the Senegal, the Niger and the Nile.  To the north of this line, Africa is ruled, and partially occupied by foreign races, who have taken possession of all the fertile districts, and driven the aboriginal population into the mountains and deserts of the interior.  It is consistent with general experience, that in proportion as civilization extends itself, the aboriginal race of the natives become either extinct, or are driven farther and farther into the interior, where they in time are lost and swept from the catalogue of the human race.

South of this line, we find Africa entirely peopled with the Negro race, who alone seem capable of sustaining the fiery climate, by means of a redundant physical energy scarcely compatible with the full development of the intellectual powers of man.  Central Africa is a region distinguished from all others, by its productions and climate, by the simplicity and yet barbarian magnificence of its states; by the mildness and yet diabolical ferocity of its inhabitants, and peculiarly by the darker nature of its superstitions, and its magical rites, which have struck with awe strangers in all ages, and which present something inexplicable and even appalling to enlightened Europeans; the evil principle here seems to reign with less of limitation, and in recesses inaccessible to white men, still to enchant and delude the natives.  The common and characteristic mark of their superstition, is the system of Fetiches, by which an individual appropriates to himself some casual object as divine, and which, with respect to himself, by this process, becomes deified, and exercises a peculiar fatality over his fortune.  The barbarism of Africa, may be attributed in part its great fertility, which enables its inhabitants to live without are but chiefly to its imperviousness to strangers.  Every petty state is so surrounded with natural barriers, that it is isolated from the rest, and though it may be overrun and wasted, and part of its inhabitants carried into captivity, it has never been made to form a constituent part of one large consolidated empire and thus smaller states become dependent, without being incorporated.  The whole region is still more inaccessible on a grand scale, than the petty states are in miniature; and while the rest of the earth has become common, from the frequency of visitors, Africa still retains part of the mystery, which hung over the primitive and untrodden world.

Page 4

Passing over the attempts of the very early travellers to become acquainted with the geographical portion of Africa, in which much fiction, and little truth, were blended, we arrive at that period, when the spirit of discovery began to manifest itself amongst some of the European states.  The darkness and lethargy, which characterised the middle ages, had cast their baneful influence over every project, which had discovery for its aim, and even the invaluable discovery of the mariner’s compass, which took place at the commencement of the thirteenth century, and which opened to man the dominion of the sea, and put him in full possession of the earth had little immediate effect in emboldening navigators to venture into unfrequented seas.  At a somewhat earlier period, it is true, the Hanse Towns and the Italian republics began to cultivate manufactures and commerce, and to lay the foundation of a still higher prosperity, but they carried on chiefly an inland or coasting trade.  The naval efforts, even of Venice or Genoa, had no further aim than to bring from Alexandria, and the shores of the Black Sea, the commodities of India, which had been conveyed thither chiefly by caravans over land.  Satisfied with the wealth and power, to which they had been raised by this local and limited commerce, these celebrated republics made an attempt to open a more extended path over the ocean.  Their pilots, indeed, guided most of the vessels engaged in the early voyages of discovery, but they were employed, and the means furnished, by the great monarchs, whose ports were situated upon the shores of the Atlantic.

The first appearance of a bolder spirit, in which the human mind began to make a grand movement in every direction, in religion, science, freedom, and liberty, may be dated from about the end of the fifteenth century.  The glory of leading the way in this new career, was reserved for Portugal, then one of the smallest, and least powerful of the European kingdoms.

When in 1412, John I. sent forth a few vessels, to explore the western shores of Africa, while he prepared a great armament to attack the moors of Barbary, the art of navigation was still very imperfect, nor had the Portuguese ever ventured to sail beyond Cape Non.  But what most powerfully contributed to give impulse and direction to the national ardour, was the enlightened enthusiasm, with which prince Henry of Portugal, a younger son of John I., espoused the interests of science, and the prosecution of nautical discovery.  In order to pursue his splendid projects without interruption, he fixed his residence at Sagres, near Cape St. Vincent, where the prospect of the open Atlantic continually invited his thoughts to their favourite theme.  His first effort was upon a small scale.  He fitted out a single ship, the command of which was entrusted to two gentlemen of his household, who volunteered their services, with instructions to use their utmost endeavours to double Cape Bojador, and thence to steer

Page 5

southward.  According to the mode of navigation, which then prevailed, they held their course along the shore, and by following that direction, they must have encountered almost insuperable difficulties, in the attempt to pass the cape; their want of skill was, however, compensated by a fortunate accident.  A sudden squall drove them out to sea, and when they expected every moment to perish, landed them on an unknown island, which, from their happy escape, they named Porto Santo.  They returned to Portugal with the good tidings, and were received with the applause due to fortunate adventurers.  The following year, prince Henry sent out three ships to take possession of the new island; a fixed spot on the horizon, towards the south, resembling a small black cloud, soon attracted the attention of the settlers, and the conjecture suggested itself that it might be land.  Steering towards it, they arrived at a considerable island, uninhabited, and covered with wood, which, on that account, they called Madeira.

By these voyages, the Portuguese became accustomed to a bolder navigation, and at length, in 1433, Gilianez, one of prince Henry’s captains, by venturing out into the open sea, succeeded in doubling Cape Bojador, which, until then, had been regarded as impassable.  This successful voyage, which the ignorance of the age placed on a level with the most famous exploits recorded in history, opened a new sphere to navigation, as it discovered the vast continent of Africa, still washed by the Atlantic Ocean, and stretching towards the south.  A rapid progress was then made along the shores of the Sehara, and the Portuguese navigators were not long in reaching the fertile regions watered by the Senegal and the Gambia.

The early part of this progress was dreary in the extreme; they saw nothing before them but a wild expanse of lifeless earth and sky, naked rocks and burning sands, stretching immeasurably into the exterior, and affording no encouragement to any project of settlement.  After, however, passing Cape Blanco, the coast began to improve in appearance, and when they saw the ivory and gold brought down from the interior, those regions began to excite the lust of conquest.  This was, however, an undertaking beyond the means of any force which had as yet sailed from Portugal.  In 1443, however, Nuno Tristan discovered the island of Arguin, and as Gonzalo da Centra was in 1445 killed by a party of negroes, in attempting to ascend a small river, near the Rio Grande, the Portuguese considered an insular position to be the most eligible for a settlement, and the island of Arguin was accordingly fixed upon.

Page 6

This establishment had been scarcely formed, when an important event took place, which afforded a favourable opportunity and pretext for laying the foundation of the Portuguese empire in Africa.  Bemoy, a prince of the Jaloofs, arrived at Arguin, as a suppliant for foreign aid, in recovering his dominions from a more powerful competitor or usurper.  He was received with open arms, and conveyed to Lisbon, where he experienced a brilliant reception, his visit being celebrated by all the festal exhibitions peculiar to that age, bull-fights, puppet-shows, and even feats of dogs.  On that occasion, Bemoy made a display of the agility of his native attendants, who on foot, kept pace with the swift horses, mounting and alighting from these animals at full gallop After being instructed in the Christian religion, he was baptized, and did homage to the king and the pope, for the crown, which was to be placed on his head; for this purpose a powerful armament under the command of Pero vaz d’Acunha, was sent out with him, to the banks of the Senegal.

The circumstance, which tended more particularly to inflame the pious zeal of the Christian monarch, was the information, that to the east of Timbuctoo there was a territory inhabited by a people who were neither moors nor pagans, but who, in many of their customs resembled the Christians.  It was immediately inferred, that this could be no other than the kingdom of the mysterious personage known in Europe, under the uncouth appellation of Prester John.  This singular name seems first to have been introduced by travellers from eastern Asia, where it had been applied to some Nestorian bishop, who held there a species of sovereignty, and when rumours arrived of the Christian king of Abyssinia, he was concluded to be the real Prester John.  His dominions being reported to stretch far inland, and the breadth of the African continent being very imperfectly understood, the conclusion was formed, that a mission from the western coast might easily reach his capital.  It does not fully appear, what were the precise expectations from an intercourse with this great personage, but it seems to have been thoroughly rooted in the minds of the Portuguese, that they would be raised to a matchless height of glory and felicity, if they could by any means arrive at his court.  The principal instruction given to all officers employed in the African service, was, that in every quarter, and by every means, they should endeavour to effect this discovery.  They accordingly never failed to put the question to all the wanderers of the desert, and to every caravan that came from the interior, but in vain, the name had never been heard.  The Portuguese then besought the natives at all events, into whatever region they might travel, studiously to inquire if Prester John was there, or if any one knew where he was to be found, and on the promise of a splendid reward, in case of success, this was readily undertaken.

Page 7

The conclusion of the adventure of Bemoy, was extremely tragical.  A quarrel having arisen between him and the commander of the expedition, the latter stabbed the African prince on board his own vessel.  Whether this violent deed was prompted by the heat of passion, or by well-grounded suspicions of the prince’s fidelity, was never fully investigated, but the king learned the event with great regret, and in consequence, gave up his design of building a fort on the Senegal.  Embassies were, however, sent to the most powerful of the neighbouring states, nor was any pause made in the indefatigable efforts to trace the abode of Prester John.  Amongst the great personages, to whom an embassy was sent, are mentioned the kings of Tongubutue, (Timbuctoo,) and Tucurol, a Mandingo chief named Mandimansa, and a king of the Foulhas, with all of whom a friendly intercourse was established.  All endeavours were, however, vain as to the primary object, but the Portuguese thereby gained a more complete knowledge of this part of interior Africa than was afterwards attained in Europe till a very recent period.

There is, however, one circumstance attending these discoveries of the Portuguese, and the embassies, which they in consequence sent to the native princes, which deserves particular attention.  There is very little doubt existing, but that the Portuguese were acquainted with the town and territory of Timbuctoo; and the question then presents itself, by what means did the Portuguese succeed in penetrating to a kingdom, which, for centuries afterwards, baffled all the efforts of the most enterprising travellers to arrive within some hundred miles of it.  The city of Timbuctoo, for instance, was, for a considerable length of time, the point to which all the European travellers had directed their attention; but so vague and indefinite were the accounts of it, that the existence of Timbuctoo as a town, began to be questioned altogether, or at least, that the extraordinary accounts, which had been given of it, had little or no foundation in truth.  From the time of Park to the present period, we have information of only three Europeans reached Timbuctoo, and considerable doubt still exists in regard to the truth of the narrative of one of them.  It is true that the intelligence of the Portuguese embassies, as respecting the particulars of them, and the manner in which they were conducted, has either perished, or still remains locked up in the archives of the Lusitanian monarchy.  But when we look into the expeditions, which have been projected of late years into the interior of Africa, we cannot refrain from drawing the conclusion, that the character of the African people must have undergone a change considerably for the worse, or that our expeditions are not regulated on those principles so as to command success.

Page 8

The Portuguese in the meantime continued to extend their discoveries in another quarter, for in 1471, they reached the Gold Coast, when dazzled by the importance and splendour of the commodity, the commerce of which gave name to that region, they built the fort of Elmina or The Mine, making it the capital of their possessions on that part of the continent.  Pushing onward to Benin, they received a curious account of an embassy said to be sent at the accession of every new prince, to a court of a sovereign named Ogane, who was said to reside seven or eight hundred miles in the interior.  On the introduction of the ambassadors, a silk curtain concealed the person of his majesty from them, until the moment of their departure, when the royal foot was graciously put forth from under the veil, and reverence was done to it as a “holy thing.”  From this statement it appears that the pope of Rome is not the only person, whose foot is treated as a “holy thing;” there is not, however, any information extant, that the Portuguese ambassadors kissed the great toe of the African prince, and therefore the superiority of the pope in this instance is at once decided.  The statement, however, of the Portuguese ambassadors excited greatly the curiosity of the court on their return, and it was immediately surmised by them, that this mysterious potentate was more likely to be Prester John, than any person whom they had yet heard of.  It must, however, be remarked, that it was a subject of great doubt and discussion to determine who this Ogane really was.

Although in possession of the extensive coast of Africa, the Portuguese had, as yet, no declared title to it, for that purpose, therefore, they appealed to religion or rather the superstition of the age.  It was a maxim, which the bigots of the Vatican had endeavoured strongly to inculcate, that whatever country was conquered from infidel nations, became the property of the victors.  This title was, however, not completed until it was confirmed by a special grant obtained from the pope, and accordingly the reigning monarch of Portugal, John II., obtained the grant of all the lands from Cape Bojador to the Indies inclusive.  Robertson, speaking of this grant, says, “extravagant as this donation, comprehending such a large portion of the habitable globe, would now appear even in catholic countries, no person in the fifteenth century doubted but that the pope, in the plenitude of his apostolic power, had a right to confer it.”

The grant was no sooner confirmed by the pope, than John hesitated not a moment to style himself Lord of Guinea, giving his commanders, at the same time, instructions that, instead of the wooden crosses, which it had hitherto been the custom to erect in token of conquest, pillars of stone should be raised twice the stature of a man, with proper inscriptions, and the whole surmounted by a crucifix inlaid with lead.  The first, who sailed from Elmina, for the purpose of planting these ensigns of dominion in regions yet

Page 9

undiscovered was Diego Cam, in 1484.  After passing Cape St. Catherine, he encountered a very strong current setting direct from the land, which was still at a considerable distance; on tasting the water, however, it was found to be fresh, from which the conjecture was drawn, that he was at the mouth of some great river, which ultimately turned out to be the fact.  This river has since been celebrated under the name of the Congo, or the Zaire, lying in latitude 8 deg. south, and longitude 13 deg. east.  On reaching the southern bank of the river, Diego planted his first pillar, after which he ascended its borders, and opened a communication with the natives by means of signs.  His first inquiry was respecting the residence of their sovereign, and, on receiving the information, that he resided at the distance of several days journey inland, he determined to send a number of his men with presents for the prince, the natives undertaking to be the guides, and pledging themselves, within a stipulated period, to conduct them back again.  As the natives meantime passed and repassed on the most intimate footing, Diego took the advantage of a moment, when several of the principal persons were on board his ship, weighed anchor and put to themselves as good and bona fide Christians, as any of the revered men, who had been sent out to instruct them.  The early missionaries, however, committed the same fault, which has distinguished the labours of those of later periods, for they immediately began attack one of the most venerated institutions of the realm of Congo which was polygamy; and to the aged monarch the privation of his wives appeared so intolerable, that he renounced the Christian faith, and relapsed into all the impurities of paganism and polygamy.  The heir apparent, however, saw nothing so very dreadful in the sacrifice of his wives, and braving the displeasure of his father, remained attached to the Portuguese.  The holy fathers managed their business on this occasion with that skill, for which the cowled tribe have ever been distinguished, and by the aid of the Apostle St. James, and a numerous cavalry of angels, the old king died, and Alphonso, the zealous convert, became entitled to reign.  His brother, however, Panso Aquitimo, supported by the nobles and almost the whole nation, raised the standard of revolt, in support of polygamy and paganism.  A civil war ensued, which is generally the attendant upon the proselytism of a people, and Alphonso had only a handful of Portuguese to oppose to the almost innumerable host of his countrymen; but the holy fathers again applied to their auxiliaries, and in consequence of apparitions in the clouds, at one time of St. James, and another of the Virgin Mary, Alphonso always came off victorious, and as he thereby became firmly seated on the throne, the missionaries secured for themselves a safe and comfortable establishment at Congo.  The following account of the conduct of these missionaries, as it is given in the Edinburgh Cabinet Library, cannot fail to afford a considerable degree of entertainment, at the same time, it is much to be deplored, that men engaged in so sacred a cause, “could play such fantastic tricks before high heaven,” and disgrace the doctrine, which they meant to teach.

Page 10

Being reinforced by successive bodies of their brethren, the missionaries spread over the neighbouring countries of Lundi, Pango, Concobella and Maopongo, many tracts of which were rich and populous, although the state of society was extremely rude.  Everywhere their career was nearly similar; the people gave them the most cordial reception, flocked in crowds to witness and to share in the pomp of their ceremonies; accepted with thankfulness their sacred gifts, and received by thousands the rite of baptism.  They were not, however, on this account prepared to renounce their ancient habits and superstitions.  The inquisition, that chef d’ouvre of sacerdotal guilt, was speedily introduced into their domestic arrangements, and, as was naturally to be supposed, caused a sudden revulsion, on which account the missionaries thenceforth maintained only a precarious and even a perilous position.  They were much reproached, it appears, for the rough and violent methods employed to effect their pious purposes, and although they treat the accusation as most unjust, some of the proceedings, of which they boast with the greatest satisfaction, tend not a little to countenance the charge.  When, for example, they could not persuade the people to renounce their superstitions, they used a large staff, with which they threw down their idols and beat them to pieces; they even stole secretly into the temples, and set them on fire.  A missionary at Maopongo, having met one of the queens, and finding her mind inaccessible to all his instructions, determined to use sharper remedies, and seizing a whip, began to apply it lustily to her majesty’s person:  the effect he describes as most auspicious; every successful blow opened her eyes more and more to the truth, and she at last declared herself wholly unable to resist such forcible arguments in favour of the catholic doctrine.  She, however, hastened to the king, with loud complaints respecting this mode of mental illumination; and the missionaries thenceforth lost all favour with that prince and the ladies of his court, being allowed to remain solely in dread of the Portuguese.  In only one other instance were they allowed to employ this mode of conversion.  The smith, in consequence of the skill, strange in the eyes of a rude people, with which he manufactured various arms and implements, was supposed to possess a measure of superhuman power, and he had thus been encouraged to advance pretensions to the character of a divinity, which were very generally admitted.  The missionaries appealed to the king, respecting this impious assumption, and that prince conceiving that it interfered with the respect due to himself, agreed to deliver into their hands the unfortunate smith, to be converted into a mortal in any manner they might judge efficacious.  After a short and unsuccessful argument, they had recourse to the same potent instrument of conversion, as they had applied to the back of the queen.  The son of Vulcan, deserted in this extremity by all his votaries, still made a firm stand for his celestial dignity, till the blood began to stream from his back and shoulders, when he finally yielded, and renounced all pretensions to a divine origin.

Page 11

A more intimate acquaintance discovered other irregularities amongst the natives, against which a painful struggle was to be maintained.  According to the custom of the country, and it were well if the same custom could be introduced into some particular parts of Europe, the two parties, previously to marriage, lived together for some time, in order to make a trial of each other’s tempers and inclinations, before entering into the final arrangement.  To this system of probation, the natives were most obstinately attached, and the missionaries in vain denounced it, calling upon them at once either to marry or to separate.  The young ladies were always the most anxious to have the full benefit of this experimental process; and the mothers, on being referred to, refused to incur any responsibility, and expose themselves to the reproaches of their daughters, by urging them to an abridgment of the trial, of which they might afterwards repent.  The missionaries seem to have been most diligent in the task, as they called it, of “reducing strayed souls to matrimony.”  Father Benedict succeeded with no fewer than six hundred, but he found it such “laborious work,” that he fell sick and died.  Another subject of deep regret, respecting the many superstitious practices still prevalent, even among those who exhibited some sort of Christian profession, was, that sometimes the children, brought for baptism, were bound with magic cords, to which the mothers, as an additional security from evil, had fastened beads, relics, and figures of the Agnus Dei.  It was a compound of paganism and Christianity, which the priests turned away from with disgust; but still the mothers seemed more inclined to part with the beads, relics, and figures of the Agnus Dei, than their magic cords.  The chiefs, in like manner, while they testified no repugnance to avail themselves of the protection promised from the wearing of crucifixes and images of the Virgin, were unprepared to part with the enchanted rings and other pagan amulets with which they had been accustomed to form a panoply round their persons.  In case of dangerous illness, sorcery had been always contemplated as the main or sole remedy, and those who rejected its use were reproached, as rather allowing their sick relations to die, than incur the expense of a conjuror.  But the most general and pernicious application of magic was made in judicial proceedings:  when a charge was advanced against any individual, no one ever thought of inquiring into the facts, or of collecting evidence—­every case was decided by preternatural tests.  The magicians prepared a beverage, which produced on the guilty person, according to the measure of his iniquity, spasm, fainting, or death, but left the innocent quite free from harm.  It seems a sound conclusion of the missionaries, that the draught was modified according to the good or ill will of the magicians, or the liberality of the supposed culprit.  The trial called Bolungo, was

Page 12

indeed renounced by the king, but only to substitute another, in which the accused was made to bend over a large basin of water, when, if he fell in, it was concluded that he was guilty.  At other times, a bar of red hot iron was passed along the leg, or the arm was thrust into scalding water, and if the natural effect followed, the person’s head was immediately struck off.  Snail shells, applied to the temples, if they stuck, inferred guilt.  When a dispute arose between man and man, the plan was, to place shells on the heads of both, and make them stoop, when he, from off whose head the shell first dropped, had a verdict found against him.  While we wonder at the deplorable ignorance on which these practices were founded, we must not forget that “the judgments of God,” as they were termed, employed by our ancestors, during the middle ages, were founded on the same unenlightened views, and were in some cases absolutely identical.

Other powers, of still higher name, held sway over the deluded minds of the people of Congo.  Some ladies of rank went about beating a drum, with dishevelled hair, and pretended to work magical cures.  There was also a race of mighty conjurors, called Scingilli, who had the power of giving and withdrawing rain at pleasure; and they had a king called Ganja Chitorne, or God of the earth, to whom its first fruits were regularly offered.  This person never died, but when tired of his sway on earth, he nominated a successor, and killed himself; a step, doubtless, prompted by the zeal of his followers, when they saw any danger of his reputation for immortality being compromised.  This class argued strongly in favour of their vocation, as not only useful, but absolutely essential, since without it the earth would be deprived of those influences, by which alone it was enabled to minister to the wants of man.  The people accordingly viewed, with the deepest alarm, any idea of giving offence to beings, whose wrath might be displayed in devoting the land to utter sterility.

We cannot trace any record, stating the period or the manner in which the Portuguese and their officious missionaries were expelled from Congo; it is, however, supposed that they at length carried their religious innovations to such a length, as to draw down upon them the vengeance of the people, and that some bold and decisive steps were taken to liberate the country from its usurpers.  It is, however, certain, that Capt.  Tucky, in his late expedition, did not find a single trace of either the Portuguese or their missionaries on the banks of the Zaire.

The traveller has ever found much greater difficulty in making discoveries in Mahometan than in Gentoo or Pagan countries, and from this cause the great continent of Africa is much less known to Europeans than it was in ancient times.  Until the present age, and a very recent part of it, our knowledge of that immense portion of the globe extended but very little way from the coast, and its enterprises have

Page 13

made great advances to a knowledge of that interior before unexplored.  The design of examining on land Africa, to find out the manners, habits, and institutions of its men, the state of the country, its commercial capabilities in themselves, and relative to this country, formed the African Association.  From the liberal sentiments, knowledge, and comprehensive views of that society, were the courage and enterprise of adventurers stimulated to particular undertakings of discovery.


We are now arrived at the period when England, aroused by the commercial advantages, which Portugal was deriving from her African possessions, determined, in defiance of the pope of Rome and “the Lords of Guinea,” to participate in the treasures, and to form her own settlements on the African coast, although it must be admitted, that one of the motives by which the English merchants were actuated, was not founded on humanity or patriotism.  The glorious and splendid results, which had arisen from the discovery of the East and West Indies, caused the ocean to be generally viewed as the grand theatre where wealth and glory were to be gained.  The cultivation of the West India Islands by the labour of Europeans, was found to be a task almost impracticable, and the attention was thence drawn to discover a source, from which manual labour could be obtained, adapted to the climate, and this resource was soon found in the black population of Africa.  It is not to be doubted, that many of our African settlements were formed for the purpose of procuring a supply of slaves, for the West India possessions, at the same time, the attention of others was excited by a far more innocent and brilliant prospect.  It was in the beginning of the seventeenth century, that an unbounded spirit of enterprise appears to have been excited amongst the British merchants, by vague reports of an Africa El Dorado.  The most flattering reports had reached Europe, of the magnitude of the gold trade carried on at Timbuctoo, and along the course of the Niger; despatches were even received from Morocco, representing its treasures, as surpassing those of Mexico and Peru, and in 1618, a company was formed in London, for the express purpose of penetrating to the country of gold, and to Timbuctoo.  Exaggeration stepped in to inflame the minds of the speculators, with the enormous wealth which awaited them in the interior of Africa.  The roofs of the houses were represented to be covered with plates of gold, that the bottoms of the rivers glistened with the precious metal, and the mountains had only to be excavated, to yield a profusion of the metallic treasure.  From the northern part of Africa, impediments of almost an insuperable nature presented themselves, to the attainment of these great advantages; immense deserts, as yet unexplored by human foot, and the knowledge of the existence of tribes of barbarous people on the borders of them, were in themselves sufficient to daunt the spirit of adventure in those quarters, and ultimately drew the attention to the discovery of another channel, by which the golden treasures of Timbuctoo could be reached, without encountering the appalling dangers of the deserts, or the murderous intentions of the natives.

Page 14

The existence of the great river Niger, had been established by the concurrent testimony of all navigators, but of its course or origin, not the slightest information had been received.  The circumstance of its waters flowing from the eastward, gave rise to the conjecture, that they flowed through the interior of the continent, and emptied themselves either by the Senegal or the Gambia, into the Atlantic.  It was, therefore, considered probable, that by ascending the Senegal or the Gambia, which were supposed to be merely tributary streams of the Niger, of which they formed the estuary, that Timbuctoo and the country of gold might be reached; and so strongly was this opinion impressed upon the minds of the merchants, and other adventurers, that a journey to Timbuctoo became the leading project of the day, and measures were accordingly taken to carry it into execution.

The first person sent out by the company established for exploring the Gambia, was Richard Thompson, a Barbary merchant, a man of some talent and enterprise, who sailed from the Thames in the Catherine, of 120 tons, with a cargo valued at nearly two thousand pounds sterling.  The expedition of Thompson was unfortunate in the extreme, but the accounts received of his adventures and death, have been differently recited.  It is certain, that Thompson ascended the Gambia as far as Tenda, a point much beyond what any European had before reached, and according to one account, he was here attacked by the Portuguese, who succeeded in making a general massacre of the English.  Another account states, that he was killed in an affray with his own people, and thence has been styled the first martyr, or more properly the first victim in the cause of African discovery.

The company, however, nothing daunted by the ill success of Thompson, despatched another expedition on a larger scale, consisting of the Sion of 200 tons, and the St. John of 50, giving the command to Richard Jobson, to whom we are indebted for the first satisfactory account of the great river districts of western Africa.

Jobson arrived in the Gambia, in November, 1620, and left his ship at Cassau, a town situate on the banks of that river.  Here, however, his progress was impeded by the machinations of the Portuguese, and so great was the dread of the few persons belonging to that nation, who remained at Cassan after the massacre of Thompson, that scarcely one could be found, who would take upon himself the office of a pilot to conduct his vessel higher up the river.  In this extremity he had no other resource than to take to his boats, but, on ascending the river, he found his merchandise in comparatively little request, and repented that he had not laden his boats with salt.  He soon afterwards met with Brewer, who had accompanied Thompson to Tenda, and remained with the English factory established up the river.  He also filled Jobson with “golden hopes.”  Wherever the English stopped, the

Page 15

negro kings, with their wives and daughters, came down to the river side to buy, or rather to beg for trinkets, and still more for brandy.  They also showed themselves by no means ignorant of the art of stealing, but their thefts were, in some degree, obliged to be winked at, for fear of offending the royal personages, and drawing down upon themselves the secret vengeance of the uncivilized hordes.  On Christmas day Tirambra, a negro prince, a great friend of the English, sent them a load of elephant’s flesh, which was accepted with tokens of the greatest respect and gratitude, although the whole gift was secretly thrown away.

After a navigation in boats of nearly thirty days, Jobson reached the rapids of Barraconda, the highest point to where the tide flows, and where he found himself involved in great difficulties.  The ascent was to be made against a current running with the greatest rapidity; the great number of hidden rocks made it dangerous to pursue their course during the night, the same time, that in attempting to avoid the rocks, they struck upon sand banks and shallows, which often obliged the crew to strip and go into the water, for the purpose of clearing the boats from the sands.  In the performance, however, of this task, the greatest danger was run from the vast number of crocodiles, that infested the river, and which, in several instances, seemed to be in waiting for any prey with which the boats could supply them.  The river was also filled with “a world of sea-horses, whose paths, as they came on shore to feed, were beaten with tracts as large as a London highway.”  The land on either side of the river was covered with immense forests of unknown trees, which appeared to team with living things, feathered and quadruped, making a roar sometimes, which was sufficient to instil terror into the stoutest heart.  Amongst the latter, the baboons appeared to hold the sovereignty of the woods, and whenever the navigation of the river obliged the travellers to keep close in shore, where the banks were covered with trees; the baboons posted themselves on the branches, and kept up a regular attack upon the navigators, throwing at them the largest branches, which they could break from the trees, and apparently holding a palaver with each other, as to the best mode of prosecuting the attack against the lawless intruders into their territory.  They appeared actually to be aware when a branch hit one of the navigators, for they immediately up a shout of triumph, screaming hideously, and “grinning ghastly a horrible smile,” as if expressive of their victory.  The voices of the crocodiles calling, as it were, to each other, resembling the sound “of a deep well,” might be heard at the distance of a league, whilst the elephants were seen in huge hordes, raising their trunks in the air, and snorting defiance to all who dared approach them.  The latter are objects of great fear to the natives, scarcely one of whom dare approach them, but they appeared to have an instinctive

Page 16

sense of the superiority of the English, for they no sooner made a movement against them, than they hurried away with the speed of the forest deer, and were soon lost in the depths of their native forests.  Three balls were lodged in one of the animals, but he made off with them; he was, however, soon after found dead by the negroes.  The most formidable animals, however, were the lions, ounces, and leopards, which were seen at some distance, but the sailors could not obtain a shot at them.  At one of their halting places, the baboons appeared like an army consisting of several thousands, some of the tallest placed in front, marshalled under the guidance of a leader, the smaller ones being in the middle, and the rear brought up by the larger ones.  The sailors showed some disposition to enter into an acquaintance with the leader of the army, but the desire was by no means mutual, for nature has very kindly infused into the hearts of these creatures a strong distrust in the friendly advances of their brother bipeds, knowing them to be, in many of their actions, false, hollow, and deceitful, a proof of which, one of the leaders of the army received in a very striking and forcible manner, in the shape of a bullet, which passed directly through his body.  The baboons were, however, determined that their treacherous friends should not obtain possession of the body of their murdered leader, for before the sailors could arrive at the spot where the deceased general lay, his indignant and patriotic companions had carried his body away.  On following these creatures to their haunts in the recessess of the forest, places were found, where the branches had been so intertwined, and the ground beaten so smoothly, as to make it rather difficult to believe that the labour had not been accomplished by human hands.

On the 26th of January, Jobson arrived at Tenda, and he immediately despatched a messenger to Buckar Sano, the chief merchant on the Gambia, who soon after arrived with a stock of provisions, which he disposed of at reasonable prices.  In return for the promptitude, with which Buckar Sano had replied to his message, Jobson treated him with the greatest hospitality, placing before him the brandy bottle as the most important object of the entertainment.  Buckar Sano seemed by no means unwilling to consider it in that character, for he paid so many visitations to it that he became so intoxicated, that he lay during the whole of the night dead drunk in the boat.  Buckar Sano, however, showed by his subsequent conduct, that drunkenness was not a vice, to which he was naturally addicted, and that the strength of the spirit had crept upon him, before he was aware of the consequences that were likely to ensue.  On any subsequent occasion, when the brandy bottle was tendered to him, he would take a glass, but on being pressed to repeat it, he would shake his head with apparent tokens of disgust; after the exchange of some presents, and many ridiculous

Page 17

ceremonies, Buckar Sano was proclaimed the white man’s alchade, or mercantile agent.  Jobson had, however, some reason to doubt his good faith, from the accounts which he gave of a city four months journey in the interior, the roofs of the houses of which were covered with sheets of gold.  It must, however, be considered, in exculpation of the supposed exaggerated accounts of Buckar Sano, that the Europeans at that time possessed a very circumscribed knowledge of the extent of the interior of Africa, and that a four months journey, to a particular city, would not be looked upon at the time as transgressing the bounds of truth.  It is most probable that Buckar Sano alluded to Timbuctoo, a place that has given rise to more extraordinary conjectures, and respecting which, more fabulous stories have been told than of Babylon, or of Carthage of ancient history.

The circumstance of a vessel having arrived in the river for the purpose of traffic, caused a strong sensation throughout the country, and the natives flocked from all the neighbouring districts, anxious not only to obtain a sight of the white men, but to commence their commercial dealings.  They erected their huts on the banks of the river, which in a short time resembled a village, and for the first time, the busy hum of trade was heard in the interior of Africa.  The natives, with whom Jobson commenced his commercial dealings, appeared to possess some traces of civilization, nor were they deficient in many of the arts, which are known amongst the civilized nations, and which, even at that time, were with them but in their infancy.

To these people, however, succeeded a different race of visitors, far more rude and uncivilized, whose bodies were covered with skins of wild animals, the tails hanging as from the beasts.  The men of this race had never seen a white man before, and so great was their fear, when Jobson presented himself amongst them, that they all ran away, and stationed themselves at some distance from the river.  They were, however, soon tempted back again, at the sight of a few beads, and the most friendly relations were afterwards established between them.

Jobson found that in Tenda, as elsewhere, salt was the article chiefly in demand, but he had unfortunately omitted to provide himself with any great quantity of that article.  Iron wares met with a ready sale, though these were supplied at a cheaper rate by a neighbouring people.  The sword-blade of Buckar Sano, and the brass bracelets of his wife, appeared to Jobson to be specimens of as good workmanship as could be seen in England.  Jobson, from very prudential motives, abstained from mentioning gold; but Buckar Sano, who knew perhaps what Europeans most coveted, told him, that if he continued to trade with Tenda, he could dispose of all his cargoes for gold.  The negro merchant affirmed, that he had been four times at a town in which the houses were all covered with gold, and distant a journey of four moons. 

Page 18

Jobson was informed that six days journey from St. John’s Mart, the name which he gave to the factory at Tenda, was a town called Mombar, where there was much trade for gold.  Three stages farther was Jaye, whence the gold came.  Some of the native merchants, finding that Jobson had not any salt with him, refused to enter into any commercial dealings with him, and returned highly dissatisfied.  For the commodities which he did dispose of, he obtained, in exchange, gold and ivory; he could have obtained hides in abundance, but they were too bulky a commodity to bear the expense of conveyance.

Jobson wisely adapted his carriage to the negro customs; he danced and sung with the natives, and entered with a proper spirit into all their entertainments.  He remarks, that the water of the Gambia above Barraconda has such a strong scent of musk, from the multitude of crocodiles, that infest that part of the river, as to be unfit for use.  The torpedo also abounds in the river about Cassan, and at first caused not a little terror and amazement to the crew.

Amongst other acts of kindness, which Buckar Sano showed to the Englishman, he offered to introduce him at the court of Tenda.  This, in a commercial point of view, was an advantage not to be overlooked, independently of the knowledge, which he would acquire of the internal geography of the country.  On reaching the king’s presence, an example was witnessed of the debasing homage, which is usually paid to negro princes, and of which some striking examples will be given in the journey of Clapperton.  The great and wealthy merchant, on appearing in the presence of the king, first fell on his knees, and then throwing off his shirt, extended himself naked and flat on the ground, whilst his attendants almost buried him beneath dust and mud; after grovelling like a beast for some time in this position, he suddenly started up, shook off the mud from him, in which operation he was assisted by two of his wives, who then assisted him in equipping himself in his best attire, with his bow and quiver, and all the other paraphernalia of a person of rank and consequence.  He and his attendants, after having made a semblance of shooting at Jobson, laid their bows at his feet, which was understood to be a token of homage.  The king even assured the English captain, that the country, and every thing in it, were then placed at his disposal, “which bounty, observes Jobson, could require no less than two or three bottles of my best brandy, although the English were not sixpence the better for the grant.”

The dry season had now commenced, and Jobson observed that the waters of the river were gradually sinking lower and lower; but the city, the roofs of which were plates of gold, haunted the busy fancy of Jobson, and he used every endeavour to ascend the river, in order that he might discover the sources from which the plates of gold were made.  It was evident to him, that Buckar Sano had either practised an imposition

Page 19

upon him, or that he had grossly exaggerated the treasures of the wonderful city; but in regard to the former, he could not divine any motive by which Buckar Sano could be actuated in imposing upon him; and in regard to the latter, making every allowance for exaggeration, it might eventually transpire, that the country abounded with the precious metal, although perhaps not exactly in the extraordinary degree as reported by Buckar Sano.  After encountering many difficulties, he was obliged to relinquish the farther ascent of the river, nor did he even reach the point where the previous discoveries of Thompson terminated, which may be considered as the utmost boundary of the discoveries of that period; indeed many years elapsed before any travellers passed the limits at which Thompson or Jobson had arrived.  The latter gives a strange report, which, however, was in some degree partially circulated before him, of a silent traffic being carried on in the interior between the moors and a negro nation, who would not allow themselves to be seen.  “The reason,” he adds, “why these negroes conceal themselves, is, that they have lips of an unnatural size, hanging down halfway over their breasts, and which they are obliged to rub with salt continually, to keep them from putrefaction.”  Thus even the great salt trade of the interior of Africa is not wholly untinged with fable.

The stream became at last so shallow, that Jobson could not ascend any farther, and he began his voyage downwards on the 10th February, intending to return at the season when the periodical rains filled the channel.  He was, however, never able to execute this purpose, as he and the company became involved in a quarrel with the merchants, whom he visits with his highest displeasure, representing them as persons alive only to their own immediate interests, and utterly regardless of any of those honourable motives with which all commercial dealings ought to be characterised.

Jobson may be said to have been the first Englishman, who enjoyed the opportunity of observing the manners and superstitions peculiar to the interior of Africa, but that must be taken as only within the narrow limits to which the discoveries at that period extended.  He found that the chiefs of the different nations were attended by bands of musicians, to whom he gives the appellation of juddies or fiddlers, and compares them to the Irish rhymsters, or, as we should now compare them, to the Italian improvisatori.  By some other authors they are called jelle, or jillemen; the instruments on which they perform being rudely made of wood, having a sonorous sound, on account of its extreme hardness, and in some instances they exhibit the knowledge of the power of an extended string, by fastening a piece of the gut of an animal across a plane of wood, and beating on it with a stick.  Like the majority of the musicians of the ruder tribes, the excellence of their music depends on the noise which is made, and if it be so obstreperous, as almost to deafen the auditors, the greater is the pleasure which is shown.

Page 20

These wandering minstrels are frequently attended by the Greegree men, or sorcerers, who, on account of the fantastic dress which they wear, form a most motley group; the Greegree men, trying to outvie each other in the hideous and fantastic style of their dress, and the more frightful they make themselves appear, the greater they believe is the effect of their sorcery.  The principal festivals are those of circumcision and of funeral.  Whenever former ceremony is performed, a vast concourse of people are attracted, from every part of the country, the operator being generally a Greegree man, who pretends to determine the future fate of the individual, in the manner by which the operation is performed, but which is always declared to be highly prosperous, if a liberal present has been made.  During the performance of the ceremony, the forests appear in a blaze, the most discordant shouts rending the air, intermixed with the sounds of their instruments, composing altogether a tumult, which is heard at the distance of many leagues.  The dancing is described as of the most ludicrous kind, marked by those indecencies, which generally distinguish the amusements of the savage tribes.  In these sports, the women are always the foremost in the violence of their gestures; the young ones selecting the objects of their affection, to bestow upon them some token of their attachment.

The funeral of their chiefs is a ceremony of great solemnity, and in some of its forms has a strong resemblance to an Irish wake.  Flowers of the most odorous scent are buried with the corpse, which is also supplied with a considerable quantity of gold, to assist him on his entrance into the other world, where it is believed, that the degree of happiness, is proportionate to the quantity of gold which the deceased has in his possession.  It must, however, be mentioned, that the natives of this part of Africa, appear to be wholly exempt from the stigma, which belongs to some of the other tribes of Africa, in the human victims which are sacrificed at the funerals of their kings or chiefs, and which in some cases amount to three or four hundred.  The funerals of the kings of Tenda are conducted with a decorum highly creditable to the people, considering their uncivilised state; and the graves are frequently visited by the relatives of the deceased, to repair any injury, which they may have sustained from the violence of the rains, or the attacks of carnivorous animals.

At all the festivals, a personage called Horey, or which Jobson calls the devil, acts a most conspicuous part, at the same time, that he generally carries on his operations in secret, impressing thereby on the minds of the natives, an idea of his invisibility.  The Horey generally takes his station in the adjoining woods, whence he sends forth the most tremendous sounds, supposed to have a very malignant influence on all those who happen to be within hearing.  It is, however, a fortunate circumstance for the native, who

Page 21

is so unfortunate as to be within hearing of the Horey’s cries, that the method is known, of appeasing the vindictive spirit of the Horey, which is, by placing a quantity of provisions, in the immediate vicinity of the place where his roaring is heard; and if on the following day the provisions have disappeared, which is sure to be the case, the natives are then satisfied that the Horey has been appeased, which, however, lasts only for a short time, for as the appetite of the Horey is certain to return, his cries are again heard, and the provisions are again deposited for his satisfaction.

In regard to this Horey or devil, rather a ludicrous story is told by Jobson, who, being in company with a Marabout, and hearing the Horey in full cry in a neighbouring thicket, seized a loaded musket, declaring his resolution aloud, to discharge the contents without any further ceremony, at his infernal majesty.  Dreading the consequences, which might befal the whole nation, were the devil to be killed, the Marabout implored Jobson to desist from his murderous design; on a sudden, the hoarse roar of the Horey was changed into a low and plaintive sound, expressive of an individual imploring mercy from his destroyer;—­again Jobson levelled his gun at the spot whence the sound issued, when on a sudden, his infernal majesty presented himself in the shape of a huge negro, bloated with fat, and who now lay on the ground, his devilish spirit quelled, and apparently in such an agony of fear, as to be unable to sue for the mercy of the avenging Englishman, who stood laughing over him, at the idea of having so easily vanquished an African devil.

The dissensions, which took place amongst the company, on the return of Jobson, put an end for a time to all further discoveries.  It was evident that these divisions in the company, arose from a spirit of jealousy amongst certain members of it, who had formed amongst themselves certain schemes of personal aggrandizement, and were therefore unwilling to despatch any one into those quarters, in which such abundant sources presented themselves, of amassing inexhaustible riches.

The next attempt was made by Vermuyden, an opulent merchant, on the Gambia, about the year 1660 or 1665, who equipped a boat abundantly stored with bacon, beef, biscuit, rice, strong waters, and other comfortable supplies, the weight of which, however, was so great, that on arriving at the flats and shallows, the vessel could not proceed on her voyage without the greatest danger.  After navigating the shallows for some time, he arrived at a broad expanse of water, which he compared to Windermere Lake, and he now found himself on a sudden entangled in a great difficulty, owing to a number of streams flowing into this lake, and the consequent uncertainty which existed, of choosing that particular one, which might be considered the main branch or stream; and were he to ascend any other, he might find that all his labours had been spent

Page 22

in vain, as it might lead him to a quarter, at a great distance from those stations and towns, where the Europeans had established their commercial settlements.  “Up the buffing stream,” says Vermuyden, “with sad labour we wrought,” and when he had ascended further up the stream, the sailors were often obliged to strip themselves naked, and get into the water.  This was found, however, to be a most dangerous experiment, for the crocodiles and river horses showed themselves in fearful numbers, and fully inclined to treat the intruders on their rightful domain, with the most marked hostility.  Vermuyden says, they were ill pleased, or unacquainted with any companions in these watery regions, and at all events, he was convinced that his men were not very proper companions for them.  So daring were the river horses, that one of them struck a hole in the boat with his teeth, an accident which was rather of a serious nature, as there was no one on board possessing any skill in carpentry; and as one attack had been made, great apprehension was entertained that it might be renewed, and the consequences prove of the most fatal kind.  They, however, fell upon the expedient of fixing a lantern at the stern of the vessel, which kept the monsters at a respectful distance; they showing great alarm at any light shining in the dark.  On one occasion, when they landed for the purpose of searching for gold, they found the territory guarded by an incredible number of huge baboons, who seemed determined to enter into open conflict with them, and to set at defiance every attempt that was made to penetrate into the territory.  If the sailors shouted to them; the baboons set up a loud scream, showing their white teeth, and making known the reception which the intruders would meet with, if they made any further advances.

Finding that neither their oratory nor their menaces had any effect upon the baboon army, a few guns were discharged at them, which seemed rather to astonish them, for it was something which they had never seen nor heard before; but as no immediate effect was visible amongst their army, they began to consider the firing as a sort of joke, and prepared to drive the invaders back to their boats.  A volley, however, from the human assailants, by which three of the baboon army were laid prostrate, soon convinced the latter, that the firing was no joke, and after making some slight show of resistance, they carried away the dead, and retreated to the woods.

The discovery of gold being the principal object of the adventure of Vermuyden, he landed frequently in different places, and proceeded to wash the sand, and examine the rocks.  Vermuyden had acquired, in his native country, some slight knowledge of alchymy, and he carried out with him not only mercury, aqua regia, and large melting pots, but also a divining rod, which, however, as was most likely the case, was not found to exhibit any virtue.  Vermuyden, however, was not to be laughed out of his superstitious notions,

Page 23

although his companions took every opportunity of turning his expectations into ridicule, but he found a very plausible excuse for the impotency of his divining rod in the discovery, that its qualities had all been dried up by the heat of the climate, and that, under every circumstance, it was not an instrument adapted to the country in which it was to be carried into use.  On one occasion, however, the virtue of the divining rod appeared suddenly to have returned, for his eyes were gladdened with the sight of a large mass of apparent gold; the delusion, however, soon vanished, for, on examination, it was found to be nothing more than common spar.  According to his report, the metal is never met with in low fertile and wooded spots, but always in naked and barren hills, embedded in a reddish earth.  At one place, after a labour of twenty days, he succeeded in extracting twelve pounds, and, at length, he asserts that he arrived at the mouth of the mine itself, and saw gold in such abundance, as surprised him with joy and admiration.  It does not appear, however, that he returned from his expedition considerably improved in his fortune by the discovery of this mine, nor does he give any notice of the real position of it, by which we are led to conjecture, that the discovery of the mine was one of those fabrications, which the travellers of those times were apt to indulge in, for the purpose of gratifying their own vanity, and exciting the envy of their fellow countrymen.

The spirit of African discovery began to revive in England about the year 1720.  At that time, the Duke of Chandos was governor of the African company, and being concerned at the declining state of their affairs, suggested the idea of retrieving them, by opening a path into the golden regions, which were still reported to exist in the central part of Africa.  The company were not long in finding a person competent to undertake the expedition, and, on the particular recommendation of the duke, the appointment was given to Capt.  Bartholomew Stibbs.  Being furnished with the requisite means for sailing up the Gambia, Stibbs sailed in September, 1723, and, on the 7th of October, he arrived at James’ Island, the English settlement, situate about thirty miles from the mouth of the river, whence he despatched a messenger to Mr. Willy, the governor, who happened at that time to be visiting the factory at Joar, more than a hundred miles distant, asking him to engage such vessels as were fit to navigate the upper streams of the Gambia.  To his great surprise and mortification, however, he received an answer from Mr. Willy, that no vessels of that kind were to be had, indeed, instead of using every exertion to promote the cause for which Stibbs had been sent out by the company, Willy appeared to throw every possible obstruction in his way, as if he were actuated by a mean and petty spirit of jealousy of the success, which was likely to await him.  A few days, however, after the answer of Willy had

Page 24

been received, a boat brought down his dead body, he having fallen a victim to the fever of the climate, which had previously affected his brain.  Willy was succeeded in the governorship by a person named Orfeur, who showed no immediate objection to furnish the vessels and other articles necessary for the expedition of Stibbs up the Gambia, but matters went on so slowly, that the equipment was not completed until the middle of December, when the season was fast approaching, which was highly unfavourable for the accomplishment of the purpose, which Stibbs had in view.  He intended to proceed on his journey on the 24th of December, but a slight accident, which happened to one of his boats, prevented his departure on that day:  from a superstitious idea that prevailed in the mind of Stibbs, that success would not attend him, if he sailed on the day celebrated as the nativity of Jesus Christ, he deferred his journey to the 26th, when he departed with a crew consisting of nineteen white men, a complete black one, although a Christian, and who was to serve as an interpreter; twenty-nine Grumellas, or hired negroes, with three female cooks; taking afterwards on board a balafeu, or native musician, for the purpose of enlivening the spirits of the party, and driving away the crocodiles, who are superstitiously supposed to have a great dislike “to the concord of sweet sounds,” although emanating from the rude instrument of an African musician.

During the early part of the voyage every thing appeared to augur well for the success of the expedition; the party were in high spirits, and no accident of any moment had yet occurred to check the joviality, which prevailed amongst the crew.  The natives were every where disposed to carry on trade, and, in some places, saphies or charms were hung on the banks of the river to induce the white men to come on shore.  Stibbs had endeavoured to conceal the object, of his journey, but he had formed his calculations upon an erroneous principle, for he found himself at last pointed out as the person who was come to bring down the gold.  As they approached the falls of Barraconda, the fears of the native crew began to manifest themselves, and, as is usual with minds immersed in ignorance and superstition, they commenced to foretell the most dreadful disasters, if their captain should attempt to proceed above the falls of Barraconda; numerous stories were now told of the fearful accidents, which had happened to almost every person who had attempted to navigate the river above the falls; the upsetting of a single canoe, from unskilful management, was magnified into the loss of a hundred, and of course not a single individual escaped a watery grave.  The natives expected that their terrible narratives would have a proper influence upon the mind of their captain, and that he would, in consequence, desist from prosecuting his journey beyond the falls, but when, contrary to their expectations, he expressed his determination

Page 25

to proceed to the utmost extent to which the river would be found to be navigable, the natives presented themselves in a body before him, and declared their firm determination not to proceed any further, for, to the apparent surprise of Stibbs, they informed him that Barraconda was the end of the world, and certainly no person but a fool, or a madman, would attempt to penetrate any further.  Instances, certainly, they confessed had been known of persons going beyond the end of the world, but then, as might be naturally expected, they never were seen any more, being either devoured by enormous beasts, or carried away into another world, by some horrid devils, who were always on the watch to catch the persons, who rejecting the advice, which they themselves were now giving, were so fool hardy as to throw themselves in their power.  Stibbs now found himself in rather an unpleasant predicament, the natives appeared resolute not to proceed beyond Barraconda, and Stibbs knew well that it would be highly imprudent in him to proceed without them.  A palaver was held, and all the arguments which Stibbs could bring forward, failed to produce the desired effect upon his alarmed crew.  He, however, suddenly bethought himself, that he had an argument in his possession, of greater potency, than any that could be afforded by the most persuasive arguments, and taking a bottle of brandy from his chest, he gave to each man a glass of the spirit, when, on a sudden, a very extraordinary change appeared to take place in their opinions and sentiments.  They might have been misled as to Barraconda being the end of the world, and they did now remember some instances of persons returning, who had been beyond the falls, and as to the enormous animals, who were said to have devoured the voyagers; they now believed that no other animals were meant than crocodiles and river horses, which, although certainly formidable, were not by any means such dreadful objects as to prevent them prosecuting their voyage.  Thus, what the powers of oratory could not effect, nor the arguments of sound and deliberate reason accomplish, was achieved in a moment by the administration of a small quantity of spirituous liquid, giving bravery to the coward, and daring to the effeminate.

They had now arrived at the dreaded boundary of the habitable world, but the falls were not found to be nearly so formidable as they had been represented; they bore rather the character of narrows than of falls, the channel being confined by rocky ledges and fragments, between which there was only one passage, where the canoes rubbed against the rocks on each side.  Contrary to the reports, which had been in general circulation, of the dispositions of the natives of the Upper Gambia, in which they were represented to be of a most ferocious and savage nature, they were found to be a harmless, kind, and good-humoured people, who, on every occasion, hastened to render every assistance in their power to the navigators, making them presents of fowls and provisions, and, in some instances, refusing to take any thing in return for the articles which they gave away.

Page 26

The most laborious part of the journey now presented itself, which consisted in the great exertions, which were necessary in order to pass the flats and quicksands, which seemed to multiply as they ascended the river, and which obliged the natives to strip and get into the water, to drag the boats over the shallows by main force.  Although the natives had now ascertained beyond all further doubt, that Barraconda was not the end of the world, yet, one part of their story was fully verified, which was that relating to the enormous animals, with which these desolate regions were tenanted.  To the present travellers, they appeared far more formidable than to their predecessors, for the very elephants that had fled precipitately before the crew of Jobson, struck the greatest terror into the party of Stibbs; for one of them showed such a determined disposition to exhibit the extent of his strength, that he turned suddenly upon the crew, and in a very short time put the whole of them to flight.  So little did they show any symptoms of fear for the crew, that they were frequently seen crossing the river in bands, at a very short distance from the boats, throwing up the water with their trunks in every direction, and raising such an emotion in the water, as to make the boats rock about, to the great alarm of the crews, and particularly the natives, who now began to wish, that they had not been seduced by the potency of the spirituous liquid, to venture into a region, where death presented itself to them, in the strict embrace of an elephant’s trunk, or bored to death by the teeth of the river horse.  In regard to the latter animal, the danger which they incurred, was more imminent than with the elephants, but this did not arise from the greater ferocity or savageness of the animal, for the river horse moves in general in a sluggish and harmless manner; but in the shallow places of the river, the horses were seen walking at the bottom, and the space between them and the boat so small, that the keel often came into collision with the back of the animal, who, incensed at the affront offered to him, would be apt to strike a hole through the boat with his huge teeth, and thereby endanger its sinking.  It was evident to the commander of the expedition, that the courage of his native crew was almost paralyzed, when they had to contend with any of these formidable creatures, although he had no reason to complain of their exertions, in dragging the boats over the flats and shallows, which appeared to abound in every part of the river.

It now became manifest to Stibbs, that he had chosen an unfavourable time of the year for his expedition; for, after having spent two months, he found himself on the 22nd February, only fifty-nine miles above Barraconda, and at some distance from Tenda, consequently he was not so successful as either Thompson or Jobson, notwithstanding his means were more efficient, and adapted to the purpose.  Stibbs, however, expressed

Page 27

himself greatly disappointed with the results of his expedition, and began to look upon the golden mines of Africa, represented as they had been to be inexhaustible, as nothing more than the grossest falsifications, made to suit some private purpose, or to throw a certain degree of ridicule upon the plans and exertions of the African company.  He had been informed of a mighty channel, which was to lead him into the remote interior of Africa, but he had as yet only navigated a river, which in certain seasons is almost dry, and where the crews were obliged to assume the character of the amphibious; for at one time, they were obliged to be for hours in the water, dragging the boats over the shallows, and at another, they were on the land, dragging the boats over it, in order to surmount the ledges of rocks, which extended from shore to shore.  At one time they were rowing over the backs of the river horses, and the next, they ran the risk of being thrown upon their own back, by the trunks of the elephants, or having them snapped in two between the jaws of the crocodiles.

The source of the great river, which, according to the description then given of it, could not be any other than the Niger, was, according to the opinion of Stibbs, “nothing near so far in the country, as by the geographers has been represented.”  The river, which he had navigated, did not answer in any degree with the description which had been given of the Niger.  The name was not even known in the quarters through which he had passed; it did not flow from any lake, that he could hear of, or which was known to any of the natives, nor did it communicate with the Senegal, or any other great river; and so far from it being a mighty stream in the interior, the report was given to him by the natives, that at about twelve days journey above Barraconda, it dwindled into a rivulet, so small that the “fowls could walk over it.”

On the return of Stibbs to the company’s settlement at the month of the Gambia, these reports were received with great reluctance, and the strongest doubts were thrown upon their authenticity.  At that time, a person of the name of Moore was the company’s factor on the Gambia; and in order to invalidate the statements of Stibbs, he produced Herodotus, Leo, Edrisi, and other high authorities, whilst on the other hand, Stibbs declared, that he had never heard of such travellers before, and that he did not see why greater faith should be put in their reports, than in his.

Stibbs for some time supported the veracity of his statements, but Moore and Herodotus at length prevailed, and Stibbs retired from the service in disgust.  There were, however, many strongly inclined to attach implicit belief to the statements of Stibbs, at all events, they had the direct tendency of preventing any other voyage being undertaken for some time, for exploring that part of the African continent.

Page 28

The first person who brought home any accounts of French Africa, was Jannequin, a young man of some rank, who, as he was walking along the quay at Dieppe, saw a vessel bound for this unknown continent, and took a sudden fancy to embark and make the voyage.  He was landed at a part of the Sahara, near Cane Blanco.  He was struck in an extraordinary degree with the desolate aspect of the region.  In ascending the river, however, he was delighted with the brilliant verdure of the banks, the majestic beauty of the trees, and the thick impenetrable underwood.  The natives received him hospitably, and he was much struck by their strength and courage, decidedly surpassing similar qualities in Europeans.  He saw a moorish chief, called the Kamalingo, who, mounting on horseback, and brandishing three javelins and a cutlass, engaged a lion in single combat, and vanquished that mighty king of the desert.  Flat noses and thick lips, so remote from his own ideas of the beautiful, were considered on the Senegal, as forming the perfection of the human visage; nay, he even fancies that they were produced by artificial means.  Of actual discovery, little transpired worthy of record in the travels of Jannequin, and his enthusiasm became soon daunted by the perils which at every step beset him.


Nearly seventy years had elapsed, and the spirit of African discovery had remained dormant, whilst in the mean time the remotest quarters of the globe had been reached by British enterprise; the vast region of Africa still remaining an unseemly blank in the map of the earth.  To a great and maritime nation as England then was, and to the cause of the sciences in general, particularly that of geography, it was considered as highly discreditable, that no step should be taken to obtain a correct knowledge of the geographical situation of the interior of Africa, from which continual reports arrived of the existence of great commercial cities, and the advantages which the Arabs derived from their intercourse with them.  For the purpose of promoting this great national undertaking, a small number of highly-spirited individuals formed themselves into what was termed the African Association, A sum of money was subscribed, and individuals were sought for, who were qualified to undertake such arduous and dangerous enterprises.  Lord Rawdon, afterwards the Marquess of Hastings, Sir Joseph Banks, the Bishop of Llandaff, Mr. Beaufoy, and Mr. Stuart, were nominated managers.

The first adventurer was Mr. Ledyard, who, from his earliest age, had been a traveller from one extremity of the earth to the other.  He had circumnavigated the globe with Capt.  Cook, had resided for several years amongst the American indians, and had travelled with the most scanty means from Stockholm round the Gulf of Bothnia, and thence to the remotest parts of Asiatic Russia.  On his return from his last journey, Sir Joseph Banks was then just looking out

Page 29

for a person to explore the interior of Africa, and Ledyard was no sooner introduced to him, than he pronounced him to be the very man fitted for the undertaking.  Ledyard also declared that the scheme was in direct unison with his own wishes, and on being asked how soon he could depart, he answered, “Tomorrow.”  Some time, however, elapsed in making the necessary arrangements, and a passage was shortly afterwards obtained for him to Alexandria, with the view of first proceeding southward from Cairo to Sennaar, and thence traversing the entire breadth of the African continent.

He arrived at Cairo on the 19th of August, 1788.  His descriptions of Egypt are bold and original, but somewhat fanciful.  He represented the Delta as an unbounded plain of excellent land miserably cultivated; the villages as most wretched assemblages of poor mud huts, full of dust, fleas, flies, and all the curses of Moses, and the people as below the rank of any savages he ever saw, wearing only a blue shirt and drawers, and tattooed as much as the South Sea islanders.  He recommends his correspondents, if they wish to see Egyptian women, to look at any group of gypsies behind a hedge in Essex.  He describes the Mohammedans as a trading, enterprising, superstitious, warlike set of vagabonds, who, wherever they are bent upon going, will and do go; but he complains that the condition of a Frank is rendered most humiliating and distressing by the furious bigotry of the Turks; to him it seemed inconceivable that such enmity should exist among men, and that beings of the same species should trick and act in a manner so opposite.  By conversing with the Jelabs, or slave merchants, he learned a good deal respecting the caravan routes and countries of the interior.  Every thing seemed ready for his departure, and he announced that his next communication would be from Sennaar, but, on the contrary, the first tidings received were those of his death.  Some delays in the departure of the caravans, acting upon his impatient spirit, brought on a bilious complaint, to which he applied rash and violent remedies, and thus reduced himself to a state, from which the care of Rosetti, the Venetian consul, and the skill of the best physician of Cairo sought in vain to deliver him.

The society had, at the time they engaged Ledyard, entered into terms with Mr. Lucas, a gentleman, who, being captured in his youth by a Sallee rover, had been three years a slave at the court of Morocco, and after his deliverance acted as vice-consul in that empire.  Having spent sixteen years there, he had acquired an intimate knowledge of Africa and its languages.  He was sent by way of Tripoli, with instructions to accompany the caravan, which takes the most direct route into the interior.  Being provided with letters from the Tripolitan ambassador, he obtained the Bey’s permission, and even promises of assistance for this expedition.  At the same time he made an arrangement with two sheerefs or descendants

Page 30

of the Prophet, whose persons are held sacred, to join a caravan with which they intended to travel.  He proceeded with them to Mesuraba, but the Arabs there being in a state of rebellion, refused to furnish camels and guides, which, indeed, could scarcely be expected, as the Bey had declined to grant them a safe conduct through his territories.  Mr. Lucas was therefore obliged to return to Tripoli, without being able to penetrate further into the continent.  He learned, however, from Imhammed, one of the sheerefs, who had been an extensive traveller, a variety of particulars respecting the interior regions.  The society had, at the same time, made very particular inquiries of Ben Ali, a Morocco caravan trader, who happened to be in London.  From these two sources, Mr. Beaufoy was enabled to draw up a view of Centra.  Africa, very imperfect, indeed, yet superior to any that had ever before appeared.

According to the information thus obtained, Bornou and Kashna were the most powerful states in that part of the continent, and formed even empires, holding sway over a number of tributary kingdoms, a statement which proved at that time to be correct, though affairs have since greatly changed.  The Kashna caravan often crossed the Niger, and went onwards to great kingdoms behind the Gold Coast, Gongah or Kong, Asiente or Ashantee, Yarba or Yarriba, through which Clapperton afterwards travelled.  Several extensive routes across the desert were also delineated.  In regard to the Niger, the report of Imhammed revived the error, which represented that river as flowing westward towards the Atlantic.  The reason on which this opinion was founded, will be evident, when we observe that it was in Kashna, that Ben Ali considered himself as having crossed that river.  His Niger, therefore, was the Quarrama, or river of Zermie, which flows westward through Kashna and Sackatoo, and is only a tributary to the Quorra or great river, which we call the Niger.  He describes the stream as very broad and rapid, probably from having seen it during the rainy season, when all the tropical rivers of any magnitude assume an imposing appearance.

Mr. Lucas made no further attempt to penetrate into Africa.  The next expedition was made by a new agent, and from a different route.  Major Houghton, who had resided for some years as consul at Morocco, and afterwards in a military capacity at Goree, undertook the attempt to reach the Niger by the route of Gambia, not, like Jobson and Stibbs, ascending its stream in boats, but travelling singly and by land.  He seems to have been endowed with a gay, active, and sanguine spirit, fitted to carry him through the boldest undertaking, but without that cool and calculating temper necessary for him, who endeavours to make his way amid scenes of peril and treachery.  He began his journey early in 1791, and soon reached Medina, the capital of Woolli, where the venerable chief received him with extreme kindness, promised to furnish guides,

Page 31

and assured him he might go to Timbuctoo with his staff in his hand.  The only evil that befell him at Medina, arose from a fire that broke out there, and spreading rapidly through buildings roofed with cane and matted grass, converted a town of a thousand houses, in an hour, into a heap of ashes.  Major Houghton ran out with the rest of the people into the fields, saving only such articles as could be carried with him.

He mentions, that by trading at Fattatenda, a person may make 800 per cent, and may live in plenty on ten pounds a year.  Quitting the Gambia, he took the road through Bambouk, and arrived at Ferbanna on the Faleme.  Here he was received with the most extraordinary kindness by the king, who gave him a guide and money to defray his expenses.  A note was afterwards received from him, dated Simbing, which contained merely these words:  “Major Houghton’s compliments to Dr. Laidley, is in good health on his way to Timbuctoo; robbed of all his goods by Fenda, Bucar’s son.”  This was the last communication from him, for soon after the negroes brought down to Pisania, the melancholy tidings of his death, of which Mr. Park subsequently learned the particulars.  Some moors had persuaded the major to accompany them to Tisheet, a place in the great desert, frequented on account of its salt mines.  In alluring him thither, their object, as it appears from the result, was to rob him, for it was very much out of the direct route to Timbuctoo.  Of this in a few days he became sensible, and insisted upon returning, but they would not permit him to leave their party, until they had stripped him of every article in his possession.  He wandered about for some time through the desert, without food or shelter, till at length quite exhausted, he sat down under a tree and expired.  Mr. Park was shown the very spot where his remains wore abandoned to the fowls of the air.

A considerable degree of information respecting the country on the Senegal, was procured by a person of the name of Bruce, who had a large share in the administration of the affairs of the French African Companies.  In one of his numerous journeys, he ascended the Senegal as far as Gallam, and established a fort or factory at Dramanet, a populous and commercial town.  The inhabitants carried on a trade as far as Timbuctoo, which they described as situated 500 leagues in the interior.  They imported from it gold and ivory, and slaves from Bambarra, which was represented by them, as an extensive region between Timbuctoo and Cassan, barren but very populous.  The kingdom of Cassan was said to be formed into a sort of island, or rather peninsula, by the branches of the Senegal.  Gold was so abundant there, that the metal often appeared on the surface of the ground.  From these circumstances it may be concluded, that Cassan was in some degree confounded with Bambouk, which borders it on the south.  It had long been the ambition of the French, to find access to this golden country, but the jealousy of the native merchants presented an obstacle, that could not be easily surmounted.

Page 32


There is no Chapter IV as the following chapter was numbered Chapter V by mistake.


The death of Major Houghton left the African Association without a single individual employed in the particular service, for which the company was originally established.  On a sudden, Mr. Mungo Park, a native of Scotland, offered himself to the society, and the committee having made such inquiries as they thought necessary, accepted him for the service.

His instructions were very plain and concise.  He was directed, on his arrival in Africa, to pass on to the river Niger, either by the way of Bambouk, or by such other route as should be most convenient; that he should ascertain the cause, and if possible, the rise and termination of that river; that he should use his utmost exertion to visit the principal towns or cities in its neighbourhood, particularly Timbuctoo and Houssa, and that he should afterwards return to Europe, by such route as, under the then existing circumstances of his situation, should appear to him most advisable.

He sailed from Portsmouth on the 22nd of May, 1793, and on the 4th June, he saw the mountains over Mogadore, on the coast of Africa, and on the 21st, after a pleasant voyage, he anchored at Jillifree, a town on the northern bank of the Gambia, opposite to James’ Island, where the English had formerly a small fort.

On the 23rd, he proceeded to Vintain, a town situated about two miles up a creek, on the southern side of the river.  Here he continued till the 26th, when he continued his course up the river, which is deep and muddy.  The banks are covered with impenetrable thickets of mangrove, and the whole of the adjacent country appears to be flat and swampy.  The Gambia abounds with fish, but none of them are known in Europe.  In six days after leaving Vintain, he reached Jonkakonda, a place of considerable trade, where the vessel was to take in part of her lading.  The next morning the European traders came from their different factories, to receive their letters, and learn the nature and amount of the cargo; whilst the captain despatched a letter to Dr. Laidley, with the information of Mr. Park’s arrival.  Dr. Laidley came to Jonkakonda the morning following, when he delivered to him Mr. Beaufoy’s letter, when the doctor gave him a kind invitation to spend his time at his house at Pisania, until an opportunity should offer of prosecuting his journey.  This invitation was too acceptable to be refused.

Pisania is a small village in the king of Yany’s dominions, established by British subjects, as a factory for trade, and inhabited solely by them and their black servants.  The white residents at the time of Mr. Park’s arrival, consisted only of Dr. Laidley and two gentlemen of the name of Ainsley, but their domestics were numerous.  They enjoyed perfect security, and being highly respected by the natives at large, wanted no accommodation the country could supply, and the greatest part of the trade in slaves; ivory, and gold was in their hands.

Page 33

Being settled in Pisania, Mr. Park’s first object was to learn the Mandingo tongue, being the language in almost general use throughout this part of Africa, without which he was convinced he never could acquire an extensive knowledge of the country or its inhabitants.  In this pursuit he was greatly assisted by Dr. Laidley, who had made himself completely master of it.  Next to the language, his great object was to collect information concerning the countries he intended to visit.  On this occasion he was referred to certain traders called slatees, who are black merchants of great consideration in this part of Africa, who come from the interior countries, chiefly with enslaved negroes for sale; but he discovered that little dependence could be placed on the accounts they gave, as they contradicted each other in the most important particulars, and all seemed extremely unwilling he should prosecute his journey.

In researches of this kind, and in observing the manners and customs of the natives, in a country so little known to the nations of Europe, and furnished with so many striking objects of nature, Mr. Park’s time passed not unpleasantly, and he began to flatter himself that he had escaped the fever, to which Europeans, on their first arrival in hot climates, are generally subject.  But on the 31st July, he imprudently exposed himself to the night dew, in observing an eclipse of the moon, with a view to determine the longitude of the place; the next day he found himself attacked with fever and delirium, and an illness followed, which confined him to the house the greater part of August.  His recovery was very slow, but he embraced every short interval of convalescence to walk out and examine the productions of the country.  In one of these excursions, having rambled farther than usual in a hot day, he brought on a return of his fever, and was again confined to his bed.  The fever, however, was not so violent as before, and in the course of three weeks, when the weather permitted, he was able to renew his botanical excursions; and when it rained, he amused himself with drawing plants, &c. in his chamber.  The care and attention of Dr. Laidley contributed greatly to alleviate his sufferings; his company beguiled the tedious hours during that gloomy season, when the rain falls in torrents, when suffocating heats oppress by day, and when the night is spent in listening to the croaking of frogs, the shrill cry of the jackal, and the deep howling of the hyena; a dismal concert, interrupted only by the roar of tremendous thunder.

On the 6th of October the waters of the Gambia were at their greatest height, being fifteen feet above the high water mark of the tide, after which they began to subside; at first slowly, but afterwards very rapidly, sometimes sinking more than a foot in twenty-four hours:  by the beginning of November the river had sunk to its former level, and the tide ebbed and flowed as usual.  When the river had subsided, and the atmosphere grew dry, Mr. Park recovered apace, and began to think of his departure; for this is reckoned the most proper season for travelling:  the natives had completed their harvest, and provisions were everywhere cheap and plentiful.

Page 34

On the 2nd December 1795, Mr. Park took his departure from the hospitable mansion of Dr. Laidley, being fortunately provided with a negro servant, who spoke both the English and Mandingo tongues; his name was Johnson:  he was a native of that part of Africa, and having in his youth been conveyed to Jamaica as a slave, he had been made free, and taken to England by his master, where he had resided many years, and at length found his way back to his native country.  He was also provided with a negro boy, named Demba, a sprightly youth, who, besides Mandingo, spoke the language of the Serawoollies, an inland people; and to induce him to behave well, he was promised his freedom on his return, in case the tourist should report favourably of his fidelity and services.  A free man, named Madiboo, travelling to the kingdom of Bambara, and two slatees, going to Bondou, offered their services, as did likewise a negro, named Tami, a native of Kasson, who had been employed some years by Dr. Laidley as a blacksmith, and was returning to his native country with the savings of his labours.  All these men travelled on foot, driving their asses before them.

Thus Mr. Park had no less than six attendants, all of whom had been taught to regard him with great respect, and to consider that their safe return hereafter to the countries on the Gambia, would depend on his preservation.

Dr. Laidley and the Messrs. Ainsley accompanied Park the two first days.  They reached Jindy the same day, and rested at the house of a black woman, who had formerly been the mistress of Mr. Hewett, a white trader, and who, in consequence of that honour, was called Seniora.  In the evening they walked out, to see an adjoining village, belonging to a slatee, named Jemaffoo Mamadoo, the richest of all the Gambia traders.  They found him at home, and he thought so highly of the honour done him by this visit, that he presented them with a fine bullock, part of which was dressed for their evening’s repast.

The negroes do not go to supper till late, and in order to amuse themselves while the beef was preparing, a Mandingo was desired to relate some diverting stories, in listening to which, and smoking tobacco, they spent three hours.  These stories bear some resemblance to those in the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, but in general are of a more ludicrous cast.

About one o’clock in the afternoon of the 3rd of December, Park took his leave of Dr. Laidley and Messrs. Ainsley, and rode slowly into the woods.  He had now before him a boundless forest, and a country, the inhabitants of which were strangers to civilized life.  He reflected that he had parted from the last European he might probably behold, and perhaps quitted for ever the comforts of Christian society.  These thoughts necessarily cast a gloom over his mind, and he rode musing along for about three miles, when he was awakened from his reverie by a number of people, who, running up, stopped the asses, giving him to

Page 35

understand, that he must either go with them to Peckaba, to present himself to the king of Woolli, or pay customs to them.  He endeavoured to make them comprehend, that not travelling for traffic, he ought not to be subjected to a tax like merchants, but his reasoning was thrown away upon them.  They said it was usual for travellers of all descriptions to make a present to the king of Woolli, and without doing so, none could be permitted to proceed.  As the party were numerous, he thought it prudent to comply with their demand, and presented them with four bars of tobacco.  At sunset he reached a village near Kootacunda.

The next day entering Woolli, he stopped to pay customs to an officer of the king.  Passing the night at a village called Tabajang:  at noon the following day Park reached Medina, the capital of the king of Woolli’s dominions.  It is a large place, and contains at least a thousand houses.  It is fortified in the common African manner by a high mud wall, and an outward fence of pointed stakes and prickly bushes, but the walls were neglected, and the outward fence had suffered considerably by being plucked up for fire-wood.  Mr. Park obtained a lodging with one of the king’s near relations, who warned him, at his introduction to the king, not to shake hands with him, that liberty not being allowed to strangers.  With this salutary warning, Park paid his respects to Jatta, the king, and asked his permission to pass to Bondou.  He was the same old man, of whom Major Houghton speaks in such favourable terms.  The sovereign was seated before the door of his hovel, surrounded by a number of men and women, who were singing and clapping their hands.  Park, saluting him respectfully, told him the object of his visit.  The monarch not only permitted him to proceed on his journey, but declared he would offer prayers for his safe return.  One of Mr. Park’s attendants, to manifest his sense of the king’s courtesy, roared out an Arabic song, at every pause of which the king himself, and all present, striking their hands against their foreheads, exclaimed, with affecting solemnity, Amen, Amen. The king further assured him, that a guide should be ready on the following day, to conduct him to the frontier of Bondou.  Having taken leave, he sent the king an order upon Dr. Laidley for three gallons of rum, and received in return a great store of provisions.

December the 6th, early in the morning, on visiting Jatta, he found his majesty sitting upon a bullock’s hide, warming himself before a large fire, for the Africans frequently feel cold when a European is oppressed with heat.  Jatta received his visitant very kindly, and earnestly entreated him to advance no farther into the interior, telling him that Major Houghton had been killed in his route.  He said that travellers must not judge of the people of the eastern country by those of Woolli.  The latter were acquainted with white men, and respected them; whereas, in the east, the people had never seen one, and would certainly destroy the first they beheld.  Park, thanking the king for his affectionate concern, told him he was determined, notwithstanding all danger, to proceed.  The king shook his head, but desisted from further persuasion, and ordered the guide to hold himself in readiness.

Page 36

On the guide making his appearance, Park took his last farewell of the good old king, and in three hours reached Konjour, a small village, where he and his party rested for the night.  Here he bought a fine sheep for some beads, and his attendants killed it, with all the ceremonies prescribed by their religion.  Part of it was dressed for supper, after which a dispute arose between one of the negroes and Johnson, the interpreter, about the sheep’s horns.  The former claimed the horns as his perquisite, as he had performed the office of butcher, and Johnson disputed the claim.  To settle the matter, Mr. Park gave a horn to each of the litigants.

Leaving Konjour, and sleeping at a village called Malla, on the 8th he arrived at Kolor, a considerable town, near the entrance into which he saw hanging upon a tree, a sort of masquerade habit, made of the bark of trees, which he was told belonged to Mumbo Jumbo.  The account of this personage is thus narrated by Mr. Park:  “This is a strange bugbear, common to all the Mandingo towns, and much employed by the pagan natives in keeping their women in subjection, for as the kafirs are not restricted in the number of their wives, every one marries as many as he can maintain, and, as it frequently happens, that the ladies disagree among themselves, family quarrels rise sometimes to such a height, that the husband can no longer preserve peace in his household.  In such cases, the interposition of Mumbo Jumbo is called in, and is always decisive.”

This strange minister of justice, who is supposed to be either the husband himself, or some person instructed by him, disguised in the dress before mentioned, and armed with his rod of public authority, announces his coming by loud and continual screams in the woods near the town.  He begins the pantomime at the approach of night, and, as soon as it is dark, enters the town, and proceeds to the bentang, at which all the inhabitants immediately assemble.

This exhibition is not much relished by the women, for as the person in disguise is unknown to them, every married female suspects the visit may be intended for herself, but they dare not refuse to appear, when they are summoned:  and the ceremony commences with songs and dances, which continue till midnight, when Mumbo fixes on the offender.  The victim, being immediately seized, is stripped naked, tied to a post, and severely scourged with Mumbo’s rod, amidst the shouts and derisions of the assembly; and it is remarkable, that the rest of the women are loudest in their exclamations against their unhappy sister.  Daylight puts an end to this indecent and unmanly revel.

On the 9th of December, Park reached Tambacunda, leaving which the next morning, he arrived in the evening at Kooniakary, a town of nearly the same size and extent as Kolor.  On the 11th he came to Koojar, the frontier town of Woolli near Bondou.

King Jatta’s guide being now to return, Park presented him with some amber, and having been informed that it was not possible at all times to procure water in the wilderness, he inquired for men, who would serve both as guides and water-bearers, and he procured three negroes, elephant hunters, for that service, paying them three bars each in advance.

Page 37

The inhabitants of Koojar beheld the white man with surprise and veneration, and in the evening invited him to see a neobering, or wrestling match, in the bentang.  This is an exercise very common in all these countries.  The spectators formed a ring round the wrestlers, who were strong, active young men, full of emulation, and accustomed to such contests.  Being stripped to a short pair of drawers, and having their skin anointed with oil or Shea water, the combatants approached, each on all fours, parrying for some time, till at length one of them sprang forward, and caught his antagonist by the knee.  Great dexterity and judgment were now displayed, but the combat was decided by strength.  Few Europeans would have subdued the conqueror.  The wrestlers were animated by the sound of a drum.

After the wrestling, commenced a dance, in which many performers assisted, provided with little bells fastened to their legs and arms, and here also the drum assisted their movements.  The drum likewise keeps order among the spectators, by imitating the sound of certain Mandingo sentences; for example, when the sport is about to begin, the drummer strikes, which is understood to signify, Ali boe si, “sit all down,” upon which the lookers-on immediately squat themselves on the ground, and when the combatants are to begin, he strikes, Amuta, amuta, “take hold, take hold.”

In the morning of the 12th, he found that one of the elephant hunters had absconded with the money he had received beforehand; and to prevent the other two from following his example, Park made them instantly fill their calabashes with water, and they entered the wilderness that separates Woolli from Bondou.  The attendants halted to prepare a saphie or charm, to ensure a safe journey.  This was done by muttering a few sentences, and spitting upon a stone, thrown before them on the road.  Having repeated this operation three times, the negroes proceeded with assurance off safety.

Riding along, they came to a large tree, called by the natives neema taba.  It was decorated with innumerable rags of cloth, which persons travelling across the wilderness had at different times tied to the branches, which was done, according to the opinion of Mr. Park, to inform the traveller that water was to be found near it; but the custom has been so sanctioned by time, that nobody now presumes to pass without hanging up something.  Park followed the example, and suspended a handsome piece of cloth on one of the boughs; and being informed that either a well or a pool of water was at no great distance, he ordered the negroes to unload the asses, that they might give them some corn, and regale themselves with the provisions, which they had brought, meanwhile he sent one of the elephant hunters to look for the well.  A pool was found, but the water was thick and muddy, and the negro discovered near it the remains of fire and fragments of provisions, which showed that it had been

Page 38

lately visited, either by travellers or banditti.  The attendants, apprehending the latter, and supposing that the robbers lurked at no great distance, Mr. Park proceeded to another watering place.  He arrived there late in the, evening, fatigued with so long a day’s journey; and kindling a large fire, laid down, more than a gunshot from any bush, the negroes agreeing to keep watch by turns, to prevent surprise.  The negroes were indeed very apprehensive of banditti during the whole of the journey.  As soon, therefore, as daylight appeared, they filled their soofros and calabashes at the pool, took their departure, and arrived at Tallika, the first town in Bondou, on the 13th December.  Mr. Park says, that he cannot take leave of Woolli without observing, that he was every where well received by the natives, and that the fatigues of the day were generally alleviated by a hearty welcome at night.

Tallika, the frontier town of Bondou towards Woolli, is inhabited chiefly by the Mohammedan Foulahs, who acquire no inconsiderable affluence by furnishing provisions to the coffles or caravans, and by the sale of ivory from hunting elephants.  Here an officer constantly resides, whose business it is to watch the arrival of the caravans, which are taxed according to the number of loaded asses.

Mr. Park lodged with this officer, and was accompanied by him to Fatteconda, the king’s residence, for which he was paid five bars.  They halted for the first night at Ganado, where they partook of a good supper, and were further exhilarated by an itinerant musician, or singing man, who told a number of entertaining stories, and played some sweet airs, by blowing his breath upon a bow-string, and striking it at the same time with a stick.

At daybreak Mr. Park’s fellow-travellers, the Serawoollies, took their leave, with many prayers for his safety.  A mile from Ganado they crossed a branch of the Gambia, called Neriko, and in the evening reached Koorkarany, a Mohammedan town, in which the blacksmith had some relations.  Koorkarany is surrounded by a high wall, and is provided with a mosque.  Here a number of Arabic manuscripts were shown to Mr. Park, particularly a copy of the book called Al Sharra.  Leaving Koorkarany, they were joined by a young man, who was travelling to Fatteconda for salt, and as night set in, they reached Dooggi, a small village about three miles from Koorkarany.  There they purchased a bullock for six small stones of amber.

Early in the morning of the 18th December, they departed from Dooggi, joined by a party of Foulahs and others, in the evening arrived at a village called Buggil, and passed the night in a miserable hut, having no other bed than a bundle of corn stalks.  The wells are here dug with great ingenuity, and are very deep.  From Buggil they travelled along a dry, stony height, covered with mimosas, and descended into a deep valley, in which, pursuing their course, they came to a large

Page 39

village, where they intended to lodge.  Many of the natives were dressed in a thin French gauze, which they called byqui; this being a dress calculated to show the shape of their persons, was very fashionable among the women.  These females were extremely rude and troublesome; they took Mr. Park’s cloak, cut the buttons from the boy’s clothes, and were proceeding to other outrages, when he mounted his horse, and proceeded on his journey.  In the evening they reached Soobrudooka, and as the company were numerous, they purchased a sheep and corn wherewith to regale themselves, after which, they slept by their baggage.  From Soobrudooka they came to a large village on the banks of the Faleme, which is here very rapid and rocky.  The river abounds with a small fish, of the size of sprats, which are prepared for sale by pounding them in mortars, and exposing them to dry in the sun in large lumps.

An old moorish shereeff, who came to bestow his blessing on Mr. Park, and beg some paper to write saphies upon, said that he had seen Major Houghton in the kingdom of Kaarta, and that he died in the country of the moors.  Mr. Park and some of his attendants gave him a few sheets of paper, on which to write his charms.  Proceeding northward along the banks of the river, they arrived at Mayemow, the chief man of which town presented Mr. Park with a bullock, and he in return gave him some amber and beads.  Crossing the river, they entered Fatteconda, the capital of Bondou, and received an invitation from a slatee to lodge at his house, for as in Africa there are no inns, strangers stand at the Bentang, or market-place, till they are invited by some of the inhabitants.  Soon afterwards, Mr. Park was conducted to the king, who was desirous of seeing him immediately, if he was not too much fatigued for the interview.

He took his interpreter with him, and followed the messenger till they were quite out of the town, when suspecting some trick, Mr. Park stopped and asked his guide, whither he was going?—­Upon this, he pointed to a man sitting under a tree at some little distance, and told him that the king frequently gave audience in that retired manner, in order to avoid a crowd of people.  When he advanced, the king desired him to come and sit by him upon the mat, and after hearing his story, on which he made no observation, he inquired of Mr. Park, if he wished to purchase any slaves or gold.  Being answered in the negative, he seemed surprised, but desired him to visit him again in the evening, that he might be supplied with some provisions.

This prince was called Almami, and was a pagan.  It was reported that he had caused Major Houghton to be plundered.  His behaviour, therefore, at this interview, although distinguished by greater civility than was expected, caused Mr. Park some uneasiness, for as he was now entirely in his power, he thought it more politic to conciliate the good opinion of the monarch, by a few presents.  Accordingly, in the evening, Mr. Park took with him a canister of gunpowder, some amber, tobacco, and an umbrella; and as he considered that his bundles would inevitably be searched, he concealed some few articles in the roof of the hut where he lodged, putting on his new blue coat, in order to preserve it.

Page 40

Mr. Park on coming to the entrance of the court, as well as his guide and interpreter, according to custom, took off their sandals, and the former pronounced the king’s name aloud, repeating it till he was answered from within.  They found the monarch sitting upon a mat, and two attendants with him.  Mr. Park told him his reasons for passing through his country, but his majesty did but seem half satisfied.  He thought it impossible, he said, that any man in his senses would undertake so dangerous a journey, merely to look at the country and its inhabitants.  When, however, Mr. Park had delivered his presents, his majesty seemed well pleased, and was particularly delighted with the umbrella, which he repeatedly furled and unfurled, to the great admiration of himself and his two attendants, who could not for some time comprehend the use of this wonderful machine.  After this, Mr. Park was about to take his leave, when the king began a long preamble in favour of the whites, extolling their immense wealth and good dispositions.  He next proceeded to an eulogium on Mr. Park’s blue coat, of which the yellow buttons seemed particularly to please his fancy, and he concluded by entreating Mr. Park to present him with it, assuring him, as a matter of great consolation to him for the loss of it, that he would wear it on all public occasions, and inform every one who saw it, of the great liberality of Mr. Park towards him.  The request of an African prince, in his own dominions, comes very little short of a command.  Mr. Park, therefore, very quietly took off his coat, the only good one in his possession, and laid it at his feet.  In return for his compliance, he presented Mr. Park with great plenty of provisions, and desired to see him again in the morning.  Mr. Park accordingly attended, and found the king sitting on his bed.  His majesty told him he was sick, and wished to have a little blood taken from him, but Mr. Park had no sooner tied up his arm, and displayed the lancet, than his courage failed, and he begged him to postpone the operation.  He then observed, that his women were very desirous to see him, and requested that he would favour them with a visit.  An attendant was ordered to conduct him, and he had no sooner entered the court appropriated to the ladies, than the whole seraglio surrounded him, some begging for physic, some for amber, and all of them trying that great African specific, blood-letting.  They were ten or twelve in number, most of them young and handsome, and wearing on their heads ornaments of gold and beads of amber.  They rallied him on the whiteness of his skin and the prominency of his nose.  They insisted that both were artificial, the first they said, was produced when he was an infant, by dipping him in milk, and they insisted that his nose had been pinched every day, till it had acquired its present unsightly and unnatural conformation.  On his part, without disputing his own deformity, he paid them many compliments on African beauty.  He praised the glossy jet of their skins, and the lovely depression of their noses; but they said, that flattery, or as they emphatically termed it, honey-mouth, was not esteemed in Bondou.  The ladies, however, were evidently not displeased, for they presented him with a jar of honey and some fish.

Page 41

Mr. Park was desired to attend the king again, a little before sunset, on which occasion he presented to his majesty some beads and writing paper, as a small offering, in return for which the king gave him five drachms of gold.  He seconded the act by one still greater, he suffered the baggage to pass without examination, and Mr. Park was allowed to depart when he pleased.

Accordingly, on the morning of the 23d, Mr. Park left Fatteconda, and in a few hours arrived at a small village, the boundary between Bondou and Kajaaga.  Hearing it was dangerous for travellers, Mr. Park resolved to proceed by night, until they should reach a more hospitable part of the country, and directed their course through the woods.  On this occasion, Mr. Park says, “the stillness of the air, the howling of the wild beasts, and the deep solitude of the forest, made the scene solemn and impressive.  Not a word was uttered by any of us, but in a whisper; all were attentive, and every one anxious to show his sagacity, by pointing out to me the wolves and hyenas, as they glided, like shadows, from one thicket to another.”  The following afternoon they arrived at Joag, in the kingdom of Kajaaga, where they took up their abode at the house of the chief man, here called the dooty.  He was a rigid Mohammedan, but distinguished for his hospitality.  The town was supposed to contain about two thousand inhabitants; it was surrounded by a high wall, in which were a number of port-holes for musketry.  Every man’s possession was likewise surrounded by a wall, the whole forming so many distinct citadels, and, amongst a people unacquainted with the use of artillery, the walls answer all the purposes of stronger fortifications.

The same evening, Madiboo, the Bushreen from Pisania, went to pay a visit to his father and mother, who dwelt at a neighbouring town, called Dramanet.  He was joined by the blacksmith; and as soon as it was dark, Mr. Park was invited to see the sports of the inhabitants.  A great crowd surrounded a dancing party; the dances, however, consisted more in wanton gestures, than in muscular exertion or graceful attitudes.  The women vied with each other in displaying the most voluptuous movements imaginable.

On the 25th December, early in the morning, a number of horsemen entered the town, and came to the bentang on which Mr. Park had made his bed.  One of them, thinking he was asleep, attempted to steal his musket; but finding that he could not effect his purpose undiscovered, he desisted.

Mr. Park now perceived, by the countenance of the interpreter, Johnson, that something bad was in agitation; he was also surprised to see Madiboo, and the blacksmith so soon returned.  On inquiring the reason, Madiboo informed him, that as they were dancing at Dramanet, ten horsemen belonging to Batcheri, the king, with his second son at their head, had inquired if the white man had passed.  The ten horsemen mentioned by Madiboo arrived, and entering the bentang dismounted,

Page 42

and seated themselves with those who had come before, the whole being about twenty in number, forming a circle round him, and each man holding his musket in his hand.  Mr. Park now remarked to his landlord, that as he did not understand the Serawoolii tongue, he hoped whatever the men had to say, they would speak in Mandingo.  To this they agreed, and a man, loaded with a remarkable number of saphies, opened the business in a long oration, purporting that the white man had entered the king’s town, without having first paid the duties, or giving any present to the king, and that according to the laws of the country, his people, cattle and baggage were forfeited, and he added, that they had received orders from the king, to conduct Mr. Park to Mauna.  It would have been equally vain and imprudent to have resisted or irritated such a body of men, he, therefore, affected to comply with their demands.  The poor blacksmith, who was a native of Kasson, mistook this feigned compliance for a real intention, and begged Mr. Park privately, that he would not entirely ruin him by going to Mauna, adding, that as he had every reason to believe that a war would soon take place between Kasson and Kajaaga, he should not only lose his little property, the savings of four years’ industry, but should certainly be detained and sold as a slave.

Mr. Park told the king’s son, he was ready to go with him upon condition, that the blacksmith, who was an inhabitant of a distant kingdom, and entirely unconnected with him, should be allowed to stay at Joag until his return.  To this they all objected, and insisted that as all had acted contrary to the laws, all were equally answerable for their transgressions.

Their landlord strenuously advised Mr. Park not to go to the king, who, he said, if he discovered any thing valuable in his possession, would seize it without ceremony.  In consequence of this representation, Mr. Park was the more solicitous to conciliate matters with the king’s officers, and acknowledged that he had indeed entered the king’s frontiers, without knowing that he was to pay the duties beforehand, but was ready to pay them then; accordingly he tendered, as a present to the king, the drachms of gold, which he had received from the king of Bondou; this they accepted, but insisted on examining his baggage.  The bundles were opened, but the men were greatly disappointed in not finding much gold and amber:  they made up the deficiency, however, by taking whatever things they fancied, and departed, having first robbed him of half his goods.  These proceedings tended, in a great degree, to dispirit the attendants of Mr. Park.  Madiboo begged of him to return; Johnson laughed at the thoughts of proceeding without money, and the blacksmith was afraid to be seen, or even to speak, lest any one should discover him to be a native of Kasson.  In this dejected state of mind, they passed the night by the side of a dim fire.

In the course of the following day Mr. Park was informed, that a nephew of Demba Sego Jalla, the Mandingo king of Kasson, was coming to visit him.  The prince had been sent out on a mission to Batcheri, king of Kajaaga, to endeavour to settle some disputes between his uncle and the latter, in which, having been unsuccessful, he was on his return to Kasson, to which place he offered to conduct Mr. Park, provided he would set out on the following morning.

Page 43

Mr. Park gratefully accepted this offer, and, with his attendants, was ready to set out by daylight on the 27th of December.  The retinue of Demba Sego was numerous, the whole amounting, on the departure from Joag, to thirty persons and six loaded asses.  Having proceeded for some hours, they came to a tree, for which Johnson had made frequent inquiry, and here, having desired them to stop, he produced a white chicken he had purchased at Joag for the purpose, and tied it by the leg to one of the branches; he then declared they might now proceed without fear, for their journey would be prosperous.  This circumstance exhibits the power of superstition over the minds of the negroes, for although this man had resided seven years in England, he retained all the prejudices imbibed in his youth.  He meant this ceremony, he told Mr. Park, as an offering to the spirits of the wood, who were a powerful race of beings, of a white colour, with long flowing hair.

At noon the travellers stopped at Gungadi, where was a mosque built of clay, with six turrets, on the pinnacles of which were placed six ostrich eggs.  Towards evening they arrived at Samee a town on the banks of the Senegal, which is here a beautiful but shallow river, its banks high, and covered with verdure.

On the following day they proceeded to Kajee, a large village, part of which is on the north, and part on the south side of the river.  About sunset Mr. Park and Demba Sego embarked in the canoe, which the least motion was likely to overset, and Demba Sego thinking this a proper time to examine a tin box belonging to Mr. Park, that stood in the fore part of the canoe, by stretching out his hand for it, destroyed the equilibrium and overset the vessel.  As they were not far advanced, they got back to the shore without much difficulty, and after wringing the water from their clothes, took a fresh departure, and were safely landed in Kasson.

Demba Sego now told Mr. Park, that they were in his uncle’s dominions, and he hoped that he would consider the obligation he owed to him, and make him a suitable return by a handsome present.  This proposition was rather unexpected by Mr. Park, who began to fear that he had not much improved his condition by crossing the water, but as it would have been folly to complain, he gave the prince seven bars of amber and some tobacco, with which he seemed well satisfied.

In the evening of December the 29th, they arrived at Demba Sego’s hut, and the next morning Mr. Park was introduced by the prince to his father, Tigitty Sego, brother to the king of Kasson, chief of Tesee.  The old man viewed his visitor with great earnestness, having never beheld but one white man before, whom Mr. Park discovered to be Major Houghton.  He appeared to disbelieve what Mr. Park asserted, in answer to his inquiries concerning the motives that induced him to explore the country, and told him that he must go to Kooniakary to pay his respects to the king, but desired to see him again before he left Tesee.

Page 44

Tesee is a large unwalled town, fortified only by a sort of citadel, in which Tiggity Sego and his family reside.  The present inhabitants, though possessing abundance of cattle and corn, eat without scruple rats, moles, squirrels, snakes, locusts, &c.  The attendants of Mr. Park were one evening invited to a feast, where making a hearty meal of what they thought to be fish and kouskous, one of them found a piece of hard skin in the dish, which he brought away with him, to show Mr. Park what sort of fish they had been eating.  On examining the skin, it was discovered they had been feasting on a large snake.  Another custom, which is rigidly adhered to, is, that no woman is allowed to eat an egg, and nothing will more affront a woman of Tesee than to offer her an egg.  The men, however, eat eggs without scruple.

The following anecdote will show, that in some particulars the African and European women have a great resemblance to each other, and that conjugal infidelity is by no means confined to the latter.  A young man, a kafir of considerable affluence, who had recently married a young and handsome wife, applied to a very devout Bushreen or Mussulman priest of his acquaintance, to procure him saphies for his protection during the approaching war.  The Bushreen complied with his request, and to render the saphies more efficacious, enjoined the young man to avoid any nuptial intercourse with his bride for the space of six weeks.  The kafir obeyed, and without telling his wife the real cause, absented himself from her company.  In the mean time it was whispered that the Bushreen, who always performed his evening devotions at the door of the kafir’s hut, was more intimate with the young wife, than was consistent with virtue, or the sanctity of his profession.  The husband was unwilling to suspect the honour of his sanctified friend, whose outward show of religion, as is the case with the priests and parsons of the civilized part of the world, protected him from even the suspicion of so flagitious an act.  Some time, however, elapsed before any jealousy arose in the mind of the husband, but hearing the charge repeated, he interrogated his wife on the subject, who confessed that the holy man had seduced her.  Hereupon the kafir put her into confinement, and called a palaver on the Bushreen’s conduct, which Mr. Park was invited to attend.  The fact was proved against the priest, and he was sentenced to be sold into slavery, or find two slaves for his redemption, according to the pleasure of the complainant.  The injured husband, however, desired rather to have him publicly flogged, before Tiggity Sego’s gate; this was agreed to, and the sentence immediately carried into execution.  The culprit was tied by the hands to a strong stake, and the executioner with a long black rod round his head, for some time applied it with such dexterity to the Bushreen’s back, as to make him roar until the woods resounded.  The multitude, by their looking and laughing, manifested how much they enjoyed the punishment of the old gallant, and it is remarkable, that the number of stripes was exactly the same as enjoined by the Mosaic law, forty, save one.

Page 45

On the 8th of January, Demba Sego, who had borrowed Mr. Park’s horse, for the purpose of making a small excursion into the country, returned and informed his father, that he should set out for Kooniakary early the next day.  The old man made many frivolous objections, and gave Mr. Park to understand, that he must not depart without paying him the duties to which he was entitled from all travellers; besides which, he expected some acknowledgment for his kindness towards him.  Accordingly, the following morning Demba Sego, with a number of people, came to Mr. Park, to see what goods he intended as a present to the old chief.  Mr. Park offered them seven bars of amber, and five of tobacco, but Demba, having surveyed these articles, very coolly told him they were not a present suitable to a man of Tiggity Sego’s consequence, and if he did not make him a larger offering, he would carry all the baggage to his father, and let him choose for himself.  Without waiting for a reply, Demba and his attendants immediately opened the bundles, and spread the different articles upon the floor; everything that pleased them they took without a scruple, and Demba in particular seized the tin box, which had so much attracted his attention in crossing the river.  Upon collecting the remains of his little fortune, after these people had left him, Mr. Park found, that as at Joag, he had been plundered of half, so he was here deprived of half the remainder.  Having been under some obligations to Demba Sego, Mr. Park did not reproach him for his rapacity, but determined at all events to quit Tesee the following morning; in the mean while, to raise the drooping spirits of his attendants, he purchased a fat sheep, and had it dressed for dinner.

Early in the morning of January the 10th, Mr. Park and his company left Tesee, and about midday came in sight of the hills in the vicinity of Kooniakary.  Having slept at a small village, the next morning they crossed a narrow but deep stream, called Krisko, a branch of the Senegal.  Proceeding eastward, about two o’clock they came in sight of the native town of Jambo, the blacksmith, from which he had been absent about four years.  He was received with the greatest affection by his relations, but he declared that he would not quit Mr. Park during his stay at Kooniakary, and they set out for that place in the morning of the 14th January.  About the middle of the day, they arrived at Soolo, a small village about three miles to the south of it, where Mr. Park went to visit a slatee, named Salim Daucari, who had entrusted him with effects to the value of five slaves, and had given Mr. Park an order for the whole of the debt.  The slatee received his visitors with great kindness.  It was, however, remarkable that the king of Kasson was by some means apprised of the motions of Mr. Park, for he had not been many hours at Soolo, when Sambo Sego, the second son of the king of Kasson, came thither with a party of horse, to inquire what had prevented him from proceeding to Kooniakary, and waiting upon the king, who he said was impatient to see him.  Salim Daucari apologised for Mr. Park, and promised to accompany him to Kooniakary.  They accordingly departed from Soolo at sunset, and in about an hour entered Kooniakary, but as the king had gone to sleep, the interview was deferred till the next morning, and the travellers slept in the hut of Sambo Sego.

Page 46


On the ensuing morning Mr. Park went to have an audience of King Demba Sego Jalla, but the crowd of people that were assembled to see him was so great, that he could scarcely gain admittance; he at length arrived in the presence of the monarch, whom he found sitting upon a mat in a large hut:  he appeared to be about sixty years of age.  He surveyed Mr. Park with great attention, and on being made acquainted with the object of his journey, the good old king was perfectly satisfied, and promised him every assistance in his power.  He said that he had seen Major Houghton, and presented him with a white horse, but that after passing the kingdom of Kaarta, he had lost his life among the moors, but in what manner he was utterly ignorant.  The audience being ended, Mr. Park returned to his lodging, where he made up a small present for the king, who sent him in return a large white bullock.

Although the king was well disposed towards Mr. Park, the latter soon discovered that very great and unexpected obstacles were likely to impede his progress.  A war was on the eve of breaking out between Kasson and Kajaaga; the kingdom of Kaarta, through which his route lay, being involved in the issue, and was also threatened with hostilities by Bambarra.  Taking these circumstances into consideration, the king advised Mr. Park to remain in the vicinity of Kooniakary, till some decisive information could be obtained of the state of the belligerents, which was expected to be received in four or live days.  Mr. Park readily submitted to this proposal, and returned to Soolo, where he received from Salim Daucari, on Dr. Laidley’s account, the value of three slaves, chiefly in gold dust.

Being anxious to proceed as soon as possible, Mr. Park begged Daucari to use his interest with the king, to procure him a guide by the way of Foolado, as it was reported that the war had commenced.  Daucari accordingly set out for Kooniakary on the morning of the 20th, and the same evening returned with an answer from the king, stating that his majesty had made an agreement with the king of Kaarta, to send all merchants and travellers through his dominions, but if Mr. Park wished to take the route of Foolado, the king gave him permission to do so, though he could not consistently with his agreement send him a guide.  In consequence of this answer, Mr. Park determined to wait till he could pass through Kaarta without danger.

In the interim, however, it was whispered abroad, that the white man had received abundance of gold from Salim Daucari, and on the morning of the 23rd, Sambo Sego paid Mr. Park a visit, attended by a party of horsemen, and insisted upon knowing the exact amount of the money which he had received, declaring at the same time, that one half of it must go to the king; that he himself must have a handsome present, as being the king’s son, and his attendants, as being the king’s relations.  Mr. Park was preparing to submit to this arbitrary exaction, when Salim Daucari interposed, and at last prevailed upon Sambo to accept sixteen bars of European merchandize, and some powder and ball, as a complete payment of every demand that could be made in the kingdom of Kasson.

Page 47

Mr. Park resided at Soolo for several days, occasionally visiting surrounding country, and he reports that the number of towns and villages, and the extensive cultivation around them, surpassed every thing he had yet seen in Africa.

The king of Kasson having now obtained information, that the war had not yet commenced between Bambarra and Kaarta, and that Mr. Park might probably pass through the latter country before the Bambarra army invaded it, sent two guides early on the morning of the 3rd of February, to conduct him to the frontiers.  He accordingly took leave of Salim Daucari, and Jambo the blacksmith, and about ten o’clock departed from Soolo.  In the afternoon of the 4th, they reached Kimo, a large village, the residence of Madi Konko, governor of the hilly country of Kasson, which is called Soromma.

At Kimo, the guides, appointed by the king of Kasson, left Mr. Park, and he waited at this place till the 7th, when he departed, with Madi Konko’s son as a guide.  On the 8th of February they travelled over a rough stony country, and, having passed a number of villages, arrived at Lackarago, a small village standing upon the ridge of hills that separates Kasson from Kaarta.  The following morning they left Lackarago, and soon perceived, towards the south-east, the mountains of Fooladoo.  Proceeding with great difficulty down a stony and abrupt precipice, they continued their way in a dry bed of a river, where the trees, meeting over head, made the place dark and cool.  About ten o’clock they reached the sandy plains of Kaarta, and at noon came to a watering place, where a few strings of beads purchased as much milk and corn meal as they could eat.  Provisions were here so plentiful, that the shepherds seldom asked any return for the refreshment a traveller required.  At sunset the travellers reached Feesurah, where they rested.

Mr. Park and his attendants remained at Feesurah, during the whole of the following day, for the purpose of learning more exactly the situation of affairs, before they ventured further.  Their landlord asked so exorbitant a sum for their lodging, that Mr. Park refused to submit to his demand, but his attendants, frightened at the reports of approaching war, would not proceed unless he was satisfied, and persuaded him to accompany them to Kemmoo for their protection on the road.  This Mr. Park accomplished by presenting his host with a blanket to which he had taken a liking.

Matters being thus amicably adjusted, our travellers again set out on the 11th, preceded by their landlord of Feesurah on horseback.  This man was one of those negroes who observe the ceremonial part of Mahometanism, but retain all their pagan superstitions, and even drink strong liquors; they are called Johars or Jowers, and are very numerous in Kaarta.  When the travellers had got into a lonely wood, he made a sign for them to stop, and taking hold of a hollow niece of bamboo, that hung as an amulet round his neck, whistled very

Page 48

loudly three times.  Mr. Park began to suspect it was a signal for some of his associates to attack the travellers, but the man assured him it was done to ascertain the successful event of their journey.  He then dismounted, laid his spear across the road and having said several short prayers, again gave three loud whistles; after which he listened, as if expecting an answer, but receiving none, said they might proceed without fear, for no danger actually existed.

On the morning of the 12th, they departed from Karan Kalla, and it being but a short day’s journey to Kemmoo, they travelled slower than usual, and amused themselves by collecting eatable fruits near the road side.  Thus engaged, Mr. Park had wandered a short distance from his people, when two negro horsemen, armed with muskets, came galloping from the thickets.  On seeing them, he made a full stop; the horsemen did the same, and all three seemed equally surprised and confounded.  As he approached them, their fears increased, and one casting upon him a look of horror, rode off at full speed; while the other, in a panic of fear, put his hand over his eyes, and continued muttering prayers, till his horse, apparently without his knowledge, slowly conveyed him after his companion.  About a mile to the westward they fell in with Mr. Park’s attendants, to whom they related a frightful story:  their fears had dressed him in the flowing robes of a tremendous spirit, and one of them affirmed, that a blast of wind, cold as water, poured down upon him from the sky, while he beheld the dreadful apparition.

About two o’clock, Mr. Park entered the capital of Kaarta, which is situate in the midst of an open plain, the country for two miles round being cleared of wood.  They immediately proceeded to the king’s residence, and Mr. Park, being surrounded by the astonished multitude, did not attempt to dismount, but sent in the landlord of Feesurah, and Madi Konko’s son, to acquaint his majesty of his arrival.  The king replied, that he would see the stranger in the evening, and ordered an attendant to procure him a lodging, and prevent annoyance from the crowd.  Mr. Park was conducted into a large hut, in which he had scarcely seated himself, than the mob entered, it being found impossible to keep them out, and when one party had seen him, and asked a few questions, they retired, and another succeeded, party after party, during the greater part of the day.

The king, whose name was Koorabarri, now sent for Mr. Park, who followed the messenger through a number of courts, surrounded with high walls.  Mr. Park was astonished at the number of the king’s attendants:  they were all seated, the men on the king’s right hand, and the women and children on the left.  The king was not distinguished from his subjects by any superiority of dress, being seated on a leopard’s skin, spread upon a bank of earth, about two feet high.  Mr. Park seated himself upon the ground before him, and relating the causes that induced him

Page 49

to pass through his country, solicited his protection.  The king replied, that he could at present afford him but little assistance, all communication between Kaarta and Bambarra being cut off; and Monsong, king of Bambarra, with his army on his march to Kaarta, there was little hope of reaching Bambarra by the direct route, for coming from an enemy’s country, he would certainly be plundered or taken for a spy.  Under these circumstances he did not wish him to remain at Kaarta, but advised him to return to Kasson till the war was at an end, when, if he survived the contest, he would bestow every attention on the traveller, but if he should fall, his sons would take him under their care.

Mr. Park dreaded the thoughts of passing the rainy season in the interior of Africa, and was averse to return to Europe, without having made further discoveries, he therefore rejected the well-meant advice of the king, and requested his majesty to allow a man to accompany him as near the frontiers of Kaarta as was consistent with safety.  The king, finding he was resolved to proceed, told him that one route, though not wholly free from danger, still remained, which was first to go into the Moorish kingdom of Luda-mar, and thence by a circuitous route to Jarra, the frontier town of Ludamar.  He then inquired of Mr. Park how he had been treated since he left the Gambia, and jocularly asked him how many slaves he expected to take home with him on his return.  He was, however interrupted by the arrival of a man mounted on a fine moorish horse covered with sweat and foam, who having something of importance to communicate, the king immediately took up his sandals, which is the signal for strangers to retire.  Mr. Park accordingly took leave, but afterwards learned that this messenger was one of the scouts employed to watch the motions of the enemy, and had brought intelligence that the Bambarra army was approaching Kaarta.

In the evening the king sent to the stranger a fine sheep, a very acceptable gift, as they had not broken their fast during the whole of the day.  At this time, evening prayers were announced, by beating on drums, and blowing through hollowed elephants’ teeth; the sound of which was melodious, and nearly resembled the human voice.  On the following morning, Mr. Park sent his horse-pistols and holsters as a present to the king, and informed him that he wished to leave Kemmoo as soon as he could procure a guide.  In about an hour the king returned thanks for his present, and sent a party of horsemen to conduct him to Jarra.  On that night he slept at a village called Marena, where, during the night, some thieves broke into the hut where the baggage was deposited, cut open one of Mr. Park’s bundles, and stole a quantity of beads, part of his clothes, some amber and gold.  The following day was far advanced before they recommenced their journey, and the excessive heat obliged them to travel but slowly.  In the evening they arrived at the village of Toorda, when all the king’s people turned back with the exception of two, who remained to guide Mr. Park and his attendants to Jarra.

Page 50

On the 15th of February they departed from Toorda, and about two o’clock came to a considerable town called Funing-kedy, where being informed that the road to Jarra was much infested by the moors, and that a number of people were going to that town on the following day, Mr. Park resolved to stay and accompany them.  Accordingly in the afternoon of the 17th of February, accompanied by thirty people, he left Funing-kedy, it being necessary to travel in the night to avoid the moorish banditti.  At midnight they stopped near a small village, but the thermometer being so low as 68 deg., none of the negroes could sleep on account of the cold.  They resumed their journey at daybreak, and in the morning passed Simbing, the frontier village of Ludamar.

From this village Major Houghton wrote his last letter, with a pencil, to Dr. Laidley, having been deserted by his negro servants, who refused to follow him into the moorish country.  This brave but unfortunate man, having surmounted many difficulties, had endeavoured to pass through the kingdom of Ludamar, where Mr. Park learned the following particulars concerning his fate.  On his arrival at Jarra, he got acquainted with some moorish merchants, who were travelling to Tisheel, a place celebrated for its salt pits in the great desert, for the purpose of purchasing salt.  It is supposed that the moors deceived him, either in regard to the route he wished to pursue, or the state of the country between Jarra and Timbuctoo, and their intention probably was to rob and leave him in the desert.  At the end of two days he suspected their treachery, and insisted on returning to Jarra.  Finding him to persist in this determination, the moors robbed him of every thing he possessed, and went off with their camels; the major, being thus deserted, returned on foot to a watering place called Tarra.  He had been some days without food, and the unfeeling moors refusing to give him any, he sunk at last under his distresses.  Whether he actually perished of hunger, or was murdered by the savage Mahometans, is not certainly known.  His body was dragged into the woods, and Mr. Park was shown at a distance, the spot where his remains were left to perish.

Leaving Simbing, the travellers arrived in safety at Jarra, which is a large town situate at the bottom of rocky hills; the houses being built of clay and stones intermixed, the former answering the purpose of mortar.  It forms part of the moorish kingdom of Ludamar, but the majority of the inhabitants are negroes, who purchase a precarious protection from the moors, in order to avert their depredations.

On Mr. Park’s arrival at Jarra, he obtained a lodging at the house of Daman Jumma, a Gambia slatee, to whom he had an order from Dr. Laidley for a debt of the value of six slaves.  Daman readily acknowledged the debt, but said he was afraid he could not pay more than two slaves’ value.  He was, however, very useful to Mr. Park, by procuring his beads and amber to be exchanged for gold, which being more portable, was more easily concealed from the moors.

Page 51

The difficulties, which they had already encountered, and the savage deportment of the moors, had completely frightened Mr. Park’s attendants, and they declared they would not proceed one step further to the eastward.  In this situation, Mr. Park applied to Daman, to obtain from Ali, king of Ludamar, a safe conduct into Bambarra, and he hired one of Daman’s slaves to guide him thither, as soon as the passport should be obtained.  A messenger was despatched to Ali, then encamped near Benown, and Mr. Park sent that prince, as a present, five garments of cotton cloth purchased from Daman.  On the 26th of February, one of Ali’s slaves arrived, as he said, to conduct Mr. Park as far as Goomba, and demanded one garment of blue cotton cloth for his attendance.  About this time the negro boy Demba declared, that he would never desert his master, although he wished that he would turn back, to which he was strongly recommended by Johnson, who had declared his reluctance to proceed.

On the following day, Mr. Park delivered a copy of his papers to Johnson, to convey them to Gambia with all possible expedition, and he left in Daman’s possession various articles, which he considered not necessary to take with him.  He then left Jarra, accompanied by his faithful boy, the slave sent by king Ali, and one of Daman’s slaves.  Without meeting with any occurrence of note, Mr. Park arrived on the 1st of March at a large town called Deena, inhabited by a greater proportion of moors than of negroes.  Mr. Park lodged in a hut belonging to one of the latter.  The moors, however, assembled round it, and treated him with every sort of indignity, with a view to irritate him, and afford them a pretence for pillaging his baggage.  Finding, however, their attempts ineffectual, they at last declared that the property of a Christian was lawful plunder to the followers of Mahomet, and accordingly opened his bundles, and robbed him of every thing they chose.

Mr. Park spent the 2nd of March, in endeavouring to prevail on his people to proceed with him, but so great was their dread of the moors, that they absolutely refused.  Accordingly, the next morning, about two o’clock, Mr. Park proceeded alone on his adventurous journey.  He had not, however, got above half a mile from Deena, when he heard some one calling after him, and on looking back, saw his faithful boy running after him.  He was informed by the boy, that Ali’s man had set out for Benown, but Daman’s negro was still at Deena, but that if his master would stop a little, he could persuade the latter to join him.  Mr. Park waited accordingly, and in about three hours the boy returned with the negro.  In the afternoon, they reached a town called Samamingkoos, inhabited chiefly by Foulahs.

On the 4th they arrived at a large town called Sampaka, where, on hearing that a white man was come into the town, the people, who had been keeping holiday and dancing, left of this pastime, and walking in regular order two by two, with the music before them, came to Mr. Park.  They played upon a flute, which they blowed obliquely over the end, and governed the holes on the sides with their fingers.  Their airs were plaintive and simple.

Page 52

Mr. Park stopped at Sampaka for the sake of being accompanied by some of the inhabitants, who were going to Goomba; but in order to avoid the crowd of people, whom curiosity had assembled round him, he visited in the evening a negro village called Samee, where he was kindly received by the dooty, who killed two fine sheep, and invited his friends to the feast.  On the following day his landlord insisted on his staying till the cool of the evening, when he would conduct him to the next village.  Mr. Park was now within two days journey of Goomba, and had no further apprehension of being molested by the moors.  He therefore accepted the invitation, and passed the forenoon very agreeably with the poor negroes, the mildness of their manners forming a striking contrast to the savageness and ferocity of the moors.  In the midst of their cheerfulness, a party of moors unexpectedly entered the hut.  They came, they said, by Ali’s orders, to convey the white man to his camp at Benown.  They told Mr. Park, that if he did not make any resistance, he was not in any danger, but if he showed any reluctance, they had orders to bring him by force.  Mr. Park was confounded and terrified; the moors, observing his consternation, repeated the assurance of his safety, and added, that they had come to gratify the curiosity of Ali’s wife, who was extremely desirous to see a Christian, but that afterwards, they had no doubt that Ali would make him a present, which would compensate for his trouble, and conduct him safely to Bambarra.  Entreaty or refusal would have been equally unavailing.  Mr. Park took leave of his landlord and company with great reluctance, and, attended by his negro boy (for Daman’s slave made his escape on seeing the Moors), followed the messengers, and reached Dalli in the evening, where they were strictly watched for the night.

On the following day, Mr. Park and his boy were conducted by a circuitous path, through the woods to Dangoli, where they slept.  They continued their journey on the 9th, and without any particular occurrence arrived at Deena, when Mr. Park went to pay his respects to one of Ali’s sons.  He sat in a hut, with five or six companions, washing their hands, feet, and mouths.  The prince handed Mr. Park a double-barrelled gun, and told him to dye the stock blue, and repair one of the locks.  Mr. Park with great difficulty persuaded him that he knew nothing of gun-making, then, said he, you shall give me some knives and scissors immediately.  The boy, who acted as interpreter, declaring Mr. Park had no such articles, he hastily snatched up a musket, and would have shot the boy dead upon the spot, had not the Moors interfered, and made signs to the strangers to retreat.  The boy attempted to make his escape in the night, but was prevented by the Moors, who guarded both him, and his master, with the strictest attention.

Page 53

On the 12th, Mr. Park and his guards departed for Benown, and reached the camp of Ali a little before sunset.  It was composed of a great number of dirty tents, scattered without order, amongst which appeared large herds of camels, cattle, and goats.  Mr. Park had no sooner arrived, than he was surrounded by such a crowd, that he could scarcely move.  One pulled his clothes, another took off his hat, a third examined his waistcoat buttons, and a fourth calling out, La ilia el Allah, Mahomet ra sowl Allald (there is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet), signifying, in a menacing tone, that he must repeat those words.  At length, he was conducted to the king’s tent, where a number of both sexes were waiting his arrival.  Ali appeared to be an old man of the Arab cast, with a long white beard, and of a sullen and proud countenance.  Having gazed on the stranger, he inquired of the Moors, if he could speak Arabic, hearing that he could not, he appeared much surprised, but made no remarks.  The ladies were more inquisitive; they asked many questions, inspected every part of Mr. Park’s dress, unbuttoned his waistcoat to display the whiteness of his skin; they even counted his toes and fingers.  In a short time, the priest announced evening prayers, but before the people departed, some boys had tied a wild hog to one of the tent strings.  Ali made signs to Mr. Park to kill it, and dress it for food to himself, he, however, did not think it prudent to eat any part of an animal so much detested by the Moors, and accordingly replied, that he never ate the flesh of swine.  They then untied the hog, in hopes that it would run immediately at him, the Moors believing that a great enmity subsists between hogs and Christians, but the animal no sooner regained his liberty, than he attacked every person he met, and at last took shelter under the king’s couch.  Mr. Park was then conducted to the tent of Ali’s chief slave, but was not permitted to enter, nor touch any of the furniture.  A little boiled corn, with salt and water, was afterwards served him for supper, and he lay upon a mat spread upon the sand, surrounded by the curious multitude.

The next day, Mr. Park was conducted by the king’s order, to a hut constructed of corn stalks of a square form, and a flat roof, supported by forked sticks; but out of derision to the Christian, Ali had ordered the wild hog before mentioned to be tied to one of the sticks, and it proved a very disagreeable inmate, the boys amusing themselves by beating and irritating the animal.  Mr. Park was also again tormented by the curiosity of the Moors.  He was obliged to take off his stockings to exhibit his feet, and even his jacket and waistcoat to show them the mode of his toilet.  This exercise he was obliged to repeat the whole day.  About eight o’clock in the evening, Ali sent him some kouskous and salt and water, being the only victuals he had tasted since the morning.  During the night, the Moors kept

Page 54

a regular watch, and frequently looked into the hut to see if he was asleep.  About two o’clock a Moor entered the hut, probably with a view of stealing something, and groping about, laid his hand upon Mr. Park’s shoulder.  He immediately sprang up, and the Moor in a hurry, fell upon the wild hog, which returned the attack by biting his arm.  The cries of the Moor alarmed his countrymen, who conjecturing their prisoner had made his escape, prepared for pursuit.  Ali did not sleep in his own tent, but came galloping upon a white horse from a tent at a considerable distance; the consciousness of his tyrannical and cruel behaviour had made him so suspicious, that even his own domestics knew not where he slept.  The cause of the outcry being explained, the prisoner was allowed to sleep until morning without further disturbance.

With the returning day, the boys, says Mr. Park, assembled to beat the hog, and the men and women to plague the Christian.  On this subject, Mr. Park expresses himself most feelingly, for he adds, “it is impossible for me to describe the behaviour of a people, who study mischief as a science, and exult in the miseries and misfortunes of their fellow-creatures.  It is sufficient to observe, that the rudeness, ferocity, and fanaticism, which distinguish the Moors from the rest of mankind, found here a proper subject whereon to exercise their propensities.  I was a stranger, I was unprotected, and I was a Christian, each of these circumstances is sufficient to drive every spark of humanity from the heart of a Moor; but when all of them, as in my case, were combined in the same person, and a suspicion prevailed withal, that I was come as a spy into the country, the reader will easily imagine that, in such a situation, I had every thing to fear.  Anxious, however, to conciliate favour, I patiently bore every insult, but never did any period of my life pass so heavily; from sunrise to sunset was I obliged to suffer, with unruffled countenance, the insults of the rudest savages on earth.”

Mr. Park had now a new occupation thrust upon him, which was that of a barber.  His first display of official skill in his new capacity, was in shaving the head of the young prince of Ludamar, in the presence of the king, his father, but happening to make a slight incision, the king ordered him to resign the razor, and walk out of the tent.  This was considered by Mr. Park as a very fortunate circumstance, as he had determined to make himself as useless and insignificant as possible, being the only means of recovering his liberty.

On the 18th of March, four Moors arrived from Jarra, with Johnson the interpreter, having seized him before he knew of Mr. Park’s confinement, and brought with them the bundle of clothes left at Daman Jumma’s house.  Johnson was led into All’s tent and examined; the bundle was opened, and Mr. Park was sent for, to explain the use of the various contents.  To Mr. Park’s great satisfaction, however, Johnson

Page 55

had committed his papers to the charge of one of Daman’s wives.  The bundle was again tied up, and put into a large cowskin bag.  In the evening Ali sent to Mr. Park for the rest of his effects, to secure them, according to the report of the messengers, as there were many thieves in the neighbourhood.  Every thing was accordingly carried away, nor was he suffered to retain a single shirt.  Ali, however, disappointed at not finding a great quantity of gold and amber, the following morning sent the same people, to examine whether anything was concealed about his person.  They searched his apparel, and took from him his gold, amber, watch and a pocket compass.  He had fortunately in the night buried another compass in the sand, and this, with the clothes he had on, was all that was now left him by this rapacious and inhospitable savage.

The pocket compass soon became an object of superstitious curiosity, and Ali desired Mr. Park to inform him, why the small piece of iron always pointed to the Great Desert?  Mr. Park was somewhat puzzled:  to have pleaded ignorance, would have made Ali suspect he wished to conceal the truth; he therefore replied, that his mother resided far beyond the land of Sehara, and whilst she lived, the piece of iron would always point that way, and serve as a guide to conduct him to her, and that if she died, it would point to her grave.  Ali now looked at the compass with redoubled wonder, and turned it round and round repeatedly, but finding it always pointed the same way, he returned it to Mr. Park, declaring he thought there was magic in it, and he was afraid to keep so dangerous an instrument in his possession.

On the morning of the 20th, a council was hold in Ali’s tent respecting Mr. Park, and its decision was differently related to him by different persons, but the most probable account he received from Ali’s son, a boy, who told him it was determined to put out his eyes, by the special advice of the priests, but the sentence was deferred until Fatima, the queen, then absent, had seen the white man.  Mr. Park, anxious to know his destiny, went to the king and begged permission to return to Jarra.  This was, however, flatly refused, as the queen had not yet seen him, and he must stay until she arrived, after which his horse would be restored, and he should be at liberty to return to Ludamar.  Mr. Park appeared pleased; and without any hope of at present making his escape, on account of the excessive heat, he resolved to wait patiently for the rainy season.  Overcome with melancholy, and having passed a restless night, in the morning he was attacked by a fever.  He had wrapped himself up in a cloak to promote perspiration, and was asleep, when a party of Moors entered the hut, and pulled away the cloak.  He made signs that he was sick, and wished to sleep, but his distress afforded sport to these savages.  “This studied and degrading insolence,” says Mr. Park, “to which I was constantly exposed, was one

Page 56

of the bitterest ingredients in the cup of captivity, and often made life itself a burthen to me.  In these distressing moments I have frequently envied the situation of the slave, who, amidst all his calamities, could still possess the enjoyment of his own thoughts, a happiness to which I had for some time, been a stranger.  Wearied out with such continual insults, and perhaps a little peevish from the fever, I trembled, lest my passion might unawares overleap the bounds of prudence, and spur me to some sudden act of resentment, when death must be the inevitable consequence.”

In this miserable situation he left the hut, and laid down amongst some shady trees, a small distance from the camp, but Ali’s son, with a number of horsemen galloping to the place, ordered him to follow them to the king.  He begged them to allow him to remain where he was for a few hours, when one of them presented a pistol towards him, and snapped it twice; he cocked it a third time, and was striking the flint with a piece of steel, when Mr. Park begged him to desist, and returned with them to the camp.  Ali appeared much out of humour, and taking up a pistol fresh primed it, and turning towards Mr. Park with a menacing look, said something to him in Arabic.  Mr. Park desired his boy to ask what offence he had committed, and was informed, that having gone out of the camp without Ali’s permission, it was suspected he had some design to make his escape, but in future, if he were seen without the skirts of the camp, orders were given that he should be immediately shot.

About this time all the women of the camp had their feet, and the ends of their fingers stained of a dark saffron colour, but whether for religion or ornament, Mr. Park could not discover.  On the evening of the 26th, a party of these ladies visited him, to ascertain by actual inspection, whether the rites of circumcision extended to Christians.  Mr. Park was not a little surprised at this unexpected requisition, and to treat the business jocularly, he told them it was not customary in his country, to give ocular demonstration before so many beautiful women, but if all would retire, one young lady excepted, to whom he pointed, he would satisfy her curiosity.  The ladies enjoyed the joke, and went away laughing, The preferred damsel, although she did not avail herself of the offer, to show she was pleased with the compliment, sent him meal and milk.

On the morning of the 28th, Ali sent a slave to order Mr. Park to be in readiness to ride out with him in the afternoon, as he intended to show him to some of his women, and about four o’clock the king with six attendants came riding to the hut.  But here a new difficulty occurred, the Moors objected to Mr. Park’s nankeen breeches, which they said were inelegant and indecent, as this was a visit to ladies, but Ali ordered him to wrap his cloak around him.  They visited four different ladies, by each of whom Mr. Park was presented with

Page 57

a bowl of milk and water.  They were very inquisitive, and examined his hair and skin with great attention, but affected to consider him as an inferior being, and knit their brows, and appeared to shudder when they looked at the whiteness of his skin.  All the seladies were remarkably corpulent, which the Moors esteem as the highest mark of beauty.  In the course of the excursion, the dress and appearance of Mr. Park afforded infinite mirth to the company, who galloped round him, exhibiting various feats of activity and horsemanship.

The Moors are very good horsemen, riding without fear, and their saddles being high before and behind, afford them a very secure seat, and should they fall, the country is so soft and sandy, that they are seldom hurt.  The king always rode upon a milk-white horse, with its tail dyed red.  He never walked, but to prayers, and two or three horses were always kept ready saddled near his tent.  The Moors set a high value upon their horses, as their fleetness enables them to plunder the negro countries.

On the same afternoon, a whirlwind passed through the camp, with such violence, that it overturned three tents, and blew down one side of the hut in which Mr. Park was.  These whirlwinds come from the Great Desert, and at that season of the year are so common, that Mr. Park has seen five or six of them at one time.  They carry up quantities of sand to an amazing height, which resemble at a distance so many moving pillars of smoke.

The scorching heat of the sun, upon a dry and sandy country, now made the air insufferably hot.  Ali having robbed Mr. Park of his thermometer, he had no means of forming a comparative judgment; but in the middle of the day, when the beams of the vertical sun are seconded by the scorching wind from the desert, the ground is frequently heated to such a degree, as not to be borne by the naked foot; even the negro slaves will not run from one tent to another without their sandals.  At this time of the day, the Moors are stretched at length in their tents, either asleep or unwilling to move, and Mr. Park has often felt the wind so hot, that he could not hold his hand in the current of air, which came through the crevices of his hut, without feeling sensible pain.

During Mr. Park’s stay, a child died in an adjoining tent.  The mother and relations immediately began the death howl, in which they were joined by several female visitors.  He had no opportunity of seeing the burial, which is performed secretly during night, near the tent.  They plant a particular shrub over the grave, which no stranger is allowed to pluck, nor even touch.

Page 58

About the same time a moorish wedding was celebrated, the ceremony of which is thus described by Mr. Park.  “In the evening the tabala or large drum was beaten to announce a wedding, which was held at one of the neighbouring tents.  A great number of people of both sexes assembled, but without that mirth and hilarity which take place at a negro wedding; here there was neither singing nor dancing, nor any other amusement that I could perceive.  A woman was beating the drum, and the other women joining at times like a chorus, by setting up a shrill scream, and at the same time moving their tongues from one side of the mouth to the other with great celerity.  I was soon tired and had returned to my hut where I was sitting almost asleep, when an old woman entered with a wooden bowl in her hand, and signified that she had brought me a present from the bride.  Before I could recover from the surprise which this message created, the woman discharged the content of the bowl full in my face.  Finding that it was the same sort of holy water, with which, among the Hottentots, a priest is said to sprinkle a new-married couple, I began to suspect that the old lady was actuated by mischief or malice, but she gave me seriously to understand, that it was a nuptial benediction from the bride’s own person, and which, on such occasions, is always received by the young unmarried Moors as a mark of distinguished favour.  This being the ease, I wiped my face and sent my acknowledgments to the lady.  The wedding drum continued to beat, and the women to sing, or rather to whistle during the whole of the night.  About nine in the morning, the bride was brought in state from her mother’s tent, attended by a number of women, who carried her tent, being a present from her husband, some bearing up the poles, others holding by the strings, and in this manner they marched, whistling as formerly, until they came to the place appointed for her residence, where they pitched the tent.  The husband followed with a number of men leading four bullocks, which they tied to the tent strings, and having killed another, and distributed the beef among the people, the ceremony was concluded.”


Mr. Park had now been detained a whole month in Ali’s camp, during which each returning day brought him fresh distresses.  In the evening alone, his oppressors left him to solitude and reflection.  About midnight, a bowl of kouskous, with some salt and water, was brought for him and his two attendants, being the whole of their allowance for the following day, for it was at this time the Mahometan Lent, which, being kept with religious strictness by the Moors, they thought proper to compel their Christian captive to a similar abstinence.  Time, in some degree, reconciled him to his forlorn state:  he now found that he could bear hunger and thirst better than he could have anticipated; and at length endeavoured to amuse himself by learning to write Arabic.  The people, who came to see him, soon made him acquainted with the characters.  When he observed any one person, whose countenance he thought malignant, Mr. Park almost always asked him to write on the sand, or to decipher what he had written, and the pride of showing superior attainment generally induced him to comply with the request.

Page 59

Mr. Park’s sufferings and attendant feelings decreased in intenseness from time and custom; his attempts, as the first paroxysms ceased, to find the means to amuse and shorten the tedious hours, is a fine picture, of human passions; and their variations, circumstances, and situations, which, before they were encountered, would appear intolerable, generate a resolution and firmness, which render them possible to be borne.  Providence, with its usual benevolence, willing the happiness of mankind, fortifies the heart to the assaults, which it has to undergo.

On the 14th of April, Ali proposed to go two days journey, to fetch his queen Fatima.  A fine bullock was therefore killed, and the flesh cut into thin slices, was dried in the sun; this, with two bags of dry kouskous, served for food on the road.  The tyrant, fearing poison, never ate any thing not dressed under his immediate inspection.  Previously to his departure, the negroes of Benown, according to a usual custom, showed their arms and paid their tribute of corn and cloth.

Two days after the departure of Ali, a shereef arrived with merchandize from Walet, the capital of the kingdom of Biroo.  He took up his abode in the same hut with Mr. Park, and appeared be a well-informed man, acquainted with the Arabic and Bambarra tongues; he had travelled through many kingdoms; he had visited Houssa, and lived some years at Timbuctoo.  Upon Mr. Park’s inquiring the distance from Walet to Timbuctoo, the shereef, learning that he intended to travel to that city, said, it would not do, for Christians were there considered as the devil’s children, and enemies to the prophet.

On the 24th, another shereef arrived, named Sidi Mahomed Moora Abdallah, and with these two men Mr. Park passed his time with less uneasiness than formerly, but as his supply of victuals was now left to slaves, over whom he had no control, he was worse supplied than during the past month.  For two successive nights, they neglected to send the accustomed meal, and the boy, having begged a few handfuls of ground nuts, from a small negro town near the camp, readily shared them with his master.  Mr. Park now found that when the pain of hunger has continued for some time, it is succeeded by languor and debility, when a draught of water, by keeping the stomach distended, will remove for a short time every sort of uneasiness.  The two attendants, Johnson and Demba, lay stretched upon the sand in torpid slumber, and when the kouskous arrived, were with difficulty awakened.  Mr. Park felt no inclination to sleep, but was affected with a deep convulsive respiration, like constant sighing, a dimness of sight, and a tendency to faint, when he attempted to sit up.  These symptoms went off when he had received nourishment.

Page 60

On the 29th of April, intelligence arrived at Benown, that the Bambarra army was approaching the frontiers of Ludamar.  Ali’s son, with about twenty horsemen, arriving, ordered all the cattle to be driven away, the tents to be struck, and the people to depart.  His orders were instantly obeyed; the baggage was carried upon bullocks, one or two women being commonly placed upon the top of each burden.  The king’s concubines rode upon camels, with a saddle of an easy construction, and a canopy to keep the sun from them.  On the 2nd of May, they arrived at Ali’s camp, and Mr. Park waited immediately upon him; he seemed much pleased with his coming, and introduced him to Fatima, his favourite princess, saying, “that was the Christian.”  The queen had long black hair, and was remarkably corpulent; she appeared at first shocked at having a Christian so near her, but when Mr. Park had, by means of a negro boy, satisfied her curiosity, she seemed more reconciled, and presented him with a bowl of milk.

The heat and the scarcity of water were greater here than at Benown.  One night, Mr. Park, having solicited in vain for water at the camp, resolved to try his fortune at the wells, to which he was guided by the lowing of cattle.  The Moors were very busy in drawing water, and when Mr. Park requested permission to drink, they drove him away with outrageous abuse.  He at last came to a well, where there were an old man and two boys, to whom he made the same request.  The former immediately drew up a bucket of water, but recollecting Mr. Park was a Christian, and fearing the bucket would be polluted by his lips, he dashed the water into the trough, and told him to assuage his thirst from it.  The cows were already drinking at the trough, but Mr, Park resolved to come in for his share, and, accordingly, thrusting his head between two of the cows, he drank with great pleasure till the water was nearly exhausted.

Thus passed the month of May, Ali still considered Mr. Park as his lawful prisoner, and Fatima, though she allowed him a greater quantity of victuals than fell to his portion at Benown, yet she made no efforts for his release.  Some circumstances, however, now occurred, which produced a change in his favour more suddenly than he expected.  The fugitive Kaartans, dreading the resentment of the sovereign, whom they had so basely deserted, offered to treat with Ali for two hundred Moorish horsemen to assist them in an effort to expel Daisy from Gedinggooma, for till Daisy should be vanquished, they could neither return to their native town, nor live in security in the neighbouring kingdoms.  Ali, with a view to extort money from these people, despatched his son to Jarra, and prepared himself to follow him.  Mr. Park, believing that he might escape from Jarra, if he could get there, immediately applied to Fatima, prime counsellor of the monarch, and begged her to intercede with Ali for leave to accompany him to Jarra.  The request was at length granted.  His bundles were brought before the royal consort, and Mr. Park explained the use of the several moveables, for the amusement of the queen, and received a promise of speedy permission to depart.

Page 61

In regard to the moorish character, especially the female, which Mr. Park had frequent opportunities of studying during his captivity at Benown; it appears that the education of the women is neglected altogether, they being evidently regarded merely as administering to sensual pleasure.  The Moors have singular ideas of feminine perfection.  With them, gracefulness of figure, and an expressive countenance, are by no means requisite.  Beauty and corpulency are synonymous.  A perfect moorish beauty is a load for a camel and a woman of moderate pretensions to beauty requires a slave on each side to support her.  In consequence of this depraved taste for unwieldiness of bulk, the moorish ladies take great pains to acquire it early in life, and for this purpose, the young girls are compelled by their mothers to devour a great quantity of kouskous, and drink a large portion of camel’s milk every morning.  It is of no importance whether the girl has an appetite or not, the kouskous and milk must be swallowed, and obedience is frequently enforced by blows.

The usual dress of the women is a broad piece of cotton cloth wrapped round the middle, which hangs down like a petticoat; to the upper part of this are sewed two square pieces, one before and the other behind, which are fastened together over the shoulders.  The head dress is a bandage of cotton cloth, a part of which covers the face when they walk in the sun, but frequently, when they go abroad, they veil themselves from head to foot.  Their employment varies according to their situation.  Queen Fatima passed her time in conversing with visitors, performing devotions, or admiring her charms in a looking-glass.  Other ladies of rank amuse themselves in similar idleness.  The lower females attend to domestic duties.  They are very vain and talkative, very capricious in their temper, and when angry vent their passion upon the female slaves, over whom they rule despotically.

The men’s dress differs but little from that of the negroes, except that they all wear the turban, universally made of white cotton cloth.  Those who have long beards display them with pride and satisfaction, as denoting an Arab ancestry.  “If any one circumstance,” says Mr. Park, “excited amongst the Moors favourable thoughts towards my own person, it was my beard, which was now grown to an enormous length, and was always beheld with approbation or envy.  I believe, in my conscience, they thought it too good a beard for a Christian.”

The great desert of Jarra bounds Ludamar on the north.  This vast ocean of sand is almost destitute of inhabitants.  A few miserable Arabs wander from one well to another, their flocks subsisting upon a scanty vegetation in a few insulated spots.  In other places, where the supply of water and pasturage is more abundant, small parties of Moors have taken up their residence, where they live in independent poverty, secure from the government of Barbary.  The greater part of

Page 62

the desert, however, is seldom visited, except where the caravans pursue their laborious and dangerous route.  In other parts, the disconsolate wanderer, wherever he turns, sees nothing around him but a vast indeterminable expanse of sand and sky; a gloomy and barren void, where the eye finds no particular object to rest upon, and the mind is filled with painful apprehensions of perishing with thirst.  Surrounded by this dreary solitude, the traveller sees the dead bodies of birds, that the violence of the wind has brought from happier regions; and as he ruminates on the fearful length of his remaining passage, listens with horror to the voice of the driving blast, the only sound that interrupts the awful repose of the desert.

The antelope and the ostrich are the only wild animals of these regions of desolation, but on the skirts of the desert are found lions, panthers, elephants, and wild boars.  Of domestic animals the camel alone can endure the fatigue of crossing it:  by the conformation of his stomach, he can carry a supply of water for ten or twelve days; his broad and yielding foot is well adapted for treading the sand; his flesh is preferred by the Moors to any other, and the milk is pleasant and nourishing.  On the evening of the 25th of May, Mr. Park’s horse and accoutrements were sent to him by order of Ali.  He had already taken leave of queen Fatima, who most graciously returned him part of his apparel, and early on the 20th, he departed from the camp of Bubaker, accompanied by Johnson and Demba, and a number of moorish horsemen.

Early in the morning of the 28th of May, Mr. Park was ordered to get in readiness to depart, and Ali’s chief slave told the negro boy, that Ali was to be his master in future; then turning to Mr. Park, he said, the boy and every thing but your horse go back to Bubaker, but you may take the old fool (meaning Johnson, the interpreter) with you to Jarra.  Mr. Park, shocked at the idea of losing the boy, represented to Ali, that whatever imprudence he had himself been guilty of, in coming into Ludamar, he thought he had been sufficiently punished by being so long detained, and then plundered of his property.  This, however, gave him no uneasiness, compared to the present injury.  The boy seized on was not a slave, and accused of no offence.  His fidelity to his master had brought him into his present situation, and he, as his protector, could not see him enslaved without deprecating the cruelty and injustice of the act.  Ali, with a haughty and malignant smile, told his interpreter, that if Mr. Park did not depart that instant, he would send him back likewise.  Finding it was vain to expect redress, Mr. Park shook hands with his affectionate boy, who was not less affected than himself, and having blended his tears with those of the boy, assured him he would spare no pains to effect his release.  Poor Demba was led off by three of Ali’s slaves towards the camp at Bubaker.

Page 63

On the 1st of June, they departed for Jarra, where Mr. Park took up his residence with his old friend, Daman Jamma, whom he informed of every thing that had befallen him.  Mr. Park then requested Daman to endeavour to ransom the boy, and promised him a bill upon Dr. Laidley for the value of two slaves as soon as Demba arrived at Jarra.  Daman undertook the business, but Ali, considering the boy as Mr. Park’s principal interpreter, and fearing he should be instrumental in conducting him to Bambarra, deferred the matter day after day, but told Daman, he himself should have him hereafter, if he would, at the price of a common slave.  To this Daman agreed whenever the boy was sent to Jarra.

On the 8th of June, Ali returned to Bubaker to celebrate a festival, and permitted Mr. Park to remain with Daman until his return.  Finding that every attempt to recover his boy was ineffectual, he considered it an act of necessity to provide for his own safety before the rains should be fully set in, and accordingly resolved to escape and proceed alone to Bambarra, as Johnson, the interpreter, had refused further attendance.  On the 28th of June, at daybreak, Mr. Park took his departure, and in the course of the day arrived at Queira; where he had not been a long time, before he was surprised by the appearance of Ali’s chief slave and four Moors.  Johnson having contrived to overhear their conversation, learned that they were sent to convey Mr. Park back to Bubaker.  In the evening two of the Moors were observed privately to examine Mr. Park’s horse, which they concluded was in too bad a condition for his rider’s escape, and having inquired where he slept, they returned to their companions.  Mr. Park, on being informed of their motions, determined to set off immediately for Bambarra to avoid a second captivity.  Johnson applauded his resolution, but positively refused to accompany him, having agreed with Daman to assist in conducting a caravan of slaves to Gambia.

In this emergency Mr. Park resolved to proceed by himself, and about midnight got his clothes in readiness, but he had not a single bead, nor any other article of value, wherewith to purchase victuals for himself or his horse.  At daybreak, Johnson, who had been listening to the Moors all night, came to inform him they were asleep, on which, taking up his bundle, Mr. Park stepped gently over the negroes, who were sleeping in the open air, and having mounted his horse, bade Johnson farewell, desiring him to take particular care of the papers, with which he had entrusted him, and to inform his friends on the Gambia, that he had left him in good health proceeding to Bambarra.

Page 64

Mr. Park advanced with great caution for about the space of a mile, when looking back he saw three Moors on horseback, galloping at full speed and brandishing their double-barrelled guns.  As it was impossible to escape, he turned and met them, when two caught hold of his bridle, and the third presenting his musket, said he must go back to Ali.  Mr. Park rode back with the Moors, with apparent unconcern, when, in passing through some thick bushes, one of them desired him to untie his bundle and show them the contents, but finding nothing worth taking, one of them pulled his cloak from him, and wrapped it about himself.  This was the most valuable article in Mr. Park’s possession, as it defended him from the rains in the day, and from the mosquitoes at night, he therefore earnestly requested them to return it, but to no purpose.  Mr, Park now perceived, that these men had only pursued him for the sake of plunder, and turned once more towards the east.  To avoid being again overtaken, he struck into the woods, and soon found himself on the right road.

Joyful as he now was, when he concluded he was out of danger, he soon became sensible of his deplorable situation, without any means of procuring food, or prospect of finding water.  Oppressed with excessive thirst, he travelled on without having seen a human habitation.  It was now become insufferable; his mouth was parched and inflamed, a sudden dimness frequently came over his eyes, and he began seriously to apprehend that he should perish for want of drink.  A little before sunset, he climbed a high tree, from the topmost branches of which he took a melancholy survey of the barren wilderness.  A dismal uniformity of shrubs and sand every-where presented itself, and the horizon was as level and uninterrupted as that of the sea.  Descending from the tree, Mr. Park found his horse devouring the stubble and brushwood with groat avidity.  Being too faint to attempt walking, and his horse too much fatigued to carry him, Mr. Park thought it was the last act of humanity he should ever be able to perform, to take off his bridle and let him shift for himself; in doing which he was suddenly affected with sickness and giddiness, and falling upon the sand, felt as if the hour of death was approaching.  “Here then,” said he, “after a short but ineffectual struggle, terminate all my hopes of being useful in my day and generation; here must the short span of my life come to an end.  I cast, as I believe, a last look on the surrounding scene, and whilst I reflected on the awful change that was about to take place, this world, with all its enjoyments, seemed to vanish from my recollection.”  Nature, however, resumed her functions, and on recovering his senses, he found the bridle still in his hand, and the sun just setting.  He now summoned all his resolution, and determined to make another effort to prolong his existence.  With this view he put the bridle on his horse, and driving him before him went slowly along for about an hour, when he perceived

Page 65

some lightning from the north-east; to him a delightful sight, as it promised rain, The wind began to roar amongst the bushes, and he was nearly suffocated with sand and dust, when the wind ceased, and for more than an hour the rain fell plentifully.  He spread out his clothes to collect it, and assuaged his thirst by wringing and sucking them.  The night was extremely dark, and Mr. Park directed his way by the compass, which the lightning enabled him to observe.  On a sudden he was surprised to see a light at a short distance, and leading his horse cautiously towards it, heard by the lowing of the cattle and the clamour of the herdsmen, that it was a watering place.  Being still thirsty, he attempted to search for the wells, but on approaching too near to one of the tents, he was perceived by a woman, who immediately gave an alarm; Mr. Park, however, eluded pursuit by immerging into the woods.  He soon after heard the croaking of frogs, and following the sound arrived at some shallow muddy pools, where he and his horse quenched their thirst.  The morning being calm, Mr. Park ascended a tree, and not only saw the smoke of the watering place which he had passed in the night, but also another pillar of smoke to the east, about twelve or fourteen miles distant.  Directing his course thither, he reached some cultivated ground, on which some negroes were at work, by whom he was informed that he was near a Foulah village, belonging to Ali, called Shrilla.  He had some doubts about entering it, but at last ventured, and riding up to the dooty’s house was denied admittance, and even refused a handful of corn for his horse.  Leaving this inhospitable door, he rode slowly out of the town towards some low huts scattered in the suburbs.  At the door of a hovel hut, an old woman with a benevolent countenance sat spinning cotton.  Mr. Park made signs that he was hungry, on which she immediately laid down her distaff, invited him to the hut, and set before him a dish of kouskous, of which he made a comfortable meal.  In return for her kindness Mr. Park gave her a pocket handkerchief, begging at the same time a little corn for his horse, which she readily brought.

While the horse was feeding, the people began to assemble, and one of them whispered something to the old woman, which greatly excited her surprise.  Mr. Park knew enough of the Foulah language, to discover that some of the men wished to apprehend and carry him to Ali, in hope of receiving a reward.  He therefore tied up the corn, and to prevent suspicion that he had run away from the Moors, took a northerly direction.  When he found himself clear of his attendants, he plunged again into the woods, and slept under a large tree.  He was awakened by three Foulahs, who supposing him to be a Moor, pointed to the sun, and said it was time to pray.  Coming to a path leading southwards, which he followed until midnight, he arrived at a small pool of rain water.  Resting here for the night, the mosquitoes and flies prevented him from sleeping, and the howling of the wild beasts in the vicinity kept his horse in continual terror.

Page 66

On the following morning, he came to a watering place belonging to the Foulahs, one of the shepherds invited him to come into his tent, and partake of some dates.  There was just room enough in this tent to sit upright, and the family and furniture were huddled together in the utmost confusion.  When Mr. Park had crept into it upon his hands and knees, he found in it a woman and three children, who with the shepherd and himself completely occupied the floor.  A dish of boiled corn and dates was produced, and the master of the family, according to the custom of the country, first tasted it himself, and then offered a part to his guest.  Whilst Mr. Park was eating, the children kept their eyes fixed upon him and no sooner had their father pronounced the word mazarini, than they began to cry; their mother crept cautiously towards the door, and springing out of the tent, was instantly followed by her children; so truly alarmed were they at the name of a Christian.  Here Mr. Park procured some corn for his horse, in exchange for some brass buttons, and thanking the shepherd for his hospitality departed.  At sunset he came into the road which led to Bambarra, and in the evening arrived at Wawra, a negro town belonging to Kaarta.

Now secure from the Moors, and greatly fatigued, Mr. Park meeting with a hearty welcome from the dooty, rested himself at this place.  He slept soundly for two hours on a bullock’s hide.  Numbers assembled to learn who the stranger was, and whence he came; some thought him an Arab, others a moorish sultan, and they debated the matter with such warmth, that their noise at length awoke him.  The dooty, however, who had been at Gambia, at last interposed, and assured them that he was certainly a white man, but from his appearance a very poor one.

In the afternoon, the dooty examined Mr. Park’s bag, but finding nothing valuable, returned it and told him to depart in the morning.  Accordingly Mr. Park set out, accompanied by a negro, but they had not proceeded above a mile, when the ass upon which the negro rode, kicked him off, and he returned, leaving Mr. Park to travel by himself.  About noon he arrived at a town, called Dingyee, where he was hospitably entertained by an old Foulah.

When Mr. Park was about to depart on the following day, the Foulah begged a lock of his hair, because “white men’s hair made a saphie, that would give to the possessor all the knowledge of white men.”  Mr. Park instantly complied with his request, but his landlord’s thirst for learning was such, that he had cropped one side of his head, and would have done the same with the other, had not Mr. Park signified his disapprobation, and told him that he wished to preserve some of this precious ware.

After travelling several days, without meeting with any occurrence of particular note.  Mr. Park arrived at Doolinkeaboo, where the dooty, at his request, gave him a draught of water, which is usually given as an earnest of greater hospitality.  Mr. Park promised himself here a good supper and a comfortable bed, but he had neither the one nor the other.  The night was rainy and tempestuous, and the dooty limited his hospitality to the draught of water.  The next morning, however, when the dooty was gone to the fields, his wife sent Mr. Park a handful of meal, which, mixed with water, served him for breakfast.

Page 67

He departed from Doolinkeaboo in company with two negroes, who were going to Sego.  They stopped at a small village, where an acquaintance of one of the negroes invited them to a public entertainment.  They distributed with great liberality a dish called sinkatoo, made of sour milk, meal, and beer.  The women were admitted into the society, a circumstance which had never come under Mr. Park’s observation before; every one drank as he pleased; they nodded to each other when about to drink, and on setting down the calabash, commonly said berha (thank you.) Both men and women were in a state of intoxication, but were far from being quarrelsome.

Mr. Park and the two negroes then resumed their journey, and passed several large villages, where the former was constantly taken for a Moor, and with his horse, which he drove before him, afforded much mirth to the Bambarrans.  “He has been at Mecca,” says one; “you may see that by his clothes.”  Another asked him if his horse was sick?  A third wished to purchase it, &c., and even the negroes at last seemed ashamed of his company.  They lodged that night at a small village, where Mr. Park procured victuals for himself and corn for his horse, in exchange for a button, and was told that he should see the Niger, which the negroes call Joliba, or the Great Water, early on the following day.  The thought of seeing the Niger in the morning, and the buzzing of the mosquitoes, kept Mr. Park awake the whole of the night, he had saddled his horse, and was in readiness before daylight, but as the gates of the village were shut on account of the wild beasts, he was obliged to wait until the people were stirring.  At length, having departed, they passed four large villages, and in a short time saw the smoke over Sego.

On approaching the town, Mr. Park was fortunate enough to overtake the fugitive Kaartans, to whose kindness he had been so much indebted in his journey through Bambarra.  They readily agreed to introduce him to the king, and they rode together through some marshy ground, where, as he was anxiously looking round for the river, one of them exclaimed, “Geo affili” see the water! and looking forwards, Mr. Park says, “I saw, with infinite pleasure, the great object of my mission, the long sought for majestic Niger, glittering to the morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly to the eastward. [*] I hastened to the brink, and having drank of the water, lifted up my fervent thanks in prayer to the great Ruler of all things, for having thus far crowned my endeavours with success.”

[Footnote:  We cannot reconcile this statement of Park with the subsequent discovery of Lander, who established the fact, that the Niger empties itself into the Bight of Benin.  The Niger, flowing to the eastward, could not possibly have the Bight of Benin for its estuary, nor is it laid down in any of the recent maps as having an easterly direction.]

Page 68

Mr. Park now proceeded towards Sego, the capital of Bambarra, which consists of four distinct towns; two on the northern bank of the Niger, called Sego Korro and Sego Koo, and two on the southern bank, called Sego Soo Korro and Sego See Korro.  The king of Bambarra always resides at the latter place.  He employs a great many slaves to convey people over the river, and the fare paid by each individual, ten kowrie shells, furnishes a considerable revenue.  When Mr. Park arrived at one of the places of embarkation, the people, who were waiting for a passage, looked at him with silent wonder, and he saw with concern many Moors amongst them.  He had continued on the bank more than two hours, without having an opportunity of crossing, during which time information was carried to Mansong, the king, that a white man was coming to see him.  Mansong immediately sent over one of his chief men, who informed Mr. Park that the king could not possibly see him until he knew what had brought him to Bambarra.  He then pointed towards a distant village, and desired Mr. Park to take up his lodgings there, and in the morning he would give him further instructions.

Greatly discouraged at this reception, Mr. Park set off for the village, but found, to his further mortification, that no person would admit him into his house, and that he was regarded with general astonishment and fear.  Thus situated, he sat all day without victuals, under the shade of a tree.  Towards night, the wind arose, and as there was great appearance of a heavy rain, he thought of passing the night among the branches of the trees, to secure himself from wild beasts.  About sunset a woman, returning from the labours of the field, stopped to observe him, and perceiving that he was weary and dejected, inquired into his situation, which he briefly explained to her; whereupon, with looks of great compassion, she took up his saddle and bridle, and told him to follow her.  Having conducted him into her hut, she lighted up a lamp, spread a mat on the floor, and told him he might remain there for the night.  She then went out, and returned in a short time with a fine fish, which, having half broiled, she gave him for supper.  After telling him that he might sleep without apprehension, she called to the female part of the family, who stood gazing in fixed astonishment, to resume their task of spinning cotton, in which they employed themselves the greater part of the night.  They lightened their labours by songs, one of which at least was extempore, as their guest was the subject of it.  It was sung by one of the young women, the rest joining in chorus.  The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words, literally translated, were as follow:—­

“The winds roared, and the rains fell;
The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree. 
He has no mother to bring him milk—­no wife to grind his corn.


Let us pity the white man, no mother has he.” &c.

Page 69

This circumstance was to Mr. Park, affecting in the highest degree.  He was oppressed by such unexpected kindness, and the sleep fled from his eyes.  In the morning he presented his compassionate landlady with two of the four buttons which remained on his waistcoat, the only recompense which he had in his power.  Mr. Park remained in the village the whole of July the 21st, in conversation with the natives.  Towards evening he grew uneasy, to find that no message arrived from the king, the more so, when he learned from the villagers, that the Moors and Slatees, resident at Sego, had given Mansong very unfavourable accounts of him, that many consultations had been held concerning his reception and disposal; that he had many enemies, and must expect no favour.  On the following day, a messenger arrived from the king, who inquired if Mr. Park had brought any present, and seemed much disappointed, on being told that he had been robbed of all his effects by the Moors.  When Mr. Park proposed to go to court, he said he must stop until the afternoon, when the king would send for him.  It was the afternoon of the next day, however, before another messenger arrived from Mansong, who told Mr. Park, it was the king’s pleasure he should depart immediately from the environs of Sego, but that Mansong, wishing to relieve a white man in distress, had sent five thousand kowries [*] to him to continue his journey, and if it were his intention to proceed to Jenne, he (the messenger) had orders to guide him to Sansanding.  Mr. Park concludes his account of this adventure in the following words:—­

[Footnote:  Kowries are little shells, which pass current as money, in many parts of the East Indies as well as in Africa.  Mr. Park estimates about 250 kowries equal to one shilling.  One hundred of them would purchase a day’s provision for himself and corn for his horse.]

“I was at first puzzled to account for this behaviour of the king, but from the conversation I had with the guide, I had afterwards reason to believe, that Mansong would willingly have admitted me into his presence at Sego, but was apprehensive he might not be able to protect me against the blind and inveterate malice of the moorish inhabitants.  His conduct, therefore, was at once prudent and liberal.  The circumstances, under which I made my appearance at Sego, were undoubtedly such as might create in the mind of the king a well-warranted suspicion, that I wished to conceal the true object of my journey.  He argued, probably as my guide argued, who, when he was told that I was come from a great distance, and through many dangers, to behold the Joliba (Niger) river, naturally inquired if there were no rivers in my own country, and whether one river was not like another?  Notwithstanding this, and in spite of the jealous machinations of the Moors, this benevolent prince thought it sufficient, that a white man was found in his dominions in a condition of extreme wretchedness, and that no other plea was necessary to entitle the sufferer to his bounty.”

Page 70

Being thus obliged to leave Sego, Mr. Park was conducted the same evening to a village, about seven miles eastward, where he and his guide were well received, as Mr. Park had learned to speak the Bambarra tongue without difficulty.  The guide was very friendly and communicative, and spoke highly of the hospitality of his countrymen; but he informed Mr. Park, that if Jenne was the place of his destination, he had undertaken a very dangerous enterprise, and that Timbuctoo, the great object of his search, was altogether in possession of the Moors, who would not allow any Christians to reside in it.  In the evening they passed a large town called Kabba, situated in the midst of a beautiful and highly cultivated country, bearing a great resemblance to the centre of England.

In the course of the following day, they arrived at Sansanding, a large town, containing 10,000 inhabitants, much frequented by the Moors, in their commercial dealings.  Mr. Park desired his guide to conduct him to the house where they were to lodge, by the most private way possible They accordingly rode along between the town and the river, and the negroes, whom they met, took Mr. Park for a Moor, but a Moor, who was sitting by the river side, discovered the mistake, and, making a loud exclamation, brought together a number of his countrymen; and when Mr. Park arrived at the house of the dooty, he was surrounded by a number of people, speaking a variety of dialects.  By the assistance of his guide, however, who acted as interpreter, Mr. Park at length understood that one of the Moors pretended to have seen him at one place, and another at some other place; and a Moorish woman absolutely swore, that she had kept his house three years at Gallam on the river Senegal.  The Moors now questioned Mr. Park about his religion, but finding he was not master of the Arabic, they sent for two Jews, in hopes that they might be able to converse with him.  The Moors now insisted that he should repeat the Mahometan prayers, and when he told them that he could not speak Arabic, one of them started up, and swore by the prophet, if Mr. Park refused to go to the mosque, he would assist in carrying him thither.

Finding the Moors becoming exceedingly clamorous, the dooty interfered, and told them that he would not see the king’s stranger ill treated while under his protection, but that in the morning he should be sent about his business.  This somewhat appeased their clamour, but they compelled Mr. Park to ascend a high seat by the door of the mosque, that every one might see him, where he remained till sunset, when he was conducted to a neat little hut, with a small court before it; but the Moors climbed in crowds over the mud walls, to see the white man perform his evening devotions, and eat eggs.  The first demand was positively declined, but he professed his utmost readiness to comply with the second; the dooty immediately brought seven hens’ eggs, but was much surprised that Mr. Park would not eat them raw, as it is a prevalent opinion in the interior of Africa, that Europeans subsist chiefly on this diet.  His reluctance to partake of this fare exalted him in the eyes of his sage visitants; his host accordingly killed a sheep, and gave him a plentiful supper.

Page 71

Mr. Park’s route now lay through woods, much infested with all kinds of wild animals.  On one occasion, his guide suddenly wheeled his horse round, calling out (Warra billi billi, a very largo lion.) Mr. Park’s steed was ill fitted to convey him from the scene of danger, but seeing nothing, he supposed his guide to be mistaken, when the latter exclaimed, “God preserve me;” and Mr. Park then saw a very large red lion, with his head couched between his fore paws.  His eyes were fixed, as by fascination, on this sovereign of the beasts, and he expected every moment the fatal spring; but the savage animal, either not pressed by hunger, or struck with some mysterious awe, remained immovable, and allowed the party to pass without molestation.  Real misery arose from a meaner cause, namely, the amazing swarms of mosquitoes, which ascended from the swamps and creeks, to whose attack, from the ragged state of his garments, he was exposed at every point, and so covered over with blisters, that he could not get any rest at night.  An affecting crisis next arrived.  His horse, the faithful and suffering companion of his journey, had been daily becoming weaker.  At length, stumbling over some rough ground, he fell; all his master’s efforts were insufficient to raise him, and no alternative remained, but to leave the poor animal, which Mr. Park did, after collecting some grass and laying it before him, not without, however, a sad presentiment, that, ere long, he also might have to lie down and perish with hunger and fatigue.

Proceeding along the banks of the river, he reached Kea, a small fishing village.  The dooty, a surly old man, received him very coolly, and when Mr. Park solicited his protection, replied with great indifference, that he should not enter his house.  Mr. Park knew not now where to rest, but a fishing canoe at that moment coming down the river, the dooty waved to the fisherman to land, and desired him to take charge of the stranger as far as Moorzan.

When the canoe had proceeded about a mile down the river, the fisherman paddled to the bank, and having desired Mr. Park to jump out, tied the canoe to a stake; he then stripped off his clothes, and dived into the water, where he remained so long that Mr. Park thought he was drowned, when he suddenly raised up his head astern of the canoe, and called for a rope.  With this rope he dived a second time, and then got into the canoe, and with the assistance of the boy, they brought up a large basket, ten feet in diameter, containing two fine fish, which the fisherman carried ashore, and hid in the grass.  The basket was then returned into the river, and having proceeded a little further down, they took up another basket, in which was one fish.

About four o’clock, they arrived at Moorzan, where Mr. Park was conveyed across the river to Silla, a large town.  Here he remained under a tree, surrounded by hundreds of people, till it was dark, when, with a great deal of entreaty, the dooty allowed him to enter his balloon to avoid the rain, but the place was very damp, and his fever returned.

Page 72

The reflections, which now occurred to him, with the determination those reflections produced, are here given in his own words.  “Worn down by sickness, exhausted with hunger and fatigue, half naked, and without any article of value, by which I might procure provisions, clothes, or lodging, I was now convinced, that the obstacles to my further progress were insurmountable.  The tropical rains were already set in, the rice grounds and swamps were every where overflowed, and in a few days more, travelling of every kind, except by water, would be completely obstructed.  The kowries, which remained of the king of Bambarra’s present, were not sufficient to enable me to hire a canoe for any great distance, and I had little hope of subsisting by charity, in a country where the Moors have such influence.  I saw inevitable destruction in attempting to proceed to the eastward.  With this conviction on my mind, I hope it will be acknowledged, that I did right in going no further.  I had made every effort to execute my mission in its fullest extent, which prudence could justify.  Had there been the most distant prospect of a successful termination, neither the unavoidable hardships of the journey, nor the dangers of a second captivity should have forced me to desist.”

Mr. Park now acquainted the dooty with his intention of returning to Sego, proposing to travel along the southern side of the river, but the dooty informed him, that from the number of creeks and swamps on that side, it was impossible to travel by any other route than the northern bank, and even that route would soon be impassable from the overflowing of the river.  However, by the dooty’s recommendation, Mr. Park was conveyed to Moorzan in a canoe, where he hired another canoe for thirty kowries, which conveyed him to Kea, where, for forty kowries more, the dooty permitted him to sleep in the same hut with one of his slaves.  This poor negro, perceiving he was sickly, and his clothes very ragged, humanely lent him a large cloth to cover him for the night.

The following day Mr. Park set out for Madiboo, in company with the dooty’s brother, who promised to carry his saddle, which he had before left at Kea.  On their road they observed a great number of earthen jars, piled up on the bank of the river.  As they approached towards them, the dooty’s brother plucked up a large handful of herbage, which he threw upon them, making signs for Mr. Park to do the same, which he did.  The negro then informed him, that those jars belonged to some supernatural power, and were found in their present situation about two years ago, and that every traveller, as he passed them, from respect to the invisible proprietor, threw some grass upon the heap to defend them from the rain.  Thus conversing, they travelled on in the most friendly manner, until they perceived the footsteps of a lion, when the negro insisted that Mr. Park should walk before.  The latter refused, on which the negro, after a few high words, and menacing looks, threw down the saddle and left him.  Mr. Park having given up all hope of obtaining a horse, took off the stirrups and girth, and threw the saddle into the river.  The negro, however, when he saw the saddle in the water jumped in, and bringing it out by the help of his spear, ran away with it.

Page 73

Mr. Park now continued his course alone, and in the afternoon reached Madiboo.  His guide, who had got there before him, being afraid he should complain of his conduct, restored the saddle, and Mr. Park also found his horse alive.

On the 1st of August, Mr. Park proceeded to Nyamere, where he remained three days, on account of the continual rain.  On the 5th, he again set out, but the country was so deluged, that he had to wade across creeks for miles together, knee-deep in water.  He at length arrived at Nyara, and on the subsequent day, with great difficulty reached a small village called Nemaboo.

Mr. Park being assured that in the course of a few days, the country would be overflowed, was anxious to engage a fellow traveller, when a Moor and his wife who were going to Sego, riding on bullocks, agreed to take him along with them; they were, however, unacquainted with the road, and were very bad travellers.  Instead of wading before the bullocks, to feel if the ground was solid the woman boldly entered the first swamp, seated upon the top of the load, but when she had proceeded about two hundred yards the bullock sunk into a hole, and threw both the load and herself amongst the reeds; she was nearly drowned before her husband went to her assistance.

At sunset they reached Sibity, but the dooty received Mr. Park very coolly, and when he solicited a guide to Sansanding, told him his people were otherwise engaged.  Mr. Park passed the night in a damp old hut, which he expected every moment would fall upon him; for when the walls of the huts are softened with the rain, they frequently become too weak to support the roof.  Mr Park heard three huts fall in during the night, and the following morning, saw fourteen in like manner destroyed.  The rain continued with great violence, and Mr. Park being refused provisions by the dooty, purchased some corn, which he divided with his horse.

The dooty now compelled Mr. Park to leave Sibity, and accordingly he set out for Sansanding, with little hope of receiving better treatment, for he had discovered that it was universally believed, he had come to Bambarra as a spy; and as Mansong had not admitted him into his presence, the dooties of the different towns were at liberty to treat him as they pleased.  He arrived at Sansanding at sunset, where his reception was just what he expected.  The dooty, who had been so kind to him formerly, privately informed him, that Mansong had sent a canoe to Jenne to bring him back, he therefore advised him to leave Sansanding before day-break, and not to stop at any town near Sego.  Mr. Park accordingly took his departure from Sansanding, and proceeded to Kabba.  Several people were assembled at the gate, one of whom running towards him, took his horse by the bridle, and led him round the walls of the town, then pointing to the west, told him to go along, or it would fare worse with him.  Mr. Park hesitating, a number of people came up, and urged him in the same manner, and he now suspected that some of the king’s messengers, who were in search of him, were in the town, and that these negroes from humanity wished him to escape.  He accordingly took the road for Sego, and having passed a village, the dooty of which refused him admittance, proceeded to a smaller one, where the dooty permitted him to sleep in a large balloon.

Page 74

Leaving his miserable residence by break of day, he arrived in the afternoon at a small village within half a mile of Sego, where he endeavoured in vain to procure some provisions.  He was again informed that Mansong had sent people to apprehend him, and the dooty’s son told him he had no time to lose, if he wished to escape.  Mr. Park now fully saw the danger of his situation, and determined to avoid Sego altogether, and taking the road to Diggani, until he was out of sight of the village, struck to the westward through high grass and swampy ground.  About noon he stopped under a tree, to consider what course to take, and at length determined to proceed along the Niger, and endeavour to ascertain how far the river was navigable.  About sunset he arrived at a village called Sooboo, where, for two hundred kowries, he procured a lodging for the night.

After passing the villages of Samee and Kaimoo, he arrived at a small town called Song, the inhabitants of which would not permit him to enter the gate, but as lions were numerous in the adjoining woods, he resolved to stay near the town, and accordingly laid down under a tree by the gate.  In the night, a lion kept prowling round the village, and once advanced so near Mr. Park, that he heard him rustling amongst the grass, and climbed the tree for safety.  He had before attempted to enter the gate, and on being prevented, informed the people of his danger.  About midnight the dooty, with some of the inhabitants, desired him to come in; they were convinced, they said, that he was not a Moor, for no Moor ever waited at the gate of a village, without cursing the inhabitants.

Mr. Park now proceeded on his journey; the country began to rise into hills, and he saw the summits of high mountains to the westward.  He had very disagreeable travelling, on account of the overflow of the river; and in crossing a swamp, his horse sunk suddenly into a deep pit, and was almost drowned.  Both the horse and his rider were so covered with mud, that in passing a village, the people compared them to two dirty elephants.  Mr, Park stopped at a village near Yamina, where he purchased some corn, and dried his paper and clothes.  As Yamina is much frequented by the Moors, Mr. Park did not think it safe to lodge there; he therefore rode briskly through it, and the people, who looked at him with astonishment, had no time to ask questions.

On the following day, Mr. Park passed a town called Balaba, the prospect of the country was by no means inviting, for the high grass and bushes seemed completely to obstruct the road, and the Niger having flooded the low lands, had the appearance of an extensive lake.

Page 75

On the following day, Mr. Park took the wrong road, and when he discovered his error, on coming to an eminence, he observed the Niger considerably to the left.  Directing his course towards it, through long grass and bushes, he came to a small but rapid stream, which he took at first for a branch of the Niger, but, on examination, was convinced it was a distinct river, which the road evidently crossed, as he saw the pathway on the opposite side.  He sat down upon the bank, in hopes that some traveller might arrive, who could inform him of the situation of the ford; but none arriving, and there being a great appearance of rain, he determined to enter the river considerably above the pathway, in order to reach the other side before the stream swept him too far down.  With this view he fastened his clothes upon the saddle, and was standing up to the neck in water, pulling his horse by the bridle to make him follow, when a man, who came accidentally to the place, called to him with great vehemence, to come out, or the alligators would destroy both him and his horse.  Mr. Park obeyed, and the stranger who had never before seen a white man, seemed wonderfully surprised, exclaiming in a low voice, “God preserve me, who is this?” But when he found Mr. Park could speak the Bambarra tongue, and was going the same way as himself, he promised to assist him in crossing the river, which was named the Frina.  He then called to some person, who answered from the other side, and a canoe with two boys came paddling from amongst the reeds.  Mr. Park gave the boys fifty kowries to ferry himself and his horse to the opposite shore, and in the evening, arrived at Taffara, a walled town, where he discovered that the language of the people was pure Mandingo.

On the 20th, Mr. Park stopped at a village called Sominoo, where he obtained some coarse food, prepared from the husks of corn, called boo.  On the same day he arrived at Sooha, where the dooty refused either to sell or to give him any provisions.  Mr. Park stopped a while to examine the countenance of this inhospitable man, and endeavoured to find out the cause of his visible discontent.  The dooty ordered a slave to dig a hole, and while the slave was thus employed, the dooty kept muttering and talking to himself, repeatedly pronouncing the words “Dankatoo’” (good for nothing), “jankre lemen,” (a real plague).  These expressions Mr. Park thought could not apply to any one but himself; and as the pit had much the appearance of a grave, thought it prudent to mount his horse, and was about to decamp, when the slave, who had gone into the village, brought the corpse of a boy by the leg and arm, and threw it into the pit with savage indifference.  As he covered the body with earth, the dooty often repeated, “Naphula attiniata,” (money lost;) from which it appeared that the boy had been one of his slaves.

Page 76

About sunset Mr. Park came to Kollikorro, a considerable town, and a great market for salt.  Here he lodged with a Bambarran, who had travelled to many parts of Africa, and who carried on a considerable trade.  His knowledge of the world had not lessened his confidence in saphies and charms, for when he heard that his guest was a Christian, he brought out his walha, or writing-board, and assured Mr. Park he would dress him a supper of rice, if he would write him a saphie, to protect him from wicked men.  Mr. Park wrote the board full from top to bottom on both sides, and his landlord, to possess the full force of the charm, washed the writing off into a calabash with a little water, and having said a few prayers over it, drank this powerful draught, after which he licked the board quite dry.  Information being carried to the dooty that a saphie writer was in the town, he sent his son with half a sheet of writing paper, desiring Mr. Park to write him a naphula saphie, a charm to procure wealth.  He brought, as a present, some meal and milk, and when the saphie was finished, and read to him with an audible voice, he promised to bring Mr. Park some milk in the morning for breakfast.

The following day, Mr. Park proceeded on his journey, and in the afternoon arrived at Marraboo, where he lodged in the house of a Kaartan, who, from his hospitality to strangers, was called Jatee, (the landlord,) his house being a sort of public inn for all travellers.  Those who had money were well lodged, for they always made him some return for his kindness; but those who had nothing to give were content to accept whatever he thought proper.  Mr. Park, belonging to the latter class, took up his lodging in the same hut with seven poor fellows, who had come from Kancaba in a canoe, but their landlord sent them some victuals.

Mr. Park now altered his course from the river to the mountains, and in the evening arrived at a village, called Frookaboo, from which place he proceeded on the following day to Bambakoo.  This town is not so large as Marraboo, but the inhabitants are rich; for when the Moors bring their salt through Kaarta or Barnbarra, they rest at this place; the negro merchants purchasing the salt by wholesale, and retailing it to great advantage.  Here Mr. Park lodged at the house of a Serawoolli negro, and was visited by a number of Moors, who treated him with great civility.  A slave-merchant, who had resided many years on the Gambia, gave Mr. Park an imperfect account of the distance to that river, but told him the road was impassable at that season of the year, and added, that it crossed the Joliba at about half a day’s journey westward of Bammakoo; and as there were not any canoes large enough to receive his horse, he could not possibly get him over for some months to come.  Mr. Park consulted with his landlord how to surmount this difficulty, who informed him that one road which was very rocky, and scarcely passable for horses, still remained, but

Page 77

if he procured a proper guide over the hills to a town called Sibidooloo, he had no doubt but he might travel forwards through Manding.  Being informed that a jilli-kea, or singing-man, was about to depart for Sibidooloo, Mr. Park set out in company with him; but when they had proceeded up a rocky glen about two miles, the singing-man discovered that he had brought him the wrong road, as the horse-road lay on the other side of the hill.  He then threw his drum upon his back, and mounted up the rocks, where, indeed, no horse could follow him, leaving Mr. Park to admire his agility, and trace out a road for himself.

Mr. Park rode back to the level ground, and following a path, on which he observed the marks of horses’ feet, came to some shepherds’ huts, where he was informed that he was on the right road to Sibidooloo.  In the evening he arrived at a village called Kooma, situated in a delightful valley.  This village is the sole property of a Mandingo merchant, who fled thither with his family during a former war.  The harmless villagers surrounded Mr. Park, asked him a thousand questions about his country, brought corn and milk for himself, and grass for his horse, and appeared very anxious to serve him.

On the 25th, he departed from Kooma, in company with two shepherds, who were going towards Sibidooloo; but as the horse travelled slowly, and with great difficulty, the shepherds kept walking on at a considerable distance, when on a sudden Mr. Park heard some people calling to each other, and presently a loud screaming, as from a person in great distress.  He rode slowly to the place whence the noise proceeded, and in a little time perceived one of the shepherds lying among the long grass near the road.  When Mr. Park came close to him, he whispered that a party of armed men had seized his companion, and shot two arrows at himself, as he was making his escape.  Mr. Park now stopped to consider what course it was most proper for him to pursue, and looking round, saw, at a small distance, a man sitting on the stump of a tree, and six or seven more sitting among the grass, with muskets in their hands.  He had now no hopes of escaping, and therefore rode on towards them, in hopes they were elephant hunters.  On coming up to them, he inquired if they had caught any thing, when one of them ordered him to dismount, but appearing suddenly to recollect himself, made signs to him to proceed.  He accordingly rode past, but was soon followed by the men, who ordered him to stop, and informed him, that the king of the Foulahs had sent them to bring him his horse, and all that belonged to him, to Fooladoo.  Mr. Park turned round, and went with them, till they came to a dark part of the wood, when one of them said, “This place will do,” and immediately snatched his hat from his head, another drew a knife, and cut off a metal button that remained upon his waistcoat, and put it into his pocket.  They then searched Mr. Park’s pockets, examined every part of his apparel,

Page 78

and at length stripped him quite naked.  While they were examining the plunder, he begged them, with great earnestness, to return his pocket-compass; but when he pointed it out to them, as it lay on the ground, one of the banditti, thinking he meant to take it up, cocked his musket, and swore he would lay him dead on the spot, if he presumed to lay his hand upon it.  After this, some went away with his horse, and the remainder, after some deliberation, returned him the worst of the two shirts and a pair of trousers; and on going away, one of them threw back his hat, in the crown of which he kept his memorandums.  After they were gone, Mr. Park sat for some time, looking around him with amazement and terror.  “Whatever way I turned,” says he, “nothing appeared but danger and difficulty.  I saw myself in the midst of a vast wilderness, in the depth of the rainy season, naked and alone, surrounded by savage animals, and men still more savage.  I was five hundred miles from the nearest European settlement.  All these circumstances crowded at once to my recollection, and I confess that my spirits began to fail me.  I considered my fate as certain, and that I had no alternative but to lie down and perish.  The influence of religion, however, aided and supported me.  I reflected that no human prudence or foresight could possibly have averted my present sufferings.  I was indeed a stranger in a strange land, yet I was still under the protecting eye of that Providence, who has condescended to call himself the stranger’s friend.  At this moment, painful as my reflections were, the extraordinary beauty of a small moss in fructification irresistibly caught my eye.  I mention this, to show from what trifling circumstances the mind will sometimes derive consolation, for though the whole plant was not larger than the top of one of my fingers, I could not contemplate the delicate conformation of its roots, leaves, and capsules, without admiration.  Can that Being, thought I, who planted, watered, and brought to perfection, in this obscure part of the world, a thing which appears of so small importance, look with unconcern upon the situation and sufferings of creatures formed after his own image?  Surely not.  Reflections like these would not allow me to despair.  I started up, and disregarding both hunger and fatigue, travelled forwards, assured that relief was at hand, and I was not disappointed.”

In a short time Mr. Park came to a small village, where he overtook the two shepherds, who had come with him from Koona.  They were much surprised to see him, as they expected the Foulahs had murdered him.  Departing from this village, they travelled over several rocky ridges, and at sunset arrived at the town of Sibidooloo.


Sibidooloo is the frontier town of Manding, and is situated in a fertile valley, surrounded with high rocky hills.  The chief man is here called the mansa, which usually signifies king; but it appear that the government of Manding is a sort of republic, as every town has a particular mansa, and the chief power of the state is lodged in an assembly of the whole body.

Page 79

Mr. Park related to the mansa the circumstance of the robbery, and his story was confirmed by the two shepherds.  The mansa continued smoking his pipe while he heard the relation, when, tossing up the sleeve of his coat with an indignant air, “Sit down,” said he to Mr. Park, “you shall have every thing restored to you.  I have sworn it.”  Then turning to an attendant, “Give the white man,” said he, “a draught of water, and with the first light of the morning go over the hills, and inform the dooty of Bammakoo that a poor white man, the king of Bambarra’s stranger, has been robbed by the king of Fouladoo’s people.”

He heartily thanked the mansa for his kindness, and accepted his invitation, but having waited two days without receiving any intelligence, and there being a great scarcity of provisions, he was unwilling to trespass further on the generosity of his host, and begged permission to depart.  The mansa told him, he might go as far as a town called Wonda, and remain there until he heard some account of his property.  Accordingly, departing from that place, he reached it on the 30th.  The mansa of Wonda was a Mahometan and, as well as chief magistrate of the town, was a schoolmaster.  Mr. Park lodged in the school, which was an open shed; the little raiment upon him could neither protect him from the sun by day, nor the dews and mosquitoes by night; his fever returned with great violence, and he could not procure any medicine wherewith to stop its progress.  He remained at Wonda nine days, endeavouring to conceal his distress from his landlord, for which purpose, he several times lay down the whole of the day, out of his sight, in a field of corn, yet he found that the mansa was apprised of his situation, for one morning as he feigned to be asleep by the fire, he heard the mansa complain to his wife, that they were likely to find him a very troublesome guest, as, in his present sickly state, they should be obliged, for the sake of their good name, to maintain him till he recovered or died.

The scarcity of provisions was at this time severely felt by the poor people.  Mr. Park, having observed every evening five or six women come to the mansa’s house, and each receive a portion of corn, inquired of the mansa, whether he maintained these women from charity, or expected a return from the next harvest.  “Observe that boy,” replied the Mansa, pointing to a fine child about five years of age, “his mother has sold him to me for forty days’ provisions for herself and the rest of the family.  I have bought another boy in the same manner.”

Mr. Park was much afflicted with this melancholy circumstance, but he afterwards observed that the mother, when she had received her corn, would come and talk to her son with much cheerfulness, as if he had still been under her care.

On the 6th of September, two people arrived from Sibidooloo with Mr. Park’s horse and clothes; the pocket-compass was, however, broken to pieces.  The horse was now so much reduced, that he saw that it would be impracticable to travel any further with him; he therefore presented him to his landlord, and requested him to send the saddle and bridle to the mansa of Sibidooloo, as an acknowledgment for his trouble and kindness.

Page 80

On the morning of September 8th, Mr. Park took leave of his hospitable landlord, who presented him with a spear, as a token of remembrance, and a leathern bag to contain his clothes.  On the 9th, he reached Nemacoo, where he could not procure any provisions, as the people appeared to be actually starving, but in the afternoon of the 10th, a negro trader, named Modi Lemina Taura, brought him some victuals, promising to conduct him to his house at Kennyetoo on the following day.

In travelling to Kennyetoo, Mr. Park hurt his ankle, and was unable to proceed.  The trader, in consequence, invited him to stop with him a few days, and accordingly he remained there until the 14th.

On the 17th, he proceeded to Mansia, a considerable town, where small quantities of gold are collected.  The mansa of this town gave him a little corn, but demanded something in return, and on Mr. Park’s assuring him that he had not anything in his possession, replied, as if in jest, that his white skin should not defend him, if he told him any falsehoods.  He then conducted him to the hut wherein he was to sleep, but took away his spear, saying it should be returned in the morning.  This circumstance raised Mr. Park’s suspicions, and he requested one of the inhabitants, who had a bow and quiver, to sleep in the hut with him.  About midnight a man made several attempts to enter the hut, but was prevented by Mr. Park and the negro, and the latter, on looking out, perceived it was the mansa himself.  In the morning, Mr. Park, fearing the mansa might devise some means to detain him, departed before he was awake, the negro having recovered the spear.

On the arrival of Mr. Park at Kamalia, a small town, he proceeded to the house of Karfa Taura, the brother of his hospitable landlord at Kennyetoo.  He was sitting in his balloon, surrounded by several slatees, to whom he was reading from an Arabic book.  He asked Mr. Park if he understood it, and being answered in the negative, desired one of the slatees to fetch the little curious book that was brought from the west country.  Mr. Park was surprised and delighted to find this volume "The Book of Common Prayer" and Karfa expressed great joy to hear he could read it, as some of the slatees, who had seen Europeans upon the coast, were unwilling, from his distressed appearance, to admit that Mr. Park was a white man, but suspected that he was some Arab in disguise.  Karfa, however, perceiving he could read this book, had no doubt concerning Mr. Park, and promised him every assistance in his power, at the same time informing him, that it was impossible to cross the Jallonka wilderness for many months to come, as eight rapid rivers lay in the way.  He added, that he himself intended to set out for Gambia, with a caravan of slaves, as soon as the rivers were fordable, and the grass burnt, and invited Mr. Park to stay and accompany him, remarking that when a caravan could not travel through the country, it was idle for a single man to

Page 81

attempt it.  Mr. Park admitted the rashness of the attempt, but assured him that he had no alternative, for not having any money, he must either beg his subsistence by travelling from place to place, or perish from want.  Karfa now looked at him with great earnestness, informing him that he had never before seen a white man, and inquired if he could eat the common victuals of the country.  He added, that if he would remain with him till the rains were over, he would conduct him in safety to the Gambia, and then he might make him what return he pleased.  Mr. Park having agreed to give him the value of one prime slave, he ordered a hut to be swept for his accommodation.

Thus was Mr. Park delivered by the friendly care of this benevolent negro, from a situation truly deplorable, but his fever became daily more alarming.  On the third day after his arrival, as he was going with Karfa to visit some of his friends, he was so faint that he staggered and fell into a pit; Karfa endeavoured to console him, and assured him that if he would not walk out into the wet, he would soon be well.  Mr. Park followed his advice, and in general confined himself to his hut, but was still tormented with the fever for five ensuing weeks.  His benevolent landlord came every day to inquire after his health.  When the rains became less frequent, the fever left him, but in so debilitated a condition, that it was with great difficulty he could get to the shade of a tamarind tree, at a short distance, to enjoy the refreshing smell of the corn fields, and the delightful prospect of the country.  At length he found himself recovering, towards which the benevolent manners of the negroes, and the perusal of Karfa’s little volume, greatly contributed.

Meanwhile many of the slatees who resided at Kamalia, having spent all their money, and become in a great measure dependent on Karfa’s bounty, beheld Mr. Park with envy, and invented many ridiculous stories to lessen him in his host’s esteem, but Karfa paid no attention to them, and treated him with unabated kindness.  As he was one day conversing with some slaves, which a Serawoolli merchant had brought from Sego, one of them begged him to give him some victuals, Mr. Park replied, he was a stranger and had none to give.  “I gave you, some victuals” said the slave, “when you were hungry.  Have you forgotten the man who brought you milk at Karrankalla?  But,” added he with a sigh, “the irons were not then on my legs.”  Mr. Park immediately recollected him, procured for him some ground nuts, and learned that he had been taken by the Bambarrans, the day after the battle at Joka, and sent to Sego, where he had been purchased by his present master, who was carrying him to Kajaaga.

Page 82

In the middle of December, Karfa, who proposed to complete his purchase of slaves, departed for Kancaba, a large town on the banks of the Niger, and a great slave market.  It was his intention to return in a month, and during his absence left Mr. Park to the care of a good old bushreen, who was schoolmaster at Kamalia.  The name of this schoolmaster was Fankooma, and although a Mahometan, was not intolerant in his principles.  He read much, and took great pleasure in professional efforts.  His school contained seventeen boys, mostly of pagan parents, and two girls.  The girls were taught by daylight, but the boys were instructed before the dawn and late in the evening; by being considered, while pupils, as the domestic slaves of the master, they were employed by him during the day in various avocations.  Emulation is encouraged by their tutor to stimulate his scholars.  When the pupil has read through the Koran, and learned a certain number of public prayers, he undergoes an examination by the bushreens, who, when satisfied with his learning and abilities, desire him to read the last page of the Koran.  This being done, the boy presses the paper to his forehead, and pronounces the word Amen; upon which the bushreens rise, shake him by the hand, and bestow upon him the title of bushreen.  The parents then redeem their son, by giving his master the value of a slave; but if they cannot afford it, the boy continues the slave of the schoolmaster, until he ransoms himself by his own industry.

On the 24th January, Karfa returned to Kamalia, with thirteen prime slaves, whom he had purchased.  He also brought a young girl for his fourth wife, whom he had married at Kancaba.  She was kindly received by her colleagues, who had swept and whitewashed one of the best huts for her accommodation.

On the day after his arrival, Karfa having observed that Mr. Park’s clothes were become very ragged, presented him with a garment and trousers, the usual dress of the country.

Karfa’s slaves were all prisoners of war, who had been taken by the Bambarran army.  Some of them had been kept three years at Sego in irons, whence they were sent with other captives up the Niger to Yamina, Bammakoo and Kancaba, where they were sold for gold dust.  Eleven of them confessed that they had been slaves from their birth, but the other two refused to give any account of themselves to Mr. Park, whom they at first regarded with looks of horror, and repeatedly asked if his countrymen were cannibals.  They were very desirous to know what became of the slaves after they had crossed the salt water.  Mr. Park told them that they were employed in cultivating the land, but they would not believe him:  and one of them putting his hand upon the ground, said with great simplicity, “Have you really got such ground as this to set your feet upon?”

Page 83

The slaves were constantly kept in irons, and strictly watched.  To secure them, the right leg of one and the left of another were fastened by the same pair of fetters, by supporting which with a string, they could walk very slowly.  Every four slaves were also fastened together by a rope of twisted thongs; and during the night their hands were fettered, and sometimes a light iron chain was put round their necks.  Those who betrayed any symptoms of discontent, were secured by a thick billet of wood about three feet long, which was fastened to the ankle by a strong iron staple.  All these fetters were put on as soon as the slaves arrived at Kamalia, and were not taken off until the morning they set out for the Gambia.  In other respects, the slaves were not harshly treated.  In the morning they were led to the shade of a tamarind tree, where they were encouraged to keep up their spirits by playing different games of chance, or singing.  Some bore their situation with great fortitude, but the majority would sit the whole of the day in sullen melancholy, with their eyes fixed on the ground.  In the evening, their irons being examined, and their hand-fetters put on, they were conducted into two large huts, and guarded during the night.  Notwithstanding this strictness, however, one of Karfa’s slaves, about a week after his arrival, having procured a small knife, opened the rings of his fetters, cut the rope, and made his escape, and more might have got off, had not the slave, when he found himself at liberty, refused to stop to assist his companions in breaking the chain, which was round their necks.

All the merchants and slaves who composed the coffle, were now assembled at Kamalia and its vicinity; the day of departure for the Gambia was frequently fixed, and afterwards postponed.  Some of the people had not prepared their provisions, others were visiting their friends, or collecting their debts; thus the departure was delayed until February was far advanced, when it was determined to wait until the fast moon was over.  “Loss of time,” observes Mr. Park, “is of no great importance in the eyes of a negro.  If he has any thing of consequence to perform, it is a matter of indifference to him whether he does it to-day or to-morrow, or a month or two hence; so long as he can spend the present moment with any degree of comfort, he gives himself very little concern for the future.”

The Rhamadam was strictly observed by the bushreens, and at the close of it, they assembled at the Misura to watch for the new moon, but as the evening was cloudy, they were for some time disappointed, and several had returned home resolving to fast another day, when suddenly the object of their wishes appeared from behind a cloud, and was welcomed by clapping of hands, beating of drums, firing muskets, and other demonstrations of joy.  This moon being accounted extremely lucky, Karfa gave orders that the people of the coffle should immediately prepare for their journey, and the slatees having held a consultation on the 16th of April, fixed on the 19th as the day of departure.

Page 84

This resolution freed Mr. Park from much uneasiness, as he was apprehensive, from the departure having been so long deferred, that the rainy season would again commence before it took place, and although his landlord behaved with great kindness, his situation was very disagreeable.  The slatees were unfriendly to him, and three trading Moors, who had arrived at Kamalia during the absence of Karfa, to dispose of salt procured on credit, had plotted mischief against him from the day of their arrival; his welfare thus depended merely upon the good opinion of an individual, who was daily hearing tales to his prejudice.  He was somewhat reconciled by time to their manner of living, but longed for the blessings of civilized society.

On the morning of April 19th, the coffle assembled and commenced its journey.  When joined by several persons at Maraboo and Bola, it consisted of seventy-three persons, thirty-five of whom were slaves for sale.  The free men were fourteen in number, but several had wives and domestic slaves, and the schoolmaster, who was going to his native country Woradoo, had eight of his scholars.  Several of the inhabitants of Kamalia accompanied the coffle a short way on its progress, taking leave of their relations and friends.  On reaching a rising ground, from which they had a prospect of the town, the people of the coffle were desired to sit down facing the west, and the town’s people facing Kamalia.  The schoolmaster and two principal slatees, then placed themselves between the two parties, and repeated a long and solemn prayer, after this they walked round the coffle three times, pressing the ground with the end of their spears, and muttering a charm.  All the people of the coffle then sprang up and set forwards, without formally bidding their friends farewell.  The slaves had all heavy loads upon their heads, and many of them having been long in irons, the sudden exertion of walking quick, caused spasmodic contractions of their legs, and they had scarcely proceeded a mile, when two of them were obliged to be taken from the rope, and suffered to walk more slowly.  The coffle after halting two hours at Maraboo, proceeded to Bola, thence to Worumbang, the frontier village of Manding, towards Jallonkadoo.

Here they procured plenty of provisions, as they intended shortly to enter the Jallonka wilderness, but having on the 21st travelled a little way through the woods, they determined to take the road to Kinytakooro, a town in Jallonkadoo, and this being a long day’s journey distant, they halted to take some refreshment.  Every person, says Mr, Park, opened his provision bag, and brought a handful or two of meal to the place where Karfa and the slatees were sitting.  When every one had brought his quota, and whole was properly arranged in small gourd shells, the schoolmaster offered up a short prayer, the substance of which was, that God and the holy prophets might preserve them from robberies and all bad people, that their provisions might never fail them, nor their limbs become fatigued.  This ceremony being ended, every one partook of the meal, and drank a little water, after which they set forward, rather running than walking, until they came to the river Kokoro.

Page 85

This river is a branch of the Senegal, its banks are very high, and from various appearances it was evident, that the water had risen above twenty feet perpendicular during the rainy season, but it was then only a small stream sufficient to turn a mill, and abounding in fish.  The coffle proceeded with great expedition until evening, when they arrived at Kinytakooro, a considerable town, nearly square, situated in the midst of an extensive and fertile plain.

In this day’s journey, a woman and a girl, two slaves belonging to a slatee of Bola, could not keep up with the coffle from fatigue.  They were dragged along until about four in the afternoon, when being both affected with vomiting, it was discovered that they had eaten clay.  Whether this practice, which is frequent amongst the slaves, proceeds from a vitiated appetite, or an intention to destroy themselves, is uncertain.  Three people remaining to take care of them, the slaves were suffered to lie down in the woods until they were somewhat recovered, but they did not reach the town until past midnight, and were then so exhausted that their master determined to return with them to Bola.

Kinytakooro being the first town beyond the limits of Manding, great ceremony was observed in entering it.  The coffle approached it in the following procession:  first went the singing men, followed by the other free men, then the slaves, fastened as usual by a rope round their necks, four to a rope, and a man with a spear between each party, after them the domestic slaves, and in the rear the free women.  When they came within a hundred yards of the gate, the singing men began a loud song, extolling the hospitality of the inhabitants towards strangers, and their friendship in particular to the Mandingos.  Arriving at the Bentang, the people assembled to hear their dentegi (history,) which was publicly recited by two of the singing men.  They began with the events of that day, and enumerated every circumstance which had befallen the coffle in a backward series, to their departure from Kamalia.  When they had ended, the chief men of the town gave them a small present, and every person of the coffle, both free and enslaved, was entertained and lodged by the inhabitants.

On the 22nd of April, the coffle proceeded to a village seven miles westward.  The inhabitants of this village, expecting an attack from the Foulahs of Fooladoo, were constructing small huts among the rocks, on the side of a high hill.

The situation was nearly impregnable, high precipices surrounded it on every side but the eastern, where was left a path broad enough for one person to ascend.  On the brow of the hill were collected heaps of large stones, to be thrown down upon the enemy, if an attack on the post was attempted.

Page 86

The coffle entered the Jallonka wilderness on the 23rd.  They passed the ruins of two small towns, burnt by the Foulahs, and the fire had been so intense as to vitrify the walls of several huts, which at a distance appeared as if coloured with red varnish.  The coffle crossed the river Wonda, where fish were seen in great abundance.  Karfa now placed the guides and young men in the front, the women and slaves in the centre, and the free men in the rear, and in this order they proceeded through a woody beautiful country, abounding with partridges, guinea fowls, and deer.  At sunset they arrived at a stream called Comeissang.  To diminish the inflammation of his skin, produced by the friction of his dress from walking, and long exposure to the heat of the sun, Mr. Park took the benefit of bathing in the river.  They had now travelled about thirty miles, and were greatly fatigued, but no person complained.  Karfa ordered one of his slaves to prepare for Mr. Park a bed made of branches of trees, and when they had supped upon kouskous moistened with boiling water, they all laid down, but were frequently disturbed by the howling of the wild beasts, and the biting of small brown ants.

The next morning, most of the free people drank some noening, a sort of gruel, which was also given to the slaves that appeared least able to travel, but a female slave of Karfa’s who was called Nealee, refused to partake of this refreshment, and was very sullen.  The coffle proceeded over a wild and rocky country, and Nealee, soon overcome by fatigue, lagged behind, complaining dreadfully of pains in her legs, on which her load was given to another slave, and she was directed to keep in front.  The coffle rested near a small rivulet, and a hive of bees being discovered in a hollow tree, some negroes went in quest of the honey, when an enormous swarm flew out, and attacked the people of the coffle.  Mr. Park, who first took the alarm, alone escaped with impunity.  The negroes at length again collected together at some distance from the place where they were dispersed, but Nealee was missing, and many of the bundles were left behind.  To recover these, they set fire to the grass eastward of the hive, and as the wind drove the fire furiously along, they pushed through the smoke, until they came to the bundles.  They also found poor Nealee lying by the rivulet, she had crept to the stream, hoping to defend herself from the bees by throwing water over her body, but she was stung dreadfully.  The stings were picked out, and her wounds washed and anointed, but she refused to proceed further.  The slatees by the whip forced her to proceed about four or five hours longer, when, attempting to run away, she fell down with extreme weakness.  Again was the whip applied, but ineffectually; the unfortunate slave was unable to rise.  After attempting to place her upon an ass, on which she could not sit erect, a litter of bamboo canes was made, upon which she was tied with slips of bark, and carried

Page 87

on the heads of two slaves for the remainder of the day.  The coffle halted at the foot of a high hill, called Gankaran-kooro.  The travellers had only eaten one handful of meal each during the day’s journey, exposed to the ardour of a tropical sun.  The slaves were much fatigued, and showed great discontent; several snapt their fingers, a certain mark of desperation.  They were all immediately put in irons, and those who had shown signs of despondency were kept apart.

In the morning, however, they were greatly recovered, except poor Nealee, who could neither walk nor stand, she was accordingly placed upon an ass, her hands being fastened together under the neck, and her feet under the belly, to secure her situation.  The beast, however, was unruly, and Nealee was soon thrown off, and one of her legs was much bruised.  As it was found impossible to carry her forward, the general cry of the coffle was, “Kang tegi! kang tegi!” (Cut her throat! cut her throat!) Mr. Park proceeded forwards with the foremost of the coffle, to avoid seeing this operation performed, but soon after he learned that Karfa and the schoolmaster would not agree to have her killed, but had left her on the road.  Her fate diffused melancholy throughout the whole coffle, notwithstanding the outcry before mentioned, and the schoolmaster fasted the whole day in consequence of it.  The coffle soon after crossed the Furkoomah, a river the same size as the Wonda, and travelled so expeditiously, that Mr. Park with difficulty kept up with it.

On the 26th April, the coffle ascended a rocky hill, called Bokikooro, and in the afternoon, entering a valley, forded the Bold, a smooth and clear river.  About a mile westward of this river, discovering the marks of horses’ feet, they were afraid that a party of plunderers were in the neighbourhood; and to avoid discovery and pursuit, the coffle travelled in a dispersed manner through the high grass and bushes.

The following day, hoping to reach a town before night, they passed expeditiously through extensive thickets of bamboos.  At a stream called Nuncolo, each person ate a handful of meal, moistened with water, in compliance with some superstitious custom.  In the afternoon, they arrived at Sooseta, a Jallonka village, in the district of Kullo, a tract of country lying along the banks of the Black River; and the first human habitation they had met with in a journey of five days, over more than a hundred miles.  With much difficulty they procured huts to sleep in, but could not obtain any provisions, as there had been a scarcity before the crops were gathered in, during which all the inhabitants of Kullo had subsisted upon the yellow powder of the nitta, a species of the mimosa, and the seeds of the bamboo, which, when properly prepared, tastes nearly similar to rice.  As the provisions of the coffle were not exhausted, kouskous was dressed for supper, and several villagers were invited to partake; meanwhile one of the schoolmaster’s boys, who had fallen asleep under the bentang, was carried off during the night; but the thief, finding that his master’s residence was only three days’ journey distant, thinking he could not be retained with security, after stripping him, suffered him to return.

Page 88

They now crossed the Black River by a bridge of a curious construction.  Several tall trees are fastened together by the tops, which float on the water, while the roots rest on the rocks on each side of the river; these are covered with dry bamboos, and the whole forms a passage, sloping from each end towards the middle, so as to resemble an inverted arch.  In the rainy season the bridge is carried away, but the natives constantly rebuilt it, and on that account exact a small tribute from every passenger.

Being informed that, two hundred Jalonkas had assembled to intercept and plunder the coffle, they altered their course, and about midnight arrived at a town called Koba.  They now discovered that a free man and three slaves were missing; upon which it was concluded that the slaves had murdered the free man, and made their escape, and six people were sent back to the last village to endeavour to procure information.  Meanwhile the people of the coffle were ordered to conceal themselves in a cotton field, and no person to speak but in a whisper.  Towards morning, the men returned, but without the object of their pursuit.  The coffle then entered the town, and purchased a quantity of ground nuts, which were roasted for breakfast; and, being provided with huts, determined to rest there for the day.  They were agreeably surprised by the arrival of their companions.  One of the slaves had hurt his foot, and as the night was dark, they had lost sight of the coffle, when the free man, who was aware of his danger, insisted on putting the slaves in irons, and as they were refractory, threatened to stab them one by one with his spear; they at last submitted, and in the morning followed the coffle to Koba.  In the course of the day, the intelligence concerning the Jalonka plunderers was confirmed, on which Karfa, continuing at Koba until the 30th, hired some persons for protectors, and they proceeded to a village called Tinkingtang.

On the following day, the slaves being greatly fatigued, the coffle only proceeded nine miles, where provisions were procured by the interest of the schoolmaster, who sent a messenger forward to Malacotta, his native town, to acquaint his friends with his arrival, and desire them to provide provisions for the entertainment of the coffle for two or three days.

They halted at another village further on until the return of the messenger from Malacotta.  About two the messenger returned, accompanied by the schoolmaster’s elder brother.  “The interview,” says Mr. Park, “between the two brothers, who had not seen each other for nine years, was very natural and affecting.  They fell upon each other’s neck, and it was some time before either of them could speak.  At length, when the schoolmaster had a little recovered himself, he took his brother by the hand, and turning round, ‘This is the man,’ said he, pointing to Karfa, ’who has been my father in Manding.  I would have pointed him out sooner to you, but my heart was too full.’” The coffle then proceeded to Malacotta, where they were well entertained for three days, being each day presented with a bullock from the schoolmaster.

Page 89

Malacotta is an unwalled town; the huts are made of unsplit canes twisted into wicker work, and plastered over with mud.  The inhabitants are active and industrious; they make good soap by boiling ground nuts in water, and adding a lye of wood ashes.  They also manufacture excellent iron, which they exchange in Bondou for salt.

A party of traders brought intelligence to this town of a war between the king of Foota Torra and the king of the Jaloffs, which soon became a favourite subject of conversation in this part of Africa.  Its circumstances were as follow:—­Almami Abdulkader, king of Foota Torra, inflamed with a zeal for propagating the religion of the prophet, sent an ambassador to Damel, king of the Jaloffs, accompanied by two principal bushreens, each bearing a long pole, to the end of which was fixed a large knife.  When admitted into the presence of Damel, the ambassador ordered the bushreens to present the emblems of his mission, which he thus explained:—­“With this knife,” said he, “Abdulkader will condescend to shave the head of Damel, if Damel will embrace the Mahometan faith; and with the other knife, Abdulkader will cut the throat of Damel, if Darnel refuses to embrace it.  Take your choice.”

The king of the Jaloffs having told the ambassador he chose neither of his propositions, civilly dismissed him.  Abdulkader soon after invaded Damel’s dominions with a powerful army.  As he approached, the towns and villages were abandoned, the wells filled up, and their effects carried off by the inhabitants.  He advanced three days into the country of the Jaloffs, without opposition; but his army had suffered so greatly for want of water, that many of his men had died by the way.  This compelled him to march to a watering-place in the woods, where his men, having quenched their thirst, and being overcome with fatigue, lay down among the bushes to sleep.  Thus situated, they were attacked by the forces of Damel in the night, and completely routed.  King Abdulkader himself, with a great number of his followers, being taken prisoners.  The behaviour of the king of the Jaloffs on this occasion we shall relate in Mr. Park’s own words.  “When his royal prisoner was brought before him in irons, and thrown upon the ground, the magnanimous Damel, instead of setting his foot upon his neck, and stabbing him with his spear, according to custom in such cases, addressed him as follows:—­’Abdulkader, answer me this question.  If the chance of war had placed me in your situation, and you in mine, how would you have treated me ?’—­’I would have thrust my spear into your heart,’ returned Abdulkader, with great firmness, ‘and I know that a similar fate awaits me.’—­’Not so,’ said Damel; ’my spear is indeed red with the blood of your subjects killed in battle, and I could now give it a deeper stain, by dipping it in your own; but this would not build up my towns, nor bring to life the thousands, who fell in the woods; I will not, therefore, kill you in cold blood, but I will retain you as my slave, until I perceive that your presence in your own kingdom will be no longer dangerous to your neighbours, and then I will consider of the proper way of disposing of you.’  Abdulkader was accordingly retained, and worked as a slave for three months, at the end of which period, Damel listened to the solicitations of the inhabitants of Foota Torra. and restored to them their king.”

Page 90

The coffle resumed their journey on the 7th May, and having crossed a branch of the Senegal, proceeded to a walled town, called Bentingala, where they rested two days.  In one day more, they reached Dindikoo, a town at the bottom of a high ridge of hills, which gives the name of Konkodoo to this part of the country; at Dindikoo was a negro of the sort called in the Spanish West Indies, Albinos, or white negroes.  His hair and skin were of a dull white colour, cadaverous and unsightly, and considered as the effect of disease.

After a tedious day’s journey, the coffle arrived at Satadoo, on the evening of the 11th.  Many inhabitants had quitted this town, on account of the plundering incursions of the Foulahs of Foota Jalla, who frequently carried off people from the corn fields and wells near the town.

The coffle crossed the Faleme river on the 12th, and at night halted at a village called Medina, the sole property of a Mandingo merchant, who had adopted many European customs.  His victuals were served up in pewter dishes, and his houses were formed in the mode of the English houses on the Gambia.

The next morning they departed, in company with another coffle of slaves, belonging to some Serawoolli traders, and in the evening arrived at Baniserile, after a very hard day’s journey.

Mr. Park was invited by one of the slatees, a native of this place, to go home to his house.  He had been absent three years, and was met by his friends with many expressions of joy.  When he had seated himself upon a mat near the threshold of his door, a young woman, his intended bride, brought some water in a calabash, and, kneeling before him, requested him to wash his hands.  This being done, the young woman drank the water; an action here esteemed as the greatest proof that can be given of fidelity and affection.

Mr. Park now arrived on the shores of the Gambia, and on the 10th June 1797 reached Pisania, where he was received as one risen from the dead; for all the traders from the interior had believed and reported, that, like Major Houghton, he was murdered by the Moors of Ludamar.  Karfa, his benefactor, received double the stipulated price, and was overpowered with gratitude; but when he saw the commodious furniture, the skilful manufactures, the superiority in all the arts of life, displayed by the Europeans, compared with the attainments of his countrymen, he was deeply mortified, and exclaimed “Black men are nothing,” expressing, at the same time his surprise, that Park could find any motive for coming to so miserable a land as Africa.

Page 91

Mr. Park had some difficulty in reaching home.  He was obliged to embark on the 15th June, in a vessel bound to America, and was afterwards driven by stress of weather, into the island of Antigua, whence he sailed on the 24th November, and on the 22nd December landed at Falmouth.  He arrived in London before dawn on the morning of Christmas day, and in the garden of the British Museum accidentally met his brother-in-law, Mr. Dickson.  Two years having elapsed since any tidings had reached England, he had been given up for lost, so that his friends and the public were equally astonished and delighted by his appearance.  The report of his unexpected return, after making such splendid discoveries, kindled throughout the nation a higher enthusiasm than had perhaps been excited by the result of any former mission of the same nature.  The Niger had been seen flowing eastward, into the interior of Africa, and hence a still deeper interest and mystery were suspended over the future course and termination of this great central stream.  Kingdoms had been discovered, more flourishing and more populous than any formerly known on that continent; but other kingdoms, still greater and wealthier, were reported to exist in regions, which Mr. Park had vainly attempted to reach.  The lustre of his achievements had diffused among the public in general an ardour for discovery, which was formerly confined to a few enlightened individuals; it was, however, evident that the efforts of no private association could penetrate the depths of this vast continent, and overcome the obstacles presented by its distance, its deserts, and its barbarism.


It was now thought advisable to trace, without interruption the interesting career of Mr. Park, from its commencement to its close.  The enthusiasm for discovery was, however, not confined solely to England; for the return of Park had no sooner reached Germany, than Frederick Horneman, a student of the university of Gottingen, communicated to Blumenbach, the celebrated professor of natural history, his ardent desire to explore the interior of Africa under the auspices of the British African Association.  The professor transmitted to the association a strong recommendation of Horneman, as a young man, active, athletic, temperate, knowing sickness only by name, and of respectable literary and scientific attainments.  Sir Joseph Banks immediately wrote, “If Mr. Horneman be really the character you describe, he is the very person whom we are in search of.”

On receiving this encouragement, Horneman immediately applied his mind to the study of natural history and the Arabic language, and in other respects sought to capacitate himself for supporting the character of an Arab or a Mahometan, under which he flattered himself that he should escape the effects of that ferocious bigotry, which had opposed so fatal a bar to the progress of his predecessors.

Page 92

In May 1797, Horneman repaired to London, where his appointment was sanctioned by the association, and having obtained a passport from the Directory, who then governed France, he visited Paris, and was introduced to some influential members of the National Institute.  He reached Egypt in September, spent ten days at Alexandria, and set out for Cairo, to wait the departure of the Kashna caravan.  The interval was employed in acquiring the language of the Mograben Arabs, a tribe bordering on Egypt.  While he was at Cairo, intelligence was received of the landing of Buonaparte in that country, when the just indignation of the natives vented itself upon all Europeans, and, amongst others, on Horneman, who was arrested and confined in the castle.  He was relieved upon the victorious entry of the French commander, who immediately set him at liberty, and very liberally offered him money, and every other supply which might contribute to the success of his mission.

It was not before the 5th September 1798, that Horneman could meet with a caravan proceeding to the westward, when he joined the one destined for Fezzan.  The travellers soon passed the cultivated lands of Egypt, and entered on an expanse of sandy waste, such as the bottom of the ocean might exhibit, if the waters were to retire.  This desert was covered with the fragments, as it were, of a petrified forest; large trunks, branches, twigs, and even pieces of bark, being scattered over it.  Sometimes these stony remains were brought in as mistake for fuel.  When the caravan halted for the night, each individual dug a hole in the sand, gathered a few sticks, and prepared his victuals after the African fashion of kouskous, soups, or puddings.  Horneman, according to his European habits, at first employed the services of another, but finding himself thus exposed to contempt or suspicion, he soon followed the example of the rest, and became his own cook.

There are, as usual, oases in this immense waste.  Ten days brought the caravan to Ummesogeir, a village situated upon a rock, with 120 inhabitants, who, separated by deserts, from the rest of the world, passed a peaceful and hospitable life, subsisting on dates, the chief produce of their arid and sterile soil.

Another day’s journey brought them to Siwah, a much more extensive oasis, the rocky border of which is estimated by Horneman to be fifty miles in circumference.  It yields, with little culture, various descriptions of grain and vegetables; but its wealth consists chiefly in large gardens of dates, baskets of which fruit form here the standard of value.  The government is vested in a very turbulent aristocracy, of about thirty chiefs, who meet in council in the vicinity of the town wall, and in the contests which frequently arise, make violent and sudden appeals to arms.  The chief question in respect to Siwah is, whether it does or does not comprise the site of the celebrated shrine of Jupiter Ammon, that object of awful veneration

Page 93

to the nations of antiquity, and which Alexander himself, the greatest of its heroes, underwent excessive toil and peril to visit and to associate with his name.  This territory does in fact contain springs, and a small edifice, with walls six feet thick, partly painted and adorned with hieroglyphics.  There are also antique tombs in the neighbouring mountains, but as the subsequent discoveries of Belzoni and Edmonstone have proved that all these features exist in other oases, scattered in different directions along the desert borders of Egypt, some uncertainty must perhaps for ever rest on this curious question.

The route now passed through a region still indeed barren, yet not presenting such a monotonous plain of sand as intervenes between Egypt and Siwah.  It was bordered by precipitous limestone rocks, often completely filled with shells and marine remains.  The caravan, while proceeding along these wild tracts, were alarmed by a tremendous braying of asses, and, on looking back, saw several hundred of the people of Siwah, armed and in full pursuit, mounted on these useful animals.  The scouts, however, soon brought an assurance that they came with intentions perfectly peaceable, having merely understood that in the caravan there were two Christians from Cairo, and on their being allowed to kill them, the others would be permitted to proceed without molestation.  All Horneman’s address and firmness were required in this fearful crisis.  He opposed the most resolute denial to the assertions of the Siwahans, he opened the Koran, and displayed the facility with which he could read its pages.  He even challenged his adversaries to answer him on points of mahommedan faith.  His companions in the caravan, who took a pride in defending one of their members, insisted that he had cleared himself thoroughly from the imputation of being an infidel, and as they were joined by several of the Siwahans, the whole body finally renounced their bloody purpose, and returned home.

The travellers next passed through Angila, a town so ancient as to be mentioned by Herodotus, but now small, dirty, and supported solely by the passage of the inland trade.  They then entered the Black Harutsch, a long range of dreary mountains, the mons ater of the ancients, through the successive defiles of which they found only a narrow track enclosed by rugged steeps, and obstructed by loose stones.  Every valley too and ravine into which they looked, appeared still more wild and desolate than the road itself.  A scene of a more gay and animated description succeeded, when they entered the district of Limestone Mountains, called the White Harutsch.  The rocks and stones here appeared as if glazed, and abounded in shells and other marine petrifactions, which on being broken had a vitrified appearance.

Page 94

After a painful route of sixteen days through this solitary region, the travellers were cheered by seeing before them the great oasis, or small kingdom of Fezzan.  Both at Temissa, the first frontier town, and at Zuila, the ancient capital, which is still inhabited by many rich merchants, they were received with rapturous demonstrations of joy.  The arrival of a caravan is the chief event which diversifies the existence of the Fezzaners, and diffuses through the country animation and wealth.  At Mourzouk, the modern capital, the reception was more solemn and pompous.  The sultan himself awaited their arrival on a small eminence, seated in an arm chair, ornamented with cloth of various colours, and forming a species of throne.  Each pilgrim, on approaching the royal seat, put off his sandals, kissed the sovereign’s hand, and took his station behind, where the whole assembly joined in a chant of pious gratitude.

Fezzan, according to Horneman, has a length of 300, and a breadth of 200 miles, and is much the largest of all the oases, which enliven the immense desert of Northern Africa.  It relieves, however, in only an imperfect degree, the parched appearance of the surrounding region.  It is not irrigated by a river, nor even a streamlet of any dimensions; the grain produced is insufficient for its small population, supposed to amount to 70,000 or 75,000 inhabitants, and few animals are reared except the ass, the goat, and the camel.  Dates, as in all this species of territory, form the chief article of land produce, but Fezzan derives its chief importance from being the centre of that immense traffic, which gives activity and wealth to interior Africa.  Mourzouk, in the dry season, forms a rendezvous for the caravans proceeding from Egypt, Morocco and Tripoli, to the great countries watered by the western river.  Yet the trade is carried on less by the inhabitants themselves, than by the Tibboos, Tuaricks, and other wandering tribes of the desert, concerning whom Horneman collected some information, but less ample than Lyon and Denham afterwards obtained from personal observation.  Of Timbuctoo, he did not obtain much information, Morocco being the chief quarter whence caravans proceed to that celebrated seat of African commerce.  In regard, however, to the eastern part of Soudan, he received intelligence more accurate than had hitherto reached Europe.  Houssa was for the first time understood to be, not a single country or city, but a region comprehending many kingdoms, the people of which are said to be the handsomest, most industrious, and most intelligent in that part of Africa, being particularly distinguished for their manufacture of fine cloths.  Amongst the states mentioned, were Kashna, Kano, Daura, Solan, Noro, Nyffe, Cabi, Zanfara and Guber.  Most or all of these were tributary to Bornou, described as decidedly the most powerful kingdom in central Africa, and which really was so regarded before the rise of the Fellatah empire caused

Page 95

in this respect, a remarkable change.  The Niger, according to the unanimous belief in the northern provinces, was said to flow from Timbuctoo eastward through Houssa, and holding the same direction till it joined or rather became the Bahr-elabiad, the main stream of the Egyptian Nile.  Prevalent as this opinion is amongst the Arabs, late discoveries have proved it to be decidedly erroneous; the river or rivers which water Houssa, being wholly distinct from that great stream which flows through Bambarra and Timbuctoo.

Horneman, after remaining some time at Mourzouk, had resolved to join a caravan about to proceed southwards into the interior, when observing that the cavalcade consisted almost wholly of black traders, any connexion or intercourse with whom was likely to afford him little favour in the eyes of the Moors, he was induced to forego this purpose; more especially as there was the greatest reason to apprehend obstruction in passing through the country of the Turiacks, then at war with Fezzan.  He was informed besides, that caravans from Bornou occasionally terminated their journey at Mourzouk, again returning south; by which under more propitious circumstances he hoped to accomplish his object.  These considerations determined him to postpone his departure, resolving in the mean while, with the view of forwarding his despatches to the association, to visit Tripoli, where, however, he did not arrive till the 19th August, 1799, having been detained a considerable time by sickness.  After remaining in this city about three months he returned to Mourzouk, nor was it till the 6th April, 1800, that he departed thence for the southward, in company with two shereefs, who had given him assurances of friendship and protection.  His letters were filled with the most sanguine hopes of success.  But the lapse of two years without any tidings, threw a damp on the cheering expectations then raised in the association and the public.  In September 1803, a Fezzan merchant informed Mr. Nissen, the Danish consul of Tripoli, that Yussuph, as Horneman had chosen to designate himself, was seen alive and well on his way to Gondasch, with the intention of proceeding to the coast, and of returning to Europe.  Another moorish merchant afterwards informed Mr. M’Donogh, British consul at Tripoli, that Yussuph was in safety at Kashna, in June 1803, and was there highly respected as a mussulman, marabout or saint.  Major Denham afterwards learned that he had penetrated across Africa as far as Nyffe, on the Niger, where he fell a victim, not to any hostility on the part of the natives, but to disease and the climate.  A young man was even met with, who professed to be his son, though there were some doubt as to the grounds of his claim to that character.

Page 96

The association, when their expectations from Horneman had failed, began to look round for other adventurers, and there were still a number of active and daring spirits ready to brave the dangers of this undertaking.  Mr. Nicholls, in 1804, repaired to Calabar, in the Gulf of Benin, with the view of penetrating into the interior by this route, which appeared shorter than any other, but without any presentiment that the termination of the Niger was to be found in that quarter.  He was well received by the chiefs on that coast, but could not gain much information respecting that river, being informed that most of the slaves came from the west, and that the navigation of the Calabar stream, at no great distance was interrupted by an immense waterfall, beyond which the surface of the country became very elevated.  Unfortunately, of all the sickly climates of Africa, this is perhaps the most pestilential, and Mr. Nicholls, before commencing his journey, fell a victim to the epidemic fever.

Another German named Roentgen, recommended also by Blumenbach, undertook to penetrate into the interior of Africa by way of Morocco.  He was described as possessing an unblemished character, ardent zeal in the cause, with great strength both of mind and body.  Like Horneman, he made himself master of Arabic, and proposed to pass for a Mahommedan.  Having in 1809 arrived at Mogadore, he hired two guides, and set out to join the Soudan caravan.  His career, however, was short indeed, for soon after his body was found at a little distance from the place whence he started.  No information could ever be obtained as to the particulars of his death, but it was too probably conjectured that his guides murdered him for the sake of his property.


We are now entering upon the narrative of a series of the most extraordinary adventures which ever befel the African travellers, in the person of an illiterate and obscure seaman, of the name of Robert Adams, who was wrecked on the western coast of Africa, in the American ship Charles, bound to the isle of Mayo, and who may be said to have been the first traveller who ever reached the far-famed city of Timbuctoo.

The place where the Charles was wrecked was called Elgazie, and the captain and the whole of the crew were immediately taken prisoners by the Moors.  On their landing, the Moors stripped the whole of them naked, and concealed their clothes under ground; being thus exposed to a scorching sun, their skins became dreadfully blistered, and at night they were obliged to dig holes in the sand to sleep in, for the sake of coolness.

About a week after landing, the captain of the ship was put to death by the Moors, for which the extraordinary reason was given, that he was extremely dirty, and would not go down to the sea to wash himself, when the Moors made signs for him to do so.

Page 97

After they had remained about ten or twelve days, until the ship and its materials had quite disappeared, the Moors made preparations to depart, and divided the prisoners amongst them.  Robert Adams and two others of the crew were left in the possession of about twenty Moors, who quitted the sea coast, having four camels, three of which they loaded with water, and the other with fish and baggage.  At the end of about thirty days, during which they did not see a human being, they arrived at a place, the name of which Adams did not hear, where they found about thirty or forty tents, and a pool of water surrounded by a few shrubs, which was the only water they had met with since quitting the coast.

In the first week of their arrival, Adams and his companions being greatly fatigued, were not required to do any work, but at the end of that time, they were put to tend some goats and sheep, which were the first they had seen.  About this time, John Stevens arrived, under charge of a Moor, and was sent to work in company with Adams.  Stevens was a Portuguese, about eighteen years of age.  At this place they remained about a month.

It was now proposed by the Moors to Adams and Stevens, to accompany them on an expedition to Soudenny to procure slaves.  It was with great difficulty they could be made to understand this proposal, but the Moors made themselves intelligible by pointing to some negro boys, who were employed in taking care of sheep and goats.  Being in the power of the Moors, they had no option, and having therefore signified their consent, the party consisting of about eighteen Moors, and the two whites, set out for Soudenny.

Soudenny is a small negro village, having grass and shrubs growing about it, and a small brook of water.  For a week or thereabouts, after arriving in the neighbourhood of this place, the party concealed themselves amongst the hills and bushes, lying in wait for the inhabitants, when they seized upon a woman with a child in her arms, and two children (boys), whom they found walking in the evening near the town.

During the next four or five days, the party remained concealed, when one evening, as they were all lying on the ground, a large party of negroes, consisting of forty or fifty made their appearance, armed with daggers, and bows and arrows, who surrounded and took them all prisoners, without the least resistance being attempted, and carried them into the town; tying the hands of some, and driving the whole party before them.  During the night above one hundred negroes kept watch over them.  The next day they were taken before the governor or chief person, named Muhamoud, a remarkably ugly negro, who ordered that they should all be imprisoned.  The place of confinement was a mere mud wall, about six feet high, from whence they might readily have escaped, though strongly guarded, if the Moors had been enterprising, but they were a cowardly set.  Here they were kept three or

Page 98

four days, for the purpose, as it afterwards appeared, of being sent forward to Timbuctoo, which Adams concluded to be the residence of the king of the country.  At Soudenny, the houses have only a ground floor, and are without furniture or utensils, except wooden bowls, and mats made of grass.  They never make fires in their houses.  After remaining about four days at Soudenny, the prisoners were sent to Timbuctoo, under an escort of about sixty armed men, having about eighteen camels and dromedaries.

During the first ten days they proceeded eastward, at the rate of about fifteen to twenty miles a day, the prisoners and most of the negroes walking, the officers riding, two upon each camel or dromedary.  As the prisoners were all impressed with the belief that they were going to execution, several of the Moors attempted to escape, and in consequence, after a short consultation, fourteen were put to death by being beheaded, at a small village at which they then arrived, and as a terror to the rest, the head of one of them was hung round the neck of a camel for three days, until it became so putrid, that they were obliged to remove it.  At this village, the natives wore gold rings in their ears, sometimes two rings in each ear.  They had a hole through the cartilage of the nose, wide enough to admit a thick quill, in which Adams saw some of the natives wear a large ring of an oval shape, that hung down to the mouth.

They waited, only one day at this place, and then proceeded towards Timbuctoo.  Shaping their course to the northward of east, and quickening their pace to the rate of twenty miles a day, they completed their journey in fifteen days.

Upon their arrival at Timbuctoo, the whole party were immediately taken before the king, who ordered the Moors into prison, but treated Adams and the Portuguese boy as curiosities; taking them to his house, they remained there during their residence at Timbuctoo.

For some time after their arrival, the queen and her female attendants used to sit and look at Adams and his companions for hours together.  She treated them with great kindness, and at the first interview offered them some bread baked under ashes.

The king and queen, the former of whom was named Woollo, the latter Fatima, were very old grey-headed people.  Fatima was like the majority of African beauties, extremely fat.  Her dress was of blue nankeen, edged with gold lace round the bosom and on the shoulder, and having a belt or stripe of the same material, half-way down the dress, which came only a few inches down the knees.  The dress of the other females of Timbuctoo, though less ornamented than that of the queen, was in the same sort of fashion, so that as they wore no close under garments, they might, when sitting on the ground, as far as decency was concerned, as well have had no covering at all.  The queen’s head dress consisted of a blue nankeen turban, but this was worn only upon occasions of ceremony, or when she walked out.  Besides the turban, she had her hair stuck full of bone ornaments of a square shape, about the size of dice, extremely white; she had large gold hoop ear-rings, and many necklaces, some of them of gold, the others made of beads of various colours.  She wore no shoes, and in consequence, her feet appeared to be as hard and dry “as the hoofs of an ass.”

Page 99

The king’s house or palace, which is built of clay and grass, not whitewashed, consists of eight or ten small rooms on the ground floor, and is surrounded by a wall of the same materials, against part of which the house is built.  The space within the wall is about half an acre.  Whenever a trader arrives, he is required to bring his merchandize into this space, for the inspection of the king, for the purpose of duties being charged upon it.  The king’s attendants, who are with him during the whole of the day, generally consist of about thirty persons, several of whom are armed with daggers, and bows and arrows.  Adams did not know if the king had any family.

For a considerable time after the arrival of Adams and his companion, the people used to come in crowds to stare at them, and he afterwards understood that many persons came several days journey on purpose.  The Moors remained closely confined in prison, but Adams and the Portuguese boy had permission to visit them.  At the end of about six months, a company of trading Moors arrived with tobacco, who after some weeks ransomed the whole party.

Timbuctoo is situated on a level plain [*], having a river about two hundred yards from the town, on the south-east side, named La Mar Zarah.  The town appeared to Adams to cover as much ground as Lisbon.  He was unable to give any account of number of its inhabitants, estimated by Caillie to amount to 10,000 or 12,000.  The houses are not built in streets, nor with any regularity, its population therefore, compared with that of European towns, is by no means in proportion to its size.  It has no wall nor any thing resembling fortification.  The houses are square, built of sticks, clay, and grass, with flat roofs of the same materials.  The rooms are all on the ground-floor, and are without any of furniture, except earthen jars, wooden bowls, and mats made grass, upon which the people sleep.  He did not observe a houses, or any other buildings, constructed of stone.  The palace of the king he described as having walls of clay, or clay and sand, rammed into a wooden case or frame, and placed in layers, one above another, until they attained the height required, the roof being composed of poles or rafters laid horizontally, and covered with a cement or plaster, made of clay or sand.

[Footnote:  This account of Timbuctoo, as given by Adams, by no means corresponds with that which was subsequently given by Caillie.  The latter makes it situated on a very elevated site, in the vicinity of mountains; in fact the whole account of that celebrated city, as given by Caillie, is very defective.]

The river La Mar Zarah is about three quarters of a mile wide at Timbuctoo, and appeared in this place to have but little current, flowing to the south-west.  About two miles from the town to the southward, it runs between two high mountains, apparently as high as the mountains which Adams saw in Barbary; here the river is about half a mile wide.  The water of La Mar Zarah is rather brackish, but is commonly drunk by the natives, there not being, according to the report of Adams, any wells at Timbuctoo.

Page 100

It must be remarked in this place, that at the time when Adams related the narrative of his residence in Africa, and particularly in the city of Timbuctoo, a very considerable degree of distrust was attached to it; and in order to put the veracity of Adams to a decisive test, the publication of his adventures was delayed until the arrival of Mr. Dupuis, then the British vice-consul at Mogadore, to whose interference Adams acknowledged himself indebted for his ransom, and who, on account of his long residence in Africa, and his intimate acquaintance with the manners and customs of the natives, was fully competent to the detection of any imposition which it might be the intention of Adams to practise upon those, who undertook the publication of his adventures.  From this severe ordeal Adams came out fully clear of any intention to impose, and the principal points of his narrative were corroborated by the knowledge and experience of Mr. Dupuis.  Thus that gentleman, in allusion to the description which Adams gave of La Mar Zarah, mentions that the Spanish geographer Marmol, who describes himself to have spent twenty years of warfare and slavery in Africa, about the middle of the sixteenth century, mentions the river La-ha-mar as a branch of the Niger, having muddy and unpalatable waters.  By the same authority, the Niger itself is called Yea, or Issa, at Timbuctoo, a name which D’Anville has adopted in his map of Africa.

The vessels used by the natives are small canoes for fishing, the largest of which are about ten feet long, capable of carrying three men; they are built of fig-trees hollowed out, and caulked with grass, and are worked with paddles about six feet long.

The natives of Timbuctoo are a stout healthy race, and are seldom sick, although they expose themselves by lying out in the sun at mid-day, when the heat is almost insupportable to a white man.  It is the universal practice of both sexes to grease themselves all over with butter produced from goat’s milk, which makes the skin smooth, and gives it a shining appearance.  This is usually renewed every day:  when neglected, the skin becomes rough, greyish, and extremely ugly.  They usually sleep under cover at night, but sometimes, in the hottest weather, they will lie exposed to the night air, with little or no covering, notwithstanding that the fog, which rises from the river, descends like dew, and, in fact, at that season supplies the want of rain.

All the males of Timbuctoo have an incision on their faces from the top of the forehead down to the nose, from which proceed other lateral incisions over the eyebrows, into all of which is inserted a blue dye, produced from a kind of ore, which is found in the neighbouring mountains.  The women have also incisions on their faces, but in a different fashion; the lines being from two to five in number, cut on each cheek bone, from the temple straight down; they are also stained with blue.  These incisions being made on the faces of both sexes when they are about twelve months old, the dyeing material, which is inserted in them, becomes scarcely visible as they grow up.

Page 101

With the exception of the king and queen, and their immediate companions, who had a change of dress about once a week, the people are in general very dirty, sometimes not washing themselves for twelve or fourteen days together.  Besides the queen, who, as has been already stated, wore a profusion of ivory and bone ornaments in her hair, some of a square shape, and others about as thick as a shilling, but rather smaller, strings of which she also wore about her wrists and ankles; many of the women were decorated in a similar manner, and they seemed to consider hardly any favour too great to be conferred on the person who would make them a present of these precious ornaments.  Gold ear-rings were much worn, some of the women had also rings on their fingers, but these appeared to Adams to be of brass; and as many of the latter had letters upon them, he concluded, both from this circumstance and from their workmanship, that they were not made by the negroes, but obtained from the moorish traders.

The ceremony of marriage amongst the upper ranks at Timbuctoo is, for the bride to go in the day-time to the king’s house, and to remain there until after sunset, when the man who is to be her husband goes to fetch her away.  This is usually followed by a feast the same night, and a dance.  Adams did not observe what ceremonies were used in the marriages of the lower classes.

As it is common to have several concubines besides a wife, the women are continually quarrelling and fighting; there is, however, a marked difference in the degree of respect with which they are treated by the husband, the wife always having a decided pre-eminence.  The negroes, however, appeared to Adams to be jealous and severe with all their women, frequently beating them apparently for very little cause.

The women appear to suffer very little from child-birth, and they will be seen walking about as usual the day after such an event.  It is their practice to grease a child all over soon after its birth, and to expose it for about an hour to the sun.  The infants at first are of a reddish colour, but become black in three or four days.

Illicit intercourse appeared to be but little regarded amongst the lower orders, and chastity among the women in general seemed to be preserved only so far as their situations or circumstances rendered it necessary for their personal safety or convenience.  In the higher ranks, if a woman prove with child, the man is punished with slavery, unless he will take the woman for his wife, and maintain her.  Adams knew an instance of a young man, who, having refused to marry a woman by whom he had a child, was on that account condemned to slavery.  He afterwards repented, but was not then permitted to retract his refusal, and was sent away to be sold.

Page 102

It does not appear that they have any public religion, as they have not any house of worship; no priest, and, as far as Adams could discover, never meet together to pray.  He had seen some of the negroes, who were circumcised; but he concluded that they had been in possession of the Moors, or had been resident at Sudenny.  On this subject Mr. Dupuis says, “I cannot speak with any confidence of the religion of the negroes of Timbuctoo; I have, however, certainly heard, and entertain little doubt, that many of the inhabitants are Mahommedans; it is also generally believed in Barbary, that there are mosques at Timbuctoo; but, on the other hand, I am confident that the king is neither an Arab nor a Moor, especially as the traders, from whom I have collected these accounts, have been either the one or the other; and I might consequently presume, that, if they did give me erroneous information on any points, it would at least not be to the prejudice, both of their national self-conceit, and of the credit and honour of their religion.”

The only ceremony which Adams saw, that appeared like the act of prayer, was on the occasion of the death of any of the inhabitants, when the relatives assembled and sat round the corpse.  The burial is not attended with any ceremony whatever; the deceased are buried in the clothes in which they die, at a small distance to the south-west of the town.

Their only physicians are old women, who cure diseases and wounds by the application of simples.  Adams had a wen on the back of his right hand, the size of a large egg, which one of the women cured in about a month, by rubbing it and applying a plaster of herbs.  They cure the tooth-ache by the application of a liquid prepared from roots, which frequently causes not only the defective tooth to fall out, but one or two of the others.

On referring to the notes of Mr. Dupuis on the subject of the cures performed by the negro women, we read, “I may take this opportunity of observing that he (Adams) recounted, at Mogadore, several stories of the supernatural powers or charms possessed by some of the negroes, and which practised both, defensively to protect their own persons from harm, and offensively against their enemies.  Of these details I do not remember more than the following circumstance, which, I think, he told me happened in his presence:—­

“A negro slave, the property of a desert Arab, having been threatened by his master with severe punishment, for some offence, defied his power to hurt him, in consequence of a charm by which he was protected.  Upon this the Arab seized a gun, which he loaded with a ball, and fired at only a few paces distant from the negro’s breast; but the negro, instead of being injured by the shot, stooped to the ground and picked up the ball, which had fallen inoffensive at his feet.”

Page 103

It seems strange that Adams should have omitted their extraordinary stories in his narrative; for he frequently expressed to Mr. Dupuis a firm belief, that the negroes were capable of injuring their enemies by witchcraft; and he once pointed out to him a slave at Mogadore, of whom on that account he stood particularly in awe.  He doubtless imbibed this belief, and learned the other absurd stories, which he related, from the Arabs, some of whom profess to be acquainted with the art themselves, and all of whom are, it is believed, firmly persuaded of its existence, and of the peculiar proficiency of the negroes in it.

It is perhaps not unreasonable to suppose, that having found his miraculous stories, and his belief in witchcraft discredited and laughed at, both at Mogadore and Cadiz, Adams should have at length grown ashamed of repeating them, and even outlived his superstitious credulity.  This solitary instance of suppression may rather be considered as a proof of his good sense, and as the exercise of a very allowable discretion, than as evidence of an artfulness, of which not a trace had been detected in any other part of his conduct.

Dancing is the principal and favourite amusement of the natives of Timbuctoo; it takes place about once a week in the town, when a hundred dancers or more assemble, men, women, and children, but the greater number are men.  Whilst they are engaged in the dance, they sing extremely loud to the music of the tambourine, fife, and bandera, [*] so that the noise they make, may be heard all over the town; they dance in a circle, and when this amusement continues till the night, generally round a fire.  Their usual time of beginning is about two hours before sunset, and the dance not unfrequently lasts all night.  The men have the most of the exercise in these sports while daylight lasts, the women continuing nearly in one spot, and the men dancing to and from them.  During this time, the dance is conducted with some decency, but when night approaches, and the women take a more active part in the amusement, their thin and short dresses, and the agility of their actions are little calculated to admit of the preservation of any decorum.  The following was the nature of the dance; six or seven men joining hands, surrounded one in the centre of the ring, who was dressed in a ludicrous manner, wearing a large black wig stuck full of kowries.  This man at intervals repeated verses, which, from the astonishment and admiration expressed at them by those in the ring, appeared to be extempore.  Two performers played on the outside of the ring, one on a large drum, the other on the bandera.  The singer in the ring was not interrupted during his recitations, but at the end of every verse, the instruments struck up, and the whole party joined in loud chorus, dancing round the man in the circle, stooping to the ground, and throwing up their legs alternately.  Towards the end of the dance, the man in the middle of the ring was released from his enclosure, and danced alone, occasionally reciting verses, whilst the other dancers begged money from the by-standers.

Page 104

[Footnote:  The bandera is made of several cocoa-nut shells, tied together with thongs of goat-skin, and covered with the same material; a hole at the top of the instrument is covered with strings of leather, or tendons, drawn tightly across it, on which the performer plays with the fingers, in the manner of a guitar.]

It has been already stated, that Adams could not form any idea of the population of Timbuctoo, but on one occasion he saw as many as two-thousand assembled at one place.  This happened when a party of five hundred men were going out to make war on Bambarra [*].  The day after their departure, they were followed by a great number of slaves, dromedaries, and heiries laden with previsions.  Such of these people as afterwards returned, came back in parties of forty or fifty; many of them did not return at all whilst Adams remained at Timbuctoo; but he never heard that any of them had been killed.

[Footnote:  This statement, which is in opposition to the usual opinion, that Timbuctoo is a dependency of Bambarra, receives some corroboration from a passage in Isaaco’s journal (p. 205.), where a prince of Timbuctoo is accused by the king of Sego, of having, either personally, or by his people, plundered two Bambarra caravans, and taken both merchandise and slaves.]

About once a month, a party of a hundred or more armed men marched out in a similar manner, to procure slaves.  These armed parties were all on foot, except the officers; they were usually absent from one week to a month, and at times brought in considerable numbers.  The slaves were generally a different race of people from those of Timbuctoo, and differently clothed, their dress being for the most part of coarse white linen or cotton.  He once saw amongst them a woman, who had her teeth filed round, it was supposed, by way of ornament, and as they were very long, they resembled crow quills.  The greatest number of slaves that Adams recollects to have seen brought in at one time, were about twenty, and these, he was informed, were from a place called Bambarra, lying to the southward and westward of Timbuctoo, which he understood to be the country, whither the aforesaid parties generally went out in quest of them.

The negro slaves brought to Barbary from Timbuctoo appear to be of various nations, many of them distinguished by the make of their persons and features, as well as by their language.  Mr. Dupuis recollects an unusually tall stout negress at Mogadore, whose master assured him that she belonged to a populous nation of cannibals.  He does not know whether the fact was sufficiently authenticated, but it is certain that the woman herself declared it, adding some revolting accounts of her own feasts on human flesh.

Adams never saw any individual put to death at Timbuctoo, the punishment for heavy offences being generally slavery; for slighter misdemeanours, the offenders are punished with beating with a stick; but in no case is this punishment very severe, seldom exceeding two dozen blows, with a stick of the thickness of a small walking-cane.

Page 105

The infrequency of the punishment of death in a community, which counts human life amongst its most valuable objects of trade, is not, however, very surprising; and considerable influence must be conceded to the operation of self-interest, as well as to the feelings of humanity, in accounting for this merciful feature, if it be indeed merciful, in the criminal code of the negroes of Soudan.

During the whole of the residence of Adams at Timbuctoo, he never saw any other Moors than those whom he accompanied thither, and the ten by whom they were ransomed; and he understood from the Moors themselves, that they were not allowed to go in large bodies to Timbuctoo.  This statement bears on the face of it a certain degree of improbability; but it loses that character when it is considered that Timbuctoo, although it is become, in consequence of its frontier situation, the port, as it were, of the caravans from the north, which could not return across the desert the same season, if they were to penetrate deeper into Soudan, is yet, with respect to the trade itself, probably only the point whence it diverges to Houssa, Tuarick, &c. on the east, and to Walet, Jinnie, and Sego, on the west and south, and not the mart where the merchandise of the caravans is sold in detail.  Such Moors, therefore, as did not return to Barbary with the returning caravan, but remained in Soudan until the following season, might be expected to follow their trade to the larger marts of the interior, and to return to Timbuctoo only to meet the next winter’s caravans.  Adams arriving at Timbuctoo in February, and departing in June, might therefore miss both the caravans themselves and the traders, who remained behind in Soudan; and, on the same principle, Park might find Moors carrying on an active trade in the summer at Sansanding, and yet there might not be one at Timbuctoo.

Adams never proceeded to the southward of Timbuctoo, further than about two miles from the town, to the mountains before spoken of; he never saw the river Joliba or Niger, though he had heard mention made of it.  He was told at Tudenny, that the river lay between that place and Bambarra.

This apparently unimportant passage, affords on examination a strong presumption in favour of the truth and simplicity of this part of Adams’ narrative.

In the course of his examinations, almost every new inquirer questioned him respecting the Joliba or Niger, and he could not fail to observe, that because he had been at Timbuctoo, he was expected, as a matter of course, either to have seen, or at least frequently to have heard of that celebrated river.  Adams, however, fairly admitted that he knew nothing about it, and notwithstanding the surprise of many of his examiners, he could not be brought to acknowledge that he had heard the name even once mentioned at Timbuctoo.  All that he recollected was, that a river Joliba had been spoken of at Tudenny, where it was described as lying in the direction of Bambarra.

Page 106

They who recollect Major Rennell’s remarks respecting the Niger, in his Geographical Illustrations, will not be much surprised that Adams should not hear of the Joliba, from the natives of Timbuctoo.  At that point of its course, the river is doubtless known by another name, and if the Joliba were spoken of at all, it would probably be accompanied, as Adams states, with some mention of Bambarra, which may be presumed to be the last country eastward, in which the Niger retains its Mandingo name.


The ten Moors who had arrived with the five camels laden with tobacco, had been three weeks at Timbuctoo, before Adams learnt that the ransom of himself, the boy, and the Moors, his former companions, had been agreed upon.  At the end of the first week, he was given to understand, that himself and the boy would be released, but that the Moors would be condemned to die; it appeared however afterwards, that in consideration of all the tobacco being given for the Moors, except about fifty pounds weight, which was expended for a man slave, the king had agreed to release all the prisoners.

Two days after their release, the whole party consisting of the ten moorish traders, fourteen moorish prisoners, two white men and one slave quitted Timbuctoo, having only the five camels, which belonged to the traders; those which were seized when Adams and his party were made prisoners, not having been restored.  As they had no means left of purchasing any other article, the only food they took with them was a little Guinea corn flour.

On quitting the town they proceeded in an easterly course, inclining to the north, going along the border of the river, of which they sometimes lost sight for two days together.  Except the two mountains before spoken of to the southward, between which the river runs, there are none in the immediate neighbourhood of Timbuctoo, but at a little distance there are some small ones.

They had travelled eastward about ten days, at the rate of about fifteen or eighteen miles a day, when they saw the river for the last time; it then appeared rather narrower than at Timbuctoo.  They then loaded the camels with water, and striking off in a northerly direction, travelled twelve or thirteen days at about the same pace.

At the end of this time they arrived at a place called Tudenny, or Taudenny, a large village inhabited by Moors and negroes, in which there are four wells of very excellent water.  In this place there are large ponds or beds of salt, which both the Moors and negroes come in great numbers to purchase; in the neighbourhood the ground is cultivated in the same manner as at Timbuctoo.  From the number of Moors, many, if not all of whom, were residents, it appeared that the restriction respecting them, which was in force at Timbuctoo, did not extend to Tudenny.

Page 107

The Moors here are perfectly black, the only personal distinction between them and the negroes being, that the Moors had long black hair, and had no scars on their faces.  The negroes are in general marked in the same manner as those of Timbuctoo.  Here the party stayed fourteen days to give the ransomed Moors, whose long confinement had made them weak, time to recruit their strength; and having sold one of the camels for two sacks of dates and a small ass, and loaded the four remaining camels with water, the dates and the flour, they set out to cross the desert, taking a north-west direction.

They commenced their journey from Tudenny about four o’clock in the morning, and having travelled the first day about twenty miles, they unloaded the camels, and laid down by the side of them to sleep.

The next day they entered the desert, over which they continued to travel in the same direction nine and twenty days, without meeting a single human being.  The whole way was a sandy plain like the sea, without either tree, shrub or grass.  After travelling in this manner about fourteen days, at the rate of sixteen or eighteen miles a day, the people began to grow very weak; their stock of water began to run short, and their provisions were nearly exhausted.  The ass died of fatigue, and its carcass was immediately cut up and laden on the camel, where it dried in the sun, and served for food, and had it not been for this supply, some of the party must have died of hunger.  Being asked if ass’s flesh was good eating, Adams replied, “It was as good to my taste then, as a goose would be now.”

In six days afterwards, during which their pace was slackened to not more than twelve miles a day, they arrived at a place, where it was expected water would be found; but to their great disappointment, owing to the dryness of the season, the hollow place, of about thirty yards in circumference, was found quite dry.

All their stock of water at this time consisted of four goat-skins, and those not full, holding from one to two gallons each; and it was known to the Moors, that they had then ten days further to travel before they could obtain a supply.

In this distressing dilemma it was resolved to mix the remaining water with camels’ urine.  The allowance of this mixture to each camel was only about a quart for the whole ten days; each man was allowed not more than about half a pint a day.

The Moors, who had been in confinement at Timbuctoo, becoming every day weaker, three of them in the four following days lay down, unable to proceed.  They were then placed upon the camels, but continual exposure to the excessive heat of the sun, and the uneasy motion of the animals, soon rendered them unable to support themselves; and towards the end of the second day, they made another attempt to pursue their journey on foot, but could not.  The following morning at day-break, they were found dead on the sand, in the place where they had lain down at night, and were

Page 108

left behind, without being buried.  The next day, another of them lay down, and, like his late unfortunate companions, was left to perish; but on the following day, one of the Moors determined to remain behind, in the hope that he, who had dropped the day before, might still come up, and be able to follow the party; some provisions were left with him.  At this time it was expected, what proved to be the fact, that they were within a day’s march of their town, but neither of the men ever after made his appearance, and Adams has no doubt that they perished.

Vled Duleim, the name of the place at which they now arrived, was a village of tents, inhabited entirely by Moors, who, from their dress, manners, and general appearance, seemed to be of the same tribe as those of the encampment to which Adams was conveyed from El Gazie.  They had numerous flocks of sheep and goats, and two watering places, near one of which their tents were pitched, but the other lay nearly five miles off.

Vled, or Woled D’leim, is the douar of a tribe of Arabs inhabiting the eastern parts of the desert, from the latitude of about twenty degrees north to the tropic.  They are a tribe of great extent and power, inhabiting detached fertile spots of land, where they find water and pasturage for their flocks, but are very ignorant of the commonest principles of agriculture.  They are an extremely fine race of men, their complexion very dark, almost as black as that of the negroes.  They have straight hair, which they wear in large quantities, aqueline noses, and large eyes.  Their behaviour is haughty and insolent, speaking with fluency and energy, and appearing to have great powers of rhetoric.  Their arms are javelins and swords.

The first fortnight after the arrival of the party was devoted to their recovery from the fatigues of the journey; but as soon as their strength was re-established, Adams and his companion were employed in taking care of goats and sheep.  Having now begun to acquire a knowledge of the moorish tongue, they frequently urged their masters to take them to Suerra, which the latter promised they would do, provided they continued attentive to their duty.

Things, however, remained in this state for ten or eleven days, during which time they were continually occupied in tending the flocks of the Moors.  They suffered severely from exposure to the scorching sun, in a state almost of utter nakedness, and the miseries of their situation were aggravated by despair of ever being released from slavery.

The only food allowed to them was barley-flour and camels’ and goats’ milk; of the latter, however, they had abundance.  Sometimes they were treated with a few dates, which were a great rarity, there being neither date-trees, nor trees of any other kind, in the whole of the country round.  But as the flocks of goats and sheep consisted of a great number, from one hundred and fifty to two hundred, and as they were at a distance from the town, Adams and his companion sometimes ventured to kill a kid for their own eating, and to prevent discovery of the fire used in cooking it, they dug a cave, in which a fire was made, covering the ashes with grass and sand.

Page 109

At length, Adams, after much reflection on the miserable state in which he had been so long kept, and was likely to pass the remainder of his life, determined to remonstrate upon the subject.  His master, whose name was Hamet Laubed, frankly replied to him, that as he had not been successful in procuring slaves, it was now his intention to keep him, and not, as he had before led him to expect, to take him to Suerra or Mogadore.  Upon hearing this, Adams resolved not to attend any longer to the duty of watching the goats and sheep; and in consequence, the following day, several of the young goats were found to have been killed by the foxes.

This led to an inquiry, whether Adams or the boy was in fault, when it appearing that the missing goats were a part of Adams’ flock, his master proceeded to beat him with a thick stick; he, however, resisted, and took away the stick, upon which a dozen Moors, principally women, attacked him, and gave him a severe beating.

As, notwithstanding what had occurred, Adams persisted in his determination not to resume his task of tending the goats and sheep, his master was advised to put him to death, but this he was not inclined to do, observing to his advisers, that he should thereby sustain a loss, and that if Adams would not work, it would be better to sell him.  In the mean time, he remained idle in the tent for three days, when he was asked by his master’s wife if he would go to the distant well, to fetch a couple of skins of water, it being of a better quality; to which he signified his consent, and went off the next morning on a camel, with two skins to fetch the water.

On his arrival at the other well, instead of procuring water, he determined to make his escape; and understanding that the course to a place called Wadinoon lay in a direction to the northward of west, he passed the well, and pushing on in a northerly course, travelled the whole of that day, when the camel, which had been used to rest at night, and had not been well broken in, would not proceed any further, and in spite of all the efforts Adams could make, it lay down with fatigue, having gone upwards of twenty miles without stopping.  Finding there was not any remedy, Adams took off the rope, with which his clothes were fastened round his body, and as the camel lay with his fore knee bent, he tied the rope round it in a way to prevent its rising, and then laid down by the side of it.  This rope, which Adams had brought from Timbuctoo, was made of grass, collected on the banks of the river.

The next morning, at daylight, he mounted again, and pushed on till about nine o’clock, when he perceived some smoke in advance of him, which he approached.  There was a small hillock between him and this place, ascending which, he discovered about forty or fifty tents pitched, and on looking back, he saw two camels coming towards him, with a rider on each.  Not knowing whether these were in pursuit of him, or strangers

Page 110

going to the place in view, but being greatly alarmed, he made the best of his way forward.  On drawing near to the town, a number of women came out, and he observed about a hundred Moors standing in a row, in the act of prayer, having their faces towards the east, and at times kneeling down, and leaning their heads to the ground.  On the women discovering Adams, they expressed great surprise at seeing a white man.  He inquired of them the name of the place, and they told him it was Hilla Gibla.  Soon afterwards the two camels, before spoken of, arriving, the rider of one of them proved to be the owner of the camel on which Adams had escaped, and the other his master.  At this time Adams was sitting under a tent, speaking to the governor, whose name was Mahomet, telling him his story; they were soon joined by his two pursuers, accompanied by a crowd of people.

Upon his master claiming him, Adams protested that he would not go back; that his master had frequently promised to take him to Suerra, but had broken his promises, and that he had made up his mind either to obtain his liberty or die.  Upon hearing both sides, the governor determined in favour of Adams, and gave his master to understand, that if he was willing to exchange him for a bushel of dates and a camel, he should have them; but if not, he should have nothing.  As Adams’ master did not approve of these conditions, a violent altercation arose, but at length, finding the governor determined, and that better terms were not to be had, he accepted the first offer, and Adams became the slave of Mahomet.

The natives of Hilla Gibla or El Kabla, appeared to be better clothed, and a less savage race than those of Woled D’leim, between whom there appeared to be great enmity.  The governor, therefore, readily interfered in favour of Adams, and at one time threatened to take away the camel, and to put Mahomet Laubed to death.  Another consideration by which the governor was probably influenced, was a knowledge of the value of a Christian slave, as an object of ransom, of which Mahomet Laubed seemed to be wholly ignorant.

On entering the service of his new master, Adams was sent to tend camels, and had been so employed about a fortnight, when this duty was exchanged for that of taking care of goats.  Mahomet had two wives, who dwelt in separate tents, one of them an old woman, the other a young one; the goats which Adams was appointed to take care of, were the property of the elder one.

Some days after he had been so employed, the younger wife, whose name was Isha, or Aisha, proposed to him that he should also take charge of her goats, for which she would remunerate him, and as there was no more trouble in tending two flocks than one, he readily consented.  Having had charge of the two flocks for several days, without receiving the promised additional reward, he at length remonstrated, and after some negotiation on the subject of his claim, the matter

Page 111

was compromised by the young woman’s desiring him, when he returned from tending the goats at night, to go to rest in her tent.  It was the custom of Mahomet, to sleep two nights with the elder woman, and one with the other, and this was one of the nights devoted to the former.  Adams accordingly kept the appointment, and about nine o’clock Aisha came and gave him supper, and he remained in her tent all night.  This was an arrangement which was afterwards continued on those nights, which she did not pass with her husband.

Things continued in this state for about six months, and as his work was light, and he experienced nothing but kind treatment, his time passed pleasantly enough.  One night his master’s son coming into the tent, discovered Adams with his mother-in-law, and informed his father, when a great disturbance took place; but upon the husband charging his wife with her misconduct, she protested that Adams had laid down in her tent without her knowledge or consent, and as she cried bitterly, the old man appeared to be convinced that she was not to blame.  The old lady, however, declared her belief that the young one was guilty, and expressed her conviction that she should be able to detect her at some future time.

For some days after, Adams kept away from the lady, but at the end of that time, the former affair appearing to be forgotten, he resumed his visits.  One night, the old woman lifted up the corner of the tent, and discovered Adams with Aisha, and having reported it to her husband, he came with a thick stick, threatening to put him to death.  Adams being alarmed, made his escape, and the affair having made a great deal of noise, an acquaintance proposed to Adams to conceal him in his tent, and to endeavour to buy him off the governor.  Some laughed at the adventure; others, and they by far the greater part, treated the matter as an offence of the most atrocious nature, Adams being “a Christian, who never prayed.”

As his acquaintance promised, in the event of becoming a purchaser, to take him to Wadinoon, Adams adopted his advice, and concealed himself in his tent.  For several days, the old governor rejected every overture, but at last he agreed to part with Adams for fifty dollars worth of goods, consisting of blankets and dates, and thus he became the property of Boerick, a trader, whose usual residence was at El Kabla.

The frail one ran away to her mother.

The next day Boerick set out with a party of six men and four camels, for a place called, according to the phraseology of Adams, Villa de Bousbach, but the real name of which was Woled Aboussebah, which they reached after travelling nine days at the rate of about eighteen miles a day, directing their course to the north-east.  On their route they saw neither houses nor trees, but the ground was covered with grass and shrubs.  At this place they found about forty or fifty tents, inhabited by the Moors, and remained five or six days; when there, a Moor, named Abdallah

Page 112

Houssa, a friend of Boerick, arrived from a place called Hieta Mouessa Ali, who informed him that it was usual for the British consul at Mogadore, to send to Wadinoon, where this man resided, to purchase the Christians who were prisoners in that country, and that as he was about to proceed thither, he was willing to take charge of Adams, to sell him for account of Boerick; at the same time, he informed Adams that there were other Christians at Wadinoon.  This being agreed to by Boerick, his friend set out in a few days after for Hieta Mouessa Ali, taking Adams with him.  Instead, however, of going to that place, which lay due north, they proceeded north-north-west, and as they had a camel each, and travelled very fast, the path being good, they went at the rate of twenty-five miles a day, and in six days reached a place called Villa Adrialla, [*] where there were about twenty tents.  This place appeared to be inhabited entirely by traders, who had at least five hundred camels, a great number of goats and sheep, and a few horses.  The cattle were tended by negro slaves.  Here they remained about three weeks, until Abdallah had finished his business, and then set out for Hieta Mouessa Ali, where they arrived in three days.  Adams believed that the reason of their travelling so fast during the last stage was, that Abdallah was afraid of being robbed, of which he seemed to have no apprehension after he had arrived at Villa Adrialla, and therefore they travelled from that place to Hieta Mouessa Ali, at the rate of only about sixteen or eighteen miles a day; their course being due north-west.

[Footnote:  It is the opinion of Mr. Dupuis, that this place should be written Woled Adrialla, but he has no knowledge of it.]

Hieta Mouessa Ali was the largest place which Adams saw, in which there were no houses, there being not less than a hundred tents.  There was here a small brook issuing from a mountain, being the only one he had seen except that at Soudenny; but the vegetation was not more abundant than at other places.  They remained here about a month, during which Adams was as usual employed in tending camels.  As the time hung very heavy on his hands, and he saw no preparation for their departure for Wadinoon, and his anxiety to reach that place had been very much excited, by the intelligence that there were other Christians there, he took every opportunity of making inquiry respecting the course and distance; and being at length of opinion that he might find his way thither, he one evening determined to desert, and accordingly he set out foot alone, with a small supply of dried goats’ flesh, relying upon getting a further supply at the villages, which he understood were on the road.  He had travelled the whole of that night, and until about noon the next day, without stopping, when he was overtaken by a party of three or four men on camels, who had been sent in pursuit of him.  It seems they expected that Adams had been persuaded to leave Hieta Mouessa Ali, by some

Page 113

persons who wished to take him to Wadinoon for sale, and they were therefore greatly pleased to find him on foot and alone.  Instead of ill treating him as he apprehended they would do, they merely conducted him back to Hieta Mouessa Ali, from whence in three or four days afterwards Abdallah and a small party departed, taking him with them.  They travelled five days in a north-west direction at about sixteen miles a day, and at the end of the fifth day, reached Wadinoon.  Having seen no habitations on their route, except a few scattered tents within a day’s journey of that town.

The inhabitants of Wadinoon are descended from the tribe Woled Aboussebah, and owe their independence to its support, for the Arabs of Aboussebah being most numerous on the northern confines of the desert, present a barrier to the extension of the emperor of Morocco’s dominion in that direction.

They have frequent wars with their southern and eastern neighbours, though without any important results; the sterility of the soil throughout the whole of the region of sand, affording little temptation to its inhabitants to dispossess each other of their territorial possessions.


Wadinoon or Wednoon, was the first place at which Adams had seen houses after he quitted Tudenny.  It is a small town, consisting of about forty houses and some tents.  The former are built chiefly of clay, intermixed with stone in some parts, and several of them have a story above the ground-floor.  The soil in the neighbourhood of the town was better cultivated than any he had yet seen in Africa, and appeared to produce plenty of corn and tobacco.  There were also date and fig trees in the vicinity, as well as a few grapes, apples, pears, and pomegranates.  Prickly pears flourished in great abundance.

The Christians whom Adams had heard of, whilst residing at Hieta Mouessa Ali, and whom he found at Wadinoon, proved to be, to his great satisfaction, his old companions, Stephen Dolbie the mate, and James Davison and Thomas Williams, two of the seamen of the Charles.  They informed him, that they had been in that town upwards of twelve months, and that they were the property of the sons of the governor.

Soon after the arrival of Adams at Wadinoon, Abdallah offered him for sale to the governor or sheik, called Amedallah Salem, who consented to take him upon trial; but after remaining a week at the governor’s house, Adams was returned to his old master, as the parties could not agree upon the price.  He was at length, however, sold to Belcassam Abdallah for seventy dollars in trade, payable in blankets, gunpowder, and dates.

The only other white resident at Wadinoon was a Frenchman, who informed Adams that he had been wrecked about twelve years before on the neighbouring coast, and that the whole of the crew, except himself, had been redeemed.  This man had turned Mahommedan, and was named Absalom; he had a wife and child and three slaves, and gained a good living by the manufacture of gunpowder.  He lived in the same house as the person who had been his master, and who, upon his renouncing his religion, gave him his liberty.

Page 114

Among the negro slaves at Wadinoon was a woman, who said she came from a place called Kanno, (Cano?) a long way across the desert, and that she had seen in her own country white men, as white as “bather,” meaning the wall, and in a large boat, with two high sticks in it, with cloth upon them, and that they rowed this boat in a manner different from the custom of the negroes, who use paddles; in stating this, she made the motion of rowing with oars, so as to leave no doubt that she had seen a vessel in the European fashion, manned by white people.

The work in which Adams was employed at Wadinoon, was building walls, cutting down shrubs to make fences, or working on the corn lands, or on the plantations of tobacco, of which a great quantity is grown in the neighbourhood.  It was in the month of August that he arrived there, as he was told by the Frenchman before spoken of; the grain had been gathered, but the tobacco was then getting in, at which he was required to assist.  His labour at this place was extremely severe.  On the moorish sabbath, which was also their market-day, the Christian slaves were not required to labour, unless on extraordinary occasions, when there was any particular work to do, which could not be delayed.  In these intervals of repose, they had opportunity of meeting and conversing together, and Adams had the melancholy consolation of finding that the lot of his companions had been even more severe than his own.  It appeared that, on their arrival, the Frenchman before mentioned, from some unexplained motive, had advised them to refuse to work, and the consequence was, that they had been cruelly beaten and punished, and had been made to work and live hard, their only scanty food being barley flour and indian corn flour.  However, on extraordinary occasions, and as a great indulgence, they sometimes obtained a few dates.

In this wretched manner Adams and his fellow-captives lived until the June following, when a circumstance occurred, which had nearly cost the former his life.  His master’s son, Hameda Bel Cossim, having one sabbath-day ordered Adams to take the horse and go to plough, the latter refused to obey him, urging that it was not the custom of any slaves to work on the sabbath-day, and that he was entitled to the same indulgence as the rest.  Upon which Hameda went into the house and fetched a cutlass, and then demanded of Adams, whether he would go to plough or not.  Upon his replying that he would not, Hameda struck him on the forehead with the cutlass, and gave him a severe wound over the right eye, and immediately knocked him down with his fist.  This was no sooner done, than Adams was set upon by a number of Moors, who beat him with sticks in so violent a manner, that the blood came out of his mouth, two of his double teeth were knocked out, and he was almost killed; it was his opinion that they would have entirely killed him, had it not been for the interference of Boadick, the sheik’s son, who reproached them for their

Page 115

cruelty, declaring that they had no right to compel Adams to work on a market-day.  The next day Hameda’s mother, named Moghtari, came to him, and asked him how he dared to lift his hand against a Moor?  To which Adams, driven to desperation by the ill treatment he had received, replied, that he would even take his life, if it were in his power.  Moghtari then said, that unless he would kiss Hameda’s hands and feet, he should be put in irons, which he peremptorily refused to do.  Soon after.  Hameda’s father came to Adams, and told him, that unless he did kiss his son’s feet and hands, he must be put in irons.  Adams then stated to him, that he could not submit to do so; that it was contrary to his religion to kiss the hands and feet of any person; that in his own country he had never been required to do it; and that, whatever might be the consequence, he would not do it.  Finding he would not submit, the old man ordered that he should be put in irons, and accordingly they fastened his feet together with iron chains, and did the same by his hands.  After he had remained in this state about ten days, Moghtari came to him again, urging him to do as required, and declaring that, if he did not, he should never see the Christian country again.  Adams, however, persevered in turning a deaf ear to her entreaties and threats.  Some time afterwards, finding that confinement was destructive of his health, Hameda came to him, and took the irons from his hands.  The following three weeks, he remained with the irons on his legs, during which time, repeated and pressing entreaties, and the most dreadful threats were used to induce him to submit; but all to no purpose.  He was also frequently advised by the mate and the other Christians, who used to be sent to him, for the purpose of persuading him to submit, as he must otherwise inevitably lose his life.  At length, finding that neither threats nor entreaties would avail, and Adams having remained in irons from June to the beginning of August, and his sufferings having reduced him almost to a skeleton, his master was advised to sell him; for, if longer confined, he would certainly die, and thereby prove a total loss.  Influenced by this consideration, his master at last determined to release him from his confinement; but, although very weak, the moment he was liberated, he was set to gathering in the corn.

About a week afterwards, Dolbie, the mate, fell sick.  Adams had called to see him, when Dolbie’s master, named Brahim, a son of the sheik, ordered him to get up and go to work, and upon Dolbie declaring that he was unable, Brahim beat him with a stick, to compel him to go; but as he still did not obey, Brahim threatened that he would kill him; and upon Dolbie’s replying, that he had better do so at once than kill him by inches, Brahim stabbed him in the side with his dagger, and he died in a few minutes.  As soon as he was dead, he was taken by some slaves a short distance from the town, where a hole was dug, into which he was thrown without ceremony.  As the grave was not deep, and as it frequently happened that corpses after burial were dug out of the ground by the foxes, Adams and his two surviving companions went the next day and covered the grave with stones.

Page 116

As the Moors were constantly urging them to become Mahommedans, and they were unceasingly treated with the greatest brutality, the fortitude of Williams and Davison being exhausted, they at last unhappily consented to renounce their religion, and were circumcised; by this means they obtained their liberty, after which they were presented with a horse, a musket, and a blanket each, and permitted to marry; no Christian being allowed, at any place inhabited by Moors, to take a wife, or to cohabit with a moorish woman.

As Adams was now the only remaining Christian at Wadinoon, he became in a more especial manner an object of the derision and persecution of the Moors, who were constantly upbraiding and reviling him, and telling him that his soul would be lost, unless he became a Mahommedan, insomuch that his life was becoming intolerable.

Mr. Dupuis, speaking of the conduct which Adams received from the Moors, says, “I can easily believe Adams’ statement of the brutal treatment he experienced at Wadinoon.  It is consistent with the accounts I have always heard of the people of that country, who I believe to be more bigoted and cruel than even the remoter inhabitants of the desert.  In the frequent instances which have come under my observation, the general effect of the treatment of the Arabs on the minds of the Christian captives, has been most deplorable.  On the first arrival of these unfortunate men at Mogadore, if they have been any considerable time in slavery, they appear lost to reason and feeling, their spirits broken, and their whole faculties sunk in a species of stupor, which I am unable adequately to describe.  Habited like the meanest Arabs of the desert, they appear degraded even below the negro slave.  The succession of hardships, which they endure, from the caprice and tyranny of their purchasers, without any protecting law to which they can appeal for alleviation or redress, seems to destroy every spring of exertion or hope in their minds; they appear indifferent to every thing around them; abject, servile, and brutified.”

“Adams alone was, in some respects, an exception from this description.  I do not recollect any ransomed Christian slave, who discovered a greater elasticity of spirit, or who sooner recovered from the indifference and stupor here described.”

It is to be remarked, that the Christian captives are invariably worse treated than the idolatrous or pagan slaves, whom the Arabs, either by theft or purchase, bring from the interior of Africa, and that religious bigotry is the chief cause of this distinction.  The zealous disciples of Mahomet consider the negroes merely as ignorant, unconverted beings, upon whom, by the act of enslaving them, they are conferring a benefit, by placing them within reach of instruction in “the true belief;” and the negroes, having no hopes of ransom, and being often enslaved when children, are in general, soon converted to the Mahommedan faith.  The Christians, on the contrary, are looked upon as hardened infidels, and as deliberate despisers of the prophet’s call; and as they in general steadfastly reject the Mahommedan creed, and at least never embrace it, whilst they have hopes of ransom; the Moslim, consistently with the spirit of many passages in the Koran, views them with the bitterest hatred, and treats them with every insult and cruelty which a merciless bigotry can suggest.

Page 117

It is not to be understood that the Christian slaves, though generally ill treated and inhumanly worked by their Arab owners, are persecuted by them ostensibly on account of their religion.  They, on the contrary, often encourage the Christians to resist the importunities of those who wish to convert them; for, by embracing Islamism, the Christian slave obtains his freedom, and however ardent may be the zeal of the Arab to make proselytes, it seldom blinds him to the calculations of self-interest.

Three days after Williams and Davison had renounced their religion, a letter was received from Mr. Dupuis, addressed to the Christian prisoners at Wadinoon, under cover to the governor, in which the consul, after exhorting them most earnestly not to give up their religion, whatever might befal them, assured them that within a month, he should be able to procure their liberty.  Davison heard the letter read, apparently without emotion, but Williams became so agitated that he let it drop out of his hands, and burst into a flood of tears.

From this time, Adams experienced no particular ill treatment, but he was required to work as usual.  About a month more elapsed, when the man who brought the letter, and who was a servant of the British consul, disguised as a trader, made known to Adams that he had succeeded in procuring his release, and the next day they set out together for Mogadore.

On quitting Wadinoon, they proceeded in a northerly direction, travelling on mules at the rate of thirty miles a day, and in fifteen days arrived at Mogadore.  Here Adams remained eight months with Mr. Dupuis.  America and England being then at war, it was found difficult to procure for Adams a conveyance to his native country; he therefore obtained a passage on board a vessel bound to Cadiz, where he remained about fourteen months as servant or groom, in the service of Mr. Hall, an English merchant there.  Peace having been in the mean time restored, Adams was informed by the American consul, that he had now an opportunity of returning to his native country with a cartel, or transport of American seamen, which was on the point of sailing from Gibraltar.  He accordingly proceeded thither, but arrived two days after the vessel had sailed.  Soon afterwards he engaged himself on board a Welsh brig, lying at Gibraltar, in which he sailed to Bilboa, whence the brig took a cargo of wool to Bristol, and after discharging it there, was proceeding in ballast to Liverpool; but having been driven into Holyhead by contrary winds, Adams there fell sick, and was put on shore.  From this place he begged his way up to London, where he arrived completely destitute.  He had slept two or three nights in the open streets, when he was accidentally met by a gentleman, who had seen him in Mr. Hall’s service at Cadiz, and was acquainted with his history, by whom he was directed to the office of the African Association, through whose means his adventures were made known to the public.

Page 118

Adams may be said to have been the first Christian, who ever reached the far-famed city of Timbuctoo, and it must be admitted that many attempts were made to throw a positive degree of discredit upon his narrative, and to consider it more the work of deep contrivance than of actual experience.  It is certain that many difficulties present themselves in the narrative of Adams, which cannot be reconciled with the discoveries subsequently made, but that cannot be argued as a reason for invalidating the whole of his narrative; especially when it is so amply and circumstantially confirmed by the inquiries which were set on foot by Mr. Dupuis, at the instigation of the African Association, and the result of which was, a complete confirmation of all the circumstances, which Adams


It is perhaps not the least of the many extraordinary circumstances attending the city of Timbuctoo, that no two travellers agree in their account of it; and for this reason it is most difficult to decide, to whom the greatest credibility should be awarded, or, on the other hand, whether some of them, who pretend to have resided within its walls, ever visited it at all.  The contradictions of the respective travellers are in many instances so gross, that it is scarcely possible to believe that the description, which they are then giving can apply to one and the same place, and therefore we are entitled to draw the inference, that some of them are practising on our credulity, and are making us the dupes of their imagination, rather than the subjects of their experience.  The expectations of moorish magnificence were raised to a very high pitch, by some of the inflated accounts of the wealth and splendour of the great city of central Africa; but these expectations were considerably abated by the description given of Timbuctoo by Adams and Sidi Hamet, a moorish merchant, who describes that city in the following terms:—­

“Timbuctoo is a very large city, five times as great as Swearah (Suera or Mogadore).  It is built in a level plain surrounded on all sides with hills, except on the south, where the plain continues to the bank of the same river, which is wide and deep, and runs to the east.  We were obliged to go to it to water our camels, and there we saw many boats, made of great trees, some with negroes paddling in them across the river.  The city is strongly walled in with stone laid in clay, like the towns and houses in Suse, only a great deal thicker.”

The latter account is at total variance with both Adams and Caillie, who describe Timbuctoo as a city having no walls, nor any thing resembling fortifications.  “The house of the king is very large and high, like the largest house in Mogadore, but built of the same materials as the walls.  There are a great many more houses in the city, built of stone, with shops on one side, where they sell salt, the staple article, knives, blue cloth, haicks, and an abundance

Page 119

of other things, with many gold ornaments.  The inhabitants are blacks, and the chief is a very large, grey-headed, old black man, who is called shegar, which means sultan or king.  The principal part of the houses are made with large reeds, as thick as a man’s arm, which stand upon their ends, and are covered with small reeds first, and then with the leaves of the date tree; they are round, and the tops come to a point, like a heap of stones.  Neither the shegar nor his people are Moslem; but there is a town divided off from the principal one, in one corner by a strong partition wall, with one gate to it, which leads from the main town, like the Jews’ town or millah in Mogadore.  All the Moors or Arabs, who have liberty to come into Timbuctoo, are obliged to sleep in that part of it every night, or to go out of the city entirely.  No stranger is allowed to enter that millah, without leaving his knife with the gate-keeper; but when he comes out in the morning, it is restored to him.  The people who live in that part are all Moslem.  The negroes, bad Arabs, and Moors are all mixed together, and intermarry, as if they were all of one colour; they have no property of consequence, except a few asses; their gate is shut and fastened every night at dark, and very strongly guarded both by night and by day.  The shegar or king is always guarded by one hundred men on mules, armed with good guns, and one hundred men on foot, with guns and long knives.  He would not go into the millah, and we saw him only four or five times in the two moons we staid at Timbuctoo, waiting for the caravan; but it had perished in the desert, neither did the yearly caravan arrive from Tunis and Tripoli, for it also had been destroyed.”

“The city of Timbuctoo is very rich, as well as very large; it has four gates to it; all of them are opened in the day time, but very strongly guarded and shut at night.  The negro women are very fat and handsome, and wear large round gold rings in their noses, and flat ones in their ears, and gold chains and amber beads about their necks, with images and white fish bones, bent round, and the ends fastened together, hanging down between their breasts; they have bracelets on their wrists and on their ankles, and go barefooted.  I had bought a small snuff-box, filled with snuff, at Morocco, and showed it to the women in the principal street of Timbuctoo, which is very wide.  There were a great number about me in a few minutes, and they insisted on buying my snuff and box; one made me an offer, and another made me another, until one, who wore richer ornaments than the rest, told me, in broken Arabic, that she would take off all she had about her, and give them to me for the box and its contents.  I agreed to accept them, and she pulled off her nose-rings and ear-rings, all her neck-chains, with their ornaments, and the bracelets from her wrists and ankles, and gave them to me in exchange for it.  These ornaments would weigh more than a pound, and were made of solid gold at Timbuctoo.  I kept them through the whole of the journey afterwards, and carried them to my wife, who now wears a part of them.”

Page 120

“Timbuctoo carries on a great trade with all the caravans that come from Morocco, and the shores of the Mediterranean sea.  From Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, &c. are brought all kinds of cloth, iron, salt, muskets, powder and lead swords or scimitars, tobacco, opium, spices and perfumes, amber beads, and other trinkets, with a few more articles.  They carry back, in return, elephants’ teeth, gold dust and wrought gold, gum-senegal, ostrich feathers, very curiously worked turbans, and slaves; a great many of the latter, and many other articles of less importance.  The slaves are brought in from the south-west, all strongly ironed, and are sold very cheap, so that a good stout man may be bought for a haick, which costs in the empire of Morocco about two dollars.”

“The caravans stop and encamp about two miles from the city, in a deep valley, and the negroes do not molest them.  They bring their merchandize near the walls of the city, where the inhabitants purchase all their goods on exchange for the before-mentioned articles; not more than fifty men from any one caravan being allowed to enter the city at a time, and they must go out before others are permitted to enter.  This city carries on a great trade with Wassanah, a city far to the south-east, in all the articles that are brought to it by caravans, and gets returns in slaves, elephants’ teeth, gold, &c.  The principal male inhabitants are clothed with blue cloth shirts, that reach from their shoulders down to their knees, and are very wide, and girt about their loins with a red and brown cotton sash or girdle.  They also hang about their bodies, pieces of different coloured cloth and silk handkerchiefs.  The king is dressed in a white robe of a similar fashion, but covered with white and yellow gold and silver plates, that glitter in the sun.  He has also many other shining ornaments of shells and stones hanging about him, he wears a pair of breeches like the Moors and Barbary Jews, and has a kind of white turban on his head, pointing up, and strung with different kinds of ornaments.  His feet are covered with red morocco shoes.  He has no other weapon about him than a large white staff or sceptre, with a golden lion on the head of it, which he carries in his hand.  His countenance is mild, and he seems to govern his subjects more like a father than a king.  All but the king go bareheaded.  The poor have only a single piece of blue or other cloth about them.  The inhabitants are very numerous; I think six times as many as in Swearah, besides Arabs and other Mahommedans in their millah or separate town, which must contain nearly as many people as there are altogether in Swearah. [*] The women are clothed in a light shirt, or under-dress, and over it a green, red or blue covering, from the bosom to below the knees, the whole of them girt about their waists with a red girdle.  They stain their cheeks and foreheads red or yellow on some occasions; and the married women wear a kind of hood on their heads, made of blue cloth or silk, and cotton handkerchiefs of different kinds and colours, and go barefooted.”

Page 121

[Footnote:  Swearah or Mogadore is stated to contain above 36,000 souls, that is 30,000 Moors and 6,000 Jews.  This calculation would make Timbuctoo to contain 216,000 inhabitants.  A statement which deserves little credit.]

“The king and people of Timbuctoo do not fear and worship God like the Moslem, but like the people of Soudan, they only pray once in twenty-four hours, when they see the moon, and when she is not seen, they do not pray at all.  They cannot read nor write, but are honest.  They circumcise their children, like the Arabs.  They have not any mosques, but dance every night, as the Moors and Arabs pray.”

“If however European expectation had been raised to an extraordinary height respecting the size, riches, and importance of Timbuctoo, it was likely to be still more luxuriantly feasted with the description of another town of central Africa, in comparison of which Timbuctoo must appear as a city of a second rate, and which Sidi Hamet describes as being of the magnitude, that it took him a day to walk round it.”

“According to the statement of Sidi Hamet, he travelled with about two hundred Moslem, to a large city called Wassanah, a place he had never before heard of, nor which is to be found in any of the modern maps of Africa.  For the first six days, they travelled over a plain within sight of the Joliba, in a direction a little to the south of east, till they came to a small town called Bimbinah, where the river turned more to the south-east, by a high mountain to the east.  They now left the river, and pursued a direction more to the southward, through a hilly and woody country for fifteen days, and then came to the river again.  The route wound with the river for three days in a south-easterly direction, and then they had to climb over a very high ridge of mountains, thickly covered with very lofty trees, which took up six days; from the summit, a large chain of high mountains was seen to the westward.  On descending from this ridge, they came immediately to the river’s bank, where it was very narrow and full of rocks.  For the next twelve days, they kept on in a direction generally south-east, but winding, with the river almost every day in sight, and crossed many small streams flowing into it.  High mountains were plainly seen on the western side.  They then came to a ferry, and beyond that travelled for fifteen days more, mostly in sight of the river, till at length after fifty-seven days travelling, not reckoning the halts, they reached Wassanah.”

“This city stands near the bank of the Joliba, which runs past it nearly south, between high mountains on both sides, and is so wide that they could hardly distinguish a man on the other side.  The walls are very large, built of great stones much thicker and stronger than those of Timbuctoo, with four gates.  It took a day to walk round them. The city has twice as many inhabitants as Timbuctoo; [*] the principal people are well dressed, but all are negroes

Page 122

and kafirs.  They have boats made of great trees hollowed out, which will hold from fifteen to twenty negroes, and in these they descend the river for three moons to the great water, and traffic with pale people who live in great boats, and have guns as big as their bodies.”  This great water is supposed to be the Atlantic, and as the distance of three moons must not be less than two thousand five hundred miles, it has been supposed that the Niger must communicate with the Congo.  If so it must be, doubtless, by intermediate rivers; the whole account, however, is pregnant with suspicion, nor has any part of it been verified by any subsequent traveller.

[Footnote:  According to Sidi Hamet, Wassanah must contain nearly half a million of inhabitants.  The circumstance also of the Joliba or Niger being there so bra that a man could scarcely be seen on the other side, throws great discredit over the whole statement of the moorish merchant.]

It is singular, that a great variety of opinion has existed, respecting the exact state of government to which the city of Timbuctoo was subject.  It is well known, that the vernacular histories, both traditionary and written, of the wars of the Moorish empire, agree in stating, that from the middle of the seventeenth century, Timbuctoo was occupied by the troops of the emperors of Morocco, in whose name a considerable annual tribute was levied upon the inhabitants; but that the negroes, in the early part of the last century, taking advantage of one of those periods of civil dissension bloodshed, which generally follow the demise of any of the rulers of Barbary, did at length shake off the yoke of their northern masters, to which the latter were never afterwards able again to reduce them.  Nevertheless, although the emperors of Morocco might be unable at the immense distance, which separate them from Soudan, to resume an authority, which had once escaped I hands, it is reasonable to suppose that the nearer tribes of Arabs would not neglect the opportunity thus afforded them, of returning to their old habits of spoliation, and of exercising their arrogant superiority over their negro neighbours; and that this frontier state would thus become the theatre of continual contests, terminating alternately, in the temporary occupation of Timbuctoo by the Arabs, and in their re-expulsion by negroes.  In order to elucidate the state of things, which we have here supposed, we need not go further than to the history of Europe in our own days.  How often during the successful ravages of Buonaparte, that great Arab chieftain of Christendom, might we not have drawn from the experience of Madrid, or Berlin, or Vienna, or Moscow, the aptest illustration of these conjectures respecting Timbuctoo?  And an African traveller, if so improbable a personage may be imagined, who should have visited Europe in these conjunctures, might very naturally have reported to his countrymen at home, that Russia, Germany and Spain were but provinces of France, and that the common sovereign of all these countries resided sometimes in the Escurial, and sometimes in the Kremlin.

Page 123

We have seen this state of things existing in Ludamar, to the west of Timbuctoo, where a negro population is subjected to the tyranny of the Arab chieftain Ali, between whom and his southern neighbours of Bambarra and Kaarta we find a continual struggle of aggression and self-defence; and the well-known character of the Arabs would lead us to expect a similar state of things along the whole frontier of the negro population.  In the pauses of such a warfare, we should expect to find no intermission of the animosity or precautions of the antagonist parties.  The Arab victorious would be ferocious and intolerant, even beyond his usual violence, and the Koran or the halter would probably be the alternatives, which he would offer to his negro guest; whilst the milder nature of the negro would be content with such measures of precaution and self-defence, as might appear sufficient to secure him from the return of the enemy, whom he had expelled, without excluding the peaceful trader; and, under the re-established power of the latter, we might expect to find at Timbuctoo precisely the same state of things as Adams describes to have existed in 1811.

The reserve, with which we have seen grounds for receiving the testimony of the natives of Africa, may reasonably accompany us in our further comparative examination of their accounts and those of Adams, respecting the population and external appearance of the city of Timbuctoo.  We cannot give such latitude to our credulity as to confide in the statements of Sidi Hamet; nor do we place much reliance on the account of Caillie, who was the last European who may be said to have entered its walls.  Notwithstanding, therefore, the alleged splendour of its court, the polish of its inhabitants, its civilized institutions, and other symptoms of refinement, which some modern accounts or speculations, founded on native reports, have taught us to look for, we are disposed to receive the humbler descriptions of Adams, as approaching with much greater probability to the truth.  Let us, however, not be understood as rating too highly the value of a sailor’s reports.  They must of necessity be defective in a variety of ways.  Many of the subjects upon which Adams was questioned, were evidently beyond the competency of such an individual fully to comprehend or satisfactorily to describe; and we must be content to reserve our final estimates of the morals, religion, civil polity, and learning, if the term may be allowed us, of the negroes of Timbuctoo, until we obtain more conclusive information than could possibly have been derived from so illiterate a man as Adams.  A sufficiency, however, may be gathered from his story, to prepare us for a disappointment of the extravagant expectations, which have been indulged respecting this boasted city.

Page 124

And here we may remark, that the relative rank of Timbuctoo amongst the cities of central Africa, and its present importance with reference to European objects, appear to us to be considerably overrated.  The description of Leo, in the sixteenth century, may indeed lend a colour to the brilliant anticipations in which some sanguine minds have indulged on the same subjects in the nineteenth; but with reference to the commercial pursuits of Europeans, it seems to have been forgotten, that the very circumstance which has been the foundation of the importance of Timbuctoo to the traders of Barbary, and consequently of a great portion of its fame amongst us, its frontier situation on the verge of the desert, at the extreme northern limits of the negro population, will of necessity have a contrary operation now, since a shorter and securer channel for European enterprise into the central regions of Africa has been opened by the intrepidity and perseverance of Park, from the south-western shores of the Atlantic.

Independently of this consideration, there is great reason to believe that Timbuctoo has in reality declined of late from the wealth and consequence which it appears formerly to have enjoyed.  The existence of such a state of things, as we have described, in the preceding pages, the oppositions of the Moors, the resistance of the negroes, the frequent change of masters, and the insecurity of property consequent upon these intestine struggles, would all lead directly and inevitably to this result.  That they have led to it, may be collected from other sources than Adams.  Even Park, to whom so brilliant a description of the city was given by some of his informants, was told by others that it was surpassed in opulence and size by Houssa, Walet, and probably by Jinnie.  Several instances also occur in both his missions, which prove that a considerable trade from Barbary is carried on direct from the desert to Sego and the neighbouring countries, without ever touching at Timbuctoo; and this most powerful of the states of Africa, in the sixteenth century, according to Leo, is now, in the nineteenth, to all appearance, a mere tributary dependency of a kingdom, which does not appear to have been known to Leo even by name.

Such a decline of the power and commercial importance of Timbuctoo would naturally be accompanied by a corresponding decay of the city itself; and we cannot suppose that Adams’ description of its external appearance will be rejected, on account of its improbability, by those, who recollect that Leo describes the habitations of the natives, in his time, almost in the very words of the narrative now [*], and that the flourishing cities of Sego and Sansanding appear, from Park’s account, to be built of mud, precisely in the same manner as Adams describes the houses of Timbuctoo.

Page 125

[Footnote:  One of the numerous discordances between the different translations of Leo, occurs in the passage here alluded to.  The meaning of the Italian version is simply this, that “the dwellings of the people of Timbuctoo are cabins or huts, constructed with stakes, covered with chalk or clay, and thatched with straw, ’le cui case sono capanne fatte di pali coperte di creta co i cortivi di paglia.’ But the expression in the Latin translation, which is closely followed by the old English translator, Pery, implies a state of previous splendour and decay, ’cojus domus omnes in tuguriola, stramineis tectis, sunt mutatae.’”]

But whatever may be the degree of Adams’ coincidence with other authorities, in his descriptions of the population and local circumstances of Timbuctoo, there is at least one asserted fact in this part of his narrative, which appears to be exclusively his own; the existence, we mean, of a considerable navigable river close to the city.  To the truth of which, the credit of Adams is completely pledged.  On many other subjects it is possible that his narrative might be considerably at variance with the truth, by a mere defect of memory or observation, and without justifying any imputation on his veracity, but it is evident that no such latitude can be allowed him in respect to the La Mar Zarah, which, if not in substance true, must be knowingly and wilfully false.

We shall conclude our remarks on Adams’ narrative, by noticing only two important circumstances, respectively propitious and adverse to the progress of discovery and civilization, which is decidedly confirmed by the account of Adams, viz. the mild and tractable natures of the pagan negroes of Soudan, and their friendly deportment towards strangers, on the one hand; and, on the other, the extended and baneful range of that original feature of African society —­slavery.


Previously to entering into any further detail of the different expeditions for exploring the interior of Africa, it may be greatly conducive to the better understanding of the subsequent narratives, when treating of the distinct races of people by which the countries are inhabited, to give a concise statement of the population of that part of Africa, which is known by the appellation of West Barbary, and which may be said to be divided into three great classes, exclusive of the Jews, viz.  Berrebbers, Arabs, and Moors.  The two former of these are, in every respect, distinct races of people, and are each again subdivided into various tribes or communities; the third are chiefly composed of the other two classes, or of their descendants, occasionally mixed with the European or negro races.  The indiscriminate use of the names Arab and Moor, in speaking apparently of the same people, frequently leads the reader into an error as to the real class to which the individual belongs, and thus the national character of the two classes becomes unjustly confounded, whilst at the same time an erroneous opinion is formed of the relative virtues and vices of the different people, with whom the traveller is brought into collision.

Page 126

In the class of the Berrebbers, we include all those, who appear to be descendants of the original inhabitants of the country before the Arabian conquest, and who speak several languages, or dialects of the same language, totally different from the Arabic.  The sub-divisions of this class are:—­1st, the Errifi, who inhabit the extensive mountainous province of that name on the shores of the Mediterranean; 2nd, the Berrebbers of the interior, who commence on the southern confines of the Errifi, and extend to the vicinity of Fez and Mequinez, occupying all the mountains and high lands in the neighbourhood of those cities; 3rd, the Berrebbers of middle Atlas; and, 4th, the Shilluh of Suse and Haha, who extend from Mogadore southward to the extreme boundaries of the dominions of the Cid Heshem, and from the sea coast to the eastern limits of the mountains of Asia.

The Errifi are a strong and athletic race of people, hardy and enterprising, their features are generally good, and might in many cases be considered handsome, were it not for the malignant and ferocious expression, which marks them, in common with the Berrebber tribes in general, but which is particularly striking in the eye of an Errifi.  They also possess that marked feature of the Berrebber tribes, a scantiness of beard; many of the race, particularly in the south, having only a few straggling hairs on the upper lip, and a small tuft on the chin.  They are incessantly bent on robbery and plundering, in which they employ either open violence or cunning and treachery, as the occasion requires, and they are restrained by no checks either of religion, morals, or humanity.  However, to impute to them in particular, as distinct from other inhabitants of Barbary, the crimes of theft, treachery, and murder, would certainly be doing them great injustice, but we believe we may truly describe them as more ferocious and faithless than any other tribe of Berrebbers.

The Berrebbers of the districts of Fez, Mequinez, and the mountains of middle Atlas, strongly resemble the Errifi in person, but are said to be not quite so savage in disposition.  They are a warlike people, extremely tenacious of the independence, which their mountainous country gives them opportunities of asserting, omit no occasion of shaking off the control of government, and are frequently engaged in open hostilities with their neighbours the Arabs, or the emperor’s black troops.  They are, as we are informed, the only tribes in Barbary, who use the bayonet.  The districts which they inhabit are peculiarly interesting and romantic, being a succession of hills and valleys, well watered and wooded, and producing abundance of grain and pasturage.

Page 127

The Shilluh or Berrebbers of the south of Barbary, differ in several respects from their brethren in the north.  They are rather diminutive in person, and besides the want of beard already noticed, have in general an effeminate tone of voice.  They are, however, active and enterprising.  They possess rather more of the social qualities than the other tribes; appear to be susceptible of strong attachments and friendships, and are given to hospitality.  They are remarkable for their attachment to their petty chieftains; and the engagements and friendships of the latter are held so sacred, that no instance is on record of any depredation being committed on travellers furnished with their protection, which it is usual to purchase with a present, or on any of the valuable caravans, which are continually passing to and fro through their territory, between Barbary and Soudan:  the predominant feature of their character is, however, self interest, and although in their dealings amongst strangers, or in the towns, they assume a great appearance of fairness or sincerity, yet they are not scrupulous when they have the power in their own hands, and like the other Berrebbers, they are occasionally guilty of the most atrocious acts of treachery and murder, not merely against Christians, for that is almost a matter of course with all the people of their nation, but even against Mahommedan travellers, who have the imprudence to pass through their country, without having previously secured the protection of one of their chiefs.

As the Shilluh have been said to be sincere and faithful in their friendships, so they are on the other hand, perfectly implacable in their enmities, and insatiable in their revenge.  The following anecdote will exemplify in some degree these traits of their character.  A Shilluh having murdered one of his countrymen in a quarrel, fled to the Arabs from the vengeance of the relations of his antagonist, but not thinking himself secure even there, he joined a party of pilgrims and went to Mecca.  From this expiatory journey he returned at the end of eight or nine years to Barbary, and proceeded to his native district, he there sought, under the sanctified name of El Haje, the pilgrim, a title of reverence amongst the Mahommedans, to effect a reconciliation with the friends of the deceased.  They, however, upon hearing of his return, attempted to seize him, but owing to the fleetness of his horse, he escaped and fled to Mogadore, having been severely wounded by a musket ball in his flight.  His pursuers followed him thither, but the governor of Mogadore hearing the circumstances of the case, strongly interested himself in behalf of the fugitive, and endeavoured, but in vain, to effect a reconciliation.  The man was imprisoned, and his persecutors then hastened to Morocco to seek justice of the emperor.  That prince, it is said, endeavoured to save the prisoner; and to add weight to his recommendation, offered a pecuniary compensation in lieu of the offender’s

Page 128

life, which the parties, although persons of mean condition, rejected.  They returned triumphant to Mogadore, with the emperor’s order for the delivery of the prisoner into their hands; and having taken him out of prison, they immediately conveyed him before the walls of the town, where one of the party, loading his musket before the face of their victim, placed the muzzle to his breast, and shot him through the body; but as the man did not immediately fall, he drew his dagger, and, by repeated stabbing, put an end to his existence.  The calm intrepidity with which this unfortunate Shilluh stood to meet his fate, could not be witnessed without the highest admiration; and however much we must detest the blood-thirstiness of his executioners, we must still acknowledge, that there is something closely allied to nobleness of sentiment in the inflexible perseverance, with which they pursued the murderer of their friend to punishment.

Like the Arabs, the Berrebbers are divided into numerous petty tribes or clans, each tribe or family distinguishing itself by the name of its patriarch or founder.  The authority of the chiefs is usually founded upon their descent from some sanctified ancestor; or upon the peculiar eminence of the individual himself in Mahommedan zeal, or some other religious qualification.

With the exception already noticed, that the Berrebbers of the north are of a more robust and stouter make than the Shilluh, a strong family-likeness runs through all their tribes.  Their customs, dispositions, and national character, are nearly the same; they are all equally tenacious of their independence, which their local positions enable them to assume, and are all animated with the same inveterate and hereditary hatred against their common enemy, the Arab.  They invariably reside in houses or hovels built of stone and timber, which are generally situated on some commanding eminence, and are fortified and loop-holed for self-defence.  Their usual mode of warfare is, to surprise their enemy, rather than overcome him by an open attack; they are reckoned the best marksmen, and possess the best fire-arms in Barbary, which render them a very destructive enemy wherever the country affords shelter and concealment; but although they are always an over-match for the Arabs, when attacked on their own rugged territory, they are obliged on the other hand, to relinquish the plains to the Arab cavalry, against which the Berrebbers are unable to stand on open ground.

The Arabs, who now form so considerable a portion of the population of Barbary, and whose race in the sheriffe line has given emperors to Morocco ever since the conquest, occupy all the level country of the empire, and many of the tribes penetrating into the desert, have extended themselves even to the confines of Soudan.  In person, they are generally tall and robust, with fine features, and intelligent countenances.  Their hair is black and straight, their eyes large,

Page 129

black and piercing, their noses gently arched; their beards full and bushy, and they have invariably good teeth.  The colour of those who reside in Barbary, is a deep, but bright brunette, essentially unlike the sallow tinge of the mulatto.  The Arabs of the desert are more or less swarthy, according to their proximity to the negro states, until, in some tribes they are found entirely black, but without the woolly hair, wide nostril, and thick lip, which peculiarly belong to the African negro.

The Arabs are universally cultivators of the earth, or breeders of cattle, depending on agricultural pursuits alone for subsistence.  To use a common proverb of their own, “the earth is the Arab’s portion.”  They are divided into small tribes or families, each separate tribe having a particular patriarch or head, by whose name they distinguish themselves, and each occupying its own separate portion of territory.  They are scarcely ever engaged in external commerce; they dislike the restraints and despise the security of residence in towns, and dwell invariably in tents made of a stuff woven from goats’ hair and the fibrous root of the palmeta.  In some of the provinces, their residences form large circular encampments, consisting of from twenty to a hundred tents, where they are governed by a sheik or magistrate of their own body.  This officer is again subordinate to a bashaw or governor, appointed by the emperor, who resides in some neighbouring town.  In these encampments there is always a tent set apart for religious worship, and appropriated to the use of the weary or benighted traveller, who is supplied with food and refreshment at the expense of the community.

The character of the Arab, in a general view, is decidedly more noble and magnanimous than that of the Berrebber.  His vices are of a more daring, and if the expression may be used, of a more generous cast.  He accomplishes his designs rather by open violence than by treachery; he has less duplicity and concealment than the Berrebber, and to the people of his own nation or religion, he is much more hospitable and benevolent.  Beyond this, it is impossible to say any thing in his favour.  But it is in those periods of civil discord, which have been so frequent in Barbary, that the Arab character completely develops itself.  On these occasions, they will be seen linked together in small tribes, the firm friends of each other, but the sworn enemies of all the world besides.  While these dreadful tempests last, the Arabs carry devastation and destruction wherever they go, sparing neither age nor sex, and even ripping open the dead bodies of their victims, to discover whether they have not swallowed their riches for the purpose of concealment.  Their barbarity towards Christians ought not to be tried by the same rules as the rest of their conduct, for although it has no bounds but those which self-interest may prescribe, it must almost be considered as a part of their religion;

Page 130

so deep is the detestation which I they are taught to feel for “the unclean and idolatrous infidel.”  A Christian, therefore, who falls into the hands of the Arabs, has no reason to expect any mercy.  If it be his lot to be possessed by the Arabs of the desert, his value as a slave will probably save his life, but if he happens to be wrecked on the coasts of the emperor’s dominions, where Europeans are not allowed to be retained in slavery, his fate would in most cases be immediate death, before the government could have time to interfere for his protection.  The next great division of the people of western Barbary, are the inhabitants of the cities and towns, who may be collectively classed under the general denomination of MOORS, although this name is only known to them through the language of Europeans.  They depend chiefly on trade and manufactures for subsistence, and confine their pursuits in general to occupations in the towns.  Occasionally, however, but very rarely, they may be found to join agricultural operations with the Arabs.

The Moors may be divided into the four following classes:—­1st.  The tribes descended from Arab families. 2nd.  Those of Berrebber descent. 3rd.  The Bukharie. 4th.  The Andalusie.

The Arab families are the brethren of the conquerors of the country, and they form the largest portion of the population of the southern towns, especially of those, which border on Arab districts.  The Berrebber families are in like manner more or less numerous in the towns, according to the proximity of the latter to the Berrebber districts.

The Bukharie, or black tribe, are the descendants of the negroes, brought by the emperor Mulai Ismael, from Soudan.  They have been endowed with gifts of land, and otherwise encouraged by the subsequent emperors, and the tribe, although inconsiderable in point of numbers, has been raised to importance in the state, by the circumstance of its forming the standing army of the emperor, and of its being employed invariably as the instruments of government.  Their chief residence is in the city of Mequinez, about the emperor’s person.  They are also found, but in smaller numbers, in the different towns of the empire.

The Andalusie, who form the fourth class of Moors, are the reputed descendants of the Arab conquerors of Spain, the remnant of whom, on being expelled from that kingdom, appear to have retained the name of its nearest province.  These people form a large class of the population of the towns in the north of Barbary, particularly of Tetuan, Mequinez, Fez, and Rhabatt or Sallee.  They are scarcely, if at all found residing to the south of the river Azamoor, being confined chiefly to that province of Barbary known by the name of El Gharb.

Page 131

These may be considered the component parts of that mixed population, which now inhabit the towns of Barbary, and which are known to Europeans by the name of Moors.  In feature and appearance the greater part of them may be traced to the Arab, or Berrebber tribes, from which they are respectively derived, for marriages between individuals of different tribes are generally considered discreditable.  Such, marriages, however, do occasionally take place, either in consequence of domestic troubles, or irregularity of conduct in the parties, and they are of course attended with a corresponding mixture of feature.  Intermarriages of the other tribes with the Bukharie are almost universally reprobated, and are attributed, when they occur, to interested motives on the part of the tribe which sanctions them, or to the overbearing influence and power possessed by the Bukharie.  These matches entail on their offspring the negro feature, and a mulatto-like complexion, but darker.  In all cases of intermarriage between different tribes or classes, the woman is considered to pass over to the tribe of her husband.

Besides the Moors, the population of the towns is considerably increased by the negro slaves, who are in general prolific, and whose numbers are continually increasing by fresh arrivals from the countries of Soudan.

There are but few of the African travellers, who, in their descriptions of the different characters, which may be said to constitute the various branches of African society, do not frequently make mention of a class of men known by the name of Marabouts, who may be regarded as the diviners or astrologers of the ancients, and of whose manners and imposition a slight sketch may not be thought in this place inexpedient nor useless.

In order to belong to the privileged class of the marabouts, it is requisite to have only one wife, to drink no wine nor spirits, and to know how to read the Koran, no matter however ill the task may be performed.  In a country where incontinence and intemperance are so prevalent, and literature is so entirely unknown, it is not surprising that these men should easily gain credit with the public, but this credit is much augmented if the marabout be skilled in such tricks as are calculated to impose upon the vulgar.  The least crafty amongst them will continue shaking their heads and arms so violently during several hours, that they frequently fall down in a swoon; others remain perfectly motionless, in attitudes the most whimsical and painful, and many of these impostors have the talent of captivating the confidence and good opinion of the multitude, by pretending to perform miracles in the public streets.  This trade descends from father to son; and is so lucrative, that the most fertile parts of the country swarm with these knavish hypocrites.  When they die, the neighbouring tribes erect a sort of mausoleum to their memory, consisting of a square tower, surmounted by a cupola of the most

Page 132

fantastical architecture.  To these tombs, called likewise marabouts, the devout repair in crowds, and are accosted by the deceased through the organs of his surviving representatives, who dwell within the walls of the tower, and artfully contrive to increase the holy reputation of their predecessor, as well as their own profits.  The walls of their tombs are covered with votive tablets and offerings to the deceased, consisting of fire-arms, saddles, bridles, stirrups and baskets of fruit, which no profane hand is allowed to touch, because the departed saint may choose to appropriate the contents to his own use, and by emptying the basket, acquire fresh claims to the veneration of the credulous.  Some of these jugglers generally accompany the armies, when they take the field, feeding the commanders with promises of victory, making the camp the scene of their mummeries and impostures, and dealing in amulets, containing mystic words, written in characters, which none but the marabout who disposes of them can decipher.  According to the price of these amulets, they have respectively the power of shielding the wearer from a poniard, a musket shot and cannon ball, and there is scarcely a man in the army, who does not wear one or more of them round his neck, as well as hang them round that of his horse or camel.  Miraculous indeed is said to be the efficacy of their written characters in cases of sickness, but the presence of the marabout himself is necessary, in order that the writing may suit the nature of the disorder.  When the disease is dangerous, the writing is administered internally, for which purpose they scrawl some words in large characters, with thick streaks of ink round the inside of a cup, dissolve the ink with broth, and with many devout ceremonies pour the liquor down the sick man’s throat.  These impostors have always free access to the beys and other high dignitaries of the state; and with regard to the former, in public audiences they never kiss his hand, but his shoulder, a token of distinction and confidence granted only to relations and persons of importance.

In their religion, the Africans labour under the disadvantage of being left to unassisted reason, and that too very little enlightened.  Man has, perhaps, an instinctive sentiment, that his own fate and that of the universe are ruled by some supreme and invisible power, yet he sees this only through the medium of his wishes and imagination.  He seeks for some object of veneration and means of protection, which may assume an outward and tangible shape.  Thus the African reposes his faith in the doctrine of charms, which presents a substance stamped with a supernatural character, capable of being attached to himself individually, and of affording a feeling of security amid the many evils that environ him.  In all the moorish borders where writing is known, it forms the basis of Fetisherie, and its productions enclosed in golden or ornamented cases, are hung round the person as guardian influences. 

Page 133

Absurd, however, as are the observances of the negro, he is a stranger to the bigotry of his moslem neighbours.  He neither persecutes nor brands as impious those whose religious views differ from his own.  There is only one point, on which his faith assumes a savage character, and displays darker than inquisitorial horrors.  The despot, the object of boundless homage on earth, seeks to transport all his pomp and the crowd of his attendants to his place in the future world.  His death must be celebrated by the corresponding sacrifice of a numerous band of slaves, of wives and of courtiers; their blood must moisten his grave, and the sword of the rude warrior once drawn, does not readily stop; a general massacre often takes place, and the capitals of these barbarian chiefs are seen to stream with blood.


It is impossible not to view the unquenchable zeal and intrepidity, which Park evinced on his first journey, without feeling for the individual the highest sentiments of admiration and respect.  In addition to those high qualifications, we witnessed an admirable prudence in his intercourse with the natives, and a temper not to be ruffled by the most trying provocations; a union of qualities often thought incompatible, and which in our days we fear we cannot expect to see again directed to the same pursuits.  It may be further stated, that to our own feelings, scarcely an individual of the age can be named, who has sunk under circumstances of deeper interest than this lamented traveller; whether we consider the loss, which geographical science has suffered in his death, or whether we confine our views to the blasted hopes of the individual, snatched away from his hard-earned, but unfinished triumph, and leaving to others that splendid consummation, which he so ardently sought to achieve.  True it is, that the future discoverer of the termination of the Niger, must erect the structure of his fame on the wide foundation, with which his great predecessor had already occupied the ground; but although the edifice will owe its very existence to the labours of Park, yet another name than his is now recorded on the finished pile;

Hos ego—­feci, tulit alter honores.

The African Association, although enthusiastically attached to every subject connected with the interior of Africa, soon found that, unless the government would take up the subject as a national affair, no great hope existed of arriving at the great objects of their research; it was therefore proposed by Sir Joseph Banks, that a memorial should be presented to his majesty George III, praying him to institute those measures, by which the discoveries that Park had made in the interior of Africa could be prosecuted, and which might ultimately lead to the solution of those geographical problems, to which the attention of the scientific men of the country were then directed.

Page 134

In the mean time Mr. Park had married the daughter of a Mr. Anderson, with whom he had served his apprenticeship as a surgeon, and having entered with some success in the practice of his profession, in the town of Peebles, it was supposed, that content with the laurels so dearly earned, he had renounced a life of peril and adventure.  But none of these ties could detain him, when the invitation was given to renew and complete his splendid career.  The invitation was formally sent to him by government, in October 1801, to undertake an expedition on a larger scale, into the interior of Africa.  His mind had been brooding on the subject with enthusiastic ardour.  He had held much intercourse with Mr. Maxwell, a gentleman who had long commanded a vessel in the African trade, by whom he was persuaded that the Congo, which since its discovery by the Portuguese, had been almost lost sight of by the Europeans, would prove to be the channel by which the Niger, after watering all the regions of interior Africa, enters the Atlantic.  The scientific world were very much disposed to adopt Park’s views on this subject, and accordingly the whole plan of the expedition was adjusted with an avowed reference to them.  The agitation of the public mind, by the change of ministry, and the war with France, delayed further proceedings till 1804, when Mr. Park was desired by Lord Camden, the colonial secretary, to form his arrangements, with an assurance of being supplied with every means necessary for their accomplishment.  The course which he now suggested, was, that he should no longer travel as a single and unprotected wanderer; his experience decided him against such a mode of proceeding.  He proposed to take with him a small party, who being well armed and disciplined, might face almost any force which the natives could oppose to them.  He determined with this force to proceed direct to Sego, to build there two boats forty feet long, and thence to sail downwards to the estuary of the Congo.  Instructions were accordingly sent out to Goree, that he should be furnished liberally with men, and every thing else of which he might stand in need.

Mr. Park sailed from Portsmouth, in the Crescent transport, on the 30th January 1805.  About the 9th of March, he arrived at the Cape Verd Islands, and on the 28th reached Goree.  There he provided himself with an officer and thirty-five soldiers, and with a large stock of asses from the islands, where the breed of these animals is excellent, and which appeared well fitted for traversing the rugged hills of the high country, whence issue the sources of the Senegal and Niger.  He took with him also two sailors and four artificers, who had been sent from England.  A month however elapsed, before all these measures could be completed, and it was then evident that the rainy season could not be far distant, a period, in which travelling is very difficult and trying to European constitutions.  It is clear, therefore, that it

Page 135

would have been prudent to remain at Goree or Pisania, till that season had passed; but in Mr. Park’s enthusiastic state of mind, it would have been extremely painful to linger so long on the eve of his grand and favorite undertaking.  He hoped, and it seemed possible, that before the middle of June, when the rains usually began, he might reach the Niger, which could then be navigated without any serious toil or exposure.  He departed, therefore, with his little band from Pisania, on the 4th May, and proceeded through Medina, along the banks of the Gambia.  With so strong a party, he was no longer dependent on the protection of the petty kings and mansas, but the Africans seeing him so well provided, thought he had now no claim on their hospitality; on the contrary, they seized every opportunity to obtain some of the valuable articles which they saw in his possession.  Thefts were practised in the most audacious manner; the kings drove a hard bargain for presents; at one place, the women, with immense labour had emptied all the wells, that they might derive an advantage from selling the water.  Submitting quietly to these little annoyances, Mr. Park proceeded along the Gambia till he saw it flowing from the south, between the hills of Foota Jalla and a high mountain called Mueianta.  Turning his face almost due west, he passed the streams of the Ba Lee, the Ba Ting, and the Ba Woollima, the three principal tributaries of the Senegal.  His change of direction led him through a tract much more pleasing, than that passed in his dreary return through the Jallonka wilderness.  The villages, built in delightful mountain glens, and looking from their elevated precipices over a great extent of wooded plain, appeared romantic beyond any thing he had ever seen.  The rocks near Sullo, assumed every possible diversity of form, towering like ruined castles, spires and pyramids.  One mass of granite so strongly resembled the remains of a gothic abbey, with its niches:  and ruined staircase, that it required some time to satisfy him of its being composed wholly of natural stone.  The crossing of the river, now considerably swelled, was attended with many difficulties, and in one of them Isaaco, the guide, was nearly devoured by a crocodile.

It was near Satadoo, soon after passing the Faleme, that the party experienced the first tornado, which marking the commencement of the rainy season, proved for them the “beginning of sorrows.”  In these tornadoes, violent storms of thunder and lightning are followed by deluges of rain, which cover the ground three feet deep, and have a peculiarly malignant influence on European constitutions.  In three days twelve men were on the sick-list; the natives, as they saw the strength of the expedition decline, became more bold and frequent in their predatory attacks.  At Gambia attempts were made to overpower by main force the whole party, and seize all they possessed; but, by merely presenting their muskets, the assault was repelled without bloodshed.  At

Page 136

Mania Korro the whole population hung on their rear for a considerable time, headed by thirty of the king’s sons; and some degree of delicacy was felt as to the mode of dealing with these august thieves, so long as their proceedings were not quite intolerable.  One of them came up and engaged Mr. Park in conversation, while another ran off with his fowling-piece, and on his attempting to pursue him, the first took the opportunity of seizing his great coat.  Orders were now given to fire on all depredators, royal or plebeian; and after a few shots had been discharged without producing any fatal effects, the thieves hid themselves amongst the rocks, and were merely seen peeping through the crevices.

The expedition continued to melt away beneath the deadly influence of an African climate.  Everyday added to the list of the sick or dead, or of those who declared themselves unable to proceed.  Near Bangassi, four men lay down at once.  It was even with difficulty that Mr. Park dragged forward his brother-in-law, Mr. Anderson, while he himself felt very sick and faint.  His spirits were about to sink entirely, when, coming to an eminence, he obtained a distant view of the mountains, the southern base of which he knew to be watered by the Niger.  Then indeed he forgot his fever, and thought only of climbing the blue hills, which delighted his eyes.

Before he could arrive at that desired point, three weeks elapsed, during which he experienced the greatest difficulty and suffering.  At length, he reached the summit of the ridge, which divides the Senegal from the Niger, and coming to the brow of the hill, saw again this majestic river rolling its immense stream along the plain.  His situation and prospects were, however, gloomy indeed, when compared with those, with which he had left the banks of the Gambia.  Of thirty-eight men, whom he then had with him, there survived only seven, all suffering from severe sickness, and some nearly at the last extremity.  Still his mind was full of the most sanguine hopes, especially when, on the 22nd August, he found himself floating on the waters of the Niger, and advancing towards the ultimate object of his ambition.  He hired canoes to convey his party to Maraboo, and the river here, a mile in breadth, was so full and so deep, that its current carried him easily over the rapids, but with a velocity, which was even in a certain degree painful.

At Maraboo, he sent forward Isaaco, the interpreter, to Mansong, with part of the presents, and to treat with that monarch for protection, as well as for permission to build a boat.  This envoy was absent several days, during which great anxiety was felt, heightened by several unfavourable rumours, amongst which was, that the king had killed the envoy with his own hand, and announced his purpose to do the same to every white man, who should come within his reach.  These fears were, however, dispelled by the appearance of the royal singing-man, who brought a message of welcome,

Page 137

with an invitation to repair to Sego, and deliver in person the remaining presents intended for the monarch.  At Samee, the party met Isaaco, who reported that there was something very odd in his reception by Mansong.  That prince assured him, in general, that the expedition would be allowed to pass down the Niger; but whenever the latter came to particulars, and proposed an interview with Mr. Park, the king began to draw squares and triangles with his finger on the sand, and in this geometrical operation his mind seemed wholly absorbed.  Isaaco suspected that he laboured under some superstitious dread of white men, and sought by these figures to defend himself against their magic influence.  It was finally arranged, that the presents should be delivered, not to Mansong in person, but to Modibinne, his prime minister, who was to come to Samee for that purpose.  He accordingly appeared, and began by inquiring, in the king’s name, an explanation why Park had come to Bambarra, with so great a train, from so distant a country, allowing him a day to prepare his reply.  Next morning, the traveller gave an answer in form, representing his mission as chiefly commercial, and holding forth the advantages, which Bambarra might reap by receiving European goods directly from the coast, instead of circuitously, as now, through Morocco, the desert, Timbuctoo, and Jenne, having a profit levied on them at every transfer.  Modibinne expressed satisfaction both with the reasons and the presents, and on his return next day, offered, on the part of Mansong, the option of building a boat either at Samee, Sego, Sansanding, or Jenne.  Park chose Sansanding, thus enabling the king to avoid an interview with the Europeans, of which he seemed to entertain so mysterious a dread.

The voyage down the river was distressing; for although the fatigue of travelling was avoided, the heat was so intense, that it was thought sufficient to have roasted a sirloin, and the sick had thus no chance of recovery.  Sansanding was found a prosperous and flourishing town, with a crowded market well arranged.  The principal articles, which were cloth of Houssa or Jenne, antimony, beads, and indigo, were each arranged in stalls, shaded by mats from the heat of the sun.  There was a separate market for salt, the main staple of their trade.  The whole presented a scene of commercial order and activity totally unlooked for in the interior of Africa.

Mansong had promised to furnish two boats, but they were late in arriving, and proved very defective.  In order to raise money, it was necessary to sell a considerable quantity of goods; nor was it without much trouble, that the two skiffs were finally converted into the schooner Joliba, forty feet long, six broad, and drawing only one foot of water, being the fittest form for navigating the Niger downward to the ocean.

Page 138

During Mr. Park’s stay at Sansanding, he had the misfortune to lose his brother-in-law, Mr. Anderson, to whom his attachment was so strong as to make him say, “No event which took place during the journey ever threw the smallest gloom over my mind, till I laid Mr. Anderson in the grave.  I then felt myself as if left a second time, lonely and friendless amidst the wilds of Africa.”  Although the party were now reduced to five Europeans, one of whom was deranged, and although the most gloomy anticipations could not fail to arise in the mind of Mr. Park, his firmness was in no degree shaken.  He announced to Lord Camden his fixed purpose to discover the termination of the Niger, or to perish in the attempt, adding, “Though all the Europeans, who are with me should die, and though I were myself half dead, I would still persevere.”  To Mrs. Park he announced the same determination, combined with an undoubting confidence of success, and the commencement of his voyage down the Niger, through the vast unknown regions of interior Africa, he called, “turning his face towards England.”

It was on the 7th November 1805, that Park set sail on his last and fatal voyage.  A long interval elapsed without any tidings, which, considering the great distance, and the many causes of delay, did not at first excite alarm amongst his friends.  As the following year, however, passed on, rumours of an unpleasant nature began to prevail.  Alarmed by these, and feeling a deep interest in his fate, Governor Maxwell, of Sierra Leone, engaged Isaaco, the guide, who had been sent to the Gambia with despatches from the Niger, to undertake a fresh journey to inquire after him.  At Sansanding he was so far fortunate as to meet Amadi Fatouma, who had been engaged to succeed himself as interpreter.  From him he received a journal, purporting to contain the narrative of the voyage down the river, and of its final issue.  The party, it would appear, had purchased three slaves, who, with the five Europeans and Fatouma, increased their number to nine.  They passed Silla and Jenne in a friendly manner; but at Rakbara (Kabra) and Timbuctoo, they were attacked by several armed parties, who were repelled only by a smart and destructive fire.  No particulars are given of any of these important places; nor of Kaffo Gotoijege and others, which the discoverers are represented as having afterwards passed.  At length they came to the village, more properly the city of Yaour, where Amadi Fatouma left the party, his services having been engaged only to that point, He had, however, scarcely taken his leave, when he was summoned before the king, who bitterly complained that the white men, though they brought many valuable commodities with them, had passed without giving him any presents.  He therefore ordered that Fatouma should be thrown into irons, and a body of troops sent in pursuit of the English.  These men reached Boussa, and took possession of a pass, where rocks, hemming in the river, allowed only a narrow channel

Page 139

for vessels to descend.  When Park arrived, he found the passage thus obstructed, but attempted nevertheless to push his way through.  The people began to attack him, throwing lances, pikes, arrows, and stones.  He defended himself for a long time, when two of his slaves at the stern of the canoe were killed.  The crew threw every thing they had into the river, and kept firing; but being overpowered by numbers and fatigue, unable to keep up the canoe against the current, and seeing no probability of escaping, Mr. Park took hold of one of the white men, and jumped into the water.  Martyn did the same, and they were all drowned in the stream in attempting to escape.  The only slave that remained in the boat, seeing the natives persist in throwing weapons into it without ceasing, stood up and said to them, “Stop throwing now; you see nothing in the canoe, and nobody but myself; therefore cease.  Take me and the canoe; but don’t kill me.”  They took possession of both, and carried them to the king.

These sad tidings, conveyed in course to England, were not for a long time received with general belief.  The statement, being sifted with care, was thought to contain inconsistencies, as well as such a degree of improbability as left some room for hope; but year after year elapsed, and this hope died away.  Denham and Clapperton received accounts from various quarters, which very nearly coincided with those of Amadi Fatouma.  Clapperton, in his last journey, even saw the spot where he perished, which, allowing for some exaggeration, did not ill correspond with the description just given; and further, he received notice that Park’s manuscripts were in the possession of the king of Yaour, or Youri, who offered to deliver them up, on condition that the captain would pay him a visit, which he, unfortunately, was never able to perform.


The fate of Park, notwithstanding the deep regret which it excited in England and in Europe, presented nothing which could destroy the hope of future success.  The chief cause of failure could be easily traced to the precipitation into which he had been betrayed by a too ardent enthusiasm.  Nothing had ever been discovered adverse to the hypothesis that identified the Niger with the Congo, which still retained a strong hold on the public mind.  The views of government and of the nation on this subject were entirely in unison.  It was therefore determined, that an expedition on a grand scale should be fitted out, divided into two portions; one to descend the Niger, and the other to ascend the Congo; which two parties, it was fondly hoped, would effect a triumphant meeting in the middle of the great stream that they were sent to explore.  The public loudly applauded this resolution; and never perhaps did an armament, expected to achieve the most splendid victories, excite deeper interest than this, which seemed destined to triumph over the darkness that had so long enveloped the vast interior of Africa.

Page 140

The expedition to the Congo was entrusted to Captain Tuckey, an officer of merit and varied services, who had published several works connected with geography and navigation.  Besides a crew of about fifty, including marines and mechanics; he was accompanied by Mr. Smith, an eminent botanist, who likewise possessed some knowledge of geology; Mr. Cranck, a self-taught, but able zoologist; Mr. Tudor, a good comparative-anatomist; Mr. Lock-hart, a gardener from Kew; and Mr. Galwey, an intelligent person, who volunteered to join the party.

They sailed from Deptford on the 16th February 1816, and reached Malemba on the 30th June, where they met with a cordial reception from the mafook, or king’s merchant, in the belief that they were come to make up a cargo of slaves.  The chiefs, on being reluctantly convinced of the contrary, burst into the most furious invectives against the crowned heads of Europe, particularly the king of England, whom they denominated the “devil,” imputing chiefly to him the stop put to this odious, but lucrative traffic.  A few days brought the English into the channel of the Congo, which, to their great surprise, instead of exhibiting the immense size they had been taught to expect, scarcely appeared a river of the second class.  The stream it is true, was then at the lowest, but the depth being still more than 150 fathoms, made it impossible to estimate the mass of water which its channel might convey to the ocean.  The banks were swampy, overgrown with mangrove trees, and the deep silence and repose of these extensive forests made a solemn impression upon the mind.

At Embomma, the emporium of the Congo, much interest was excited by the discovery, that a negro officiating as cook’s mate, was a prince of the blood. [*] He was welcomed with rapture by his father, and with a general rejoicing by the whole village.  The young savage was soon arrayed in full African pomp, having on an embroidered coat, very much tarnished, a silk sash, and a black glazed hat, surmounted by an enormous feather.  Captain Tuckey was introduced to the cheeno, or hereditary chief, who, with his huge gilt buttons, stockings of pink sarcenet, red half-boots, and high-crowned embroidered hat, reminded him of punch in a puppet show.  It was vain attempting to convey to this sage prince, any idea of the objects of the expedition.  The terms which express science, and an enlightened curiosity, did not excite in his mind a single idea, and he rang continual changes on the questions:—­Are you come to trade? and are you come to make war? being unable to conjecture any other motive.  At length having received a solemn declaration, that there was no intention to make war, he sealed peace by the acceptance of a large present of brandy.

Page 141

[Footnote:  This is by no means an uncommon case in the ships trading to Africa, for we were once honoured by an introduction to one of these princes, who came to England in Capt.  Fullerton’s ship, in the humble capacity of a cabin boy.  We could not exactly ascertain whether he considered any part of England, as belonging to the territory of his father, but he seemed very much disposed to consider our house as his home, for having once gained a footing in it, it was a very difficult matter to make him comprehend, when it was high time for him to take his departure.  He once honoured us with a visit at nine o’clock in the morning, and at eleven at night, he was seated upon the same chair that he had taken possession of in the morning, during which time he had consumed ten basins of pea-soup, with a proportionate quantity of other substantials.]

After sailing between ridges of high rocky hills, the expedition came to the Yellala, or great cataract, and here they met with a second disappointment.  Instead of another Niagara, which general report had led them to expect, they saw only a comparative brook bubbling over its stony bed.  The fall appears to be occasioned merely by masses of granite, fragments of which have fallen down and blocked up the stream.  Yet this obstruction rendered it quite impossible for the boats to pass, nor could they be carried across the precipices and deep ravines, by which the country was intersected.  The discoverers were, therefore, obliged to proceed by land through this difficult region, which, without a guide on whom they could rely, was attended with overwhelming toil.  Cooloo Inga, and Mavoonda, the principal villages, were separated by wide intervals, which placed the travellers under the necessity of often sleeping in the open air.  At length the country improved and became more level; the river widened, and the obstacles to its navigation gradually disappeared.  But just as the voyage began to assume a prosperous aspect, indications of its fatal termination began to show themselves.  The health of the party was rapidly giving way under the effects of fatigue, as well as the malignant influence of a damp and burning atmosphere.  Tudor, Crouch and Galwey, were successively obliged to return to the ship.  Captain Tuckey, after struggling for some time against the increasing pressure of disease and exhaustion, as well as the accumulating difficulties of the expedition, saw the necessity of putting a stop to its further progress.  Mr. Smith at first expressed deep disappointment at this resolution, but soon became so ill that he could scarcely be conveyed to the vessel.  On reaching it, a sad scene awaited the survivors; Crouch, Tudor and Galwey, were no more; they had successively sunk under the weight of disease.  Mr. Smith soon shared their fate, and Captain Tuckey himself, on the 4th October, added one more to the number of deaths, without having suffered the usual attack of fever.  He had been exhausted by constant depression and mental anxiety.

Page 142

From this unfortunate expedition, however, some information was obtained respecting a part of Africa, not visited for several centuries.  No trace indeed was seen of the great kingdoms, or of the cities and armies described by the Portuguese missionaries, so that though the interior may very probably be more populous than the banks of the river, there must in these pious narratives be much exaggeration; indeed it is not unworthy of remark, that all the accounts of the early missionaries, into whatever part of the world they undertook to intrude themselves, can only be looked upon as a tissue of falsehood, and hyperbolical misrepresentation.

The largest towns, or rather villages, did not contain above one hundred houses, with five hundred or six hundred inhabitants.  They were governed by chenoos, with a power nearly absolute, and having mafooks under them, who were chiefly employed in the collection of revenue.  The people were merry, idle, good-humoured, hospitable, and liberal, with rather an innocent and agreeable expression of countenance.  The greatest blemish in their character appeared in the treatment of the female sex, on whom they devolved all the laborious duties of life, even more exclusively than is usual among negro tribes, holding their virtues also in such slender esteem, that the greatest chiefs unblushingly made it an object of traffic.  Upon this head, however, they have evidently learned much evil from their intercourse with Europeans.  The character of the vegetation, and the general aspect of nature, are pretty nearly the same on the Congo, as on the other African rivers.

Meantime the other part of the expedition, under Major Peddie, whose destination it was to descend the Niger, arrived at the mouth of the Senegal.  Instead of the beaten track along the banks of that river or of the Gambia, he preferred the route through the country of the Foulahs, which, though nearer, was more difficult and less explored.  On the 17th November 1816, he sailed from the Senegal, and on the 14th December, the party, consisting of one hundred men, and two hundred animals, landed at Kakundy, on the Rio Nunez; but before they could begin their march, Major Peddie was attacked with fever, and died.  Captain Campbell, on whom the command devolved, proceeded on the line proposed till he arrived at a small river, called the Ponietta, on the frontier of the Foulah territory.  By this time many of the beasts of burden had sunk, and great difficulty was found in obtaining a sufficient supply of provisions.  The king of the Foulahs, on being asked permission to pass through his territory, seemed alarmed at hearing of so large a body of foreigners about to enter his country.  He contrived, under various pretexts, to detain them on the frontier four months, during which their stock of food and clothing gradually diminished, while they were suffering all the evils that arise from a sickly climate and a scanty supply of necessaries.  At length, their situation

Page 143

became such as to place them under the absolute necessity of returning.  All their animals being dead, it was necessary to hire the natives to carry their baggage, an expedient which gave occasion to frequent pillage.  They reached Kakundy with the loss only of Mr. Kum-Doer, the naturalist; but Captain Campbell, overcome by sickness and exertion, died two days after, on the 13th of June 1817.  The command was then transferred to Lieutenant Stokoe, a spirited young naval officer, who had joined the expedition as a volunteer.  He had formed a new scheme for proceeding into the interior; but unhappily he also sunk under the climate and the fatigues of the, journey.

A sentence of death seemed pronounced against all, who should attempt to penetrate the African continent, and yet were still some, daring spirits, who did not shrink from the undertaking.  Captain Gray, of the Royal African corps, who had accompanied the last-mentioned expedition, under Major Peddie and Captain Campbell, undertook, in 1818, to perform a journey by Park’s old route along the Gambia.  He reached, without any obstacle, Boolibani, the capital of Bondou, where he remained from the 20th June 1818 to the 22nd May 1819; but, owing to the jealousy of the monarch, he was not permitted to proceed any further.  With some difficulty he reached Gallam, where he met Staff-surgeon Dockard, who had gone forward to Sego, to ask permission to proceed through Bambarra, a request which had also been evaded.  The whole party then returned to Senegal.

In 1821, Major Laing was sent on a mission from Sierra Leone, through the Timannee, Kooranko, and Soolima countries, with the view of forming some commercial arrangements.  On this journey he found reason to believe, that the source of the Niger lay much further to the south than was supposed by Park.  At Falabo he was assured that it might have been reached in three days, had not the Kissi nation, in whose territory it was situated, been at war with the Soolimanas, with whom Major Laing then resided.  He was inclined to fix the source of this great river a very little above the ninth degree of latitude.


The British government was in the mean time indefatigable in their endeavours to find out the channels for exploring the interior of Africa.  The pashaw of Tripoli, although he had usurped the throne by violent means, showed a disposition to improve his country, by admitting the arts and learning of Europe, while the judicious conduct of Consul Warrington inclined him to cultivate the friendship of Britain.  Through his tributary kingdom of Fezzan, he held close and constant communication with Bornou, and the other leading states of central Africa, and he readily undertook to promote the views of any English expedition in that direction.  The usual means were supplied by the government, and the ordinary inducements held forth by the association.

Page 144

In consequence of these amicable dispositions evinced by the bashaw of Tripoli towards the British government, it was resolved to appoint a vice-consul to reside at Mourzouk, the capital of Fezzan; and the late Mr. Ritchie, then private secretary to Sir Charles Stuart, the British ambassador at Paris, was selected for the undertaking.  He was joined at Tripoli by Captain G. F. Lyon, who had volunteered his services as his companion; and to this enterprising and more fortunate traveller, who has braved alike the rigours of an Arctic winter, and the scorching heats of central Africa, we are indebted for the narrative of the expedition.

On the 25th March 1819, the coffle, (kafila, kefla,) consisting of about two hundred men, and the same number of camels, commenced its march from Tripoli for the interior.  They were accompanied by Mohammed el Mukni, the sultan of Fezzan, from whose protection and friendship the greatest advantages were anticipated.  By the express advice of the bashaw, the English travellers assumed the moorish costume, with the character of Moslem.  Mr. Ritchie’s name was converted into Yusuf al Ritchie; Captain Lyon called himself Said Ben Abdallah; and Belford, a ship-wright, who had entered into their service, took the name of Ali.  In the coffle were several parties of liberated blacks, all joyful at the idea of once more returning to their native land, though the means of their support were very slender, and many of them, with their young children, had to walk a distance of two thousand miles before they could reach their own country.

The route lay for the first two days over a sandy irregular desert, and then entered the mountains of Terkoona, situated to the south-east of Tripoli, and which seems to be a continuation of the Gharian or Wahryan range.  Several little streams flow from the sides of the hills, abounding with game, particularly snipes and partridges.  On the sixth day, passing over a stony desert, they reached Benioleed, an Arab town, with about two thousand inhabitants.  It consists of several straggling mud villages, on the sides of a fertile ravine, several miles in length, and bounded by rocks of difficult access.  The centre is laid out in gardens, planted with date and olive trees, and producing also corn, vegetables, and pulse.  The valley is subject to inundation during the winter rains, but in summer requires to be watered with great labour, by means of wells of extraordinary depth.  It is inhabited by the Orfella tribe, subsisting chiefly by agriculture, and the rearing of cattle, aided only in a trifling degree by a manufacture of nitre; they are accounted hardy and industrious, but at the same time dishonest and cruel.  Benioleed castle stands in latitude 31=B0 45’ 38” N., longitude 14=B0 12’ 10” E.

Page 145

The houses are built of rough stones, on each side of the Wady, none are above eight feet in height, receiving their light only through the doors, and their appearance is that of a heap of ruins.  The wells are from 100 to 200 feet in depth, the water excellent.  During the rains, the valley frequently became flooded by the torrents, and the water has been known to rise so nigh as to hide from view the tallest olive trees in the low grounds.  Men and animals are often drowned in the night, before they have time to escape.  The torrents from the hill-sides rushing down with such impetuosity, that in an hour or two, the whole country is inundated.

On leaving Benioleed, it was necessary to take a supply of water for three days.  The country presented an alternation of stony desert, and plains not incapable of cultivation, but having at this season no water.  On the fifth day (6th April), they crossed Wady Zemzem, which runs into the Gulf of Syrtis, and passing over a plain strewed in some parts with cockle-shells, reached the well of Bonjem, which is the northern boundary of Fezzan.

On the 7th April, the camels being loaded with four days’ water, the caravan left Bonjem, and proceeded over a barren desert called Klia.  At the end of three hours and a half, they passed a remarkable mound of limestone and sand, resembling, until a very near approach, a white turret.  It is called by the natives the Bowl of Bazeen, the latter word signifying an Arab dish, somewhat resembling a hasty pudding.  The halt was made at the end of ten hours, in a sandy wady, called Boo-naja, twenty-two miles south-southeast of Bonjem.

The next day, the road led through a defile, called Hormut Em-halla (the pass of the army); then passing a range of table-mountains, running north-east and south-west, called Elood, it crossed a stony and very uneven plain, encircled with mountains, to the pass of Hormut Tazzet.  Having cleared the pass, the road opened upon a plain called El Grazat Arab Hoon, where the caravan encamped, after a march of twelve hours and a half.  Here one of the camels died; three others were unable to come up, and all of the camels in the coffle were much distressed, not having for several days tasted any kind of food.  Two hours and a half further, they came to a solitary tree, which is reckoned a day’s journey from water.  Slaves, in coming from the water, are not allowed to drink until they reach the tree, which is one of the longest stages from Fezzan.  At the end of nearly eleven hours, the route led through a pass called Hormut Taad Abar, and after wading through a wady, closely hemmed in by mountains, opened into a small circular plain, in which was found a well of brackish, stinking water.  In hot seasons, the well is dry, and even at this time it was very low; but the horses sucked up with avidity the mud that was thrown out of it.  Still there was not any fodder for the camels, till, about the middle

Page 146

of the next day’s march, they reached a small wady, in which there were some low bushes.  A strong sand-wind from the southward now rendered the march extremely harassing.  The sand flew about in such quantities, that the travellers were unable to prepare any food, and they could not even see thirty yards before them.  In the evening they encamped amid a plantation of palms, near two wells of tolerably fresh water, at a short distance from Sockna.  Of this town, which is about half-way between Tripoli and Mourzouk, Captain Lyon gives the following description:—­

Sockna stands on an immense plain of gravel, bounded to the south by the Soudah mountains, at about fifteen miles; by the mountains of Wadam, about thirty miles to the eastward; a distant range to the west, and those already mentioned on the north.  The town is walled, and may contain two thousand persons.  There are small projections from the walls, having loop-holes for musketry.  It has seven gates, only one of which will admit a loaded camel.  The streets are very narrow, and the houses are built of mud and small stones mixed, many of them having a story above the ground-floor.  A small court is open in the centre, and the doors, which open from this area, give the only light which the rooms receive.  The water of Sockna is almost all brackish or bitter.  There are 200,000 date trees in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, which pay duty; also an equal number, not yet come into bearing, which are exempt.  These dates grow in a belt of sand, at about two or three miles distant from the town, and are of a quality far superior to any produced in the north of Africa.  Owing to their excellence, they are sold at a very high price at Tripoli.  The adjoining country is entirely destitute of shrubs, or any kind of food for camels, which are therefore sent to graze about five miles off; while in the town, all animals are fed on dates.  Sheep are brought here from Benioleed, and are, in consequence of coming from such a distance, very dear.  In the gardens about three miles from the town, barley, maize, and gussob ohourra are cultivated, as well as a few onions, turnips, and peppers.  The number of flies here are immense, and all the people carry little flappers, made of bunches of wild bulls’ hair tied to a short stick, in order to keep those pests at a distance.  The dates all being deposited in store-houses in the town, may account in some degree for the multitude of these insects, which in a few minutes fill every dish or bowl containing any liquid.

The costume is here the same as that of the Bedouins, consisting generally of a shirt and barracan, a red cap, and sandals.  A few, whose circumstances allow of it, dress in the costume of Tripoli.  The neat appearance of the men in general is very striking, compared with that of the Arabs about the coast.  The women are considered exceedingly handsome, indeed one or two were really so, and as fair as Europeans, but they are noted for their profligacy and love of intrigue.

Page 147

The first day of spring is at Sockna a day of general rejoicing.  It is then the custom, to dress out little tents or bowers on the tops of the houses, decorating them with carpets, jereeds, shawls, and sashes.  A gaudy handkerchief on a pole, as a standard, completes the work, which is loudly cheered by the little children, who eat, drink, and play during the day in these covered places, welcoming the spring by songs, and crying continually, “O welcome spring, with pleasure bring us plenty.”  The women give entertainment in their houses, and the day is quite a holiday.  From the top of the houses in which Captain Lyon lodged, these little bowers had a very pretty effect, every roof in the town being ornamented with one.  Four ears of corn were this day seen perfectly ripe, which was very early for the season.  The gardens here are excellent, compared with the others in Fezzan.

Ten miles east by south from Sockna is the town of Hoon.  It is smaller than Sockna, but is built and walled in the same manner.  It has three gates, three mosques, and a large building, which is dignified with the name of a castle, but it does not appear to have even a loop-hole for musketry.  The palm groves and gardens come up close to the walls of the town, and completely conceal it.  The soil is sand, but is fertilized by being constantly refreshed by little channels, from wells of brackish water.  The inhabitants, who are of the tribe Fateima, bear a good character.

The town of Wadan is between twelve and thirteen miles east by north of Hoon.  It appeared much inferior to either of the other two in point of neatness, comfort, and convenience; although its aspect is much more pleasing; it is built on a conical hill, on the top of which are some enclosed houses, called the castle.  Here is a well of great depth, cut through the solid rock, evidently not the work of the Arabs.  The tombs and mosques, both here and at Hoon, were ornamented with numbers of ostrich eggs.  The inhabitants of Wadan are sheerefs, who are the pretended descendants of the prophet, and form the bulk of the resident population, and Arabs of the tribe Moajer, who spend the greater part of the year with their flocks in the Syrtis.  A few miles eastward of the town, there is a chain of mountains, which, as well as the town itself, derives its name from a species of buffalo called wadan, immense herds of which are found there.  The wadan is of the size of an ass, having a very large head and horns, a short reddish hide, and large bunches of hair hanging from each shoulder, to the length of eighteen inches or two feet; they are very fierce.  There are two other specimens found here, the bogra el weish, evidently the bekker el wash of Shaw, a red buffalo, slow in its motions, having large horns, and of the size of a cow; and the white buffalo, of a lighter and more active make, very shy and swift, and not easily procured.  The wadan seems best to answer to the oryx.

Page 148

There are great numbers of ostriches in these mountains, by hunting of which, many of the natives subsist.  At all the three towns, Sockna, Hoon, and Wadan, it is the practice to keep tame ostriches in a stable, and in two years to take three cullings of the feathers.

Captain Lyon supposes that all the fine white ostrich feathers sent to Europe are from tame birds, the wild ones being in general so ragged and torn, that not above half a dozen perfect ones can be found.  The black, being shorter and more flexible, are generally good.  All the Arabs agree in stating, that the ostrich does not leave its eggs to be hatched by the heat of the sun.  The parent bird forms a rough nest, in which she covers from fourteen to eighteen eggs, and regularly sits on them, in the same manner as the common fowl does on her chickens, the male occasionally relieving the female.[Footnote] It is during the breeding season that the greatest numbers are procured, the Arabs shooting the old ones on their nests.

[Footnote:  There is one peculiarity attending the ostrich, which is, that although the female lays from about twenty-five to thirty eggs, yet she only sits upon about fifteen, throwing the remainder outside the nest, where they remain until the young ones are hatched, and these eggs form the first food of the young birds.—­EDITOR.]

On the 22d April, Captain Lyon and his companions left Sockna, in company with Sultan Mukni, for Mourzouk, which they entered upon the 4th May.  The whole way is an almost uninterrupted succession of stony plains and gloomy wadys, with no water but that of wells, generally muddy, brackish, or bitter, and at fearful intervals.  On the first evening, the place of encampment was a small plain, with no other vegetation than a few prickly talk bushes, encircled by high mountains of basalt, which gave it the appearance of a volcanic crater.  Here, at a well of tolerably good water, called Gatfa, the camels were loaded with water for five days.  The next day, the horse and foot men passed over a very steep mountain called Nufdai, by a most difficult path of large irregular masses of basalt; the camels were four hours in winding round the foot of this mountain, which was crossed in one hour.  From the wady at its foot, called Zgar, the route ascended to a flat covered with broken basalt, called Dahr t’Moumen (the believer’s back):  it then led through several gloomy wadys, till, having cleared the mountainous part of the Soudah (Jebel Assoud), it issued in the plain called El Maitba Soudah, from its being covered in like manner with small pieces of basalt.  Three quarters of an hour further, they reached El Maitba Barda, a plain covered with a very small white gravel, without the slightest trace of basalt.

Page 149

“We did not see any where,” says Captain Lyon, “the least appearance of vegetation, but we observed many skeletons of animals, which had died of fatigue in the desert, and occasionally the grave of some human being.  All their bodies were so dried by the extreme heat of the sun, that putrifaction did not appear to have taken place after death.  In recently dead animals, I could not perceive the slightest offensive smell; and in those long dead, the skin, with the hair on it, remained unbroken and perfect, although so brittle as to break with a slight blow.  The sand-winds never cause these carcases to change their places, as in a short time, a slight mound is formed round them, and they become stationary.”

Afterwards, passing between low, table-topped hills, called El Gaaf, the coffle encamped on the third evening in a desert, called Sbir ben Afeen, where the plain presented on all sides so perfect a horizon, that an astronomical observation might have been taken as well as at sea.  From the excessive dryness of the air, the blankets and barracans emitted electric sparks, and distinctly crackled on being rubbed.  The horses’ tails, also, in beating off the flies, had the same effect.

The fourth day, the route passed over sand lulls to a sandy irregular plain, very difficult and dangerous.  Here the wind, being southerly, brought with it such smothering showers of burning sand, that they frequently lost the track, being unable to distinguish objects at the distance of only a few yards.

The next day’s march, the fifth from Sockna, over a rocky country, led to the walled village of Zeighan, or Zeghren, situated in the midst of a large forest of palms, in latitude 27=B0 26’ N. Eight miles further, on basaltic hillocks, is another village, somewhat larger, and more neatly walled, called Samnoo.  The houses are very neatly built, and the rooms are washed with a yellow mud, which has a pretty effect.  Three tolerably built white-washed minarets, the first that had been seen since leaving Tripoli, rose to some height above the houses, and have a pleasing appearance.  Palm trees encircle the town, and the gardens are considered good.  This town, as well as Zeighan, is famed for the number and sanctity of its marabouts.  A stage of twenty miles, over a barren plain of gravel, leads to another, but inconsiderable town, called Timen-hint.  On the next day but one, they reached Sebha, a mud-walled town, picturesquely situated on rising ground, surrounded with its palm groves, in the midst of a dreary, desert plain; it has a high, square, white-washed minaret to its principal mosque.  At this place, Captain Lyon remarked a change of colour in the population, the people being mulattoes.  Two marches more led to Ghroodwa, a miserable collection of mud huts, containing about fifty people, who appeared a ragged drunken set, as the immense number of tapped palms testified.  From the ruins of some large mud edifices, this place

Page 150

seems once to have been of more importance.  The palms, which extend for ten or fifteen miles, east and west, are the property of the sultan, and appeared in worse condition than any they had seen.  On leaving this place, the route again entered on a barren, stony plain, and in five hours and a half passed a small wady, called Wad el Nimmel (the valley of ants), from the number of ants, of a beautiful pink colour, that are found there.  A few scattered palms, and some ill-built ruined huts occurring at intervals, and betokening the greatest wretchedness, alone relieved the dreariness of the remainder of the journey.


The entry into Mourzouk, the capital of Sultan Mukni, was attended with the usual ceremonial.  On drawing near to the palm groves and gardens, which encompass the city, a large body of horse and foot was seen approaching with silken flags.  When the horsemen had advanced within five hundred yards of the party, they set off at full speed, and, on coming up, threw themselves from their horses, and ran to kiss the sultan’s hand.  On drawing nearer to the town, the cavalcade was met by the dancers, drummers, and pipers.  Two men, bearing fans of ostrich feathers, stationed themselves on each side of the sultan, beating off the flies.  Thus preceded by the led horses and silken flags, they made their entry, the horsemen continuing to skirmish till they reached the gate.  The soldiers then raced up every broad street, shouting and firing, whilst the women uttered their shrill cry, and on passing a large open space, a salute was fired from two six-pounders.  The scene was altogether highly interesting.

Mourzouk is a walled town, containing about 2,500 inhabitants, who are blacks, and who do not, like the Arabs, change their residence.  The walls are of mud, having round buttresses, with loopholes for musketry, rudely built, but sufficiently strong to guard against attack; they are about fifteen feet in height, and at the bottom eight feet in thickness, tapering, as all the walls in this country do, towards the top.  The town has seven gates, four of which are built up, in order to prevent the people escaping when they are required to pay their duties.  A man is appointed by the sultan to attend each of these gates, day and night, lest any slaves or merchandise should be smuggled into the town.  The people, in building the walls and houses, fabricate a good substitute for stones, which are not to be found in those parts, by forming clay into balls, which they dry in the sun, and use with mud as mortar; the walls are thus made very strong, and as rain is unknown, durable also.  The houses, with very few exceptions, are of one story, and those of the poorer sort, receive all their light from the doors.  They are so low as to require stooping nearly double to enter them; but the large houses have a capacious outer door, which is sufficiently well contrived, considering

Page 151

the bad quality of the wood, that composes them.  Thick palm planks, of four or five inches in breadth, for the size and manner of cutting a tree will not afford more, have a square hole punched through them at the top and bottom, by which they are firmly wedged together with thick palm sticks; wet thongs of camels’ hide are then tied tightly over them, which, on drying, draw the planks more strongly and securely together.  There are not any hinges to the doors, but they turn on a pivot, formed on the last plank near the wall, which is always the largest on that account.  The locks and keys are very large and heavy, and of curious construction.  The houses are generally built in little narrow streets, but there are many open places, entirely void of buildings, and covered with sand, on which the camels of the traders rest.  Many palms grow in the town, and some houses have small square enclosures, in which are cultivated a few red peppers and onions.  The street of entrance is a broad space, of at least a hundred yards, leading to the wall that surrounds the castle, and is extremely pretty.  Here the horsemen have full scope to display their abilities, when they skirmish before the sultan.  The castle itself is an immense mud building, rising to the height of eighty or ninety feet, with little battlements on the walls, and at a distance really looks warlike.  Like all the other buildings, it has no pretensions to regularity.  The lower walls are fifty or sixty feet in thickness, the upper taper off to about four or five feet.  In consequence of the immense mass of wall, the apartments are very small, and few in number.  The rooms occupied by the sultan are of the best quality, that is to say, comparatively, for the walls are tolerably smooth and white-washed, and have ornamental daubs of red paint in blotches, by way of effect.  His couch is spread on the ground, and his visitors squat down on the sandy floor, at a respectful distance.  Captain Lyon and his party were always honoured by having a corner of the carpet offered to them.  The best and most airy part of the castle is occupied by the women, who have small rooms round a large court, in which they take exercise, grind corn, cook, and perform other domestic offices.  The number of great ladies, called kibere, seldom exceed six.  This dignified title is generally given to the mothers of the sultan’s children, or to those, who having been once great favorites, are appointed governesses to the rest; there are, altogether about fifty women, all black and very comely, and from what stolen glances we could obtain, they appeared extremely well dressed.  They are guarded by five eunuchs, who keep up their authority by occasionally beating them.

Page 152

The sultan has three sons and two daughters, who live with him in this cage, the doors of which are locked at night, and the keys brought to him, so that he remains free from any fear of attack.  The castle is entered by a long winding passage in the wall, quite dark and very steep.  At the door is a large shed, looking on a square place capable of containing three or four hundred men, closely huddled together.  Under this shed is a great chair of state, once finely gilt and ornamented, with a patchwork quilt thrown over it, and behind it are the remains of two large looking-glasses.  In this chair the sultan receives homage every Friday, before he ascends the castle, after returning from the mosque.  This place is the Mejlees, and was the scene of all the cruelties practised by Mukni, when he first took possession of the country.

The habitation in which Captain Lyon and his party were lodged, was a very good one, and as all the houses are built upon nearly the same plan, the following description will give an idea of all the rest.  A large door, sufficiently high to admit a camel, opened into a broad passage or skeefa, on one side of which was a tolerable stable for five horses, and close to it, a small room for the slaves, whose duty it might be to attend the house.  A door opposite to that of the stable opened into the kowdi, a large square room, the roof of which at the height of eighteen feet, was supported by four palm trees as pillars.  In the centre of the roof was a large open space, about twelve feet by nine, from this, the house and rooms receive light, not to mention dust and excessive heat in the afternoon.  At the end of the room facing the door, a large seat of mud was raised about eighteen inches high, and twelve feet in length.  Heaps of this description, though higher, are found at the doors of most houses, and are covered with loungers in the cool of the morning and evening.  The large room was fifty feet by thirty-nine.  From the sides, doors opened into smaller ones, which might be used as sleeping or store rooms, but were generally preferred for their coolness.  Their only light was received from the door.  Ascending a few steps, there was a kind of gallery over the side rooms, and in it were two small apartments, but so very hot as to be almost useless.  From the large room was a passage leading to a yard, having also small houses attached to it in the same manner, and a well of comparatively good water.  The floors were of sand, and the walls of mud roughly plastered, and showing every where the marks of the only trowel used in the country—­the fingers of the right hand.  There are no windows to any of the houses, but some rooms have a small hole in the ceiling, or high up the wall.

Page 153

Near the house was the principal mosque, to which the sultan and the Christian party went every Friday, as a matter of course, and every other day they found it necessary to appear there once or twice.  It is a low building, having a shed projecting over the door, which, being raised on a platform, is entered by a few steps.  A small turret, intended to be square and perpendicular, is erected for the Mouadden to call to prayers.  One of the great lounges is on the seat in front of the mosque, and every morning and evening they are full of idle people, who converse on the state of the markets, and on their own private affairs, or in a fearful whisper canvass the sultan’s conduct.

In Mourzouk there are sixteen mosques, which are covered in, but some of them are very small.  Each has an imaum, but the kadi is their head, of which dignity he seems not a little proud.  This man had never, been beyond the boundaries of Fezzan, and could form no idea of any thing superior to mud houses and palms; he always fancied the Europeans to be great romancers, when they told him of their country, and described it as being in the midst of the sea.

They had many opportunities of observing the fighi and their scholars sitting on the sand.  The children are taught their letters by having them written on a flat board, of a hard wood, brought from Bornou and Soudan, and repeating them after their master.  When quite perfect in their alphabet, they are allowed to trace over the letters already made, they then learn to copy sentences, and to write small words dictated to them.  The master often repeats verses from the Koran, in a loud voice, which the boys learn by saying them after him, and when they begin to read a little, he sings aloud, and all the scholars follow him from their books, as fast as they can.  Practice at length renders them perfect, and in three or four years their education is considered complete.  Thus it is, that many who can read the Koran with great rapidity, cannot peruse a line of any other book.  Arithmetic is wholly put of the question.  On breaking up for the day, the master and all the scholars recite a prayer.  The school-hours are by no means regular, being only when the fighi has nothing else to do.  Morning early, or late in the evening, are the general times for study.  The punishments are beating with a stick on the hands or feet and whipping, which is not unfrequently practised.  Their pens are reeds—­their rubber sand.  While learning their tasks, and perhaps each boy has a different one, they all read aloud, so that the harmony of even a dozen boys may be easily imagined.

In the time of the native sultans, it was the custom, on a fixed day, annually, for the boys who had completed their education, to assemble on horseback, in as fine clothes as their friends could procure for them, on the sands to the westward of the town.  On an eminence stood the fighi, bearing in his hand a little flag rolled on a staff; the boys were stationed at some distance, and on his unfurling the flag and planting it in the ground, all started at full speed.  He who first arrived and seized it, was presented by the sultan with a fine suit of clothes, and some money, and rode through the town at the head of the others.  These races ceased with the arrival of Mukni, and parents now complain that their sons have no inducement to study.

Page 154

All the houses are infested with multitudes of small ants, which destroyed all the animals which the party had preserved, and even penetrated into their boxes.  Their bite was very painful, and they were fond of coming into the blankets.  One singularity is worthy of remark in Fezzan, which is, that fleas are unknown there, and those of the inhabitants, who have not been on the sea-coast, cannot imagine what they are like.  Bugs are very numerous, and it is extraordinary that they are called by the same name as with us.  There is a species of them which is found in the sands, where the coffles are in the habit of stopping; they bite very sharply, and fix in numbers round the coronet of a horse; the animals thus tormented, often become so outrageous as to break their tethers.

There are several pools of stagnant salt water in the town, which it is conceived in a great measure promote the advance of the summer fever and agues.  The burying places are outside the walls, and are of considerable extent.  In lieu of stones, small mud embankments are formed round the graves, which are ornamented with shreds of cloth tied to small sticks, with broken pots, and sometimes ostrich eggs.  One of the burying places is for slaves, who are laid very little below the surface, and in some places the sand has been so carried away by the wind, as to expose their skeletons to view.  Owing to the want of wood, no coffins are used.  The bodies are merely wrapped in a mat, or linen cloth, and covered with palm branches, over which the earth is thrown.  When the branches decay, the earth falls in, and the graves are easily known by being concave, instead of convex.  The place where the former sultans were buried, is a plain near the town; their graves are only distinguished from those of other people, by having a larger proportion of broken pots scattered about them.  It is a custom for the relations of the deceased to visit, and occasionally to recite a prayer over the grave, or to repeat a verse of the Koran.  Children never pass within sight of the tombs of their parents, without stopping to pay this grateful tribute of respect to their memory.  Animals are never buried, but thrown on mounds outside the walls, and there left.  The excessive heat soon dries up all their moisture, and prevents their becoming offensive; the hair remains on them, so that they appear like preserved skins.

The men of Mourzouk of the better sort, dress nearly like the people of Tripoli.  The lower orders wear a large shirt of white or blue cotton, with long loose sleeves, trousers of the same, and sandals of camel’s hide.  The shirts being long, many wear no other covering.  When leaving their houses, and walking to the market or gardens, a jereed or aba is thrown round them, and a red cap, or a neatly quilted cotton white one, completes the dress.  On Fridays, they perhaps add a turban, and appear in yellow slippers.  In the gardens, men and women wear large broad-brimmed straw hats,

Page 155

to defend their eyes from the sun, and sandals made from the leaves and fibres of the palm trees.  Very young children go entirely naked, those who are older have a shirt, many are quite bare-headed, and in that state exposed all day to the sun and flies.  The men have but little beard, which they keep closely clipped.  The dress of the women here, differs materially from that of the moorish females, and their appearance and smell are far from agreeable.  They plait their hair in thick bobbins, which hang over their foreheads, nearly as low down as the eye-brows, and are there joined at the bottom, as far round to each side as the temples.  The hair is so profusely covered with oil, that it drops down over the face and clothes.  This is dried up, by sprinkling it with plenty of a preparation made of a plant resembling wild lavender, cloves, and one or two more species pounded into powder, and called atria; it forms a brown dirty-looking paste, and combined with perspiration and the flying sand, becomes in a few days far from savoury.  The back hair is less disgusting, as it is plaited into a long tress on each side, and is brought to hang over the shoulders; from these tresses, ornaments of silver or of coral are suspended.  Black wool is frequently worked in with their black locks, to make them appear longer.  In the centre of the forehead, an ornament of coral or beads is placed, hanging down to the depth of an inch or two.  A woollen handkerchief is fastened on the back of the head; it falls over behind, and is tied by a leathern strap under the chin.  Each ear is perforated for as many rings as the woman possesses, some wearing even six on one side.  The largest, which is about five inches in diameter, hanging lowest, supported by a string from the head.  Round the neck, a tight flat collar of beads, arranged in fancy patterns, is worn with coral necklaces, and sometimes a broad gold plate immediately in front.  A large blue shirt is generally worn, the collar and breast ornamented with needle-work.  The women also wear white shirts, and striped silk ones called shami, which are brought from Egypt; a jereed and red slippers complete their dress.  They generally have their wrappers of a darker colour than those of the men.  Some of the better class of women wear trousers, not fuller in the leg than those worn in Europe; they are very prettily embroidered with silk at the bottom of the leg, and form a handsome contrast to the black skin of the wearer.  Cornelians or agates, roughly shaped in the form of hearts, are much worn as necklaces, and they have a variety of rings for the thumbs and fingers.  A band of silk cord hanging round the body from one shoulder, is generally filled with pendent leather or cloth bags, containing charms.  Round the wrists and above the elbows, armlets of silver, gold, glass, horn or ivory are worn, according to the ability of the wearer to purchase them, and on the ankles they have silver, brass, copper or iron shackles.  A pair of silver ones were seen, which

Page 156

weighed one hundred and twenty-eight ounces, but these ponderous ornaments produce a callous lump on the leg, and entirely deform the ankle.  The poorest people have only the jereed and sandals.  Both men and women have a singular custom of stuffing their nostrils with a twisted leaf of onions or clover, which has a very disgusting appearance.  The men, not using oil, are much cleaner than the women, but the whole race of them, high and low, apparently clean, are otherwise stocked with vermin, and they make no secret of it.  The sultan has been frequently observed, when detecting an interloper, to moisten his thumb to prevent its escape, and then demolish it with great composure and dignity.  Some of the neighbours, whom Captain Lyon visited, while reposing on their carpets, would send for a slave to hunt for these tormentors on their shirts, and it is a great recommendation to a female slave on sale to say that she is well skilled in this art, and in that of shampooing.

The natives have a variety of dances, of which two or three are peculiar to the country.  The parties assemble on the sands in the dusk of the evening, when a number of young men and women range themselves side by side, and dance to the sound of drums, to which they keep good time.  The men have a rude kind of iron cymbal in each hand, which opens and shuts; this they beat in the manner of castanets, both sexes singing at the same time in chorus.  The movements consist in stepping forward, the whole line at once, at a particular turn of the tune, as if to catch something with their two hands, which they hold out; they balance themselves a short time on the advanced foot, and then step back, turning half round, first to one side and then to the other, the whole line then moves slowly in a circle round the musicians, who form the centre, and who all join in the dance.  There is nothing improper nor immodest in this exhibition, but on the contrary, from its slowness and the regularity of its movements, it is extremely pleasing and elegant.  Another dance is performed by women only, who form a circle round the drummers, and occasionally sing a lively chorus; one advances, and with her arms extended, foots it to and from the drummers, two or three times, until a change of tune, when she runs quickly backwards and falls flat down, the women behind are ready to receive her, and by a jerk of their arms throw her again upright, on which she once more turns round and resumes her place, leaving the one next in succession to her, to go through the same movements, all of which are performed in the most just time; the whole party occasionally enlivening the music, by their skill and extraordinary shout of joy.  The dancing in the houses is not so pleasing as that in public, and as for decency, it is quite out of the question.  The male slaves have many dances, in which great activity and exertion are requisite.  One consists in dancing in a circle, each man armed with a stick, they all move, first half and then quite round, striking as they turn, the sticks of those on each side of them, and then jumping off the ground as high as they can.  Another is performed by boys, and they have no drum, but keep chorus by singing in a particular manner, la ilia il alia, (there is no God, but God.)

Page 157

The sultan had frequently requested Mr. Ritchie to visit his children, and some of his negresses when they were indisposed, and he had in consequence frequently attended them, but being himself confined by illness, Captain Lyon was allowed to prescribe for them, and had therefore frequent opportunities of observing the interior of his family, which would not otherwise have been afforded him.  He was much struck with the appearance of his daughters, one of three, the other of one year and a half old, who were dressed in the highest style of barbarian magnificence, and were absolutely laden with gold.  From their necks were suspended large ornaments of the manufacture of Timbuctoo; and they had massive gold armlets and anklets of two inches in breadth, and half an inch in thickness, which, from their immense weight had produced callous rings round the legs and arms of the poor infants.  They wore silk shirts composed of ribbons sewed together, in stripes of various colours, which hung down over silk trousers.  An embroidered waistcoat and cap completed this overwhelming costume.  Their nails, the tips of their fingers, the palms of their hands and soles of their feet were dyed dark-brown with henna.  Captain Lyon viewed with amazement and pity the dress of these poor little girls, borne down as they were with finery; but that of the youngest boy, a stupid looking child of four years old, was even more preposterous than that of his sisters.  In addition to the ornaments worn by them, he was loaded with a number of charms, enclosed in gold cases, slung round his body, while in his cap were numerous jewels, heavily set in gold, in the form of open hands, to keep off the evil eye. These talismans were sewn on the front of his cap, which they entirely covered.  His clothes were highly embroidered, and consisted of three waistcoats, a shirt of white silk, the women only wearing coloured ones, and loose cloth, silk, or muslin trousers.

The costume of the sultan’s court or hangers-on, is strictly Tripoline, and as fine as lace or presents of cast off-clothes can make them.  It is the custom with Mukni, in imitation of the bashaw, to bestow occasionally on his principal people some article of dress.  Those presents are made with much affected dignity, by throwing the garment to the person intended to be honoured, and saying, “Wear that,” the dress is immediately put on in his presence, and the receiver kneels and kisses his hand in token of gratitude.  Captain Lyon once saw the old kadi, who was very corpulent, receive as a gift a kaftan, which was so small for him, that when he had squeezed himself into it, he was unable to move his arms, and was in that condition obliged to walk home.

Page 158

Each of the sultan’s sons has a large troop of slaves, who attend him wherever he goes; they are generally about the same age as their master, and are his playmates, though they are obliged to receive from him many hearty cuffs, without daring to complain.  The suite of the youngest boy in particular, formed a very amusing groupe, few of them exceeding five years of age.  One bears his master’s bornouse, another holds one shoe, walking next to the boy who carries its fellow.  Some are in fine cast-off clothes, with tarnished embroidery, whilst others are quite or nearly naked, without even a cap on their heads, and the procession is closed by a boy, tottering under the weight of his master’s state gun, which is never allowed to be fired off.

In Mourzouk, the luxuries of life are very limited, the people principally subsisting on dates.  Many do not, for months together, taste corn; when obtained, they make it into a paste called asooda, which is a softer kind of bazeen. Fowls have now almost disappeared in the country, owing to the sultan having appropriated all he could find for the consumption of his own family.  The sheep and goats are driven from the mountains near Benioleed, a distance of four hundred miles; they pass over one desert, which, at their rate of travelling, occupies five days, without food or water.  Numbers therefore die, which in course raises the price of the survivors, They are valued at three or four dollars each, when they arrive, being quite skeletons, and are as high as ten and twelve, when fatted.  Bread is badly made, and is baked in ovens formed of clay in holes in the earth, and heated by burning wood; the loaves, or rather flat cakes are struck into the side, and are thus baked by the heat which rises from the embers.  Butter is brought in goat-skins from the Syrtis, and is very dear.  Tobacco is very generally chewed by the women, as well as by the men.  They use it with the trona (soda).  Smoking is the amusement of a great man, rather than of the lower class, the mild tobacco being very dear, and pipes not easily procured.

The revenues of the sultan of Fezzan arise from slaves, merchandise, and dates.  For every slave, great or small, he receives, on their entering his kingdom, two Spanish dollars; in some years the number of slaves amount to 4,000; for a camel’s load of oil or butter, seven dollars; for a load of beads, copper, or hardware, four dollars; and of clothing, three dollars.  All Arabs, who buy dates pay a dollar duty on each load, equal at times to the price of the article, before they are allowed to remove it.  Above 3,000 loads are sold to them annually.  Date trees, except those of the kadi and mamlukes, are taxed at the rate of one dollar for every two hundred; by this duty, in the neighbourhood of Mourzouk, or more properly in the few immediately neighbouring villages, the sultan receives yearly 10,000 dollars.  Of all sheep or goats, he is entitled to a fifth. 

Page 159

On the sale of every slave, he has, in addition to the head-money, a dollar and a half, which, at the rate of 4,000, gives another 6,000 dollars.  The captured slaves are sold by auction, at which the sultan’s brokers attend, bidding high only for the finest.  The owner bids against them until he has an offer equal to what he considers as the value of the slave; he has then three-fourths of the money paid to him, while one-fourth is paid by the purchaser to the sultan.  Should the owner not wish to part with his slaves, he buys them in, and the sum which he last names, is considered as the price, from which he has to pay the sultan’s share.  The trees, which are his private property, produce about 6,000 camel loads of dates, each load 400 pounds weight, and which may be estimated at 18,000 dollars.  Every garden pays a tenth of the corn produced.  The gardens are very small, and are watered, with great labour, from brackish wells.  Rain is unknown, and dews never fall.  In these alone corn is raised, as well as other esculents.  Pomegranates and fig-trees are sometimes planted in the water-channels.  Presents of slaves are frequently made, and fines levied.  Each town pays a certain sum, which is small; but as the towns are numerous, it may be averaged to produce 4,000 dollars.  Add to this his annual excursions for slaves, sometimes bringing 1,000 or 1,600, of which one-fourth are his, as well as the same proportion of camels.  He alone can sell horses, which he buys for five or six dollars, when half starved, from the Arabs, who come to trade, and cannot maintain them, and makes a great profit by obtaining slaves in exchange for them.  All his people are fed by the public, and he has no money to pay, except to the bashaw, which is about 15,000 dollars per annum.  There are various other ways, in which he extorts money.  If a man dies childless, the sultan inherits great part of his property; and if he thinks it necessary to kill a man, he becomes his entire heir.

In Mourzouk, about a tenth part of the population are slaves, though many of them have been brought away from their native country so young as hardly to be considered in that light.  With respect to the household slaves, little or no difference is to be perceived between them and freemen, and they are often entrusted with the affairs of their master.  These domestic slaves are rarely sold, and on the death of any of the family to which they belong, one or more of them receive their liberty; when, being accustomed to the country, and not having any recollection of their own, they marry, settle, and are consequently considered as naturalised.  It was the custom, when the people were more opulent, to liberate a male or female on the feast of Bairam, after the fast of Rhamadan.  This practice is not entirely obsolete, but nearly so.  In Mourzouk there are some white families, who are called mamlukes, being descended from renegades, whom the bashaw had presented to the former sultan.  These families and their descendants are considered noble, and, however poor and low their situation may be, are not a little vain of their title.

Page 160

The general appearance of the men of Fezzan is plain, and their complexion black.  The women are of the same colour, and ugly in the extreme.  Neither sex are remarkable for figure, weight, strength, vigour, or activity.  They have a very peculiar cast of countenance, which distinguishes them from other blacks; their cheek-bones are higher and more prominent, their faces flatter, and their noses less depressed, and more peaked at the tip than those of the negroes.  Their eyes are generally small, and their mouths of an immense width; but their teeth are frequently good; their hair is woolly, though not completely frizzled.  They are a cheerful people, fond of dancing and music, and obliging to each other.  The men almost all read and write a little, but in every thing else they are very dull and heavy; their affections are cold and selfish, and a kind of general indifference to the common incidents of life, mark all their actions.  They are neither prone to sudden anger, nor at all revengeful.  In Mourzouk the men drink a great quantity of lackbi, or a drink called busa, which is prepared from the dates, and is very intoxicating.  The men are good-humoured drunkards, and when friends assemble in the evening, the ordinary amusement is mere drinking; but sometimes a kadanka (singing girl) is sent for.  The Arabs practise hospitality generally; but among the Fezzaners that virtue does not exist, they are, however, very attentive and obsequious to those in whose power they are, or who can repay them tenfold for their pretended disinterestedness.  Their religion enjoins, that, should a stranger enter while they are at their meals, he must be invited to partake, but they generally contrive to evade this injunction by eating with closed doors.  The lower classes are from necessity very industrious, women as well as men, as they draw water, work in the gardens, drive the asses, make mats, baskets, &c. in addition to their other domestic duties.  People of the better class, or, more properly, those who can afford to procure slaves to work for them, are, on the contrary, very idle and lethargic; they do nothing but lounge or loll about, inquiring what their neighbours have had for dinner, gossip about slaves, dates, &c., or boast of some cunning cheat, which they have practised on a Tibboo or Tuarick, who, though very knowing fellows, are, comparatively with the Fezzaners, fair in their dealings.  Their moral character is on a par with that of the Tripolines, though, if any thing, they are rather less insincere.  Falsehood is not considered odious, unless when detected; and when employed in trading, they affirm that it is allowed by the Koran, for the good of merchants.  However this may be, Captain Lyon asserts, that he never could find any one able to point out the passage authorizing these commercial falsehoods.

Page 161

The lower classes work neatly in leather; they weave a few coarse barracans, and make iron-work in a solid, though clumsy manner.  One or two work in gold and silver with much skill, considering the badness of their tools, and every man is capable of acting as a carpenter or mason; the wood being that of the date tree, and the houses being built of mud, very little elegance or skill is necessary.  Much deference is paid to the artists in leather or metals, who are called, par excellence, sta, or master, as leather-master, iron-master, &c.

From the constant communication with Bornou and Soudan, the languages of both these countries are generally spoken, and many of their words are introduced into the Arabic.  The family slaves and their children by their masters, constantly speak the language of the country, whence they originally come.  Their writing is in the Mogrebyn character, which is used, as is supposed by Captain Lyon, universally in western Africa, and differs much from that of the east.  The pronunciation is also very different, the kaf being pronounced as a G, and only marked with one nunnation, and F is pointed below; they have no idea of arithmetic, but reckon every thing by dots on the sand, ten in a line; many can hardly tell how much two and two amount to.  They expressed great surprise at the Europeans being able to add numbers together without fingering.  Though very fond of poetry, they are incapable of composing it.  The Arabs, however, invent a few little songs, which the natives have much pleasure in learning, and the women sing some of the negro airs very prettily, while grinding their corn.

The songs of the kadankas (singing girls), who answer to the Egyptian almehs, is Soudanic.  Their musical instrument is called rhababe, or erhab.  It is an excavated hemisphere, made from the shell of a gourd lime, and covered with leather; to this a long handle is fixed, on which is stretched a string of horse hairs, longitudinally closed, and compact as one cord, about the thickness of a quill.  This is played upon with a bow.  Captain Lyon says, the women really produced a very pleasing, though a wild melody; their songs were pretty and plaintive, and generally in the Soudan language, which is very musical.  What is rather singular, he heard the same song sung by the same woman that Horneman mentions, and she recollected having seen that traveller at the castle.

The lower classes and the slaves, who, in point of colour and appearance, are the same, labour together.  The freeman has, however, only one inducement to work, which is hunger; he has no notion of laying by any thing for the advantage of his family, or as a reserve for himself in his old age; but if by any chance he obtains money, he remains idle until it is expended, and then returns unwillingly to work.  The females here are allowed greater liberty than those of Tripoli, and are more kindly treated.  Though so much better used than those of Barbary, their life is still a state of slavery.  A man never ventures to speak of his women; is reproached, if he spends much time in their company, never eats with them; but is waited upon at his meals, and fanned by them while he sleeps.  Yet these poor beings, never having known the sweets of liberty, are, in spite of their humiliation, comparatively happy.

Page 162

The authority of parents over their children is very great; some fathers of the better class do not allow their sons even to eat or sit down in their presence, until they become men; the poorer orders are less strict.

There are no written records of events amongst the Fezzaners, and their traditions are so disfigured, and so strangely mingled with religious and superstitious falsehoods, that no confidence can be placed in them.  Yet the natives themselves look with particular respect on a man capable of talking of the people of the olden time.  Several scriptural traditions are selected and believed.  The Psalms of David, the Pentateuch, the Books of Solomon, and many extracts from the inspired writers, are universally known, and most reverentially considered.  The New Testament, translated into the Arabic, which Captain Lyon took with him, was eagerly read, and no exception was made to it, but that of our Saviour being designated as the son of God.  St. Paul, or Baulus, bears all the blame of Mahomet’s name not being inserted in it, as they believe that his coming was foretold by Christ, but that Paul erased it; he is therefore called a kaffir, and his name is not used with much reverence.

Captain Lyon had not been more than ten days at Mourzouk, before he was attacked with severe dysentery, which confined him to his bed during twenty-two days, and reduced him to the last extremity.  His unadorned narrative conveys an affecting account of the sufferings to which the party were exposed from the insalubrity of the climate; the inadequate arrangements which had been made for their comfort, or even subsistence, and the sordid and treacherous conduct of the sultan.  “Our little party,” he says, “was at this time miserably poor; for we had money only sufficient for the purchase of corn to keep us alive, and never tasted meat, unless fortunate enough to kill a pigeon in the gardens.  My illness was the first break up in our little community, and from that time, it rarely happened that one or two of us were not confined to our beds.  The extreme saltness of the water, the poor quality of our food, together with the excessive heat and dryness of the climate, long retarded my recovery, and when it did take place, it was looked on as a miracle by those who had seen me in my worst state, and who thought it impossible for me to survive.  I was no sooner convalescent than Mr. Ritchie fell ill, and was confined to his bed with an attack of bilious fever, accompanied with delirium, and great pain in his back and kidneys, for which he required frequent cupping.  When a little recovered, he got up for two days, but his disorder soon returned with redoubled and alarming violence.  He rejected every thing but water, and, excepting about three hours in the afternoon, remained either constantly asleep or in a delirious state.  Even had he been capable of taking food, we had not the power of purchasing any which could nourish or refresh him.  Our money

Page 163

was now all expended, and the sultan’s treacherous plans to distress us, which daily became too apparent, were so well arranged, that we could not find any one to buy our goods.  For six entire weeks we were without animal food, subsisting on a very scanty portion of corn and dates.  Our horses were mere skeletons, added to which, Belford became totally deaf, and so emaciated as to be unable to walk.  My situation was now such as to create the most gloomy apprehensions.  My naturally sanguine mind, however, and above all, my firm reliance on that Power which had so mercifully protected me on so many trying occasions, prevented my giving way to despondency; and Belford beginning soon to rally a little, we united, and took turns in nursing and attending on our poor companion.  At this time, having no servant, we performed for Mr. Ritchie the most menial offices.  Two young men, brothers, whom we had treated with great kindness, and whom we had engaged to attend on us, so far from commiserating our forlorn condition, forsook us in our distress, and even carried off our little store of rice and cuscoussou; laughing at our complaints, and well knowing that our poverty prevented the redress which we should otherwise have sought and obtained.”

Rhamadan, the Mahommedan Lent, was announced on the 22nd June.  The strictest fast was immediately commenced, lasting from before day, about three a.m., till sunset, seven p.m.  In order to support their assumed character as Moslem; they were now obliged, during the sixteen hours, to eat only by stealth, their friend Mukni having surrounded them with spies.  Mr. Ritchie only, being confined to his bed by illness, was privileged to take food or drink.  The excessive heat, which now raged, added to their sufferings.  During the month of June, the thermometer, at five o’clock a.m., stood at from 86 deg. to 93 deg., but at two o’clock p.m., it rose to 117 deg., 122 deg., 124 deg., and at length, on the 19th and 20th, to 131 deg. and 133 deg. of Fahrenheit.  In the early part of July, the heat somewhat abated; the thermometer, at two p.m., ranging between 110 deg. and 117 deg..  Towards the close of the month, it again rose to 125 deg., in August to 130 deg. and 133 deg., in September it ranged between 119 deg. and 133 deg., with little difference in the temperature of the mornings; and in October, the average was about 110 deg..  The minimum, in December, was 51 deg. at five a.m., and 77 deg. in the afternoon.

The close of the Rhamadan, on the 22d July, was attended, in the city, with the most extravagant demonstrations of rejoicing.  Everybody was in motion, screaming, dancing, firing guns, eating and drinking.  Poor Mr. Ritchie, after having been confined to his bed for fifty-eight days, was now able to sit up a little, and by the 20th August had tolerably recovered.  About the same time, Belford was again attacked with giddiness and deafness, and fell into a very weak state.  Their rate of living was now reduced to

Page 164

a quart of corn per diem, with occasionally a few dates, divided amongst four persons.  No one would purchase their merchandize, owing, as it became apparent to Mukni’s treacherous orders.  Mr. Ritchie, for reasons not explained, did not think it right to draw for money on the treasury, and they were reduced to the last extremity, when the sultan graciously condescended to advance them eight dollars, and at this time a neighbour repaid them ten dollars, which they had lent soon after their arrival.  They were now able to treat themselves with a little meat.  About the 20th September, Mr. Ritchie, who had never recovered his spirits, but had latterly shunned the society even of his companions, again relapsed, and was confined to his bed, and Belford, though better in health, was entirely deaf; their condition became every day more destitute.  They had hired a woman to cook for them at a dollar a month.  She was required to come only once a day, to bake their bread or make their cuscoussou; and it often happened, that when she had stolen half the allowance to which they had restricted themselves, they were obliged to fast till the morrow.  They were saved, when on the very brink of starvation, by a supply of seven dollars, the munificent reward conferred upon Belford by the sultan, for constructing a rude kind of carriage for him.  Soon afterwards, they sold a horse for seventy dollars.  This seasonable supply was carefully economized; but it had become much reduced when Captain Lyon and Belford both fell ill again.  The former rose from his bed, after being confined to it for a week, a skeleton.  Under this exigency they met with a remarkable instance of disinterested friendship on the part of a native, Yusuf el Lizari, who, as well as his brother, had previously shown them much kindness.  “One night,” says Captain Lyon, “as we were all sitting pensively on our mat, our friend Yusuf came in, and, addressing Mr. Ritchie, said, ’Yusuf, you, and Said are my friends.  Mukni has hopes you may die, that he may secure to himself all your goods.  You seem very melancholy; do you want money?’ Mr. Ritchie having acknowledged that he did, Yusuf rejoined, ‘I have none myself, but I will borrow some for you.’  Twenty dollars being the sum named, our kind friend went out, and soon returned with thirty, an act of generosity so unlocked for, that we were incapable of thanking him as he deserved.  This seasonable supply enabled us to buy some good food, and to make some amends for our late privations.  Our health soon improved, and Mr. Ritchie’s spirits began to brighten.”

But this interval of hope was soon darkened.  On the 8th of November, poor Ritchie was again attacked by illness, and after lying for three or four days in a state of torpor, without taking any refreshment, he again became delirious, and on the 20th expired.  The two survivors of this ill-fated party were themselves reduce to the lowest state of debility, and the only prospect before them, was that of probably following,

Page 165

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.


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.

Page 166

Under the confidence inspired by these circumstances, government prepared another expedition, and without difficulty procured a fresh band of adventurers, who undertook to brave all its perils.  Major Denham, Lieutenant Clapperton, of the navy, and Dr. Oudney, a naval surgeon, possessing a considerable knowledge of natural history, were appointed to the service.  Without delay they proceeded to Tripoli, where they arrived on the 18th November, 1821.  They were immediately introduced to the bashaw, whom they found sitting cross-legged on a carpet, attended by armed negroes.  After treating them to sherbet and coffee, he invited them to a hawking party, where he appeared mounted on a milk-white Arabian steed, superbly caparisoned, having a saddle of crimson velvet, richly studded with gold nails and with embroidered trappings.  The hunt began on the borders of the desert, where parties of six or eight Arabs dashed forward quick as lightning, fired suddenly, and rushed back with loud cries.  The skill, with which they manoeuvred their steeds, whirling the long muskets over their heads, as they rode at full gallop, appeared quite surprising.

On the 5th March, the party left Tripoli for Benioleed.  Here the consul and his son, who had accompanied them from Tripoli, took their leave, with many hearty good wishes for their success and prosperity.

On the day previously to their approach to Sockna, the uniformity of the journey was somewhat enlivened, by meeting with a kafila, or coffle of slaves from Fezzan, in which were about seventy negresses, much better looking and more healthy than any they had seen near the sea coast.  They were marching in parties of fifteen or twenty, and on inquiring of one of these parties from whence they came, the poor things divided themselves with the greatest simplicity, and answered, “Soudan, Berghami and Kanem,” pointing out the different parcels from each country as they spoke.  Those from Soudan had the most regular features, and an expression of countenance particularly pleasing.

Passing a small wadey and plantation of date trees, they had soon a view of Sockna, and were met on the plain on which it stands, by the governor and principal inhabitants, accompanied by some hundreds of the country people, who all crowded round their horses, kissing their hands, and welcoming them with every appearance of sincerity and satisfaction, and in this way they entered the town; the words Inglesi, Inglesi, were repeated by a hundred voices.  This was to them highly satisfactory, as they were the first English travellers in Africa, who had resisted the persuasion that a disguise was necessary, and who had determined to travel in their real character as Britons and Christians, and to wear on all occasions their English dresses; nor had they at any future period occasion to regret that they had done so.  There was here neither jealousy nor distrust of them as Christians, on the contrary, Major Denham was perfectly satisfied that their reception would have been less friendly, had they assumed a character that would have been at the best but ill supported.  In trying to make themselves appear as Mussulmans, they would have been set down as real impostors.

Page 167

Of the inhabitants of Sockna, we have already given a full account in the foregoing travels of Captain Lyon, nor does the history given by Major Denham differ in any of the essential points.  Of the affability of the females, the travellers had however many proofs, and whilst only two of them were walking through the town one morning, with a little army of ragged boys following them, two of rather the better order quickly dispersed them, and invited the English to enter a house, saying that a mara zene, a beautiful woman, wished to see them.  They put themselves under their guidance, and entering a better sort of dwelling house, were quickly surrounded by half a dozen ladies, most of them aged, but who asked them a thousand questions, and when satisfied that their visitors were not dangerous people, called several younger ones, who appeared to be but waiting for permission to show themselves.  The dresses of the visitors were then minutely examined; the yellow buttons on their waistcoats, and their watches created the greatest astonishment.  Major Denham wore a pair of loose white trousers, into the pockets of which he accidentally put his hands, which raised the curiosity of the ladies to a wonderful degree; the major’s hands were pulled out, and those of three or four of the ladies thrust in, in their stead; these were replaced by others, all demanding their use so violently and loudly, that he had considerable difficulty in extricating himself, and was glad to make his escape.

The remaining half of their journey to Mourzouk was pretty nearly the same kind of surface as they had passed before, but in some places worse.  Sometimes two, and once three days, they were without finding a supply of water, which was generally muddy, bitter, or brackish.  Nor is this the worst which sometimes befals the traveller; the overpowering effect of a sudden sand-wind, when nearly at the close of the desert, often destroys a whole kafila, already weakened by fatigue, and the spot was pointed out to them strewed with bones and dried carcasses, where the year before, fifty sheep, two camels, and two men perished from thirst and fatigue, when within eight hours march of the well, for which they were then anxiously looking.

Indeed the sand storm they had the misfortune to encounter in crossing the desert, gave them a pretty correct idea of the dreaded effects of these hurricanes.  The wind raised the fine sand, with which the extensive desert was covered, so as to fill the atmosphere, and render the immense space before them impenetrable to the eye beyond a few yards.  The sun and clouds were entirely obscured, and a suffocating and oppressive weight accompanied the flakes and masses of sand, which it might be said they had to penetrate at every step.  At times they completely lost sight of the camels, though only a few yards before them.  The horses hung their tongues out of their mouths, and refused to face the torrents of sand.  A sheep

Page 168

that accompanied the kafila, the last of their stock, lay down in the road, and they were obliged to kill him and throw the carcass on a camel; a parching thirst oppressed them, which nothing alleviated.  They had made but little way by three o’clock in the afternoon, when the wind got round to the eastward, and imparted to them a little refreshment.  With this change they moved on until about five, when they halted, protected a little by three several ranges of irregular hills, some conical, and some table-topped.  As they had but little wood, their fare was confined to tea, and they hoped to find relieve from their fatigues by a sound sleep.  That, however, was denied them; the tent had been imprudently pitched, and was exposed to the east wind, which blew a hurricane during the night:  the tent was blown down, and the whole detachment were employed a full hour in getting it up again; their bedding and everything within it was during that time completely buried, by the constant driving of the sand.  Major Denham was obliged three times during the night, to get up for the purpose of strengthening the pegs, and when he awoke in the morning, two hillocks of sand were formed on each side of his head, some inches high.  On the 7th April, they arrived at a village in the midst of a vast multitude of palm trees, just one day’s journey short of Mourzouk.  As it was to be the last day’s march, they were all in good spirits at the prospect of rest, and had they made their arrangements with judgment, every thing would have gone on well.  They had, however, neglected sending an axant courier, to advise the sultan of their arrival, a practice which ought particularly to have been attended to, and consequently their reception was not what it ought to have been.  They arrived at D’leem, a small plantation of date trees, at noon, and finding no water in the well, were obliged to proceed, and it was three in the afternoon before they arrived at the wells near Mourzouk.  Here they were obliged to wait till the camels came up, in order that they might advance in form.  They might, however, have saved themselves the trouble.  No one came out to meet them, except some naked boys, and a mixture of Tibboos, Tuaricks, and Fezzanese, who gazed at them with astonishment, and no very pleasant aspect.

They determined on not entering the town, in a manner so little flattering to those whom they represented, and retiring to a rising ground, a little distance from the gates of the town, waited the return of a chaoush, who had been despatched to announce their arrival.  After half an hour’s delay, the Shiek el Blad, the governor of the town came out, and in the sultan’s name requested they would accompany him to the house, which had been prepared for them, and he added, to their great surprise, the English consul is there already.  The fact was, a very ill-looking Jew servant of Major Denham’s, mounted on a white mule, with a pair of small canteens under him, had preceded the camels and entered the

Page 169

town by himself.  He was received with great respect by all the inhabitants, conducted through the streets to the house which was destined to receive the party, and from the circumstance of the canteens being all covered with small brass shining nails, a very high idea, of his consequence was formed.  He very sensibly received ail their attentions in silence, and drank the cool water and milk which were handed to him, and they always had the laugh against them afterwards, for having shown so much civility to an Israelite, a race which are heartily despised.  “We thought the English,” said they, “were better looking than Jews—­death to their race! but the God made us all, though not all handsome like Mussulmans, so who could tell?”

As they were all this time exposed to a burning sun, they were well inclined to compromise a little of their dignity, and determined on entering the town, which they did by the principal gate.  Their interview with the sultan of Mourzouk was anything but encouraging; he told them that there was no intention, as they had been led to expect, of any expedition to proceed to the southward for some time to come; that an army could only move in the spring of the year; that the arrangements for moving a body of men through a country, where every necessary must be carried on camels, both for men and horses, were go numerous, that before the following spring it was scarcely possible to complete them, that two camels were required for every man and horse, and one for every two men on foot.  And as to their proceeding to Bornou, it would be necessary had the bashaw instructed him to forward them, that they should be accompanied by an escort of two hundred men.  He said, he would read to them the bashaw’s letter, and they should see the extent to which he could forward their wishes.  The letter was then handed to his fighi, or secretary, and they found that they were entrusted to the protection of the sultan of Fezzan, who was to charge himself with their safety, and to ensure their being treated with respect and attention by all his subjects.  That they were to reside at Sebha or Mourzouk, or wherever they chose in the kingdom of Fezzan, and to await his return from Tripoli.  With this their audience ended, and they returned to their habitation.

It is quite impossible to express the disheartening feelings, with which they left the castle.  The heat was intense; the thermometer standing at 97 deg. in the coolest spot in the house during the of the day; and the nights were scarcely less oppressive; the flies were in such myriads, that darkness was the only refuge from their annoyance.

Page 170

They received visits from all the principal people of Mourzouk, the day after their arrival, and remarking a very tall Turiack, with a pair of expressive, large, benevolent looking eyes, above the black mask, with which they always cover the lower part of their face, hovering about the door, Major Denham made signs to him to come near, and inquired after Hateeta, the chief, of whom Captain Lyon had spoken so highly, and for whom at his request, he was the bearer of a sword.  To the great surprise of Major Denham, striking his breast, he exclaimed, “I am Hateeta, Are you a countryman of Said? (Captain Lyon’s travelling name,) How is he?  I have often longed to hear of him.”  Major Denham found that Hateeta had been but once in Mourzouk, since the departure of Captain Lyon, and was to remain only a few days.  On the following morning, he came to the house, and the sword was presented to him.  It would be difficult to describe his delight, he drew the sword and returned it repeatedly, pressed it to his breast, exclaimed, Allah!  Allah! took the hand of Major Denham, and pressing it, said, katar heyrick yassur yassur, (thank you very, very much,) nearly all the Arabic he could speak.  It was shortly reported all over the town, that Hateeta had received a present from Said, worth one hundred dollars.

They had been several times visited, and their hopes and spirits raised by a person called Boo Bucker, Boo Khaloom.  He said that it was in the sultan’s power to send them on to Bornou, if he pleased, he even hinted that a bribe for himself might induce him to do so; this, however, was found not to be the case.  Boo Khaloom was represented to them, and truly, as a merchant of very considerable riches and affluence in the interior.  He was on the eve of starting for Tripoli, with really superb presents for the bashaw.  He had five hundred slaves, the handsomest that could be procured, besides other things.  He stated in secret, that his principal object in going to Tripoli, was to obtain the removal of the sultan of Fezzan, and he wished that they should make application to the bashaw, for him to accompany them further into the interior; they were not, however, to hint that the proposition had come from him.  Boo Khaloom said, that he should be instantly joined by upwards of one hundred merchants, who waited for his going, and no further escort would be necessary; that he should merely remain a few weeks in Tripoli, and on his return they should instantly move on.

Boo Khaloom left Mourzouk for Tripoli with his slaves and presents, loading upwards of thirty camels, apparently reconciled to, and upon good terms with the sultan.  It was, however, very well known, that Sultan Mustapha had set every engine at work to have Boo Khaloom’s head taken off, on his arrival at Tripoli, and that the other was willing to sacrifice all that he was worth to displace and ruin Mustapha in the bashaw’s favour.

Page 171

It was not until the 18th, that the sultan, after attending the mosque, started for Tripoli; all his camels and suite had marched in divisions for three days previously; in slaves he had alone more than 1,500.  He was attended by about ten horsemen, his particular favourites, and four flags were carried before him, through the town.  The inhabitants complained dreadfully of his avarice, and declared that he had not left a dollar, or an animal worth one, in all Fezzan.

Nothing was now to be done but to make their arrangements for a favourable start the following spring.  By the sultan’s departure, every necessary for their proceeding was withdrawn from the spot where they were.  Not a camel was to be procured, and every dollar, that he could by any means force from his subjects, was forwarded to Tripoli.  To that place, therefore, were they to look for supplies of every kind, and it was unanimously decided, that the departure of Major Denham for Tripoli should follow that of the sultan or as soon as possible.

In pursuance of this determination to represent to the bashaw of Tripoli, how necessary it was that something more than promises should be given them for their sterling money, on Monday, the 20th May, Major Denham left Mourzouk, with only his own negro servant, three camels, and two Arabs, and after a most dreary journey of twenty days, over the same uninteresting country which he had already traversed, the more dreary for want of his former companions, he arrived at Tripoli on the 12th June, where he was received by the consul, with his usual hospitality and kindness, and he assigned him apartments in the consulate.

Major Denham requested an immediate audience of the bashaw, which, in consequence of the Rhamadan, was not granted him until the following evening.  The consul, Captain Smyth of the navy, and Major Denham, attended.  The latter represented, in the strongest terms, how greatly they were disappointed at the unexpected and ruinous delay, which they had experienced at Mourzouk, and requested a specific time being fixed for their proceeding to Bornou, stating also, that were the answer not satisfactory, he should proceed forthwith to England, and represent to the government how grievously they had been deceived.  The I bashaw denied having intentionally broken his word, and solemnly declared that the will of God, in visiting the sultan of Fezzan with sickness, had alone prevented their being now on the road to Bornou.

Not receiving the full satisfaction which was expected, Major Denham lost no time in setting sail for England, to lodge a complaint with his own court.  This news was painfully felt by the bashaw, who sent vessel after vessel, one of which at last overtook Major Denham, while performing quarantine at Marseilles, and announced to him, that arrangements were actually made with Boo Khaloom, for escorting him to the capital of Bornou.  Major Denham immediately re-embarked, and a seven days’ passage brought him once more to the shores of Barbary.  Boo Khaloom and part of the escort were already at the entrance of the desert; and on the 17th September, they re-entered the pass of Melghri in the Tarhona Mountains.

Page 172

Hope and confidence had now taken possession of the mind of Major Denham, in the place of anxiety and disappointment; there was now an air of assurance and success in all their arrangements, and, with this conviction, Major Denham felt his health and spirits increase.  But little beyond the casualties attendant on desert travelling, occurred previously to their arriving again at Sockna, which took place on the 2nd October.

Major Denham found that the great failing of his friend, Boo Khaloom, was pomp and show; and feeling that he was on this occasion the representative of the bashaw, he was evidently unwilling that any sultan of Fezzan should exceed him in magnificence.  On entering Sockna, his six principal followers, handsomely attired in turbans and fine barracans, and mounted on his best horses, kept near his person, whilst the others at a little distance, formed the flanks.  Major Denham rode on his right hand, dressed in his British uniform, with loose Turkish trousers, a red turban, red boots, with a white bornouse over all, as a shade from the sun, and this, though not strictly according to orders, was by no means an unbecoming dress.  Boo Khaloom was mounted on a beautiful white Tunisian horse, a present from the bashaw, the peak and rear of the saddle covered with gold, and his housings were of scarlet cloth, with a border of gold six inches broad.  His dress consisted of red boots, richly embroidered with gold, yellow silk trousers, a crimson velvet caftan with gold buttons, a silk benise of sky blue, and a silk sidria underneath.  A transparent white silk barraca was thrown lightly over this, and on his shoulder hung a scarlet bornouse with wide gold lace, a present also from the bashaw, which had cost at least four hundred dollars, and a cashmere shawl turban crowned the whole.  In this splendid array they moved on, until, as they approached the gates of the town, the dancing and singing men and women met them, and amidst these, the shouts and firing of the men, who skirmished before them, and the loo! loo! of the women, they entered Sockna.

They found that houses were provided for them in the town, but the kafila bivouacked outside the gates.  It had always been their intention to halt at Sockna for three or four days, and here they expected to be joined by a party of Megarha Arabs, whom their sheik, Abdi Smud ben Erhoma, had left them for the purpose of collecting together.  Hoon and Wadan were also to furnish them with another quota.

The house of Major Denham consisted of a court yard eighteen feet square, and a small dark room, leading out of it by two steps.  The court, however, was the greater part of the day shaded, and here on a carpet, the major received his visitors.  The Arabs, as they arrived, were all sent to him by Boo Khaloom, and their presentation has a form in it, not much in character with their accustomed rudeness:  they all come armed with their long guns, and the same girdle which confines their barracan, contains also

Page 173

two long pistols; the chief enters, and salutes, dropping on one knee, and touching the stranger’s right hand with his, which he carries afterwards to his lips; he then says, “Here are my men, who are come to say health to you.”  On receiving permission, they approached Major Denham one by one, saluting in the same manner as their chief, who continued to remain at his side; they then sat down, forming a sort of semi-circle round the major, with their guns upright between their knees, and after a little time, on the sheik’s making a signal, they all quitted the presence.

Boo Khaloom at this time became so alarmingly ill, that their departure was of necessity postponed.  He requested Major Denham to prescribe for him.  All the fighis’ (writers,) and marabouts in Sockna, were employed on this occasion by the friends of Boo Khaloom; and one night the tassels of his cap were literally loaded with their charms.  Boo Khaloom assured Major Denham, when alone, that he had no faith in such things, and smiled when he said his friends would think ill of him, were he to refuse; his faith was, however, stronger than he chose to acknowledge; for entering one morning unexpectedly, the major found him with a dove, that had just been killed and cut open, lying on his head, which, as he assured him, was, because a very great marabout had come from Wadan on purpose to perform the operation.  Major Denham was nevertheless still more surprised to find him seated on a carpet, in the centre of the little court yard of his house, in the middle of the day, with five of his hordes round him, which had been brought from the tents by his order.  The major was convinced, that this was some superstitious idea of the mystic influence which his horses were supposed to have upon his fate, and on expressing his surprise, he made him sit down and told him the following story.

“Sidi Mohammed, praise be to his name!” said he, “was once applied to by a poor man, whose speculations in trade always turned out disadvantageously; his children died, and nothing flourished with him.  Mohammed told him, that horses were nearly connected with his fate, and that he must buy horses before he would be fortunate.  ’If I cannot afford to keep myself,’ said the man, ’how can I feed horses?’—­’No matter,’ said the prophet; alive or dead, no good fortune will come upon your house until you have them.’  The poor man went and purchased the head of a dead horse, which was all his means enabled him to do, and this he placed over his house, little dreaming of the good fortune, which by this means he was to enjoy.  Before the first day passed, to his extreme surprise and joy, he saw a bird, with a chain attached to its neck, entangled with the horse’s head; and, on mounting to the housetop to extricate the bird, he found it one of the greatest beauty, and that the chain was of diamonds.  He was not long in discovering the bird had escaped from the window of the favourite of a certain sultan, who, on its being restored, gave the poor man the chain as his reward, and by means of which he became rich and happy.  Now,” said Boo Khaloom, “I dreamt of this story last night, and that I was the poor man.”

Page 174

During their stay at Sockna, the marriage of the son of one of the richest inhabitants, Haji Mohammed-el-Hair-Trigge, was celebrated in the true Arab style.  There is something so rudely chivalric in their ceremonies, so very superior to the dull monotony of a Tripolitan wedding, where from one to five hundred guests, all males assemble, covered with gold lace, and look at one another from the evening of one day until daylight the next, that we cannot refrain from transcribing it.

The morning of the marriage-day, (for the ceremony is always performed in the evening, that is, the final ceremony, for they are generally betrothed, and the fatah read a year before,) is ushered in by the music of the town or tribe, consisting of a bagpipe and two small drums, serenading the bride first, and then the bridegroom, who generally walks through the streets, very finely dressed, with all the town at his heels; during which all the women assemble at the bride’s house, dressed in their finest clothes, and place themselves at the different holes in the walls, which serve as windows, and look into the court-yard.  When they are so placed, and the bride is in front of one of the windows, with her face entirely covered with her barracan, the bridal clothes, consisting of silk shifts, shawls, silk trousers, and fine barracans, to show her riches, are hung from the top of the house, quite reaching to the ground.  The young Arab chiefs are permitted to pay their respects; they are preceded from the skiffa, or entrance, by their music, and a dancing woman or two advance with great form, and with slow steps, to the centre of the court, under the bride’s window; here the ladies salute their visitors with “loo! loo! loo!” which they return by laying their right hand on their breasts, as they are conducted quite round the circle.  Ample time is afforded them to survey the surrounding beauties, and there are but few who on those occasions are so cruel as to keep the veil quite closed.  Such an assemblage of bright black eyes, large ear-rings, and white teeth, are but rarely seen in any country.  After having made the circuit, the largess is given, and exposed to view by the chief danseuse, and according to its amount, is the donor hailed and greeted by the spectators.  Previously to their departure, all visitors discharge their pistols, and then again the ladies salute with the loo! loo!

So far from being displeased at Major Denham asking permission to pay his respects, it was considered as a favour conferred, and the bridegroom, although he could not himself be admitted, attended him to and from the house of his mistress.  This ceremony being ended, a little before sunset, the bride prepares to leave her father’s house; a camel is sent for her, with a jaafa or sedan chair of basket work on its back, covered with skins of animals, shawls from Soudan, Cairo, and Timbuctoo; she steps into this, and so places herself as to see what is going forward, and yet to lie entirely hidden from the view

Page 175

of others.  She is now conducted outside the town, where all the horsemen and footmen, who have arms are assembled.  The escort of the travellers on this occasion added to the effect, as they were all by Boo Khaloom’s order in the field, consisting of sixty mounted Arabs, and when they all charged and fired at the foot of the bride’s camel, Major Denham says, he really felt for the virgin’s situation, but it was thought a great honour, and that, he supposes, consoled her for the fright.  They commenced by skirmishing by twos and fours, and charging in sections at full speed, always firing close under the bride’s jaafa; in this manner they proceeded three times round the town, the scene occasionally relieved by a little interlude of the bridegroom; approaching the camel, which was surrounded by the negresses, who instantly commenced a cry, and drove him away, to the great amusement of the bystanders, exclaiming, "burra!  Burra!" (be off! be off!) mazal shouia, (a little yet.) With discharges of musketry, and the train of horsemen, &c., she is then conveyed to the bridegroom’s house, upon which it is necessary for her to appear greatly surprised, and refuse to dismount; the women scream, and the men shout, and she is at length persuaded to enter, when after receiving a bit of sugar in her mouth, from the bridegroom’s hand, and placing another bit in his, with her own fair fingers, the ceremony is finished, and they are declared man and wife.

They had now to pass the Gibel Assoud, or Black Mountains; the northernmost part of this basaltic chain commences on leaving Sockna.  They halted at Melaghi the place of meeting; immediately at the foot of the mountain is the well of Agutifa, and from hence probably the most imposing view of these heights will be seen.  To the south, the mountain path of Niffdah presents its black, overhanging peaks, the deep chasm round which, the path winds, bearing a most cavern-like appearance; a little to the west, the camel path, called El Nishka, appears scarcely less difficult and precipitous; the more southern crags close in the landscape, while the foreground is occupied by the dingy and barren wadey of Agutifa, with the well immediately overhung by red ridges of limestone and clay; the whole presenting a picture of barrenness not to be perfectly described either by poet or painter.

The first four days of their journey after leaving Agutifa, were all dreariness and misery.  This was the third time that they had passed these deserts, but no familiarity with the scenery at all relieves the sense of wretchedness which the dread barrenness of the place inspires.  They marched from dawn until dark, for the sake of getting over them as soon as possible, and as scarcely sufficient fuel was to be found to boil a little water, a mass of cold tumuta was usually their supper.

Page 176

On leaving Tingazeer they had the blessing of a rainy day, for such it was to all, but particularly to the poor negroes who accompanied the kafila; although Boo Khaloom always gave something to drink from his skins once a day, an unusual kindness; yet, marching as they were for twelve and fourteen hours, a single draught was scarcely sufficient to satisfy nature.  In consequence of the rain, they found water fresh and pure during almost every day’s march, and arrived at Zeghren with the loss of only one camel.  On the last day, previously to arriving at the well, Omhul Abeed, a skeleton of a man, with some flesh still hanging about him, lay close to the road, but it was passed by the whole kafila with scarcely a remark.

After these dreary wastes, it was no small pleasure to rest a day at Zeghren, the native town of a considerable merchant, who accompanied the kafila.  When they first left Sockna for Mourzouk, Abdi Zeleel had before taken Major Denham to his house, and presented him to his mother and sister, and he now insisted upon his taking up his quarters there altogether.  Almost the first person who presented herself, was his friend the merchant’s sister, he had almost said, the fair Omhal Henna, (the mother of peace.) We shall allow Major Denham to relate this African amour in his own words:—­

“She had a wooden bowl of haleb (fresh milk) in her hand, the greatest rarity she could offer, and holding out the milk, with some confusion, towards me, with both her hands, the hood, which should have concealed her beautiful features, had fallen back.  As my taking my milk from her, would have prevented the amicable salutation we both seemed prepared for, and which consisted of four or five gentle pressures of the hand, with as many aish harleks, and tiels, and ham-dulillahs, she placed the bowl upon the ground, while the ceremonies of greeting, which take up a much longer time in an African village, than in an English drawing room, were by mutual consent most cordially performed.  I really could not help looking at her with astonishment, and I heartily wish I had the power of conveying an idea of her portrait.  It was the jemma (Friday,) the sabbath, and she was covered, for I cannot call it dressed, with only a blue linen barracan, which passed under one arm, and was fastened on the top of the opposite shoulder, with a silver pin, the remaining part thrown round the body behind, and brought over her head as a sort of hood, which, as I have before remarked, had fallen off, and my having taken her hand, when she set down the milk, had prevented its being replaced.  This accident displayed her jet black hair, in numberless plaits, all round her expressive face and neck, and her large sparkling eyes and little mouth, filled with the whitest teeth imaginable.  She had various figures burnt on her chin, with gunpowder; her complexion was a deep brown, and round her neck were eight or ten necklaces, of coral and different coloured beads. 

Page 177

So interesting a person I had not seen in the country, and on my remaining some moments with my eyes fixed on her, she recommenced the salutation.  How is your health? &c., and smiling, asked with great naivete, whether I had not learned, during the last two months, a little more Arabic?  I assured her that I had.  Looking round to see if any body heard her, and having brought the hood over her face, she said, ’I first heard of your coming last night, and desired the slave to mention it to my brother.  I have always looked for your coming, and at night, because at night I have sometimes seen you. You were the first man whose hand I ever touched, but they all said it did not signify with you, an Insara (a Christian.) God turn your heart!  But my brother says you will never become Moslem—­won’t you, to please Abdi Zeleel’s sister? my mother says, God would never have allowed you to come, but for your conversion.’  By this time again the hood had fallen back, and I had again taken her hand, when the unexpected appearance of Abdi Zeleel, accompanied by the governor of the town, who came to visit me, was a most unwelcome interruption.  Omhal Henna quickly escaped; she had overstepped the line, and I saw her no more.”

On Wednesday the 30th October, they made their entree into Mourzouk, with all the parade and show that they could muster.  By Boo Khaloom’s presents to the bashaw, but chiefly on account of his having undertaken to conduct the travellers to Bornou, he had not only gained the bashaw’s favour, but had left Tripoli with strong proofs of his master’s consideration.  The inhabitants came out to meet them, and they entered the gates amidst the shouts of the people, preceded by singing and dancing women.  And the Arabs who formed their escort, made such repeated charges, upon their jaded and tired animals, that Major Denham expected some of them would “fall to rise no more.”  No living creatures can be treated worse than an Arab’s wife and his horse, and if plurality could be transferred from the marriage bed to the stable, both wives and horses would be much benefited by the change.

Major Denham could not quite resist a sensation of disappointment, that no friends came out to meet him, but as the sun was insufferably powerful, and as he had received a message by Boo Khaloom’s brother, from Dr. Oudney, that he was unwell, and that Lieutenant Clapperton had the ague, he did not much expect to see them.  He was, however, by no means prepared to see either of them so much reduced as they were.  He found that both his companions and Hillman, had been confined to their beds with hemma, (fever and ague,) had been delirious, and the doctor and Hillman only a little recovered.  Clapperton was still on his bed, which for fifteen days he had not quitted.  Doctor Oudney was suffering also from a severe complaint in his chest, arising from a cold caught during his excursion to Ghraat, and nothing could be more disheartening than their appearance.  The opinion of every body, Arabs, Tripolines, and Ritchie, and Lyon, their predecessors, were all unanimous as to the insalubrity of the air.  Every one belonging to the present expedition had been seriously disordered, and amongst the inhabitants themselves, any thing like a healthy-looking person was a rarity.

Page 178

Notwithstanding Boo Khaloom made every exertion in his power to get away from Mourzouk, as early as possible, yet, from the numerous arrangements, which it was necessary for him to make, for the provisioning of so many persons, during a journey through a country possessing no resources, it was the 29th November before those arrangements were complete.  Dr. Oudney and Mr. Clapperton, from a most praiseworthy impatience to proceed on their journey, and at the same time thinking their health might be benefited by the change of air, preceded him to Gatrone by ten days.  Major Denham remained behind to urge Boo Khaloom, and expedite his departure, as it was considered, by those means, that any wish might be obviated, which he might have to delay, on account of his private affairs, even for a day.  Their caution was, however, needless, no man could be more anxious to obey the orders he had received, and forward their views than himself; indeed so peremptory had been the commands of the bashaw, in consequence of the representation of our consul general, when complaining of former procrastinations, that Boo Khaloom’s personal safety depended on his expedition, and of this he was well aware.

The following is a correct account of the strength of the party, as it proceeded from Mourzouk.  Major Denham had succeeded in engaging, on his return to Tripoli, as an attendant to accompany him to Bornou, a native of the island of St. Vincent, whose real name was Adolphus Sympkins, but who, in consequence of his having run away from home, and as a merchant traversed hall the world over, had acquired the name of Columbus.  He had been several years in the service of the bashaw, spoke three European languages, and perfect Arabic. [*] They had besides, three free negroes, who had been hired in Tripoli as private servants.  Jacob, a Gibraltar Jew, who was a sort of store-keeper, four men to look after the camels, and these, with Mr. Hillman and the remainder of the Europeans, made up the number of their household to thirteen persons.  They were also accompanied by several merchants from Mesurata, Tripoli, Sockna, and Mourzouk, who gladly embraced the protection of their escort, to proceed to the interior with their merchandize.

[Footnote:  This person afterwards accompanied Captain Clapperton on his second journey.]

The Arabs in the service of the bashaw of Tripoli, by whom they were to be escorted to Bornou, and on whose good conduct their success almost wholly depended, were now nearly all assembled, and had been chosen from amongst the most convenient tribes.  They gained considerably in the good opinion of the travellers, each day as they became better acquainted with them; they were not only a great and most necessary protection to them, breaking the ground, as they were, for any Europeans who might follow their steps, but enlivened them greatly on their dreary desert way, by their infinite wit and sagacity, as well as by their poetry,

Page 179

extempore and traditional.  There were several amongst the party, who shone as orators in verse, to use the idiom of their own expressive language, particularly one of the tribe of Boo Saiff Marabooteens, or gifted persons, who would sing for an hour together, faithfully describing the whole of their journey for the preceding fortnight, relating the most trifling occurrence that had happened, even to the name of the well, and the colour and taste of the water, with astonishing rapidity and humour, and in very tolerable poetry, while some of his traditional ballads were beautiful.

The Arabs are generally thin, meagre figures, though possessing expressive and sometimes handsome features; great violence of gesture and muscular action; irritable and fiery, they are unlike the dwellers in towns and cities; noisy and loud, their common conversational intercourse appears to be a continual strife and quarrel.  They are, however, brave, eloquent, and deeply sensible of shame.  Major Denham once knew an Arab of the lower class refuse his food for days together, because in a skirmish his gun had missed fire; to use his own words, "Gulbi wahr, (my heart aches,) Bin-dikti kadip hashimtui gedam el naz. (my gun lied, and shamed me before the people.)” Much has been said of their want of cleanliness; they may, however, be pronounced to be much more cleanly than the lower orders of people in any European country.  Circumcision, and the shaving the hair from the head, and every other part of the body; the frequent ablutions, which their religion compels them to perform; all tend to enforce practices of cleanliness.  Vermin, from the climate of their country, they, as well as every other person, must be annoyed with; and although the lower ranks have not the means of frequently changing their covering, for it can be scarcely called apparel, yet they endeavour to free themselves as much as possible from the persecuting vermin.  Their mode of dress has undergone no change for centuries back, and the words of Fenelon will at this day apply with equal truth to their present appearance.  “Leurs habits sont aises a faire, car en ce doux climat on ne porte qu’une piece d’etoffe fine et legere, qui n’est point taillee et que chacun met a long plis autour de son corps pour la modestie; lui donnant la forme qu’il veut.”


During the time that Major Denham had been occupied with transacting his business with the bashaw of Tripoli, Dr. Oudney and Lieutenant Clapperton had determined to make an excursion to the westward of Mourzouk, for the purpose of ascertaining the course of the rivers, and the local curiosities of the country.  Accordingly on the 8th June 1822, Dr. Oudney, Lieutenant Clapperton, and Mr. Hillman, departed from Mourzouk, accompanied by Hadje Ali, brother of Ben Bucher, Ben Khalloom, Mahommed Neapolitan Mamelouk, and Mahomet, son of their neighbour Hadje Mahmud.  It was their intention to have proceeded direct to Ghraat, and laboured hard to accomplish their object; obstacle after obstacle was, however, thrown in their way by some individuals in Mourzouk.  Several came begging them not to go, as the road was dangerous, and the people not all under the bashaw’s control.  They at length hired camels from a Targee, Hadge Said, but only to accompany them as far as the wadey Ghrurby.

Page 180

This course was over sands skirted with date trees, the ground strewed with fragments of calcareous crust, with a vitreous surface from exposure to the weather.  About mid-day, after an exhausting journey from oppressive heat, they arrived at El Hummum, a straggling village, the houses of which were mostly constructed of palm leaves.  They remained until the sun was well down and then proceeded on their course.  The country had the same character.  At eight they arrived at Tessouwa.

The greater number of inhabitants were Turiacks.  They had a warlike appearance, a physiognomy and costume different from the Fezzaners.  More than a dozen muffled-up faces were seated near their tents, with every one’s spear stuck forcibly in the ground before him.  This struck them forcibly, from being very different from that which they had been accustomed to see.  The Arab is always armed in his journey, with his long gun and pistols, but there is something more imposing in the spear, dagger, and broad straight sword.

Their course now lay over an extensive high plain, with a long range of hills, running nearly east and west.  They entered them by a pass, in which were numerous recesses, evidently leading to more extensive wadeys.  This pass led to another, the finest they had yet seen, and the only part approaching to the sublime, which they had beheld in Fezzan.  It was rugged and narrow; its sides high, and overhanging in some places near the end of the pass, the wady Ghrarby opens, with groves of date palms, and high sandy hills.  The change was sudden and striking, and instead of taking away, added to the effect of the pass they were descending.

Having travelled up the valley for about four miles, they halted at a small town, called Kharaik, having passed two in their course.  The number of date trees in the eastern and western division of the valley, is said to be 340,000.  The first division, or wadey Shirgi, extends from near Siba to within a few miles of Thirtiba, the other from the termination of Shirgi to Aubari.

In the evening, they saw some of the preparatory steps for a marriage.  The woman belonged to Kharaik, and the man to the next town.  A band of musicians, accompanied by all the women of the village, with every now and then a volley of musketry, formed the chief part of the procession.  One woman carried a basket on her head, for the purpose of collecting gomah to form a feast, and pay the musicians.  They came from the village of the bridegroom, which was about a mile distant.

The sheik of this town, whose name was Ali, was a good-natured Tibboo, exceedingly poor, but very attentive, and always in good humour.  The place was so poor that they had sometimes to wait half a day before they could get a couple of fowls, or a feed of dates or barley for their horses.  They were in hourly expectation of the arrival of camels from the friends of Hateeta, for the purpose of conveying them to Ghraat;

Page 181

no camels, however, arrived, and they were obliged to remain, much against their inclination.  On Hateeta conversing with Dr. Oudney, on the difficulty they experienced in getting away from Mourzouk, on account of the obstacles thrown in the way by the people, he said, that the dread, which they had of the Turiacks, was unfounded, and that they should soon be convinced of it.  He further added, that he could by his influence alone conduct them in perfect safety to Timbuctoo, and would answer with his head.  He was indignant at the feelings, which the people of Mourzouk had against the Turiacks, who, he said, pride themselves on having but one word, and performing whatever they promise.

The promised camels not having arrived, they hired two of Mahomet el Buin, and with these they proceeded on to Gorma, which they found to be a larger town than any in the wadey, but both walls and houses have the marks of time.  The sheik, Mustapha Ben Ussuf, soon visited them.  He was an old man, a Fezzaner.  His ancestors were natives of the place, and his features might be considered as characteristic of the natives of Fezzan.

They had many accounts of inscriptions being in this place, which the people could not read.  They were conducted by sheik Mustapha to examine a building, different, as he stated, from any in the country.  When they arrived, they found to their satisfaction, it was a structure which had been erected by the Romans.

There were no inscriptions to be found, although they carefully turned up a number of the stones strewed about, but a few figures and letters rudely hewn out, and evidently of recent date.  They imagined they could trace some resemblance to the letters of Europe, and conjectured that they had been hewn out by some European traveller at no very distant period.  Their thoughts naturally went back to Horneman, but again they had no intelligence of his having been there, “In short,” as Dr. Oudney says, “to confess the truth, we did not know what to make of them, till we afterwards made the discovery of the Targee writing.”

This building is about twelve feet high, and eight broad.  It is built of sandstone well finished, and dug from the neighbouring hills.  Its interior is solid, and of small stones, cemented by mortar.  It stands about three miles from Gorma, and a quarter of a mile from the foot of the mountain.  It is either a tomb or an altar; those well acquainted with Roman architecture will easily determine which.  The finding a structure of these people proves, without doubt, their intercourse here.  It is probable they had no extensive establishment, otherwise they would have seen more remains as they went along; they passed by, and saw to the westward, the remains of ancient Gorma.  It appeared to occupy a space more extensive than the present town.  They were not able to learn from the old sheik, whether any antique coins were ever found, or any building similar to this in the vicinity.  Was this the tract of the Romans merely into the interior, or did they come to the valley for dates?

Page 182

Hateeta arrived during the night of the 18th June; their departure was, however, delayed on account of his illness.  On the following morning, they struck their tents by daylight, and commenced their journey.  They sent their horses home, that is, to Mourzouk, by their servant, Adam, and set out on foot.  They intended mounting the camels, but the loads were so ill arranged that they dared not venture.  Their course lay through groves of date trees, growing in the salt plains.  These extended about four miles, and two miles further west, was a small Arab town.  They halted about an hour under the shade of the date trees, waiting for the coming up of the camels.  They then mounted, and in the afternoon entered the date groves of Oubari, where they halted.  Hateeta joined them in the evening.  They had numerous Tuarick visitors, some residents of the town, and others belonging to a kafila about to depart for the Tuarick country.  They are an independent-looking race.  They examine with care every thing they see, and are not scrupulous in asking for different articles, such as tobacco, powder, and flints.

The camel men not coming forward with their camels, the party took the advantage of their detention to visit the neighbouring hills.  One part appeared at a distance as an artificial excavation, which, however, disappeared as they approached, and they found it to be a smooth surface, with a portion so removed as to give rise to the delusion.

In ascending this by the track of a mountain torrent, they fell in with numerous inscriptions, in characters similar to those on the Roman building.  Some were evidently done centuries ago, others very recently.  To the southward there was another portion of the same range.  When they got to the top, they were perspiring copiously, and had to take care that the perspiration was not checked too suddenly, as a strong cool breeze was blowing on the top.  Many places were cleared away for prayer, in the same manner as they had observed in places on all the roads, on which they had travelled.  The form in general is an oblong square, with a small recess in one of the longer sides, looking to the rising sun, or it is semicircular, with a similar recess.  On the top of a steep precipice, “God save the king” was sung with great energy and taste by Hillman.

The new moon was seen on this evening, to the great joy of all the followers of Mahomet.  Muskets and pistols were discharged, and all the musicians began their labours.  This sport was continued until night.  A party of musicians came out to visit them, but several of them were so drunk that they could scarcely walk.  The fast was kept by all with a bad grace, and scarcely one was to be seen who had not a long visage.  It was even laughable to see some young men going about the streets, with long walking-sticks, leaning forward like men bent with age.  As soon as the maraboot calls, not a person was to be seen in the streets; all commence, as soon as he pronounces “Allah Akber!” All pretend to keep it, and if they do not, they take care that no one shall know it; but from the wry faces and pharasaical shows, the rigidity may be called in question.  None of the European party kept the fast, except for a day now and then; for all travellers, after the first day, are allowed exemption, but they have to make it up at some other time.

Page 183

They were greatly amused with stories of the great powers of eating of the Tuaricks.  They were told that two men have consumed three sheep at one meal, another eating a kail of bruised dates, and a corresponding quantity of milk, and another eating about a hundred loaves, about the size of an English penny loaf.  They had many inquiries respecting the English females; for a notion prevailed, that they always bore more than one child at a time, and that they went longer than nine calendar months.  On being told that they were the same in that respect as other women, they appeared pleased.  They were also asked, how the women were kept; if they were locked up as the moorish women, or allowed to go freely abroad.  The Tuarick women are allowed great liberties that way, and are not a little pleased at having such an advantage.  The customs and manners of Europe, which they related to their friends, were so similar to some of theirs, that an old Targee exclaimed, in a forcible manner, “that he was sure they had the same origin as us.”  The Tuarick women have full round faces, black curling hair, and, from a negro mixture, inclined to be crispy; eyebrows a little arched, eyes black and large, nose plain and well formed.  The dress a barracan, neatly wrapped round, with a cover of dark blue cloth for the head, sometimes coming over the lower part of the face, as in the men.  They are not very fond of beads, but often have shells suspended to the ears as ear-drops.

Being obliged to postpone their departure for ten days, in consequence of the indisposition of Hateeta, Dr. Oudney determined in the mean time to visit Wady Shiati, whilst Mr. Hillman was sent back to Mourzouk, to send down supplies, and to take charge of the property.  They arranged about the fare for their camels, and made every preparation for their immediate departure.  Before, however, they could set out, a guide for the sands was necessary; and for that purpose they engaged an old Targee, who professed to know every part of the track.  They travelled by moonlight, over a sandy soil, with numerous tufts of grass, and mound hillocks covered with shrubs, the surface in many places hard and crusty, from saline incrustations.  The old men told them, that the mounds of earth were formed by water, as the wadey, at the times of great rains, was covered with water.

At daylight they resumed their journey, and a little after sunrise entered among the sand-hills, which were here two or three hundred feet high.  The ascent and descent of these proved very fatiguing to both their camels and themselves.  The precipitous sides obliged them often to make a circuitous route, and rendered it necessary to form with their hands a track, by which the camels might ascend.  Beyond this boundary there was an extensive sandy plain, with here and there tufts of grass.

Page 184

In the afternoon, their track was on the same plain; and near sunset they began ascending high sand-hills, one appearing as if heaped upon the other.  The guide ran before, to endeavour to find out the easiest track, with all the agility of a boy.  The presence of nothing but deep sandy valleys and high sand-hills strikes the mind most forcibly.  There is something of the sublime mixed with the melancholy; who can contemplate without admiration masses of loose sand, fully four hundred feet high, ready to be tossed about by every breeze, and not shudder with horror at the idea of the unfortunate traveller being entombed in a moment by one of those fatal blasts, which sometimes occur.  They halted for the night on the top of one of these sand-hills.

For three or four days their course still lay among the sand-hills; their guide, whom they now styled Mahomet Ben Kami, or son of the sand, was almost always on before, endeavouring to find out the best way.  They could detect in the sand numerous footmarks of the jackal and the fox, and here and there a solitary antelope.  In some of the wadeys there were a great many fragments of the ostrich egg.  About mid-day, they halted in a valley, and remained under the shade of some date trees for a few hours.  The heat was oppressive, and their travelling was difficult They next came to an extensive level plain, which was some refreshment, for they were completely tired of ascending and descending sand-hills.  The servants strayed, proceeding on a track, which was pointed out to them as the right one, and, before they were aware of their error, they went so far that they were not able to send after them.  They, as well as themselves, thought the town was near, and they went forwards, with the intention of getting in before the remainder of the party could come up.  They felt exceedingly uneasy respecting them, as they might so easily lose themselves in such intricate travelling.  They halted in low spirits, and, after a little refreshment, went to sleep with heavy hearts.

During the night, some strong breezes sprang up, by which their trunks and bed-clothes were all covered with sand in the morning.  They heard nothing of their servants, and consoled themselves that they had perhaps found some place of shelter or rest.  They commenced their journey early, and in a short time the hills of Wadey Shiati were seen stretching east and west, and the date-palms in several groves; but some high sand-hills were seen between them.  They wished their old guide to take them a more direct course, but notwithstanding their desire, and even threats, he persevered in having his way; and, to do the old man justice, they afterwards found it would almost have been impossible for the camels to have gone the way they wished.  After passing the base of some high sand-hills, they came to a strong pass, of gentle descent, covered with loose fragments of quartz rock, a yellowish feldspar, and iron ore, very similar to the rocks in the Sebah district.  From this place the town opened to their view, erected on a hill about three hundred feet high, standing in the middle of the valley, and has the appearance, at a distance, of a hill studded over with basaltic columns.  They had no idea that the town was built on the hill, and consequently that the deception was produced by it.

Page 185

The majority of the inhabitants soon visited them, and all appeared pleased at their arrival.  The kadi of the two neighbouring towns paid them many compliments, and pressed them much to spend a few days in his towns.  They could not take advantage of this offer, which was no doubt of a selfish nature, for Dr. Oudney had not conversed long with him, before he began to beg a shirt.  The doctor told him that his could be of no use to him, as it was very different from those of the country.  On being told that, he asked for a dollar to buy one, which Dr. Oudney took care to refuse, saying that he only gave presents of money to the poor.  The people made numerous urgent demands for medicines, and in a very short time, their large tent was surrounded with sick, the female part forming the majority.  Some beautiful faces and forms were clothed in rags; the plaited hair and necks of these even were loaded with ornaments.  The females were rather under the middle stature, strongly built, and possess considerable vivacity, and liveliness.  The complexion of those not much exposed to the sun was of a dirty white.

Dr. Oudney was also applied to in a new capacity, that of a charm-writer.  A man came and offered him two fowls, if he would give him a charm for a disease of the stomach; he was, however, obliged to decline the office of charm-writer, and confine himself to the cure of diseases by medicine.  A buxom widow applied for a medicine to obtain her a husband, but the doctor told her he had no such medicine along with him.  The same worthy personage took Lieutenant Clapperton for an old man, on account of his light-coloured beard and mustachios; but although this afforded some amusement to the party, Clapperton felt some chagrin at it, for he had prided himself on the strength and bushiness of his beard, and was not a little hurt that light colour should be taken as a mark of old age.  None of them had ever seen a light-coloured beard before, and all the old men dye their grey beards with henna, which gives them a colour approaching to that of Lieutenant Clapperton.

They now proceeded to visit the interior of the town.  The houses were built of mud, and erected on the sides of the hill, appearing as if one were pulled on the other.  The passages or streets between them are narrow, and in two or three instances, some excavations were made through the rocks.  The ascent was steep in some places, and they had to pass through the mosque before they arrived at the highest portion.  From this they had a line view of Wadey Shiati in every direction, running nearly east and west; in the former direction it was well inhabited as far as Oml’ Abeed, which is the westernmost town.  Many houses were in ruins, and many more were approaching to that state, still it was called the new town, although its appearance little entitles it to that appellation; but the ancient inhabitants lived in excavations in the rocks, the remains of which are very distinct. 

Page 186

At the bottom of the hill, they entered several, not much decayed by time.  At a hundred yards, however, from the base of the hill, and now used as a burying-ground, there is a subterranean house, of large dimensions, and probably the residence of the great personage.  Dr. Oudney and Clapperton entered this excavation, and found three extensive galleries, which communicated only by small openings, on passing through which, they had to stoop considerably.  The galleries were, however, high, and of considerable length, about one hundred and fifty feet, and each had several small recesses, like sleeping rooms.  The whole had neatness about it, and showed a taste in the excavation.  There are no traces of similar abodes in Fezzan.  The people are so afraid, and so superstitious, that scarcely one of the town had ever entered it.  They were astonished when the Europeans entered it without ceremony, and two, encouraged by their example, brought them a light, by which they were enabled to look into the different recesses.

On the 6th July, they started, with a beautiful moonlight, over a sandy plain, with a great many small hillocks.  They stopped at Dalhoon, a well nearly filled up with sand, and containing water so brackish that they were unable to drink it.  They started again, and got in amongst the sand-hills.  Their new guide proved neither such an active man, nor so experienced a pilot, as their old Tuarick, as they had several times to retrace their steps.

After visiting several places of no particular note, they arrived at Ghraat, and were soon visited by a number of Hateeta’s relations, one of whom was his sister; some were much affected, and wept at the sufferings that had detained him so long from them.  A number of his male relations soon came, and many of the inhabitants of the town.  The ladies were a free and lively set.  They were not a little pleased with the grave manner in which their visitors uttered the various complimentary expressions.  Hateeta was not well pleased with something he had heard, but he told them not to be afraid, as he had numerous relations.  They informed him that fear never entered their breasts, and begged him not to be uneasy on their account.

Early on the following morning, numerous visitors paid their respects to Hateeta, and were introduced in due form to the Europeans, who felt the length of time spent in salutations quite fatiguing, and so absurd in their eyes, that they could scarcely at times retain their gravity.  The visitors were mostly residents of the city, and all were decorated in their best.  There were also a sedateness and gravity in the appearance of all, which the dress tended greatly to augment.

Page 187

In the afternoon, they visited the sultan.  Mats had been spread in the castle in a small anti-chamber.  The old man was seated, but rose up to receive them, and welcomed them to his city.  He apologized for not waiting on them, but said he was sick, and had been very little out for some time.  He had guinea-worm, and cataract was forming in his eyes.  He was dressed in a nearly worn-out robe, and trousers of the same colour, and round his head was wrapped an old piece of yellow coarse cloth for a turban.  Notwithstanding the meanness of the dress, there was something pleasing and prepossessing in his countenance, and such as made them quite as much at home, as if in their tents.  They presented him with a sword, with which he was highly pleased.  Hateeta wished it had been a Bornouse; but they had none with them which they considered sufficiently good.  They were led away by the title sultan, having no idea that the Tuaricks were so vain; for they used to fill them with high notions of the wealth and greatness of the people of Ghraat.

On the whole, their interview was highly pleasing, and every one seemed much pleased with their visitors.  The old sultan showed them every kindness, and they had every reason to believe him sincere in his wishes.  After their visit, they called at the house of Lameens, son of the kadi.  He was a young man of excellent character, and universally respected.  His father was then in Ghadames, arranging, with some of the other principal inhabitants, the affairs of the community.  He had left directions with his son, to show the strangers every attention.  His house was neatly fitted up, and carpets spread on a high bed, on which the visitors seated themselves.  Several of the people who were in the castle came along with them, and by the assistance of those, who could speak Arabic, they were able to keep up a tolerably good conversation.  On inquiring about the Tuarick letters, they found the same sounds given them as they had before heard from others.  They were here at the fountain-head, but were disappointed at not being able to find a book in the Tuarick language; they were informed, that there was not one extant.

In the evening Hateeta’s kinswomen returned.  They were greatly amused, and laughed heartily at their visitors blundering out a few Tuarick words.  It may be well supposed they were very unfit companions for the ladies, as they spoke no other language than their own, and the strangers knew very little of it.  Still, however, they got on very well, and were mutually pleased.  Dr. Oudney could scarcely refrain laughing several times, at the grave manner which Clapperton assumed.  He had been tutored by Hateeta, and fully acted up to his instructions; no Tuarick could have done it better.  Their friend Hateeta was anxious that they should shine, if not make an impression on the hearts of the ladies, and therefore read a number of lectures to Clapperton, as to the manner in which he should deport himself.  He was directed not to laugh nor sing, but to look as grave as possible, which Hateeta said would be sure to please the grave Tuaricks.  The liveliness of the women, their freeness with the men, and the marked attention the latter paid them, formed a striking contrast with other Mahommedan states.

Page 188

They now proceeded to take a circuit of the town, and during their walk they fell in with a number of females, who had come out to see them.  All were free and lively, and riot at all deferred by the presence of the men.  Several of them had fine features, but only one or two could be called beautiful.  Many of the natives came out of their houses as they passed along, and cordially welcomed them to their town.  It was done with so much sincerity and good heartedness, that they could not but be pleased and highly flattered.

In the evening they heard a numerous band of females, singing at a distance, which was continued till near midnight.  The women were principally those of the country.  This custom is very common among the people, and is one of the principal amusements in the mountain recesses.  Hateeta said they go out when their work is finished, in the evening, and remain till near midnight, singing and telling stories; return home, take supper, and go to bed.


Dr. Oudney and his companions now determined to return to Mourzouk, where they arrived in November, and on the 29th of the same month, they again departed, accompanied by nearly all those of the town, who could muster horses; the camels had moved early in the day, and at Zerzow, they found the tents pitched.  From Zerzow to Traghan there is a good high road, with frequent incrustations of salt.  A marabout of great sanctity, is the principal person in Traghan, as his father was before him.  After being crammed as it were by the hospitality of this marabout, they left Traghan for Maefen, an assemblage of date huts, with but one house.  The road to this place lies over a mixture of sand and salt, having a curious and uncommon appearance.  The path, by which all the animals move for some miles, is a narrow space, or strip, worn smooth, bearing a resemblance both in appearance and hardness to ice.

Quitting Maefen, they quickly entered on a desert plain, and after a dreary fourteen hours march for camels, they arrived at Mestoota, a maten or resting place, where the camels found some little grazing, from a plant called ahgul.  Starting at sunrise, they had another fatiguing day, over the same kind of desert, without seeing one living thing that did not belong to the kafila, not a bird, nor even an insect; the sand is beautifully fine, round, and red.  It is difficult to give the most distant idea of the stillness and beauty of a night scene, on a desert of this description.  The distance between the resting places is not sufficiently great, for the dread of want of water to be alarmingly felt, and the track, though a sandy one, is well known to the guides.  The burning heat of the day is succeeded by cool and refreshing breezes, and the sky ever illumined by large and brilliant stars, or an unclouded moon.  By removing the loose and pearl-like sand, to the depth of a few inches, the effects of the sunbeams

Page 189

of the day are not perceptible, and a most soft and refreshing couch is easily formed.  The ripple of the driving sand resembles that of a slow and murmuring stream, and after escaping from the myriads of fleas, which day and night persecute you, in the date-bound valley in which Mourzouk stands, the luxury of an evening of this description is an indescribable relief.  Added to the solemn stillness, so peculiarly striking and impressive, there is an extraordinary echo in all deserts, arising probably from the closeness and solidity of a sandy soil, which does not absorb the sound.  They now arrived at Gabrone.  The Arabs watch for a sight of the high date trees, which surround this town, as sailors look for land, and after discovering these land marks, they shape their course accordingly.

Here Major Denham joined his companions, whom he found in a state of health but ill calculated for undertaking a long and tedious journey.  During the stay of the major at Mourzouk, he had suffered from a severe attack of fever, which had kept him for ten days in his bed, and although considerably debilitated, yet he was strong in comparison with his associates.  Dr. Oudney was suffering much from his cough, and still complaining of his chest.  Mr. Clapperton’s ague had not left him, and Hillman had been twice attacked so violently, as to be given over by the doctor.  They all, however, looked forward anxiously to proceeding on their journey, and fancied that change of scene and warmer weather, would bring them all round.

Gabrone is not unpleasantly situated; it is surrounded by sandhills and mounds of earth, covered with a small tree, called athali. The person of the greatest importance at Gabrone, is one Hagi el Raschid, a large proprietor, and a marabout.  He was a man of very clear understanding and amiable manners, and as he uses the superstition of the people as the means of making them happy, and turning them from vicious pursuits, we become, as it were, almost reconciled to an impostor.

They departed from Gabrone at 11 o’clock, a.m.  The marabout accompanied Boo Khaloom outside the town, and having drawn, not a magic circle, but a parallelogram on the sand, with his wand, he wrote in it certain words of great import, from the Koran; the crowd looked on him in silent astonishment, while he assumed a manner both graceful and imposing, so as to make it impossible for any one to feel at all inclined to ridicule his motions.  When he had finished repeating the fatah aloud, he invited the party singly to ride through the spot he had consecrated, and having obeyed him, they silently proceeded on their journey, without repeating even an idea.

They passed a small nest of huts in the road, prettily situated, called El Bahhi, from whence the women of the place followed them with songs for several miles.  Having halted at Medroosa, they moved on the next morning, and leaving an Arab castle to the south-east, and some table-top hills, they arrived at Kasrowa by three in the afternoon.

Page 190

On the 9th December, they were to arrive at Tegerhy.  The Arabs commenced skirmishing as soon as they came within sight of it, and kept it up in front of the town for half an hour after their arrival.  They were to halt here for a day or two, for the purpose of taking in the remainder of their dates and provisions, and never was halt more acceptable.  Almost the whole of the party were afflicted with illness; the servants were all so ill, that one of the negro women made them a mess of kouscasou, with some preserved fat, which had been prepared in Mourzouk, it was a sorry meal, for the fat was rancid, and although tired and not very strong, Major Denham could not refuse an invitation about nine at night, after he had laid down to sleep, to eat camels’ heart with Boo Khaloom; it was woefully hard and tough, and the major suffered the next morning from indulging too much at the feast.

The Tibboos and Arabs kept them awake half the night with their singing and dancing, in consequence of the bousafer or feast, on entering the Tibboo country.  Boo Khaloom gave two camels, and the major and his party gave one.  The sick seemed to gain a little strength; they had succeeded in purchasing a sheep, and a little soup seemed to revive them much, but they feared that Hillman and one of the servants must be left behind.  However distressing such an event would have been, it was impossible for men, who could not sit upright on a mule, to commence a journey of fifteen days over a desert, during which travellers are obliged to march from sunrise until dark.

The morning of the 12th December was beautifully mild.  After breakfast, all seemed revived, but it was with great pain that Major Denham observed the exceeding weakness of Dr. Oudney and Hillman; he fancied that he already saw in them, two more victims to the noxious climate of central Africa.

Almost every town in Africa has its charm or wonder, and Tegerhy is not without one.  There is a well just outside the castle gates, the water of which, they were told most gravely, always rose when a kafila was coming near the town; that the inhabitants always prepared what they had to sell, on seeing this water increase in bulk, for it never deceived them.  In proof of this assertion, they pointed out to Major Denham, how much higher the water had been previously to their arrival, than it was at the moment, when they were standing on the brink.  This Major Denham could have explained, by the number of camels that had drunk at it, but he saw it was better policy to believe what every body allowed to be true, even Boo Khaloom exclaimed, “Allah!  God is great, powerful, and wise.  How wonderful!  Oh!” Over the inner gate of the castle, there is a large hole through to the gateway underneath, and they tell a story, of a woman dropping from thence a stone on the head of some leader, who had gained the outer wall, giving him by that means the death of Abimelech in sacred history.

Page 191

The natives of Tegerhy are quite black, but have not the negro face; the men are slim, very plain, with high cheek bones, the negro nose, large mouth, teeth much stained by the quantity of tobacco, and trona or carbonate of soda, which they eat, and even snuff, when given to them, goes directly into their mouths.

The young girls are most of them pretty, but less so than those of Gabrone.  The men always carry two daggers, one about eighteen inches, and the other six inches; the latter of which is attached to a ring, and worn on the arm or wrist.  A Tibboo once told Major Denham, pointing to the long one, “This is my gun, and this” showing the smaller of the two, “is my pistol.”

On the 13th they left Tegerhy and proceeded on the desert.  After travelling six miles they arrived at a well called Omah, where their tents were pitched, and here they halted three days.  Near these wells, numbers of human skeletons, or parts of them, lay scattered on the sands.  Hillman, who had suffered dreadfully since leaving Tegerhy, was greatly shocked at these whitened skulls, and unhallowed remains, so much so as to stand in need of all the encouragement which Major Denham could administer to him.

On the 17th they continued their course over a stony plain, without the least appearance of vegetation.  About sunset, they halted near a well, within half a mile of Meshroo.  Round this spot were lying more than a hundred skeletons, some of them with the skin still remaining attached to the bones, not even a little sand thrown over them.  The Arabs laughed heartily at the expression which Major Denham evinced, and said, “they were only blacks, nam boo! (d—­n their fathers,)” and began knocking about the limbs with the butt end of their firelocks, saying, “this was a woman:  this was a youngster,” and such like unfeeling expressions.  The greater part of the unhappy people, of whom these were the remains, had formed the spoils of the sultan of Fezzan the year before.  Major Denham was assured, that they had left Bornou, with not above a quarter’s allowance for each; and that more died from want than fatigue; they were marched off with chains round their necks and legs; the most robust only arrived in Fezzan in a very debilitated state, and were there fattened for the Tripoli slave market.

Their camels did not come up until it was quite dark, and they bivouacked in the midst of these unearthed remains of the victims of persecution and avarice, after a long day’s journey of twenty-six miles, in the course of which, one of the party counted one hundred and seven of these skeletons.

Their road now lay over a long plain with a slight ridge.  A fine naga (she camel), lay down on the road, as it was supposed from fatigue.  The Arabs crowded round and commenced unloading her, when, upon inquiry, it was found that she was suddenly taken in labour; about five minutes completed the operation; a very fine little animal was literally dragged into light.  It was then thrown across another camel, and the mother, after being reloaded, followed quietly after her offspring.

Page 192

One of the skeletons which they passed this day, had a very fresh appearance, the beard was still hanging to the skin of the face, and the features were still discernible.  A merchant, travelling with the kafila, suddenly exclaimed, “That was my slave I left behind four months ago, near this spot.”  “Make haste! take him to the fsug (market),” said an Arab wag, “for fear any body else should claim him.”

On the 20th December, they arrived at the Hormut el Wahr, which were the highest hills they had seen since leaving Fezzan; the highest peak being from five to six hundred feet.  They had a bold black appearance, and were a relief to the eye, after the long level they had quitted.  They blundered and stumbled on until ten at night, when they found the resting place, after a toilsome and most distressing day.  This was the eighth day since the camels had tasted water; they were weak and sore-footed, from the stony nature of the passes in these hills of Elwahr.

They had now a stony plain, with low hills of sand and gravel, till they reached El Garha, and here they rested for the night.  Several of the camels during this day were drunk—­their eyes heavy, and wanting their usual animation; their gait staggering, and every now and then falling, as a man in a state of intoxication.  This arose from eating dates after drinking water; these probably pass into a spirituous fermentation in the stomach.

On the 22nd of December, they moved before daylight, and halted at the maten called El Hammar, close under a bluff head, which had been in view since quitting their encampment in the morning.  Strict orders were given this day for the camels to keep close up, and for the Arabs not to straggle, the Tibboo Arabs having been seen on the look out.  During the last two days, they had passed, on an average, from sixty to ninety skeletons each day, but the numbers that lay about the wells at El Hammar were countless; those of two young women, whose perfect and regular teeth bespoke them young, were particularly shocking; their arms still remained clasped round each other as they had expired, although the flesh had long since perished by being exposed to the burning rays of the sun, and the blackened bones only left; the nails of the fingers, and some of the sinews of the hand also remained, and part of the tongue of one of them still appeared through the teeth.

They had now passed six days of desert, without the slightest appearance of vegetation, and a little branch of the snag, (Caparis sodada,) was brought as a comfort and curiosity.  On the following, day, they had alternately plains of sand and loose gravel, and had a distant view of some hills to the westward.  While Major Denham was dozing on his horse about noon, overcome by the heat of the sun, which, at that time of the day, shone with great power, he was suddenly awakened by a crashing under his feet, which startled him excessively.  He found that

Page 193

his steed had, without any sensation of shame or alarm, stepped upon the perfect skeletons of two human beings, cracking their brittle bones under his feet, and by one trip of his foot, separating a skull from the trunk, which rolled on like a ball before him.  This event imparted a sensation to him, which it took him a long time to remove.  His horse was for many days afterwards not looked upon with the same regard as formerly.

One of their nagas had this day her accouchement on the road, and they all looked forward to the milk, which the Arabs assured them she had in abundance, and envied them not a little their morning draughts, which they were already quaffing in imagination.  However, one of the many slips between the cup and the lip was to befall them.  The poor naga suddenly fell, and as suddenly died.  The exclamations of the Arabs were dreadful.  “The evil eye! the evil eye!” they all exclaimed; “she was sure to die, I knew it.  Well! if she had been mine, I would rather have lost a child, or three slaves.  God be praised!  God is great, powerful, and wise; those looks of the people are always fatal.”

On the 1st January 1823, they arrived at the wadey Ikbar.  The Arabs here caught a hyena, and brought it to Major Denham; he, nor any other of the party, had any other wish than to have merely a look at it.  They then tied it, to a tree, and shot at it, until the poor animal was literally knocked to pieces.  This was the most refreshing spot they had seen for many days; there were dome trees laden with fruit, though not ripe, which lay in clusters, and grass in abundance.  They could have stayed here a week, says Major Denham, with pleasure; so reviving is the least appearance of cultivation, or rather a sprinkling of nature’s beauty, after the parching wilds of the long and dreary desert they had passed.

Looking back with great regret at leaving the few green branches in Ikbar, with nothing before them but the dark hills and sandy desert, they ascended slightly from the wadey, and leaving the hills of Ikbar, proceeded towards a prominent head in a low range to the east of their course, called Tummer as Kumma, meaning “You’ll soon drink water;” and about two miles in advance, they halted just under a ridge of the same hills, after making twenty-four miles.  Four camels were knocked up during this day’s march:  on such occasions, the Arabs wait in savage impatience in the rear, with their knives in their hands, ready, on the signal of the owner, to plunge them into the poor animal, and bear off a portion of the flesh for their evening meal.  They were obliged to kill two of them on the spot; the other two, it was hoped, would come up in the night.  Major Denham attended the slaughter of one, and despatch being the order of the day, a knife is struck into the camel’s heart, while his head is turned to the east, and he dies almost in an instant; but before that instant expires, a dozen knives are thrust into different parts of the carcass, in order to carry off the choicest parts of the flesh.  The heart, considered as the greatest delicacy, is torn out, the skin stripped from the breast and haunches, part of the meat cut, or rather torn from the bones, and thrust into bags, which they carry for the purpose, and the remainder of the carcass is left for the crows, vultures, and hyenas, while the Arabs quickly follow the kafila.

Page 194

On the 4th, they arrived at Anay, a town which consists of a few huts built on the top of a mass of stone, round the base of which are also habitations, but the riches of the people are always kept above.  The Tuaricks annually, and sometimes oftener, pay them a most destructive visit, carrying off cattle and every thing they can lay their hands upon.  The people, on those occasions, take refuge at the top of the rock, ascending by a rude ladder, which is drawn up after them; and as the sides of their citadel are always precipitous, they defend themselves with their missiles, and by rolling down stones on the assailants.

The sultan Tibboo, whose territory extends from this place to Bilma, was at this time visiting a town to the south-west of Anay, called Kisbee, and he requested Boo Khaloom to halt there one day, promising to proceed with him to Bilma.  They accordingly reached Kisbee on the evening of the 5th, where the camels got some pickings of dry grass.

Kisbee is a great place of rendezvous for all kafilas and merchants, and it is here that the sultan always takes his tribute for permission to pass through his country.  The sultan himself had neither much majesty nor cleanliness of appearance; he came to Boo Khaloom’s tent, accompanied by six or seven Tibboos, some of them really hideous.  They take a quantity of snuff, both in their mouths and noses; their teeth were of a deep yellow; the nose resembles nothing so much as a round lump of flesh stuck on the face, and the nostrils are so large, that their fingers go up as far as they can reach, in order to ensure the snuff an admission into the head.  The watch, compass, and musical snuff-box of one of the party created but little astonishment; they looked at their own faces in the bright covers, and were most stupidly inattentive to what would have excited the wonder of almost any imagination, however savage.  Here was “the os sublime,” but the “spiritus intus,” the “mens divinior,” were scarcely discoverable.  Boo Khaloom gave the sultan a fine scarlet bornouse, which seemed a little to animate his stupid features.

In the evening, they had a dance by Tibboo men, performed in front of their tents.  It is graceful and slow, but not so well adapted to the male as the female.  It was succeeded by one performed by some free slaves from Soudan, who were living with the Tibboos, enjoying, as they said, their liberty.  It appeared to be most violent exertion; one man is placed in the middle of a circle, which he endeavours to break, and each one whom he approaches, throws him off, while he adds to the impetus by a leap, and ascends several feet from the ground; when one has completed the round, another lakes his place.

Whilst they were on the road, a violent disturbance arose amongst the Arabs, one of them having shot a ball through the shirt of another of the Magarha tribe; the sheik of the Magarha took up the quarrel, and the man saved himself from being punished, by hanging to the stirrup-leather of Major Denham’s saddle.  The Arab sheik made use of some expressions, in defending his man, which displeased Boo Khaloom, who instantly knocked him off his horse, and his slaves soundly bastinadoed him.

Page 195

Tiggema, near which they halted, is one of the highest points in the range, and hangs over the mud houses of the town; this point stands at the south extremity of the recess, which the hills here form, and is about four hundred feet high; the sides are nearly perpendicular, and it is detached from the other hills by a chasm.  On the approach of the Tuaricks, the whole population flock to the top of these heights, with all their property, and make the best defence they can.  The interior of some of the houses is neat and tidy; the men are generally travelling merchants, or rather pedlars, and probably do not pass more than four months in the year with their families, for the Tibboos rarely go beyond Bornou to the south, or Mourzouk to the north; they appeared light-hearted, and happy as people constantly in dread of such visitors as the Tuaricks can be, who spare neither age nor sex.

They proceeded from Tiggema nearly in a south-west direction, leaving the hills; and while resting under the shade of acacia trees, which were here very abundant, they had the agreeable, and to them very novel sight, of a drove of oxen; the bare idea of once more being in a country that afforded beef and pasture, was consoling in the extreme; and the luxurious thought of fresh milk, wholesome food, and plenty, were highly exhilarating to the whole of the party.

In the afternoon, they came to a halt at Dirkee, A good deal of powder was here expended in honour of the sultan, who again met them on their approach:  his new scarlet bornouse was thrown over a filthy check shirt, and his turban and cap, though once white, were rapidly approaching to the colour of the head which they covered; when, however, on the following morning, his majesty condescended to ask one of the party for a little soap, these little negligences in his outward appearance were more easily accounted for.

They had rather a numerous assembly of females, who danced for some hours before the tents.  Some of their movements were very elegant, and not unlike the Greek dances, as they are represented.  They were regaled by the sultan with cheese and ground nuts from Soudan; the former of a pleasant flavour, but so hard that they were obliged to moisten it with water previously to eating.  During the time that they halted at Dirkee, the women brought them dates, fancifully strung on rushes, in the shape of hearts, with much ingenuity, and a few pots of honey and fat.

They halted at Dirkee rather more than two days.  So many of Boo Khaloom’s camels had fallen on the road, that, notwithstanding the very peaceable professions which the travelling party held forth, a marauding party was sent out to plunder some maherhies, and bring them in; an excursion that was sanctioned by the sultan, who gave them instructions as to the route they were to take.  The former deeds of the Arabs are, however, still in the memory of the Tibboos, and they had therefore increased the distance between their huts and the high road, by a timely striking of their tents.  Nine camels, of the maherhy species, were brought in, but not without a skirmish; and a fresh party were despatched, which did not return that night.  All the party were ordered to remain loaded, and no one was allowed to quit the circle in which the tents were pitched.

Page 196

On the following day, the Arabs, who had been out foraging, returned with thirteen camels, which they had much difficulty in bringing to the halting place, as the Tibboos had followed them several miles.  Patrols were placed during the whole of the night, who, to awaken the sleepers for the purpose of assuring them they were awake themselves, were constantly exclaiming, Balek ho! the watchword of the Arabs.

They had this day the enjoyment of a dish of venison, one of the Arabs having succeeded in shooting two gazelles, many of which had crossed their path for the last three days.  On finding a young one, only a few days old, the wily Arab instantly laid down on the grass, imitating the cry of the young one, and as the mother came bounding towards the spot, he shot her in the throat.

On the 12th, they reached Bilma, the capital of the Tibboos, and the residence of their sultan, who having always managed to get before and receive them, advanced a mile from the town attended by some fifty of his men-at-arms, and double the number of the sex, styled in Europe, the fair.  The men had most of them bows and arrows, and all carried spears; they approached Boo Khaloom, shaking the spears in the air over their heads, and after this salutation, the whole party moved on towards the town, the females dancing, and throwing themselves about with screams and songs quite original, at least to the European portion of the party.  They were of a superior class to those of the minor towns; some having extremely pleasing features, while the pearly whiteness of their regular teeth, was beautifully contrasted with the glossy black of their skin, and the triangular flaps of plaited hair, which hung down on each side of their faces, streaming with oil, with the addition of the coral in the nose, and large amber necklaces, gave them a very-seducing appearance.  Some of them carried a sheish, a fan made of soft grass or hair, for the purpose of keeping off the flies; others a branch of a tree, and some, fans of ostrich feathers, or a branch of the date palm.  All had something in their hands, which they waved over their heads as they advanced.  One wrapper of Soudan, tied on the top of the left shoulder, leaving the right breast bare, formed their covering, while a smaller one was thrown over the head, which hung down to their shoulders, or was thrown back at pleasure; notwithstanding the apparent scantiness of their habiliments, nothing could be farther from indelicate than was their appearance or deportment.

On arriving at Bilma, they halted under the shade of a large tulloh tree, whilst the tents were pitching, and the women danced with great taste, and, as Major Denham was assured by the sultan’s nephew, with great skill also.  As they approached each other, accompanied by the slow beat of an instrument formed out of a calabash, covered with goat’s skin, for a long time their movements were confined to the head, hands, and body, which they throw from one side to the other, flourish in the air, and bend without moving their feet; suddenly, however, the music becomes quicker and louder, when they start into the most violent gestures, rolling their heads round, gnashing their teeth, and shaking their hands at each other, leaping up, and on each side, until one or both are so exhausted that they fall to the ground, another pair then take their place.

Page 197

Major Denham now, for the first time, produced Captain Lyon’s book, in Boo Khaloom’s tent, and on turning over the prints of the natives, he swore, and exclaimed, and insisted upon it, that he knew every face.  This was such a one’s slave—­that was his own—­he was right,—­he knew it.  Praised be God for the talents he gave the English:  they were shater; walla shater, (very clever.) Of a landscape, however, it was found, that he had not the least idea, nor could he be made at all to understand the intention of the print of the sand-wind in the desert; he would look at it upside down, and when it was twice reversed for him, he exclaimed, why! why! (it is all the same.) A camel, or a human figure, was all he could be made to understand, and at these he was all agitation and delight. Gieb! gieb! (wonderful! wonderful!) The eyes first took his attention, then the other features; at the sight of the sword, he cried out, Allah! allah! and on discovering the guns, instantly exclaimed, “Where is the powder?” This want of perception as was imagined in so intelligent a man, excited at first the surprise of Major Denham, but perhaps, just the same would a European have felt, under similar circumstances.  Were a European to attain manhood without ever casting his eye upon the representation of a landscape on paper, would he immediately feel the particular beauties of it, the perspective and the distant objects of it?  It is from our opportunities of contemplating works of art, even in the common walks of life, as well as to cultivation of mind, and associations of the finer feelings, by an intercourse with the enlightened and accomplished, that we derive our quick perception in matters of this kind, rather than from nature.

On leaving Bilma their road lay over loose hills of sand, in which the camels sunk nearly knee-deep.  In passing these desert wilds, where hills disappear in a single night by the drifting of the sand, and where all traces of the passage of even a large kafila sometimes vanish in a few hours, the Tibboos have certain points in the dark sandstone ridges, which from time to time raise their heads in the midst of this dry ocean of sand, and form the only variety, and by them they steer their course.  From one of these land-marks they waded through sand formed into hills from twenty to sixty feet in height, with nearly perpendicular sides, the camels blundering and falling with their heavy loads.  The greatest care is taken by the drivers in descending these banks; the Arabs hang with all their weight on the animal’s tail, by which means they steady him in his descent.  Without this precaution the camel generally falls forward, and of course all he carries goes over his head.

Page 198

In the evening they bivouacked under a head called Zow, (the difficult,) where they found several wells.  On the following day, the sand-hills were less than on the preceding one.  But the animals still sank so deep that it was a tedious day, for all the four camels of Boo Khaloom gave in; two were killed by the Arabs, and two were left to the chance of coming up before the following morning.  Tremendously dreary are these marches, as far as the eye can reach, billows of sand bound the prospect.  On seeing the solitary foot passenger of the kafila, with his water flask in his hand, and the bag of zumeeta on his head, sink at a distance beneath the slope of one of these, as he plods his way along, hoping to gain a few paces in his long day’s work, by not following the track of the camels, one trembles for his safety; the obstacle passed which concealed him from the view, the eye is strained towards the spot, in order to be assured that he has not been hurried quickly in the treacherous overwhelming sand.

An unfortunate merchant of Tripoli, Mahomet N’ Diff, who had suffered much on the road from an enlarged spleen, was here advised to undergo the operation of burning with a red hot iron, the sovereign Arab remedy for almost every disorder; he gave his consent, and previously to their proceeding, he was laid on his back, and while five or six Arabs held him on the sand, the rude operators burnt him on the left side under the ribs in three places, nearly the size of a sixpence each.  The iron was again placed in the fire, and while heating, the thumbs of about a dozen Arabs were thrust into different parts of the poor man’s side, to know if the pressure pained him, until his flesh was so bruised, that he declared all gave him pain:  four more marks with the iron were now made near the former ones, upon which he was turned on his face, and three larger made within two inches of the back-bone.  It might have been supposed that the operation was now at an end, but an old Arab, who had been feeling his throat for some time, declared that a hot iron and a large burn were absolutely necessary just above the collar bone on the same side.  The poor man submitted with wonderful patience to all this mangling, and after drinking a draught of water moved on with the camels.  More than twenty camels were lost this day, on account of their straying out of the path.  After travelling several days over the desert, encountering great distress and many privations, they arrived at an extensive wadey called Agbadem.  Here there were several wells of excellent water, forage, and numbers of the tree called Suag, the red berries of which are nearly as good as cranberries.  They here broke in upon the retreats of about a hundred gazelles, who were enjoying the fertility of the valley.  It was, however, not without great difficulty, from their extreme shyness, that one was shot, which afforded an ample and salutary meal to the distressed travellers.  Aghadem is a great rendezvous, and the dread of all small kafilas and travellers.  It is frequented by freebooters of all descriptions.

Page 199

On the 24th January, the thermometer, in the shade of Major Denham’s tent, was 101 degrees at half-past two.  The animals were all enjoying the blessings of plenty in the ravines, which run through the range of low black hills, extending nearly north and south, quite across the valley.  The camels, in particular, feasted on the small branches of the suag, of which they are fond to excess.  The tracks of the hyena had been numerous for the last three days, and one night they approached in droves quite close to the encampment.

The evening of the 25th being beautifully serene, the telescope of Major Denham afforded great delight to Boo Khaloom; the brother of the kadi at Mourzouk, Mohamed Abedeen, and several others, for more than an hour.  Major Denham usually passed some time every evening in Boo Khaloom’s tent, and had promised them a sight of the moon greeb (near) for some time.  An old hadje, who obtained a sight by the assistance of the major, for he could not fix the glass on the object, after an exclamation of wonder, looked him fully in the face, spoke not a word, but walked off as last as he could, repeating some words from the Koran.  This conduct the major was pleased to see, brought down the ridicule of the others, who were gratified beyond measure, and asked a hundred questions.  The night was beautifully serene and clear, and the three splendid constellations, Orion, Canis Major, and Taurus, presented a coup d’oeil at once impressive and sublime.

On the 25th January, the camels moved off soon after eight, and they took shelter from the sun, under the shade of some clumps, covered with high grass, near the wells, in order that the horses might drink at the moment of their departure.  They had three or four long days to the next water, and the camels were too much fatigued to carry more than one day’s food for the horses.  While they were in this situation, two Arabs, who had gone on with the camels, came galloping back, to say that they had encountered two Tibboo couriers, on their way from Bornou to Mourzouk.  They soon made their appearance, mounted on maherhies, only nine days from Kouka.  They brought news, that the sheik el Kanemy, who now governed Bornou, had just returned from a successful expedition against the sultan of Bergharmi; that he had attacked and routed a powerful tribe of Arabs, called La Sala; and that the sultan, on hearing this, had fled, as before, to the south side of the great river, amongst the Kirdies.

They proceeded on their route, which was along a continued desert, and at sunset halted on the sand, without either wood or water, after twenty-four miles.  The courier from Bornou to Mourzouk assured them, that he should not be more than thirty days on the road from where they left him.  The Tibboos are the only people who will undertake this most arduous service, and the chances are so much against both returning in safety, that one is never sent alone.  The two men whom they had encountered were mounted

Page 200

on two superb maherhies, and proceeding at the rate of about six miles an hour.  A bag of zumeeta (some parched corn), and one or two skins for water, with a small brass basin, and a wooden bowl, out of which they ate and drank, were all their comforts.  A little meat, cut in strips, and dried in the sun, called gedeed, is sometimes added to the store, which they eat raw; for they rarely light a fire for the purpose of cooking; although the want of this comfort during the nights, on approaching Fezzan, where the cold winds are sometimes biting after the day’s heat, is often fatal to such travellers.  A bag is suspended under the tail of the maherhy, by which means the dung is preserved, and this serves as fuel on halting in the night.  Without a kafila, and a sufficient number of camels to carry such indispensables as wood and water, it is indeed a perilous journey.

On the 27th, they appeared gradually to approach something resembling vegetation.  They had rising lands and clumps of fine grass the whole of the way, and the country was not unlike some of the heaths in England.  A herd of more than a hundred gazelles crossed them towards the evening, and the footmarks of the ostrich, and some of its feathers, were discovered by the Arabs.  The spot where they halted was called Geogo Balwy.

Early on the following morning, they made Beere-Kashifery, and soon afterwards Mina Tahr, (the black bird,) the sheik of the Gunda Tibboos, attended by three of his followers, approached the camp.  Beere-Kashifery lay within his territories, and no kafilas pass without paying tribute, which, as he is absolute, sometimes amounts to half what they possess.  In the present case, the visit was one of respect.  Boo Khaloom received him in his tent, and clothed him in a scarlet bornouse of coarse cloth, and a tawdry silk caftan, which was considered as a superb present.  The Tibboos are smart active fellows, mounted on small horses of great swiftness; their saddles are of wood, small and light, open along the bone of the back; the pieces of wood, of which they are composed, are lashed together with thongs of hide; the stuffing is camels’ hair, wound and plaited so as to be a perfect guard; the girths and stirrup-leathers are also of plaited thongs, and the stirrups themselves of iron, very small and light; into these, four toes only are thrust, the great toe being left to take its chance.  They mount quickly, in half the time an Arab does, by the assistance of a spear, which they place in the ground, at the same time the left foot is planted in the stirrup, and thus they spring into the saddle.

Their camels had not finished drinking until the sun was full six fathoms high, as the Arabs term it; and as the expedition was in want of fresh meat, and indeed of every thing, Mina Tahr proposed that they should go to a well nearer his people, which, he assured them, was never yet shown to an Arab.

Page 201

On the 29th January, therefore, they moved on, accompanied by the Tibboos; and after travelling about ten miles, they came to the well of Duggesheinga.  This was a retired spot, undiscoverable from the ordinary route of travellers, being completely hidden from it by rising sand-hills.  Here the Tibboos left them, promising to return early on the following day, with sheep, an ox, honey, and fat.  This was joyful news to persons who had not tasted fresh animal food for fourteen or fifteen days, with the exception of a little camel’s flesh.

On the following day, the wind and drifting sand were so violent, that they were obliged to keep their tents during the whole of it.  Major Denham found a loose shirt only the most convenient covering, as the sand could be shaken off as soon as it made a lodgement, which with other articles of dress, could not be done, and the irritation it caused, produced a soreness almost intolerable.  A little oil or fat, from the hand of a negress, all of whom are early taught the art of shampooing to perfection, rubbed well round the neck, loins, and back, is the best cure, and the greatest comfort in cases of this kind; and although, from his Christian belief, he was deprived of the luxury of possessing half a dozen of these shampooing beauties, yet, by marrying his negro, Barca, to one of the freed women slaves, as he had done at Sockna, he became, to a certain degree, also the master of Zerega, whose education in the castle had been of a superior kind, and she was of the greatest use to the major on these occasions of fatigue or sickness.  It is an undoubted fact, and in no case probably better exemplified than in this, that man naturally longs for attentions and support from female hands, of whatever colour or country, so soon as debility or sickness comes upon him.

Towards the evening, when the wind became hushed, and the sky re-assumed its bright and truly celestial blue, the Tibboo sheik, and about thirty of his people, male and female, returned; but their supplies were very scanty for a kafila of nearly three hundred persons.  The sweet milk turned out to be nothing but sour camel’s milk, full of dirt and sand; and the fat was in small quantities, and very rancid.  They, however, purchased a lean sheep for two dollars, which was indeed a treat.

Some of the girls who brought the milk were really pretty, as contrasted with the extreme ugliness of the men.  They were different from those of Bilma, were more of a copper colour, with high foreheads, and a sinking between the eyes.  They have fine teeth, and are smaller and more delicately formed than the Tibboos who inhabit the towns.

It is quite surprising with what terror these children of the desert view the Arabs, and the idea they have of their invincibility, while they are smart, active fellows themselves, and both ride and move better and quicker; but the guns! the guns! are their dread; and five or six of them will go round a tree, where an Arab has laid down his gun for a minute, stepping on tiptoe, as if afraid of disturbing it, talking to each other in a whisper, as if the gun could understand their exclamations, and, it may be presumed, praying to it not to do them an injury, as fervently as ever man Friday did Robinson Crusoe’s musket.

Page 202

None of the Gunda Tibboos were above the middle size, well made, with sharp, intelligent, copper-coloured faces, large prominent eyes, flat noses, large mouth, and teeth regular, but stained a deep red, from the immoderate use of tobacco; the forehead is high, and the turban, which is a deep indigo colour, is worn high on the head, and brought under the chin, and across the face, so as to cover all the lower part, from the nose downwards; they have sometimes fifteen or twenty charms, in red, green, or black leather cases, attached to the folds of their turbans.

The majority of them have scars on different parts of their faces; these generally denote their rank, and are considered as an ornament.  Their sheik had one under each eye, with one more on each side of his forehead, in shape resembling a half-moon.  Like the Arabs of the north, their chieftainship is hereditary, provided the heir be worthy, any act of cowardice disqualifies, and the command devolves upon the next successor.  Their guide a sheik, Mina Tahr ben Soogo Lammo, was the seventh in regular succession.  This tribe is called Nafra Sunda, and are always near Beere-Kashifery.

The watch of Major Denham pleased him wonderfully at first but after a little time, it was found that looking at himself in the bright part of the inside of the case, gave him the greatest satisfaction; they are vainer than the vainest.  Mina Tahr was now habited in the finest clothes that had ever been brought to Beere-Kashifery, and what to him could be so agreeable as contemplating the reflection of his own person so decked out?  Major Denham, therefore, could not help giving him a small looking-glass, and he took his station in one corner of the major’s tent, for hours, surveying himself with a satisfaction that burst from his lips in frequent exclamations of joy, and which he also occasionally testified by sundry high jumps and springs into the air.

After regaining the road, they moved till noon, when their horses were watered at a well called Kanimani, or the sheep’s well, where some really sweet milk was brought to them, in immensely large basket bottles, some holding two gallons and more.  They had drank and acknowledged its goodness, and how grateful it was to their weak stomachs, before they found out that it was camel’s milk.

No traveller in Africa should imagine that this he could not bear, or that could not be endured.  It is most wonderful how a man’s taste conforms itself to his necessities.  Six months ago camel’s milk would have acted upon them as an emetic, now they thought it a most refreshing and grateful cordial.

The face of the country now improved in appearance every mile, and on this day they passed along, what seemed to them a most joyous valley, smiling in flowery grasses, tulloh trees, and kossom.  About mid-day, they halted in a luxurious shade, the ground covered with creeping vines of the colycinth, in full blossom, which, with the red flower of the kossom, that drooped over their heads, made their resting place a little Arcadia.

Page 203

They killed to-day one of the largest serpents they had seen:  it is called liffa by the Arabs, and its bite is said to be mortal, unless the part is instantly cut out.  It is a mistaken idea that all the serpent tribe are called liffa; this species alone bears the name; it has two horns, and is of a light brown colour.  Major Denham’s old Choush Ghreneim had a distorted foot, which was but of little use to him except on horseback, from the bite of one of those poisonous reptiles, notwithstanding the part infected was cut out; he was for thirteen months confined to his hut, and never expected to recover.

Arabs are always on the look out for plunder, “’Tis my vocation, Hal,” none were ashamed to acknowledge it, but they were on this occasion to act as an escort, to oppose banditti, and not play the part of one.  Nevertheless, they were greatly dissatisfied at having come so far, and done so little; they formed small parties for reconnoitering on each side of the road, and were open-mouthed for any thing that might offer.  One fellow on foot had traced the marks of a flock of sheep, to a small village of tents to the east of their course, and now gave notice of the discovery he had made, but that the people had seen him, and he believed struck their tents.  Major Denham felt that he should be a check upon them in their plunderings, and he, Boo Khaloom, and about a dozen horsemen, with each a footman behind him, instantly started for their retreat, which lay over the hills to the east.  On arriving at the spot, in a valley of considerable beauty, where these flocks and tents had been observed, they found the place quite deserted.  The poor affrighted shepherds had moved off with their all, knowing too well what would be their treatment from the Naz Abiad (white people), as they call the Arabs.  Their caution, however, was made the excuse for plundering them, and a pursuit was instantly determined upon.  “What! not stay to sell their sheep—­the rogues, we’ll take them without payment.”  They scoured two valleys, without discovering the fugitives, and Major Denham began to hope that the Tibboos had eluded their pursuers, when after crossing a deep ravine, and ascending the succeeding ridge, they came directly on two hundred head of cattle, and about twenty persons, men, women, and children, with ten camels, laden with their tents and other necessaries, all moving off.  The extra Arabs instantly slipped from behind their leaders, and with a shout rushed down the hill; part headed the cattle to prevent their escape, and the most rapid plunder immediately commenced.  The camels were instantly brought to the ground, and every part of their load rifled; the poor girls and women lifted up their hands to Major Denham, stripped as they were to the skin, but he could do nothing more for them beyond saving their lives.  A sheik and a marabout assured Major Denham, it was quite lawful to plunder those, who left their tents instead of

Page 204

supplying travellers.  Boo Khaloom now came up and was petitioned.  Major Denham saw that he was ashamed of the paltry booty which his followers had obtained, as well as moved by the tears of the sufferers.  The major seized the favourable moment, and advised that the Arabs should give every thing back, and have a few sheep and an ox for a bousafer (feast), he accordingly gave the orders, and the Arabs from under their barracans, threw down the wrappers they had torn off the bodies of the Tibboo women, and the major was glad in his heart, when taking ten sheep and a fat bullock, they left these poor creatures to their fate, as had more Arabs arrived, they would most certainly have stripped them of every thing.

On the 31st, Boo Khaloom had thought it right to send on a Tibboo, with the news of their approach to the sheik El Kanemy who, they understood, resided at Kouka, and one was despatched with a camel, and a man of Mina Tahr.  On their arrival at Kofei, the Tibboo only, who had been despatched, was found alone and naked, some Tibboo Arabs of a tribe called Wandela, had met them near the well, on the preceding evening, and robbed him even to his cap, and taking from him the letters, saying they cared not for the sheik or Boo Khaloom, tied him to a tree and there left him.  In this state he was found by Major Denham’s party, and Mr. Clapperton coming up soon afterwards, gave him from his biscuit bag, wherewithal to break his fast, after being twenty-four hours without eating.  Eighteen men had stripped him, he said, and taken off the camel and Mina Tahr’s man, who, they also said, should be ransomed, or have his throat cut.  Mina Tahr represented these people as the worst on the road, in every sense of the word.  “They have no flocks,” said he, “and have not more than three hundred camels, although their numbers are one thousand and more; they live by plunder, and have no connexion with any other people.  No considerable body of men can follow them; their tents are in the heart of the desert, and there are no wells for four days in the line of their retreat.  Geddy Ben Agah is their chief, and I alone would give fifty camels for his head:  these are the people, who often attack and murder travellers and small kafilas, and the Gundowy, who respect strangers, have the credit of it.”

The men of Traita, with their chief Eskou Ben Cogla, came in the evening to welcome them; the well Kofei belongs to them, and greatly enraged they appeared to be at the conduct of the Wandelas.  This chief returned to Boo Khaloom his letters, which he said, the chief of the Wandelas had sent him that morning, begging that he would meet the kafila at the well, and deliver them to Boo Khaloom; had he known then what had taken place, “the slave,” he said, “should have been stabbed at his father’s grave, before he would have delivered them.”  Boo Khaloom was greatly enraged, and Major Denham was almost afraid, that he would have revenged himself on the Traita chiefs.  However the Tibboo courier was again clothed and mounted, and once more started for Bornou.

Page 205

Their course during the early part of the following day, was due south, and through a country more thickly planted by the all tasteful hand of bounteous nature.  Boo Khaloom, Major Denham, and about six Arabs had ridden on in front; it was said they had lost the track, and should miss the well; the day had been oppressively hot—­the major’s companions were sick and fatigued, and they dreaded the want of water.  A fine dust, arising from a light clayey and sandy soil, had also increased their sufferings; the exclamations of the Arab who first discovered the wells, were indeed music to their ears, and after satisfying his own thirst, with that of his weary animals, Major Denham laid himself down by one of the distant wells, far from his companions, and these moments of tranquillity, the freshness of the air, with the melody of the hundred songsters that were perched amongst the creeping plants, whose flowers threw an aromatic odour all around, were a relief scarcely to be described.  Ere long, however, the noisy kafila, and the clouds of dust, which accompanied it, disturbed him from the delightful reverie into which he had fallen.

Previously to their arrival at Lari, they came upon two encampments of the Traita Tibboos, calling themselves the sheik’s people; their huts were not numerous, but very regularly built in a square, with a space left in the north and south faces of the quadrangle, for the use of the cattle.  The huts were entirely of mats, which excluding the sun, yet admitted both the light and the air.  These habitations for fine weather are preferable to the bete shars or tents of the Arabs of the north.  The interior was singularly neat; clean wooden bowls, with each a cover of basketwork, for holding their milk, were hung against the wall.  In the centre of the enclosure were about one hundred and fifty head of cattle, feeding from cradles; these were chiefly milch cows with calves, and sheep.  The Tibboos received them kindly at first, but presumed rather too much on sheik Kaneny’s protection, which they claim or throw off, it is said, accordingly as it suits their purpose.  The modest request of a man with two hundred armed Arabs, for a little milk, was refused, and ready as the Arabs are to throw down the gauntlet, a slight expression of displeasure from their leader, was followed by such a rapid attack on the Tibboos, that before Major Denham could mount, half the stock was driven off, and the sheik well bastinadoed.  Boo Khaloom was, however, too kind to injure them, and after driving their cattle for about a mile, he allowed them to return, with a caution to be more accommodating for the future.  Accustomed as these people are to plunder one another, they expect no better usage from any one, who visits them, provided they are strong enough, and vice versa. They are perfect Spartans in the art of thieving, both male and female.

An old woman, who was sitting at the door of one of the huts, sent a very pretty girl to Major Denham, as he was standing by his horse, whose massy amber necklace, greased head, and coral nose-studs and ear-rings, announced a person of no common order, to see what she could pick up; and after gaining possession of his handkerchief and some needles, while he turned his head, in an instant thrust her hand into the pocket of the saddle cloth, as she said, to find some beads, for she knew he had plenty.

Page 206

Another and much larger nest of the Traitas, lay to the east of their course, a little further on, with numerous flocks and herds.  About two in the afternoon, they arrived at Lari, ten miles distant from Mittimee.  On ascending the rising ground on which the town stands, the distressing sight presented itself of all the female, and most of the male inhabitants with their families, flying across the plain in all directions, alarmed at the strength of the kafila.  Beyond, however, was an object full of interest to them, and the sight of which conveyed to their minds a sensation so gratifying and inspiring, that it would be difficult for language to convey an idea of its force and pleasure.  The great Lake Tchad, glowing with the golden rays of the sun in its strength, appeared to be within a mile of the spot on which they stood.  The hearts of the whole party bounded within them at the prospect, for they believed this lake to be the key to the great object of their search:  and they could not refrain from silently imploring Heaven’s continued protection, which had enabled them to proceed so far in health and strength, even to the accomplishment of their task.

It was long before Boo Khuloom’s best endeavours could restore confidence; the inhabitants had been plundered by the Tuaricks only the year before, and four hundred of their people butchered, and but a few days before, a party of the same nation had again pillaged them, though partially.  When at length these people were satisfied that no harm was intended them, the women came in numbers with baskets of gussub, gafooly, fowls and honey, which were purchased by small pieces of coral and amber of the coarsest kinds, and coloured beads.  One merchant bought a fine lamb for two bits of amber, worth about two pence each in Europe; two needles purchased a fowl, and a handful of salt, four or five good-sized fish from the lake.

Lari is inhabited by the people of Kanem, who are known by the name of Kanimboo; the women are good looking, laughing negresses, and all but naked; but this they were now used to, and it excited no emotions of surprise.  Most of them had a square of silver or tin hanging at the back of the head, suspended from the hair, which was brought down in narrow plaits, quite round the neck.

The town of Lari stands on an eminence, and may probably contain two thousand inhabitants.  The huts are built of the rush which grows by the side of the lake, have conical tops, and look very like well-thatched stacks of corn in England.  They have neat enclosures round them, made with fences of the same reed, and passages leading to them like labyrinths.  In the enclosure are a goat or two, poultry, and sometimes a cow.  The women were almost always spinning cotton, which grows well, though not abundantly, near the town and the lake.  The interior of the huts is neat, they are completely circular, with no admission for air or light, except at the door, which has a mat,

Page 207

hung up by way of safeguard.  Major Denham entered one of the best appearance, although the owner gave him no smiles of encouragement, and followed close at his heels, with a spear and dagger in his hand.  In one corner stood the bed, a couch of rushes lashed together, and supported by six poles, fixed strongly in the ground.  This was covered by the skins of the tiger-cat and wild bull.  Round the sides were hung the wooden bowls, used for water and milk; his tall shield rested against the wall.  The hut had a division of mat-work, one half being allotted to the female part of the family.  The owner, however, continued to look at his unexpected visitor with so much suspicion, and seemed so little pleased with his visit, notwithstanding all the endeavours of Major Denham to assure him, he was his friend, that he hurried from the inhospitable door, and resumed his walk through the town.

On quitting Lari, they immediately plunged into a thickly-planted forest of acacias, with high underwood, and at the distance of only a few hundred yards from the town, they came upon large heaps of elephants’ dung, forming hillocks three or four feet in height, and marks of their footsteps; the tracks of these animals increased as they proceeded.  Part of the day their road lay along the banks of the Tchad, and the elephants’ footmarks of an immense size, and only a few hours old, were in abundance.  Whole trees were broken down, where they had fed; and where they had reposed their ponderous bodies, young trees, shrubs, and underwood, had been crushed beneath their weight.  They also killed an enormous snake, a species of coluber; it was a most disgusting, horrible animal, but not, however, venomous.  It measured eighteen feet from the mouth to the tail, it was shot by five balls and was still moving off, when two Arabs, with each a sword, nearly severed the head from the body.  On opening the belly, several pounds of fat were found, and carefully taken off by the two native guides, by whom they were accompanied.  This they pronounced a sovereign remedy for sick and diseased cattle, and much prized amongst them.  Scarcely a mile further, a drove of wild red cattle, which were first taken for deer, were seen bounding to the westward.  They were what the Arabs called, bugra hammar wahash (red cow wild.) They appeared to partake of the bullock and buffalo, with a tuft or lump on the shoulder.

They bivouacked near a small parcel of huts, called Nyagami, in a beautiful spot, so thick of wood, that they could scarcely find a clear place for their encampment.  While the tents were fixing, an alarm was given of wild boars; one of the party followed the scent, and on his return, said he had seen a lion, and near him seven gazelles.  No information could be obtained from the natives of lions ever being seen in the neighbourhood; numerous other animals appeared to abound, and that confirmed the opinion.

Page 208

They moved for Woodie on the 7th February, accompanied by two Arabs of Boo Saif.  Major Denham left the kafila, and proceeded a little to the westward, making a parallel movement with the camels.  Birds of the most beautiful plumage were perched on every tree, and several monkeys chattered at them so impudently, that separating one from the rest, they chased him for nearly half an hour; he did not run very fast, nor straight forward, but was constantly doubling and turning, with his head over his shoulder, to see who was close to him.  He was a handsome fellow, of a light brown colour, and black about the muzzle.  About noon they came to a village of huts, called Barrah, and although only three in number, the natives flew in all directions.  On their approaching the town, they beckoned to them, and got off their horses, for the purpose of giving them confidence, and sat down under the shade of a large tamarind tree.  An old negro, who spoke a little Arabic, was the first who ventured to approach; seeing that he was not ill-treated, the others soon followed his example.  Major Denham begged a little sour milk, a most refreshing beverage after a hot ride, but none was to be found, until they were assured that it should be paid for, and at the sight of the dollar they all jumped and skipped like so many monkeys.  Major Denham now began to eat some biscuit which he had in his saddle cloth, which created much astonishment, and the first to whom he offered some, refused to eat it.  One, rather bolder than the rest, put a small piece in his mouth, and pronounced it good, with such extravagant gestures, that the visitors all became clamorous.  The major refused for a long time the man, who had been suspicious at first, to the great amusement of the rest, who seemed to relish the joke amazingly.

The little nest of thatched huts in which they lived, was most beautifully situated on a rising spot, in the midst of a rich and luxuriant though not thick forest, about three miles to the northeast of Woodie.  One of the old men accompanied them, while his son carried a sheep, which the major had purchased at Woodie, for which service he was rewarded by two coral beads and a little snuff.

Close to the town of Woodie, they found the tents.  The party had made about fourteen miles, without leaving the banks of the lake at any great distance.  Two elephants were seen swimming in the lake this day, and one, belonging to a drove at a distance, absolutely remained just before the kafila.  Hillman had gone on in front on his mule, suffering sadly from weakness and fatigue, and had laid himself down in what appeared a delightful shade, to await the arrival of the camels, not expecting to see an elephant.  He was actually reposing within a dozen yards of a very large one, without being aware of it; and on an Arab striking the animal with a spear, he roared out, and moved off.

Poor Hillman’s alarm was extreme.

The courier had been sent off a second time, after being re-clothed and remounted, to receive the sheik’s orders, and they were not to proceed beyond Woodie until his pleasure was known.  So jealous and suspicious are these negro princes of the encroachments of the Arabs, that divers were the speculations as to whether the sheik would or would not allow the Arabs to proceed with the party nearer his capital.

Page 209

A weekly fsug, or market, was held about a mile from the town, and the women, flocking from the neighbouring negro villages, mounted on bullocks, who have a thong of hide passed through the cartilage of the nose when young, and are managed with great ease, had a curious appearance.  A skin is spread on the animal’s back, upon which, after hanging the different articles they take for sale, they mount themselves.  Milk, sour and sweet, a little honey, lowls, gussub, and gafooly, are amongst their wares; fat and meloheea (ochra), a green herb, which, with the bazeen, all negroes eat voraciously, and indeed Christians too, as was afterwards experienced.  The men brought oxen, sheep, goats, and slaves; the latter were few in number, and in miserable condition.

Woodie is a capital, or, as they say, blad kebir, and is governed by a sheik, who is a eunuch, and a man of considerable importance; they appear to have all the necessaries of life in abundance, and are the most indolent people which the travellers ever met with.  The women spin a little cotton, and weave it into a coarse cloth of about six inches width.  The men either lie idling in their huts during the whole of the day, or in the shade of a building formed by four supporters and a thatched roof, which stands in an open space amongst the huts; this is also the court of justice and the house of prayer.  The men are considerably above the common stature, and of an athletic make, but have an expression of features particularly dull and heavy.  The town stands about one mile west of the Tchad, four short days’ march from Bornou.

The women, like the Tibboos, have a square piece of blue or white cloth tied over one shoulder, which forms their whole covering; their hair is, however, curiously and laboriously trained, and it was observed, that no one of tender years had any thing like a perfect head of hair.  From childhood the head is shaved, leaving only the top covered; the hair from hence falls down quite round, from the forehead to the pole of the neck, and is there formed into one solid plait, which in front lying quite flat just over the eyes, and, behind, being turned up with a little curl, has just the appearance of an old-fashioned coachman’s wig in England; some of them are, however, very pretty.

On the morning of the 10th February, Major Denham went to the eastward, in order to see the extent of the forest, and also, if possible, to get a sight of the herd of upwards of one hundred and fifty elephants, which some of the Arabs had seen the day before, while their camels were feeding.  He was not disappointed, for he found them about six miles from the town, on the grounds annually overflowed by the waters of the lake, where the coarse grass is twice the height of a man; they seemed to cover the face of the country, and far exceeded the number which was reported.  When the waters flow over these their pasturages, they are forced by hunger to approach the towns, and spread devastation throughout their march; whole plantations, the hopes of the inhabitants for the next year, are sometimes destroyed in a single night.

Page 210

When quite fatigued, Major Denham determined on making for some huts, and begged a little milk, sweet or sour.  No knowing landlady of a country ever scanned the character of her customer more than did this untaught, though cunning negro, who was found there.  He first denied that he had any, notwithstanding the bowls were scarcely ten paces behind him, and then asked, what they had got to pay for it?  Major Denham had in reality nothing with him; and after offering his pocket handkerchief, which was returned to him, as not worth any thing, he was about to depart, though ten long miles from the tents, thirsty as he was, when the Arab pointed to a needle, which was sticking in the major’s jacket; for this and a white bead, which the Arab produced, they had a bowl of fine milk and a basket of nuts, which refreshed them much.  On their way to the tents, they saw a flock of at least five hundred pelicans, but could not get near enough to fire at them.

On the 11th, two of the sheik’s officers arrived, with letters and a present of goroo nuts of Soudan; they have a pleasant bitter taste, and are much esteemed by all the Tripoli people.  These letters pressed Boo Khaloom to continue his march towards Kouka, with all his people, a very great proof of his confidence in the peaceable disposition of their chief.  In the evening of the same day, they reached a town called Burwha.  It is walled, and it was the first negro one they had seen.  It may be called in that country a place of some strength, in proof of which, the inhabitants have always defied the Tuarick marauders, who never entered the town.  The walls may be about thirteen or fourteen feet high, and have a dry ditch which runs quite round them.  The town probably covers an extent equal to three square miles, and contains five or six thousand inhabitants.  There is a covered way, from which the defenders lance their spears at the besiegers, and instantly conceal themselves.  There are but two gates, which are nearly east and west; and these being the most vulnerable part for an enemy to attack, are defended by mounds of earth thrown up on each side, and carried out at least twenty yards in front of the gate, and have nearly perpendicular faces.  These advanced posts are always thickly manned, and they conceive them to be a great defence to their walls; they cannot, however, calculate upon their being abandoned, as an enemy once in possession of them, would so completely command the town, that from thence every part of it may be seen.  Nevertheless, Burwha is a strong place, considering the means of attack which the Arabs have.

Page 211

Major Denham rode nearly the whole of this day with Min Ali Tahar, the Gundowy Tibbo sheik, who was accompanying them to Bornou; he had some little difference with the sheik, of whom he was perfectly independent, and Boo Khaloom, ever politic, undertook to make up the misunderstanding; thereby not only showing his influence, but securing in a manner the future friendship of Tahar, whose district was always considered the most dangerous part of the Tibboo country, on the road to Mourzouk.  Tahar was a sharp, intelligent fellow, spoke a little Arabic, and had often asked Major Denham many questions about his country, and his sultan or king, but on this day he was more inquisitive than usual.  “Rais Khaleel,” said he, “what would your sultan do to Min Ali, if he was to go to England?  Would he kill me, or would he keep me there a prisoner?  I should like to be there for about a month.”

“Certainly neither the one nor the other,” replied Major Denham; “he would be much more inclined to make you a handsome present, and send you back again.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Min Ali, “I should take him something; but what could I give him? nothing but the skins of a dozen ostriches, some elephants’ teeth, and a lion’s skin.”

“The value of the present,” said Major Denham, “could be of no importance to my sultan; he would look at the intention.  Do you, however, befriend his people; remember the Inglezi that you have seen; and should any more ever find their way to your tents, give them milk and sheep, and put them in the road they are going.  Promise me to do this, and I can almost promise you, that my sultan shall send you a sword, such a one as Hateeta had on my return, without your going to England, or giving him any thing.”

“Is he such a man?” exclaimed Min Ali.  “Barak Allah! what is his name?”

“George,” replied Major Denham.

“George,” repeated Min Ali.  “Health to George; much of it! Salem Ali; George yassur. Tell him, Min Ali Tahar wishes him all health and happiness; that he is a Tibboo, who can command a thousand spears, and fears no man.  Is he liberal?  Is his heart large? Gulba kablr, does he give presents to his people?”

“Very much so indeed,” replied Major Denham; “some of his people think him too generous.”

“By the head of my father!” "Raas el Booe!” exclaimed Min Ali, they are wrong; the sultan of a great people should have a large heart, or he is unworthy of them.  Who will succeed him when he dies?”

“His brother,” answered Major Denham.  “What is his name?” asked Min Ali.  “Frederick,” replied the major.

“Barak Allah!” cried Min Ali; “I hope he will be like George, matlook (liberal). Salem Ali Frederick! How many wives have they?”

“No Englishman,” replied Major Denham, “has more than one.”

“A gieb! a gieb! wonderful! wonderful!” exclaimed Min Ali; why, they should have a hundred.”

Page 212

“No, no,” said Major Denham, “we think that a sin.”  “Wallah! really!” (literally, by God!) cried Min Ali; “why, I have four now, and I have had more than sixty.  She, however, whom I like best, always says, one would be more lawful; she may be right; you say she is.  You are a great people; I see you are a great people, and know every thing.  I, a Tibboo, am little better than a gazelle.”


The 17th of February was a momentous day to the Europeans, as well as to their conductors.  Notwithstanding all the difficulties that had presented themselves at the various stages of their journey, they were at last within a few short miles of their destination; they were about to become acquainted with a people, who had never seen, or scarcely heard of a European, and to tread on ground, the knowledge and true situation of which had hitherto been wholly unknown.  These ideas of course excited no common sensations, and could scarcely be unaccompanied by strong hopes of their labours being beneficial to the race amongst whom they were shortly to mix; of their laying the first stone of a work, which might lead to their civilization, if not their emancipation from all their prejudices and ignorance, at the same time open a field of commerce to their own country, which might increase its wealth and prosperity.

The accounts, which they had received of the state of this country, had been so contradictory, that no opinion could be formed as to the real condition, or the number of its inhabitants.  They had been told that the sheik’s soldiers were a few ragged negroes, armed with spears, who lived upon the plunder of the black kaffir countries, by which he was surrounded, and which he was enabled to subdue by the assistance of a few Arabs, who were in his service; and again they had been assured that his forces were not only numerous, but to a certain degree well trained.  The degree of credit which might be attached to these reports, was nearly balanced in the scales of probability, and they advanced towards the town of Kouka, in a most interesting state of uncertainty, whether they should find its chief at the head of thousands, or be received by him under a tree, surrounded by a few naked slaves.

These doubts, however, were quickly removed; Major Denham had ridden on a short distance in front of Boo Khaloom, with his train of Arabs all mounted, and dressed out in their best apparel, and from the thickness of the leaves soon lost sight of them, fancying that the road could not be mistaken.  He rode still onwards, and on approaching a spot less thickly planted, was not a little surprised to see in front of him a body of several thousand cavalry, drawn up in a line, and extending right and left as far as he could see; checking his horse, he awaited the arrival of his party, under the shade of a wide-spreading acacia.  The Bornou troops remained quite steady

Page 213

without noise or confusion, and a few horsemen, who were moving about in front giving directions, were the only persons out of the ranks.  On the Arabs appearing in sight, a shout or yell was given by the sheik’s people, which rent the air; a blast was blown from their rude instruments of music equally loud, and they moved on to meet Boo Khaloom and his Arabs.  There was an appearance of tact and management in their movements, which astonished every one; three separate small bodies from the centre and each flank, kept charging rapidly towards them, to within a few feet of their horses’ heads, without checking the speed of their own, until the movement of their halt, while the whole body moved onwards.  These parties, shaking their spears over their heads, exclaimed, Barca! barca!  Alla hiakkum, cha, alla cheraga; Blessing! blessing! sons of your country! sons of your country.  While all this was going on, they closed in their left and right flanks, and surrounded the little body of Arab warriors so completely, as to give the compliment of welcoming them, very much the appearance of a declaration of their contempt of their weakness.  They were all now so closely pressed as to be nearly smothered, and in some danger from the crowding of the horses, and clashing of the spears; moving on was impossible, and they therefore came to a full stop.  Boo Khaloom was much enraged, but it was all to no purpose; he was only answered by shrieks of welcome, and the spears most unpleasantly rattled over their heads, expressive of the same feeling.  This annoyance, however, was not of long duration.  Barca Gana, the sheik’s first general, a negro of noble aspect, clothed in a figured silk tobe, and mounted on a beautiful Mandara horse, made his appearance, and after a little delay, the rear was cleared of those, who had pressed in upon the Europeans and Arabs, and they moved on, although very slowly, from the frequent impediments thrown in their way by these wild equestrians.

The sheik’s negroes as they were called, meaning the black chiefs and favourites, all raised to that rank by some deed of bravery, were habited in coats of mail composed of iron chain, which covered them from the throat to the knees, dividing behind, and coming on each side of the horse.  Their horses heads were also defended by plates of iron, brass, and silver, just leaving sufficient room for the eyes of the animal.

At length, on arriving at the gate of the town, the Europeans, Boo Khaloom, and about a dozen of his followers, were alone allowed to enter the gates, and they proceeded along a wide street, completely lined with spearmen on foot, with cavalry in front of them to the door of the sheik’s residence.  Here the horsemen were formed up three deep, and they came to a stand; some of the chief attendants came out, and after a great many Barcas! barcas! retired, when others performed the same ceremony.  They were now again left sitting on their horses in the sun.  Boo Khaloom began

Page 214

to lose all patience, and swore by the bashaw’s head, that he would return to the tents, if he was not immediately admitted, he got, however, no satisfaction but a motion of the hand from one of the chiefs, meaning “wait patiently;” and Major Denham whispered to him the necessity of obeying, as they were hemmed in on all sides, and to retire without permission would have been as difficult as to advance.  Barca Gana now appeared, and made a sign that Boo Khaloom should dismount; the Europeans were about to follow his example, when an intimation that Boo Khaloom was alone to be admitted, fixed them again to their saddles.  Another half hour at least elapsed, without any news from the interior of the building, when the gates opened, and the four Englishmen only were called for, and they advanced to the skiffa (entrance).  Here they were stopped most unceremoniously by the black guards in waiting, and were allowed one by one only to ascend a staircase; at the top of which they were again brought to a stand by crossed spears, and the open flat hand of a negro laid upon their breast.  Boo Khaloom came from the inner chamber, and asked, “If we were prepared to salute the sheik, as we did the bashaw.”  They replied, “certainly;” which was merely an inclination of the head, and laying the right hand on the heart.  He advised their laying their hands also on their heads—­but they replied the thing was impossible.  They had but one manner of salutation for any body, except their own sovereign.

Another parley now took place, but in a minute or two he returned, and they were ushered into the presence of the sheik of spears.  They found him in a small dark room, sitting on a carpet, plainly dressed in a blue tobe of Soudan, and a shawl turban.  Two negroes were on each side of him, armed with pistols, and on his carpet lay a brace of those instruments.  Fire arms were hanging in different parts of the room, presents from the bashaw and Mustapha L’Achmar, the sultan of Fezzan, which are here considered as invaluable.  His personal appearance was prepossessing, apparently not more than forty-five or forty-six, with an expressive countenance and benevolent smile.  They delivered their letter from the bashaw, and after he had read it, he inquired, “What was our object in coming?” They answered, “to see the country merely, and to give an account of its inhabitants, produce, and appearance; as our sultan was desirous of knowing every part of the globe.”  His reply was, “that we were welcome, and whatever he could show us would give him pleasure; that he had ordered huts to be built for us in the town, and that we might then go, accompanied by one of his people, to see them, and that when we were recovered from the fatigue of our long journey, he would be happy to see us.”  With this, they took their leave.  Their huts were little round mud buildings, placed within a wall, at no great distance from the residence of the sheik.  The enclosure was quadrangular, and had several divisions, formed by partitions of straw mats, where nests of huts were built, and occupied by the stranger merchants, who accompanied the kafila.  One of these divisions was assigned to the Europeans, and they crept into the shade of their earthly dwellings, not a little fatigued with their entree and presentation.

Page 215

Their huts were immediately so crowded with visitors, that they had not a moment’s peace, and the heat was insufferable.  Boo Khaloom had delivered his presents from the bashaw, and brought the Europeans a message of compliment, together with an intimation, that their presents would be received on the following day.  About noon, a summons was received for them to attend the sheik, and they proceeded to the palace, preceded by their negroes, bearing the articles destined for the sheik by their government, consisting of a double-barrelled gun, with a box, and all the apparatus complete, a pair of excellent pistols, in a case; two pieces of superfine broad-cloth, red and blue, to which were added a set of china and two bundles of spices.

The ceremony of getting into the presence was ridiculous enough, although nothing could be more plain and devoid of pretension than the appearance of the sheik himself.  They entered through passages lined with attendants, the front men sitting on their hams; and when they advanced too quickly, they were suddenly arrested by these fellows, who caught forcibly hold of them by their legs, and had not the crowd prevented their falling, they would most infallibly have become prostrate before arriving in the presence.  Previously to entering into the open court in which they were received; their papouches, or slippers, were whipped off by those active, though sedentary gentlemen of the chamber, and they were seated on some clean sand, on each side of a raised bench of earth, covered with a carpet, on which the sheik was reclining.  They laid the gun and the pistols together before him, and explained to him the locks, turnscrews, and steel shot cases, holding two charges each, with all of which he seemed exceedingly well pleased; the powder-flask, and the manner in which the charge is divided from the body of the powder, did not escape his observation.  The other articles were taken off by the slaves, as soon as they were laid before him.  Again they were questioned as to the object of their visit.  The sheik, however, showed evident satisfaction at their assurance that the king of England had heard of Bornou and himself, and immediately turning to his kaganawha (counsellors), said, “This is in consequence of our defeating the Begharmis.”  Upon which the chief who had most distinguished himself in these memorable battles, Ragah Turby, (the gatherer of horses,) seating himself in front of them, demanded, “Did he ever hear of me?” The immediate reply of "Certainly," did wonders for the European cause.  Exclamations were general, and “Ah! then your king must be a great man,” was re-echoed from every side.  They had not any thing offered them by way of refreshment, and took their leave.

It may be here observed, that besides occasional presents of bullocks, camel loads of wheat and rice, leathern skins of butter, jars of honey, and honey in the comb, five or six wooden bowls were sent them morning and evening, containing rice with meat, paste made of barley flour, savoury but very greasy, and on their first arrival, as many had been sent of sweets, mostly composed of curd and honey.

Page 216

In England a brace of trout might be considered as a handsome present to a traveller sojourning in the neighbourhood of a stream, but at Bornou things are managed differently.  A camel load of bream and a sort of mullet were thrown before their huts on the second morning after their arrival, and for fear that should not be sufficient, in the evening another was sent.

The costume of the women, who attended the fsug, or market, was various; those of Kanem and Bornou were most numerous, and the former was as becoming as the latter had a contrary appearance.  The variety in costume amongst the ladies consists entirely in the head ornaments; the only difference in the scanty covering which is bestowed on the other parts of the person, lies in the choice of the wearer, who either ties the piece of linen, blue or white, under the arms and across the breasts, or fastens it rather fantastically on one shoulder, leaving one breast naked.  The Kanamboo women have small plaits of hair hanging down all round the head, quite to the poll of the neck, with a roll of leather, or string of little brass beads in front, hanging down from the centre on each side of the face, which has by no means an unbecoming appearance; they have sometimes strings of silver rings instead of the brass, and a large round silver ornament in front of their foreheads.  The female slaves from Musgow, a large kingdom to the south-east of Mandara, are particularly disagreeable in their appearance, although considered as very trustworthy, and capable of great labour; their hair is rolled up in three large plaits, which extend from the forehead to the back of the neck, like the Bornowy; one larger in the centre, and two smaller on each side; they have silver studs in their nose, and one large one just under the lower lip, of the size of a shilling, which goes quite through into the mouth; to make room for this ornament, a tooth or two are sometimes displaced.

Amongst the articles offered to Major Denham in the market, was a young lion and a monkey; the latter appeared really the more dangerous of the two, and from being a degree or two lighter in complexion than his master, he seemed to have taken a decided aversion to the European.

The lion walked about with great unconcern, confined merely by a small rope round his neck, held by the negro who had caught him when he was not two months old, and having had him for a period of three months, now wished to part with him; he was about the size of a donkey colt, with very large limbs, and the people seemed to go very close to him without much alarm, notwithstanding he struck with his foot the leg of one man who stood in his way, and made the blood flow copiously.  They opened the ring which was formed round the noble animal, as Major Denham approached, and coming within two or three yards of him, he fixed his eye upon him, in a way that excited sensations, which it was impossible to describe, and from which the major was awakened, by a fellow calling him to

Page 217

come nearer, at the same time laying his hand on the animal’s back; a moment’s recollection convinced him, that there could be no more danger nearer, than where he was, and he stepped boldly up beside the negro, and he believed he should have laid his hand on the lion the next moment, but the beast, after looking carelessly at him, brushed past his legs, broke the ring, overturning several who stood before him, and bounded off to another part, where there were fewer people.

It remained that Major Denham should be introduced to the sultan, in his royal residence at Birnie, where all the real state and pomp of the kingdom, with none of its real power were concentrated.  On the 2nd March, the English accompanied Boo Khaloom to that city, and on their arrival, the following day was fixed for the interview.  Fashion even in the most refined European courts, does not always follow the absolute guidance of taste or reason, and her magic power is often displayed in converting deformities into beauties, but there is certainly no court, of which the taste is so absurd, grotesque, and monstrous, as that to which Major Denham was now introduced.  An enormous protruding belly, and a huge misshapen head, are the two features, without which it is vain to aspire to the rank of a courtier, or fine gentleman.  The form, valued perhaps as the type of abundance and luxury, is esteemed so essential, that where nature has not bestowed, and the most excessive feeding and cramming cannot supply it, wadding is employed, and a false belly produced, which in riding appears to hang over the saddle.  Turbans are also wrapped round the head, in fold after fold, till it appears swelled on one side to the most unnatural dimensions, and only one half of the face remains visible.  The fictitious bulk of the lords of Bornou is still further augmented by drawing round them, even in this burning climate, ten or twelve successive robes of cotton or silk, while the whole is covered with numberless charms enclosed in green leathern cases.  Yet under all these incumbrances, they do sometimes mount and take the field, but the idea of such unwieldy hogsheads being of any avail in the day of battle, appeared altogether ridiculous, and it proved accordingly, that on such high occasions, they merely exhibited themselves as ornaments, without making even a show of encountering the enemy.

With about three hundred of this puissant chivalry before and around him, the sultan was himself seated in a sort of cage of cane or wood near the door of his garden, on a seat, which at the distance appeared to be covered with silk or satin, and through the railing looked upon the assembly before him, who formed a kind of semicircle, extending from his seat to nearly where the English were waiting.  The courtiers having taken their seats in due form, the embassy was allowed to approach within about pistol shot of the spot where the sultan was sitting, and desired to sit down, when the ugliest black that can be imagined, his chief

Page 218

eunuch, the only person who approached the sultan’s seat, asked for the presents.  Boo Khaloom’s were produced in a large shawl, and were carried unopened to the presence.  The glimpse which the English obtained of the sultan, was but a faint one, through the lattice work of his pavilion, sufficient, however, to show that his turban was larger than any of his subjects, and that his face from the nose downwards was completely covered.  A little to the left, and nearly in front of the sultan, was an extempore declaimer, shouting forth praises of his master, with his pedigree; near him was one who bore the long wooden frumfrum, on which ever and anon he blew a blast loud and unmusical.  Nothing could be more ridiculous than the appearance of these people, squatting under the weight and magnitude of their bellies, while the thin legs that appeared underneath, but ill accorded with the bulk of the other parts.

This was all that was ever seen of the sultan of Bornou.  The party then set out for Kouka, passing on their way through Angornou, the largest city in the kingdom, containing at least thirty thousand inhabitants.

During his residence at Kouka and Angornou, Major Denham frequently attended the markets, where besides the proper Bornouese, he saw the Shouass, an Arab tribe, who are the chief breeders of cattle; the Kanemboos from the north, with their hair neatly and tastefully plaited, and the Musgow, a southern clan of the most savage aspect.  A loose robe or shirt of the cotton cloth of the country, often finely and beautifully dyed, was the universal dress, and high rank was indicated by six or seven of these, worn one above another.  Ornament was studied chiefly in plaiting the hair, in attaching to it strings of brass or silver beads, in inserting large pieces of amber or coral into the nose, the ear, and the lip, and when to these was added a face, streaming with oil, the Bornouese belle was fully equipped for conquest.  Thus adorned, the wife or daughter of a rich Shouaa might be seen entering the market in full style, bestriding an ox, which she managed dexterously, by a leathern thong passed through the nose, and whose unwieldy bulk she even contrived to torture into something like capering and curvetting.  Angornou is the chief market, and the crowd there is sometimes immense, amounting to eighty or one hundred thousand individuals.  All the produce of the country is bought and sold in open market, for shops and warehouses do not enter into the system of African traffic.

Bornou taken altogether forms an extensive plain, stretching two hundred miles along the western shore of Lake Tchad, and nearly the same distance inland.  This sea periodically changes its bed in a singular manner.  During the rains, when its tributary rivers pour in thrice the usual quantity of water, it inundates an extensive tract, from which it retires in the dry season.  This space, then overgrown with dense underwood, and with grass double the height of a man,

Page 219

contains a motley assemblage of wild beasts—­lions, panthers, hyenas, elephants, and serpents of extraordinary form and bulk.  These monsters, while undisturbed in this mighty den, remain tranquil, or war only with each other, but when the lake swells, and its waters rush in, they of necessity seek refuge among the abodes of men, to whom they prove the most dreadful scourge.  Not only the cattle but the slaves attending the grain, often fall victims; they even rush in large bodies into the towns.  The fields beyond the reach of this annual inundation are very fertile, and land may be had in any quantity, by him who has slaves to cultivate it.  This service is performed by females from Musgow, who, aiding their native ugliness, by the insertion of a large piece of silver into the upper lip, which throws it entirely out of shape, are estimated according to the quantity of hard work which they can execute.  The processes of agriculture are extremely simple.  Their only fine manufacture is that of tobes, or vestments of cotton skilfully woven and beautifully dyed, but still not equal to those of Soudan.

The Bornouese are complete negroes both in form and feature; they are ugly, simple, and good natured, but destitute of all intellectual culture.  Only a few of the great fighis or doctors, of whom the sheik was one, can read the Koran.  “A great writer” is held in still higher estimation than with us, but his compositions consist only of words written on scraps of paper, to be enclosed in cases, and worn as amulets.  They are then supposed to defend their possessor against every danger, to act as charms to destroy his enemies, and to be the main instrument in the cure of all diseases.  For this last purpose they are assisted only by a few simple applications, yet the Bornou practice is said to be very successful, either through the power of imagination, or owing to the excellence of their constitutions.  In the absence of all refined pleasure, various rude sports are pursued with eagerness, and almost with fury.  The most favourite is wrestling, which the chiefs do not practise in person, but train their slaves to it as our jockeys do game cocks, taking the same pride in their prowess and victory.  Nations are often pitched against each other; the Musgowy and the Bughami being the most powerful.  Many of them are extremely handsome, and of gigantic size, and hence their contests are truly terrific.  Their masters loudly cheer them on, offering high premiums for victory, and sometimes threatening instant death in case of defeat.  They place their trust not in science, but in main strength and rapid movements.  Occasionally, the wrestler, eluding his adversary’s vigilance, seizes him by the thigh, lifts him into the air, and dashes him against the ground.  When the match is decided, the victor is greeted with loud plaudits by the spectators, some of whom even testify their admiration by throwing to him presents of fine cloth.  He then kneels before his master, who not

Page 220

unfrequently bestows upon him a robe worth thirty or forty dollars, taken perhaps from his own person.  Death or maiming is no unfrequent result of these encounters.  The ladies even of rank engage in another very odd species of contest.  Placing themselves back to back, they cause certain parts to strike together with the most violent collision, when she who maintains her equilibrium, while the other lies stretched upon the ground, is proclaimed victor with loud cheers.  In this conflict the girdle of beads worn by the more opulent females, very frequently bursts, when these ornaments are seen flying about in every direction.  To these recreations is added gaming, always the rage of uncultivated minds.  Their favourite game is one rudely played with beans, by means of holes made in the sand.

Boo Khaloom having despatched his affairs in Bornou, wished to turn his journey to some farther account, and proposed an expedition into the more wealthy and commercial region of Houssa or Soudan, but the eager wishes of his follower pointed to a different object.  They called upon him to lead them into the mountains of Mandara, in the south, to attack a village of the Kerdies or unbelievers, and carry off the people as slaves to Fezzan.  He long stood out against this nefarious proposal, but the sheik who also had his own views, took part against him; even his own brother joined the malcontents, and at length there appeared no other mode in which he could return with equal credit and profit.  Influenced by these inducements, he suffered his better judgement to be overpowered, and determined to conduct his troops upon this perilous and guilty excursion.  Major Denham allowed his zeal for discovery to overcome other considerations, and contrived, notwithstanding the prohibition of the sheik, to be one of the party.  They were accompanied by Barca Gana, the principal general, a negro of huge strength and great courage, along with other warriors, and a large troop of Bournouse cavalry.  These last are a fine military body in point of external appearance.  Their persons are covered with iron plate and mail, and they manage with surprising dexterity their little active steeds, which are also supplied with defensive armour.  They have one fault only, but it is a serious one, they cannot stand the shock of an enemy.  While the contest continues doubtful, they hover round as spectators, ready, should the tide turn against them, to spur on their coursers to a rapid flight; but if they see their friends victorious, and the enemy turning their backs, they come forward and display no small vigour in pursuit and plunder.

Page 221

The road to Mandara formed a continual ascent through a fertile country, which contained some populous towns.  The path being quite overgrown with thick and prickly underwood, twelve pioneers went forward with long poles, opening a track, pushing back the branches, and giving warning to beware of holes.  These operations they accompanied with loud praises of Barca Gana, calling out, “Who is in battle like the rolling of thunder?  Barca Gana.  In battle, who spreads terror around him like the buffalo in his rage?  Barca Gana.”  Even the chiefs on this expedition carried no provisions, except a paste of rice, flour, and honey, with which they contented themselves, unless when sheep could be procured; in which case, half the animal, roasted over a frame-work of wood, was placed on the table, and the sharpest dagger present was employed in cutting it into large pieces, to be eaten without bread or salt.  At length they approached Mora, the capital of Mandara.  This was another kingdom, which the energy of its present sultan had rescued from the yoke of the Fellata empire; and the strong position of its capital, enclosed by lofty ridges of hills, had enabled it to defy repeated attacks.  It consists of a fine plain, bordered on the south by an immense and almost interminable range of mountains.  The eminences directly in front were not quite so lofty as the hills of Cumberland, but bold, rocky, and precipitous, and distant summits appeared towering much higher, and shooting up a line of sharp pinnacles, resembling the Needles of Mont Blanc.  It was reported that two months were required to cross their greatest breadth, and reach the other side, where they rose ten times higher, and were called large moon mountains.  They there overlooked the plain of Adamowa, through which a great river, that has erroneously been supposed to be the Quorra or Niger, was said to flow from the westward.  The hills immediately in view were thickly clustered with villages perched on their sides, and even on their tops, and were distinctly seen from the plain of Mandara.  They were occupied by half-savage tribes, whom the ferocious bigotry of the nations in the low country branded as pagans, and whom they claimed a right to plunder, seize, and drive in crowds for sale to the markets of Fezzan and Bornou.  The fires, which were visible, in the different nests of these unfortunate beings, threw a glare upon the bold rocks and blunt promontories of granite by which they were surrounded, and produced a picturesque and somewhat awful appearance.  A baleful joy beamed on the visage of the Arabs, as they eyed these abodes of their future victims, whom they already fancied themselves driving in bands across the desert.  “A Kerdy village to plunder!” was all their cry, and Boo Khaloom doubted not that he would be able to gratify their wishes.  Their common fear of the Fellatas had united the sultan of Mandara in close alliance with the sheik, to whom he had lately married his daughter; and the nuptials had been celebrated by a great slave-hunt amongst the mountains, when, after a dreadful struggle, three thousand captives, by their tears and bondage, furnished out the materials of a magnificent marriage festival.

Page 222

The expedition obtained a reception quite as favourable as had been expected.  In approaching the capital, they were met by the sultan, with five hundred Mandara horse, who, charging full speed, wheeled round them with the same threatening movements which had been exhibited at Bornou.  The horses were of a superior breed, most skilfully managed, and covered with cloths of various colours, as well as with skins of the leopard and tiger-cat.  This cavalry, of course, made a most brilliant appearance; but Major Denham did not yet know that their valour was exactly on a level with that of their Bornou allies.  The party were then escorted to the capital, amid the music of long pipes, like clarionets, and of two immense trumpets.  They were introduced next day.  The mode of approaching the royal residence is to gallop up to the gate with a furious speed, which often causes fatal accidents, and on this occasion a man was ridden down and killed on the spot.  The sultan was found in a dark-blue tent, sitting on a mud bench, surrounded by about two hundred attendants, handsomely arrayed in silk and cotton robes.  He was an intelligent little man, about fifty years old, with a beard dyed sky-blue.  Courteous salutations were exchanged, during which he steadily eyed Major Denham, concerning whom he at last inquired, and the traveller was advantageously introduced, as belonging to a powerful distant nation, allies of the bashaw of Tripoli.  At last, however, came the fatal question,—­“Is he moslem?” "La! la!" (No, no.) “What:  has the great bashaw caffre friends?” Every eye was instantly averted; the sun of Major Denham’s favour was set, and he was never again allowed to enter the palace.

The bigotry of this court seems to have surpassed even the usual bitterness of the African tribes, and our traveller had to undergo a regular persecution, carried on especially by Malem Chadily, the leading fighi of the court.  As Major Denham was showing to the admiring chiefs, the mode of writing with a pencil, and effacing it with Indian rubber; Malem wrote some words of the Koran with such force, that their traces could not be wholly removed.  He then exclaimed with triumph, “They are the words of God delivered to his prophet.  I defy you to erase them.”  The major was then called upon to acknowledge this great miracle, and as his countenance still expressed incredulity, he was viewed with looks of such mingled contempt and indignation, as induced him to retire.  Malem, however, again assailed him with the assurance that this was only one of the many miracles which he could show, as wrought by the Koran, imploring him to turn, and paradise would be his, otherwise nothing could save him from eternal fire.  “Oh!” said he, “while sitting in the third heaven, I shall see you in the midst of the flames, crying out to your friend Barca Gana and myself for a drop of water, but the gulf will be between us.”  His tears then flowed profusely.  Major Denham, taking the general aside,

Page 223

entreated to be relieved from this incessant persecution, but Gana assured him that the fighi was a great and holy man, to whom he ought to listen.  He then held out not only paradise, but honours, slaves, and wives of the first families, as gifts to be lavished on him by the sheik, if he would renounce his unbelief.  Major Denham asked the commander what would be thought of himself, if he should go to England and turn Christian.  “God forbid,” exclaimed he, “but how can you compare our faiths? mine would lead you to paradise, while yours would bring me to hell.  Not a word more.”  Nothing appears to have annoyed the stranger more than to be told, that he was of the same faith with the Kerdies or savages, little distinction being made between any who denied the Koran.  After a long discussion of this question, he thought the validity of his reasoning would be admitted, when he could point to a party of those wretches devouring a dead horse, and appealed to Boo Khaloom if he had ever seen the English do the same; but to this, which after all was not a very deep theological argument, the Arab replied, “I know they eat the flesh of swine, and God knows, that is worse.”  “Grant me patience,” exclaimed the major to himself, “this is almost too much to bear and to remain silent.”

The unfortunate Kerdies, from the moment they saw Arab tents in the valley of Mandara, knew the dreadful calamity which awaited them.  To avert it and to propitiate the sultan, numerous parlies came down with presents of honey, asses, and slaves.  Finally appeared the Musgow, a more distant and savage race, mounted on small fiery steeds, covered only with the skin of a goat or leopard, and with necklaces made of the teeth of their enemies.  They threw themselves at the feet of the sultan, casting sand on their heads, and uttering the most piteous cries.  The monarch apparently moved by these gifts and entreaties, began to intimate to Boo Khaloom his hopes, that these savages might by gentle means be reclaimed, and led to the true faith.  These hopes were held by the latter in the utmost derision, and he privately assured Major Denham, that nothing would more annoy the devout Mussulmans, than to see them fulfilled, whereby he must have forfeited all right to drive these unhappy creatures in crowds, to the markets of Soudan and Bornou.  In fact, both the sultan and the sheik had a much deeper aim.  Every effort was used to induce Boo Khaloom to engage in the attack of some strong Fellata posts, by which the country was hemmed in, and as the two monarchs viewed the Arabs with extreme jealousy, it was strongly suspected that their defeat would not have been regarded as a public calamity.  The royal councils were secret and profound, and it was not known what influences worked upon Boo Khaloom.  On this occasion, however, he was mastered by his evil genius, and consented to the proposed attack, but as he came out and ordered his troops to prepare for marching, his countenance bore such marks of trouble, that Major Denham asked, if all went well, to which he Hurriedly answered, “Please God.”  The Arabs, however, who at all events expected plunder, proceeded with alacrity.

Page 224

The expedition set out on the following morning, and after passing through a beautiful plain, began to penetrate the mighty chain of mountains, which form the southern border of the kingdom.  Alpine heights rising around them in rugged magnificence, and gigantic grandeur, presented scenery which our traveller had never seen surpassed.  The passes of Hairey and of Horza, amid a superb amphitheatre of hills, closely shut in by overhanging cliffs, more than two thousand feet high, were truly striking.  Here for the first time in Africa, did nature appear to the English to rival in the production of vegetable life.  The trees were covered with luxuriant and bright green foliage, and their trunks were hidden by a crowd of parasitical plants, whose aromatic blossoms perfumed the air.  There was also an abundance of animal life of a less agreeable description.  Three scorpions were killed in the tent, and a fierce but beautiful panther, more than eight feet long, just as he had gorged himself by sucking the blood of a newly-killed negro, was attacked and speared.  The sultan and Barca Gana were attended by a considerable body of Bornou and Mandara cavalry, whose brilliant armour, martial aspect, and skilful horsemanship, gave confidence to the European officer, who had not seen them put to the proof.

It was the third day, when the expedition came in view of the Fellata town of Dirkulla.  The Arabs, supported by Barca Gana, and about one hundred spearmen marched instantly to the attack, and carried first that place, and then a smaller town beyond it, killing all who had not time to escape.  The enemy, however, then entrenched themselves in a third and stronger position, called Musfeia, enclosed by high hills, and fortified in front by numerous swamps and palisades.  This was likewise attacked and all its defences forced.  The guns of the Arabs spread terror, while Barca Gana threw eight spears with his own hand, every one of which took effect.  It was thought, that had the two bodies of cavalry, made even a show of advancing, the victory would have been at once decided, but Major Denham was much surprised to see those puissant warriors, keeping carefully under cover, behind a hill, on the opposite side of the stream, where not an arrow could reach them.  The Fellatas seeing that their antagonists were only a handful, rallied on the top of the hills, were joined by new troops, and turned round.  Their women behind cheered them on, continually supplied fresh arrows, and rolled down fragments of rock on the assailants.  These arrows were tipped with poison, and wherever they pierced the body, in a few hours became black, blood gushed from every orifice, and the victim expired in agony.  The condition of the Arabs soon became alarming, scarcely a man was left unhurt, and their horses were dying under them.  Boo Khaloom and his charger were both wounded with poisoned arrows.  As soon as the Fellatas saw the Arabs waver, they dashed in with their horse,

Page 225

at the sight of which all the heroic squadrons of Bornou and Mandara put spurs to their steeds, the sultan at their head, and the whole became one mass of confused and tumultuous flight.  Major Denham saw too late the peril into which he had inconsiderately plunged.  His horse, wounded in to the shoulder, could scarcely support his weight, but the cries of the pursuing Fellatas urged him forward.  At last the animal fell twice, and the second time threw him against a tree, then, frightened by the noise behind, started up and ran off.  The Fellatas were instantly up, when four of his companions were stabbed beside him, uttering the most frightful cries.  He himself fully expected the same fate, but happily his clothes formed a valuable booty, through which the savages were loath to run their spears.  After inflicting some slight wounds, therefore, they stripped him to the skin, and forthwith began to quarrel about the plunder.  While they were thus busied, he contrived to slip away, and though hotly pursued, and nearly overtaken, succeeded in reaching a mountain stream, gliding at the bottom of a deep and precipitous ravine.  Here he had snatched the young branches issuing from the stump of a large over-hanging tree, in order to let himself down into the water, when beneath his hand, a large siffa, the most dangerous serpent in this country, rose from its coil, as in the very act of darting upon him.  Struck with horror, Major Denham lost all recollection, and fell headlong into the water, but the shock revived him, and with three strokes of his arm, he reached the opposite bank, and felt himself for the moment in safety.  Running forward, he was delighted to see his friends Barca Gana and Boo Khaloom, but amidst the cheers with which they were endeavouring to rally their troops, and the cries of those who were falling under the Fellata spears, he could not for some time make himself heard.  Then Maramy, a negro appointed by the sheik to attend upon him, rode up and took him on his own horse.  Boo Khaloom ordered a bornouse to be thrown over the major—­very seasonably, for the burning sun had began to blister his naked body.  Suddenly, however, Maramy called out, “See! see!  Boo Khaloom is dead,” and that spirited chief, overpowered by the wound of a poisoned arrow, dropped from his horse and spoke no more.  The others now only thought of pressing their flight, and soon reached a stream, where they refreshed themselves by copious draughts, and a halt was made to collect the stragglers.  Major Denham here fell into a swoon, during which, as he afterwards learned, Maramy complained that the jaded horse could scarcely carry the stranger forward, when Barca Gana said, “By the head of the prophet! believers enough have breathed their last to-day, why should we concern ourselves about a Christian’s death.”  Malem Chadily, however, so bitter as a theological opponent, showed now the influence of a milder spirit, and said, “No, God has preserved him; let us not abandon him;” and Maramy declared, his heart told him what to do.  They therefore moved on slowly till about midnight, when they passed the Mandara frontier, in a state of severe suffering, but the major met with much kindness from a dethroned prince, Mai Meagamy, who seeing his wounds festering under the rough woollen cloak, which formed his only covering, took off his own trousers and gave them to him.

Page 226

The Arabs lost forty-five of their number, besides their chief; the survivors were in a miserable plight, most of them wounded, some mortally, and all deprived of their camels, and the rest of their property.  Renouncing their pride, they were obliged to supplicate from Barca Gana a handful of corn to keep them from starving.  The sultan of Mandara, in whose cause they had suffered, treated them with the utmost contumely, which, perhaps, they might deserve, but certainly not from him.  Deep sorrow was afterwards felt in Fezzan, when they arrived in this deplorable condition, and reported the fall of their chief, who was there almost idolized.  A national song was composed on the occasion, which the following extract will show to be marked by great depth of feeling, and not devoid of poetical beauty:—­

“Oh trust not to the gun and the sword:  the spear of the unbeliever prevails!

“Boo Khaloom, the good and the brave, has fallen!  Fallen has he in his might!  Who shall now be safe?  Even as the moon amongst the little stars, so was Boo Khaloom amongst men!  Where shall Fezzan now look for her protector?  Men hang their heads in sorrow, while women wring their hands, rending the air with their cries!  As a shepherd is to his flock, so was Boo Khaloom to Fezzan.

“Give him songs!  Give him music!  What words can equal his praise!  His heart was as large as the desert!  His coffers were like the rich overflowings from the udder of the she camel, comforting and nourishing those around him.

“Even as the flowers without rain perish in the field, so will the Fezzaners droop; for Boo Khaloom returns no more.

“His body lies in the land of the heathen! the poisoned arrow of the unbeliever prevails!

“Oh trust not to the gun and the sword!  The spear of the heathen conquers!  Boo Khaloom, the good and the brave, has fallen!  Who shall now be safe?”

The sheik of Bornou was considerably mortified by the result of this expedition, and the miserable figure made by his troops, though he sought to throw the chief blame on the Mandara part of the armament.  He now invited the major to accompany an expedition against the Mungas, a rebel tribe on his outer border, on which occasion he was to employ his native band of Kanemboo spearmen, who, he trusted, would redeem the military reputation of the monarchy.  Major Denham was always ready to go wherever he had a chance of seeing the manners and scenery of Africa.  The sheik took the field, attended by his armour-bearer, his drummer, fantastically dressed in a straw hat with ostrich feathers, and followed by-three wives, whose heads and persons were wrapped up in brown silk robes, and each led by a eunuch.  He was preceded by five green and red flags, on each of which were extracts from the Koran, written in letters of gold.  Etiquette even required that the sultan should follow with his unwieldy pomp, having a harem, and attendance much more numerous; while frumfrums, or wooden trumpets, were continually sounding before him.  This monarch is too distinguished to fight in person; but his guards, the swollen and overloaded figures formerly described, enveloped in multiplied folds, and groaning beneath the weight of ponderous amulets, produced themselves as warriors, though manifestly unfit to face any real danger.

Page 227

The route lay along the banks of the river Yeou, called also Gambarou, through a country naturally fertile and delightful, but presenting a dismal picture of the desolation occasioned by African warfare.  The expedition passed through upwards of thirty towns, completely destroyed by the Fellatas in their last inroad, and of which all the inhabitants had been either killed or carried into slavery.  These fine plains were now overgrown with forests and thickets, in which grew tamarind and other trees, producing delicate fruits, while large bands of monkeys, called by the Arabs “enchanted men,” filled the woods with their cries.  Here, too, was found old Birnie, the ancient but now desolate capital, evidently much larger than any of the present cities, covering five or six miles with its ruins.  They passed also Gambarou, formerly the favourite residence of the sultans, where the remains of a palace and two mosques gave an idea of civilization superior to any thing that had yet been seen in interior Africa.  There were left in this country only small detached villages, the inhabitants of which remained fixed to them by local attachment, in spite of constant predatory inroads of the Tuaricks, who carried off their friends, their children, and cattle.  They have recourse to one mode of defence, which consists in digging a number of blaquas, or large pits; these they cover with a false surface of sods and grass, into which the Tuarick with his horse plunges before he is aware, and is received at the bottom upon sharp-pointed stakes, which often kill both on the spot.  Unluckily, harmless travellers are equally liable to fall into these living graves.  Major Denham was petrified with horror, to find how near he had approached to several of them; indeed one of his servants stepped upon the deceitful covering, and was saved only by an almost miraculous spring.  It seems wonderful that the sheik should not have endeavoured to restore some kind of security to this portion of his subjects, and to re-people those fine but deserted regions.

The troops that had been seen hastening in parties to the scene of action were mustered at Kobshary, a town which the Mungas had nearly destroyed.  The sheik made a review of his favourite forces, the Kanemboo spearmen, nine thousand strong.  They were really a very savage and military-looking host, entirely naked, except a girdle of goat-skin, with the hair hanging down, and a piece of cloth wrapped round the head.  They carried large wooden shields, shaped like a gothic window, with which they warded off the arrows of the enemy, while they pressed forward to attack with their own spears.  Unlike almost all other barbarous armies, they kept a regular night-watch, passing the cry every half-hour along the line, and, at any alarm, raising a united yell, which was truly frightful.  At the review they passed in tribes before the sheik, to whom they showed the most enthusiastic attachment, kneeling on the ground, and kissing his feet.  The Mungas again were described as terrible antagonists, hardened by conflicts with the Tuaricks, fighting on foot with poisoned arrows, longer and more deadly than those of the Fellatas.

Page 228

The sultan, however, contemplated other means of securing success, placing his main reliance on his powers as a mohammedan doctor and writer.  Three successive nights were spent in inscribing upon little scraps of paper figures or words, destined to exercise a magical influence upon the rebel host, and their effect was heightened by the display of sky-rockets, supplied by Major Denham.  Tidings of his being thus employed were conveyed to the camp, when the Mungas, stout and fierce warriors, who never shrunk from an enemy, yielded to the power of superstition, and felt all their strength withered.  It seemed to them that their arrows were blunted, their quivers broken, their hearts struck with sickness and fear, in short, that to oppose a sheik of the Koran, who could accomplish such wonders, was alike vain and impious.  They came in by hundreds, bowing themselves to the ground, and casting sand on their heads, in token of the most abject submission.  At length, Malem Fanamy, the leader of the rebellion, saw that resistance was hopeless.  After vain overtures of conditional submission, he appeared in person, mounted on a white horse, with one thousand followers.  He was clothed in rags, and having fallen prostrate, was about to pour sand on his head, when the sultan, instead of permitting this humiliation, caused eight robes of fine cotton cloth, one after another, to be thrown over him, and his head to be wrapped in Egyptian turbans till it was swelled to six times its natural size, and no longer resembled any thing human.  By such signal honours the sheik gained the hearts of those whom his pen had subdued, and this wise policy enabled him not only to overcome the resistance of this formidable tribe, but to convert them into supporters and bulwarks of his power.


Major Denham, who always sought, with laudable zeal, to penetrate into every corner of Africa, now found his way in another direction.  He had heard much of the Shary, a great river flowing into lake Tchad, on whose banks the kingdom of Loggun was situated.  After several delays, he set out on the 23d January 1824, in company with Mr. Toole, a spirited young volunteer, who, journeying by way of Tripoli and Mourzouk, had thence crossed the desert to join him.  The travellers passed Angornou and Angola, and arrived at Showy, where they saw the river, which really proved to be a magnificent stream, fully half a mile broad, and flowing at the rate of two or three miles an hour.  They descended it through a succession of noble reaches, bordered with fine woods and a profusion of variously tinted and aromatic plants.  At length, it opened into the wide expanse of the Tchad, after viewing which, they again ascended, and reached the capital of Loggun, beneath whose high walls the river was seen flowing in majestic beauty.  Major Denham entered, and found a handsome city, with a street as wide as Pall-Mall, and bordered by large dwellings, having

Page 229

spacious areas in front.  Having proceeded to the palace, for the purpose of visiting the sovereign, he was led through several dark rooms into a wide and crowded court, at one end of which a lattice opened, and showed a pile of silk robes, stretched on a carpet, amid which two eyes became gradually visible; this was the sultan.  On his appearance, there arose a tumult of horns and frumfrums, while all the attendants threw themselves prostrate, casting sand on their heads.  In a voice, which the court fashion of Loggun required to be scarcely audible, the monarch inquired Major Denham’s object in coming to this country, observing that, if it was to purchase handsome female slaves, he need go no further, since he himself had hundreds, who could be afforded at a very easy rate.  This overture was rejected on other grounds than the price; yet, notwithstanding so decided a proof of barbarism, the Loggunese were found to be a people more advanced in the arts of peace than any hitherto seen in Africa.  By a studied neutrality they avoided involving themselves in the dreadful wars, which had desolated the neighbouring countries; manufacturing industry was honoured, and the cloths woven here were superior to those of Bornou, being finely dyed with indigo, and beautifully glazed.  There was even a current coin, made of iron, somewhat in the form of a horse-shoe, and rude as this was, none of their neighbours possessed any thing similar.  The ladies were handsome, intelligent, and of a lively air and carriage; but, besides pushing their frankness to excess, their general demeanour was by no means scrupulous.  They used, in particular, the utmost diligence in stealing from Major Denham’s person every thing that could be reached, even searching the pockets of his trousers, and when detected, only laughed, and called to each other, how sharp he was.  But the darkest feature of savage life was disclosed, when the sultan and his son each sent to solicit poison “that would not lie,” to be used against each other.  The latter even accompanied the request with a bribe of three lovely black damsels, and ridiculed the horror which was expressed at the proposal.

The Loggunese live in a country abounding in grain and cattle, and diversified with forests of lofty acacias, and many beautiful shrubs.  Its chief scourge consists in the millions of tormenting insects, which fill the atmosphere, making it scarcely possible to go into the open air at mid-day, without being thrown into a fever, indeed, children have been killed by their stings.  The natives build one house within another to protect themselves against this scourge, while some kindle a large fire of wet straw, and sit in the smoke; but this remedy seems worse than the evil it is meant to obviate.

Page 230

Major Denham was much distressed on this journey by the death of his companion, Mr. Toole; and he could no longer delay his return, when he learnt that the Begharmis, with a large army, were crossing the Shary to attack Bornou.  Soon after his arrival at Kouka, the sheik led out his troops, which he mustered on the plain of Angola, and was there furiously attacked by five thousand Begharmis, led by two hundred chiefs.  The Begharmi cavalry are stout, fierce-looking men, and both riders and horses still more thoroughly cased in mail than those of Bornou; but their courage, when brought to the proof, is nearly on a level.  The sheik encountered them with his Kanemboo spearmen and a small band of musketeers, when, after a short conflict, the whole of this mighty host was thrown into the most disorderly flight; even the Bornou cavalry joined in the pursuit.  Seven sons of the sultan, and almost all the chiefs fell; two hundred of their favourite wives were taken, many of whom were of exquisite beauty.

Mr. Tyrwhit, a gentleman sent out by government to strengthen the party, arrived on the 20th May, and on the 22nd delivered to the sheik a number of presents, which were received with the highest satisfaction.  In company with this gentleman, Major Denham, eager to explore Africa, still further took advantage of another expedition, undertaken against a tribe of Shouaa Arabs, distinguished by the name of La Sala, a race of amphibious shepherds, who inhabit certain islands along the south-eastern shores of the Tchad.  These spots afford rich pasture; while the water is so shallow, that, by knowing the channels, the natives can ride without difficulty from one island to the other.  Barca Gana led one thousand men on this expedition, and was joined by four hundred of a Shouaa tribe, called Dugganahs, enemies to the La Salas.  These allies presented human nature under a more pleasing aspect than it had yet been seen in any part of central Africa.  They despise the negro nations, and all who live in houses, and still more in cities, while they themselves reside in tents of skin, in circular camps, which they move periodically from place to place.  They live in simple plenty on the produce of their flocks and herds, celebrate their joys and sorrows in extemporary poetry, and seem to be united by the strongest ties of domestic affection.  Tahr, their chief, having closely examined our traveller, as to the motives of his journey, said, “And have you been three years from your home?  Are not your eyes dimmed with straining to the north, where all your thoughts must ever be?  If my eyes do not see the wife and children of my heart for ten days, they are flowing with tears, when they should be closed in sleep.”  On taking leave, Tahr’s parting wish was, “May you die at your own tents, and in the arms of your wife and family.”  This chief might have sitten for the picture of a patriarch; his fine, serious, expressive countenance, large features, and long bushy beard, afforded a favourable specimen of his tribe.

Page 231

The united forces now marched to the shores of the lake, and began to reconnoitre the islands on which the Shouaas, with their cattle and cavalry, were stationed; but the experienced eye of Barca Gana soon discerned, that the channel, though shallow, was full of holes, and had a muddy deceitful appearance.  He proposed therefore to delay the attack, till a resolute band of Kanemboo spearmen should arrive and lead the way.  The lowing, however, of the numerous herds, and the bleating of the flocks on the green islands, which lay before them, excited in the troops a degree of hunger, as well as of military ardour, that was quite irrepressible.  They called out, “What! be so near them, and not eat them?—­No, no, let us on; this night, these flocks and women shall be ours.”  Barca Gana suffered himself to be hurried away, and plunged in amongst the foremost.  Soon, however, the troops began to sink into the holes, or stick in the mud; their guns and powder were wetted, and became useless; while the enemy, who knew every step, and could ride through the water as quickly as on land, at once charged the invaders in front, and sent round a detachment to take them in the rear.  The assault was accordingly soon changed into a disgraceful flight, in which those who had been the loudest in urging to this rash onset set the example.  Barca Gana, who had boasted himself invulnerable, was deeply wounded through his coat of mail and four cotton tobes, and with difficulty rescued by his chiefs from five La Sala horsemen, who had vowed his death.  The army returned to their quarters in disappointment and dismay, and with a severe loss.  During the whole night, the Dugganah women were heard bewailing their husbands, who had fallen, in dirges composed for the occasion, and with plaintive notes, which could not be listened to without the deepest sympathy.  Major Denham was deterred by this disaster from making any further attempt to penetrate to the eastern shores of the Tchad.

The Beddoomahs are another tribe who inhabit extensive and rugged islands, in the interior of the lake, amid its deep waters, which they navigate with nearly a thousand large boats.  They neither cultivate the ground, nor rear flocks and herds, while their manners appeared to Major Denham, the rudest and most savage observed even among Africans—­the Musgows always excepted.  They have adopted as a religious creed, that God having withheld from them corn and cattle, which the nations around enjoy, has given in their stead strength and courage, to be employed in taking these good things from all in whose possession they may be found.  To this belief they act up in the most devout manner, spreading terror and desolation over all the shores of this inland sea, no part of which, even in the immediate vicinity of the great capitals, is for a moment secure from their ravages.  The most powerful and warlike of the Bornou sovereigns, finding among their subjects neither the requisite skill nor experience in navigation, make no attempt to cope with the Biddoomahs on these watery domains, and thus give up the lake to their undisputed sway.

Page 232

While Major Denham was thus traversing in every direction Bornou, and the surrounding countries, Lieutenant Clapperton and Dr. Oudney were proceeding through Houssa, by a route less varied and hazardous indeed, but disclosing forms both of nature and society fully as interesting.  They departed from Kouka on the 14th December 1823, and passing the site of old Birnie, found the banks of the Yeou fertile, and diversified with towns and villages.

On entering Katagum, the most easterly Fellata province, they observed a superior style of culture; two crops of wheat being raised in one season by irrigation, and the grain stored in covered sheds, elevated from the ground on posts.  The country to the south was covered with extensive swamps and mountains, tenanted by rude and pagan tribes, who furnish to the faithful an inexhaustible supply of slaves.  The practice of travelling with a caravan was found very advantageous, from the help it afforded, as well as from the good reports spread by the merchants, respecting their European companions.  In Bornou, these last had been viewed with almost unmingled horror, and for having eaten their bread under the extremest necessity, a man had his testimony rejected in a court of justice.  Some young Bornouese ladies, who accosted Major Denham, having ventured to say a word in his favour, an attendant matron exclaimed, “Be silent, he is an uncircumcised kafir—­neither washes nor prays, eats pork, and will go to hell.”  Upon which the others screamed, and ran off.  But in Houssa, this horror was not so great, and was mingled with the belief, that they possessed supernatural powers.  Not only did the sick come in crowds expecting to be cured, but the ladies solicited amulets to restore their beauty, to preserve the affections of their lovers, and even to destroy a hated rival.  The son of the governor of Kano, having called upon Clapperton, stated it was the conviction of the whole city and his own, that the English had the power of converting men into asses, goats, and monkeys, and likewise that by reading in his book, he could at any time commute a handful of earth into gold.  The traveller having declared to him the difficulty he often found in procuring both asses and gold, induced him with trembling hands to taste a cup of tea, when he became more composed, and made a sort of recantation of his errors.

As the caravan proceeded they met many other travellers, and found sitting along the road, numerous females selling potatoes, beans, bits of roasted meat, and water with an infusion of gussub-grains; and when they stopped at any place for the night, the people crowded in such numbers as to form a little fair.  Clapperton attracted the notice of many of the Fellata ladies, who, after examining him closely, declared, that had he only been less white, his external appearance might have merited approbation.

Page 233

The travellers passed through Sansan, a great market place, divided into three distinct towns, and Katagum, the strongly fortified capital of the province, containing about eight thousand inhabitants.  Thence they proceeded to Murmur, where the severe illness under which Dr. Oudney had long laboured, came to a crisis.  Though now in the last stage of consumption, he insisted on continuing his journey and with the aid of his servant had been supported to his camel, when Clapperton, seeing the ghastliness of death on his countenance, insisted on replacing him in his tent, where, soon after, without a groan, he breathed his last.  His companion caused him to be buried with the honours of the country.  The body was washed, wrapped in turban shawls, and a wall of clay built round the grave, to protect it from wild beasts; two sheep were also killed and distributed amongst the poor.

Katungwa, the first town of Houssa proper, and the next on the route, is situated in a country well enclosed, and under high cultivation.  To the south is an extensive range of rocky hills, amid which is the town of Zangeia, with its buildings picturesquely scattered over masses of rocks.  Clapperton passed also Girkwa, near a river of the same name, which appears to come from these hills, and to fall into the Yeou.

Two days after, he entered Kano, the Ghana of Edrisi, and which is now, as it was six hundred years ago, the chief commercial city of Houssa, and of all central Africa.  Yet it disappointed our traveller on his first entry, and for a quarter of a mile scarcely appeared a city at all.  Even in its more crowded quarters, the houses rose generally in clusters, separated by stagnant pools.  The inhabited part on the whole, did not comprise more than a fourth of the space enclosed by the walls, the rest consisted of fields, gardens, and swamps; however, as the whole circuit is fifteen miles, there is space for a population moderately estimated, to be between thirty or forty thousand.  The market is held on a neck of land, between two swamps, by which, during the rains, it is entirely overflowed, but in the dry season it is covered with sheds of bamboo, arranged into regular streets.  Different quarters are allowed for the several kinds of goods; some for cattle, others for vegetables, while fruits of various descriptions, so much neglected in Bornou, are here displayed in profusion.  The fine cotton fabrics of the country are sold either in webs, or in what are called tobes and Turkadees, with rich silken strips or borders ready to be added.  Amongst the favourite articles are goora or kolla nuts, which are called African coffee, being supposed to give a peculiar relish to the water drunk after them; and crude antimony, with the black tint of which every eyebrow in Houssa must be dyed.  The Arabs also dispose here of sundry commodities that have become obsolete in the north; the cast-off dresses of the mamelukes and other great men, and old sword-blades

Page 234

from Malta.  But the busiest scene is the slave market, composed of two long ranges of sheds, one for males and another for females.  These poor creatures are seated in rows, decked out for exhibition.  The buyer scrutinizes them as nicely as a purchaser with us does a horse, inspecting the tongue, teeth, eyes, and limbs; making them cough and perform various movements, to ascertain if there be any thing unsound, and in case of a blemish appearing, or even without assigning a reason, he may return them within three days.  As soon as the slaves are sold, the exposer gets back their finery, to be employed in ornamenting others.  Most of the captives purchased at Kano, are conveyed across the desert, during which their masters endeavour to keep up their spirits, by an assurance, that on passing its boundary, they will be set free and dressed in red, which they account the gayest of colours.  Supplies, however, often fail in this dreary journey, a want first felt by the slaves, many of whom perish with hunger and fatigue.  Clapperton heard the doleful tale of a mother, who had seen her child dashed to the ground, while she herself was compelled by the lash to drag on an exhausted frame.  Yet, when at all tolerably treated, they are very gay, an observation generally made in regard to slaves, but this gaiety, arising only from the absence of thought, probably conceals much secret wretchedness.

The regulations of the market of Kano seem to be good, and strictly enforced.  A sheik superintends the police, and is said even to fix the prices.  The dylalas or brokers, are men of somewhat high character; packages of goods are often sold unopened bearing merely their mark.  If the purchaser afterwards finds any defect, he returns it to the agent, who must grant compensation.  The medium of exchange is not cloth as in Bornou, nor iron as in Loggun, but cowries or little shells, brought from the roast, twenty of which are worth a halfpenny, and four hundred and eighty make a shilling, so that in paying a pound sterling, one has to count over nine thousand six hundred cowries.  Amid so many strangers, there is ample room for the trade of the restaurateur, which is carried on by a female seated on the ground, with a mat on her knees, on which are spread vegetables, gussub water, and bits of roasted meat about the size of a penny; these she retails to her customers squatted around her.  The killing of a bullock forms a sort of festival at Kano; its horns are dyed red with henna, drums are beaten, and a crowd collected, who, if they approve of the appearance and condition of the animal, readily become purchasers.

Page 235

Boxing in Houssa, like wrestling in Bornou, forms a favourite exercise, and the grand national spectacle.  Clapperton, having heard much of the fancy of Kano, intimated his willingness to pay for a performance, which was forthwith arranged.  The whole body of butchers attended, and acted as masters of the ceremonies; while, as soon as the tidings spread, girls left their pitchers at the wells; the market people threw down their baskets, and an immense crowd were assembled.  The ring being formed, and drums beaten, the performers first came forward singly, plying their muscles, like a musician tuning his instrument, and each calling out to the bystanders—­“I am a hyena.”  “I am a lion.”  “I can kill all that oppose me.”  After about twenty had shown off in this manner, they came forward in pairs, wearing only a leathern girdle, and with their hands muffled in numerous folds of country cloth.  It was first ascertained that they were not mutual friends; after which they closed with the utmost fury, aiming their blows at the most mortal parts, as the pit of the stomach, beneath the ribs, or under the ear; they even endeavoured to scoop out the eyes; so that in spite of every precaution, the match often terminated in the death of one of the combatants.  Whenever Clapperton saw the affair verging to such an issue, he gave orders to stop, and after seeing six parties exhibit, he paid the hire, and broke up the meeting.

The negroes here are excessively polite and ceremonious, especially to those advanced in years.  They salute one another by laying the hand on the breast, making a bow, and inquiring, Kona lafia? ki ka ky kee—­Fo fo da rana: How do you do?  I hope you are well.  How have you passed the heat of the day?  The last question corresponds in their climate to the circumstantiality, with what our country folks inquire about a good night’s rest.

The unmarried girls, whether slaves or free, and likewise the young unmarried men, wear a long apron of blue and white check, with a notched edging of red woollen cloth.  It is tied with two broad bands, ornamented in the same way, and hanging down behind to the very ankles.  This is peculiar to Soudan, and forms the only distinction in dress from the people of Bornou.

Their marriages are not distinguished by any great form or ceremony.  When a bride is first conducted to the house of the bridegroom, she is attended by a great number of friends and slaves, bearing presents of melted fat, honey, wheat, turkadees, and tobes as her dower.  She whines all the way, "Wey kina! wey kina! wey lo!" O my head!  My head!  Oh! dear me.  Notwithstanding this lamentation, the husband has commonly known his wife some time before marriage.  Preparatory to the ceremony of reading the fatah, both bridegroom and bride remain shut up for some days, and have their hands and feet dyed for three days successively, with henna.  The bride herself visits the bridegroom, and applies the henna plasters with her own hands.

Page 236

Every one is buried under the floor of his own house, without monument or memorial, and among the commonalty the house continues occupied as usual, but among the great there is more refinement, and it is ever after abandoned.  The corpse being washed, the first chapter of the Koran is read over it, and the interment takes place the same day.  The bodies of slaves are dragged out of town, and left a prey to vultures and wild beasts.  In Kano they do not even take the trouble to convey them beyond the walls, but throw the corpse into the morass, or nearest pool of water.

Major Denham was now informed that the sultan had sent a messenger express, with orders to have him conducted to his capital, and to supply him with every thing necessary for his journey.  He now begged him to state what he stood in need of.  The major assured him that the king of England, his master, had liberally provided for all his wants, but that he felt profoundly grateful for the kind offer of the sultan, and had only to crave from him the favour of being attended by one of his people as a guide.  He instantly called a fair-complexioned Fellata, and asked the major if he liked him; the answer was given in the affirmative, and Major Denham took his leave.  He afterwards went by invitation, to visit the governor of Hadyja, who was here on his return from Sockatoo, and lived in the house of the Wanbey.  He found this governor of Hadyja, a black man, about fifty years of age, sitting amongst his own people, at the upper end of the room, which is usually a little raised, and is reserved in this country for the master of the house, or visitors of high rank.  He was well acquainted with the major’s travelling name, for the moment he entered, he said laughing, “How do you do, Abdallah?  Will you come and see me at Hadyja on your return?”

“God be willing,” answered the major, with due moslem solemnity.

“You are a Christian, Abdallah?” asked the governor.  “I am,” replied the major.

“And what are you come to see?” inquired the governor.  “The country,” replied the major, “its manners and customs.”  “What do you think of it?” asked the governor.  “It is a fine country,” said the major, “but very sickly.”  At this the governor smiled, and again asked, “would you Christians allow us to come and see your country?”

“Certainly,” said the major, “and every civility and kindness would be shown to you.”

“Would you force us to become Christians?” asked the governor.

“By no means,” answered the major, “we never meddle with a man’s religion.”

“What!” he exclaimed, “and do you ever pray?” “Sometimes,” said the major.  “Our religion commands us to pray always, but we pray in secret, and not in public, except on Sundays.”

One of his attendants here abruptly asked, what a Christian was “Why, a kafir,” rejoined the governor.  “Where is your Jew servant?” he asked, “you ought to let us see him.”

Page 237

“Excuse me,” said the major, “he is averse from it, and I never allow my servants to be molested for their religious opinions.”

“Well, Abdallah,” said the governor, “thou art a man of understanding, and must come and see me at Hadyja.”

The major then retired, and the Arabs afterwards told him, that he was a perfect savage, and sometimes put a merchant to death for the sake of his goods, but this account, if true, is less to be wondered at, from the notorious villainy of some of them.

From Kano, Lieutenant Clapperton set out, under the guidance of Mohammed Jollie, leader of a caravan intended for Sockatoo, capital of the sultan of the Fellatas.  The country was perhaps the finest in Africa, being under high cultivation, diversified with groves of noble trees, and traversed in a picturesque manner by ridges of granite.  The manners of the people, too, were pleasing and pastoral.  At many clear springs, gushing from the rocks, young women were drawing water.  As an excuse for engaging in talk, our traveller asked several times for the means of quenching his thirst.  Bending gracefully on one knee, and displaying, at the same time, teeth of pearly whiteness and eyes of the blackest lustre, they presented a gourd, and appeared highly delighted, when he thanked them for their civility, remarking to one another, “Did you hear the white man thank me?” But the scene was changed on reaching the borders of the provinces of Goobar and Zamfra, which were in a state of rebellion against Sockatoo.  The utmost alarm at that moment prevailed; men and women, with their bullocks, asses, and camels, all struggled to be foremost, every one crying out, “Woe to the wretch that falls behind; he will be sure to meet an unhappy end, even at the hands of the Goobarites!” There was danger of being even thrown down and trampled to death by the bullocks, which were furiously rushing backward and forward; however, through the unremitting care of the escort, Clapperton made his way safely, though not without much fatigue and annoyance, along this perilous frontier.

The country was now highly cultivated.  The road was crowded with passengers and loaded bullocks, going to the market of Zimrie, which town was passed a little to the southward about noon, when the country became more wooded.  In the evening, a halt was made at a town called Quarra, where Clapperton waited upon the governor, who was an aged Fellata.  Here Clapperton was unluckily taken for a fighi, or teacher, and was pestered at all hours of the clay to write out prayers by the people.  His servants hit upon a scheme to get rid of their importunities, by acquainting them, that, if he did such things, they must be paid the perquisites usually given to the servants of other fighis.  Clapperton’s washerwoman positively insisted on being paid with a charm in writing, that would entice people to buy earthen-ware of her, and no persuasion of his could either induce her to accept

Page 238

of money for her service, or make her believe that the request was beyond human power.  In the cool of the afternoon, he was visited by three of the governor’s wives, who, after examining his skin with much attention, remarked, compassionately, it was a thousand pities he was not black, for then he would have been tolerably good looking.  He asked one of them, a buxom young girl of fifteen, if she would accept of him for a husband, provided he could obtain the permission of her master, the governor.  She immediately began to whimper, and on urging her to explain the cause, she frankly avowed, she did not know what to do with his white legs. He gave to each of them a snuff-box, and, in addition, a string of white beads to the coy maiden.  They were attended by an old woman and two little female slaves, and, during their stay, made very merry; but he feared much that their gaiety soon fled on returning to the close custody of their old gaoler.

Clapperton now tried every thing in his power to induce his guide to proceed, without waiting for the escort; but El Wordee and the shreef, who were the most pusillanimous rascals he ever met with, effectually dissuaded him from it.

He was much amused with a conversation he overheard between the blind shreef and his servant, respecting himself and his intended journey.  “That Abdallah,” says the servant, “is a very bad man; he has no more sense than an ass, and is now going to lead us all to the devil, if we will accompany him.  I hope, master, you are not such a fool.”

“Yes,” ejaculated the shreef, “it was a black day when I joined that kafir; but if I don’t go with him; I shall never see the sultan; and when I return to Kano without any thing, the people will laugh at me for my pains.”

“Why did you not talk to him,” said the servant, “about the dangers of the road?”

“D—­n his father!” replied the shreef; “I have talked to him, but these infidels have no prudence.”

Clapperton now called out, “A thousand thanks to you, my lord shreef.”

“May the blessings of God be upon you!” exclaimed the shreef.  “Oh!  Rais Abdallah, you are a beautiful man.  I will go with you wherever you go.  I was only speaking in jest to this dog.”

“My lord shreef,” said Clapperton, “I was aware of it from the first; it is of no importance, but, if the escort does not arrive to-morrow, I may merely mention to you, I shall certainly proceed, without further delay, to Kashna.”

This Clapperton said by way of alarming the shreef, who liked his present quarters too well, from the number of pious females, who sought edification from the lips of so true a descendant of the prophet; besides the chance such visits afforded of transmitting to their offspring the honour of so holy a descent.

Page 239

The small-pox was at this time raging in the country to an alarming degree.  The treatment of the disease is as follows:—­When the disease makes its appearance, they anoint the whole body with honey, and the patient lies down on the floor, previously strewed with warm sand, some of which is also sprinkled upon him.  If the patient be very ill, he is bathed in cold water early every morning, and is afterwards anointed with honey, and replaced in the warm sand.  This is their only mode of treatment; but numbers died every day of this loathsome disease, which had now been raging for six months.

Clapperton had now his baggage packed up for his journey to Kashna, to the great terror of El Wordee, the shreef, and all his servants, who earnestly begged him to remain only a day longer.  A party of horse and foot arrived from Zirmee the same night.  It was the retinue of a Fellata captain, who was bringing back a young wife from her father’s, where she had made her escape.  The fair fugitive bestrode a very handsome palfrey, amid a groupe of female attendants on foot.  Clapperton was introduced to her on the following morning, when she politely joined her husband in requesting Clapperton to delay his journey another day, in which case, they kindly proposed they should travel together.  Of course, it was impossible to refuse so agreeable an invitation, to which Clapperton seemed to yield with all possible courtesy.  Indeed he had no serious intention of setting out that day.  The figure of the lady was small, but finely formed, and her complexion of a clear copper colour, while, unlike most beautiful women, she was mild and unobtrusive in her manners.  Her husband, too, whom she had deserted, was one of the finest looking men Clapperton ever saw, and had also the reputation of being one of the bravest of his nation.

A humpbacked lad, in the service of the gadado, or vizier of Bello, who, on his way from Sockatoo, had his hand dreadfully wounded by the people of Goober, was in the habit of coming every evening to Clapperton’s servants to have the wound dressed.  On conversing with Clapperton himself, he told him that he had formerly been on an expedition under Abdecachman, a Fallata chief.  They started from the town of Labogee, or Nyffee, and, crossing the Quarra, travelled south fourteen days along the banks of the river, until they were within four days journey of the sea, where, according to his literal expression, “the river was one, and the sea was one,” but at what precise point the river actually entered the sea, he had no distinct notion.


Early in the morning of the 13th March, Clapperton commenced his journey, in company with the Fellata chief.  El Wordee and the shreef were evidently in much trepidation, as they did not consider their present party sufficiently strong, in case of attack; but they had not proceeded far on their route, when they were agreeably surprised by meeting the escort, which they expected.  It consisted of one hundred and fifty horsemen, with drums and trumpets.  Their leader, with his attendants, advanced to Clapperton in full gallop, and bade him welcome to the country in the name of his master, the sultan, who, he said, was rejoiced to hear he was so near, and had sent him to conduct the travellers to his capital.

Page 240

They continued to travel with the utmost speed, but the people soon began to fag, and the lady of the Fellata chief, who rode not far from Clapperton, began to complain of fatigue.  In the evening they halted at the wells of Kamoon, all extremely fatigued, and on the following morning, they discovered that all their camels had strayed away in quest of food; they were, however, recovered by the exertions of the escort, to the commander of which Clapperton made a handsome present, consisting of some European articles, and to his officers a present of minor value.

On the following day, Clapperton left the wells of Kamoon, followed by his escort and a numerous retinue, and a loud flourish of horns and trumpets.  Of course, this extraordinary respect was paid to him as the servant of the king of England, as he was styled in the sheik of Bornou’s letter.  To impress them still farther with his official importance, Clapperton arrayed himself in his lieutenant’s coat, trimmed with gold lace, white trousers, and silk stockings, and to complete his finery, he wore Turkish slippers and a turban.  Although his limbs pained him extremely, in consequence of their recent forced march, he constrained himself to assume the utmost serenity of countenance, in order to meet, with befitting dignity, the honours they lavished on him as the humble representative of his country.

From the top of the second hill after leaving Kamoon, they at length saw Sockatoo.  A messenger from the sultan met them here to bid the travellers welcome, and to acquaint them that the sultan was at a neighbouring town, on his return from a ghrazzie or expedition, but intended to be in Sockatoo in the evening.  At noon they arrived at Sockatoo, where a great number of people were assembled to look at the European traveller, and he entered the city amid the hearty welcomes of young and old.  He was immediately conducted to the house of the gadado or vizier, where apartments were provided for him and his servants.  The gadado, an elderly man named Simnon Bona Lima, arrived near midnight, and came instantly to see him.  He was excessively polite, but would on no account drink tea with Clapperton, as he said, he was a stranger in their land, and had not yet eaten of his bread.  He told Clapperton that the sultan wished to see him in the morning, and repeatedly assured him of experiencing the most cordial reception.  He spoke Arabic extremely well, which he said he learned solely from the Koran.

After breakfast on the following morning, the sultan sent for Clapperton, his residence being at no great distance.  In front of it there is a large quadrangle, into which several of the principal streets of the city lead.  They passed through three coozees, as guardhouses, without the least detention, and were immediately ushered into the presence of Bello, the second sultan of the Fellatas.  He was seated on a small carpet, between two pillars supporting the roof of a thatched house, not unlike one of our

Page 241

cottages.  The walls and pillars were painted blue and white, in the moorish taste and on the back wall was sketched a fire screen, ornamented with a coarse painting of a flower-pot.  An arm-chair with an iron lamp standing on it, was placed on each side of the screen.  The sultan bade Clapperton many hearty welcomes, and asked him if he were not much tired with his journey from Burderewa.  Clapperton told him it was the most severe travelling he had experienced between Tripoli and Sockatoo, and thanked him for the guard, the conduct of which he did not fail to commend in the strongest terms.

The sultan asked him a great many questions about Europe, and our religious distinctions.  He was acquainted with the names of some of the more ancient sects, and asked whether we were Nestorians or Socinians.  To extricate himself from the embarrassment occasioned by this question, Clapperton bluntly replied, we were called Protestants.  “What are Protestants?” said he.  Clapperton attempted to explain to him, as well as he was able, that having protested more than two centuries and a half ago, against the superstition, absurdities, and abuses practised in those days, we had ever since professed to follow simply what was written “in the book of our Lord Jesus,” as they call the New Testament, and thence received the name of Protestants.  He continued to ask several other theological questions, until Clapperton was obliged to confess himself not sufficiently versed in religious subtleties, to resolve these knotty points, having always left that task to others more learned than himself.

The sultan was a noble-looking man, forty-four years of age, although much younger in appearance, five feet ten inches high, portly in person, with a short curling black beard, a small mouth, a fine forehead, a grecian nose, and large black eyes.  He was dressed in a light blue cotton tobe, with a white muslin turban, the shawl of which he wore over the nose and mouth, in the Tuarick fashion.

In the afternoon Clapperton repeated his visit, accompanied by the Gadado, Mahomed El Wordee, and Mahomed Gomsoo, the principal Arab of the city, to whom he had a letter of introduction from Hat Salah, at Kano.  The sultan was sitting in the same apartment in which he received him in the morning, and Clapperton laid before him the presents, in the name of his majesty the king of England.  Amongst these presents, the compass and spy glass excited the greatest interest, and the sultan seemed highly gratified when Clapperton pointed out, that by means of the former he could at any time find out the east, to address himself in his daily prayers.  He said “Every thing is wonderful, but you are the greatest curiosity of all,” and then added, “What can I give that is most acceptable to the king of England?” Clapperton replied, “The most acceptable service you can render to the king of England, is to cooperate with his majesty, in putting a stop to the slave trade on the coast, as the king of England sends every year large ships to cruise there, for the sole purpose of seizing all vessels engaged in this trade, whose crews are thrown into prison, and of liberating the unfortunate slaves, on whom lands and houses are conferred, at one of our settlements in Africa.”

Page 242

“What!” said the sultan, “have you no slaves in England.”

“No,” replied Clapperton, “whenever a slave sets his foot on England, he is from that moment free.”

“What do you do then for servants?” asked the sultan.

“We hire them for a stated period,” replied Clapperton, “and give them regular wages; nor is any person in England allowed to strike another, and the very soldiers are fed, clothed, and paid by government.”

“God is great!” exclaimed the sultan, “you are a beautiful people.”

Clapperton now presented the sheik of Bornou’s letter.  On perusing it, the sultan assured Clapperton that he should see all that was to be seen within his dominions, as well as in Youri and Nyffee, both of which Clapperton informed him, he was most anxious to visit.  This interview terminated very satisfactory to Clapperton, as through the influence and power of the sultan, he hoped to be able to accomplish his design of penetrating further into the country, but the sequel will show, that the knowledge which Clapperton had as yet entertained of the African character, was very limited and superficial.

In describing the events which took place during the residence of Clapperton at Sockatoo, we shall be obliged in several instances to be very circumstantial, as they have all a reference proximate or remote to the affairs which took place, when he visited the place at a future period, in company with Richard Lander, in whose papers some highly interesting information is contained, respecting the conduct of the sultan and the natives, both prior and subsequent to the death of Clapperton, and from which in some degree resulted the death of that amiable and highly spirited officer.

On the morning of the 19th March, Clapperton was sent for by the sultan, and desired to bring with him “the looking glass of the sun,” the name which they gave to the sextant.  He was on this occasion conducted further into the interior of his residence, than on his two former visits.  Clapperton first exhibited a planisphere of the heavenly bodies.  The sultan knew all the signs of the zodiac, some of the constellations, and many of the stars by their Arabic names.  The looking glass of the sun was then brought forward, and occasioned much surprise.  Clapperton had to explain all its appendages.  The inverting telescope was an object of intense astonishment, and Clapperton had to stand at some little distance, to let the sultan look at him through it, for his people were all afraid of placing themselves within its magical influence.  He had next to show him how to take an observation of the sun.  The case of the artificial horizon, of which Clapperton had lost the key, was sometimes very difficult to open, as happened on this occasion, and he asked one of the people near him for a knife to press up the lid.  The person handed him one much too small, and he quite inadvertently asked for a dagger for the same purpose. 

Page 243

The sultan was instantly thrown into a fright; he seized his sword, and half drawing it from the scabbard, placed it before him, trembling all the time like an aspen leaf.  Clapperton did not deem it prudent to take the least notice of this alarm, although it was himself who had in reality the greatest cause of fear.  On receiving the dagger, Clapperton calmly opened the case, and returned the weapon to its owner with apparent unconcern.  When the artificial horizon was arranged, the sultan and all his attendants had a peep at the sun, and the breach of etiquette which Clapperton had committed, seemed to be entirely forgotten.  In the evening the sultan sent him two sheep, a camel load of wheat and rice, and some of the finest figs which Clapperton had ever tasted in Africa.

On the following day, Clapperton returned the visit of Mahomed Gomsoo, the chief of the Arabs, of whose excessive greediness he had been warned at Kano, but at the same time recommended to make him a handsome present, and to endeavour by all means to keep him in good humour, on account of his great influence.  On receiving the presents, Gomsoo promised to give Clapperton a letter to the sultan of Youri, who was his particular friend, and with whom he had lived many years.  From this person Clapperton obtained the following information respecting the death of Mr. Park, and which confirmed the previous reports which had been obtained respecting him.  Gomsoo said he was at Youri when the English came down in a boat from Timbuctoo, and were lost, which circumstance he related in the following manner:—­They had arrived off a town called Boosa, and having sent a gun and some other articles as presents to the sultan of Youri, they sent to purchase a supply of onions in the market.  The sultan apprised them of his intention to pay them a visit, and offered to send people to guide them through the ledges of rock, which run quite across the channel of the river a little below the town, where the banks rise into high hills on both sides.  Instead of waiting for the sultan, they set off at night, and by daybreak next morning, a horseman arrived at Youri, to inform the sultan that the boat had struck upon the rocks.  The people on both sides of the river then began to assail them with arrows, upon which they threw overboard all their effects, and two white men, arm and arm, jumped into the water, two slaves only remaining in the boat, with some books and papers, and several guns.  One of the books was covered with wax-cloth, and still remained in the hands of the sultan of Youri.  Gomsoo also told Clapperton, and his account was confirmed by others, that the sultan of Youri was a native of Sockna, in the regency of Tripoli, and prided himself extremely on his birth, but that he was such a drunkard, whenever any person of consequence came to visit him, that nothing proved so acceptable a present as a bottle of rum.

Page 244

On Clapperton’s return home from Gomsoo’s, he found a message had been left for him to wait upon the sultan, which he complied with immediately after breakfast.  He received him in an inner apartment, attended only by a few slaves.  After asking Clapperton how he did, and several other chit chat questions, he was not a little surprised, without a single question being put to him on the subject, to hear, that if he wished to go to Nyffee, there were two roads leading to it, the one direct, but beset by enemies; the other safer, but more circuitous; that by either route he would be detained during the rains, in a country at present in a state of rebellion, and therefore that he ought to think seriously of these difficulties.  Clapperton assured the sultan that he had already taken the matter into consideration, and that he was neither afraid of the dangers of the roads nor of the rains.  “Think of it with prudence,” the sultan replied, and they parted.

From the tone and manner in which the sultan pronounced the latter sentence, Clapperton felt a foreboding that his intended visit to Youri and Nyffee was at an end.  He could not help suspecting the intrigues of the Arabs to be the cause, as they knew well, if the native Africans were once acquainted with English commerce by the way of the sea, their own lucrative inland trade would from that moment cease.  He was much perplexed during the whole of the day, to know how to act, and went after sunset to consult Mahomed Gomsoo.  Clapperton met him at the door of his house, on his way to the sultan, and stopped him to mention what had passed, and how unaccountably strange it appeared to him, that the sultan, after having repeatedly assured him of being at liberty to visit every part of his dominions, should now, for the first time, seem inclined to withdraw that permission, adding, that before he came to Sockna, he never heard of a king making a promise one day and breaking it the next.  All this, he knew, would find its way to the sultan.  Gomsoo told Clapperton that he was quite mistaken; for that the sultan, the gadado, and all the principal people, entertained the highest opinion of him, and wished for nothing so much as to cultivate the friendship of the English nation.  But, said Clapperton, on leaving him, it is necessary for me to visit those places, or else how can the English get here?  As Clapperton anticipated, Gomsoo repeated to the sultan every word he had said, for he was no sooner at home, than he was sent for by the sultan, whom he found seated with Gomsoo and two others.  He was received with great kindness, and Gomsoo said he had made the sultan acquainted with their conversation.  Clapperton thanked him, and expressed his earnest hope, that he had neither done nor said any thing to offend him.  The sultan assured him that his conduct had always met with his approbation, and although he was freely disposed to show him all the country, still he wished to do so with safety to him. 

Page 245

An army, he added, was at this moment ravaging the country, through which he had to pass, and until he heard from it, it would be unsafe to go, he expected, however, further information in three or four days.  He drew on the sand the course of the river Quarra, which he informed Clapperton entered the sea at Fundah.  By his account the river ran parallel to the sea coast for several days’ journey, being in some places only a few hours, in others a day’s journey distant from it.  After questioning Clapperton on some points connected with the English trade, the sultan said, “I will give the king of England a place on the coast to build a town, only I wish a road to be cut to Rakah, if vessels should not be able to navigate the river.”  Clapperton asked him, if the country which he had promised, belonged to him.  “Yes,” said he, “God has given me all the lands of the infidels.”  This was an answer that admitted of no contradiction.

The sultan informed Clapperton, that some timbers of Park’s boat, fastened together with nails, remained a long time on the rocks of the river, and that a double-barrelled gun, taken in the boat, was once in his possession, but it had lately burst.  His cousin, Abderachman, however, had a small printed book, taken out of the boat; but he was now absent on an expedition to Nyffee.  The other books were in the hands of the sultan of Youri, who was tributary to him.  Clapperton told the sultan, if he could procure these articles for the king of England, they would prove a most acceptable present, and he promised to make every exertion in his power.

The direct road to Youri is only five days’ journey; but on account of the rebellious state of the country, it was necessary to take a circuitous route of twelve days.  Numbers of the principal people of Sockatoo came to Clapperton, to advise him to give up the idea of going, all alleging that the rains had already commenced it Youri, and that the road was in the hands of their enemies.  They repeated the same tales to the servants who were to accompany him, and threw them all into a panic at the prospect of so dangerous a journey.  Clapperton discovered also, that the Arabs were tampering with his servants, and some of them absolutely refused to go, from some information that was given to them, that, if they met with no disasters on the route to Youri, the sultan there would assuredly sell them, and that they would never be allowed to return.

The journey to Youri now appeared to engross the whole of Clapperton’s attention, and the sultan sent for him, to consult with him about the guide, who was to accompany him to that place.  One man had already refused, and he had to tempt another with a promise of forty thousand kowries unknown to the sultan, who kindly took much pains to impress upon Clapperton the necessity of his return within twenty-six days, on account of the capricious character of the people of the place.

Page 246

Clapperton now began to see that no chance existed of his prosecuting his journey to Youri; but it must be admitted, that some of the suspicions which he entertained were groundless, for the state of the country was afterwards found to be, if possible, worse than had been described; and the ravages of the Fellatas so terrible, that any one coming from amongst them was likely to experience a very disagreeable reception.  Indeed it may be suspected, that the sultan must have been a good deal embarrassed by the simplicity with which his guest listened to his pompous boasting as to the extent of his empire, and by the earnestness with which he entreated him to name one of his seaports, where the English might land, when it was certain that he had not a town which was not some hundred miles distant from the coast.  To prevent the disclosure of this fact, which must have taken place, had Clapperton proceeded in that direction, might be an additional motive for refusing his sanction.  In short, it was finally announced to Clapperton, that no escort could be found to accompany him on so rash an enterprise, and that he could return to England only by retracing his steps.

One morning, Clapperton was surprised at a visit from Ateeko, the brother of the sultan, to whom he had sent a present of a scarlet jacket, breeches, and bornouse.  When he was seated, and the usual compliments were over, Clapperton apologized, on the score of ill health, for not having already paid him a visit.  He now told him he had a few things belonging to the Englishman who was at Musfeia with the late Boo Khaloom, but as no person knew what they were, he would gladly sell them to him, ordering his servant, at the same time, to produce a bundle he held under his arm.  The servant took from the bundle a shirt, two pair of trousers, and two pieces of parchment used for sketching by Major Denham.  The only other articles, Ateeko said, were a trunk, a broken sextant, and a watch; the latter had been destroyed, as he alleged, in their ignorant eagerness to examine its structure.  He then invited Clapperton to visit him on the following morning, when they might fix the price of what he wished to buy, to which Clapperton assented; but on reconsidering the matter, he thought it prudent first to consult the gadado, particularly as the sultan had gone on an expedition, and was not expected to return for five days.  Clapperton began to fear lest a bad construction might be put upon his visit to this mean prince, who, on the death of his father, Bello the First, had aspired to the throne, and even had himself proclaimed sultan in Sockatoo; from the mere circumstance of his brother Bello, the present sultan, having expressed the intention, during his father’s lifetime, of resigning the splendour of royalty for the tranquillity of a holy and learned life.  Ateeko had even the audacity to enter his brother’s house, preceded by drums and trumpets; and when Bello inquired the cause of the tumult, he received the first intimation

Page 247

of his brother’s perfidy in the answer, “The sultan Ateeko is come.”  Bello, nowise disconcerted, immediately ordered the usurper into his presence, when Ateeko pleaded, in vindication of his conduct, his brother’s proposed disinclination to reign; to which the sultan only deigned to reply, “Go and take off these trappings, or I will take off your head.”  Ateeko, with characteristic abjectness of spirit, began to wring his hands, as if washing them in water, and called God and the prophet to witness that his motives were innocent and upright, since which time he has remained in the utmost obscurity.  According, however, to another authority, Bello confined him to the house for twelve months, and then a reconciliation took place between them.  We are apt to speak of the sovereigns of barbarous and uncivilized nations as deficient in those virtues for which civilized sovereigns are or ought to be distinguished; but we suspect that few of the latter would have acted towards the usurper of his throne with the same magnanimity as was displayed by the Fellata sovereign.

On visiting the gadado, he told Clapperton by no means to go to Ateeko whilst the sultan was absent, as his visit at this juncture might be regarded with a very jealous eye by the people, who would not hesitate to charge him with a plot to place Ateeko on the throne, by the assistance of England.  The gadado undisguisedly expressed his contempt at Ateeko’s conduct, and assured him that it was entirely without the sanction of the sultan.

On the return of the sultan from the army, permission was given to Clapperton to purchase from Ateeko the sorry remains of Major Denham’s baggage; accompanied, therefore, by El Wordee, he went to the prince’s house, and after waiting for some time in the porch of a square tower, they were introduced into an inner coozee, hung round with blue and yellow silk, in sharp-pointed festoons, not unlike gothic arches.  Ateeko soon made his appearance, and after a few compliments, they proceeded to business.  He brought out a damaged leathern trunk, with two or three shirts, and other articles of dress, much the worse for wear, and the sextant and parchment already mentioned.  The former was completely demolished, the whole of the glasses being taken out, or, where they could not unscrew them, broken off the frame, which remained a mere skeleton.  Ateeko seemed to fancy that the sextant was gold, in which Clapperton soon undeceived him; and selecting it, with the parchment and one or two flannel waistcoats and towels, likely to be useful to Major Denham, he offered the prince five thousand kowries, at which he appeared much surprised and mortified.  El Wordee whispered into Clapperton’s ear, “Remember he is a prince, and not a merchant.”  But Clapperton said, loud enough for his highness to hear, “Remember, that when a prince turns merchant, he must expect no more than another man; and as that is the value of the articles, it is a matter of indifference

Page 248

to me whether I buy them or not.”  Ateeko frequently repeated his belief of the sextant being gold; but at length the bargain seemed to be concluded, and Clapperton requested the prince to send a slave to his house with the articles he had picked out, to whom also he would pay the money.  The slave, however, was recalled before he got half-way, and his suspicious master took back the sextant-frame, in dread of being overreached by the purchaser in its value, which Clapperton did not fail to deduct from the price agreed on.

The prince stated, that he kept two hundred civet cats, two of which he showed Clapperton.  These animals were extremely savage, and were confined in separate wooden cages.  They were about four feet long from the nose to the tip of the tail, and, with the exception of a greater length of body and a longer tail, they very much resembled diminutive hyenas.  They are fed with pounded guinea corn and dried fish made into balls.  The civet is scraped off with a kind of muscle shell every other morning, the animal being forced into a corner of the cage, and its head held down with a stick during the operation.  The prince offered to sell any number of them which Clapperton might wish to have; but he did not look upon them as very desirable travelling companions.  Ateeko was a little spare man, with a full face, of monkey-like expression.  He spoke in a slow and subdued tone of voice, and the Fellatas acknowledge him to be extremely brave, but at the same time avaricious and cruel.  “Were he sultan,” say they, “heads would fly about in Soudan.”

One evening, on paying the gadado a visit, Clapperton found him alone, reading an Arabic book, one of a small collection he possessed.  “Abdallah,” said he, “I had a dream last night, and am perusing this book to find out what it meant.  Do you believe in such things?”

“No, my lord gadado.  I consider books of dreams to be full of idle conceits.  God gives a man wisdom to guide his conduct, while dreams are occasioned by the accidental circumstances of sleeping with the head low, excess of food, or uneasiness of mind.”

“Abdallah,” he replied, smiling, “this book tells me differently.”  He then mentioned, that, in a few days, the sultan was going on another expedition, and wished him to join it; but that he preferred remaining, in order to have a mosque, which was then building, finished before the Rhamadan, lest the workmen should idle away their time in his absence.

Previously to the sultan’s departure, he sent Clapperton a present of two large baskets of wheat, who now began to think seriously of retracing his steps to Kano.  He was sitting in the shade before his door, with Sidi Sheik, the sultan’s fighi, when an ill-looking wretch, with a fiend-like grin on his countenance, came and placed himself directly before Clapperton, who immediately asked Sidi Sheik who he was.  He immediately answered, “The executioner.”  Clapperton instantly ordered

Page 249

his servants to turn him out.  “Be patient,” said Sidi Sheik, laying his hand upon that of Clapperton; “he visits the first people in Sockatoo, and they never allow him to go away without giving him a few goora nuts, or money to buy them.”  In compliance with this hint, Clapperton requested forty kowries to be given to the fellow, with strict orders never again to cross his threshold.  Sidi Sheik now related a professional anecdote of Clapperton’s uninvited visitor.  Being brother of the executioner of Yacoba, of which place he was a native, he applied to the governor for his brother’s situation, boasting of superior adroitness in the family vocation.  The governor coolly remarked, “We will try; go and fetch your brother’s head.”  He instantly went in quest of his brother, and finding him seated at the door of his house, without noise or warning, he struck off his head with a sword at one blow; then carrying the bleeding head to the governor, and claiming the reward of such transcendent atrocity, he was appointed to the vacant office.  The sultan being afterwards in want of an expert headsman, sent for him to Sockatoo, where, a short time after his arrival, he had to officiate at the execution of two thousand Tuaricks, who, in conjunction with the rebels at Goober, had attempted to plunder the country, but were all made prisoners.  It may be added, that the capital punishments inflicted in Soudan are beheading, impaling, and crucifixion; the first being reserved for Mahometans, and the other two practised on pagans.  Clapperton was told, that wretches on the cross generally linger three days before death puts an end to their sufferings.  Clapperton was for some time delayed in completing his arrangements for his departure from Sockatoo, on account of the fast of the Rhamadan, which the Fellatas keep with extreme rigour.  The chief people never leave their houses, except in the evening to prayer; and the women frequently pour cold water over their backs and necks.  Under the idea, that the greater the thirst they appear to endure, the better entitled they become to paradise; though Clapperton was inclined to believe that they made a parade of these privations, in a great measure, to obtain the reputation of extraordinary sanctity.

On the 2nd May, Clapperton sent for the steward of the gadado’s household, and all the female slaves, who had daily performed the duty of bringing him provisions from the time of his arrival.  These provisions were about a gallon of new milk every morning, in a large bowl, for himself, and two gallons of sour milk and siccory for his servants at noon, in return for which he always gave fifty kowries; at three o’clock three roast fowls, with doura or nutta sauce, for which he sent fifty kowries; again after sunset two bowls of bozeen were brought by two female slaves, to whom he gave one hundred kowries; and about two quarts of new milk afterwards, for which he gave fifty kowries more.  As an acknowledgment for their attention

Page 250

during his residence in Sockatoo, he now presented the steward of the household with ten thousand kowries, and the slaves with two thousand each.  The poor creatures were extremely grateful for his bounty, and many of them even shed tears.  In the afternoon he waited upon the sultan, who told him that he had appointed the same escort which he had before, under the command of the gadado’s brother, to conduct him through the provinces of Goober and Zamfra, and that an officer of the gadado, after the escort left him, should accompany him to Zirmee, Kashna, Kano, and Katagun; the governor of which would receive orders to furnish him with a strong escort through the Bedite territory, and to deliver him safely into the hands of the sheik of Bornou.  He also mentioned that the letter for the king of England would be ready the next day.

On the following day, Clapperton was visited by all the principal people of Sockatoo, to bid him farewell, and in the evening he went to take his leave of the sultan.  He was, however, at the mosque, and he had to wait about two hours before he came out.  Clapperton followed him at a little distance to the door of his residence, where an old female slave took Clapperton by the hand and led him through a number of dark passages, in which, at the bidding of his conductress, he had often to stoop, or at times to tread with great caution, as they approached flights of steps, whilst a faint glimmering light twinkled from a distant room.  He could not imagine where the old woman was conducting him, who, on her part, was highly diverted at his importunate inquiries.  After much turning and winding, he was at last brought into the presence of Bello, who was sitting alone, and immediately delivered into his hands a letter for the king of England.  He had previously sent to Clapperton to know what were his majesty’s name, style, and title.  He again expressed with much earnestness of manner, his anxiety to enter into permanent relations of trade and friendship with England, and reminded Clapperton to apprise him by letter, at what time the English expedition would be upon the coast.  After repeating the fatah, and praying for his safe arrival in England, and speedy return to Sockatoo, he affectionately bade him farewell.

Clapperton went next to take his leave of his good old friend the gadado, for whom he felt the same regard, as if he had been one of his oldest friends in England, and he was certain it was equally sincere on his side.  The poor old man prayed very devoutly for his safety, and gave strict charge to his brother, who was to accompany Clapperton, to take especial care of him in their journey through the disturbed provinces.

Page 251

The town of Sockatoo lies in latitude 13 deg. 4’ 52” north, and longitude 6 deg. 12’ east, and is situated near the junction of an inconsiderable stream, with the same river which flows past Zirmee, and which taking its rise between Kashna and Kano, is said to fall into the Quarra four days’ journey to the west.  The name in their language signifies, a halting place, the city being built by the Fellatas, after the conquest of Goober and Zamfra, as near as Clapperton could learn about the year 1805.  It occupies a long ridge, which slopes gently towards the north, and appeared to Clapperton the most populous town he had visited in the interior of Africa, for unlike most other towns in Houssa, where the houses are thinly scattered, it is laid out in regular well-built streets.  The houses approach close to the walls, which were built by the present sultan in 1818, after the death of his father; the old walls being too confined for the increasing population.  This wall is between twenty and thirty feet high, and has twelve gates, which are regularly closed at sunset.  There are two large mosques, including the new one which was then building by the gadado, besides several other places for prayer.  There is a spacious market-place in the centre of the city, and another large square in front of the sultan’s residence.  The inhabitants are principally Fellatas, possessing numerous slaves.  Such of the latter as are not employed in domestic duties, reside in houses by themselves, where they follow various trades; the master of course reaping the profit.  Their usual employments are weaving, house-building, shoemaking, and iron work, many bring firewood to the market for sale.  Those employed in raising grain and tending cattle, of which the Fellatas have immense herds, reside in villages without the city.  It is customary for private individuals to emancipate a number of slaves every year, according to their means, during the great feast after the Rhamadan.  The enfranchised seldom return to their native country, but continue to reside near their old masters, still acknowledging them as their superiors, but presenting them yearly with a portion of their earnings.  The trade at Sockatoo is at present inconsiderable, owing to the disturbed state of the surrounding country.  The necessaries of life are very cheap, butchers’ meat is in great plenty and very good.  The exports are principally civet, and blue check tobes called sharie, which are manufactured by the slaves from Nyffee, of whom the men are considered the most expert weavers in Soudan, and the women the best spinners.  The common imports are goora nuts, brought from the borders of Ashantee, and coarse calico and woollen cloth in small quantities, with brass and pewter dishes, and some few spices from Nyffee.

The Arabs from Tripoli and Ghadamis bring unwrought silk, attar of roses, spices and beads; slaves are both exported and imported.  A great quantity of guinea coin is taken every year by the Tuaricks, in exchange for salt.  The market is extremely well supplied, and is held daily from sunrise to sunset.

Page 252

After encountering several difficulties, and experiencing some very hair-breadth escapes, Clapperton arrived at Zirmee the capital of Zamfra, a kind of outlawed city, the inhabitants of which are esteemed the greatest rogues in Houssa, and where all the runaway slaves find protection.  He passed also through Kashna or Cassina, the metropolis of a kingdom, which, till the rise of the Fellata power, ruled over all Africa from Bornou to the Niger.  In its present subject and fallen state, the inhabited part does not cover a tenth of the wide circuit enclosed by its walls, yet a considerable trade is still carried on with the Tuaricks, or with caravans coming across the desert by the route of Ghadamis and Suat.  Here Clapperton met with much kindness from Hadgi Ahmet, a powerful and wealthy Arab chief, who even took him into his seraglio, and desired him, out of fifty black damsels to make his choice, a complaisance, nothing resembling which had ever before been shown by a Mussulman.  The Arab was so importunate, and appeared so determined that Clapperton should have one of his ladies, that to satisfy him, he at length selected the oldest of the groupe, who made him an excellent nurse in his illness.

Lieutenant Clapperton rejoined Major Denham at Kouka, whence they set out, and crossed the desert in the latter part of 1824.  They reached Tripoli in January 1825, and soon after embarked for Leghorn, but being detained by contrary winds and quarantine regulations, did not reach London until the following June.


Having now completed our preparatory analysis of the principal travels for the exploration of the interior of Africa, we proceed to enter upon those in which Richard Lander was remotely or closely connected, as the coadjutor or the principal, and to whose perseverance and undaunted courage, we are indebted for some of the most important information respecting the interior of Africa, particularly in the solution of the great geographical problem of the termination of the Niger.  At the time when Lander was ransomed by Captain Laing, of the Maria of London, belonging to Messrs. Forster and Smith, the papers, which he had with him respecting the travels which he had performed, as the servant of Captain Clapperton, who had been promoted on his return from his first expedition, were not very voluminous.  In our personal intercourse with him, however, he unreservedly dictated to us many interesting particulars respecting his travels, whilst in the service of Captain Clapperton, which are not to be found in his published narrative, and particularly of the occurrences which took place at Whidah, in the kingdom of Dahomey, on their passage through that territory, in fulfilment of the object of their mission to sultan Bello of Sockatoo.

Page 253

Although the second expedition of Clapperton is ostensibly published under his name, yet it is generally known, that but for the information given by Lander on his return, after the death of Captain Clapperton, very little would have transpired relative to any discoveries which had been made, or towards an elucidation of those geographical and statistical objects, for which the expedition was undertaken.  We are therefore more disposed to award the merit where it is most particularly due, for although in accordance with the received notion, that whatever was accomplished in the second expedition, is to be attributed to Clapperton, yet, from our private resources, we are enabled not only to supply many deficiencies in the published accounts of Clapperton’s second expedition, gathered from the oral communication of Lander himself, but also to give a description of many interesting scenes, which throw a distinct light upon the character of the natives, their progress towards civilisation, and the extent of their commercial relations.

It may be remembered that when Clapperton took his leave of the sultan at Sockatoo, he delivered into his hands a letter for the king of England, in consequence of several conversations that had passed between him and Clapperton, touching the establishment of some commercial relations between England and the central kingdoms of Africa.  In that letter the sultan proposed three things:—­the establishment of a friendly intercourse between the two nations by means of a consul, who was to reside at the seaport of Raka; the delivery of certain presents described, at the port of Fundah, supposed to be somewhere near Whidah, and the prohibition of the exportation of slaves, by any of the Houssa merchants, to Atagher, Dahomy, or Ashantee.

No doubt whatever rested on the mind of Lander, that Clapperton was in some respects made the dupe of the pride, pomposity, and deception of the African sultan.  It may be remembered that the sultan offered him land on the sea coast, on which to form a settlement, when it was subsequently discovered, that he was not in possession of an inch of territory within several hundred miles of the sea; the seaport of Raka was nearly similar to Sancho Panza’s Island Barrataria, it was not to be found in any existing map, and it will be seen in the sequel, that the people resident on the sea coast knew as little of sultan Bello of Sockatoo, as he knew of them, although, according to his own report, the greater part of the sea coast belonged to him.

On the arrival of Clapperton in England, Lord Bathurst, then secretary of state for the colonies, conceived the proposals contained in the sultan’s letter, to afford a fair opportunity for endeavouring to carry into effect objects of such considerable importance, and Clapperton immediately volunteered his services for the occasion.  He had arranged with sultan Bello, that his messengers should about a certain

Page 254

time be at Whidah, to conduct the presents and the bearers to Sockatoo.  Clapperton was allowed to take with him on this novel and hazardous enterprise two associates, one of whom was Captain Pearce of the navy, an excellent draughtsman, and the other Dr. Morrison, a surgeon in the navy, well versed in various branches of natural history; and at his particular request, a fellow countryman of the name of Dickson, who had served as a surgeon in the West Indies, was added to the list; Richard Lander accompanying Captain Clapperton in the capacity of a servant.

The travellers embarked on board his majesty’s ship Brazen, on the 25th August 1825, and arrived off Whidah on the 26th of the following November.  Mr. Dickson landed at Whidah, for reasons which do not appear in the narrative of Clapperton’s expedition, but which have been fully stated to us by Lander, to whom we are indebted for the information which we now lay before our readers of the kingdom of Dahomy, its natives, customs, natural productions, and commercial advantages.

Mr. Dickson, accompanied with a Portuguese of the name of De Sousa, proceeded from Whidah to Dahomy, where the latter had resided for some time.  Here he was well received, and sent forward with a suitable escort to a place called Shar, seventeen days’ journey from Dahomy, where he also arrived in safety, and thence proceeded with another escort towards Youri, but has not since been heard of.

It was in consequence of the inquiries that were set on foot relative to Mr. Dickson, that Lander obtained the following highly interesting information relative to a part of Africa, which was at one time, the emporium of the slave trade on the sea-coast, but the interior of which was but very little known.

Whidah was once an independent kingdom, but in the year 1727 was conquered by Guadja Trudo, the king of Dahomy.  Grigwee, the present capital, lies a few miles up from the sea coast, and may contain about twenty thousand inhabitants.  Dahomy, including the subjugated districts, extends at least a hundred and fifty miles into the interior, the principal town of which is Abomey, lying in about 3 deg. east longitude.

Dahomy produces in perfection all the immense variety of fine fruits found within the torrid zone, and amongst others one of a most singular quality.  It is not unlike a ripe coffee berry, and does not at first appear to have a superior degree of sweetness, but it leaves in the mouth so much of that impression, that a glass of vinegar tastes like sweet wine, and the sourest lemon like a sweet orange; sugar is quite an unnecessary article in tea or coffee; in fact, the most nauseous drug seems sweet to whomever chews this fruit, and its effect is not worn away until after several meals.  It is generally called the miraculous berry, and whoever eats of it in the morning, must be content at least for that day to forego the flavour of every kind of food, whether animal or vegetable,

Page 255

for all will be alike saccharine to the palate, and the most ridiculous effect is often produced by playing tricks upon those, who are not aware of its peculiar property.  Lander himself was one of the dupes, and he relates, that the first time he partook of one of these berries, he thought himself under the influence of witchcraft—­the fowl of which he partook at dinner seemed to him as if it had been soaked in a solution of sugar—­the lime juice appeared to him as if it were mixed with some saccharine matter—­his biscuit tasted like a bun—­and although he was convinced that he had not put any sugar into his grog, it seemed to him as if it had been sweetened by the first maker of punch in his native country.

The beasts of prey are numerous and dangerous, and often commit great havoc amongst the sheep, and other live stock, notwithstanding every precaution to put them in a place of security at night.  The tigers and leopards are not contented with what they actually carry off, but they leave nothing alive which comes within the reach of their talons.  During the residence of Lander in the country, a good mode of astonishing a tiger was practised with success.  A loaded musket was firmly fixed in a horizontal position, about the height of his head, to a couple of stakes driven into the ground, and the piece being cocked, a string from the trigger, first leading a little towards the butt, and then turning through a small ring forwards, was attached to a shoulder of mutton, stuck on the muzzle of the musket, the act of dragging off which, drew the trigger, and the piece loaded with two balls, discharged itself into the plunderer’s mouth, killing him on the spot.

Elephants are common in Dahomy, but are not tamed and used by the natives, as in India, for the purposes of war or burthen, being merely taken for the sake of their ivory and their flesh, which is, on particular occasions, eaten.

An animal of the hyena tribe, called by the natives tweetwee, is likewise extremely troublesome; herds of these join together, and scrape up the earth of newly-made graves, in order to get at the bodies, which are not buried here in coffins.  These resurrection men, as Lander termed them, make, during the night, a most dismal howling, and often change their note to one very much resembling the shriek of a woman in some situation of danger or distress.

Snakes of the boa species are here found of a most enormous size, many being from thirty to thirty-six feet in length, and of proportional girth.  They attack alike wild and domestic beasts, and often human kind.  They kill their prey by encircling it in their folds, and squeezing it to death, and afterwards swallow it entire; this they are enabled to do by a faculty of very extraordinary expansion in their muscles, without at the same time impairing the muscular action or power.  The bulk of the animals which these serpents are capable of gorging would stagger belief, were the fact not so fully attested as to

Page 256

place it beyond doubt.  The state of torpor in which they are sometimes found in the woods, after a stuffing meal of this kind, affords the negroes an opportunity of killing them.  Lander informed us, that there is not in nature a more appalling sight than one of these monsters in full motion.  It has a chilling and overpowering effect on the human frame, and it seems to inspire with the same horror every other animal, even the strongest and most ferocious; for all are equally certain of becoming victims, should the snake once fasten itself upon them.

The religion of this country is paganism.  They believe in two beings, equal in power; the one doing good, the other evil; and they pray to the demon to allow them to remain unmolested by the magicians, who are constantly endeavouring to injure them.

In Whidah, for some unaccountable reason, they worship their divinity under the form of a particular species of snake called daboa, which is not sufficiently large to be terrible to man, and is otherwise tameable and inoffensive.  These daboas arc taken care of in the most pious manner, and well fed on rats, mice, or birds, in their fetish houses or temples, where the people attend to pay their adoration, and where those also who are sick or lame apply for assistance.

The tiger is also an object of religious regard in Dahomy Proper; but they deem it the safest mode of worship to perform their acts of devotion to his skin only after death, which is stuffed for that purpose.

The people of Whidah occasionally imagine themselves inspired by the divinity, or, as they term it, are seized by the fetish; and in such cases, it becomes necessary, from the frantic manner in which they run about, to secure and place them under the charge of the fetisheers, or priests, until this fit of inspiration be over, and they become themselves again.

The political management of Whidah is entrusted to a viceroy, who is called the Yavougah, or captain of the white men.  This officer, at the time of Lander’s visit to the country, was a man of majestic stature, and possessed an uncommon share of dignity, mingled with complacency of manner.  His dress was generally a large hat, somewhat resembling that of a Spanish grandee, tastefully decorated, and a piece of damask silk, usually red, thrown over one shoulder, like a Scotch plaid, with a pair of drawers; but his arms and legs were bare, except the bracelets of silver, which encircled the arm above the elbow, with manillas of the same sort, and rows of coral round the wrist.

When he had any message to deliver from the king, or other public affairs to transact with the Europeans, it was done with much ceremony and state; his guards, musicians, and umbrella-bearers, and a numerous retinue, always attending him.  The most polished courtier of Europe could not have deported himself more gracefully on public occasions than this man, or have carried on a conference with greater ease and affability.  He was master, besides his own, of the English, French, and Portuguese languages, having resided from his birth chiefly in the vicinity of the European forts, and in his younger days had been much connected with them, officially as a linguist.

Page 257

Although, therefore, he understood perfectly what was said to him by the Europeans, who accompanied Lander, yet it was etiquette for the viceroy to be spoken to through an interpreter, and it was often amusing to see the bungling efforts of the latter in the performance of a task, which the yavougah himself so much better understood, and which he good humouredly, and in an under tone, assisted him to complete.  After the business of ceremony was finished, he laid aside all formality, and conversed in a familiar manner upon general subjects, the whole party joining convivially in a collation, or repast, which was always served up on such occasions.

The government of Dahomy is, in the fullest sense of the word, despotism.  It is a monarchy the most unlimited and uncontrolled on the face of the earth, there being no law but the king’s will, who may chop off as many heads as he pleases, when he is “i’ the vein,” and dispose of his subjects’ property as he thinks fit, without being accountable to any human tribunal for his conduct.  He has from three to four thousand wives, a proportion of whom, trained to arms, under female officers, constitute his body-guards.  As may naturally be supposed, but a few of these wives engage his particular attention.

The successor to the throne is not announced during the king’s lifetime; but the moment his decease is known, the proclamation is made with all possible despatch by the proper officers; for all is murder, anarchy, and confusion in the palace until it takes place; the wives of the late king not only breaking the furniture and ornaments, but killing each other, in order to have the honour of attending their husband to the grave.

The choice usually falls on the eldest son of the late sovereign’s greatest favourite, provided there exists no particular reason for setting him aside.  There seem to be no rank nor privileges annexed to any branches of the royal family; the king, in his own person, absorbing the undivided respect of the people.  Those of his relations whom his majesty may deign to patronise, will, of course, be more noticed by their fellow-slaves; but are all alike the slaves of the king.

His palace at Abomey is walled round, and consists, according to the report of Lander and others, who had an opportunity of visiting its interior, of numerous courts connected with each other, occupying, in the whole, a space full as large as St. James’ Park.

The first minister is called the tamegan, and he is the only man in the country whose head the king cannot cut off at pleasure.  By some ancient regulation, he who attains this rank has that very essential part of his person secured to him, perhaps that he may honestly speak his mind to the king, without fear of consequences.  The second, or mahou, is the master of the ceremonies, whose office it is to receive and introduce all strangers, whether black or white, and also to take care of them during their stay at court, and to see that they are well fed and lodged, with all their attendants.  The third officer in the state is the yavougah of Whidah; and the fourth is the jahou, or master of the horse, who is likewise the chief executioner, and has the duty of superintending the numerous decapitations, which occur in various ways.

Page 258

There are entertained about the court a number of king’s messengers, called half-heads, because one side of their head is always shaved, whilst the hair on the other is allowed to grow to its full length.  They are men, who have distinguished themselves in battle, and wear, as the badge of their office, strings of the teeth of those enemies they have actually killed with their own hands, slung round their necks, like the collar of an order.

These extraordinary-looking couriers, when sent on any mission, are never permitted to walk, but run at full speed, and are relieved at certain distances on the road by relays of others, who push on in the same manner, on receiving their orders, which they transfer from one to the other with the greatest exactness.  The general officers in the Dahomian army are distinguished by large umbrellas, and when any of that class are killed in action, they say figuratively, that, on such an occasion, we lost so many umbrellas.

In delivering what is termed the king’s word, the messenger, as well as all those around him, fall prostrate on the ground, and cover their heads with dust, or with mud, if it rains; so that they often display very hideous figures, with their black bodies and the wool of their heads thus bedaubed with red puddle.

The ministers of state, in communicating with the king, approach within a certain distance of him, crawling on their hands and knees, at last they prostrate themselves, kiss the ground, cover their heads with dust, then make their speech, and receive his reply.  His majesty usually sits on public occasions, as he is represented in our engraving, under a rich canopy, on a finely carved stool or throne, surrounded by his women, some with whisks driving away the flies, one with a handkerchief to wipe his mouth, and another on her knees, holding a gold cup to spit in, as he smokes.

Their marriages, like those of most barbarous nations, are settled by the bridegroom paying a certain sum for the woman, which is calculated at the rate of one or more slaves, or moveable property in shells, cloth, or other articles, to the amount of the specified number of slaves.  Polygamy is allowed to any extent, and it is generally carried as far as the means of the gentlemen will admit, as, after a short period, or honeymoon, the women are employee in the fields and plantations, and usually are no better situated than the common servants of their husbands.

Adultery is punished by slavery, or the value of a slave, by the offender, and the lady likewise subjects herself to be sold, but it is remarked that this measure is seldom resorted to, and it sometimes happens that a handsome wife is repeatedly turned to advantage by her husband, in alluring the unwary into heavy damages.

The state of women is upon the whole very abject in Dahomy.  Wives approach their husbands with every mark of the humblest submission.  In presenting him even with a calabash containing his food, after she has cooked it, she kneels and offers it with an averted look, it being deemed too bold to stare him full in the face.  By their constantly practising genuflexion upon the bare ground, their knees become in time almost as hard as their heels.

Page 259

A mutinous wife or a vixen, sometimes the treasure and delight of an Englishman; the enlivener of his fireside, and his safeguard from ennui, is a phenomenon utterly unknown in Dahomy—­that noble spirit, which animates the happier dames in lands of liberty, being here, alas! extinguished and destroyed.

In most nations a numerous progeny is considered a blessing, as being likely to prop the declining years of their parents, but in Dahomy, children are taken from their mothers at an early age, and distributed in villages remote from the places of their nativity, where they remain with but little chance of being ever seen, or at least recognized by their parents afterwards.  The motive for this is, that there may be no family connexion nor combinations; no associations that might prove injurious to the king’s unlimited power.  Hence each individual is detached and unconnected, and having no relative for whom he is interested, is solicitous only for his own safety, which he consults by the most abject submission.  Paternal affection, and filial love, therefore, can scarcely be said to exist.  Mothers, instead of cherishing, endeavour to suppress those attachments for their offspring, which they know will be violated, as soon as their children are able to undergo the fatigue of being removed from them.

At a particular period of the year, generally in April or May, a grand annual festival is held, which may with much propriety be termed a carnival. On this occasion the chief magistrates or caboceers of the different towns and districts, the governors of the English, French, and Portuguese settlements, are expected to attend at the capital, with their respective retinues; and the captains of ships, and factors trading at Whidah, usually take this opportunity of paying their respects to the king.  A great part of the population, in fact; repair to Abomey, which resembles some great fair, from the number of booths and tents erected in it for various purposes.

It is at this time also that the revenue is collected; all the people either bringing or sending their respective quotas to the royal treasury.  White men are received there with every mark of respect, and even saluted by the discharge of cannon.  There appears to be an extraordinary mixture of ferocity and politeness in the character of these people; though terrible and remorseless to their enemies, nothing can exceed their urbanity and kindness to strangers.

Should any white person be taken ill at Abomey, the king sends the mayhou, or some other great officer, to make daily inquiries about the state of his malady, and desiring to know in what way he can assist or promote his recovery.

Page 260

Notwithstanding, the king exacts from his own subjects the most humiliating and abject prostrations, on approaching his person, yet he admits Europeans to his presence without the least scruple, requiring only from them those marks of respect which they may think fit to perform, in the style of salutation they have been accustomed to in their own countries.  They are allowed to be seated in his company, and he personally pays them great attention.  Cooks are procured, who understand the mode of preparing European dishes; even table cloths, with knives and forks, although never used by themselves, are furnished, and in short every thing which can contribute to their comfort, is provided with eastern hospitality.

They are likewise entertained with feasts, music, public dances, processions of the king’s women, and the exhibition of sports and games.

But amidst this general enjoyment of festivity and mirth, deeds are done from which the civilized mind recoils with horror, and which it cannot contemplate without feeling an ardent desire, to see mankind raised from that state of savage ignorance and superstition, which leads to acts so monstrous and unnatural.

In order to water with their blood the graves of the king’s ancestors, and to supply them with servants of various descriptions in the other world, a number of human victims are annually sacrificed in solemn form, and this carnival is the period at which these shocking rites are publicly performed.

Scaffolds are erected outside the palace wall, and a large space fenced in round them.  On these the king, with the white strangers who think proper to attend, are seated, and the ministers of state are also present in the space beneath.  Into this field of blood the victims are brought in succession, with their arms pinioned, and a fetisheer, laying his hand on the devoted head, pronounces a few mystical words, when another man, standing behind, with a large scymitar severs the sufferer’s head from his body, generally at a single blow, and each repetition of this savage act is proclaimed by loud shouts of applause from the surrounding multitude, who affect to be highly delighted with the power and magnificence of their sovereign.

His bards, or laureats, join also at this time in bawling out his strong names, (their term for titles of honour,) and sing songs in his praise.  These scenes are likewise enlivened by a number of people engaged in a savage dance round the scaffolds; should the foot of one of these performers slip, it is considered an ill omen; the unfortunate figurante is taken out of the ring, and his head instantly struck off, whilst the dance continues without interruption, as if nothing unusual had occurred.

The people thus sacrificed are generally prisoners of war, whom the king often puts aside for this purpose, several months previously to the celebration of his horrid festival; should there be any lack of these, the number is made up from the most convenient of his own subjects.  The number of these victims sometimes amount to several hundred, but about seventy are the average number.

Page 261

Their bodies are either thrown out into the fields, to be devoured by vultures and wild beasts, or hung by the heels in a mutilated state upon the surrounding trees, a practice exceedingly offensive in so hot a climate.  The heads are piled up in a heap for the time, and afterwards disposed of in decorating the walls of the royal simbonies, or palaces, some of which are two miles in circumference, and often require a renewal and repair of these ornaments.

An anecdote is related of king Adahoouza, who, on a successful attack upon Badagry, having a great number of victims to sacrifice, ordered their heads to be applied to the above purpose.  The person to whom the management of this business was committed, having neglected to make a proper calculation of his materials, had proceeded too far with his work, when he found that there would not be a sufficient number of skulls to adorn the whole palace; he therefore requested permission to begin the work, as the lawyers would say, de novo, in order that he might, by placing them farther apart, complete the design in a regular manner; but the king would by no means give his consent to this proposal, observing that he would soon find a sufficient number of Badagry heads to render the plan perfectly uniform, and learning that a hundred and twenty seven were required to complete this extraordinary embellishment, he ordered that number of captives to be brought forth and slaughtered in cold blood.

On visiting the bed-chamber of Bossa Ahadee, the passage leading to it was found to be paved with human skulls.  They were those of his more distinguished adversaries, captured at different times, and placed in that situation that he might nightly enjoy the savage gratification of trampling on the heads of his enemies.  The top of the little wall, which surrounded this detached apartment, was adorned likewise with their jaw-bones.  In some more civilized minds there is an instinctive dread on viewing the remains of a human being; but it cannot be laid to the charge of these savages, that the fear of ghosts and hobgoblins forms any part of their character.

The immolation of victims is, however, not confined to this particular period; for at any time, should it be necessary to send an account to his forefathers of any remarkable event, the king despatches a courier to the shades, by delivering his message to whomsoever may happen to be near him, and then ordering his head to be chopped off immediately; and it has not unfrequently happened, that as something new has occurred to the king’s mind, another messenger, as Mr. Canning very justly observed of the postscript of a letter, has instantly followed on the same errand, perhaps in itself of the most trivial kind.

Page 262

It is considered a high honour where his majesty personally condescends to become the executioner in these feats of decapitation, an office in which the king, at the time of the visit of Lander to Abomey, considered himself as a most expert proficient.  The Europeans were present on one occasion, when a poor fellow, whose fear of death outweighing the sense of the honour conferred on him, on being desired by the king to carry some message to his father, who was in the shades below, humbly declared on his knees that he was ignorant of the way, on which the tyrant vociferated, “I’ll show you the way,” and with one blow made his head fly many yards from his body, highly indignant that there should have been the least expression of reluctance.

The performance of the annual sacrifice is considered a duty so sacred, that no allurement in the way of gain, no additional price which the white traders can offer for slaves, will induce the king to spare even a single victim of the established number; and he is equally inexorable with respect to the chiefs of his enemies, who are never, on any account, permitted to live if they fall into his hands.

In illustration of the above, the following narrative is highly characteristic, and serves at once to a clear exposition of the savage and relentless feelings of the uncivilized negro.  In a warlike excursion towards the Mahee or Ashantee borders, an enemy’s town was surprised, and a great number of the inhabitants were either killed or made prisoners; but especial care was taken that the head of the prince of that district should be sent to Abomey, and that every branch of his family should, if possible, be exterminated, for it was one which had often given the Dahomian forces a great deal of trouble.  A merciless massacre, therefore, of these individuals took place, in obedience to strict injunctions to that effect; and it was believed that not one of the breed was left alive.

A youth, however, about seventeen years of age, one of the sons of the obnoxious prince, had managed to conceal his real quality, and not being pointed out, succeeded in passing among the crowd of prisoners to the Dahomian capital, where, after selecting that portion thought necessary for the ensuing sacrifices, the captors sent the remainder to Grigwee, to be sold at the factories.  This young man happened to be purchased by Mr. M’Leod, and he lived thenceforth in the fort, as a sort of general rendezvous, or trunk, as it is called, for those belonging to that department.

In a short time after this transaction, it some how transpired at Abomey that there yet lived the remnant of the enemy’s family, and in order to trace him out, the king fell upon a scheme, which strongly displays that species of cunning and artifice so often observed among savages.

Page 263

Some of his half-heads, who may very appropriately be termed his mortal messengers, in contradistinction to the immortals sent to the shades, arrived at the fort, and, with the Coke, a stern and hardhearted villain, who, in the absence of the yavougah, was the next caboceer, demanded admittance in the king’s name, prostrating themselves as usual, and covering their heads with dust.  On entering, they proceeded immediately to that quarter where the slaves were, and repeated the ceremony of kissing the ground before they spoke the king’s word, that is to say, delivered his message.  The Coke then made a long harangue, the purport of which was to signify the king’s regret that animosity should have so long existed between him and the chief of that country which he had just despoiled, and to express his sorrow for the fate of a family, which had suffered from his displeasure, through false accounts and misrepresentations.  For this reason, he was now most anxious to make every reparation in his power to a son yet remaining of that prince, and would readily re-establish him in the rank and possessions of his father, could he only find him out.  Completely duped by this wile, the unsuspecting lad exultingly exclaimed, “I am the son of the prince!”—­“Then,” replied the Coke, with a hellish joy at having succeeded in his object, “you are just the person we want.”  Upon which these half-heads seized him, and began to bind his hands.  Finding by this time the real state of the case, which at first it was impossible to comprehend, Mr. M’Leod strongly protested against their seizing a slave whom he had regularly purchased, and complained loudly of the insult offered to the company’s fort; but all in vain.  He then earnestly entreated them to offer the king his own price, or selection of goods, and to beg as a favour from Mr. M’Leod, that he might be spared, strongly urging the plea also, that, when once embarked, he would be as free from every apprehension, respecting him, as if he had killed him.

The Coke coolly replied, that Mr. M’Leod need not give himself any further trouble to make any proposals, for he dared not repeat one of them to the king; and, after an ineffectual struggle, Mr. M’Leod was at last compelled to witness, with the most painful emotion, this ill-fated youth dragged off in a state of the gloomiest despair, a despair rendered more dismal from the fallacious glimpse of returning happiness, by which he had been so cruelly entrapped.

The party not being able to obtain the slightest information respecting Mr. Dickson, retraced their steps, and rejoined Captain Clapperton in the river Benin, where they met with an English merchant, of the name of Houston, who advised them by no means to think of proceeding by that river, a circuitous track, and covered with pestilential swamps; and more particularly as the king bore a particular hatred to the English for their exertions in putting an end to the slave-trade, nor

Page 264

did he, Mr. Houston, know how far, or in what direction, that river might lead them.  He recommended Badagry as the most convenient point on the coast to start from, and he offered to accompany them across the mountains to Katunga, the capital of Youriba.  His offer was accepted, and Lander’s journal commences with their starting from Badagry, on the 7th December.  They were also attended by a Houssa black, of the name of Pascoe, who had been sent from one of the king’s ships to accompany the late enterprizing traveller Belzoni, as interpreter, in his last and fatal journey.

It appears, that during their stay at Whidah, every inquiry was made after Bello and his messengers, but without the slightest success, and equally so as to Funda and Raka, names never heard of on that part of the coast.  It is now known that these places are nearly two hundred miles inland, and that Raka is not even on the banks of any river, and that neither of them was then under the dominion of Bello.

Badagry, the capital of a small territory, is situated at the mouth of the Lagos river, in latitude 6 deg. 20’, and is much frequented by the Portuguese slave-merchants, who have five factories there.  Canoes being obtained, the party proceeded slowly up a branch of this river, as far as the mouth of the Gazie creek, which comes from the north-west, running through part of the kingdom of Dahomy, having its rise in the country called Keeto.  They ascended this creek for about a mile and a half, and then landed on the western bank, at a place called Bawie, where a market is held for the people of Badagry and the adjacent towns.  The very first night, they were guilty of a fatal imprudence.  The banks of both these streams are low and covered with reeds; the soil a red clay mixed with sand; and the surrounding country is covered with forests of high trees and jungle.  Not a hum of a single mosquito was to be heard.  Every circumstance combined to create an atmosphere fatal to animal life, and the consequence of the unaccountable disregard of all precaution on the part of the travellers was too soon apparent.  The seeds of those diseases were here sown, in the very first night of their journey, which speedily proved fatal to two of the party, and had nearly carried off the whole.  How an old naval surgeon and two experienced naval officers could commit such an imprudence, in such a climate, is to us most surprising, when most dreadful consequences are well known to have almost invariably resulted from such a practice in tropical climates,

On the 9th of December, they again slept in the open air, in the market-place of Dagmoo, a large town, where they might have had as many houses as they wanted.  This reckless indifference to the preservation of their health can only be accounted for on the principle, that on an expedition attended by so many difficulties and privations, it was deemed justifiable to attempt to inure the constitution to the noxious influences

Page 265

of the climate, and to look down with contempt upon any act which had the least tendency to effeminacy, or a scrupulous attention to personal comfort.  The constitution of Clapperton was well known to have been of an iron nature; it had already withstood the pestilential climate of some parts of Soudan, in his previous travels, and, with that impression upon his mind, he regarded, perhaps, with indifference, or more likely with inattention, any effect which might arise from the marshy and swampy country through which the party travelled in the commencement of their journey.  The disastrous sequel will, however, soon manifest itself.

One morning, Captain Clapperton walked forward with Mr. Houston to the town of Puka, the first place in the Youriba territory, where they were civilly received, and they were visited by one of the Eyeo war-chiefs, who came in state.  He was mounted on a small horse, as were two of his attendants; the rest of the cavalcade were on foot.  His dress was most grotesque, consisting of a ragged red coat, with yellow facings, and a military cap and feather, apparently Portuguese.  He came curvetting and leaping his horse, until within the distance of a hundred yards, when he dismounted, and, approaching the travellers, seated himself down on the ground.  Captain Clapperton, by the hand of Lander, sent him his umbrella, as a token that he wished him well, on the receipt of which the drums were beaten, and hands were clapped and fingers cracked at a great rate.  It must be observed, that the latter motion is the method of salutation practised by the natives of Dahomy and Eyeo.  The chief now came up to them, capering and dancing the whole of the way, and shook them by the hand, a few of his attendants accompanying him.  Lander informed us that he was not on this occasion honoured by the salute of the Eyeo chief, and he attributed it to the nigh notion which the chief entertained of his own dignity and importance, and that it would be in him an act of great condescension to notice an individual who was evidently but a subordinate, and an attendant upon his superior.  He, however, did not hesitate to steal a handkerchief belonging to Lander, which perhaps he considered to be also an act of condescension in him.  Like other great men, who sometimes speak a great deal, without much meaning or sense being discoverable in their oration, the Eyeo chief began his speech by saying that he was very glad that he now saw a white man, and he doubted not that white man was equally glad to see him, and then, pointing to the various parts of his dress, he said, “This cloth is not made in my country; this cap is of white man’s velvet; these trousers are of white man’s nankeen; this is a white man’s shawl; we get all good things from white man, and we must therefore be glad when white man come to visit our country.”  Although not cheered at the conclusion of his speech, like other great speakers, yet, on the other hand, like them in general, he appeared to be very well satisfied with himself; and Captain Clapperton, by his demeanour, fully gave him to understand that he fully approved of the sentiments which flowed from his lips, and that they were perfectly worthy of a chief of the Eyeo nation.

Page 266

The two men, who appeared next in authority to himself, were stout good-looking men, natives of Bornou; they were dressed in the fashion of that country, with blue velvet caps on their heads.  Being Mahometans, they could not be prevailed on to drink spirits, but the captain and his men drank two drams.

They paid a visit to the caboceer, or chief man of the town, whom they found seated in the midst of his elders and women.  He was an ancient, tall, stupid-looking man, dressed in a long silk tobe, or long shirt; on his head was a cap, made of small glass beads of various colours, surrounded with tassels of small gold-coloured beads, and three large coral ones in front.  The cap was the best part of the man, for it was very neat; in his hand he held a fly-flapper, the handle of which was covered with beads.  After a number of compliments, they were presented with goroo nuts and water.  They told him of their intention to proceed to Eyeo; that they were servants of the king of England; and that they wanted carriers for themselves and baggage.

The baggage, however, had not come up from the coast, and Captain Pearce had to return to the beach and see after it.  They remained here for the night, and the old caboceer, their host, sent them a present of a sheep, a basket of yams, and some firewood.  But when, the next morning, application was made to him for carriers, not a single man could be obtained.  After a great deal of palavering, the Eyeo captain loaded his own people.  They could not procure any bearers for the hammocks, but they nevertheless set off, having only one horse, which Captain Clapperton and Mr. Houston agreed to ride alternately.  The former, however, who had almost crippled himself the preceding day, with a pair of new boots, and could only wear slippers, became so galled by riding without a saddle, that he was soon reduced to walk bare-foot, and whenever he crossed an ant path, his feet felt as if on fire, these insects drawing blood from them and his ankles.

After a most toilsome and distressing march, part of which wound through thick and dark woods, the morning proved raw, cold and hazy; the travellers had nothing to eat, and when at noon they reached the town of Humba, Captain Clapperton had a slight fit of ague.  On the following day, bearers were with some difficulty procured, and he was carried forward in a hammock.  At Bedgie, which they reached on the 12th, Dr. Morrison became very unwell with symptoms of fever.  This place stands on the banks of a river about a quarter of a mile in width, full of low swampy islands and floating reeds.  On the 14th, Captain Pearce and Richard Lander were taken ill.

Page 267

They had by this, time reached Laboo, a town situated on a rising ground, where the country begins to undulate in hill and dale.  Its distance from the coast is not specified, but it can hardly be so much as fifty miles, as Lagos can be reached in one day by a messenger, yet the journey had occupied the travellers no fewer than seven days.  The delay seems partly to have been occasioned by the heavy baggage and stores, and by the difficulty of obtaining bearers.  The Eyeo people, as they were afterwards told, are unaccustomed to carry hammocks, and they ought to have proceeded on horseback, in fact, Lander did not hesitate to express himself in rather severe terms, in regard to the manner in which the early part of the expedition was conducted; for, had the plan been adopted of making use of horses for the conveyance of the baggage, and not have allowed themselves to be delayed by the difficulty of procuring human assistance; had the whole party pressed forward to Laboo, and there attempted to recruit their strength, it is highly probable that they would have altogether escaped the poisonous effects of the miasmata.

The country thus far appears to have been an almost perfect level; in some places swampy, for the most part covered with dense forests, but partially cultivated, and very populous.  Towns and villages were numerous, and everywhere on the road they were met by numbers of people, chiefly women, bearing loads of produce on their heads, always cheerful and obliging, and delighted to see white men.  At Humba, the inhabitants kept up singing and dancing all night, in the true negro style, round the house allotted to the white men.  Their songs were in chorus, and, as Lander expressed himself, “not unlike some church-music that I have heard.”

On leaving Laboo, they were attended for some distance by the caboceer of the town, at the head of the whole population, the women singing in chorus, and holding up both hands as they passed, while groupes of people were seen kneeling down, and apparently wishing them a good journey.  The road now lay over an undulating country, through plantations of millet, yams, and maize, and at three hours from Laboo, led to Jannah, which was once a walled town, but the gate and fosse are all that remain of the fortifications.  It is situated on a gentle declivity, commanding an extensive prospect to the westward; to the eastward the view is interrupted by thick woods.  The inhabitants may amount to from eight hundred to a thousand souls.  The account which Lander gave us of the natives of this district was highly favourable.  He had only to complain of the eternal loquacity of the women, by which he was exceedingly annoyed; in addition to which, they appeared sometimes to be highly offended because, as he was ignorant of their language, he very often committed the most extraordinary blunders, in the answers which he gave by signs, and which were wholly opposite to what they had every reason to expect,

Page 268

from the significant language which they made use of.  The women here are, however, not much better treated than in more central Africa; not only the domestic duties are performed by them, but in all matters of industry the labour appears to be imposed upon them, whilst their husbands or owners are loitering away their time, telling unaccountable stories to each other, or sleeping under the shade of some of the beautiful trees which adorn this part of the country.

Very differently is it constituted with the canine species; for here the dog is treated with respect, and made the companion of man; here he has collars round his neck, of various colours, and ornamented with kowries; he sits by his master, and follows him in all his journeys and visits.  The great man is never without one; and it appeared to Lander that a boy was appointed to take care of him.  In no other country in Africa is this faithful animal treated with common humanity.

The general character of the people of Eyeo appears to be good and amiable, and, as a proof of their honesty, to which all the travellers bore ample testimony, they had now travelled sixty miles in eight days, with a numerous and heavy baggage, and about ten different relays of carriers, without losing so much as the value of a shilling, public or private; a circumstance evincing not only somewhat more than common honesty in the inhabitants, but a degree of subordination and regular government, which could not have been supposed to exist among a people hitherto considered as barbarous.  It appears, however, that the Eyeo captain, Adamooli, had not quite so high an opinion of their spontaneous honesty; for he told the travellers, at Puka, to keep a good look-out after their things, as the people there were great thieves.

In some branches of the arts they possess an extraordinary skill.  They are great carvers; their doors, drums, and every thing of wood being carved.  In the weaving of cloth and linen they also evinced considerable skill.  Eight or ten looms were seen at work in one house; in fact it was a regular manufactory.  Captain Clapperton visited several cloth manufactories, and three dye-houses, with upwards of twenty vats in each, all in full work.  The indigo is of excellent quality, and the cloth of a good texture; some of it very fine.  The women are the dyers, the boys the weavers, the men, in general, lookers on.  The loom and shuttles are on the same principle as the common English loom, but the warp is only four inches wide.  They also manufacture earthen-ware, but prefer that of Europe, which they obtain from Badagry.  In walking through the town, the strangers were followed by an immense crowd, but met with not a word nor a look of disrespect.  The men took off their caps as they passed, and the women remained kneeling.  The market was well supplied with raw cotton, cloths, oranges, limes, plantains, bananas, onions, pepper, and gums for soup, boiled yams, and acassous, a paste made of maize and wrapped in leaves.

Page 269

A country finely cleared, and diversified with hill and dale, extends from Jannah to Tshow, distant two short stages.  The route then again entered upon a thickly-wooded tract, with only patches of corn land, and the roads were dreadfully bad, being partially flooded by heavy rains.  Captain Clapperton here caught a fresh cold, and all the patients became worse.  Dr. Morrison, after being carried in a hammock as far as Tshow, finding himself grow no better, was left behind, under the charge of Mr. Houston, who was to see him safe back to the coast.  He, however, expired at Jannah on the 27th.  On the same day, at a town called Engwa, Captain Pearce breathed his last.  On this occasion, Captain Clapperton says, “The death of Captain Pearce has caused me much concern; for, independently of his amiable qualities as a friend and companion, he was eminently fitted by his talents, perseverance, and fortitude, to be of singular service to the expedition, and on these accounts I deplore his loss, as the greatest I could have sustained, both as regards my private feelings and the public service.”

On the following morning, the remains of this lamented officer were interred, in the presence of all the principal people of the town.  The grave was staked round by the inhabitants, and a shed built over it.  An inscription was carved on a board, and placed at the head of the grave by Lander, Captain Clapperton being unable to sit up, or to assist in any manner in the mournful ceremony.  Thus did Captain Clapperton see himself bereft of his comrades, and left to pursue his journey in very painful and distressing circumstances, with only Richard Lander as his servant, who stood by him in all his fortunes, and Pascoe, not a very trusty African, whom he had hired at Badagry.  Two days after the interment of Captain Pearce, Mr. Houston joined Captain Clapperton from Jannah, bearing the intelligence of the death of Dr. Morrison.

These unfortunate officers had been conveyed thus far, about seventy miles, in hammocks, by the people of the country, every where experiencing the kindest attention, lodged in the best houses, and supplied with every thing that the country afforded.  The fear, however, that continually preyed upon the mind of Lander was excessive; for the general appearance of Captain Clapperton indicated that he would soon join his comrades in the grave; he was able occasionally to ride on horseback, and sometimes to walk, but he was greatly debilitated, and subject to a high degree of fever.  By anticipation, Lander saw himself a solitary wanderer in the interior of Africa, bereft of all those resources with which Clapperton was liberally supplied, and his only hope of deliverance resting on his being able to accomplish his return to Badagry, literally as a Christian mendicant.  Lander describes the country between Badagry and Jannah, the frontier town of the kingdom of Youriba, as abounding in population, well cultivated with plantations of Indian corn, different kinds of millet, yams, plantains, wherever the surface was open and free from the noxious influence of dense and unwholesome forests.

Page 270

The old caboceer of Jannah was, according to the report of Lander, a merry, jocose kind of companion.  On one occasion, when he was surrounded by a whole crowd of the natives, and was informed that the English had only one wife, they all broke out into a loud laugh, in which the women in particular joined immoderately.  The vanity of this old negro almost exceeded belief; during the ceremony of the reception of Captain Clapperton and Mr. Houston, he changed his dress three different times, each time, as he thought, increasing the splendour of his appearance.

The whole court in which they were received, although very large, was filled, crowded, and crammed with people, except a place in front, where the august strangers sat, into which his highness led Captain Clapperton and Mr. Houston, in each hand, followed by Lander, who, ever and anon, first to the right, and then to the left, felt a twitch at the tail of his coat, and on looking to ascertain the cause, found it to have proceeded from the fair hands of a bewitching negress, who, casting upon him a look of irresistible fascination, accompanied by a smile from a pair of huge pouting lips, between which appeared a row of teeth, for which one of the toothless grannies at Almack’s would have given half her dowry, seemed to be anxious of trying the experiment of how far the heart of an Englishman was susceptible of the tender passion, especially when excited by objects of such superlative beauty.  It may be supposed that neither Clapperton nor Houston had as yet taken any lessons in the art and mystery of African dancing, and as to waltzing, neither of them felt any great inclination to be encircled in the arms of a negress, who, although she might be young and graceful in her attitudes, had a scent about her of stinking rancid oil, which was not very agreeable to the olfactory nerves of the delicate Europeans.  However, it was the etiquette of the court,—­and every court, from the Cape of Good Hope to the country of Boothia, that is, if a court were ever held in the latter place,—­is cursed with the ridiculous forms of ceremony and etiquette; it must be repeated, that at the court which his highness the caboceer of Jannah, in the plenitude of his official importance, held at that place, it was a rule of etiquette, that every stranger, of whatever rank or nation, should choose for himself a partner, wherewith to dance an African fandango or bolero; and it may be easily supposed that, when the Europeans looked around them, and saw the African beauties squatting on their haunches, or reclining, in graceful negligence, on banks of mud, a great difficulty existed as to whom they should select to be their partners in the African quadrille.  We have ourselves been in a ball-room where the beating of the female heart was almost audible, when the object of its secret attachment approached to lead out the youthful beauty to the dancing circle; and although it cannot be supposed, that, on so short an acquaintance,

Page 271

the heart of any beautiful negress palpitated at the approach of Captain Clapperton, Mr. Houston, or the more timid and bashful Lander, yet it was evident that the negresses, who were selected as their partners, testified their unqualified delight at the honour conferred upon them by a grin, which in a civilized country would be called a smile, but which happened to be of that extent, as if nature had furnished them with a mouth extending from ear to ear, similar to the opening of the jaws of a dogger codfish.  The Taglionis and Elsters of the court were present; and although a latitude of a few degrees to the northward of the line is not exactly suitable for pirouetting and tourbillons, which, in a negress in a state of almost complete nudity, could not fail to attract the doting eyes even of the bishop of London, or of Sir Andrew Agnew, particularly on the Sabbath; yet, on this occasion, the beauties of the court attempted to outvie each other in the gracefulness of their attitudes, and the extraordinary height of their salutations.  There is very little doubt but that the tout ensemble would have formed an excellent subject for a Cruickshanks, and particularly to take a sketch of the old black caboceer, sailing majestically around in his damask robe, with a train-bearer behind him, and every now and then turning up his old withered face, first to one of his visitors, and then to the other; then whisking round on one foot, and treading without ceremony on the shoeless foot of his perspiring partner, then marching slow, with solemn gait, like the autocrat of all the Russias in a polonnaise, then, not exactly leading gracefully down the middle, but twining the hands of his visitors in his, which had very much the appearance of a piebald affair, showing at the same time an extraordinary inflation of pride, that a white man should dance with him.  But the fate of Lander was the most to be commiserated; for although it might be the etiquette of his country, that master and servant should not be quadrilling at the same time, yet as no such distinction existed in the court of the old caboceer of Jannah, as far as the sentiments of the female beauties were concerned, poor Lander led the very devil of a life of it.  He certainly, as it would have been highly unbecoming in him, did not solicit the hand of any of the expectant beauties, and therefore, giving him all due credit for his extreme bashfulness and insuperable modesty, they were determined to solicit his; he was first twirled round by one beauty, then by another; at one moment he found himself in a state of juxta position with the old caboceer; at another, his animated partner was nearly driving him into a state of positive collision with his own master; in fact he was, like Tom at Almack’s, putting the whole of the dancers into confusion, from his ignorance of the intricacies of the African dance, and his total inability to compete with his partner in her gymnastic evolutions.  One of the most

Page 272

graceful movements, according to the opinion of the natives, consists in a particular part of the body, situated, as the metaphysicians would term it, a posteriori, coming into contact with a similar part of the body of the partner, with as much violence as the physical strength of the female dancer can effect; and if on any of these occasions the equilibrium should be lost, and the weaker individual laid prostrate upon the ground, the laugh then sounds throughout the whole assembly, and the beauty is highly extolled, who by her prowess could have so well effected the prostration of her partner.  Now it is very possible, that when a person knows of an evil coming over him, he will be so upon his guard as to prevent any disastrous consequences arising from it; but Lander not being aware that any accident could befall him from any movement of the lady who had selected him, much against his will, as her partner, was footing it away very composedly and becomingly, when a tremendous blow was inflicted on a certain part of the hinder portion of his body, which being as irresistible as if it had come from a battering-ram of the Romans, laid him prostrate on the floor, to the infinite delight of all the fashionables of the court, particularly the female part, who testified their joy by the utterance of the loudest laughs and clapping their hands in an extacy of mirth.  In fact, the travellers entered into all the humours of the day, and thus, as Captain Clapperton expressed himself, “cheered we our old friend, and he was cheered.”

The country between Tshow and Engwa, where the ground has been cleared, is described by Lander as excessively beautiful, diversified by hills and dales, a small stream running through each valley.  All the towns, however, are situated in the bosom of an inaccessible wood.  The approach is generally through an avenue, defended by three stockades, with narrow wicker gates, and only one entrance.  Beyond Engwa, the state of the atmosphere becomes much improved, the country being clear and gradually rising, and on the high grounds, large blocks of grey granite cropped out, indicated their approach to a range of primitive mountains.  The plains were covered with the female cocoa nut, and with long high grass.  Walled towns occur at the end of short stages, each containing from five to ten thousand inhabitants.  Those at which the travellers halted were called Afoura, Assula, Assonda, and Chocho.  At Afoura, the granite formation began to show itself.  Assula is surrounded with a wall and a ditch, and contains about six thousand inhabitants.  At these places, the travellers were abundantly supplied with provisions, and regaled with dancing and singing the whole night, by the apparently happy natives.

On leaving the town of Chocho, the road wound through beautiful valleys, planted in many places with cotton, corn, yams, and bananas and on the tops and hollows of the hills were perched the houses and villages of the proprietors of these plantations.  At this very time, however, “a slaving war,” was being carried on at only a few hours ride from the route taken by the travellers; such is the withering curse that hangs over the fairest regions of this devoted country.

Page 273

The next stage from Bendekka to Duffoo, lay through mountain scenery of a still wilder character.  Rugged and gigantic blocks of grey granite rose to the height of between six and seven hundred feet above the valleys, which now contracted to defiles scarcely a hundred yards in breadth, then widened to half a mile, and in one part the route crossed a wide table land.  The soil is rich, but shallow, except along the fine streams of water which run through the valleys, where large tall trees were growing.  The sides of the mountains are bare, but stunted trees and shrubs fill all the crevices.  The valleys are well cultivated with cotton, corn, and yams.  This cluster of hills is said to rise in the province of Borgoo, behind Ashantee, and to run through Jaboo to Benin, in a direction from W.N.W. to E.S.E.  The width of the range is about eighty miles.

From a summit overlooking the town of Duffoo, a grand and beautiful view was obtained of mountains, precipices, and valleys in every direction.  The top of the hill was covered with women grinding corn.  This mount might be almost called a large corn mill.  Here and in every other place, the king of Eyeo’s wives were found trading for his majesty, and like women of the common class, carrying large loads on their heads from town to town.  The town of Daffoo is said to contain a population of 15,000 souls.  On leaving it the road wound between two hills, descending over rugged rocks, beneath impending masses of granite, which seemed ready to start from their base, to the destruction of all below.  It continued to ascend and descend as far as the town of Woza, which stands on the edge of a table-land, gently descending, well cultivated, and watered by several streams.  The stage terminated at another fortified town called Chradoo, containing upwards of seven thousand inhabitants.

On leaving this town on the following morning, they were attended by the worthy caboceer, and an immense train of men, women, and children; the women singing in chorus, whilst drums, horns, and gongs, formed a barbarous and discordant accompaniment to their agreeable voices.  A difficult and dangerous road over broken rocks, and through rugged passes, where the natives were perched in groups to see the travellers pass, led in five hours to the large and populous town of Erawa.  Here they were received with drums, the people as usual curious beyond measure, but very kind.  The next day a mountain pass led through a thickly populous tract, to a town called Washoo, beyond which place they entered a second range of mountains, more elevated and of a more savage character, than any they had hitherto passed; they appeared as if some great convulsion of nature had thrown the immense masses of granite in wild and terrific confusion.  The road through this mountain pass, according to the information of Lander, was grand and imposing, sometimes rising almost perpendicularly, then descending in the midst of rocks into deep dells; then winding beautifully

Page 274

round the side of a steep hill, the rocks above overhanging them in fearful uncertainty.  In every cleft of the hills, wherever there appeared the least soil, were cottages, surrounded with small plantations of millet, yams, and plantains, giving a beautiful variety to the rude scenery.  The road continued rising, hill above hill, for at least two miles, until their arrival at the large and populous town of Chaki, situated on the top of the very highest hill.  On every hand, on the hills, on the rocks, and crowding on the road, the inhabitants were assembled in thousands, the women welcoming them with holding up their hands, and chanting choral songs, and the men with the usual salutations, and every demonstration of joy.  The caboceer was seated on the outside of his house, surrounded by his ladies, his singing men, and singing women, his drums, fifes, and gong-gongs.  He was a good-looking man, about fifty years of age, with a pleasing countenance.  His house was all ready for the reception of the strangers, and he immediately procured for them a large supply of goats, sheep, and yams, pressing them strongly to stay a day or two with them.  He appeared to consider them as messengers of peace, come with blessings to his king and country.  Indeed a belief was very prevalent, and seems to have gone before them all the way, that they were charged with a commission to make peace wherever there was war, and to do good to every country through which they passed.  The caboceer of this town indeed told them so, and said he hoped that they would be enabled to settle the war with the Nyffee people and the Fellatas, and the rebellion of the Houssa slaves, who had risen against the king of Yariba.  When Lander shook hands with him, he passed his hand over the heads of his chiefs, as confirming on them a white man’s blessing.  He was more inquisitive and more communicative than any one whom they had yet seen.  He sat until nearly midnight, talking and inquiring about England.  On asking, if he would send one of his sons to see England, he rose up with alacrity, and said, he would go himself.  He inquired how many wives an Englishman had.  On being told only one, he seemed much astonished, and laughed greatly, as did all his people.  “What does he do,” said he, “when one of his wives has a child?  Our caboceer has two thousand!!”

On leaving Chaka, the caboceer escorted them several miles, attended by upwards of two hundred of his wives, one of whom was young and handsome.  The country was now extremely beautiful, clear of wood, and partly cultivated; and a number of Fellata villages were passed, the inhabitants of which live here as they do in most other parts of Soudan, a quiet and inoffensive pastoral life, unmolested by the black natives, and not interfering with their customs.

Page 275

The next stage led to Koosoo, the largest town they had yet seen, surrounded with a double wall, and containing at least twenty thousand people.  This place appears to stand at the northwestern termination of the granite range, the outer wall extending from some rugged hills on the S.E., to a great distance in the plain.  Here the same favourable impression respecting the whites was found to prevail as at Chaki.  The walls were crowded with people, and the caboceer, with his wives and head men, came forth to welcome the strangers.  He was glad, he said, to see white men coming to his country, and going to see his king, adding that he never expected to see this day, and that now all the wars and bad palavers would be settled.  He presented to them yams, eggs, a goat, a sheep, a fine fat turkey, and milk, and a large pig was sent by the caboceer of a neighbouring town.  The country was described as being on every side full of large towns.  Its aspect continued through the next stage very beautiful, and well cultivated.  The route lay in a parallel line with the hills as far as the town of Yaboo, and then entered a fine plain, studded with Fellata villages, extending to Ensookosoo.  At Sadooli, half an hour further, the range of hills was seen bearing from E. by S. to S. The well cultivated country continued as far as Aggidiba, but a considerable change then took place in its general aspect.  The road led through a wood of low, stunted, scrubby trees, on a soil of gravel and sand, and the destructive ravages of the Fellatas now became apparent, in the half deserted towns and ruined villages.  Akkibosa, the next town, was large, and surrounded inside the walls with an impenetrable wood.  It was here that Lander again had the melancholy prospect of seeing himself a lonely wanderer in the wilds of Africa, for Captain Clapperton became worse than he had been since leaving Badagry.  The pain in his side was relieved by rubbing the part with a piece of cord, after some Mallegeta pepper chewed had been applied to it.  But the caboceer of Adja gave our traveller some medicine, which was far more efficacious.  It tasted like lime juice and pepper, and produced nausea to such a degree, that Clapperton was unable to stand for half an hour after; he then suddenly got well, both as to the pain in his side, and a severe diarrhoea, which had troubled him for some time.  The worthy caboceer, who had shown himself such an adept in practical pathology, was of the same opinion with others of his species, that a preventive is better than a remedy; but were this principle to be acted upon by the medical caboceers of the metropolis of England, we should not see them driving in their carriages from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. to convince a set of dupes, that a few latinized words and hieroglyphics scrawled on a scrap of paper, which is to produce for them a nauseous compound of aperient drugs, are to save them from the jaws of death.  Captain Clapperton was in reality ill, and therefore the application of

Page 276

the prescription of the scientific caboceer of Adja, was perhaps advisable, on the ground that if it did not cure it would kill, but the case was differently situated with Lander, for although his health had sustained some severe shocks, yet it was good in comparison to that of his master; but the prudent caboceer considered that although he was not then actually ill, yet the possibility, and even the probability existed that he might become so, and therefore it was determined that the same medicine should be administered to Lander, as had been done to his master.  Lander, however, protested that he did not stand in need of so potent a medicine, on the other hand, the caboceer protested that he was a great fool to entertain any such an opinion, and following the practice of the celebrated Dr. Sangrado, Lander was obliged to undergo the purgatory of the caboceer’s medicine, and he was ready to admit that he did not feel himself the worse for it after its effects had subsided.  The town of Adja is remarkable for an avenue of trees, with a creeping briar-like plant ascending to the very tops, and hanging down so as to form an impenetrable defence against every thing but a snake, and it is impossible to burn it.  Leaving their medical friend, the caboceer of Adja, they proceeded to Loko, which is also a considerable walled town; and on proceeding about four miles further, they came to a groupe of three towns, one walled and two without walls, all bearing the name of Soloo.

The approach to the town of Tshow was through a beautiful valley, planted with large shady trees and bananas, having green plots and sheets of water running through the centre, where the dingy beauties of Tshow were washing their well-formed limbs, while the sheep and goats were grazing around on their verdant banks.  This state of repose is stated, however, to be frequently disturbed by inroads from the neighbouring kingdom of Borgho, the natives of which are described as thieves and plunderers, and as the travellers were now close on its borders, they thought it necessary to brush up their arms.

In the evening, however, a caboceer arrived with a large escort of horse and foot from Katunga, the capital of Youriba, and having shaken hands with the travellers, immediately rubbed his whole body, that the blessing of their touch might be spread all over him.  The escort was so numerous, that they ate up all the provisions of the town.  Every corner was filled with them, and they kept drumming, blowing, dancing, and singing during the whole of the night.

On leaving this place, the road through which they passed was wide, though woody, and covered by men on horseback and bowmen on foot; the horsemen, armed with two or three long spears, hurrying on as fast as they could get the travellers to proceed; horns and country drums blowing and beating before and behind; some of the horsemen dressed in the most grotesque manner; others covered all over with charms. 

Page 277

The bowmen had also their natty little hats and feathers, with the jebus, or leathern pouch, hanging by their side.  These men always appeared to Captain Clapperton to be the best troops in this country and that of Soudan, on account of their lightness and activity.  The horsemen, however, are but ill mounted, the animals are small and badly dressed; their saddles so ill secured, and the rider sits so clumsily in his seat, that any Englishman who ever rode a horse with an English saddle, would upset one of them the first charge with a long stick.  The party were also attended by a great number of traders.  After passing over a granite ridge, commanding a beautiful view of fine wooded valleys to the eastward, the road again crossed the Moussa, running to the Quorra, which is only three days distant.

From the brow of a hill the great capital of Eyeo opened to the view, on the opposite side of a vast plain bordered by a ridge of granite hills, and surrounded by a brilliant belt of verdure.  The approach to Katunga is thus described by Clapperton:  “Between us and it lay a finely cultivated valley, extending as far as the eye could reach to the westward, our view to the eastward intercepted by a high rock, broken into large blocks, with a singular top, the city lying below us, surrounded and studded with green, shady trees, forming a belt round the base of a rocky mountain of granite, about three miles in length, presenting as beautiful a view as I ever saw.”

They entered the city by the north gate, accompanied by a band of music, and followed by an immense multitude of men, women, and children.  After proceeding about five miles through the city, they reached the residence of the king, who received them seated under a verandah; the insignia of his state being two red and blue cloth umbrellas, supported by large poles held by slaves.  He was dressed in a white tobe over another of blue; round his neck was a collar of large beads of blue stone, and on his head the imitation of a European crown in pasteboard, covered with blue cotton.  The king’s people had some difficulty in clearing the way for the strangers through the crowd, and sticks and whips were freely used, though generally in a good-natured manner.  When they had at last got as far as the umbrellas, the space was all clear.  The chiefs were observed to be holding a parley with the king, which Clapperton conjectured to relate to his being desired to perform the usual ceremony of prostration.  On this, Captain Clapperton told them, that the only ceremony he would submit to was that of an English salute; that he would take off his hat, make a bow, and shake hands with his majesty, if he pleased.  The ceremony of prostration is required from all.  The chiefs, who come to pay their court, cover themselves with dust, and then fall flat on their bellies, having first practised the ceremony, in order to be perfect, before a large fat eunuch.  It is also the court etiquette to

Page 278

appear in a loose cloth, tied under one arm; no tobes, no beads, no coral, nor grandeur of any kind, must appear, but on the king alone.  In many points of the ceremonial, in the umbrellas, the prostrations, the sticks and whips so good-naturedly inflicted on the crowd, and the extraordinary politeness practised by these people to each other, we have a singular approximation to the customs of the celestial empire.  The theatrical entertainments, too, which are acted before the king, are quite as amusing, and almost as refined, as any which his celestial majesty can command to be exhibited before a foreign ambassador.  The king of Youriba made a point of the travellers staying to witness one of these theatrical entertainments.  It was exhibited in the king’s park, in a square place, surrounded by clumps of trees.  The first performance was that of a number of men dancing and tumbling about in sacks, having their heads fantastically decorated with strips of rags, damask silk, and cotton of variegated colours, and they performed to admiration.  The second exhibition was hunting the boa snake by the men in the sacks.  The huge snake, it seems, went through the motions of this kind of reptile in a very natural manner, though it appeared to be rather full in the belly, opening and shutting its mouth in the most natural manner imaginable.  A running fight ensued, which lasted some time, till at length the chief of the bagmen contrived to scotch its tail with a tremendous sword, when he gasped, twisted up, and seemed in great torture, endeavouring to bite his assailants, who hoisted him on their shoulders, and bore him off in triumph.  The festivities of the day concluded with the exhibition of the white devil, which had the appearance of a human figure in white wax, looking miserably thin, and as if starved with cold, taking snuff, rubbing its hands, treacling the ground as if tender-footed, and evidently meant to burlesque and ridicule a white man, while his sable majesty frequently appealed to Clapperton, whether it was not well performed.  After this, the king’s women sang in chorus, and were accompanied by the whole crowd.

The method of salutation is very singular.  The king, for instance, on saluting Captain Clapperton, lifted up his hands three times, repeating, “Ako! ako!” (How do you do?) the women behind him standing up and cheering them, and the men on the outside joined.  It was impossible to count the number of his ladies, they were so densely packed, and so very numerous.

In a private visit subsequently paid to the travellers, the king assured them that they were truly welcome; that he had frequently heard of white men; but that neither himself nor his father, nor any of his ancestors, had ever seen one.  He was glad that white men had come at this time, and now, he trusted, his country would be put right, his enemies brought to submission, and he would be enabled to build up his father’s house, which the war had destroyed.

Page 279


The city of Eyeo, in Houssa language, Katunga, the capital of Youriba, is situated in latitude 8 deg. 59’ N., longitude 6 deg. 12 E. It is built on the sloping side and round the base of a small range of granite hills, which, as it were, forms the citadel of the town.  They are formed of stupendous blocks of grey granite of the softest kind, some of which are seen hanging from the summits in the most frightful manner, while others, resting on very small bases, appear as if the least touch would send them down into the valley beneath.  The soil on which the town is built is formed of clay and gravel, mixed with sand, which has obviously been produced from the crumbling granite.  The appearance of these hills is that of a mass of rocks left bare by the tide.  A belt of thick wood runs round the walls, which are built of clay, and about twenty feet high, and surrounded by a dry ditch.  There are ten gates in the walls, which are about fifteen miles in circumference, of an oval shape, about four miles in diameter one way, and six miles the other; the south end leaning against the rocky hills, and forming an inaccessible barrier in that quarter.  The king’s houses, and those of his women, occupy about a square mile, and are on the south side of the hills, having two large parks, one in front and another facing the north; they are all built of clay, and have thatched roofs, similar to those nearer the coast.  The posts supporting the verandahs and the doors of the king’s or caboceer’s houses are generally carved in has relief, with figures representing the boa killing an antelope or a hog, or with processions of warriors attended by drummers.  The latter are by no means meanly executed, conveying the expression and attitude of the principal man in the groupe with a lofty air, and the drummer well pleased with his own music, or rather deafening noise.  There are seven different markets, which are held every evening, being generally opened about three or four o’clock.  The chief articles exposed for sale are yams, corn, calavances, plantains and bananas, vegetable butter, seeds of the colocynth, which form a great article of food, sweetmeats, goats, sheep, and lambs, also cloth of the manufacture of the country, and their various instruments of agriculture.  The price of a small goat is from 1,500 to 2,000 kowries; 2,000 kowries being equal to a Spanish dollar; a large sheep, 3,000 to 5,000; a cow, from 20,000 to 30,000; a horse, 80,000 to 100,000; a prime human being, as a slave, 40,000 to 60,000, about half the price of a horse!

The kingdom of Youriba extends from Puka, within five miles of the coast to about the parallel of 10 deg.  N., being bounded by Dahomy on the north-west, Ketto and the Maha countries on the north, Borgoo on the north-east, the Quorra to the east, Accoura, a province of Benin, to the south-east, and Jaboo to the south-west.  These are the positions of the neighbouring countries, as given by Lander, although it is difficult to reconcile them with the map; Borgoo seems rather to be north-east, Dahomy west and southwest, Jaboo and Benin south-east.  If Badagry be included in Youriba, the southern boundary will be the Bight of Benin.

Page 280

Dahomy, Alladah, Maha, and Badagry were claimed as tributaries; and the king of Benin was referred to as an ally.  The government is an hereditary despotism, every subject being the slave of the king; but its administration appears to have been for a long period mild and humane.  When the king was asked, whether the customs of Youriba involved the same human sacrifices as those of Dahomy, his majesty shook his head, shrugged up his shoulders, and exclaimed, “No, no! no king of Youriba could sacrifice human beings.”  He added, but probably without sufficient grounds for the vaunt, that, if he so commanded, the king of Dahomy must also desist from the practice; that he must obey him.  It is, however, stated, on the authority of Lander, that when a king of Youriba dies, the caboceer of Jannah, three other head caboceers, four women, and a great many favourite slaves and women, are obliged to swallow poison, given by fetish men in a parrot’s egg; should this not take effect, the person is provided with a rope to hang himself in his own house.  No public sacrifices are used, at least no human sacrifices, and no one was allowed to die at the death of the last king, as he did not die a natural death, having been murdered by one of his own sons, though the religion of the people of Youriba, as far as it could be comprehended by the travellers, consisted in the worship of one God, to whom they also sacrifice horses, cows, goats, sheep, and fowls.  At the yearly feast, all these animals are sacrificed at the fetish-house, in which a little of the blood is spilled on the ground.  The whole of them are then cooked, and the king and all the people, men and women attending, partake of the meat, drinking copiously of pitto (the country ale).  It is stated, moreover, that it depends on the will of the fetish-man, or priest, whether a human being or a cow or other animal is to be sacrificed.  If a human being, it is always a criminal, and only one.  The usual spot where the feast takes place is a large open field before the king’s houses, under wide-spreading trees, where there are two or three fetish houses.

The usual mode of burying the dead in this country is, to dig a deep narrow hole, in which the corpse is deposited in a sitting posture, the elbows between the knees.  A poor person is interred without any ceremony; in honour of a rich man, guns are fired, and rum is drunk over his grave, and afterwards in the house by his friends and retainers.  At the celebration of a marriage, pitto is circulated freely amongst the guests.  Wives are bought, and according to the circumstances of the bridegroom, so is the price.  The first question asked by every caboceer and great man was, how many wives the king of England, had, being prepared, it should seem, to measure his greatness by that standard; but when they were told that he had only one, (and, if they had felt disposed, they might have extended their information, by telling the inquirers that she was too much for him,) they

Page 281

gave themselves up to a long and ungovernable fit of laughter, followed by expressions of pity and wonder how he could possibly exist in that destitute condition.  The king of Youriba’s boast was, that his wives, linked hand-in-hand, would reach entirely across the kingdom.  Queens, however, in Africa, are applied to various uses, although in some countries at some distance to the northward, it is a difficult question to solve, whether they be of any use at all, except for the purpose of entailing an extraordinary expense upon the people, who have to labour hard for the support of the royal appendage, which is generally imported from a neighbouring country, where pride, pauperism, and pomposity are particularly conspicuous.  It would be well for an admirer of queenship to take a trip to Eyeo, to see to what uses queens can be applied; for there they are formed into a body-guard, and their majesties were observed, in every part of the kingdom, acting as porters, and bearing on their heads enormous burdens, in which they again differ from the queens of the more northern countries, where, fortunately for the natives of it, they never bear at all.  The queens of Eyeo are, to all intents and purposes, slaves, and so are also other queens; but then they are slaves to foolish and ridiculous customs, to stiff starched etiquette, and to ceremonies degrading to a rational being.

The Eyeos, like other nations purely negro, are wholly unacquainted with letters, or any form of writing; these are known only to the Arabs or Fellatahs, who penetrate thither in small numbers; yet they have a great deal of popular poetry.  Every great man has bands of singers of both sexes, who constantly attend him, and loudly celebrate his achievements in extemporary poems.  The convivial meetings of the people, even their labours and journeys, are cheered by songs composed for the occasion, and chanted often with considerable taste.

The military force of the kingdom consists of the caboceers and their immediate retainers, which upon an average may be about one hundred and fifty each, a force formidable enough when called out upon any predatory excursion, but which would seem to be inadequate to the defence of the territory, against the encroachments or inroads of the Fellatahs, and other more warlike tribes.  It was supposed by Captain Clapperton that the army may be as numerous as that of any of the kingdoms of Africa.  No conjecture was offered as to the total population, but nearly fifty towns occurred in the line of route, each containing from six to seven thousand, and some fifteen to twenty thousand souls, and from the crowds on the roads, the population must be very considerable.

Page 282

The Youribanies struck the travellers as having less of the characteristic features of the negro, than any other African race which they had seen.  Their lips are less thick, and their noses more inclined to the aquiline shape than negroes in general.  The men are well made, and have an independent carriage.  The women are almost invariably of a more ordinary appearance than the men, owing to their being more exposed to the sun, and to the drudgery they are obliged to undergo, all the labours of the land devolving upon them.  The cotton plant and indigo are cultivated to a considerable extent, and they manufacture the wool of their sheep into good cloth, which is bartered with the people of the coast for rum, tobacco, European cloth, and other articles.  The medium of exchange throughout the interior is the kowry shell, the estimated value of which has been already given.  Slaves, however, form the chief article of commerce with the coast.  A prime slave at Jannah is worth, sterling money, from three to four pounds, according to the value set on the articles of barter.  Domestic slaves are never sold, except for misconduct.  His majesty was much astonished at learning that there are no slaves in England.  Upon the whole, the Youribanies appeared to be a gentle and a kind people, affectionate to their wives and children, and to one another, and under a mild, although a despotic government.

Among the domestic animals of this country, there are horses of a very small breed, but these are scarce.  The horned cattle are also small near the coast, but on approaching the capital, they are seen as large as those in England; many of them have humps on their shoulders, like those of Abyssinia.  They have also sheep, both of the common species, and of the African kind; hogs, muscovy ducks, fowls, pigeons, and a few turkeys.  “The people of Youriba,” says Lander, “are not very delicate in the choice of their food; they eat frogs, monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, mice, and various other kinds of vermin.  A fat dog will always fetch a better price than a goat.  Locusts and black ants, just as they are able to take wing, are a great luxury.  Caterpillars are also held in very high estimation, they are stewed and eaten with yams and tuah. Ants and locusts are fried in butter.”  This statement of Lander, as far as regards the dog, is somewhat at variance with the compliment paid to the Youribanies, for their treatment of that faithful animal.

The hyena and the leopard are said to be very common, and the lion is found in some parts, but monkeys were the only wild animals seen by the travellers.

Page 283

Although Clapperton and Lander remained at Katunga from January 23rd to March 7th, and the mysterious Quorra was not more than thirty miles distant to the eastward, he was not able to prevail upon the king to allow him to visit it, but was always put off with some frivolous excuse, and in these excuses, the old gentleman appears to have been as cunning and as cautious as a Chinese mandarin; observing at one time that the road was not safe; at another, that the Fellatas had possession of the country, and what would the king of England say if any thing should happen to his guest.  The greatest difficulty was experienced in getting away from Katunga, for his majesty could not or would not comprehend why he should be in any hurry to depart, and by way of an inducement, but which secretly might have a very opposite effect to that which was intended, Clapperton and Lander were both offered any wife they chose to select from his stock, and if one were not sufficient, five or six might be selected; for himself he had plenty, although he could not exactly tell their number, but if Clapperton would stop, the experiment should be tried, of how far they would reach hand to hand; even this gracious offer appeared to have no influence upon the obstinate disposition of Clapperton, he was determined to leave Katunga and reach Bornou before the rains set in, but the king was equally determined that he should not carry his project into execution, for, like all the other African princes, he seemed disposed to make a monopoly of the strangers who entered his territory.  His majesty hinted that one journey was well and fully employed in seeing the kingdom of Youriba, and paying the required homage to its potent monarch.

It is curious how etiquette forms a part of every court, from a latitude of 52 deg. north, to one almost immediately under the equator, and it must be admitted that if a school of instruction were established at the former one, wherein the debutants might perfect themselves in their various gestures and attitudes, we should not behold such a number of awkward louts, and johnny raw’s, as exhibit themselves at the levee room of the king of the Guelphs.  In the capital of Eyeo, it is the custom of the court, for the monarch to hold a levee twice a day, at six in the morning, and two in the afternoon; rather hot work for the courtiers, perspiring in a temperature of about 120 deg..  The son of a Highland clansman, or of an Irish bogtrotter, is ushered into the presence of his sovereign with very little preliminary instruction; not so however with the more refined and polished court of Katunga.  There, before the legitimate or illegitimate sons of royalty and nobility, or even of the plebeians are introduced to the king, they are required to wait upon the chief eunuch, a kind of African lord chamberlain, and before whom they are required to practise their prostrations and genuflexions, so as not to commit themselves in the presence of their august monarch.  The finished courtier at

Page 284

the court of the Guelphs, is known by the grace with which he seizes the hand of royalty, to imprint upon it a slobbering kiss; and the caboceer at the court of Katunga, is known by the grace with which he covers himself with dust, and the intensity of his homage is estimated according to the quantity of the article which he throws over himself.  It must have been a delectable treat for the Europeans to have been present at one of these academies of court etiquette, where the old and young were practising their prostrations before the ugly antiquated eunuch, and who hesitated not to give his pupils a kick, when any of them evinced an extraordinary awkwardness in their attitudes.  During the whole of the time that the prostrations were practising, the attendants were dancing in a circle, with now and then the interlude of a minuet by one of the performers, in the course of which he would frequently throw a somerset, as expert as old Grimaldi, and all this under a burning tropical sun.  These caboceers were dressed in robes of leopard skin, hung round with tassels and chains, and in a short time afterwards about twenty of them, in all their dirt and debasement, stretched at full length before the king, stripped to the waist, and vying with each other, which should have the most dust, and kiss the ground with the greatest fervour.  When any one speaks to the king, it must be addressed to him through the eunuch, who is prostrated by the side of his master.

On the 7th March, the travellers resumed their journey into the interior, and retracing their steps to Tshow, reached at noon the next day, the town of Algi, which was just rising from its ruins after the Fellata, inroad of the preceding year.  All the intermediate villages had shared the same fate.  Algi, according to the information received, no longer belonged to Youriba, but to the sultan of Kiama.  It comprised three small villages, and before it was burnt down had been of considerable size.  These marauders have a singular mode of setting fire to walled towns, by fastening combustibles to the tails of pigeons, which, on being loosed, fly to the tops of the thatched houses, while the assailants keep up a sharp fire of arrows, to prevent the inhabitants from extinguishing the flames.

On the 11th, the travellers once more crossed the Moussa, which formerly divided the kingdoms of Youriba and Borgoo.  It was now dry in a great many places, with a very rocky bed; when full, it is about thirty yards in breadth, and flows with a very strong current.  On the other side, the road to Kiama lay through a flat country, thickly wooded with fine trees, and inhabited by large antelopes.  These creatures are the most lively, graceful, and beautifully proportioned of the brute creation.  Wherever known, they have attracted the attention and admiration of mankind from the earliest ages, and the beauty of their dark and lustrous eyes affords a frequent theme to the poetical imaginings of the eastern poets.  The

Page 285

antelopes seen by Lander are by the Dutch called springbok, and inhabit the great plains of central Africa, and assemble in vast flocks during their migratory movements.  These migrations, which are said to take place in their most numerous form only at the intervals of several years, appear to come from the north-east, and in masses of many thousands, devouring, like locusts, every green herb.  The lion has been seen to migrate, and walk in the midst of the compressed phalanx, with only as much space between him and his victims as the fears of those immediately round could procure by pressing outwards.  The foremost of these vast columns are fat, and the rear exceedingly lean, while the direction continues one way; but with the change of the monsoon, when they return towards the north, the rear become the leaders, fattening in their turn, and leaving the others to starve, and to be devoured by the numerous rapacious animals, who follow their march.  At all times, when impelled by fear, either of the hunter or beasts of prey darting amongst the flocks, but principally when the herds are assembled in countless multitudes, so that an alarm cannot spread rapidly and open the means of flight, they are pressed against each other, and their anxiety to escape compels them to bound up in the air, showing at the same time the white spot on the croup, dilated by the effort, and closing again in their descent, and producing that beautiful effect from which they have obtained the name of the springer or springbok.

Early on the 13th, the travellers were met by an escort from the chief of Kiama, the capital of a district of the same name, and containing thirty thousand inhabitants.  Kiama, Wawa, Niki, and Boussa are provinces composing the kingdom of Borgoo, all subject, in a certain sense, to the sovereign of Boussa; but the different cities plunder and make war on each other, without the slightest regard to the supreme authority.  The people of Kiama and of Borgoo in general have the reputation of being the greatest thieves and robbers in all Africa, a character which nothing in their actual conduct appeared to confirm.  The escort were mounted on beautiful horses, and forming as fine and wild a looking troop as the travellers had ever seen.

By sultan Yarro himself the travellers were well received.  He was found seated at the porch of his door, dressed in a white tobe, with a red moorish cap on his head, attended by a mob of people, all lying prostrate, and talking to him in that posture.  He shook hands with Captain Clapperton, and after telling him who he was, and where he wished to go, he said, “Very well; I have assigned a house for you; you had better go and rest from the fatigues of your journey; a proper supply of provisions shall be sent you.”  The travellers took their leave, and repaired to the house prepared for them, which consisted of three large huts inside a square; they had not been long there, when a present arrived from Yarro, consisting

Page 286

of milk, eggs, bananas, fried cheese, curds, and foofoo.  The latter is the common food of both rich and poor in Youriba, and is of two kinds, white and black.  The former is merely a paste made of boiled yams, formed into balls of about one pound each.  The black is a more elaborate preparation from the flour of yams.  In the evening, Yarro paid the travellers a visit.  He came mounted on a beautiful red roan, attended by a number of armed men on horseback and on foot, and six young female slaves, naked as they were born, except a fillet of narrow white cloth tied round their heads, about six inches of the ends flying out behind, each carrying a light spear in the right hand.  He was dressed in a red silk damask tobe, and booted.  He dismounted and came into the house, attended by the six girls, who laid down their spears, and put a blue cloth round their waists, before they entered the door.  After a short conference, in which he promised the travellers all the assistance they solicited, sultan Yarro mounted his horse; the young spear-women resumed their spears, laying aside the encumbrance of their aprons, and away they went, the most extraordinary cavalcade, which the travellers had ever witnessed.  Their light form, the vivacity of their eyes, and the ease with which they appeared to fly over the ground, made these female pages appear something more than mortal, as they flew alongside of his horse, when he was galloping, and making his horse curvet and bound.  A man with an immense bundle of spears remained behind, at a little distance, apparently to serve as a magazine for the girls to be supplied from, when their master had expended those they carried in their hands.

Here, as in other large towns, there were music and dancing the whole of the night.  Men’s wives and maidens all join in the song and dance, Mahommedans as well as pagans; female chastity was very little regarded.

Kiama is a straggling, ill-built town, of circular thatched huts, built, as well as the town-wall, of clay.  It stands in latitude 9 deg. 37’ 33” N., longitude 5 deg. 22’ 56”, and is one of the towns through which the Houssa and Bornou caravan passes in its way to Gonga, on the borders of Ashantee.  Both the city and provinces are, as frequently happens in Africa, called after the chief Yarro, whose name signifies the boy.  The inhabitants are pagans of an easy faith, never praying but when they are sick or in want of something, and cursing their object of worship as fancy serves.  The Houssa slaves among them are Mahommedans, and are allowed to worship in their own way.  It is enough to call a man a native of Borgoo, to designate him as a thief and a murderer.

Page 287

Sultan Yarro was a most accommodating personage, he sent his principal queen to visit Captain Clapperton, but she had lost both her youth and her charms.  Yarro then inquired of Captain Clapperton, if he would take his daughter for a wife; to which Clapperton answered in the affirmative, thanking the sultan at the same time for his most gracious present.  On this, the old woman went out, and Clapperton followed with the king’s head-man, Abubecker, to the house of the daughter, which consisted of several coozies, separate from those of the father, and was shown into a very clean one; a mat was spread, he sat down, and the lady coming in and kneeling down, Clapperton asked her, if she would live in his house, or if he should come and live with her; she answered, whatever way he wished, “Very well,” replied Clapperton, “as you have the best house, I will come and live with you.”  The bargain was concluded, and the daughter of the sultan was, pro tempore, the wife of the gallant captain.

On the 18th, the travellers took their leave of sultan Yarro and his capital, and the fourth day reached Wawa, another territorial capital, built in the form of a square, and containing from eighteen to twenty thousand inhabitants.  It is surrounded with a good high clay wall and dry ditch, and is one of the neatest, most compact, and best walled towns that had yet been seen.  The streets are spacious and dry; the houses are of the coozie form, consisting of circular huts connected by a wall, opening into an interior area.  The governor’s house is surrounded with a clay wall, about thirty feet high, having large coozies, shady trees, and square towers inside.  Unlike their neighbours of Kiama, they bear a good character for honesty, though not for sobriety or chastity, virtues wholly unknown at Wawa; but they are merry, good natured, and hospitable.  They profess to be descended from the people of Nyffee and Houssa, but their language is a dialect of the Youribanee; their religion is a mongrel mahommedism grafted upon paganism.  Their women are much better looking than those of Youriba, and the men are well made, but have a debauched look; in fact, Lander says, he never was in a place where drunkenness was so general.  They appeared to have plenty of the necessaries of life, and a great many luxuries.  Their fruits are limes, plantains, bananas, and several wild fruits; their vegetables, yams and calalow, a plant, the leaves of which are used in soup as cabbage; and their grain are dhourra and maize.  Fish they procure in great quantities from the Quorra and its tributaries, chiefly a sort of cat-fish.  Oxen are in great plenty, principally in the hands of the Fellatas, also sheep and goats, poultry, honey, and wax.  Ivory and ostrich feathers, they said, were to be procured in great plenty, but there was no market for them.

It was at this place that Clapperton had nearly, though innocently, got into a scrape with the old governor by coquetting with a young and buxom widow, and, in fact, Lander himself experienced some difficulty in withstanding the amorous attack of this African beauty; for she acted upon the principle, that, as she could not succeed with the master, there was no obstacle existing that she knew of, to prevent her directing the battery of her fine black sparkling eyes against the servant.

Page 288

“I had a visit,” says Clapperton, “amongst the number, from the daughter of an Arab, who was very fair, called herself a white woman, was a rich widow, and wanted a white husband.  She was said to be the richest person in Wawa, having the best house in the town, and a thousand slaves.”  She showed a particular regard for Richard Lander, who was younger and better-looking than Clapperton; but she had passed her twentieth year, was fat, and a perfect Turkish beauty, just like a huge walking water-butt.  All her arts were, however, unavailing on the heart of Lander; she could not induce him to visit her at her house, although he had the permission of his master.

This gay widow appeared by no means disposed to waste any time by making regular approaches, like those by which widow Wadman undermined the outworks, and then the citadel of the unsuspecting uncle Toby, but she was determined at once to carry the object of her attack by storm.

The widow Zuma attempted in the first place to ingratiate herself with the Europeans, by sending them hot provisions every day in abundance, during their stay at Wawa.  She calculated very justly, that gratitude is the parent of love, and therefore imagined that as the Europeans could not be otherwise than grateful to her, for the delicacies, with which she so liberally supplied them, it would soon follow as a natural consequence, that their hearts would overflow with love; at all events it was not to be supposed, that both master and man could remain callous to the potency of her corporeal charms.  Finding, however, that the hearts of the Europeans were much like the rocks of her native land, perfectly impenetrable, she had recourse to another stratagem, which is generally attended with success.  In the enlightened and civilized country of Europe, or at least in that part of it called England, it is by no means an obsolete custom, for an individual, who wishes to ingratiate himself with the object of his affections, to bestow a valuable present on the waiting woman or abigail, who is a great deal about her person, and the eulogiums which she then passes upon the absent lover, are great and exuberant in proportion to the extent of the bribe.  A female, whoever she may be, whether a Middlesex virgin, or a Wawa widow, delights not only to have some one to whom she can speak of the object of her attachment, but who will be continually speaking to her of him, and as it appears that the female character is very nearly the same in the interior of Africa, as in the latitude of London, it is by no means a matter of surprise, that the amorous widow enlisted Pascoe, the black servant of Clapperton, in her cause, by offering him in the way of a bribe, a handsome female slave as a wife, if he would manage to bring about an interview at her own house, between either Clapperton or Lander, expressing herself at the same time not to be very particular as to which of the two this interview was obtained with.  Clapperton it appears

Page 289

had greater confidence in himself than Lander could boast of, and the former considering himself proof against all the arts and fascinations of the widow, and wishing at the same time to see the interior arrangement of her house, he determined to pay her a visit.  He found her house large, and full of male and female slaves, the males lying about the outer huts, the females more in the interior.  In the centre of the huts was a square one, of large dimensions, surrounded by a verandah, with screens of matting all round, except in one place, where there was hung a tanned bullock’s hide; to this spot he was led up, and on its being drawn on one side, he saw the lady sitting cross-legged on a small Turkey carpet, like one of our hearth-rugs, a large leathern cushion under her left knee; her goora pot, which was an old-fashioned pewter mug, by her side, and a calabash of water to wash her mouth out, as she alternately kept eating goora and chewing tobacco snuff, the custom with all ranks, male and female, who can procure them; on her right side lay a whip.  At a little distance, squatted on the ground, sat a dwarfish, humpbacked female slave, with a wide mouth, but good eyes.  She had no clothing on, with the exception of a profusion of strings of beads and coral round her neck and waist.  This dwarfish personage served the purpose of a bell in our country, and what, it may be supposed, would in old times have been called a page.  The lady herself was dressed in a white coarse muslin turban, her neck profusely decorated with necklaces of coral and gold chains, amongst which was one of rubies and gold beads; her eyebrows and eyelashes were blackened, her hair dyed with indigo, and her hands and feet with henna; around her body she had a fine striped silk and cotton country cloth, which came as high as her tremendous bosom, and reached as low as her ankles; in her right hand she held a fan made of stained grass, and of a square form.  She desired Clapperton to sit down on the carpet beside her, an invitation which he accepted, and in an alluring manner she began to fan him, at the same time sending humpback to bring out her finery for him to look at, which consisted of four gold bracelets, two large paper dressing-cases with looking-glasses, and several strings of coral, silver rings, and bracelets, with a number of other trifling articles.  After a number of compliments, and giving her favoured visitor an account of all her wealth, he was led through one apartment into another, cool, clean, and ornamented with pewter dishes and bright brass pans.  She now entered into the history of her private life, commencing with bewailing the death of her husband, who had now been dead ten years, during all of which time she had mourned after him excessively.  She had one son, the issue of her marriage, but he was much darker than herself.  With a frankness perfectly commendable in an African widow, and wholly at variance with the hypocritical and counterfeit bashfulness

Page 290

of the English one, the widow Zuma at once exposed the situation of her heart, by declaring that she sincerely loved white men, and as her visitor belonged to that species, he saw himself at once the object of her affections, and the envy of all the aspiring young bachelors of the town, who had been for some time directing a vigorous attack against the widow’s heart.  The denouement of an English court-ship is frequently distinguished by an elopement; but although it was the last of Clapperton’s thoughts to run away with such an unwieldy mass of human flesh, yet she very delicately proposed to him, that she would send for a malem, or man of learning, who should read the fetah to them, or, in other words, that no time whatever should be lost in endowing the widow Zuma with all claim, right, title, and privilege to be introduced at the court of Wawa, or any other court in Africa, or even at that time at the virtuous and formal court of queen Charlotte of England, as the spouse of Captain Clapperton, of the royal navy of Great Britain.

Clapperton was now convinced that the widow was beginning to carry the joke a little too far, for she assured him, that she should commence immediately to pack up all her property, and accompany him to his native country, assuring him, at the same time, that she felt within herself every requisite qualification to make him a good, active, and affectionate wife.  Clapperton, however, was by no means disposed to enter so suddenly into a matrimonial speculation, and he began to look rather serious at the offer which was so unexpectedly, but so lovingly made to him.  This being observed by the widow, she sent for her looking-glass, and after having taken a full examination of herself, in every position which the glass would allow her, she offered it to Clapperton, observing, that certainly she was a little older than he was, but that circumstance, in her opinion, should not operate as a bar to their matrimonial union.  This was rather too much for Clapperton to endure, and, taking the first opportunity, he made his retreat with all possible expedition, determining never to come to such close quarters again with the amorous widow.

On his arrival at his residence, Clapperton could not refrain from laughing at his adventure with the African widow, and informed Lander, that he had now an opportunity of establishing himself for life; for although he had rejected the matrimonial advances of the widow, there was little doubt, that, rather than not obtain a husband, she would not hesitate to make the offer of her hand to any other white man, who might present himself.  Lander, however, was still more averse from matrimony than his master, at least with the African beauty; and although a frequent invitation was sent to him, yet he very politely declined the acceptance of it, and therefore, as far as the Europeans were concerned, the widow remained without a husband.

Page 291

Lander gives us no very flattering account of the character of the inhabitants.  In the town of Wawa, which is supposed to contain 20,000 inhabitants, he does not believe the virtue of chastity to exist.  Even the widow Zuma let out her female slaves for hire, like the rest of the people of the town.  Drinking is the prevailing vice amongst all classes, nor is it confined to the male sex, for Clapperton was for three or four days pestered by the governor’s daughter, who used to come several times during the day, painted and bedizened in the highest style of Wawa fashion, but she was always half tipsy.  This lady, like the widow, had also a design upon the hearts of the Europeans.  On some of these occasions, she expressed her extreme readiness to prolong her visit during the whole of the night, but Clapperton informed her, that at night he was employed in prayer, and looking at the stars, an occupation which she could not comprehend; and further he told her, that he never drank any thing stronger than wa-in-zafir, a name which they give to tea, literally, however, being hot water.  Not being able to soften the obdurate heart of Clapperton, nor to wean him from the unsociable habit of looking at the stars at night, she always left him with a flood of tears.

In this part of Borgoo, as well as in the neighbourhood of Algi, and in all the countries between them and the sea, that Lander passed through, he met with tribes of Fellatas, nearly white, who are not moslem, but pagan.  “They are certainly,” he says, “the same people, as they speak the same language, and have the same features and colour, except those who have crossed with the negro.  They are as fair as the lower class of Portuguese or Spaniards, lead a pastoral life, shifting from place to place as they find grass for their horned cattle, and live in temporary huts of reeds or long grass.”

From Wawa there are two roads leading to the Fellata country, one by Youri, the other through Nyffee.  The former was reported to be unsafe, the sultan of the country being out, fighting the Fellatas.  The latter crosses the Quorra at Comie, and runs direct to Koolfu, in Nyffee.  It was necessary, however, for Clapperton to proceed in the first instance to Boussa, to visit its sultan, to whom all this part of Borgoo is nominally subject.  They were also particularly anxious to see the spot where Park and his companions perished, and, if possible, to recover their papers.

Leaving Wawa at daybreak on the 30th March, the travellers passed over a woody country, and at length entered a range of low rocky hills, composed of pudding stone.  At the end of an opening in the range was a beautiful sugar loaf mountain, overlooking all the rest, and bearing from the village half a mile E. S. E. The name of Mount George was given to it by Clapperton.  The valleys were cultivated with yams, corn, and maize; and on the same day the travellers arrived at Ingum, the first village belonging to Boussa, situated on

Page 292

the north-eastern side of the hills.  At four hours from Ingum, they halted at a village of the Cumbrie or Cambric, an aboriginal race of kaffirs, inhabiting the woods on both sides of the river.  About an hour further, they arrived at the ferry over the Menai, where it falls into another branch of the Quorra, and in about a quarter of an hour’s ride from the opposite bank, they entered the western gate of Boussa.  The walls, which appeared very extensive, were undergoing repair.  Bands of male and female slaves, singing in chorus, accompanied by a band of drums and flutes, were passing to and from the river, to mix the clay they were building with.  Every great man had his own part of the wall to build, like the Jews when they built the walls of Jerusalem, every one opposite to his own house.

The city of Boussa is situated on an island formed by the Quorra, in latitude 10 deg. 14’ N. longitude 6 deg. 11’ E. It stands nearest the westernmost branch of the Menai, which is about twenty yards in breadth, and runs with a slow and sluggish current.  The place pointed out to Lander as the spot where Park perished, is in the eastern channel.  A low flat island about a quarter of a mile in breadth, lies between the town of Boussa and the fatal spot, which is in a line from the sultan’s house with a double trunked tree, with white bark, standing singly on the low flat island.  The bank, at the time of Lander’s visit, was only ten feet above the level of the stream, which here breaks over a great slate rock, extending quite across to the eastern shore, which rises into gentle hills of grey slate, thinly scattered with trees.

The following statement of the circumstances attending the lamented fate of Mr. Park, was given to the travellers by an eyewitness, and together with all the information which they could collect, tallies with the story, disbelieved at the time, which Isaaco brought back from Amadi Fatooma.  The informant stated “that when the boat came down the river, it happened unfortunately just at the time that the Fellatas had risen in arms, and were ravaging Goober and Zamfra; that the sultan of Boussa, on hearing that the persons in the boat were white men, and that it was different from any that had ever been seen before, as she had a house at one end, called his people together from the neighbouring towns, attacked and killed them, not doubting they were the advanced guard of the Fellata army, then ravaging Soudan, under the command of Malem Danfodio, the father of sultan Bello.  That one of the white men was a tall man, with long hair; that they fought for three days before they were all killed, that the people in the neighbourhood were very much alarmed, and great numbers fled to Nyffee, and other countries, thinking that the Fellatas were certainly coming amongst them; that the number of persons in the boat were only four, two white men and two black; that they found great treasure in the boat, but that the people had all died, who ate of the meat that was found on board.”

Page 293

This meat according to another native informant, was believed on that account to be human flesh, for they knew, it was added, that we white men eat human flesh.  Lander afterwards received the following additional information from a mallam or priest, whom he met with at Wawa, and who tendered it spontaneously.  “The sultan of Youri advised your countrymen to proceed the remainder of the way on land, as the passage by water was rendered dangerous by numerous sunken rocks in the Niger, and a cruel race of people inhabiting the towns on its banks.”  They refused, however, to accede to this, observing that they were bound to proceed down the Niger to the salt water.  The old mallam further observed, that as soon as the sultan of Youri heard of their death, he was much affected, but it was out of his power to punish the people, who had driven them into the water.  A pestilence reached Boussa at the time, swept off the king and most of the habitants, particularly those who were concerned in the transaction.  The remainder fancying it was a judgment of the white man’s God, placed everything belonging to the Christians in a hut, and set it on fire.  It is not a little remarkable, that it is now a common saying, all through the interior of Africa, “Do not hurt a Christian, for if you do, you will die like the people of Boussa.”  On Clapperton waiting on the sultan of Boussa, he was as usual very kindly received; his first inquiry was concerning some white men, who were lost in the river, some twenty years ago, near this place.

The sultan appeared rather uneasy at these inquiries, and it was observed that he stammered in his speech.  He assured both Clapperton and Lander, that he had not any thing in his possession belonging to the white men, and that he was a little boy when the event happened.  Clapperton told him that he wanted nothing but the books and papers, and to learn from him a correct account of the manner of their death; and, with the sultan’s permission, he would go and visit the place where they were lost.  To this request, the sultan gave a decided refusal, alleging that it was a very bad place.  Clapperton, however, having heard that part of the boat remained, inquired if such were really the case; to which the sultan replied, that there was no truth whatever in the report; that she did remain on the rocks for some time after, but had gone to pieces and floated down the river long ago.  Clapperton told the sultan, that, if he would give him the books and papers, it would be the greatest favour he could possibly confer on him.  The sultan again assured him, that nothing remained with him; every thing of books or papers having gone into the hands of the learned men; but that, if any were in existence, he would procure them, and give them to him.  Clapperton then asked him, if he would allow him to inquire of the old people in the town the particulars of the affair, as some of them must have witnessed the transaction.  The sultan appeared very uneasy, and as he did not return any answer, Clapperton did not press him further at that time upon the subject.

Page 294

Some unpleasant suspicions floating on the mind of Clapperton, he took the first opportunity of returning to the subject, and on again inquiring about the papers of his unfortunate countryman, the sultan said, that the late iman, a Fellata, had had possession of all the books and papers, and that he had fled from Boussa some time since.  This, therefore, was a death-blow to all future inquiries in that quarter, and the whole of the information concerning the affair of the boat, her crew, and cargo, was indefinite and unsatisfactory.  Every one, in fact, appeared uneasy when any information was required; and they always stifled any further inquiry by vaguely answering, that it happened before their remembrance, or they had forgotten it, or they had not seen it.  They, however, pointed out the place where the boat struck and the unfortunate crew perished.  Even this, however, was done with caution, and as if by stealth, although in every thing unconnected with that affair, they were most ready to give the travellers whatever information they required, and in no part of Africa were they treated with greater hospitality and kindness.

The place where the vessel was sunk is in the eastern channel, where the river breaks over a grey slate rock extending quite across it.  A little lower down, the river had a fall of three or four feet.  Here, and still further down, the whole united streams of the Quorra were not above three-fourths the breadth of the Thames at Somerset-house.

On returning to the ferry, Clapperton found a messenger from the king of Youri, who had sent him a present of a camel.

The messenger stated, that the king, before he left Youri, had shown him two books, very large and printed, that had belonged to the white men, who were lost in the boat at Boussa; that he had been offered one hundred and seventy mitgalls of gold for them, by a merchant from Bornou, who had been sent by a Christian on purpose for them.  Clapperton advised him to tell the king that he ought to have sold them, for that he would not give five mitgalls for them; but that, if he would send them, he would give him an additional present, and that he would be doing an acceptable thing to the king of England by sending them, and that he would not act like a king, if he did not.  Clapperton gave the messenger, for his master, one of the mock gold chains, a common sword, and ten yards of silk, adding that he would give him a handsome gun and some more silk, if he would send the books.  On asking the messenger, if there were any books like his journal, which he showed him, he said there was one, but that his master had given it to an Arab merchant ten years ago; the merchant, however, was killed by the Fellatas, on his way to Kano, and what had become of that book afterwards, he did not know.

Page 295

Upon this, Clapperton sent a person with a letter to Youri.  Mohammed, the Fezzaner, whom he had hired at Tabra, and whom he had sent to the chief of Youri for the books and papers of the late Mungo Park, returned, bringing him a letter from that person, which contained the following account of the death of that unfortunate traveller.  That not the least injury was done to him at Youri, or by the people of that country; that the people of Boussa had killed them, and taken all their riches; that the books in his possession were given him by the iman of Boussa; that they were lying on the top of the goods in the boat when she was taken; that not a soul was left alive belonging to the boat; that the bodies of two black men were found in the boat, chained together; that the white men jumped overboard; that the boat was made of two canoes joined fast together, with an awning or roof behind; that he, the sultan, had a gun, double barrelled, and a sword, and two books, that had belonged to those in the boat; that he would give the books whenever Clapperton went himself to Youri for them, but not until then.

This is, however, not exactly what the sultan says, in his letter, of which the following is a translation:—­

“This is issued from the prince or lord of Yaoury to Abdallah, the English captain—­salutation and esteem.  Hence your messenger has arrived, and brought us your letter, and we understand what you write; you inquire about a thing that has no trace with us.  The prince or lord of Boossy is older (or greater) than us, because he is our grandfather.  Why did you not inquire of him about what you wish for?  You were at Boossy, and did not inquire of the inhabitants what was the cause of the destruction of the ship and your friends, nor what happened between them of evil; but you do now inquire of one who is far off, and knows nothing of the cause of their (the Christians’) destruction.

“As to the book, which is in our hand, it is true, and we did not give it to your messenger; but we will deliver it to you, if you come and show us a letter from your lord.  You shall then see and have it, if God be pleased; and much esteem and salam be to you, and prayer and peace unto the last of the apostles!


This may be considered as the conclusion of the information which was obtained respecting the fate of Park; although Clapperton expresses it to be his opinion, but founded on very slender grounds, that the journal of Park is yet to be recovered.

On leaving Boussa, Clapperton retraced his steps to the Cumbrie villages, and then turned to the south-south-west to another of their villages, named Songa, situated on the banks of the Quorra.  About two hours above Songa, there is a formidable cataract, “where,” Lander observes, “if Park had passed Boussa in safety, he would have been in danger of perishing, unheard and unseen.”  An hour and a half below Songa, the Quorra rushes with great force through

Page 296

a natural gap, such it seems to be, between porphyritic rocks rising on each side of the channel.  Between Songa and this place, the river is full of rocky islets and rapids, and these occur occasionally all the way down to Wonjerque, or the king’s ferry at the village of Comie, where it is all in one stream, about a quarter of a mile in width, and ten or twelve feet deep in the middle.  This is the great ferry of all the caravans to and from Nyffee, Houssa, and is only a few hours from Wawa.

On reaching this ferry, Clapperton was told, that, so far from his baggage having been sent on to Koolfu, it had been stopped at Wawa, by order of the governor; but this extraordinary proceeding was in some degree accounted for, as it appeared that although neither Clapperton nor Lander would have any thing to do with the corpulent widow Zuma, she was determined not to let them off so easily, and, to their great surprise, the travellers heard that she was at a neighbouring village, from which she sent them a present of some boiled rice and a fowl, giving them, at the same time, a pressing invitation to come and stop at her house.  The governor’s son informed Clapperton, that his baggage would not be allowed to leave Wawa till the widow Zuma was sent back.  “What the d—–­l have I to do with the widow?” asked Clapperton.—­“You have,” he replied; “and you must come back with me and take her.”  Clapperton, however, refused, in the most positive terms, to have any thing to do with or to say to her.  At this moment Lander returned from Boussa, whither he had followed his master, to acquaint him with the detention of his baggage; all of which was owing to the widow having left Wawa about half an hour after he did, with drums beating before her, and a train after her, first calling at his lodgings, before she waited on the governor.  It was also ascertained that she had given old Pascoe a female slave for a wife, without having previously asked the governor’s permission.  The widow had also intimated her intention to follow the travellers to Kano, whence she would return to make war on the governor, as she had done once before.  “This,” said Clapperton, “let me into their politics with a vengeance; it would indeed have been a fine end to my journey, if I had deposed old Mahommed, and set up for myself, with a walking tun-butt for a queen.”  Clapperton, however, determined to go back to Wawa, to release his baggage; and scarcely had he got there, when the arrival of the buxom widow was announced, her appearance and escort being as grand as she could make it, hoping thereby to make an impression upon the flinty hearts of the Europeans.  The following is the description of her dress and escort:—­ Preceding her marched a drummer, beating the instrument with all his power, his cap being profusely decked with ostrich feathers.  A bowman walked on foot, at the head of her horse, a long train following, consisting of tall, strong men, armed with spears, bows, and swords.  She rode on a fine horse, whose

Page 297

trappings were of the first order for this semi-civilized country; the head of the horse was ornamented with brass-plates, the neck with brass bells, and charms sewed in various coloured leather, such as red, green, and yellow; a scarlet breast-piece, with a brass plate in the centre; scarlet saddle-cloth, trimmed with lace.  She was dressed in red silk trousers and morocco boots; on her head a white turban, and over her shoulders a mantle of silk and gold.  For the purpose of properly balancing her ponderous frame on the horse, she rode in the style of the men, a-straddle; and perhaps a more unwieldy mass never pressed upon the loins of an animal; had she, however, been somewhat younger, and less corpulent, there might have been some temptation to head her party, for she certainly had been a very handsome woman, and such as would have been thought a beauty in any country in Europe.

The widow was summoned before the governor; went on her knees, and, after a lecture on disobedience and vanity, was dismissed; but on turning her back, she shook the dust off her feet with great indignation and contempt; “and,” says Clapperton, “I went home, determined never to be caught in such a foolish affair in future.”

The travellers, having secured their baggage, returned to the ferry, and crossed the Quorra.  They were now on the high-road to Koolfu, the emporium of Nyffee.  In the course of the first two stages, they came to two villages full of blacksmiths’ shops, with several forges in each.  They got their iron ore from the hills, which they smelt, where they dig it.  In every village they saw a fetish house in good repair, adorned with painted figures of human beings, as also the boa, the alligator, and the tortoise.  The country is well cultivated with corn, yams, and cotton; but the ant-hills were the highest the travellers had ever seen, being from fifteen to twenty feet high, and resembling so many gothic cathedrals in miniature.

In the afternoon of the third day, they crossed a stream called the May Yarrow, opposite the town of Tabra, by a long narrow wooden bridge of rough branches covered with earth, the first that they had seen in Africa; it will not, however, bear a man and horse, nor can two horses pass at once.  Tabra, which is divided by the river into two quarters, was at this time the residence of the queen-mother of Nyffee, who was governor ad interim during the absence of her son.  It may contain from eighteen to twenty thousand inhabitants, who, with a few exceptions, are pagans, and they all, men and women, have the reputation of being great drunkards.  There are only a few blacksmiths here, but a great number of weavers.  The Houssa caravans pass close to the north side of the town, but seldom enter it.  Before the civil war began, the Benin people came here to trade.  The war, which was still raging, originated in a dispute for the succession, between Mohammed El Majia, the son of the queen-mother, who was a moslem, and Edrisi, who was represented to be a pagan.  The former was supported by the Fellatas, whom the people of Nyffee cannot endure; the other had the best right and the people on his side, but there was little doubt of his being obliged to succumb.

Page 298

Clapperton, accompanied by Lander, repaired to the camp, to pay his respects to El Majia.  He was found mounted on a good bay horse, the saddle ornamented with pieces of silver and brass; the breastplate with large silver plates hanging down from it, like what is represented in the prints of Roman and eastern emperors on horseback.  He was a tall man, with a stupid expression of countenance, a large mouth, and snagged teeth, which showed horribly, when he attempted a smile.  His dress consisted of a black velvet cap, with flaps over the ears, and trimmed with red silk; a blue and white striped tobe, and ragged red boots, part leather and part cloth; in his hand he bore a black staff with a silver head, and a coast-made umbrella and sword were carried by his slaves.  Altogether his appearance was far from being either kingly or soldier-like, and he displayed the most mean degree of rapacity.  He was the ruin of his country by his unnatural ambition, and by calling in the Fellatas, who would remove him out of the way the moment he is of no more use to them.  Even then, he dared not move without their permission.  It was reported, and generally believed, that he put to death his brother and two of his sons.  Through him the greater part of the industrious population of Nyffee had either been killed, sold as slaves, or had fled from their native country.  Lander considered that it would have been an act of charity to have removed him altogether.

The sanson, or camp, was a large collection of bee-hive-shaped huts, arranged in streets, and thatched with straw.  But for the number of horses feeding, and some picketed near the huts, the men being all seen armed, and the drums beating, it might have been taken for a populous and peaceful village.  Here were to be seen weavers, tailors, women spinning cotton, others reeling it off; some selling foofoo and accassons, others crying yams and paste; little markets at every green tree; holy men counting their beads, and dissolute slaves drinking wabum, palm wine.  The king, when the travellers went to take leave of him, was found in his hut, surrounded by Fellatas, one of whom was reading the Koran aloud for the benefit of the whole, the meaning of which not one of them understood, not even the reader.  It is by no means an uncommon occurrence, both in Bornou and Houssa, for a man to be able to read the Koran fluently, who does not understand a word in it but Allah, and who is unable to read any other book.

On the 2nd of May the travellers left Tabra, and journeying along the banks of the May Yarrow, crossed a stream running into it from the north, and soon after entered the great market town of Koolfu.  Captain Clapperton, it would appear, was doomed to be brought into contact with the rich widows of the country, for in this town he took up his abode with the widow Laddie, huge, fat, and deaf, but reputed to be very rich.  She was a general dealer, selling salt, natron, et cetera,

Page 299

et cetera, et cetera; but she was more particularly famous for her booza and wabum. The former is made from a mixture of dourra, honey, chili-pepper, the root of a coarse grass on which the cattle feed, and a proportion of water; these are allowed to ferment in large earthen jars, placed near a slow fire for four or five days, when the booza is drawn off into other jars, and is fit to drink.  It is very fiery and intoxicating, but is drunk freely both by moslem and pagans.  Every night, a large outer hut belonging to the widow, was filled with the topers of Koolfu, who kept it up generally till dawn, with music and drink.  The former consisted of the erhab or Arab guitar, the drum, the Nyffee harp, and the voice.  Their songs were mostly extempore, and alluded to the company present.

On the night of the travellers’ arrival, the new moon was seen, which put an end to the fast of Rhamadan.  It was welcomed both by moslems and kaffirs with a cry of joy, and the next day, the town exhibited a scene of general festivity.  Every one was dressed in his best, paying and receiving visits, giving and receiving presents, parading the streets with horns, guitars, and flutes, whilst groupes of men and women were seen seated under the shade at their doors, or under trees, drinking wabum or booza.

The women were dressed and painted to the height of Nyffee fashion, and the young and the modest on this day would come up and salute the men, as if old acquaintance, and bid them joy on the day; with the wool on their heads dressed, plaited, and dyed with indigo; their eyebrows painted with indigo, the eyelashes with khol, the lips stained yellow, the teeth red, and their feet and hands stained with henna; their finest and gayest clothes on; all their finest beads on their necks; their arms and legs adorned with bracelets of glass, brass, and silver; their fingers with rings of brass, pewter, silver, and copper; some had Spanish dollars soldered on the back of the rings; they too drank of the booza and wabum as freely as the men, joining in their songs, whether good or bad.  In the afternoon parties of men were seen dancing, free men and slaves, all were alike; not a clouded brow was to be seen in Koolfu.  But at nine in the evening, the scene was changed from joy and gladness to terror and dismay:  a tornado had just begun, and the hum of voices, and the din of the people putting their things under cover from the approaching storm, had ceased at once.  All was silent as death, except the thunder and the wind.  The cloudy sky appeared as if on fire, each cloud rolling onwards as a sea of flame, and only surpassed in grandeur and brightness by the forked lightning, which constantly seemed to ascend and descend from what was then evidently the town of Bali on fire, only a short distance outside the walls of Koolfu.  When this was extinguished a new scene began, if possible, worse than the first.  The wind had increased to a hurricane.  Houses

Page 300

were blown down; Roofs of houses going along with the wind like chaff, the shady trees in the town bending and breaking; and in the intervals between the roaring of the thunder, nothing was heard but the war cry of the men and the screams of women and children, as no one knew but that an enemy was at hand, and that they should every instant share in the fate of Bali.  At last the rain fell, the fire at Bali had ceased by the town being wholly burnt down, and all was quiet and silent, as if the angel of extermination had brandished his sword over the devoted country.

Koolfu or Koolfie stands on the northern bank of the May Garrow, and contains from twelve to fifteen thousand inhabitants, including slaves.  It is built in the form of an oblong square, surrounded with a clay wall, about twenty feet high, with four gates.  There are a great number of dyers, tailors, blacksmiths, and weavers, but all these, together with the rest of the townsfolk, are engaged in traffic.  There are besides the daily market, general markets every Monday and Saturday, which are resorted to by traders from all quarters:  Youriba, Borgoo, Soccatoo, Houssa, Nyffee, and Benin.  The caravans from Bornou and Houssa, which halt at Koolfu a considerable time, bring horses, natron, unwrought silk, silk cord, beads, Maltese swords from Bengazi, remounted at Kano; clothes made up in the moorish fashion, Italian looking glasses, such as sell for one penny and upwards at Malta, tobes undyed, made in Bornou, khol for the eyelids, a small quantity of attar of roses, much adulterated, gums from Mecca, silks from Egypt, moorish caps, and slaves.  The latter who are intended for sale, are confined in the house mostly in irons, and are seldom allowed to go out of it, except to the well or river every morning to wash.  They are strictly guarded on a journey, and chained neck to neck, or else tied neck to neck by a long rope of raw hide, and carry loads on their heads, consisting of their master’s goods or household stuff; these loads are generally from fifty to sixty pounds weight.  A stranger may remain a long time in a town without seeing any of the slaves, except by accident or by making a particular inquiry.  Although professedly moslem, religion had not yet moulded the society of the Koolfuans into the usual gloomy monotony, nor had it succeeded in secluding or subjecting the female sex, who on the contrary, were the most active agents in every mercantile transaction.  In the widow Laddie’s house, no fewer than twenty-one of these female merchants were lodged at the same time that Clapperton and Lander took up their abode with her, and it may be easily supposed, that the Europeans led a most pleasant life of it.  An African hut is by no means at any time an abode which an European would covet, but in addition to the suffocating heat, the mosquitoes, and many other nameless inconveniences, to be congregated with twenty or thirty females, not carrying about them the most delicious odour in the

Page 301

world, and making the welkin ring again with their discordant screams, there denominated singing, is a consummation by no means devoutly to be wished.  In addition to other nuisances, the organ of amativeness, as the phrenologists would have it, was strongly developed in some of the skulls of the ladies, and displayed themselves in their actions towards the Europeans, who not being disposed to return their amorous advances, often made a precipitate retreat out of the hut, not being aware at the time that by avoiding Sylla, they ran a great risk of failing into Charybdis.  The widow Laddie, although huge, fat, and deaf, was by no means of a cold, phlegmatic or saturnine disposition—­many a wistful look she cast towards Lander, but he either would not or could not comprehend their meaning, and to punish him for his stupidity, she took care that he should not comprehend any of the significant glances, which were cast towards him by the more juvenile portion of the community.  To protect him from this danger, the kind widow attended him whithersoever he went, to the great annoyance of Lander, who, in order to escape from such a living torment, betook himself to a more distant part of the town, or explored its vicinity, although very little presented itself to attract his immediate attention.

The following is the manner in which the good people of Koolfu fill up the twenty-four hours.  At daylight, the whole household rise.  The women begin to clean the house, the men to wash from head to foot; the women and children are then washed in water, in which has been boiled the leaf of a bush called bambarnia. When this is done, breakfast of cocoa is served out, every one having their separate dish, the women and children eating together.  After breakfast, the women and children rub themselves over with the pounded red wood and a little grease, which lightens the darkness of the black skin.  A score or patch of the red powder is put on some place, where it will show to the best advantage.  The eyes are blacked with khol.  The mistress and the better-looking females stain their teeth, and the inside of the lips, of a yellow colour, with goora, the flower of the tobacco plant, and the bark of a root; the outer parts of the lips, hair, and eyebrows are stained with shunt, or prepared indigo.  Then the women, who attend the market, prepare their wares for sale, and when ready, set off, ten or twelve in a party, and following each at a stated distance.  Many of these trains are seen, and their step is, so regular, that if they had been drilled by a sergeant of the foot-guards in England, they could not perform their motions with greater exactitude.  The elderly women prepare, clean, and spin cotton at home, and cook the victuals; the younger females are generally sent round the town, selling the small rice balls, fried beans, &c., and bringing back a supply of water for the day.  The master of the house generally takes a walk to the market, or sits in the shade at the door of his

Page 302

hut, hearing the news, or speaking of the price of natron or other goods.  The weavers are daily employed at their trade; some are sent to cut wood, and bring it to market; others to bring grass for the horses that may belong to the house, or to take to the market to sell.  A number of people at the commencement of the rainy season, are employed in clearing the ground for sowing the maize and millet, some are sent on distant journeys to buy and sell for their master or mistress, and they very rarely betray their trust.  About noon, they return home, when all have a mess of the pudding called tvaki, or boiled beans.  About two or three in the afternoon, they return to their different employments, on which they remain until near sunset, when they count their gains to their master or mistress, who receives it, and puts it carefully away in their strong room.  They then have a meal of pudding, and a little fat or stew.  The mistress of the house, when she goes to rest, has her feet put into a cold poultice of the pounded henna leaves.  The young then go to dance and play, if it be moonlight, and the old to lounge and converse in the open square of the house, or in the outer coozie, where they remain until the cool of the night, or till the approach of morning drives them into shelter.

The majority of the inhabitants of Koolfu are professedly Mahommedans; the rest are pagans, who once a year, in common with the other people of Nyffee, repair to a high hill in one of the southern provinces, on which they sacrifice a black bull, a black sheep, and a black dog.  On their fetish houses are sculptured, as in Youriba, the lizard, the crocodile, the tortoise, and the boa, with sometimes human figures.  Their language is a dialect of the Youribanee, but the Houssa is that of the market.  They are civil, but the truth is not in them; and to be detected in a lie is not the smallest disgrace; it only causes a laugh.  The men drink very hard, even the Mahommedans and the women are not particularly celebrated for their chastity, although they succeeded in cheating both Clapperton and Lander; they were not, however, robbed of a single article, and they were uniformly treated with perfect respect.  The people seem, indeed, by no means devoid of kindness of disposition.  When the town of Bali was burned down, every person sent next day what they could spare of their goods, to assist the unfortunate inhabitants.  In civilized England, when a fire takes place, thieving and robbery are the order of the day, but during the conflagration at Bali, not an article was stolen.

To their domestic slaves, they behave with the greatest humanity, looking upon them almost as children of the family.  The males are often freed, and the females given in marriage to free men, or to other domestic slaves.  The food of the slave and the free is nearly the same.  The greatest man or woman in the country is not ashamed, at times, to let the slaves eat of the same dish; but a woman is never allowed to eat with a man.  With a people, who have neither established law nor government, it is surprising that they are so good and moral as they are; it is true, they will cheat if they can, but amongst the civilized nations, who have both laws and government, cheating is by no means a rare occurrence, and by those too, who are the loudest in the professions of their honesty and integrity.

Page 303

The country round Koolfu is a level plain, well cultivated, and studded with little walled towns and villages along the banks of the May Yarrow, and of a little river running into it from the north.  Between the walled towns of Bullabulla and Rajadawa, the route passed through plantations of grain, indigo, and cotton; the soil clay mixed with sand, with here and there large blocks of sandstone, containing nodules of iron and veins of iron-stone.

At five days from Koolfu, the route entered at the town of Wazo, or Wazawo, the district of Koteng Koro, formerly included in Kashna; and for another five days’ journey through a rich and beautiful valley, and over woody hills, the travellers reached Womba, a large walled town, where the caravans both from the east and the west generally halt a day or two, and where, as at Wazo, a toll is levied on merchandise.  The town stands on a rising ground, at the eastern head of a valley watered by a small stream, having three bare rocky hills of granite to the north, east, and south.  The inhabitants may amount to between ten and twelve thousand souls.  The travellers were here objects of much kindness; the principal people of the place sent presents, and the lower ranks sought to obtain a sight of them by mounting the trees which overlooked their residence.  The Koran does not seem to have much embarrassed these people; their only mode of studying it was to have the characters written with a black substance on a piece of board, then to wash them off and drink the water; and when asked what spiritual benefit could be derived from the mere swallowing of dirty water, they indignantly retorted, “What! do you call the name of God dirty water?” This mode of imbibing sacred truth is indeed extensively pursued throughout the interior of the African continent.

On the second day from Womba, the travellers passed through another large and populous town, called Akinjie, where also kafilas pay toll; beyond which, the route lay for two days over a very hilly country, for the most part covered with wood, and but little cultivated, till they approached Guari.

This town, the capital of a district of the same name, formerly included in Kashna, is built partly on a hill, and partly in a narrow valley, through which runs a muddy stream, that is dry in summer; this stream, the source of which is only a day’s journey distant, divides in one part the states of Kotong Kora and Guari, and falls into the Kodonia in Nyffee.  The district of Guari was conquered by the Fellatas, in a short time after their rising, together with the rest of Houssa.  On the death of old Bello, the father of the then reigning sovereign, these districts, with the greater part of Kashna, joined in the towia, or confederacy, against the Fellatas.  The chief of Zamfra was the first to shake the spear of rebellion, and he was soon joined by the natives of Goober, and the northern parts of Kashna, by Guari and Kotong Kora, and at length by the states of Youri, Cubbi, Doura, and the southern part of Zeg Zeg.  The strength of Youri is said to lie in the bravery of its inhabitants, and the number of horse they can bring into the field, amounting to a thousand.  Clapperton was, however, disposed to place their real strength in the hilly and woody nature of their country.

Page 304

Futika, the frontier town of Zeg Zeg, was reached on the second day from Guari; and at Zaria, where the travellers arrived on the fourth, they found themselves in a city almost wholly peopled by Fellatas, who have mosques with minarets, and live in flat-roofed houses.  The population is said to exceed that of Kano, and must contain above fifty thousand inhabitants.  A great number of the inhabitants are from Foota Ronda and Foota Torra, the Foulahs and Fellatas being, in fact, the same people.  The people from the west professed to be well acquainted with both the English and the French, and they rattled over the names of the towns between Sierra Leone and the Senegal and Timbuctoo.  They were armed with French fusees, preferring the guns of the French and the powder of the English.

The old city of Zaria was taken by the Fellatas, within a month after they had made themselves masters of the provinces of Goober and Zamfra, about thirty years ago.  It took a siege of two days, when it was evacuated by the sultan and the greater part of the inhabitants, who took refuge in hills south and west, where they still maintain their independence, though subject to the continual attacks of the Fellatas.  The old city is now known only by its ruined walls, surrounding some high mounds, which were in the centre of the enclosed area.  The new city, built by the Fellatas, to the south-east of the old, consists of a number of little villages and detached houses, scattered over an extensive area, surrounded with high clay walls.  Near the centre of the wall stands the principal mosque, built of clay, with a minaret nearly fifty feet high.  On entering one of the western gates, instead of finding houses, the travellers could but just see the tops of some of them over the growing grain, at about a quarter of a mile distance; all was walled fields full of dhourra, with here and there a horse tethered in the open space.

The province of Zeg Zeg is the most extensive in the kingdom of Houssa, and both Kashna and Kano were at one time tributary to its sovereigns.  The name of the country appears to be also given to the capital, and is possibly derived from it.  It must, however, be observed that Lander mentions Zaria only by the name of Zeg Zeg.  Prior to the Fellata conquest, Islamism is said to have been unknown in Zeg Zeg, and the southern part is still in the possession of various pagan tribes, whose country is called Boushir or Boushi, that is, the infidel country, and is said to extend to the ocean.

The country in the vicinity of the capital, Zaria, is clear of wood, and is all either in pasture or under cultivation.  Its appearance at this season resembled some of the finest counties in England at the latter end of April.  It was beautifully variegated with hill and dale, like the most romantic parts of England; was covered with luxuriant crops and rich pastures, and produced the best rice grown in any part of that continent.  Rows of tall trees, resembling gigantic avenues of poplar, extended from hill to hill.  Zaria, like many other African cities, might be considered as a district of country surrounded with walls.

Page 305

After passing several towns at the distance of short stages, the travellers, on the fourth day from Zaria, entered, at the town of Dunchow, the province of Kano.  A highly cultivated and populous country extends from this place to Baebaejie, the next stage.  This town stands in an extensive plain, stretching towards the north till lost in the horizon.  The two mounts inside the walls of Kano are just distinguishable above the horizontal line, bearing north-east by north.  The hills of Nora are seen about ten miles east; to the south are the mountains of Surem, distant about twenty-five miles, while to the westward appear the tops of the hills of Aushin, in Zeg Zeg, over which the route had passed.  Small towns and villages are scattered over the plain, and herds of fine white cattle were seen grazing on the fallow ground.  The inhabitants of Baebaejie, amounting to about twenty or twenty-five thousand, are chiefly refugees from Bornou and Waday, and their descendants, all engaged in trade.  They appeared cleanly, civil, and industrious.  A broad and good road thronged with passengers and loaded animals, led in another day’s journey to Kano.


The travellers found the city of Kano in a state of dreadful agitation.  There was war on every side.  Hostilities had been declared between the king of Bornou and the Fellatas; the provinces of Zamfra and Goober were in open insurrection; the Tuaricks threatened an inroad; in short, there was not a quarter to which the merchants durst send a caravan.  Kano being nearly mid-way between Bornou and Sockatoo, Clapperton left his baggage there, to be conveyed to the former place on his return, and set out for the capital of the sultan Bello, bearing only the presents destined for that prince.  On his way he found numerous bands mustering to form an army for the attack of Coonia, the rebel metropolis of Ghoober.  The appearance of these troops was very striking, as they passed along the borders of some beautiful little lakes, formed by the river Zirmie.

The appearance of the country at this season was very beautiful; all the acacia trees were in blossom, some with white flowers, others with yellow, forming a contrast with the small dusky leaves, like gold and silver tassels on a cloak of dark green velvet.  Some of the troops were bathing; others watering their horses, bullocks, camels, and asses; the lake Gondamee as smooth as glass, and flowing around the roots of the trees.  The sun, in its approach to the horizon, threw the shadows of the flowering acacias along its surface, like sheets of burnished gold and silver.  The smoking fires on its banks, the sounding of horns, the beating of their gongs and drums, the blowing of their brass and tin trumpets; the rude huts of grass or branches of trees, rising as if by magic, everywhere the calls on the names Mahomed, Abdo, Mustafa, &c., with the neighing of horses, and the braying of asses, gave animation to the beautiful scenery of the lake, and its sloping, green, and woody banks.  The only regulation that appears in these rude feudal armies is, that they take up their ground according to the situation of the provinces, east, west, north, or south; but all are otherwise huddled together, without the least regularity.

Page 306

The sultan was himself encamped with the forces from Sockatoo, whither the travellers repaired to join him, and they arrived just in time to be eye-witnesses of a specimen of the military tactics and conduct of these much-dreaded Fellatas.  This curious scene is thus described:—­

After the mid-day prayers, all except the eunuchs, camel-drivers, and such other servants as were of use only to prevent theft, whether mounted or on foot, marched towards the object of attack, and soon arrived before the walls of the city.  Clapperton accompanied them, and took up his station close to the gadado.  The march had been the most disorderly that could be imagined; horse and foot intermingling in the greatest confusion, all rushing to get forward; sometimes the followers of one chief tumbling amongst those of another, when swords were half unsheathed, but all ended in making a face, or putting on a threatening aspect.  They soon arrived before Coonia, the town not being above half a mile in diameter, nearly circular, and built on the banks of one of the branches of the liver, or lakes.  Each chief, as he came, took his station, which, it was supposed, had been previously assigned to him.  The number of fighting men brought before the town could not be less than fifty or sixty thousand, horse and foot, of which the latter amounted to more than nine-tenths.  For the depth of two hundred yards, all round the walls, was a dense circle of men and horses.  The horse kept out of bow-shot, while the foot went up as they felt courage or inclination, and kept up a straggling fire with about thirty muskets and the shooting of arrows.  In front of the sultan, the Zeg Zeg troops had one French fusee; the Kano forces had forty-one muskets.  These fellows, whenever they fired their muskets, ran out of bow-shot to load; all of them were slaves; not a single Fellata had a musket.  The enemy kept up a slow and sure fight, seldom throwing away their arrows, until they saw an opportunity of letting fly with effect.  Now and then a single horseman would gallop up to the ditch, and brandish his spear, the rider taking care to cover himself with his large leathern shield, and return as fast as he went, generally calling out lustily, when he got amongst his own party, “Shields to the walls!  You people of the gadado, (or atego, &c.) why do you not hasten to the wall?” To which some voices would call out, “Oh, you have a good large shield to cover you.”  The cry of “Shields to the wall!” was constantly heard from the several chiefs to their troops; but they disregarded the call, and neither chiefs nor vassals moved from the spot.  At length the men in quilted armour went up “per order.”  They certainly cut not a bad figure at a distance, as their helmets were ornamented with black and white ostrich feathers, and the sides of the helmets with pieces of tin, which glittered in the sun; their long quilted cloaks of gaudy colours reaching over part of their horses’ tails, and hanging over the flanks.  On the neck,

Page 307

even the horses’ armour was notched or vandyked, to look like a mane; on his forehead, and over his nose, was a brass or tin plate, also a semicircular piece on each side.  The rider was armed with a large spear, and he had to be assisted to mount his horse, as his quilted cloak was too heavy; it required two men to lift him on.  There were six of them belonged to each governor, and six to the sultan.  It was at first supposed, that the foot would take advantage of going under cover of these unwieldy machines; but no, they went alone, as fast as the poor horses could bear them, which was but a slow pace.  They had one musket in Coonia, and it did wonderful execution; for it brought down the van of the quilted men, who fell from his horse like a sack of corn thrown from a horse’s back at a miller’s door, but both horse and man were brought off by two or three footmen.  He got two balls through his breast; one went through his body and both sides of the tobe; the other went through and lodged in the quilted armour opposite the shoulders.

The cry of “Allahu akber!” (God is great), the cry of the Fellatas, was resounded through the whole army every quarter of an hour; but neither this nor “Shields to the walls!” nor “Why do not the gadado’s people go up?” had any effect, except to produce a scuffle amongst themselves, when the chiefs would have to ride up and part their followers, who, instead of fighting against the enemy, were more likely to fight with one another.  At sunset, the besiegers drew off, and the harmless campaign terminated in a desertion on the part of the Zirmee troops, followed by a general retreat.

The flags of the Fellatas are white, like the French, and their staff is a palm branch.  They are not borne by men of honour, but by their slaves.  The sultan had six borne before him; each of the governors had two.  They also dress in white tobes and trousers, as an emblem of their purity in faith and intention.  The most useful personage in the army, and as brave as any of them, was an old female slave of the sultan’s, a native of Zamfra, five of whose former governors, she said, she had nursed.  She was of a dark copper colour, in dress and countenance very much like a female esquimaux.  She was mounted on a long-backed bright bay horse, with a scraggy tail, crop-eared, and the mane, as if the rats had eaten part of it, nor was it very high in condition.  She rode a-straddle, had on a conical straw dish-cover for a hat, or to shade her face from the sun; a short, dirty, white bed-gown, a pair of dirty white loose and wide trousers, a pair of Houssa boots, which are wide, and come over the knee, fastened with a string round the waist.  She had also a whip and spurs.  At her saddle-bow hung about half a dozen gourds filled with water, and a brass basin to drink out of, and with this she supplied the wounded and the thirsty.

Page 308

The army being disbanded, Clapperton obtained permission of the sultan to proceed to Sockatoo, where he found every thing ready for his reception, in the house, which he had occupied on his former visit.  The traveller, however, found an entire change in the feelings of kindness and cordiality towards himself, which had been so remarkably displayed in the previous journey.  Jealousy had began to fester in the breasts of the African princes.  They dreaded some ambitious design in these repeated expeditions sent out by England, without any conceivable motive; for that men should undertake such long journeys, out of mere curiosity, they could never imagine.  The sultan Bello had accordingly received a letter from the court of Bornou, warning him that by this very mode of sending embassies and presents, which the English were now following towards the states of central Africa, they had made themselves masters of India, and trampled on all its native princes.  The writer therefore gave it as his opinion, that the European travellers should immediately be put to death.  An alarm indeed had been spread through Sockatoo, that the English were coming to invade Houssa.  The sultan irritated doubtless at the shameful result of his grand expedition against Coonia, felt also another and more pressing fear.  War had just broken out between himself and the king of Bornou.  Clapperton was on his way to visit that prince, and had left six muskets at Kano, supposed to be intended as presents to him; and six muskets in central Africa, where the whole Fellata empire could scarcely muster forty, were almost enough to turn the scale between those two great military powers.  Under the impulse of these feelings, Bello proceeded to steps not exactly consistent with the character of a prince and a man of honour.  He demanded a sight of the letter which Clapperton was conveying to the king of Bornou, and when this was, of course, refused, he seized it by violence.  Lander was induced by false pretences to bring the baggage from Kano to Sockatoo, when forcible possession was taken of the muskets.  Clapperton loudly exclaimed against these proceedings, declaring them to amount to the basest robbery, to a breach of all faith, and to be the worst actions, of which any man could be guilty.  This was rather strong language to be used to a sovereign, especially to one, who could at any moment have cut off his head, and the prime ministers of the sultan dropped some unpleasant hints, as if matters might come to that issue, though in point of fact, the government did not proceed to any personal outrage.  On the contrary, Bello discovered an honourable anxiety to explain his conduct, and to soothe the irritated feelings of the traveller.  He even wrote to him the following letter, which it must be confessed, places the character of Bello in a very favourable light.

Page 309

“In the name of God, and praise be to God, &c. &c.  To Abdallah Clapperton, salutation and esteem.  You are now our guest, and a guest is always welcomed by us; you are the messenger of a king, and a king’s messenger is always honoured by us.  You come to us under our honour as an ambassador, and an ambassador is always protected by us.  There is no harm in the king’s ministers sending you to the sheik Kanemi, of Bornou, nor do we see any harm in your coming, when thus sent.  But when you formerly came to us from Bornou, peace was then between us and the sheik; whereas there is now war between him and ourselves; we cannot perceive any blame in our preventing warlike stores being sent to him.  We continue to maintain our faith with you, and are ready to attend to all your wishes, because we consider you as a trusty friend, and one who enjoys a high degree of esteem with us.  Do not encroach upon us, we will not encroach upon you; we have rights to maintain, and you have also rights to be respected.  And Salam be to you.”

(Signed as usual.)

It is difficult to conceive, why so reasonable and friendly a letter should have failed to subdue the irritation of the traveller; this cannot be accounted for only by his ill health, or by supposing that he was not exactly conversant with its contents.  It appears, however, that the conduct of Bello had such an effect upon the spirits of Clapperton, that Lander reports, he never saw him smile afterwards.  The strong constitution of Clapperton, had till this period enabled him to resist all the baneful influence of an African climate.  He had recovered, though perhaps not completely, from the effects of the rash exposure which had proved fatal to his two companions, but subsequently when overcome with heat and fatigue he had lain down on a damp spot in the open air, he was soon after seized with dysentery, which continued to assume more alarming symptoms.  Unable to rise from his bed, and deserted by all his African friends, who saw him no longer a favourite at court, he was watched with tender care by his faithful servant Lander, who devoted his whole time to attendance on his sick master.  At length he called him to his bed-side, and said, “Richard, I shall shortly be no more; I feel myself dying.”  Almost choked with grief, Lander replied, “God forbid, my dear master—­you will live many years yet.”  Clapperton replied, “don’t be so much affected, my dear boy, I entreat you, it is the will of the Almighty, it cannot be helped.  I should have wished to live to have been of further use to my country—­and more, I should like to have died in my native land—­but it is my duty to submit.”  He then gave particular directions as to the disposal of his papers, and of all that remained of his property, to which the strictest attention was promised.  “He then,” says Lander, “took my hand within his, and looking me full in the face, while a tear stood glistening in his eye, said in a low but deeply affecting tone,

Page 310

’My dear Richard, if you had not been with me, I should have died long ago.  I can only thank you with my latest breath for your kindness and attachment to me, and if I could have lived to return with you, you should have been placed beyond the reach of want, but God will reward you.’” He survived some days, and appeared even to rally a little, but one morning, Lander was alarmed by a peculiar rattling sound in his throat, and hastening to the bed-side found him sitting up, and staring wildly around; some indistinct words quivered on his lips, he strove but ineffectually to give them utterance, and expired without a struggle or a sigh.

Bello seems to have repented in some degree of his harsh conduct, especially after the news arrived of a great victory gained by his troops over the sultan of Bornou.  He allowed Lander to perform the funeral obsequies with every mark of respect, agreeably to the sultan’s own directions at Jungavie, a small village on a rising ground, about five miles to the S. E. of Sockatoo.  Lander performed the last sad office of reading the English service over the remains of his generous and intrepid master; a house was erected over his grave;

“And he was left alone in his glory.”


Lander may now be said to be in the interior of Africa, a solitary wanderer, dependent entirely on his own resources, at the same time that he received from sultan Bello, all the requisite means to enable him to return to his native country, allowing him to choose his own road, though advising him to prefer that which led through the great Desert, but Lander having already had many dealings with the Arabs, preferred the track through the negro countries.

On arriving at Kano, on his return route, Lander formed a spirited and highly laudable design, which proved him to be possessed of a mind much superior to his station, and this was nothing less than an attempt to resolve the great question, respecting the termination of the Niger, which he hoped to effect by proceeding to Funda, and thence to Benin by water.  Striking off to the eastward of the route, on which, in company with his late master, he had reached Kano, he passed several walled towns, all inhabited by natives of Houssa, tributary to the Fellatas, and early on the third day from Bebajie, (as he spells it,) arrived at the foot of a high craggy mountain, called Almena, from a ruined town said to have been built by a queen of the Fantee nation, some five hundred years ago.  Mahomet, Lander’s servant, who had travelled far and near, and knew all the traditions of the country, gave the following story:—­About five hundred years ago, a queen of the Fantee nation having quarrelled with her husband about a golden stool, in other words, we presume about the throne, probably after her husband’s death, fled from her dominions with a great number of her subjects, and built a large town at the foot

Page 311

of this mountain, which she called Almena, from which it took its name.  The town, according Lander, was surrounded with a stone wall, as the ruins plainly attest.  The M. S. account of Tukroor evidently alludes to the same personage.  The first who ruled over them, that is the seven provinces of Houssa, was, as it is stated, Amenah, daughter of the prince of Zag Zag, (Zeg Zeg?) She conquered them by the force of her sword, and subjected them, including Kashna and Kano, to be her tributaries.  She fought and took possession of the country of Bowsher, till she reached the coast of the ocean on the right hand, and west side.  She died at Atagara.

The gigantic blocks of granite forming the mountain Almena, fearfully piled on each other, and seeming ready to fall, are described as resembling the rocks near the Logan stone in Cornwall, but on a scale infinitely larger.  To the eastward, a range of high hills was seen stretching from north to south, as far as the eye could reach, and Lander was informed that they extended to the salt water.  They were said to be inhabited by a savage race of people called Yamyams, that is cannibals, who had formerly carried on an extensive traffic with the Houssa men, bringing elephants’ teeth, and taking in exchange red cloth, beads, &c., but five years before, they had murdered a whole kafila of merchants, and afterwards eaten them, since which time, the Houssa people had been reasonably shy of dealing with them.

Sultan Bello informed Lander that he had ocular proof of the fact, that these same people are in the practice of eating human flesh.  The sultan said, that on the governor of Jacoba telling him of these people, he could scarcely believe it, but on a Tuarick being hanged for theft, he saw five of these people eat a part, with which he was so disgusted, that he sent them back to Jacoba soon after.  He said, that whenever a person complained of sickness amongst these men, even though only a slight headache, he is killed instantly, for fear he should be lost by death, as they will not eat a person that has died by sickness; that the person falling sick is requested by some other family, and repaid when they had a sick relation; that universally, when they went to war, the dead and wounded were always eaten; that the hearts were claimed by the head men, and that on asking them, why they ate human flesh, they said, it was better than any other, that they had no want or food, and that excepting this bad custom, they were very cleanly, and otherwise not bad people, except that they were kaffirs.

As far as the route of Lander had hitherto extended, all the streams that were crossed had a north-westerly course, and on the fifth day, he reached a large river running in the same direction called Accra.  On the following day proceeding S. W., he arrived at Nammalack, built immediately under a mountain, which, rising almost perpendicularly, forms a natural wall on the north-eastern side.  It is thickly wooded and abounds with thousands of hyenas, tiger cats, jackals, and monkeys, who monopolize all the animal food in the neighbourhood, the poor inhabitants not being able to keep a single bullock, sheep, or goat.

Page 312

For four hours beyond this town, Lander’s route continued along the foot of this range of mountains, in a continued direction of S. W., it then turned eastward through an opening in the range, and after crossing one large and three small rivers, led to Fillindushie, the frontier town of Catica.  Lander speaks of the Catica or Bowchee people as the same.  This district must, therefore, belong to the Bowchee country, which forms part of Zeg Zeg, according to the M. S. account of Tackroor, apparently on the Boushy, that is infidel or kirdy country, bordering on Yacoba.

The inhabitants of Catica are described as a fine handsome people, with features not at all resembling those of the negro race, and very similar to the European, but below the negroes in civilization, without any clothing, filthy in person, disgusting in manners, and destitute of natural affection; the parent selling his child with no more remorse or repugnance than he would his chicken, yet at the same time, by way of contrast, artless and good humoured.  Their appearance is extremely barbarous and repulsive.  They rub red clay softened with oil over their heads and bodies, and invariably wear a large semicircular piece of blue glass in the upper and lower lip, with ear-pendants of red wood.  They make fetishes like the natives of Yariba.

Turning again to the S. W., the route now led over a fine and rich country, to a large river rolling to the N. W., called Coodoma (Kadoma,) which empties itself into the Quorra, near Funda.  Lander reached the north-eastern bank on the tenth day, and on the morrow after three hours travelling reached Cuttup.  Having heard on his route many different reports of the wealth, population and celebrated market of this place, he was surprised to find it to consist of nearly five hundred villages, almost joining each other, occupying a vast and beautiful plain, adorned with the finest trees.  Amongst these, the plantain, the palm, and the cocoa-nut tree, were seen flourishing in great abundance, and the aspect of the country strikingly resembled some parts of Yariba.  A considerable traffic is carried on here in slaves and bullocks, which are alike exposed in the daily market.  The bullocks are bred by the Fellatas, who reside there for no other purpose.

The sultan of Cuttup being a very great man, that is, in his own estimation, Lander made him a suitable present of four yards of blue damask, the same quantity of scarlet, a print of George IV., one of the late duke of York, which, we have reason to suppose, was held in higher estimation than his whole-length colossal figure on the top of the pedestal in this country, which has the superlative honour of calling him one of the most meritorious, most puissant, and most honourable of the royal blood.  Lander also made the sultan a present of other trifling articles, in return for which he received a sheep, the humps, or we should call it the rumps, of two bullocks, and stewed rice

Page 313

sufficient for fifty men, not being able at the time to form an accurate opinion of the extent of Lander’s gourmandizing appetite, or most probably, as is generally the case in countries situated farther to the northward, judging of the appetite of others by his own.  During the four days that Lander remained in these hospitable quarters, he was never in want of provisions, nor do we see how it was possible that he should be, when he had two rumps of beef, from which he could at any time cut a steak, which the most finished epicurean of Dolly’s would not turn up his nose at, and stewed rice, as an entremet, sufficient for the gastronomic powers of fifty men.  When it is also considered, that the sultan invariably receives as a tax the hump of every bullock that is slaughtered, weighing from twelve to fifteen pounds, and the choicest part of the animal, it is somewhat surprising that the country does not abound with hump-backed tyrants, similar to the notorious Richard of England; at all events, Lander had to congratulate himself that the humps, or rumps, were sent to him daily by the king’s wives, we will suppose, out of the pure spirit of charity and benevolence, on the same principle, perhaps, that the widow Zuma invited Lander to take up his abode in her house.

It was very proper that Lander should make a return to the sultan’s wives for their rumps of beef, and, therefore, he presented them with one or two gilt buttons from his jacket, and they, imagining them to be pure gold, fastened them to their ears.  Little, however, did the Birmingham manufacturer suppose, when he issued these buttons from his warehouse, that they were destined one day to glitter as pendants in the ears of the wives of the sultan of Cuttup, in the heart of Africa; truly may it be said with Shakespeare,

“To what vile uses may we come at last!”

It is very possible, from some cause not worthy here of investigation, that one of the wives of the sultan had contrived to obtain a higher place in the estimation of Lander, than any of her other compeers; but, as a proof that great events from trivial causes flow, it happened that Lander set the whole court of Cuttup in a hubbub and confusion by a very simple act, to which no premeditated sin could be attached, and this act was no other, than presenting one of the wives of the sultan secretly, clandestinely, and covertly, with a most valuable article, in the shape of a large darning needle, which he carried about with him, for the purpose of repairing any sudden detriment, that might happen to any part of his habiliments.  A female, whether European or African, generally takes a pride in displaying the presents that have been made her; and the favoured wife of the sultan no sooner displayed the present which she had received, than the spirit of jealousy and envy burst forth in the breast of all the remaining wives.  It was a fire not easily to be quenched; it pervaded every part of the residence of the sultan; it penetrated into

Page 314

every hut, where one of the wives resided; discord, quarrels, and battles became the order of the day, and Lander was obliged to make a precipitate retreat from a place, where he had incautiously and innocently raised such a rebellion.  On relating this anecdote to us, Lander declared, that, with a good supply of needles in his possession, he would not despair of obtaining every necessary article and accommodation throughout the whole of central Africa.

On leaving Cuttup, Lander proceeded south-south-west, over a hilly country, and on the following day, crossed the Rary, a large river flowing to the south-east.  The next day, part of the route lay over steep and craggy precipices, some of them of the most awful height.  From the summit of this pass, he obtained a very beautiful and extensive prospect, which would indicate the elevation to be indeed very considerable.  Eight days’ journey might plainly be seen before him.  About half a day’s journey to the east, stood a lofty hill, at the foot of which lay the large city of Jacoba.  In the evening, he reached Dunrora, a town containing about four thousand inhabitants.

Lander had now reached the latitude of Funda, which, according to his information, lies about twelve days due west of Dunrora, and after seventeen perilous days’ travelling from Kano, he seemed to be on the point of solving the great geographical problem respecting the termination of the supposed Niger, when, just as he was leaving Dunrora, four armed messengers from the sultan of Zeg Zeg rode up to him, bearing orders for his immediate return to the capital.  Remonstrance was in vain; and, with a bad grace and a heavy heart, poor Lander complied with the mandate.  He was led back to Cuttup by the same route that he had taken, and here, much against the inclination of his guards, he remained four days, suffering under an attack of dysentery.  On his arrival at Zaria, he was introduced to the king; and having delivered his presents, that prince boasted of having conferred on him the greatest possible favour, since the people of Funda, being now at war with sultan Bello, would certainly have murdered any one, who had visited and carried gifts to that monarch.  From this reasoning, sound or otherwise, Lander had no appeal, and was obliged to make his way back by his former path.

The subsequent part of his route was, however, rather more to the westward of his former track.  The Koodoonia, where he crossed it, was much deeper, as well as broader, and much more rapid.  On Lander refusing to cross the river till it had become more shallow, his guards left him in great wrath, threatening to report his conduct to their master, and they did not return for a fortnight, during which time, Lander remained at a Bowchee village, an hour distant, very ill, having nothing to eat but boiled corn, not much relishing roasted dog. The inhabitants, who came by hundreds every day to visit him, were destitute of any clothing, but behaved in a modest and becoming manner.  The men did not appear to have any occupation or employment whatever.  The women were generally engaged, the greater part of the day, in manufacturing oil from a black seed and the Guinea nut.

Page 315

Not deeming it safe, according to the advice of the sultan of Zeg Zeg, to pursue his homeward way by the route of Funda, he chose the Youriba road; and, after serious delays, he reached Badagry on the 21st November 1827; but here he was nearly losing his life, owing to the vindictive jealousy of the Portuguese slave-merchants, who denounced him to the king as a spy sent by the English government.  The consequence was, that it was resolved by the chief men to subject him to the ordeal of drinking a fetish.  “If you come to do bad,” they said, “it will kill you; but if not, it cannot hurt you.”  There was no alternative or escape.  Poor Lander swallowed the contents of the bowl, and then walked hastily out of the hut through the armed men who surrounded it, to his own lodgings, where he lost no time in getting rid of the fetish drink by a powerful emetic.  He afterwards learned, that it almost always proved fatal.  When the king and his chiefs found, after five days, that Lander survived, they changed their minds, and became extremely kind, concluding that he was under the special protection of God.  The Portuguese, however, he had reason to believe, would have taken the first opportunity to assassinate him.  His life at this place was in continual danger, until, fortunately, Captain Laing, of the brig Maria of London, of which Fullerton was the chief mate, and afterwards commander, hearing that there was a white man about sixty miles up the country, who was in a most deplorable condition, and suspecting that he might be one of the travellers sent out on the expedition to explore the interior of Africa, despatched a messenger with instructions to bring him away.  The parties who held him were, however, not disposed to part with him without a ransom, the amount of which was fixed at nearly L70, which was paid by Captain Laing in broadcloths, gunpowder, and other articles, and which was subsequently refunded by the African Society.  Lander arrived in England on the 30th April 1828, on which occasion we were introduced to him by the late Captain Fullerton, from whose papers the following history of Lander’s second journey is compiled.


The journeys of Denham and Clapperton made a great accession to our knowledge of interior Africa, they having completed a diagonal section from Tripoli to the gulf of Benin; they explored numerous kingdoms, either altogether unknown, or indicated only by the most imperfect rumour.  New mountains, lakes, and rivers had been discovered and delineated, yet the course of the Niger remained wrapt in mystery nearly as deep as ever.  Its stream had been traced very little lower than Boussa, which Park had reached, and where his career was brought to so fatal a termination.  The unhappy issue of Clapperton’s last attempt chilled for a time the zeal for African discovery; but that high spirit of adventure which animates Britons was soon found acting powerfully in a quarter, where

Page 316

there was least reason to expect it.  Partaking of the character which animated his master, Lander endeavoured, on his return towards the coast, to follow a direction, which, but for unforeseen circumstances, would have led to the solution of the great problem.  After reaching England, he still cherished the same spirit; in our frequent conversations with him, he expressed it to be his decided opinion, that the termination of the Niger would be found between the fifth and tenth degree of north latitude, and his subsequent discoveries proved his opinion to be correct.  Undeterred by the recollection of so much peril and hardship, he tendered his services to the government to make one effort more, in order to reach the mouth of this mysterious river; his offer was accepted, but on terms which make it abundantly evident that the enterprise was not undertaken from any mercenary impulse.  The manner in which he had acquitted himself of his trust, amidst the difficulties with which he had to contend after the death of Clapperton, bespoke him as being worthy to be sent out on such a mission, when scientific observations were not expected, and the result has proved the justness of the opinion, that was entertained of him.  Descended from Cornish parents, having been born at Truro, and not gifted with any extraordinary talent, it was not his fortune to boast either the honour of high birth, or even to possess the advantages of a common-place education.  His leading quality was a determined spirit of perseverance, which no obstacles could intimidate or subdue.  In society, particularly in the company of those distinguished for their talents or literary attainments, his reserve and bashfulness were insuperable, and it was not until a degree of intimacy was established by frequent association, that he could be brought to communicate the sentiments of his mind, or to impress a belief upon the company, that he was possessed of any superior qualifications.

His younger brother, John Lander, who, influenced by a laudable desire to assist in the solution of the geographical problem, was of a very different turn of mind.  He was brought up to the profession of a printer, and, as a compositor, had frequent opportunities of enrich