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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 4 out of 15

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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 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

[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
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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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 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."

"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."

[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 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.

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.

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.

[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


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.

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.

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 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,
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; 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

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

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 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. 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

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

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 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 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, 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.

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 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.

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

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.

[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.

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 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.

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

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.

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 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

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.

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.

"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 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 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.

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

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