But although milk is plentiful, it is somewhat remarkable that the Foulahs, and indeed all the inhabitants of this part of Africa, are totally unacquainted with the art of making cheese. A firm attachment to the customs of their ancestors makes them view with an eye of prejudice everything that looks like innovation. The heat of the climate and the great scarcity of salt are held forth as unanswerable objections; and the whole process appears to them too long and troublesome to be attended with any solid advantage.
Besides the cattle, which constitute the chief wealth of the Foulahs, they possess some excellent horses, the breed of which seems to be a mixture of the Arabian with the original African.
The kingdom of Kajaaga, in which I was now arrived, is called by the French Gallam, but the name that I have adopted is universally used by the natives. This country is bounded on the south-east and south by Bambouk, on the west by Bondou and Foota-Torra, and on the north by the river Senegal.
The air and climate are, I believe, more pure and salubrious than at any of the settlements towards the coast; the face of the country is everywhere interspersed with a pleasing variety of hills and valleys; and the windings of the Senegal river, which descends from the rocky hills of the interior, make the scenery on its banks very picturesque and beautiful.
The inhabitants are called Serawoollies, or (as the French write it) Seracolets. Their complexion is a jet black: they are not to be distinguished in this respect from the Jaloffs.
The government is monarchical, and the regal authority, from what I experienced of it, seems to be sufficiently formidable. The people themselves, however, complain of no oppression, and seemed all very anxious to support the king in a contest he was going to enter into with the sovereign of Kasson. The Serawoollies are habitually a trading people; they formerly carried on a great commerce with the French in gold and slaves, and still maintain some traffic in slaves with the British factories on the Gambia. They are reckoned tolerably fair and just in their dealings, but are indefatigable in their exertions to acquire wealth, and they derive considerable profits by the sale of salt and cotton cloth in distant countries. When a Serawoolli merchant returns home from a trading expedition the neighbours immediately assemble to congratulate him upon his arrival. On these occasions the traveller displays his wealth and liberality by making a few presents to his friends; but if he has been unsuccessful his levee is soon over, and every one looks upon him as a man of no understanding, who could perform a long journey, and (at they express it) “bring back nothing but the hair upon his head.”
Their language abounds much in gutturals, and is not so harmonious as that spoken by the Foulahs. It is, however, well worth acquiring by those who travel through this part of the African continent, it being very generally understood in the kingdoms of Kasson, Kaarta, Ludamar, and the northern parts of Bambarra. In all these countries the Serawoollies are the chief traders. Their numerals are:-