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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 8 out of 15

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putting the whole of the dancers into confusion, from his ignorance
of the intricacies of the African dance, and his total inability to
compete with his partner in her gymnastic evolutions. One of the most
graceful movements, according to the opinion of the natives, consists
in a particular part of the body, situated, as the metaphysicians
would term it, _a posteriori,_ coming into contact with a similar
part of the body of the partner, with as much violence as the
physical strength of the female dancer can effect; and if on any of
these occasions the equilibrium should be lost, and the weaker
individual laid prostrate upon the ground, the laugh then sounds
throughout the whole assembly, and the beauty is highly extolled, who
by her prowess could have so well effected the prostration of her
partner. Now it is very possible, that when a person knows of an evil
coming over him, he will be so upon his guard as to prevent any
disastrous consequences arising from it; but Lander not being aware
that any accident could befall him from any movement of the lady who
had selected him, much against his will, as her partner, was footing
it away very composedly and becomingly, when a tremendous blow was
inflicted on a certain part of the hinder portion of his body, which
being as irresistible as if it had come from a battering-ram of the
Romans, laid him prostrate on the floor, to the infinite delight of
all the fashionables of the court, particularly the female part, who
testified their joy by the utterance of the loudest laughs and
clapping their hands in an extacy of mirth. In fact, the travellers
entered into all the humours of the day, and thus, as Captain
Clapperton expressed himself, "cheered we our old friend, and he was

The country between Tshow and Engwa, where the ground has been
cleared, is described by Lander as excessively beautiful, diversified
by hills and dales, a small stream running through each valley. All
the towns, however, are situated in the bosom of an inaccessible
wood. The approach is generally through an avenue, defended by three
stockades, with narrow wicker gates, and only one entrance. Beyond
Engwa, the state of the atmosphere becomes much improved, the country
being clear and gradually rising, and on the high grounds, large
blocks of grey granite cropped out, indicated their approach to a
range of primitive mountains. The plains were covered with the female
cocoa nut, and with long high grass. Walled towns occur at the end of
short stages, each containing from five to ten thousand inhabitants.
Those at which the travellers halted were called Afoura, Assula,
Assonda, and Chocho. At Afoura, the granite formation began to show
itself. Assula is surrounded with a wall and a ditch, and contains
about six thousand inhabitants. At these places, the travellers were
abundantly supplied with provisions, and regaled with dancing and
singing the whole night, by the apparently happy natives.

On leaving the town of Chocho, the road wound through beautiful
valleys, planted in many places with cotton, corn, yams, and bananas
and on the tops and hollows of the hills were perched the houses and
villages of the proprietors of these plantations. At this very time,
however, "a slaving war," was being carried on at only a few hours
ride from the route taken by the travellers; such is the withering
curse that hangs over the fairest regions of this devoted country.

The next stage from Bendekka to Duffoo, lay through mountain scenery
of a still wilder character. Rugged and gigantic blocks of grey
granite rose to the height of between six and seven hundred feet
above the valleys, which now contracted to defiles scarcely a hundred
yards in breadth, then widened to half a mile, and in one part the
route crossed a wide table land. The soil is rich, but shallow,
except along the fine streams of water which run through the valleys,
where large tall trees were growing. The sides of the mountains are
bare, but stunted trees and shrubs fill all the crevices. The valleys
are well cultivated with cotton, corn, and yams. This cluster of
hills is said to rise in the province of Borgoo, behind Ashantee, and
to run through Jaboo to Benin, in a direction from W.N.W. to E.S.E.
The width of the range is about eighty miles.

From a summit overlooking the town of Duffoo, a grand and beautiful
view was obtained of mountains, precipices, and valleys in every
direction. The top of the hill was covered with women grinding corn.
This mount might be almost called a large corn mill. Here and in
every other place, the king of Eyeo's wives were found trading for
his majesty, and like women of the common class, carrying large loads
on their heads from town to town. The town of Daffoo is said to
contain a population of 15,000 souls. On leaving it the road wound
between two hills, descending over rugged rocks, beneath impending
masses of granite, which seemed ready to start from their base, to
the destruction of all below. It continued to ascend and descend as
far as the town of Woza, which stands on the edge of a table-land,
gently descending, well cultivated, and watered by several streams.
The stage terminated at another fortified town called Chradoo,
containing upwards of seven thousand inhabitants.

On leaving this town on the following morning, they were attended by
the worthy caboceer, and an immense train of men, women, and
children; the women singing in chorus, whilst drums, horns, and
gongs, formed a barbarous and discordant accompaniment to their
agreeable voices. A difficult and dangerous road over broken rocks,
and through rugged passes, where the natives were perched in groups
to see the travellers pass, led in five hours to the large and
populous town of Erawa. Here they were received with drums, the
people as usual curious beyond measure, but very kind. The next day a
mountain pass led through a thickly populous tract, to a town called
Washoo, beyond which place they entered a second range of mountains,
more elevated and of a more savage character, than any they had
hitherto passed; they appeared as if some great convulsion of nature
had thrown the immense masses of granite in wild and terrific
confusion. The road through this mountain pass, according to the
information of Lander, was grand and imposing, sometimes rising
almost perpendicularly, then descending in the midst of rocks into
deep dells; then winding beautifully round the side of a steep hill,
the rocks above overhanging them in fearful uncertainty. In every
cleft of the hills, wherever there appeared the least soil, were
cottages, surrounded with small plantations of millet, yams, and
plantains, giving a beautiful variety to the rude scenery. The road
continued rising, hill above hill, for at least two miles, until
their arrival at the large and populous town of Chaki, situated on
the top of the very highest hill. On every hand, on the hills, on the
rocks, and crowding on the road, the inhabitants were assembled in
thousands, the women welcoming them with holding up their hands, and
chanting choral songs, and the men with the usual salutations, and
every demonstration of joy. The caboceer was seated on the outside of
his house, surrounded by his ladies, his singing men, and singing
women, his drums, fifes, and gong-gongs. He was a good-looking man,
about fifty years of age, with a pleasing countenance. His house was
all ready for the reception of the strangers, and he immediately
procured for them a large supply of goats, sheep, and yams, pressing
them strongly to stay a day or two with them. He appeared to consider
them as messengers of peace, come with blessings to his king and
country. Indeed a belief was very prevalent, and seems to have gone
before them all the way, that they were charged with a commission to
make peace wherever there was war, and to do good to every country
through which they passed. The caboceer of this town indeed told them
so, and said he hoped that they would be enabled to settle the war
with the Nyffee people and the Fellatas, and the rebellion of the
Houssa slaves, who had risen against the king of Yariba. When Lander
shook hands with him, he passed his hand over the heads of his
chiefs, as confirming on them a white man's blessing. He was more
inquisitive and more communicative than any one whom they had yet
seen. He sat until nearly midnight, talking and inquiring about
England. On asking, if he would send one of his sons to see England,
he rose up with alacrity, and said, he would go himself. He inquired
how many wives an Englishman had. On being told only one, he seemed
much astonished, and laughed greatly, as did all his people. "What
does he do," said he, "when one of his wives has a child? Our
caboceer has two thousand!!"

On leaving Chaka, the caboceer escorted them several miles, attended
by upwards of two hundred of his wives, _one_ of whom was young and
handsome. The country was now extremely beautiful, clear of wood, and
partly cultivated; and a number of Fellata villages were passed, the
inhabitants of which live here as they do in most other parts of
Soudan, a quiet and inoffensive pastoral life, unmolested by the
black natives, and not interfering with their customs.

The next stage led to Koosoo, the largest town they had yet seen,
surrounded with a double wall, and containing at least twenty
thousand people. This place appears to stand at the northwestern
termination of the granite range, the outer wall extending from some
rugged hills on the S.E., to a great distance in the plain. Here the
same favourable impression respecting the whites was found to prevail
as at Chaki. The walls were crowded with people, and the caboceer,
with his wives and head men, came forth to welcome the strangers. He
was glad, he said, to see white men coming to his country, and going
to see his king, adding that he never expected to see this day, and
that now all the wars and bad palavers would be settled. He presented
to them yams, eggs, a goat, a sheep, a fine fat turkey, and milk, and
a large pig was sent by the caboceer of a neighbouring town. The
country was described as being on every side full of large towns. Its
aspect continued through the next stage very beautiful, and well
cultivated. The route lay in a parallel line with the hills as far as
the town of Yaboo, and then entered a fine plain, studded with
Fellata villages, extending to Ensookosoo. At Sadooli, half an hour
further, the range of hills was seen bearing from E. by S. to S. The
well cultivated country continued as far as Aggidiba, but a
considerable change then took place in its general aspect. The road
led through a wood of low, stunted, scrubby trees, on a soil of
gravel and sand, and the destructive ravages of the Fellatas now
became apparent, in the half deserted towns and ruined villages.
Akkibosa, the next town, was large, and surrounded inside the walls
with an impenetrable wood. It was here that Lander again had the
melancholy prospect of seeing himself a lonely wanderer in the wilds
of Africa, for Captain Clapperton became worse than he had been since
leaving Badagry. The pain in his side was relieved by rubbing the
part with a piece of cord, after some Mallegeta pepper chewed had
been applied to it. But the caboceer of Adja gave our traveller some
medicine, which was far more efficacious. It tasted like lime juice
and pepper, and produced nausea to such a degree, that Clapperton was
unable to stand for half an hour after; he then suddenly got well,
both as to the pain in his side, and a severe diarrhoea, which had
troubled him for some time. The worthy caboceer, who had shown
himself such an adept in practical pathology, was of the same opinion
with others of his species, that a preventive is better than a
remedy; but were this principle to be acted upon by the medical
caboceers of the metropolis of England, we should not see them
driving in their carriages from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. to convince a set
of dupes, that a few latinized words and hieroglyphics scrawled on a
scrap of paper, which is to produce for them a nauseous compound of
aperient drugs, are to save them from the jaws of death. Captain
Clapperton was in reality ill, and therefore the application of the
prescription of the scientific caboceer of Adja, was perhaps
advisable, on the ground that if it did not cure it would kill, but
the case was differently situated with Lander, for although his
health had sustained some severe shocks, yet it was good in
comparison to that of his master; but the prudent caboceer considered
that although he was not then actually ill, yet the possibility, and
even the probability existed that he might become so, and therefore
it was determined that the same medicine should be administered to
Lander, as had been done to his master. Lander, however, protested
that he did not stand in need of so potent a medicine, on the other
hand, the caboceer protested that he was a great fool to entertain
any such an opinion, and following the practice of the celebrated Dr.
Sangrado, Lander was obliged to undergo the purgatory of the
caboceer's medicine, and he was ready to admit that he did not feel
himself the worse for it after its effects had subsided. The town of
Adja is remarkable for an avenue of trees, with a creeping briar-like
plant ascending to the very tops, and hanging down so as to form an
impenetrable defence against every thing but a snake, and it is
impossible to burn it. Leaving their medical friend, the caboceer of
Adja, they proceeded to Loko, which is also a considerable walled
town; and on proceeding about four miles further, they came to a
groupe of three towns, one walled and two without walls, all bearing
the name of Soloo.

The approach to the town of Tshow was through a beautiful valley,
planted with large shady trees and bananas, having green plots and
sheets of water running through the centre, where the dingy beauties
of Tshow were washing their well-formed limbs, while the sheep and
goats were grazing around on their verdant banks. This state of
repose is stated, however, to be frequently disturbed by inroads from
the neighbouring kingdom of Borgho, the natives of which are
described as thieves and plunderers, and as the travellers were now
close on its borders, they thought it necessary to brush up their

In the evening, however, a caboceer arrived with a large escort of
horse and foot from Katunga, the capital of Youriba, and having
shaken hands with the travellers, immediately rubbed his whole body,
that the blessing of their touch might be spread all over him. The
escort was so numerous, that they ate up all the provisions of the
town. Every corner was filled with them, and they kept drumming,
blowing, dancing, and singing during the whole of the night.

On leaving this place, the road through which they passed was wide,
though woody, and covered by men on horseback and bowmen on foot; the
horsemen, armed with two or three long spears, hurrying on as fast as
they could get the travellers to proceed; horns and country drums
blowing and beating before and behind; some of the horsemen dressed
in the most grotesque manner; others covered all over with charms.
The bowmen had also their natty little hats and feathers, with the
jebus, or leathern pouch, hanging by their side. These men always
appeared to Captain Clapperton to be the best troops in this country
and that of Soudan, on account of their lightness and activity. The
horsemen, however, are but ill mounted, the animals are small and
badly dressed; their saddles so ill secured, and the rider sits so
clumsily in his seat, that any Englishman who ever rode a horse with
an English saddle, would upset one of them the first charge with a
long stick. The party were also attended by a great number of
traders. After passing over a granite ridge, commanding a beautiful
view of fine wooded valleys to the eastward, the road again crossed
the Moussa, running to the Quorra, which is only three days distant.

From the brow of a hill the great capital of Eyeo opened to the view,
on the opposite side of a vast plain bordered by a ridge of granite
hills, and surrounded by a brilliant belt of verdure. The approach to
Katunga is thus described by Clapperton: "Between us and it lay a
finely cultivated valley, extending as far as the eye could reach to
the westward, our view to the eastward intercepted by a high rock,
broken into large blocks, with a singular top, the city lying below
us, surrounded and studded with green, shady trees, forming a belt
round the base of a rocky mountain of granite, about three miles in
length, presenting as beautiful a view as I ever saw."

They entered the city by the north gate, accompanied by a band of
music, and followed by an immense multitude of men, women, and
children. After proceeding about five miles through the city, they
reached the residence of the king, who received them seated under a
verandah; the insignia of his state being two red and blue cloth
umbrellas, supported by large poles held by slaves. He was dressed in
a white tobe over another of blue; round his neck was a collar of
large beads of blue stone, and on his head the imitation of a
European crown in pasteboard, covered with blue cotton. The king's
people had some difficulty in clearing the way for the strangers
through the crowd, and sticks and whips were freely used, though
generally in a good-natured manner. When they had at last got as far
as the umbrellas, the space was all clear. The chiefs were observed
to be holding a parley with the king, which Clapperton conjectured to
relate to his being desired to perform the usual ceremony of
prostration. On this, Captain Clapperton told them, that the only
ceremony he would submit to was that of an English salute; that he
would take off his hat, make a bow, and shake hands with his majesty,
if he pleased. The ceremony of prostration is required from all.
The chiefs, who come to pay their court, cover themselves with dust,
and then fall flat on their bellies, having first practised the
ceremony, in order to be perfect, before a large fat eunuch. It is
also the court etiquette to appear in a loose cloth, tied under one
arm; no tobes, no beads, no coral, nor grandeur of any kind, must
appear, but on the king alone. In many points of the ceremonial, in
the umbrellas, the prostrations, the sticks and whips so
good-naturedly inflicted on the crowd, and the extraordinary
politeness practised by these people to each other, we have a
singular approximation to the customs of the celestial empire. The
theatrical entertainments, too, which are acted before the king, are
quite as amusing, and almost as refined, as any which his celestial
majesty can command to be exhibited before a foreign ambassador. The
king of Youriba made a point of the travellers staying to witness one
of these theatrical entertainments. It was exhibited in the king's
park, in a square place, surrounded by clumps of trees. The first
performance was that of a number of men dancing and tumbling about in
sacks, having their heads fantastically decorated with strips of
rags, damask silk, and cotton of variegated colours, and they
performed to admiration. The second exhibition was hunting the boa
snake by the men in the sacks. The huge snake, it seems, went through
the motions of this kind of reptile in a very natural manner, though
it appeared to be rather full in the belly, opening and shutting its
mouth in the most natural manner imaginable. A running fight ensued,
which lasted some time, till at length the chief of the bagmen
contrived to scotch its tail with a tremendous sword, when he gasped,
twisted up, and seemed in great torture, endeavouring to bite his
assailants, who hoisted him on their shoulders, and bore him off in
triumph. The festivities of the day concluded with the exhibition of
the _white devil,_ which had the appearance of a human figure in
white wax, looking miserably thin, and as if starved with cold,
taking snuff, rubbing its hands, treacling the ground as if
tender-footed, and evidently meant to burlesque and ridicule a white
man, while his sable majesty frequently appealed to Clapperton,
whether it was not well performed. After this, the king's women sang
in chorus, and were accompanied by the whole crowd.

The method of salutation is very singular. The king, for instance, on
saluting Captain Clapperton, lifted up his hands three times,
repeating, "Ako! ako!" (How do you do?) the women behind him standing
up and cheering them, and the men on the outside joined. It was
impossible to count the number of his ladies, they were so densely
packed, and so very numerous.

In a private visit subsequently paid to the travellers, the king
assured them that they were truly welcome; that he had frequently
heard of white men; but that neither himself nor his father, nor any
of his ancestors, had ever seen one. He was glad that white men had
come at this time, and now, he trusted, his country would be put
right, his enemies brought to submission, and he would be enabled to
build up his father's house, which the war had destroyed.


The city of Eyeo, in Houssa language, Katunga, the capital of
Youriba, is situated in latitude 8 deg. 59' N., longitude 6 deg. 12 E. It is
built on the sloping side and round the base of a small range of
granite hills, which, as it were, forms the citadel of the town. They
are formed of stupendous blocks of grey granite of the softest kind,
some of which are seen hanging from the summits in the most frightful
manner, while others, resting on very small bases, appear as if the
least touch would send them down into the valley beneath. The soil on
which the town is built is formed of clay and gravel, mixed with
sand, which has obviously been produced from the crumbling granite.
The appearance of these hills is that of a mass of rocks left bare by
the tide. A belt of thick wood runs round the walls, which are built
of clay, and about twenty feet high, and surrounded by a dry ditch.
There are ten gates in the walls, which are about fifteen miles in
circumference, of an oval shape, about four miles in diameter one
way, and six miles the other; the south end leaning against the rocky
hills, and forming an inaccessible barrier in that quarter. The
king's houses, and those of his women, occupy about a square mile,
and are on the south side of the hills, having two large parks, one
in front and another facing the north; they are all built of clay,
and have thatched roofs, similar to those nearer the coast. The posts
supporting the verandahs and the doors of the king's or caboceer's
houses are generally carved in has relief, with figures representing
the boa killing an antelope or a hog, or with processions of warriors
attended by drummers. The latter are by no means meanly executed,
conveying the expression and attitude of the principal man in the
groupe with a lofty air, and the drummer well pleased with his own
music, or rather deafening noise. There are seven different markets,
which are held every evening, being generally opened about three or
four o'clock. The chief articles exposed for sale are yams, corn,
calavances, plantains and bananas, vegetable butter, seeds of the
colocynth, which form a great article of food, sweetmeats, goats,
sheep, and lambs, also cloth of the manufacture of the country, and
their various instruments of agriculture. The price of a small goat
is from 1,500 to 2,000 kowries; 2,000 kowries being equal to a
Spanish dollar; a large sheep, 3,000 to 5,000; a cow, from 20,000 to
30,000; a horse, 80,000 to 100,000; a prime human being, as a slave,
40,000 to 60,000, about half the price of a horse!

The kingdom of Youriba extends from Puka, within five miles of the
coast to about the parallel of 10 deg. N., being bounded by Dahomy on the
north-west, Ketto and the Maha countries on the north, Borgoo on the
north-east, the Quorra to the east, Accoura, a province of Benin, to
the south-east, and Jaboo to the south-west. These are the positions
of the neighbouring countries, as given by Lander, although it is
difficult to reconcile them with the map; Borgoo seems rather to be
north-east, Dahomy west and southwest, Jaboo and Benin south-east.
If Badagry be included in Youriba, the southern boundary will be the
Bight of Benin.

Dahomy, Alladah, Maha, and Badagry were claimed as tributaries; and
the king of Benin was referred to as an ally. The government is an
hereditary despotism, every subject being the slave of the king; but
its administration appears to have been for a long period mild and
humane. When the king was asked, whether the customs of Youriba
involved the same human sacrifices as those of Dahomy, his majesty
shook his head, shrugged up his shoulders, and exclaimed, "No, no! no
king of Youriba could sacrifice human beings." He added, but probably
without sufficient grounds for the vaunt, that, if he so commanded,
the king of Dahomy must also desist from the practice; that he must
obey him. It is, however, stated, on the authority of Lander, that
when a king of Youriba dies, the caboceer of Jannah, three other head
caboceers, four women, and a great many favourite slaves and women,
are obliged to swallow poison, given by fetish men in a parrot's egg;
should this not take effect, the person is provided with a rope to
hang himself in his own house. No public sacrifices are used, at
least no human sacrifices, and no one was allowed to die at the death
of the last king, as he did not die a natural death, having been
murdered by one of his own sons, though the religion of the people of
Youriba, as far as it could be comprehended by the travellers,
consisted in the worship of one God, to whom they also sacrifice
horses, cows, goats, sheep, and fowls. At the yearly feast, all these
animals are sacrificed at the fetish-house, in which a little of the
blood is spilled on the ground. The whole of them are then cooked,
and the king and all the people, men and women attending, partake of
the meat, drinking copiously of pitto (the country ale). It is
stated, moreover, that it depends on the will of the fetish-man, or
priest, whether a human being or a cow or other animal is to be
sacrificed. If a human being, it is always a criminal, and only one.
The usual spot where the feast takes place is a large open field
before the king's houses, under wide-spreading trees, where there are
two or three fetish houses.

The usual mode of burying the dead in this country is, to dig a deep
narrow hole, in which the corpse is deposited in a sitting posture,
the elbows between the knees. A poor person is interred without any
ceremony; in honour of a rich man, guns are fired, and rum is drunk
over his grave, and afterwards in the house by his friends and
retainers. At the celebration of a marriage, pitto is circulated
freely amongst the guests. Wives are bought, and according to the
circumstances of the bridegroom, so is the price. The first question
asked by every caboceer and great man was, how many wives the king of
England, had, being prepared, it should seem, to measure his
greatness by that standard; but when they were told that he had only
one, (and, if they had felt disposed, they might have extended their
information, by telling the inquirers that she was too much for him,)
they gave themselves up to a long and ungovernable fit of laughter,
followed by expressions of pity and wonder how he could possibly
exist in that destitute condition. The king of Youriba's boast was,
that his wives, linked hand-in-hand, would reach entirely across the
kingdom. Queens, however, in Africa, are applied to various uses,
although in some countries at some distance to the northward, it is a
difficult question to solve, whether they be of any use at all,
except for the purpose of entailing an extraordinary expense upon the
people, who have to labour hard for the support of the royal
appendage, which is generally imported from a neighbouring country,
where pride, pauperism, and pomposity are particularly conspicuous.
It would be well for an admirer of queenship to take a trip to Eyeo,
to see to what uses queens can be applied; for there they are formed
into a body-guard, and their majesties were observed, in every part
of the kingdom, acting as porters, and bearing on their heads
enormous burdens, in which they again differ from the queens of the
more northern countries, where, fortunately for the natives of it,
they never _bear_ at all. The queens of Eyeo are, to all intents and
purposes, slaves, and so are also other queens; but then they are
slaves to foolish and ridiculous customs, to stiff starched
etiquette, and to ceremonies degrading to a rational being.

The Eyeos, like other nations purely negro, are wholly unacquainted
with letters, or any form of writing; these are known only to the
Arabs or Fellatahs, who penetrate thither in small numbers; yet they
have a great deal of popular poetry. Every great man has bands of
singers of both sexes, who constantly attend him, and loudly
celebrate his achievements in extemporary poems. The convivial
meetings of the people, even their labours and journeys, are cheered
by songs composed for the occasion, and chanted often with
considerable taste.

The military force of the kingdom consists of the caboceers and their
immediate retainers, which upon an average may be about one hundred
and fifty each, a force formidable enough when called out upon any
predatory excursion, but which would seem to be inadequate to the
defence of the territory, against the encroachments or inroads of the
Fellatahs, and other more warlike tribes. It was supposed by Captain
Clapperton that the army may be as numerous as that of any of the
kingdoms of Africa. No conjecture was offered as to the total
population, but nearly fifty towns occurred in the line of route,
each containing from six to seven thousand, and some fifteen to
twenty thousand souls, and from the crowds on the roads, the
population must be very considerable.

The Youribanies struck the travellers as having less of the
characteristic features of the negro, than any other African race
which they had seen. Their lips are less thick, and their noses more
inclined to the aquiline shape than negroes in general. The men are
well made, and have an independent carriage. The women are almost
invariably of a more ordinary appearance than the men, owing to their
being more exposed to the sun, and to the drudgery they are obliged
to undergo, all the labours of the land devolving upon them. The
cotton plant and indigo are cultivated to a considerable extent, and
they manufacture the wool of their sheep into good cloth, which is
bartered with the people of the coast for rum, tobacco, European
cloth, and other articles. The medium of exchange throughout the
interior is the kowry shell, the estimated value of which has been
already given. Slaves, however, form the chief article of commerce
with the coast. A prime slave at Jannah is worth, sterling money,
from three to four pounds, according to the value set on the articles
of barter. Domestic slaves are never sold, except for misconduct.
His majesty was much astonished at learning that there are no slaves
in England. Upon the whole, the Youribanies appeared to be a gentle
and a kind people, affectionate to their wives and children, and to
one another, and under a mild, although a despotic government.

Among the domestic animals of this country, there are horses of a
very small breed, but these are scarce. The horned cattle are also
small near the coast, but on approaching the capital, they are seen
as large as those in England; many of them have humps on their
shoulders, like those of Abyssinia. They have also sheep, both of the
common species, and of the African kind; hogs, muscovy ducks, fowls,
pigeons, and a few turkeys. "The people of Youriba," says Lander,
"are not very delicate in the choice of their food; they eat frogs,
monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, mice, and various other kinds of vermin. A
fat dog will always fetch a better price than a goat. Locusts and
black ants, just as they are able to take wing, are a great luxury.
Caterpillars are also held in very high estimation, they are stewed
and eaten with yams and _tuah._ Ants and locusts are fried in
butter." This statement of Lander, as far as regards the dog, is
somewhat at variance with the compliment paid to the Youribanies, for
their treatment of that faithful animal.

The hyena and the leopard are said to be very common, and the lion is
found in some parts, but monkeys were the only wild animals seen by
the travellers.

Although Clapperton and Lander remained at Katunga from January 23rd
to March 7th, and the mysterious Quorra was not more than thirty
miles distant to the eastward, he was not able to prevail upon the
king to allow him to visit it, but was always put off with some
frivolous excuse, and in these excuses, the old gentleman appears to
have been as cunning and as cautious as a Chinese mandarin; observing
at one time that the road was not safe; at another, that the Fellatas
had possession of the country, and what would the king of England say
if any thing should happen to his guest. The greatest difficulty was
experienced in getting away from Katunga, for his majesty could not
or would not comprehend why he should be in any hurry to depart, and
by way of an inducement, but which secretly might have a very
opposite effect to that which was intended, Clapperton and Lander
were both offered any wife they chose to select from his stock, and
if one were not sufficient, five or six might be selected; for
himself he had plenty, although he could not exactly tell their
number, but if Clapperton would stop, the experiment should be tried,
of how far they would reach hand to hand; even this gracious offer
appeared to have no influence upon the obstinate disposition of
Clapperton, he was determined to leave Katunga and reach Bornou
before the rains set in, but the king was equally determined that he
should not carry his project into execution, for, like all the other
African princes, he seemed disposed to make a monopoly of the
strangers who entered his territory. His majesty hinted that one
journey was well and fully employed in seeing the kingdom of Youriba,
and paying the required homage to its potent monarch.

It is curious how etiquette forms a part of every court, from a
latitude of 52 deg. north, to one almost immediately under the equator,
and it must be admitted that if a school of instruction were
established at the former one, wherein the debutants might perfect
themselves in their various gestures and attitudes, we should not
behold such a number of awkward louts, and johnny raw's, as exhibit
themselves at the levee room of the king of the Guelphs. In the
capital of Eyeo, it is the custom of the court, for the monarch to
hold a levee twice a day, at six in the morning, and two in the
afternoon; rather hot work for the courtiers, perspiring in a
temperature of about 120 deg.. The son of a Highland clansman, or of an
Irish bogtrotter, is ushered into the presence of his sovereign with
very little preliminary instruction; not so however with the more
refined and polished court of Katunga. There, before the legitimate
or illegitimate sons of royalty and nobility, or even of the
plebeians are introduced to the king, they are required to wait upon
the chief eunuch, a kind of African lord chamberlain, and before whom
they are required to practise their prostrations and genuflexions, so
as not to commit themselves in the presence of their august monarch.
The finished courtier at the court of the Guelphs, is known by the
grace with which he seizes the hand of royalty, to imprint upon it a
slobbering kiss; and the caboceer at the court of Katunga, is known
by the grace with which he covers himself with dust, and the
intensity of his homage is estimated according to the quantity of the
article which he throws over himself. It must have been a delectable
treat for the Europeans to have been present at one of these
academies of court etiquette, where the old and young were practising
their prostrations before the ugly antiquated eunuch, and who
hesitated not to give his pupils a kick, when any of them evinced an
extraordinary awkwardness in their attitudes. During the whole of the
time that the prostrations were practising, the attendants were
dancing in a circle, with now and then the interlude of a minuet by
one of the performers, in the course of which he would frequently
throw a somerset, as expert as old Grimaldi, and all this under a
burning tropical sun. These caboceers were dressed in robes of
leopard skin, hung round with tassels and chains, and in a short time
afterwards about twenty of them, in all their dirt and debasement,
stretched at full length before the king, stripped to the waist, and
vying with each other, which should have the most dust, and kiss the
ground with the greatest fervour. When any one speaks to the king, it
must be addressed to him through the eunuch, who is prostrated by the
side of his master.

On the 7th March, the travellers resumed their journey into the
interior, and retracing their steps to Tshow, reached at noon the
next day, the town of Algi, which was just rising from its ruins
after the Fellata, inroad of the preceding year. All the intermediate
villages had shared the same fate. Algi, according to the information
received, no longer belonged to Youriba, but to the sultan of Kiama.
It comprised three small villages, and before it was burnt down had
been of considerable size. These marauders have a singular mode of
setting fire to walled towns, by fastening combustibles to the tails
of pigeons, which, on being loosed, fly to the tops of the thatched
houses, while the assailants keep up a sharp fire of arrows, to
prevent the inhabitants from extinguishing the flames.

On the 11th, the travellers once more crossed the Moussa, which
formerly divided the kingdoms of Youriba and Borgoo. It was now dry
in a great many places, with a very rocky bed; when full, it is about
thirty yards in breadth, and flows with a very strong current. On the
other side, the road to Kiama lay through a flat country, thickly
wooded with fine trees, and inhabited by large antelopes. These
creatures are the most lively, graceful, and beautifully proportioned
of the brute creation. Wherever known, they have attracted the
attention and admiration of mankind from the earliest ages, and the
beauty of their dark and lustrous eyes affords a frequent theme to
the poetical imaginings of the eastern poets. The antelopes seen by
Lander are by the Dutch called springbok, and inhabit the great
plains of central Africa, and assemble in vast flocks during their
migratory movements. These migrations, which are said to take place
in their most numerous form only at the intervals of several years,
appear to come from the north-east, and in masses of many thousands,
devouring, like locusts, every green herb. The lion has been seen to
migrate, and walk in the midst of the compressed phalanx, with only
as much space between him and his victims as the fears of those
immediately round could procure by pressing outwards. The foremost of
these vast columns are fat, and the rear exceedingly lean, while the
direction continues one way; but with the change of the monsoon, when
they return towards the north, the rear become the leaders, fattening
in their turn, and leaving the others to starve, and to be devoured
by the numerous rapacious animals, who follow their march. At all
times, when impelled by fear, either of the hunter or beasts of prey
darting amongst the flocks, but principally when the herds are
assembled in countless multitudes, so that an alarm cannot spread
rapidly and open the means of flight, they are pressed against each
other, and their anxiety to escape compels them to bound up in the
air, showing at the same time the white spot on the croup, dilated by
the effort, and closing again in their descent, and producing that
beautiful effect from which they have obtained the name of the
springer or springbok.

Early on the 13th, the travellers were met by an escort from the
chief of Kiama, the capital of a district of the same name, and
containing thirty thousand inhabitants. Kiama, Wawa, Niki, and Boussa
are provinces composing the kingdom of Borgoo, all subject, in a
certain sense, to the sovereign of Boussa; but the different cities
plunder and make war on each other, without the slightest regard to
the supreme authority. The people of Kiama and of Borgoo in general
have the reputation of being the greatest thieves and robbers in all
Africa, a character which nothing in their actual conduct appeared to
confirm. The escort were mounted on beautiful horses, and forming as
fine and wild a looking troop as the travellers had ever seen.

By sultan Yarro himself the travellers were well received. He was
found seated at the porch of his door, dressed in a white tobe, with
a red moorish cap on his head, attended by a mob of people, all lying
prostrate, and talking to him in that posture. He shook hands with
Captain Clapperton, and after telling him who he was, and where he
wished to go, he said, "Very well; I have assigned a house for you;
you had better go and rest from the fatigues of your journey; a
proper supply of provisions shall be sent you." The travellers took
their leave, and repaired to the house prepared for them, which
consisted of three large huts inside a square; they had not been long
there, when a present arrived from Yarro, consisting of milk, eggs,
bananas, fried cheese, curds, and foofoo. The latter is the common
food of both rich and poor in Youriba, and is of two kinds, white and
black. The former is merely a paste made of boiled yams, formed into
balls of about one pound each. The black is a more elaborate
preparation from the flour of yams. In the evening, Yarro paid the
travellers a visit. He came mounted on a beautiful red roan, attended
by a number of armed men on horseback and on foot, and six young
female slaves, naked as they were born, except a fillet of narrow
white cloth tied round their heads, about six inches of the ends
flying out behind, each carrying a light spear in the right hand. He
was dressed in a red silk damask tobe, and booted. He dismounted and
came into the house, attended by the six girls, who laid down their
spears, and put a blue cloth round their waists, before they entered
the door. After a short conference, in which he promised the
travellers all the assistance they solicited, sultan Yarro mounted
his horse; the young spear-women resumed their spears, laying aside
the encumbrance of their aprons, and away they went, the most
extraordinary cavalcade, which the travellers had ever witnessed.
Their light form, the vivacity of their eyes, and the ease with which
they appeared to fly over the ground, made these female pages appear
something more than mortal, as they flew alongside of his horse, when
he was galloping, and making his horse curvet and bound. A man with
an immense bundle of spears remained behind, at a little distance,
apparently to serve as a magazine for the girls to be supplied from,
when their master had expended those they carried in their hands.

Here, as in other large towns, there were music and dancing the whole
of the night. Men's wives and maidens all join in the song and dance,
Mahommedans as well as pagans; female chastity was very little

Kiama is a straggling, ill-built town, of circular thatched huts,
built, as well as the town-wall, of clay. It stands in latitude 9 deg.
37' 33" N., longitude 5 deg. 22' 56", and is one of the towns through
which the Houssa and Bornou caravan passes in its way to Gonga, on
the borders of Ashantee. Both the city and provinces are, as
frequently happens in Africa, called after the chief Yarro, whose
name signifies the boy. The inhabitants are pagans of an easy faith,
never praying but when they are sick or in want of something, and
cursing their object of worship as fancy serves. The Houssa slaves
among them are Mahommedans, and are allowed to worship in their own
way. It is enough to call a man a native of Borgoo, to designate him
as a thief and a murderer.

Sultan Yarro was a most accommodating personage, he sent his
principal queen to visit Captain Clapperton, but she had lost both
her youth and her charms. Yarro then inquired of Captain Clapperton,
if he would take his daughter for a wife; to which Clapperton
answered in the affirmative, thanking the sultan at the same time for
his most gracious present. On this, the old woman went out, and
Clapperton followed with the king's head-man, Abubecker, to the house
of the daughter, which consisted of several coozies, separate from
those of the father, and was shown into a very clean one; a mat was
spread, he sat down, and the lady coming in and kneeling down,
Clapperton asked her, if she would live in his house, or if he should
come and live with her; she answered, whatever way he wished, "Very
well," replied Clapperton, "as you have the best house, I will come
and live with you." The bargain was concluded, and the daughter of
the sultan was, _pro tempore,_ the wife of the gallant captain.

On the 18th, the travellers took their leave of sultan Yarro and his
capital, and the fourth day reached Wawa, another territorial
capital, built in the form of a square, and containing from eighteen
to twenty thousand inhabitants. It is surrounded with a good high
clay wall and dry ditch, and is one of the neatest, most compact, and
best walled towns that had yet been seen. The streets are spacious
and dry; the houses are of the coozie form, consisting of circular
huts connected by a wall, opening into an interior area. The
governor's house is surrounded with a clay wall, about thirty feet
high, having large coozies, shady trees, and square towers inside.
Unlike their neighbours of Kiama, they bear a good character for
honesty, though not for sobriety or chastity, virtues wholly unknown
at Wawa; but they are merry, good natured, and hospitable. They
profess to be descended from the people of Nyffee and Houssa, but
their language is a dialect of the Youribanee; their religion is a
mongrel mahommedism grafted upon paganism. Their women are much
better looking than those of Youriba, and the men are well made, but
have a debauched look; in fact, Lander says, he never was in a place
where drunkenness was so general. They appeared to have plenty of the
necessaries of life, and a great many luxuries. Their fruits are
limes, plantains, bananas, and several wild fruits; their vegetables,
yams and _calalow,_ a plant, the leaves of which are used in soup as
cabbage; and their grain are dhourra and maize. Fish they procure in
great quantities from the Quorra and its tributaries, chiefly a sort
of cat-fish. Oxen are in great plenty, principally in the hands of
the Fellatas, also sheep and goats, poultry, honey, and wax. Ivory
and ostrich feathers, they said, were to be procured in great plenty,
but there was no market for them.

It was at this place that Clapperton had nearly, though innocently,
got into a scrape with the old governor by coquetting with a young
and buxom widow, and, in fact, Lander himself experienced some
difficulty in withstanding the amorous attack of this African beauty;
for she acted upon the principle, that, as she could not succeed with
the master, there was no obstacle existing that she knew of, to
prevent her directing the battery of her fine black sparkling eyes
against the servant.

"I had a visit," says Clapperton, "amongst the number, from the
daughter of an Arab, who was very fair, called herself a white woman,
was a rich widow, and wanted a white husband. She was said to be the
richest person in Wawa, having the best house in the town, and a
thousand slaves." She showed a particular regard for Richard Lander,
who was younger and better-looking than Clapperton; but she had
passed her twentieth year, was fat, and a perfect Turkish beauty,
just like a huge walking water-butt. All her arts were, however,
unavailing on the heart of Lander; she could not induce him to visit
her at her house, although he had the permission of his master.

This gay widow appeared by no means disposed to waste any time by
making regular approaches, like those by which widow Wadman
undermined the outworks, and then the citadel of the unsuspecting
uncle Toby, but she was determined at once to carry the object of her
attack by storm.

The widow Zuma attempted in the first place to ingratiate herself
with the Europeans, by sending them hot provisions every day in
abundance, during their stay at Wawa. She calculated very justly,
that gratitude is the parent of love, and therefore imagined that as
the Europeans could not be otherwise than grateful to her, for the
delicacies, with which she so liberally supplied them, it would soon
follow as a natural consequence, that their hearts would overflow
with love; at all events it was not to be supposed, that both master
and man could remain callous to the potency of her corporeal charms.
Finding, however, that the hearts of the Europeans were much like the
rocks of her native land, perfectly impenetrable, she had recourse to
another stratagem, which is generally attended with success. In the
enlightened and civilized country of Europe, or at least in that part
of it called England, it is by no means an obsolete custom, for an
individual, who wishes to ingratiate himself with the object of his
affections, to bestow a valuable present on the waiting woman or
abigail, who is a great deal about her person, and the eulogiums
which she then passes upon the absent lover, are great and exuberant
in proportion to the extent of the bribe. A female, whoever she may
be, whether a Middlesex virgin, or a Wawa widow, delights not only to
have some one to whom she can speak of the object of her attachment,
but who will be continually speaking to her of him, and as it appears
that the female character is very nearly the same in the interior of
Africa, as in the latitude of London, it is by no means a matter of
surprise, that the amorous widow enlisted Pascoe, the black servant
of Clapperton, in her cause, by offering him in the way of a bribe, a
handsome female slave as a wife, if he would manage to bring about an
interview at her own house, between either Clapperton or Lander,
expressing herself at the same time not to be very particular as to
which of the two this interview was obtained with. Clapperton it
appears had greater confidence in himself than Lander could boast of,
and the former considering himself proof against all the arts and
fascinations of the widow, and wishing at the same time to see the
interior arrangement of her house, he determined to pay her a visit.
He found her house large, and full of male and female slaves, the
males lying about the outer huts, the females more in the interior.
In the centre of the huts was a square one, of large dimensions,
surrounded by a verandah, with screens of matting all round, except
in one place, where there was hung a tanned bullock's hide; to this
spot he was led up, and on its being drawn on one side, he saw the
lady sitting cross-legged on a small Turkey carpet, like one of our
hearth-rugs, a large leathern cushion under her left knee; her goora
pot, which was an old-fashioned pewter mug, by her side, and a
calabash of water to wash her mouth out, as she alternately kept
eating goora and chewing tobacco snuff, the custom with all ranks,
male and female, who can procure them; on her right side lay a whip.
At a little distance, squatted on the ground, sat a dwarfish,
humpbacked female slave, with a wide mouth, but good eyes. She had no
clothing on, with the exception of a profusion of strings of beads
and coral round her neck and waist. This dwarfish personage served
the purpose of a bell in our country, and what, it may be supposed,
would in old times have been called a page. The lady herself was
dressed in a white coarse muslin turban, her neck profusely decorated
with necklaces of coral and gold chains, amongst which was one of
rubies and gold beads; her eyebrows and eyelashes were blackened, her
hair dyed with indigo, and her hands and feet with henna; around her
body she had a fine striped silk and cotton country cloth, which came
as high as her tremendous bosom, and reached as low as her ankles; in
her right hand she held a fan made of stained grass, and of a square
form. She desired Clapperton to sit down on the carpet beside her, an
invitation which he accepted, and in an alluring manner she began to
fan him, at the same time sending humpback to bring out her finery
for him to look at, which consisted of four gold bracelets, two large
paper dressing-cases with looking-glasses, and several strings of
coral, silver rings, and bracelets, with a number of other trifling
articles. After a number of compliments, and giving her favoured
visitor an account of all her wealth, he was led through one
apartment into another, cool, clean, and ornamented with pewter
dishes and bright brass pans. She now entered into the history of her
private life, commencing with bewailing the death of her husband, who
had now been dead ten years, during all of which time she had mourned
after him excessively. She had one son, the issue of her marriage,
but he was much darker than herself. With a frankness perfectly
commendable in an African widow, and wholly at variance with the
hypocritical and counterfeit bashfulness of the English one, the
widow Zuma at once exposed the situation of her heart, by declaring
that she sincerely loved white men, and as her visitor belonged to
that species, he saw himself at once the object of her affections,
and the envy of all the aspiring young bachelors of the town, who had
been for some time directing a vigorous attack against the widow's
heart. The denouement of an English court-ship is frequently
distinguished by an elopement; but although it was the last of
Clapperton's thoughts to run away with such an unwieldy mass of human
flesh, yet she very delicately proposed to him, that she would send
for a malem, or man of learning, who should read the fetah to them,
or, in other words, that no time whatever should be lost in endowing
the widow Zuma with all claim, right, title, and privilege to be
introduced at the court of Wawa, or any other court in Africa, or
even at that time at the virtuous and formal court of queen Charlotte
of England, as the spouse of Captain Clapperton, of the royal navy of
Great Britain.

Clapperton was now convinced that the widow was beginning to carry
the joke a little too far, for she assured him, that she should
commence immediately to pack up all her property, and accompany him
to his native country, assuring him, at the same time, that she felt
within herself every requisite qualification to make him a good,
_active,_ and affectionate wife. Clapperton, however, was by no means
disposed to enter so suddenly into a matrimonial speculation, and he
began to look rather serious at the offer which was so unexpectedly,
but so lovingly made to him. This being observed by the widow, she
sent for her looking-glass, and after having taken a full examination
of herself, in every position which the glass would allow her, she
offered it to Clapperton, observing, that certainly she was a little
older than he was, but that circumstance, in her opinion, should not
operate as a bar to their matrimonial union. This was rather too much
for Clapperton to endure, and, taking the first opportunity, he made
his retreat with all possible expedition, determining never to come
to such close quarters again with the amorous widow.

On his arrival at his residence, Clapperton could not refrain from
laughing at his adventure with the African widow, and informed
Lander, that he had now an opportunity of establishing himself for
life; for although he had rejected the matrimonial advances of the
widow, there was little doubt, that, rather than not obtain a
husband, she would not hesitate to make the offer of her hand to any
other white man, who might present himself. Lander, however, was
still more averse from matrimony than his master, at least with the
African beauty; and although a frequent invitation was sent to him,
yet he very politely declined the acceptance of it, and therefore, as
far as the Europeans were concerned, the widow remained without a

Lander gives us no very flattering account of the character of the
inhabitants. In the town of Wawa, which is supposed to contain 20,000
inhabitants, he does not believe the virtue of chastity to exist.
Even the widow Zuma let out her female slaves for hire, like the rest
of the people of the town. Drinking is the prevailing vice amongst
all classes, nor is it confined to the male sex, for Clapperton was
for three or four days pestered by the governor's daughter, who used
to come several times during the day, painted and bedizened in the
highest style of Wawa fashion, but she was always half tipsy. This
lady, like the widow, had also a design upon the hearts of the
Europeans. On some of these occasions, she expressed her extreme
readiness to prolong her visit during the whole of the night, but
Clapperton informed her, that at night he was employed in prayer, and
looking at the stars, an occupation which she could not comprehend;
and further he told her, that he never drank any thing stronger than
_wa-in-zafir,_ a name which they give to tea, literally, however,
being hot water. Not being able to soften the obdurate heart of
Clapperton, nor to wean him from the unsociable habit of looking at
the stars at night, she always left him with a flood of tears.

In this part of Borgoo, as well as in the neighbourhood of Algi, and
in all the countries between them and the sea, that Lander passed
through, he met with tribes of Fellatas, nearly white, who are not
moslem, but pagan. "They are certainly," he says, "the same people,
as they speak the same language, and have the same features and
colour, except those who have crossed with the negro. They are as
fair as the lower class of Portuguese or Spaniards, lead a pastoral
life, shifting from place to place as they find grass for their
horned cattle, and live in temporary huts of reeds or long grass."

From Wawa there are two roads leading to the Fellata country, one by
Youri, the other through Nyffee. The former was reported to be
unsafe, the sultan of the country being out, fighting the Fellatas.
The latter crosses the Quorra at Comie, and runs direct to Koolfu, in
Nyffee. It was necessary, however, for Clapperton to proceed in the
first instance to Boussa, to visit its sultan, to whom all this part
of Borgoo is nominally subject. They were also particularly anxious
to see the spot where Park and his companions perished, and, if
possible, to recover their papers.

Leaving Wawa at daybreak on the 30th March, the travellers passed
over a woody country, and at length entered a range of low rocky
hills, composed of pudding stone. At the end of an opening in the
range was a beautiful sugar loaf mountain, overlooking all the rest,
and bearing from the village half a mile E. S. E. The name of Mount
George was given to it by Clapperton. The valleys were cultivated
with yams, corn, and maize; and on the same day the travellers
arrived at Ingum, the first village belonging to Boussa, situated on
the north-eastern side of the hills. At four hours from Ingum, they
halted at a village of the Cumbrie or Cambric, an aboriginal race of
kaffirs, inhabiting the woods on both sides of the river. About an
hour further, they arrived at the ferry over the Menai, where it
falls into another branch of the Quorra, and in about a quarter of an
hour's ride from the opposite bank, they entered the western gate of
Boussa. The walls, which appeared very extensive, were undergoing
repair. Bands of male and female slaves, singing in chorus,
accompanied by a band of drums and flutes, were passing to and from
the river, to mix the clay they were building with. Every great man
had his own part of the wall to build, like the Jews when they built
the walls of Jerusalem, every one opposite to his own house.

The city of Boussa is situated on an island formed by the Quorra, in
latitude 10 deg. 14' N. longitude 6 deg. 11' E. It stands nearest the
westernmost branch of the Menai, which is about twenty yards in
breadth, and runs with a slow and sluggish current. The place pointed
out to Lander as the spot where Park perished, is in the eastern
channel. A low flat island about a quarter of a mile in breadth, lies
between the town of Boussa and the fatal spot, which is in a line
from the sultan's house with a double trunked tree, with white bark,
standing singly on the low flat island. The bank, at the time of
Lander's visit, was only ten feet above the level of the stream,
which here breaks over a great slate rock, extending quite across to
the eastern shore, which rises into gentle hills of grey slate,
thinly scattered with trees.

The following statement of the circumstances attending the lamented
fate of Mr. Park, was given to the travellers by an eyewitness, and
together with all the information which they could collect, tallies
with the story, disbelieved at the time, which Isaaco brought back
from Amadi Fatooma. The informant stated "that when the boat came
down the river, it happened unfortunately just at the time that the
Fellatas had risen in arms, and were ravaging Goober and Zamfra; that
the sultan of Boussa, on hearing that the persons in the boat were
white men, and that it was different from any that had ever been seen
before, as she had a house at one end, called his people together
from the neighbouring towns, attacked and killed them, not doubting
they were the advanced guard of the Fellata army, then ravaging
Soudan, under the command of Malem Danfodio, the father of sultan
Bello. That one of the white men was a tall man, with long hair; that
they fought for three days before they were all killed, that the
people in the neighbourhood were very much alarmed, and great numbers
fled to Nyffee, and other countries, thinking that the Fellatas were
certainly coming amongst them; that the number of persons in the boat
were only four, two white men and two black; that they found great
treasure in the boat, but that the people had all died, who ate of
the meat that was found on board."

This meat according to another native informant, was believed on that
account to be human flesh, for they knew, it was added, that we white
men eat human flesh. Lander afterwards received the following
additional information from a mallam or priest, whom he met with at
Wawa, and who tendered it spontaneously. "The sultan of Youri advised
your countrymen to proceed the remainder of the way on land, as the
passage by water was rendered dangerous by numerous sunken rocks in
the Niger, and a cruel race of people inhabiting the towns on its
banks." They refused, however, to accede to this, observing that they
were bound to proceed down the Niger to the salt water. The old
mallam further observed, that as soon as the sultan of Youri heard of
their death, he was much affected, but it was out of his power to
punish the people, who had driven them into the water. A pestilence
reached Boussa at the time, swept off the king and most of the
habitants, particularly those who were concerned in the transaction.
The remainder fancying it was a judgment of the white man's God,
placed everything belonging to the Christians in a hut, and set it on
fire. It is not a little remarkable, that it is now a common saying,
all through the interior of Africa, "Do not hurt a Christian, for if
you do, you will die like the people of Boussa." On Clapperton
waiting on the sultan of Boussa, he was as usual very kindly
received; his first inquiry was concerning some white men, who were
lost in the river, some twenty years ago, near this place.

The sultan appeared rather uneasy at these inquiries, and it was
observed that he stammered in his speech. He assured both Clapperton
and Lander, that he had not any thing in his possession belonging to
the white men, and that he was a little boy when the event happened.
Clapperton told him that he wanted nothing but the books and papers,
and to learn from him a correct account of the manner of their death;
and, with the sultan's permission, he would go and visit the place
where they were lost. To this request, the sultan gave a decided
refusal, alleging that it was a very bad place. Clapperton, however,
having heard that part of the boat remained, inquired if such were
really the case; to which the sultan replied, that there was no truth
whatever in the report; that she did remain on the rocks for some
time after, but had gone to pieces and floated down the river long
ago. Clapperton told the sultan, that, if he would give him the books
and papers, it would be the greatest favour he could possibly confer
on him. The sultan again assured him, that nothing remained with him;
every thing of books or papers having gone into the hands of the
learned men; but that, if any were in existence, he would procure
them, and give them to him. Clapperton then asked him, if he would
allow him to inquire of the old people in the town the particulars of
the affair, as some of them must have witnessed the transaction. The
sultan appeared very uneasy, and as he did not return any answer,
Clapperton did not press him further at that time upon the subject.

Some unpleasant suspicions floating on the mind of Clapperton, he
took the first opportunity of returning to the subject, and on again
inquiring about the papers of his unfortunate countryman, the sultan
said, that the late iman, a Fellata, had had possession of all the
books and papers, and that he had fled from Boussa some time since.
This, therefore, was a death-blow to all future inquiries in that
quarter, and the whole of the information concerning the affair of
the boat, her crew, and cargo, was indefinite and unsatisfactory.
Every one, in fact, appeared uneasy when any information was
required; and they always stifled any further inquiry by vaguely
answering, that it happened before their remembrance, or they had
forgotten it, or they had not seen it. They, however, pointed out the
place where the boat struck and the unfortunate crew perished. Even
this, however, was done with caution, and as if by stealth, although
in every thing unconnected with that affair, they were most ready to
give the travellers whatever information they required, and in no
part of Africa were they treated with greater hospitality and

The place where the vessel was sunk is in the eastern channel, where
the river breaks over a grey slate rock extending quite across it. A
little lower down, the river had a fall of three or four feet. Here,
and still further down, the whole united streams of the Quorra were
not above three-fourths the breadth of the Thames at Somerset-house.

On returning to the ferry, Clapperton found a messenger from the king
of Youri, who had sent him a present of a camel.

The messenger stated, that the king, before he left Youri, had shown
him two books, very large and printed, that had belonged to the white
men, who were lost in the boat at Boussa; that he had been offered
one hundred and seventy mitgalls of gold for them, by a merchant from
Bornou, who had been sent by a Christian on purpose for them.
Clapperton advised him to tell the king that he ought to have sold
them, for that he would not give five mitgalls for them; but that, if
he would send them, he would give him an additional present, and that
he would be doing an acceptable thing to the king of England by
sending them, and that he would not act like a king, if he did not.
Clapperton gave the messenger, for his master, one of the mock gold
chains, a common sword, and ten yards of silk, adding that he would
give him a handsome gun and some more silk, if he would send the
books. On asking the messenger, if there were any books like his
journal, which he showed him, he said there was one, but that his
master had given it to an Arab merchant ten years ago; the merchant,
however, was killed by the Fellatas, on his way to Kano, and what had
become of that book afterwards, he did not know.

Upon this, Clapperton sent a person with a letter to Youri. Mohammed,
the Fezzaner, whom he had hired at Tabra, and whom he had sent to the
chief of Youri for the books and papers of the late Mungo Park,
returned, bringing him a letter from that person, which contained the
following account of the death of that unfortunate traveller. That
not the least injury was done to him at Youri, or by the people of
that country; that the people of Boussa had killed them, and taken
all their riches; that the books in his possession were given him by
the iman of Boussa; that they were lying on the top of the goods in
the boat when she was taken; that not a soul was left alive belonging
to the boat; that the bodies of two black men were found in the boat,
chained together; that the white men jumped overboard; that the boat
was made of two canoes joined fast together, with an awning or roof
behind; that he, the sultan, had a gun, double barrelled, and a
sword, and two books, that had belonged to those in the boat; that he
would give the books whenever Clapperton went himself to Youri for
them, but not until then.

This is, however, not exactly what the sultan says, in his letter, of
which the following is a translation:--

"This is issued from the prince or lord of Yaoury to Abdallah, the
English captain--salutation and esteem. Hence your messenger has
arrived, and brought us your letter, and we understand what you
write; you inquire about a thing that has no trace with us. The
prince or lord of Boossy is older (or greater) than us, because he is
our grandfather. Why did you not inquire of him about what you wish
for? You were at Boossy, and did not inquire of the inhabitants what
was the cause of the destruction of the ship and your friends, nor
what happened between them of evil; but you do now inquire of one who
is far off, and knows nothing of the cause of their (the Christians')

"As to the book, which is in our hand, it is true, and we did not
give it to your messenger; but we will deliver it to you, if you come
and show us a letter from your lord. You shall then see and have it,
if God be pleased; and much esteem and salam be to you, and prayer
and peace unto the last of the apostles!


This may be considered as the conclusion of the information which was
obtained respecting the fate of Park; although Clapperton expresses
it to be his opinion, but founded on very slender grounds, that the
journal of Park is yet to be recovered.

On leaving Boussa, Clapperton retraced his steps to the Cumbrie
villages, and then turned to the south-south-west to another of their
villages, named Songa, situated on the banks of the Quorra. About two
hours above Songa, there is a formidable cataract, "where," Lander
observes, "if Park had passed Boussa in safety, he would have been in
danger of perishing, unheard and unseen." An hour and a half below
Songa, the Quorra rushes with great force through a natural gap, such
it seems to be, between porphyritic rocks rising on each side of the
channel. Between Songa and this place, the river is full of rocky
islets and rapids, and these occur occasionally all the way down to
Wonjerque, or the king's ferry at the village of Comie, where it is
all in one stream, about a quarter of a mile in width, and ten or
twelve feet deep in the middle. This is the great ferry of all the
caravans to and from Nyffee, Houssa, and is only a few hours from

On reaching this ferry, Clapperton was told, that, so far from his
baggage having been sent on to Koolfu, it had been stopped at Wawa,
by order of the governor; but this extraordinary proceeding was in
some degree accounted for, as it appeared that although neither
Clapperton nor Lander would have any thing to do with the corpulent
widow Zuma, she was determined not to let them off so easily, and, to
their great surprise, the travellers heard that she was at a
neighbouring village, from which she sent them a present of some
boiled rice and a fowl, giving them, at the same time, a pressing
invitation to come and stop at her house. The governor's son informed
Clapperton, that his baggage would not be allowed to leave Wawa till
the widow Zuma was sent back. "What the d---l have I to do with the
widow?" asked Clapperton.--"You have," he replied; "and you must come
back with me and take her." Clapperton, however, refused, in the most
positive terms, to have any thing to do with or to say to her. At
this moment Lander returned from Boussa, whither he had followed his
master, to acquaint him with the detention of his baggage; all of
which was owing to the widow having left Wawa about half an hour
after he did, with drums beating before her, and a train after her,
first calling at his lodgings, before she waited on the governor.
It was also ascertained that she had given old Pascoe a female slave
for a wife, without having previously asked the governor's
permission. The widow had also intimated her intention to follow the
travellers to Kano, whence she would return to make war on the
governor, as she had done once before. "This," said Clapperton, "let
me into their politics with a vengeance; it would indeed have been a
fine end to my journey, if I had deposed old Mahommed, and set up for
myself, with a walking tun-butt for a queen." Clapperton, however,
determined to go back to Wawa, to release his baggage; and scarcely
had he got there, when the arrival of the buxom widow was announced,
her appearance and escort being as grand as she could make it, hoping
thereby to make an impression upon the flinty hearts of the
Europeans. The following is the description of her dress and
escort:-- Preceding her marched a drummer, beating the instrument with
all his power, his cap being profusely decked with ostrich feathers.
A bowman walked on foot, at the head of her horse, a long train
following, consisting of tall, strong men, armed with spears, bows,
and swords. She rode on a fine horse, whose trappings were of the
first order for this semi-civilized country; the head of the horse
was ornamented with brass-plates, the neck with brass bells, and
charms sewed in various coloured leather, such as red, green, and
yellow; a scarlet breast-piece, with a brass plate in the centre;
scarlet saddle-cloth, trimmed with lace. She was dressed in red silk
trousers and morocco boots; on her head a white turban, and over her
shoulders a mantle of silk and gold. For the purpose of properly
balancing her ponderous frame on the horse, she rode in the style of
the men, a-straddle; and perhaps a more unwieldy mass never pressed
upon the loins of an animal; had she, however, been somewhat younger,
and less corpulent, there might have been some temptation to head her
party, for she certainly had been a very handsome woman, and such as
would have been thought a beauty in any country in Europe.

The widow was summoned before the governor; went on her knees, and,
after a lecture on disobedience and vanity, was dismissed; but on
turning her back, she shook the dust off her feet with great
indignation and contempt; "and," says Clapperton, "I went home,
determined never to be caught in such a foolish affair in future."

The travellers, having secured their baggage, returned to the ferry,
and crossed the Quorra. They were now on the high-road to Koolfu, the
emporium of Nyffee. In the course of the first two stages, they came
to two villages full of blacksmiths' shops, with several forges in
each. They got their iron ore from the hills, which they smelt, where
they dig it. In every village they saw a fetish house in good repair,
adorned with painted figures of human beings, as also the boa, the
alligator, and the tortoise. The country is well cultivated with
corn, yams, and cotton; but the ant-hills were the highest the
travellers had ever seen, being from fifteen to twenty feet high, and
resembling so many gothic cathedrals in miniature.

In the afternoon of the third day, they crossed a stream called the
May Yarrow, opposite the town of Tabra, by a long narrow wooden
bridge of rough branches covered with earth, the first that they had
seen in Africa; it will not, however, bear a man and horse, nor can
two horses pass at once. Tabra, which is divided by the river into
two quarters, was at this time the residence of the queen-mother of
Nyffee, who was governor _ad interim_ during the absence of her son.
It may contain from eighteen to twenty thousand inhabitants, who,
with a few exceptions, are pagans, and they all, men and women, have
the reputation of being great drunkards. There are only a few
blacksmiths here, but a great number of weavers. The Houssa caravans
pass close to the north side of the town, but seldom enter it. Before
the civil war began, the Benin people came here to trade. The war,
which was still raging, originated in a dispute for the succession,
between Mohammed El Majia, the son of the queen-mother, who was a
moslem, and Edrisi, who was represented to be a pagan. The former was
supported by the Fellatas, whom the people of Nyffee cannot endure;
the other had the best right and the people on his side, but there
was little doubt of his being obliged to succumb.

Clapperton, accompanied by Lander, repaired to the camp, to pay his
respects to El Majia. He was found mounted on a good bay horse, the
saddle ornamented with pieces of silver and brass; the breastplate
with large silver plates hanging down from it, like what is
represented in the prints of Roman and eastern emperors on horseback.
He was a tall man, with a stupid expression of countenance, a large
mouth, and snagged teeth, which showed horribly, when he attempted a
smile. His dress consisted of a black velvet cap, with flaps over the
ears, and trimmed with red silk; a blue and white striped tobe, and
ragged red boots, part leather and part cloth; in his hand he bore a
black staff with a silver head, and a coast-made umbrella and sword
were carried by his slaves. Altogether his appearance was far from
being either kingly or soldier-like, and he displayed the most mean
degree of rapacity. He was the ruin of his country by his unnatural
ambition, and by calling in the Fellatas, who would remove him out of
the way the moment he is of no more use to them. Even then, he dared
not move without their permission. It was reported, and generally
believed, that he put to death his brother and two of his sons.
Through him the greater part of the industrious population of Nyffee
had either been killed, sold as slaves, or had fled from their native
country. Lander considered that it would have been an act of charity
to have removed him altogether.

The _sanson,_ or camp, was a large collection of bee-hive-shaped
huts, arranged in streets, and thatched with straw. But for the
number of horses feeding, and some picketed near the huts, the men
being all seen armed, and the drums beating, it might have been taken
for a populous and peaceful village. Here were to be seen weavers,
tailors, women spinning cotton, others reeling it off; some selling
_foofoo_ and _accassons,_ others crying yams and paste; little
markets at every green tree; holy men counting their beads, and
dissolute slaves drinking _wabum,_ palm wine. The king, when the
travellers went to take leave of him, was found in his hut,
surrounded by Fellatas, one of whom was reading the Koran aloud for
the benefit of the whole, the meaning of which not one of them
understood, not even the reader. It is by no means an uncommon
occurrence, both in Bornou and Houssa, for a man to be able to read
the Koran fluently, who does not understand a word in it but _Allah,_
and who is unable to read any other book.

On the 2nd of May the travellers left Tabra, and journeying along the
banks of the May Yarrow, crossed a stream running into it from the
north, and soon after entered the great market town of Koolfu.
Captain Clapperton, it would appear, was doomed to be brought into
contact with the rich widows of the country, for in this town he took
up his abode with the widow Laddie, huge, fat, and deaf, but reputed
to be very rich. She was a general dealer, selling salt, natron, et
cetera, et cetera, et cetera; but she was more particularly famous
for her _booza_ and _wabum._ The former is made from a mixture of
dourra, honey, chili-pepper, the root of a coarse grass on which the
cattle feed, and a proportion of water; these are allowed to ferment
in large earthen jars, placed near a slow fire for four or five days,
when the booza is drawn off into other jars, and is fit to drink. It
is very fiery and intoxicating, but is drunk freely both by moslem
and pagans. Every night, a large outer hut belonging to the widow,
was filled with the topers of Koolfu, who kept it up generally till
dawn, with music and drink. The former consisted of the erhab or Arab
guitar, the drum, the Nyffee harp, and the voice. Their songs were
mostly extempore, and alluded to the company present.

On the night of the travellers' arrival, the new moon was seen, which
put an end to the fast of Rhamadan. It was welcomed both by moslems
and kaffirs with a cry of joy, and the next day, the town exhibited a
scene of general festivity. Every one was dressed in his best, paying
and receiving visits, giving and receiving presents, parading the
streets with horns, guitars, and flutes, whilst groupes of men and
women were seen seated under the shade at their doors, or under
trees, drinking _wabum_ or _booza._

The women were dressed and painted to the height of Nyffee fashion,
and the young and the modest on this day would come up and salute the
men, as if old acquaintance, and bid them joy on the day; with the
wool on their heads dressed, plaited, and dyed with indigo; their
eyebrows painted with indigo, the eyelashes with khol, the lips
stained yellow, the teeth red, and their feet and hands stained with
henna; their finest and gayest clothes on; all their finest beads on
their necks; their arms and legs adorned with bracelets of glass,
brass, and silver; their fingers with rings of brass, pewter, silver,
and copper; some had Spanish dollars soldered on the back of the
rings; they too drank of the booza and wabum as freely as the men,
joining in their songs, whether good or bad. In the afternoon parties
of men were seen dancing, free men and slaves, all were alike; not a
clouded brow was to be seen in Koolfu. But at nine in the evening,
the scene was changed from joy and gladness to terror and dismay: a
tornado had just begun, and the hum of voices, and the din of the
people putting their things under cover from the approaching storm,
had ceased at once. All was silent as death, except the thunder and
the wind. The cloudy sky appeared as if on fire, each cloud rolling
onwards as a sea of flame, and only surpassed in grandeur and
brightness by the forked lightning, which constantly seemed to ascend
and descend from what was then evidently the town of Bali on fire,
only a short distance outside the walls of Koolfu. When this was
extinguished a new scene began, if possible, worse than the first.
The wind had increased to a hurricane. Houses were blown down;
Roofs of houses going along with the wind like chaff, the shady trees
in the town bending and breaking; and in the intervals between the
roaring of the thunder, nothing was heard but the war cry of the men
and the screams of women and children, as no one knew but that an
enemy was at hand, and that they should every instant share in the
fate of Bali. At last the rain fell, the fire at Bali had ceased by
the town being wholly burnt down, and all was quiet and silent, as if
the angel of extermination had brandished his sword over the devoted

Koolfu or Koolfie stands on the northern bank of the May Garrow, and
contains from twelve to fifteen thousand inhabitants, including
slaves. It is built in the form of an oblong square, surrounded with
a clay wall, about twenty feet high, with four gates. There are a
great number of dyers, tailors, blacksmiths, and weavers, but all
these, together with the rest of the townsfolk, are engaged in
traffic. There are besides the daily market, general markets every
Monday and Saturday, which are resorted to by traders from all
quarters: Youriba, Borgoo, Soccatoo, Houssa, Nyffee, and Benin.
The caravans from Bornou and Houssa, which halt at Koolfu a
considerable time, bring horses, natron, unwrought silk, silk cord,
beads, Maltese swords from Bengazi, remounted at Kano; clothes made
up in the moorish fashion, Italian looking glasses, such as sell for
one penny and upwards at Malta, tobes undyed, made in Bornou, khol
for the eyelids, a small quantity of attar of roses, much
adulterated, gums from Mecca, silks from Egypt, moorish caps, and
slaves. The latter who are intended for sale, are confined in the
house mostly in irons, and are seldom allowed to go out of it, except
to the well or river every morning to wash. They are strictly guarded
on a journey, and chained neck to neck, or else tied neck to neck by
a long rope of raw hide, and carry loads on their heads, consisting
of their master's goods or household stuff; these loads are generally
from fifty to sixty pounds weight. A stranger may remain a long time
in a town without seeing any of the slaves, except by accident or by
making a particular inquiry. Although professedly moslem, religion
had not yet moulded the society of the Koolfuans into the usual
gloomy monotony, nor had it succeeded in secluding or subjecting the
female sex, who on the contrary, were the most active agents in every
mercantile transaction. In the widow Laddie's house, no fewer than
twenty-one of these female merchants were lodged at the same time
that Clapperton and Lander took up their abode with her, and it may
be easily supposed, that the Europeans led a most pleasant life of
it. An African hut is by no means at any time an abode which an
European would covet, but in addition to the suffocating heat, the
mosquitoes, and many other nameless inconveniences, to be congregated
with twenty or thirty females, not carrying about them the most
delicious odour in the world, and making the welkin ring again with
their discordant screams, there denominated singing, is a
consummation by no means devoutly to be wished. In addition to other
nuisances, the organ of amativeness, as the phrenologists would have
it, was strongly developed in some of the skulls of the ladies, and
displayed themselves in their actions towards the Europeans, who not
being disposed to return their amorous advances, often made a
precipitate retreat out of the hut, not being aware at the time that
by avoiding Sylla, they ran a great risk of failing into Charybdis.
The widow Laddie, although huge, fat, and deaf, was by no means of a
cold, phlegmatic or saturnine disposition--many a wistful look she
cast towards Lander, but he either would not or could not comprehend
their meaning, and to punish him for his stupidity, she took care
that he should not comprehend any of the significant glances, which
were cast towards him by the more juvenile portion of the community.
To protect him from this danger, the kind widow attended him
whithersoever he went, to the great annoyance of Lander, who, in
order to escape from such a living torment, betook himself to a more
distant part of the town, or explored its vicinity, although very
little presented itself to attract his immediate attention.

The following is the manner in which the good people of Koolfu fill
up the twenty-four hours. At daylight, the whole household rise. The
women begin to clean the house, the men to wash from head to foot;
the women and children are then washed in water, in which has been
boiled the leaf of a bush called _bambarnia._ When this is done,
breakfast of cocoa is served out, every one having their separate
dish, the women and children eating together. After breakfast, the
women and children rub themselves over with the pounded red wood and
a little grease, which lightens the darkness of the black skin. A
score or patch of the red powder is put on some place, where it will
show to the best advantage. The eyes are blacked with khol. The
mistress and the better-looking females stain their teeth, and the
inside of the lips, of a yellow colour, with goora, the flower of the
tobacco plant, and the bark of a root; the outer parts of the lips,
hair, and eyebrows are stained with _shunt,_ or prepared indigo. Then
the women, who attend the market, prepare their wares for sale, and
when ready, set off, ten or twelve in a party, and following each at
a stated distance. Many of these trains are seen, and their step is,
so regular, that if they had been drilled by a sergeant of the
foot-guards in England, they could not perform their motions with
greater exactitude. The elderly women prepare, clean, and spin cotton
at home, and cook the victuals; the younger females are generally
sent round the town, selling the small rice balls, fried beans, &c.,
and bringing back a supply of water for the day. The master of the
house generally takes a walk to the market, or sits in the shade at
the door of his hut, hearing the news, or speaking of the price of
natron or other goods. The weavers are daily employed at their trade;
some are sent to cut wood, and bring it to market; others to bring
grass for the horses that may belong to the house, or to take to the
market to sell. A number of people at the commencement of the rainy
season, are employed in clearing the ground for sowing the maize and
millet, some are sent on distant journeys to buy and sell for their
master or mistress, and they very rarely betray their trust. About
noon, they return home, when all have a mess of the pudding called
_tvaki,_ or boiled beans. About two or three in the afternoon, they
return to their different employments, on which they remain until
near sunset, when they count their gains to their master or mistress,
who receives it, and puts it carefully away in their strong room.
They then have a meal of pudding, and a little fat or stew. The
mistress of the house, when she goes to rest, has her feet put into a
cold poultice of the pounded henna leaves. The young then go to dance
and play, if it be moonlight, and the old to lounge and converse in
the open square of the house, or in the outer _coozie,_ where they
remain until the cool of the night, or till the approach of morning
drives them into shelter.

The majority of the inhabitants of Koolfu are professedly
Mahommedans; the rest are pagans, who once a year, in common with the
other people of Nyffee, repair to a high hill in one of the southern
provinces, on which they sacrifice a black bull, a black sheep, and a
black dog. On their fetish houses are sculptured, as in Youriba, the
lizard, the crocodile, the tortoise, and the boa, with sometimes
human figures. Their language is a dialect of the Youribanee, but the
Houssa is that of the market. They are civil, but the truth is not in
them; and to be detected in a lie is not the smallest disgrace; it
only causes a laugh. The men drink very hard, even the Mahommedans
and the women are not particularly celebrated for their chastity,
although they succeeded in cheating both Clapperton and Lander; they
were not, however, robbed of a single article, and they were
uniformly treated with perfect respect. The people seem, indeed, by
no means devoid of kindness of disposition. When the town of Bali was
burned down, every person sent next day what they could spare of
their goods, to assist the unfortunate inhabitants. In civilized
England, when a fire takes place, thieving and robbery are the order
of the day, but during the conflagration at Bali, not an article was

To their domestic slaves, they behave with the greatest humanity,
looking upon them almost as children of the family. The males are
often freed, and the females given in marriage to free men, or to
other domestic slaves. The food of the slave and the free is nearly
the same. The greatest man or woman in the country is not ashamed, at
times, to let the slaves eat of the same dish; but a woman is never
allowed to eat with a man. With a people, who have neither
established law nor government, it is surprising that they are so
good and moral as they are; it is true, they will cheat if they can,
but amongst the civilized nations, who have both laws and government,
cheating is by no means a rare occurrence, and by those too, who are
the loudest in the professions of their honesty and integrity.

The country round Koolfu is a level plain, well cultivated, and
studded with little walled towns and villages along the banks of the
May Yarrow, and of a little river running into it from the north.
Between the walled towns of Bullabulla and Rajadawa, the route passed
through plantations of grain, indigo, and cotton; the soil clay mixed
with sand, with here and there large blocks of sandstone, containing
nodules of iron and veins of iron-stone.

At five days from Koolfu, the route entered at the town of Wazo, or
Wazawo, the district of Koteng Koro, formerly included in Kashna; and
for another five days' journey through a rich and beautiful valley,
and over woody hills, the travellers reached Womba, a large walled
town, where the caravans both from the east and the west generally
halt a day or two, and where, as at Wazo, a toll is levied on
merchandise. The town stands on a rising ground, at the eastern head
of a valley watered by a small stream, having three bare rocky hills
of granite to the north, east, and south. The inhabitants may amount
to between ten and twelve thousand souls. The travellers were here
objects of much kindness; the principal people of the place sent
presents, and the lower ranks sought to obtain a sight of them by
mounting the trees which overlooked their residence. The Koran does
not seem to have much embarrassed these people; their only mode of
studying it was to have the characters written with a black substance
on a piece of board, then to wash them off and drink the water; and
when asked what spiritual benefit could be derived from the mere
swallowing of dirty water, they indignantly retorted, "What! do you
call the name of God dirty water?" This mode of imbibing sacred truth
is indeed extensively pursued throughout the interior of the African

On the second day from Womba, the travellers passed through another
large and populous town, called Akinjie, where also kafilas pay toll;
beyond which, the route lay for two days over a very hilly country,
for the most part covered with wood, and but little cultivated, till
they approached Guari.

This town, the capital of a district of the same name, formerly
included in Kashna, is built partly on a hill, and partly in a narrow
valley, through which runs a muddy stream, that is dry in summer;
this stream, the source of which is only a day's journey distant,
divides in one part the states of Kotong Kora and Guari, and falls
into the Kodonia in Nyffee. The district of Guari was conquered by
the Fellatas, in a short time after their rising, together with the
rest of Houssa. On the death of old Bello, the father of the then
reigning sovereign, these districts, with the greater part of Kashna,
joined in the towia, or confederacy, against the Fellatas. The chief
of Zamfra was the first to shake the spear of rebellion, and he was
soon joined by the natives of Goober, and the northern parts of
Kashna, by Guari and Kotong Kora, and at length by the states of
Youri, Cubbi, Doura, and the southern part of Zeg Zeg. The strength
of Youri is said to lie in the bravery of its inhabitants, and the
number of horse they can bring into the field, amounting to a
thousand. Clapperton was, however, disposed to place their real
strength in the hilly and woody nature of their country.

Futika, the frontier town of Zeg Zeg, was reached on the second day
from Guari; and at Zaria, where the travellers arrived on the fourth,
they found themselves in a city almost wholly peopled by Fellatas,
who have mosques with minarets, and live in flat-roofed houses. The
population is said to exceed that of Kano, and must contain above
fifty thousand inhabitants. A great number of the inhabitants are
from Foota Ronda and Foota Torra, the Foulahs and Fellatas being, in
fact, the same people. The people from the west professed to be well
acquainted with both the English and the French, and they rattled
over the names of the towns between Sierra Leone and the Senegal and
Timbuctoo. They were armed with French fusees, preferring the guns of
the French and the powder of the English.

The old city of Zaria was taken by the Fellatas, within a month after
they had made themselves masters of the provinces of Goober and
Zamfra, about thirty years ago. It took a siege of two days, when it
was evacuated by the sultan and the greater part of the inhabitants,
who took refuge in hills south and west, where they still maintain
their independence, though subject to the continual attacks of the
Fellatas. The old city is now known only by its ruined walls,
surrounding some high mounds, which were in the centre of the
enclosed area. The new city, built by the Fellatas, to the south-east
of the old, consists of a number of little villages and detached
houses, scattered over an extensive area, surrounded with high clay
walls. Near the centre of the wall stands the principal mosque, built
of clay, with a minaret nearly fifty feet high. On entering one of
the western gates, instead of finding houses, the travellers could
but just see the tops of some of them over the growing grain, at
about a quarter of a mile distance; all was walled fields full of
dhourra, with here and there a horse tethered in the open space.

The province of Zeg Zeg is the most extensive in the kingdom of
Houssa, and both Kashna and Kano were at one time tributary to its
sovereigns. The name of the country appears to be also given to the
capital, and is possibly derived from it. It must, however, be
observed that Lander mentions Zaria only by the name of Zeg Zeg.
Prior to the Fellata conquest, Islamism is said to have been unknown
in Zeg Zeg, and the southern part is still in the possession of
various pagan tribes, whose country is called Boushir or Boushi, that
is, the infidel country, and is said to extend to the ocean.

The country in the vicinity of the capital, Zaria, is clear of wood,
and is all either in pasture or under cultivation. Its appearance at
this season resembled some of the finest counties in England at the
latter end of April. It was beautifully variegated with hill and
dale, like the most romantic parts of England; was covered with
luxuriant crops and rich pastures, and produced the best rice grown
in any part of that continent. Rows of tall trees, resembling
gigantic avenues of poplar, extended from hill to hill. Zaria, like
many other African cities, might be considered as a district of
country surrounded with walls.

After passing several towns at the distance of short stages, the
travellers, on the fourth day from Zaria, entered, at the town of
Dunchow, the province of Kano. A highly cultivated and populous
country extends from this place to Baebaejie, the next stage. This
town stands in an extensive plain, stretching towards the north till
lost in the horizon. The two mounts inside the walls of Kano are just
distinguishable above the horizontal line, bearing north-east by
north. The hills of Nora are seen about ten miles east; to the south
are the mountains of Surem, distant about twenty-five miles, while to
the westward appear the tops of the hills of Aushin, in Zeg Zeg, over
which the route had passed. Small towns and villages are scattered
over the plain, and herds of fine white cattle were seen grazing on
the fallow ground. The inhabitants of Baebaejie, amounting to about
twenty or twenty-five thousand, are chiefly refugees from Bornou and
Waday, and their descendants, all engaged in trade. They appeared
cleanly, civil, and industrious. A broad and good road thronged with
passengers and loaded animals, led in another day's journey to Kano.


The travellers found the city of Kano in a state of dreadful
agitation. There was war on every side. Hostilities had been declared
between the king of Bornou and the Fellatas; the provinces of Zamfra
and Goober were in open insurrection; the Tuaricks threatened an
inroad; in short, there was not a quarter to which the merchants
durst send a caravan. Kano being nearly mid-way between Bornou and
Sockatoo, Clapperton left his baggage there, to be conveyed to the
former place on his return, and set out for the capital of the sultan
Bello, bearing only the presents destined for that prince. On his way
he found numerous bands mustering to form an army for the attack of
Coonia, the rebel metropolis of Ghoober. The appearance of these
troops was very striking, as they passed along the borders of some
beautiful little lakes, formed by the river Zirmie.

The appearance of the country at this season was very beautiful; all
the acacia trees were in blossom, some with white flowers, others
with yellow, forming a contrast with the small dusky leaves, like
gold and silver tassels on a cloak of dark green velvet. Some of the
troops were bathing; others watering their horses, bullocks, camels,
and asses; the lake Gondamee as smooth as glass, and flowing around
the roots of the trees. The sun, in its approach to the horizon,
threw the shadows of the flowering acacias along its surface, like
sheets of burnished gold and silver. The smoking fires on its banks,
the sounding of horns, the beating of their gongs and drums, the
blowing of their brass and tin trumpets; the rude huts of grass or
branches of trees, rising as if by magic, everywhere the calls on the
names Mahomed, Abdo, Mustafa, &c., with the neighing of horses, and
the braying of asses, gave animation to the beautiful scenery of the
lake, and its sloping, green, and woody banks. The only regulation
that appears in these rude feudal armies is, that they take up their
ground according to the situation of the provinces, east, west,
north, or south; but all are otherwise huddled together, without the
least regularity.

The sultan was himself encamped with the forces from Sockatoo,
whither the travellers repaired to join him, and they arrived just in
time to be eye-witnesses of a specimen of the military tactics and
conduct of these much-dreaded Fellatas. This curious scene is thus

After the mid-day prayers, all except the eunuchs, camel-drivers, and
such other servants as were of use only to prevent theft, whether
mounted or on foot, marched towards the object of attack, and soon
arrived before the walls of the city. Clapperton accompanied them,
and took up his station close to the gadado. The march had been the
most disorderly that could be imagined; horse and foot intermingling
in the greatest confusion, all rushing to get forward; sometimes the
followers of one chief tumbling amongst those of another, when swords
were half unsheathed, but all ended in making a face, or putting on a
threatening aspect. They soon arrived before Coonia, the town not
being above half a mile in diameter, nearly circular, and built on
the banks of one of the branches of the liver, or lakes. Each chief,
as he came, took his station, which, it was supposed, had been
previously assigned to him. The number of fighting men brought before
the town could not be less than fifty or sixty thousand, horse and
foot, of which the latter amounted to more than nine-tenths. For the
depth of two hundred yards, all round the walls, was a dense circle
of men and horses. The horse kept out of bow-shot, while the foot
went up as they felt courage or inclination, and kept up a straggling
fire with about thirty muskets and the shooting of arrows. In front
of the sultan, the Zeg Zeg troops had one French fusee; the Kano
forces had forty-one muskets. These fellows, whenever they fired
their muskets, ran out of bow-shot to load; all of them were slaves;
not a single Fellata had a musket. The enemy kept up a slow and sure
fight, seldom throwing away their arrows, until they saw an
opportunity of letting fly with effect. Now and then a single
horseman would gallop up to the ditch, and brandish his spear, the
rider taking care to cover himself with his large leathern shield,
and return as fast as he went, generally calling out lustily, when he
got amongst his own party, "Shields to the walls! You people of the
gadado, (or atego, &c.) why do you not hasten to the wall?" To which
some voices would call out, "Oh, you have a good large shield to
cover you." The cry of "Shields to the wall!" was constantly heard
from the several chiefs to their troops; but they disregarded the
call, and neither chiefs nor vassals moved from the spot. At length
the men in quilted armour went up "per order." They certainly cut not
a bad figure at a distance, as their helmets were ornamented with
black and white ostrich feathers, and the sides of the helmets with
pieces of tin, which glittered in the sun; their long quilted cloaks
of gaudy colours reaching over part of their horses' tails, and
hanging over the flanks. On the neck, even the horses' armour was
notched or vandyked, to look like a mane; on his forehead, and over
his nose, was a brass or tin plate, also a semicircular piece on each
side. The rider was armed with a large spear, and he had to be
assisted to mount his horse, as his quilted cloak was too heavy; it
required two men to lift him on. There were six of them belonged to
each governor, and six to the sultan. It was at first supposed, that
the foot would take advantage of going under cover of these unwieldy
machines; but no, they went alone, as fast as the poor horses could
bear them, which was but a slow pace. They had one musket in Coonia,
and it did wonderful execution; for it brought down the van of the
quilted men, who fell from his horse like a sack of corn thrown from
a horse's back at a miller's door, but both horse and man were
brought off by two or three footmen. He got two balls through his
breast; one went through his body and both sides of the tobe; the
other went through and lodged in the quilted armour opposite the

The cry of "Allahu akber!" (God is great), the cry of the Fellatas,
was resounded through the whole army every quarter of an hour; but
neither this nor "Shields to the walls!" nor "Why do not the gadado's
people go up?" had any effect, except to produce a scuffle amongst
themselves, when the chiefs would have to ride up and part their
followers, who, instead of fighting against the enemy, were more
likely to fight with one another. At sunset, the besiegers drew off,
and the harmless campaign terminated in a desertion on the part of
the Zirmee troops, followed by a general retreat.

The flags of the Fellatas are white, like the French, and their staff
is a palm branch. They are not borne by men of honour, but by their
slaves. The sultan had six borne before him; each of the governors
had two. They also dress in white tobes and trousers, as an emblem of
their purity in faith and intention. The most useful personage in the
army, and as brave as any of them, was an old female slave of the
sultan's, a native of Zamfra, five of whose former governors, she
said, she had nursed. She was of a dark copper colour, in dress and
countenance very much like a female esquimaux. She was mounted on a
long-backed bright bay horse, with a scraggy tail, crop-eared, and
the mane, as if the rats had eaten part of it, nor was it very high
in condition. She rode a-straddle, had on a conical straw dish-cover
for a hat, or to shade her face from the sun; a short, dirty, white
bed-gown, a pair of dirty white loose and wide trousers, a pair of
Houssa boots, which are wide, and come over the knee, fastened with a
string round the waist. She had also a whip and spurs. At her
saddle-bow hung about half a dozen gourds filled with water, and a
brass basin to drink out of, and with this she supplied the wounded
and the thirsty.

The army being disbanded, Clapperton obtained permission of the
sultan to proceed to Sockatoo, where he found every thing ready for
his reception, in the house, which he had occupied on his former
visit. The traveller, however, found an entire change in the feelings
of kindness and cordiality towards himself, which had been so
remarkably displayed in the previous journey. Jealousy had began to
fester in the breasts of the African princes. They dreaded some
ambitious design in these repeated expeditions sent out by England,
without any conceivable motive; for that men should undertake such
long journeys, out of mere curiosity, they could never imagine. The
sultan Bello had accordingly received a letter from the court of
Bornou, warning him that by this very mode of sending embassies and
presents, which the English were now following towards the states of
central Africa, they had made themselves masters of India, and
trampled on all its native princes. The writer therefore gave it as
his opinion, that the European travellers should immediately be put
to death. An alarm indeed had been spread through Sockatoo, that the
English were coming to invade Houssa. The sultan irritated doubtless
at the shameful result of his grand expedition against Coonia, felt
also another and more pressing fear. War had just broken out between
himself and the king of Bornou. Clapperton was on his way to visit
that prince, and had left six muskets at Kano, supposed to be
intended as presents to him; and six muskets in central Africa, where
the whole Fellata empire could scarcely muster forty, were almost
enough to turn the scale between those two great military powers.
Under the impulse of these feelings, Bello proceeded to steps not
exactly consistent with the character of a prince and a man of
honour. He demanded a sight of the letter which Clapperton was
conveying to the king of Bornou, and when this was, of course,
refused, he seized it by violence. Lander was induced by false
pretences to bring the baggage from Kano to Sockatoo, when forcible
possession was taken of the muskets. Clapperton loudly exclaimed
against these proceedings, declaring them to amount to the basest
robbery, to a breach of all faith, and to be the worst actions, of
which any man could be guilty. This was rather strong language to be
used to a sovereign, especially to one, who could at any moment have
cut off his head, and the prime ministers of the sultan dropped some
unpleasant hints, as if matters might come to that issue, though in
point of fact, the government did not proceed to any personal
outrage. On the contrary, Bello discovered an honourable anxiety to
explain his conduct, and to soothe the irritated feelings of the
traveller. He even wrote to him the following letter, which it must
be confessed, places the character of Bello in a very favourable

"In the name of God, and praise be to God, &c. &c. To Abdallah
Clapperton, salutation and esteem. You are now our guest, and a guest
is always welcomed by us; you are the messenger of a king, and a
king's messenger is always honoured by us. You come to us under our
honour as an ambassador, and an ambassador is always protected by us.
There is no harm in the king's ministers sending you to the sheik
Kanemi, of Bornou, nor do we see any harm in your coming, when thus
sent. But when you formerly came to us from Bornou, peace was then
between us and the sheik; whereas there is now war between him and
ourselves; we cannot perceive any blame in our preventing warlike
stores being sent to him. We continue to maintain our faith with you,
and are ready to attend to all your wishes, because we consider you
as a trusty friend, and one who enjoys a high degree of esteem with
us. Do not encroach upon us, we will not encroach upon you; we have
rights to maintain, and you have also rights to be respected. And
Salam be to you."

(Signed as usual.)

It is difficult to conceive, why so reasonable and friendly a letter
should have failed to subdue the irritation of the traveller; this
cannot be accounted for only by his ill health, or by supposing that
he was not exactly conversant with its contents. It appears, however,
that the conduct of Bello had such an effect upon the spirits of
Clapperton, that Lander reports, he never saw him smile afterwards.
The strong constitution of Clapperton, had till this period enabled
him to resist all the baneful influence of an African climate. He had
recovered, though perhaps not completely, from the effects of the
rash exposure which had proved fatal to his two companions, but
subsequently when overcome with heat and fatigue he had lain down on
a damp spot in the open air, he was soon after seized with dysentery,
which continued to assume more alarming symptoms. Unable to rise from
his bed, and deserted by all his African friends, who saw him no
longer a favourite at court, he was watched with tender care by his
faithful servant Lander, who devoted his whole time to attendance on
his sick master. At length he called him to his bed-side, and said,
"Richard, I shall shortly be no more; I feel myself dying." Almost
choked with grief, Lander replied, "God forbid, my dear master--you
will live many years yet." Clapperton replied, "don't be so much
affected, my dear boy, I entreat you, it is the will of the Almighty,
it cannot be helped. I should have wished to live to have been of
further use to my country--and more, I should like to have died in my
native land--but it is my duty to submit." He then gave particular
directions as to the disposal of his papers, and of all that remained
of his property, to which the strictest attention was promised. "He
then," says Lander, "took my hand within his, and looking me full in
the face, while a tear stood glistening in his eye, said in a low but
deeply affecting tone, 'My dear Richard, if you had not been with me,
I should have died long ago. I can only thank you with my latest
breath for your kindness and attachment to me, and if I could have
lived to return with you, you should have been placed beyond the
reach of want, but God will reward you.'" He survived some days, and
appeared even to rally a little, but one morning, Lander was alarmed
by a peculiar rattling sound in his throat, and hastening to the
bed-side found him sitting up, and staring wildly around; some
indistinct words quivered on his lips, he strove but ineffectually to
give them utterance, and expired without a struggle or a sigh.

Bello seems to have repented in some degree of his harsh conduct,
especially after the news arrived of a great victory gained by his
troops over the sultan of Bornou. He allowed Lander to perform the
funeral obsequies with every mark of respect, agreeably to the
sultan's own directions at Jungavie, a small village on a rising
ground, about five miles to the S. E. of Sockatoo. Lander performed
the last sad office of reading the English service over the remains
of his generous and intrepid master; a house was erected over his

"And he was left alone in his glory."


Lander may now be said to be in the interior of Africa, a solitary
wanderer, dependent entirely on his own resources, at the same time
that he received from sultan Bello, all the requisite means to enable
him to return to his native country, allowing him to choose his own
road, though advising him to prefer that which led through the great
Desert, but Lander having already had many dealings with the Arabs,
preferred the track through the negro countries.

On arriving at Kano, on his return route, Lander formed a spirited
and highly laudable design, which proved him to be possessed of a
mind much superior to his station, and this was nothing less than an
attempt to resolve the great question, respecting the termination of
the Niger, which he hoped to effect by proceeding to Funda, and
thence to Benin by water. Striking off to the eastward of the route,
on which, in company with his late master, he had reached Kano, he
passed several walled towns, all inhabited by natives of Houssa,
tributary to the Fellatas, and early on the third day from Bebajie,
(as he spells it,) arrived at the foot of a high craggy mountain,
called Almena, from a ruined town said to have been built by a queen
of the Fantee nation, some five hundred years ago. Mahomet, Lander's
servant, who had travelled far and near, and knew all the traditions
of the country, gave the following story:--About five hundred years
ago, a queen of the Fantee nation having quarrelled with her husband
about a golden stool, in other words, we presume about the throne,
probably after her husband's death, fled from her dominions with a
great number of her subjects, and built a large town at the foot of
this mountain, which she called Almena, from which it took its name.
The town, according Lander, was surrounded with a stone wall, as the
ruins plainly attest. The M. S. account of Tukroor evidently alludes
to the same personage. The first who ruled over them, that is the
seven provinces of Houssa, was, as it is stated, Amenah, daughter of
the prince of Zag Zag, (Zeg Zeg?) She conquered them by the force of
her sword, and subjected them, including Kashna and Kano, to be her
tributaries. She fought and took possession of the country of
Bowsher, till she reached the coast of the ocean on the right hand,
and west side. She died at Atagara.

The gigantic blocks of granite forming the mountain Almena, fearfully
piled on each other, and seeming ready to fall, are described as
resembling the rocks near the Logan stone in Cornwall, but on a scale
infinitely larger. To the eastward, a range of high hills was seen
stretching from north to south, as far as the eye could reach, and
Lander was informed that they extended to the salt water. They were
said to be inhabited by a savage race of people called Yamyams, that
is cannibals, who had formerly carried on an extensive traffic with
the Houssa men, bringing elephants' teeth, and taking in exchange red
cloth, beads, &c., but five years before, they had murdered a whole
kafila of merchants, and afterwards eaten them, since which time, the
Houssa people had been reasonably shy of dealing with them.

Sultan Bello informed Lander that he had ocular proof of the fact,
that these same people are in the practice of eating human flesh. The
sultan said, that on the governor of Jacoba telling him of these
people, he could scarcely believe it, but on a Tuarick being hanged
for theft, he saw five of these people eat a part, with which he was
so disgusted, that he sent them back to Jacoba soon after. He said,
that whenever a person complained of sickness amongst these men, even
though only a slight headache, he is killed instantly, for fear he
should be lost by death, as they will not eat a person that has died
by sickness; that the person falling sick is requested by some other
family, and repaid when they had a sick relation; that universally,
when they went to war, the dead and wounded were always eaten; that
the hearts were claimed by the head men, and that on asking them, why
they ate human flesh, they said, it was better than any other, that
they had no want or food, and that excepting this bad custom, they
were very cleanly, and otherwise not bad people, except that they
were kaffirs.

As far as the route of Lander had hitherto extended, all the streams
that were crossed had a north-westerly course, and on the fifth day,
he reached a large river running in the same direction called Accra.
On the following day proceeding S. W., he arrived at Nammalack, built
immediately under a mountain, which, rising almost perpendicularly,
forms a natural wall on the north-eastern side. It is thickly wooded
and abounds with thousands of hyenas, tiger cats, jackals, and
monkeys, who monopolize all the animal food in the neighbourhood, the
poor inhabitants not being able to keep a single bullock, sheep, or

For four hours beyond this town, Lander's route continued along the
foot of this range of mountains, in a continued direction of S. W.,
it then turned eastward through an opening in the range, and after
crossing one large and three small rivers, led to Fillindushie, the
frontier town of Catica. Lander speaks of the Catica or Bowchee
people as the same. This district must, therefore, belong to the
Bowchee country, which forms part of Zeg Zeg, according to the M. S.
account of Tackroor, apparently on the Boushy, that is infidel or
kirdy country, bordering on Yacoba.

The inhabitants of Catica are described as a fine handsome people,
with features not at all resembling those of the negro race, and very
similar to the European, but below the negroes in civilization,
without any clothing, filthy in person, disgusting in manners, and
destitute of natural affection; the parent selling his child with no
more remorse or repugnance than he would his chicken, yet at the same
time, by way of contrast, artless and good humoured. Their appearance
is extremely barbarous and repulsive. They rub red clay softened with
oil over their heads and bodies, and invariably wear a large
semicircular piece of blue glass in the upper and lower lip, with
ear-pendants of red wood. They make fetishes like the natives of

Turning again to the S. W., the route now led over a fine and rich
country, to a large river rolling to the N. W., called Coodoma
(Kadoma,) which empties itself into the Quorra, near Funda. Lander
reached the north-eastern bank on the tenth day, and on the morrow
after three hours travelling reached Cuttup. Having heard on his
route many different reports of the wealth, population and celebrated
market of this place, he was surprised to find it to consist of
nearly five hundred villages, almost joining each other, occupying a
vast and beautiful plain, adorned with the finest trees. Amongst
these, the plantain, the palm, and the cocoa-nut tree, were seen
flourishing in great abundance, and the aspect of the country
strikingly resembled some parts of Yariba. A considerable traffic is
carried on here in slaves and bullocks, which are alike exposed in
the daily market. The bullocks are bred by the Fellatas, who reside
there for no other purpose.

The sultan of Cuttup being a very great man, that is, in his own
estimation, Lander made him a suitable present of four yards of blue
damask, the same quantity of scarlet, a print of George IV., one of
the late duke of York, which, we have reason to suppose, was held in
higher estimation than his whole-length colossal figure on the top of
the pedestal in this country, which has the superlative honour of
calling him one of the most meritorious, most puissant, and most
honourable of the royal blood. Lander also made the sultan a present
of _other trifling articles,_ in return for which he received a
sheep, the humps, or we should call it the rumps, of two bullocks,
and stewed rice sufficient for fifty men, not being able at the time
to form an accurate opinion of the extent of Lander's gourmandizing
appetite, or most probably, as is generally the case in countries
situated farther to the northward, judging of the appetite of others

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