Part 13 out of 15
it was so dark colored that no one would purchase it; I afterward saw
a little at Kilimane which had been procured from the natives
somewhere in this region.
Though we are now approaching the Portuguese settlement,
the country is still full of large game. My men killed six buffalo calves
out of a herd we met. The abundance of these animals, and also of antelopes,
shows the insufficiency of the bow and arrow to lessen their numbers.
There are also a great many lions and hyaenas, and there is no check
upon the increase of the former, for the people, believing that
the souls of their chiefs enter into them, never attempt to kill them;
they even believe that a chief may metamorphose himself into a lion,
kill any one he chooses, and then return to the human form;
therefore, when they see one, they commence clapping their hands,
which is the usual mode of salutation here. The consequence is,
that lions and hyaenas are so abundant that we see little huts
made in the trees, indicating the places where some of the inhabitants
have slept when benighted in the fields. As numbers of my men frequently left
the line of march in order to take out the korwes from their nests,
or follow the honey-guides, they excited the astonishment of our guides,
who were constantly warning them of the danger they thereby incurred
from lions. I was often considerably ahead of the main body of my men
on this account, and was obliged to stop every hour or two; but,
the sun being excessively hot by day, I was glad of the excuse for resting.
We could make no such prodigious strides as officers in the Arctic regions
are able to do. Ten or twelve miles a day were a good march
for both the men and myself; and it was not the length of the marches,
but continuing day after day to perform the same distance,
that was so fatiguing. It was in this case much longer
than appears on the map, because we kept out of the way of villages.
I drank less than the natives when riding, but all my clothing was now
constantly damp from the moisture which was imbibed in large quantities
at every pond. One does not stay on these occasions to prepare water
with alum or any thing else, but drinks any amount without fear.
I never felt the atmosphere so steamy as on the low-lying lands
of the Zambesi, and yet it was becoming cooler than it was on the highlands.
We crossed the rivulets Kapopo and Ue, now running, but usually dry.
There are great numbers of wild grape-vines growing in this quarter;
indeed, they abound every where along the banks of the Zambesi.
In the Batoka country there is a variety which yields
a black grape of considerable sweetness. The leaves are very large and harsh,
as if capable of withstanding the rays of this hot sun;
but the most common kinds -- one with a round leaf and a greenish grape,
and another with a leaf closely resembling that of the cultivated varieties,
and with dark or purple fruit -- have large seeds, which are
strongly astringent, and render it a disagreeable fruit.
The natives eat all the varieties; and I tasted vinegar made by a Portuguese
from these grapes. Probably a country which yields the wild vines
so very abundantly might be a fit one for the cultivated species.
At this part of the journey so many of the vines had run across
the little footpath we followed that one had to be constantly on the watch
to avoid being tripped. The ground was covered with rounded shingle,
which was not easily seen among the grass. Pedestrianism may be all very well
for those whose obesity requires much exercise, but for one who was becoming
as thin as a lath, through the constant perspiration caused
by marching day after day in the hot sun, the only good I saw in it
was that it gave an honest sort of man a vivid idea of the tread-mill.
Although the rains were not quite over, great numbers of pools were drying up,
and the ground was in many parts covered with small green cryptogamous plants,
which gave it a mouldy appearance and a strong smell. As we sometimes
pushed aside the masses of rank vegetation which hung over our path,
we felt a sort of hot blast on our faces. Every thing looked unwholesome,
but we had no fever. The Ue flows between high banks of a soft red sandstone
streaked with white, and pieces of tufa. The crumbling sandstone
is evidently alluvial, and is cut into 12 feet deep. In this region, too,
we met with pot-holes six feet deep and three or four in diameter.
In some cases they form convenient wells; in others they are full of earth;
and in others still the people have made them into graves for their chiefs.
On the 20th we came to Monina's village (close to the sand-river Tangwe,
latitude 16d 13' 38" south, longitude 32d 32' east). This man is very popular
among the tribes on account of his liberality. Boroma, Nyampungo,
Monina, Jira, Katolosa (Monomotapa), and Susa, all acknowledge
the supremacy of one called Nyatewe, who is reported to decide
all disputes respecting land. This confederation is exactly similar
to what we observed in Londa and other parts of Africa.
Katolosa is "the Emperor Monomotapa" of history, but he is a chief
of no great power, and acknowledges the supremacy of Nyatewe.
The Portuguese formerly honored Monomotapa with a guard,
to fire off numbers of guns on the occasion of any funeral,
and he was also partially subsidized. The only evidence of greatness
possessed by his successor is his having about a hundred wives.
When he dies a disputed succession and much fighting are expected.
In reference to the term Monomotapa, it is to be remembered
that Mono, Moene, Mona, Mana, or Morena, mean simply `chief',
and considerable confusion has arisen from naming different people
by making a plural of the chief's name. The names Monomoizes,
spelled also Monemuiges and Monomuizes, and Monomotapistas, when applied
to these tribes, are exactly the same as if we should call the Scotch
the Lord Douglases. Motape was the chief of the Bambiri,
a tribe of the Banyai, and is now represented in the person of Katolosa.
He was probably a man of greater energy than his successor,
yet only an insignificant chief. Monomoizes was formed from Moiza or Muiza,
the singular of the word Babisa or Aiza, the proper name of a large tribe
to the north. In the transformation of this name the same error
has been committed as in the others; and mistakes have occurred
in many other names by inattention to the meaning, and predilection for
the letter R. The River Loangwa, for instance, has been termed Arroangoa,
and the Luenya the Ruanha. The Bazizulu, or Mashona,
are spoken of as the Morururus.
The government of the Banyai is rather peculiar, being a sort
of feudal republicanism. The chief is elected, and they choose
the son of the deceased chief's sister in preference to his own offspring.
When dissatisfied with one candidate, they even go to a distant tribe
for a successor, who is usually of the family of the late chief,
a brother, or a sister's son, but never his own son or daughter.
When first spoken to on the subject, he answers as if he thought himself
unequal to the task and unworthy of the honor; but, having accepted it,
all the wives, goods, and children of his predecessor belong to him,
and he takes care to keep them in a dependent position. When any one of them
becomes tired of this state of vassalage and sets up his own village,
it is not unusual for the elected chief to send a number of the young men,
who congregate about himself, to visit him. If he does not receive them
with the usual amount of clapping of hands and humility,
they, in obedience to orders, at once burn his village.
The children of the chief have fewer privileges than common free men.
They may not be sold, but, rather than choose any one of them for a chief
at any future time, the free men would prefer to elect one of themselves,
who bore only a very distant relationship to the family.
These free men are a distinct class who can never be sold;
and under them there is a class of slaves whose appearance as well as position
is very degraded. Monina had a great number of young men about him
from twelve to fifteen years of age. These were all sons of free men,
and bands of young men like them in the different districts
leave their parents about the age of puberty, and live with such men as Monina
for the sake of instruction. When I asked the nature of the instruction,
I was told "Bonyai", which I suppose may be understood
as indicating manhood, for it sounds as if we should say,
"to teach an American Americanism," or "an Englishman to be English."
While here they are kept in subjection to rather stringent regulations.
They must salute carefully by clapping their hands on approaching a superior,
and when any cooked food is brought, the young men may not approach the dish,
but an elder divides a portion to each. They remain unmarried
until a fresh set of youths is ready to occupy their place
under the same instruction. The parents send servants with their sons
to cultivate gardens to supply them with food, and also tusks to Monina
to purchase clothing for them. When the lads return to the village
of their parents, a case is submitted to them for adjudication,
and if they speak well on the point, the parents are highly gratified.
When we told Monina that we had nothing to present but some hoes,
he replied that he was not in need of those articles,
and that he had absolute power over the country in front,
and if he prevented us from proceeding, no one would say any thing to him.
His little boy Boromo having come to the encampment to look at us,
I gave him a knife, and he went off and brought a pint of honey for me.
The father came soon afterward, and I offered him a shirt.
He remarked to his councilors, "It is evident that this man has nothing,
for, if he had, his people would be buying provisions, but we don't see them
going about for that purpose." His council did not agree in this.
They evidently believed that we had goods, but kept them hid,
and we felt it rather hard to be suspected of falsehood.
It was probably at their suggestion that in the evening
a wardance was got up about a hundred yards from our encampment,
as if to put us in fear and force us to bring forth presents.
Some of Monina's young men had guns, but most were armed
with large bows, arrows, and spears. They beat their drums furiously,
and occasionally fired off a gun. As this sort of dance is never got up
unless there is an intention to attack, my men expected an assault.
We sat and looked at them for some time, and then, as it became dark,
lay down, all ready to give them a warm reception. But an hour or two
after dark the dance ceased, and, as we then saw no one approaching us,
we went to sleep. During the night, one of my head men, Monahin, was seen
to get up, look toward the village, and say to one who was half awake,
"Don't you hear what these people are saying? Go and listen."
He then walked off in the opposite direction, and never returned.
We had no guard set, but every one lay with his spear in his hand.
The man to whom he spoke appears to have been in a dreamy condition,
for it did not strike him that he ought to give the alarm. Next morning
I found to my sorrow that Monahin was gone, and not a trace of him
could be discovered. He had an attack of pleuritis some weeks before,
and had recovered, but latterly complained a little of his head.
I observed him in good spirits on the way hither, and in crossing
some of the streams, as I was careful not to wet my feet, he aided me,
and several times joked at my becoming so light. In the evening
he sat beside my tent until it was dark, and did not manifest any great alarm.
It was probably either a sudden fit of insanity, or, having gone
a little way out from the camp, he may have been carried off by a lion,
as this part of the country is full of them. I incline to the former opinion,
because sudden insanity occurs when there is any unusual strain
upon their minds. Monahin was in command of the Batoka of Mokwine
in my party, and he was looked upon with great dislike
by all that chief's subjects. The only difficulties I had with them
arose in consequence of being obliged to give orders through him.
They said Mokwine is reported to have been killed by the Makololo,
but Monahin is the individual who put forth his hand and slew him.
When one of these people kills in battle, he seems to have
no compunction afterward; but when he makes a foray on his own responsibility,
and kills a man of note, the common people make remarks to each other,
which are reported to him, and bring the affair perpetually
to his remembrance. This iteration on the conscience causes insanity,
and when one runs away in a wide country like this, the fugitive
is never heard of. Monahin had lately become afraid of his own party
from overhearing their remarks, and said more than once to me,
"They want to kill me." I believe if he ran to any village
they would take care of him. I felt his loss greatly, and spent three days
in searching for him. He was a sensible and most obliging man.
I sent in the morning to inform Monina of this sad event,
and he at once sent to all the gardens around, desiring the people
to look for him, and, should he come near, to bring him home.
He evidently sympathized with us in our sorrow, and, afraid lest we
might suspect him, added, "We never catch nor kidnap people here.
It is not our custom. It is considered as guilt among all the tribes."
I gave him credit for truthfulness, and he allowed us to move on
without farther molestation.
After leaving his village we marched in the bed of a sand-river
a quarter of a mile broad, called Tangwe. Walking on this sand
is as fatiguing as walking on snow. The country is flat,
and covered with low trees, but we see high hills in the distance.
A little to the south we have those of the Lobole. This region is very much
infested by lions, and men never go any distance into the woods alone.
Having turned aside on one occasion at midday, and gone a short distance
among grass a little taller than myself, an animal sprung away from me
which was certainly not an antelope, but I could not distinguish
whether it was a lion or a hyaena. This abundance of carnivora made us
lose all hope of Monahin. We saw footprints of many black rhinoceroses,
buffaloes, and zebras.
After a few hours we reached the village of Nyakoba. Two men,
who accompanied us from Monina to Nyakoba's, would not believe us when we said
that we had no beads. It is very trying to have one's veracity doubted,
but, on opening the boxes, and showing them that all I had was perfectly
useless to them, they consented to receive some beads off Sekwebu's waist,
and I promised to send four yards of calico from Tete. As we came away
from Monina's village, a witch-doctor, who had been sent for, arrived,
and all Monina's wives went forth into the fields that morning fasting.
There they would be compelled to drink an infusion of a plant named "goho",
which is used as an ordeal. This ceremony is called "muavi",
and is performed in this way. When a man suspects that any of his wives
has bewitched him, he sends for the witch-doctor, and all the wives
go forth into the field, and remain fasting till that person has made
an infusion of the plant. They all drink it, each one holding up
her hand to heaven in attestation of her innocency. Those who vomit it
are considered innocent, while those whom it purges are pronounced guilty,
and put to death by burning. The innocent return to their homes,
and slaughter a cock as a thank-offering to their guardian spirits.
The practice of ordeal is common among all the negro nations
north of the Zambesi. This summary procedure excited my surprise,
for my intercourse with the natives here had led me to believe
that the women were held in so much estimation that the men would not dare
to get rid of them thus. But the explanation I received was this.
The slightest imputation makes them eagerly desire the test;
they are conscious of being innocent, and have the fullest faith in the muavi
detecting the guilty alone; hence they go willingly, and even eagerly,
to drink it. When in Angola, a half-caste was pointed out to me
who is one of the most successful merchants in that country;
and the mother of this gentleman, who was perfectly free,
went, of her own accord, all the way from Ambaca to Cassange,
to be killed by the ordeal, her rich son making no objection.
The same custom prevails among the Barotse, Bashubia, and Batoka,
but with slight variations. The Barotse, for instance,
pour the medicine down the throat of a cock or of a dog,
and judge of the innocence or guilt of the person accused according to
the vomiting or purging of the animal. I happened to mention to my own men
the water-test for witches formerly in use in Scotland:
the supposed witch, being bound hand and foot, was thrown into a pond;
if she floated, she was considered guilty, taken out, and burned;
but if she sank and was drowned, she was pronounced innocent.
The wisdom of my ancestors excited as much wonder in their minds
as their custom did in mine.
The person whom Nyakoba appointed to be our guide, having informed us
of the decision, came and bargained that his services should be rewarded
with a hoe. I had no objection to give it, and showed him the article;
he was delighted with it, and went off to show it to his wife.
He soon afterward returned, and said that, though he was perfectly
willing to go, his wife would not let him. I said, "Then bring back the hoe;"
but he replied, "I want it." "Well, go with us, and you shall have it."
"But my wife won't let me." I remarked to my men, "Did you ever hear
such a fool?" They answered, "Oh, that is the custom of these parts;
the wives are the masters." And Sekwebu informed me that he had gone
to this man's house, and heard him saying to his wife, "Do you think
that I would ever leave you?" then, turning to Sekwebu, he asked,
"Do you think I would leave this pretty woman? Is she not pretty?"
Sekwebu had been making inquiries among the people, and had found
that the women indeed possessed a great deal of influence.
We questioned the guide whom we finally got from Nyakoba,
an intelligent young man, who had much of the Arab features,
and found the statements confirmed. When a young man takes a liking
for a girl of another village, and the parents have no objection to the match,
he is obliged to come and live at their village. He has to perform
certain services for the mother-in-law, such as keeping her well supplied
with firewood; and when he comes into her presence he is obliged to sit
with his knees in a bent position, as putting out his feet toward the old lady
would give her great offense. If he becomes tired of living
in this state of vassalage, and wishes to return to his own family,
he is obliged to leave all his children behind -- they belong to the wife.
This is only a more stringent enforcement of the law from which emanates
the practice which prevails so very extensively in Africa,
known to Europeans as "buying wives". Such virtually it is,
but it does not appear quite in that light to the actors.
So many head of cattle or goats are given to the parents of the girl
"to give her up", as it is termed, i.e., to forego all claim on her offspring,
and allow an entire transference of her and her seed into another family.
If nothing is given, the family from which she has come can claim the children
as part of itself: the payment is made to sever this bond.
In the case supposed, the young man has not been able to advance any thing
for that purpose; and, from the temptations placed here before my men,
I have no doubt that some prefer to have their daughters married in that way,
as it leads to the increase of their own village. My men excited
the admiration of the Bambiri, who took them for a superior breed
on account of their bravery in elephant-hunting, and wished to get them
as sons-in-law on the conditions named, but none yielded to the temptation.
We were informed that there is a child belonging to a half-caste Portuguese
in one of these tribes, and the father had tried in vain to get him
from the mother's parents. We saw several things to confirm the impression
of the higher position which women hold here; and, being anxious to discover
if I were not mistaken, when we came among the Portuguese I inquired of them,
and was told that they had ascertained the same thing; and that,
if they wished a man to perform any service for them, he would reply,
"Well, I shall go and ask my wife." If she consented, he would go,
and perform his duty faithfully; but no amount of coaxing or bribery
would induce him to do it if she refused. The Portuguese praised
the appearance of the Banyai, and they certainly are a fine race.
We got on better with Nyakoba than we expected. He has been so much
affected by the sesenda that he is quite decrepit, and requires to be fed.
I at once showed his messenger that we had nothing whatever to give.
Nyakoba was offended with him for not believing me, and he immediately sent
a basket of maize and another of corn, saying that he believed my statement,
and would send men with me to Tete who would not lead me to any other village.
The birds here sing very sweetly, and I thought I heard the canary,
as in Londa. We had a heavy shower of rain, and I observed
that the thermometer sank 14 Deg. in one hour afterward.
From the beginning of February we experienced a sensible diminution
of temperature. In January the lowest was 75 Deg., and that at sunrise;
the average at the same hour (sunrise) being 79 Deg.; at 3 P.M., 90 Deg.;
and at sunset, 82 Deg. In February it fell as low as 70 Deg.
in the course of the night, and the average height was 88 Deg.
Only once did it rise to 94 Deg., and a thunder-storm followed this;
yet the sensation of heat was greater now than it had been
at much higher temperatures on more elevated lands.
We passed several villages by going roundabout ways through the forest.
We saw the remains of a lion that had been killed by a buffalo,
and the horns of a putokwane (black antelope), the finest I had ever seen,
which had met its death by a lion. The drums, beating all night
in one village near which we slept, showed that some person in it
had finished his course. On the occasion of the death of a chief,
a trader is liable to be robbed, for the people consider themselves
not amenable to law until a new one is elected. We continued
a very winding course, in order to avoid the chief Katolosa,
who is said to levy large sums upon those who fall into his hands.
One of our guides was a fine, tall young man, the very image of Ben Habib
the Arab. They were carrying dried buffalo's meat to the market at Tete
as a private speculation.
A great many of the Banyai are of a light coffee-and-milk color,
and, indeed, this color is considered handsome throughout the whole country,
a fair complexion being as much a test of beauty with them as with us.
As they draw out their hair into small cords a foot in length,
and entwine the inner bark of a certain tree round each separate cord,
and dye this substance of a reddish color, many of them put me
in mind of the ancient Egyptians. The great mass of dressed hair
which they possess reaches to the shoulders, but when they intend to travel
they draw it up to a bunch, and tie it on the top of the head.
They are cleanly in their habits.
As we did not come near human habitations, and could only take short stages
on account of the illness of one of my men, I had an opportunity of observing
the expedients my party resorted to in order to supply their wants.
Large white edible mushrooms are found on the ant-hills, and are very good.
The mokuri, a tuber which abounds in the Mopane country,
they discovered by percussing the ground with stones; and another tuber,
about the size of a turnip, called "bonga", is found in the same situations.
It does not determine to the joints like the mokuri, and in winter
has a sensible amount of salt in it. A fruit called "ndongo" by the Makololo,
"dongolo" by the Bambiri, resembles in appearance a small plum,
which becomes black when ripe, and is good food, as the seeds are small.
Many trees are known by tradition, and one receives curious
bits of information in asking about different fruits that are met with.
A tree named "shekabakadzi" is superior to all others for making fire
by friction. As its name implies, women may even readily make fire by it
The country here is covered over with well-rounded shingle and gravel
of granite, gneiss with much talc in it, mica schist, and other rocks
which we saw `in situ' between the Kafue and Loangwa. There are
great mounds of soft red sand slightly coherent, which crumble in the hand
with ease. The gravel and the sand drain away the water so effectually
that the trees are exposed to the heat during a portion of the year
without any moisture; hence they are not large, like those on the Zambesi,
and are often scrubby. The rivers are all of the sandy kind,
and we pass over large patches between this and Tete in which,
in the dry season, no water is to be found. Close on our south,
the hills of Lokole rise to a considerable height, and beyond them flows
the Mazoe with its golden sands. The great numbers of pot-holes
on the sides of sandstone ridges, when viewed in connection with
the large banks of rolled shingle and washed sand which are met with
on this side of the eastern ridge, may indicate that the sea
in former times rolled its waves along its flanks. Many of the hills
between the Kafue and Loangwa have their sides of the form seen
in mud banks left by the tide. The pot-holes appear most abundant
on low gray sandstone ridges here; and as the shingle
is composed of the same rocks as the hills west of Zumbo,
it looks as if a current had dashed along from the southeast
in the line in which the pot-holes now appear; and if the current
was deflected by those hills toward the Maravi country, north of Tete,
it may have hollowed the rounded, water-worn caverns in which these people
store their corn, and also hide themselves from their enemies.
I could detect no terraces on the land, but, if I am right in my supposition,
the form of this part of the continent must once have resembled the curves
or indentations seen on the southern extremity of the American continent.
In the indentation to the S.E., S., S.W., and W. of this,
lie the principal gold-washings; and the line of the current,
supposing it to have struck against the hills of Mburuma,
shows the washings in the N. and N.E. of Tete.
We were tolerably successful in avoiding the villages, and slept one night
on the flanks of the hill Zimika, where a great number of deep pot-holes
afforded an abundant supply of good rain-water. Here, for the first time,
we saw hills with bare, smooth, rocky tops, and we crossed over
broad dikes of gneiss and syenitic porphyry: the directions
in which they lay were N. and S. As we were now near to Tete,
we were congratulating ourselves on having avoided those who would only
have plagued us; but next morning some men saw us, and ran off to inform
the neighboring villages of our passing. A party immediately pursued us,
and, as they knew we were within call of Katolosa (Monomotapa),
they threatened to send information to that chief of our offense,
in passing through the country without leave. We were obliged to give them
two small tusks; for, had they told Katolosa of our supposed offense,
we should, in all probability, have lost the whole. We then went through
a very rough, stony country without any path. Being pretty well tired out
in the evening of the 2d of March, I remained at about eight miles distance
from Tete, Tette, or Nyungwe. My men asked me to go on;
I felt too fatigued to proceed, but sent forward to the commandant
the letters of recommendation with which I had been favored in Angola by
the bishop and others, and lay down to rest. Our food having been exhausted,
my men had been subsisting for some time on roots and honey.
About two o'clock in the morning of the 3d we were aroused
by two officers and a company of soldiers, who had been sent with
the materials for a civilized breakfast and a "masheela" to bring me to Tete.
(Commandant's house: lat. 16d 9' 3" S., long. 33d 28' E.)
My companions thought that we were captured by the armed men,
and called me in alarm. When I understood the errand on which they had come,
and had partaken of a good breakfast, though I had just before been too tired
to sleep, all my fatigue vanished. It was the most refreshing breakfast
I ever partook of, and I walked the last eight miles without the least
feeling of weariness, although the path was so rough that one of the officers
remarked to me, "This is enough to tear a man's life out of him."
The pleasure experienced in partaking of that breakfast was only equaled
by the enjoyment of Mr. Gabriel's bed on my arrival at Loanda.
It was also enhanced by the news that Sebastopol had fallen
and the war was finished.
Note. -- Having neglected, in referring to the footprints of the rhinoceros,
to mention what may be interesting to naturalists, I add it here in a note;
that wherever the footprints are seen, there are also marks of the animal
having plowed up the ground and bushes with his horn. This has been supposed
to indicate that he is subject to "fits of ungovernable rage";
but, when seen, he appears rather to be rejoicing in his strength.
He acts as a bull sometimes does when he gores the earth with his horns.
The rhinoceros, in addition to this, stands on a clump of bushes,
bends his back down, and scrapes the ground with his feet,
throwing it out backward, as if to stretch and clean his toes,
in the same way that a dog may be seen to do on a little grass:
this is certainly not rage.
Kind Reception from the Commandant -- His Generosity to my Men --
The Village of Tete -- The Population -- Distilled Spirits --
The Fort -- Cause of the Decadence of Portuguese Power --
Former Trade -- Slaves employed in Gold-washing -- Slave-trade drained
the Country of Laborers -- The Rebel Nyaude's Stockade -- He burns Tete --
Kisaka's Revolt and Ravages -- Extensive Field of Sugar-cane --
The Commandant's good Reputation among the Natives --
Providential Guidance -- Seams of Coal -- A hot Spring --
Picturesque Country -- Water-carriage to the Coal-fields --
Workmen's Wages -- Exports -- Price of Provisions -- Visit Gold-washings --
The Process of obtaining the precious Metal -- Coal within a Gold-field --
Present from Major Sicard -- Natives raise Wheat, etc. --
Liberality of the Commandant -- Geographical Information
from Senhor Candido -- Earthquakes -- Native Ideas of a Supreme Being --
Also of the Immortality and Transmigration of Souls -- Fondness for Display
at Funerals -- Trade Restrictions -- Former Jesuit Establishment --
State of Religion and Education at Tete -- Inundation of the Zambesi --
Cotton cultivated -- The fibrous Plants Conge and Buaze --
Detained by Fever -- The Kumbanzo Bark -- Native Medicines -- Iron,
its Quality -- Hear of Famine at Kilimane -- Death of a Portuguese Lady --
The Funeral -- Disinterested Kindness of the Portuguese.
I was most kindly received by the commandant Tito Augusto d'Araujo Sicard,
who did every thing in his power to restore me from my emaciated condition;
and, as this was still the unhealthy period at Kilimane,
he advised me to remain with him until the following month.
He also generously presented my men with abundant provisions of millet;
and, by giving them lodgings in a house of his own until they could erect
their own huts, he preserved them from the bite of the tampans,
here named Carapatos.* We had heard frightful accounts of this insect
while among the Banyai, and Major Sicard assured me that to strangers
its bite is more especially dangerous, as it sometimes causes fatal fever.
It may please our homoeopathic friends to hear that, in curing
the bite of the tampan, the natives administer one of the insects bruised
in the medicine employed.
* Another insect, resembling a maggot, burrows into the feet of the natives
and sucks their blood. Mr. Westwood says, "The tampan is
a large species of mite, closely allied to the poisonous bug
(as it is called) of Persia, `Argos reflexus', respecting which
such marvelous accounts have been recorded, and which the statement
respecting the carapato or tampan would partially confirm."
Mr. W. also thinks that the poison-yielding larva called N'gwa
is a "species of chrysomelidae. The larvae of the British species
of that family exude a fetid yellow thickish fluid when alarmed,
but he has not heard that any of them are at all poisonous."
The village of Tete is built on a long slope down to the river,
the fort being close to the water. The rock beneath is gray sandstone,
and has the appearance of being crushed away from the river:
the strata have thus a crumpled form. The hollow between each crease
is a street, the houses being built upon the projecting fold.
The rocks at the top of the slope are much higher than the fort, and of course
completely command it. There is then a large valley, and beyond that
an oblong hill called Karueira. The whole of the adjacent country
is rocky and broken, but every available spot is under cultivation.
The stone houses in Tete are cemented with mud instead of lime,
and thatched with reeds and grass. The rains, having washed out
the mud between the stones, give all the houses a rough, untidy appearance.
No lime was known to be found nearer than Mozambique; some used in making
seats in the verandas had actually been brought all that distance.
The Portuguese evidently knew nothing of the pink and white marbles
which I found at the Mbai, and another rivulet, named the Unguesi, near it,
and of which I brought home specimens, nor yet of the dolomite
which lies so near to Zumbo: they might have burned the marble into lime
without going so far as Mozambique. There are about thirty European houses;
the rest are native, and of wattle and daub. A wall about ten feet high
is intended to inclose the village, but most of the native inhabitants
prefer to live on different spots outside. There are about
twelve hundred huts in all, which with European households
would give a population of about four thousand five hundred souls.
Only a small proportion of these, however, live on the spot;
the majority are engaged in agricultural operations in the adjacent country.
Generally there are not more than two thousand people resident,
for, compared with what it was, Tete is now a ruin. The number of Portuguese
is very small; if we exclude the military, it is under twenty.
Lately, however, one hundred and five soldiers were sent from Portugal
to Senna, where in one year twenty-five were cut off by fever.
They were then removed to Tete, and here they enjoy much better health,
though, from the abundance of spirits distilled from various plants,
wild fruits, and grain, in which pernicious beverage they largely indulge,
besides partaking chiefly of unwholesome native food, better health
could scarcely have been expected. The natives here understand
the method of distillation by means of gun-barrels, and a succession
of earthen pots filled with water to keep them cool. The general report
of the fever here is that, while at Kilimane the fever is continuous,
at Tete a man recovers in about three days. The mildest remedies only
are used at first, and, if that period be passed, then the more severe.
The fort of Tete has been the salvation of the Portuguese power
in this quarter. It is a small square building, with a thatched apartment
for the residence of the troops; and, though there are but few guns, they are
in a much better state than those of any fort in the interior of Angola.
The cause of the decadence of the Portuguese power in this region
is simply this: In former times, considerable quantities of grain,
as wheat, millet, and maize, were exported; also coffee, sugar,
oil, and indigo, besides gold-dust and ivory. The cultivation of grain
was carried on by means of slaves, of whom the Portuguese possessed
a large number. The gold-dust was procured by washing at various points
on the north, south, and west of Tete. A merchant took all his slaves
with him to the washings, carrying as much calico and other goods
as he could muster. On arriving at the washing-place,
he made a present to the chief of the value of about a pound sterling.
The slaves were then divided into parties, each headed by
a confidential servant, who not only had the supervision of his squad
while the washing went on, but bought dust from the inhabitants,
and made a weekly return to his master. When several masters united
at one spot, it was called a "Bara", and they then erected a temporary church,
in which a priest from one of the missions performed mass.
Both chiefs and people were favorable to these visits,
because the traders purchased grain for the sustenance of the slaves
with the goods they had brought. They continued at this labor
until the whole of the goods were expended, and by this means
about 130 lbs. of gold were annually produced. Probably more than this
was actually obtained, but, as it was an article easily secreted,
this alone was submitted to the authorities for taxation.
At present the whole amount of gold obtained annually by the Portuguese
is from 8 to 10 lbs. only. When the slave-trade began, it seemed to many
of the merchants a more speedy mode of becoming rich to sell off the slaves
than to pursue the slow mode of gold-washing and agriculture,
and they continued to export them until they had neither hands to labor
nor to fight for them. It was just the story of the goose and the golden egg.
The coffee and sugar plantations and gold-washings were abandoned,
because the labor had been exported to the Brazils. Many of the Portuguese
then followed their slaves, and the government was obliged
to pass a law to prevent further emigration, which, had it gone on,
would have depopulated the Portuguese possessions altogether.
A clever man of Asiatic (Goa) and Portuguese extraction, called Nyaude,
now built a stockade at the confluence of the Luenya and Zambesi;
and when the commandant of Tete sent an officer with his company
to summon him to his presence, Nyaude asked permission of the officer
to dress himself, which being granted, he went into an inner apartment,
and the officer ordered his men to pile their arms. A drum of war
began to beat a note which is well known to the inhabitants.
Some of the soldiers took the alarm on hearing this note, but the officer,
disregarding their warning, was, with his whole party, in a few minutes
disarmed and bound hand and foot. The commandant of Tete then armed
the whole body of slaves and marched against the stockade of Nyaude,
but when they came near to it there was the Luenya still to cross.
As they did not effect this speedily, Nyaude dispatched a strong party
under his son Bonga across the river below the stockade,
and up the left bank of the Zambesi until they came near to Tete.
They then attacked Tete, which was wholly undefended save by
a few soldiers in the fort, plundered and burned the whole town
except the house of the commandant and a few others, with the church and fort.
The women and children fled into the church; and it is a remarkable fact
that none of the natives of this region will ever attack a church.
Having rendered Tete a ruin, Bonga carried off all the cattle and plunder
to his father. News of this having been brought to the army
before the stockade, a sudden panic dispersed the whole;
and as the fugitives took roundabout ways in their flight,
Katolosa, who had hitherto pretended to be friendly with the Portuguese,
sent out his men to capture as many of them as they could.
They killed many for the sake of their arms. This is the account
which both natives and Portuguese give of the affair.
Another half-caste from Macao, called Kisaka or Choutama,
on the opposite bank of the river, likewise rebelled. His father having died,
he imagined that he had been bewitched by the Portuguese, and he therefore
plundered and burned all the plantations of the rich merchants of Tete
on the north bank. As I have before remarked, that bank is the most fertile,
and there the Portuguese had their villas and plantations to which
they daily retired from Tete. When these were destroyed the Tete people
were completely impoverished. An attempt was made to punish this rebel,
but it was also unsuccessful, and he has lately been pardoned
by the home government. One point in the narrative of this expedition
is interesting. They came to a field of sugar-cane so large
that 4000 men eating it during two days did not finish the whole.
The Portuguese were thus placed between two enemies,
Nyaude on the right bank and Kisaka on the left, and not only so,
but Nyaude, having placed his stockade on the point of land
on the right banks of both the Luenya and Zambesi, and washed
by both these rivers, could prevent intercourse with the sea.
The Luenya rushes into the Zambesi with great force when the latter is low,
and, in coming up the Zambesi, boats must cross it and the Luenya separately,
even going a little way up that river, so as not to be driven away
by its current in the bed of the Zambesi, and dashed on the rock which stands
on the opposite shore. In coming up to the Luenya for this purpose,
all boats and canoes came close to the stockade to be robbed.
Nyaude kept the Portuguese shut up in their fort at Tete during two years,
and they could only get goods sufficient to buy food by sending to Kilimane
by an overland route along the north bank of the Zambesi.
The mother country did not in these "Caffre wars" pay the bills,
so no one either became rich or blamed the missionaries.
The merchants were unable to engage in trade, and commerce,
which the slave-trade had rendered stagnant, was now completely obstructed.
The present commandant of Tete, Major Sicard, having great influence
among the natives, from his good character, put a stop to the war
more than once by his mere presence on the spot. We heard of him
among the Banyai as a man with whom they would never fight,
because "he had a good heart." Had I come down to this coast
instead of going to Loanda in 1853, I should have come among the belligerents
while the war was still raging, and should probably have been cut off.
My present approach was just at the conclusion of the peace;
and when the Portuguese authorities here were informed,
through the kind offices of Lord Clarendon and Count de Lavradio,
that I was expected to come this way, they all declared
that such was the existing state of affairs that no European
could possibly pass through the tribes. Some natives
at last came down the river to Tete and said, alluding to
the sextant and artificial horizon, that "the Son of God had come,"
and that he was "able to take the sun down from the heavens and place it
under his arm!" Major Sicard then felt sure that this was the man
mentioned in Lord Clarendon's dispatch.
On mentioning to the commandant that I had discovered a small seam of coal,
he stated that the Portuguese were already aware of nine such seams,
and that five of them were on the opposite bank of the river.
As soon as I had recovered from my fatigue I went to examine them.
We proceeded in a boat to the mouth of the Lofubu or Revubu,
which is about two miles below Tete, and on the opposite or northern bank.
Ascending this about four miles against a strong current
of beautifully clear water, we landed near a small cataract,
and walked about two miles through very fertile gardens to the seam,
which we found to be in one of the feeders of the Lofubu,
called Muatize or Motize. The seam is in the perpendicular bank,
and dips into the rivulet, or in a northerly direction.
There is, first of all, a seam 10 inches in diameter, then some shale,
below which there is another seam, 58 inches of which are seen,
and, as the bottom touches the water of the Muatize, it may be more.
This part of the seam is about 30 yards long. There is then a fault.
About 100 yards higher up the stream black vesicular trap is seen,
penetrating in thin veins the clay shale of the country,
converting it into porcellanite, and partially crystallizing the coal
with which it came into contact. On the right bank of the Lofubu
there is another feeder entering that river near its confluence
with the Muatize, which is called the Morongozi, in which
there is another and still larger bed of coal exposed.
Farther up the Lofubu there are other seams in the rivulets Inyavu and Makare;
also several spots in the Maravi country have the coal cropping out.
This has evidently been brought to the surface by volcanic action
at a later period than the coal formation.
I also went up the Zambesi, and visited a hot spring called Nyamboronda,
situated in the bed of a small rivulet named Nyaondo, which shows
that igneous action is not yet extinct. We landed at a small rivulet
called Mokorozi, then went a mile or two to the eastward,
where we found a hot fountain at the bottom of a high hill.
A little spring bubbles up on one side of the rivulet Nyaondo,
and a great quantity of acrid steam rises up from the ground adjacent,
about 12 feet square of which is so hot that my companions could not
stand on it with their bare feet. There are several little holes from which
the water trickles, but the principal spring is in a hole a foot in diameter,
and about the same in depth. Numbers of bubbles are constantly rising.
The steam feels acrid in the throat, but is not inflammable,
as it did not burn when I held a bunch of lighted grass over the bubbles.
The mercury rises to 158 Deg. when the thermometer is put into the water
in the hole, but after a few seconds it stands steadily at 160 Deg.
Even when flowing over the stones the water is too hot for the hand.
Little fish frequently leap out of the stream in the bed of which
the fountain rises, into the hot water, and get scalded to death.
We saw a frog which had performed the experiment, and was now cooked.
The stones over which the water flows are incrusted with a white salt,
and the water has a saline taste. The ground has been dug out
near the fountain by the natives, in order to extract the salt it contains.
It is situated among rocks of syenitic porphyry in broad dikes,
and gneiss tilted on edge, and having a strike to the N.E.
There are many specimens of half-formed pumice, with greenstone and lava.
Some of the sandstone strata are dislocated by a hornblende rock
and by basalt, the sandstone nearest to the basalt being converted
The country around, as indeed all the district lying N. and N.W. of Tete,
is hilly, and, the hills being covered with trees, the scenery
is very picturesque. The soil of the valleys is very fruitful
and well cultivated. There would not be much difficulty in working the coal.
The Lofubu is about 60 yards broad; it flows perennially,
and at its very lowest period, which is after September,
there is water about 18 inches deep, which could be navigated
in flat-bottomed boats. At the time of my visit it was full,
and the current was very strong. If the small cataract referred to
were to be avoided, the land-carriage beyond would only be about two miles.
The other seams farther up the river may, after passing the cataract,
be approached more easily than that in the Muatize; as the seam, however,
dips down into the stream, no drainage of the mine would be required,
for if water were come to it would run into the stream.
I did not visit the others, but I was informed that there are seams
in the independent native territory as well as in that of the Portuguese.
That in the Nake is in the Banyai country, and, indeed,
I have no doubt but that the whole country between Zumbo and Lupata
is a coal-field of at least 2-1/2 Deg. of latitude in breadth,
having many faults, made during the time of the igneous action.
The gray sandstone rock having silicified trees lying on it
is of these dimensions. The plantation in which the seam of coal exists
would be valued among the Portuguese at about 60 dollars or 12 Pounds,
but much more would probably be asked if a wealthy purchaser appeared.
They could not, however, raise the price very much higher,
because estates containing coal might be had from the native owners
at a much cheaper rate. The wages of free laborers, when employed
in such work as gold-washing, agriculture, or digging coal,
is 2 yards of unbleached calico per day. They might be got to work cheaper
if engaged by the moon, or for about 16 yards per month.
For masons and carpenters even, the ordinary rate is 2 yards per day.
This is called 1 braca. Tradesmen from Kilimane demand 4 bracas,
or 8 yards, per day. English or American unbleached calico
is the only currency used. The carriage of goods up the river to Tete
adds about 10 per cent. to their cost. The usual conveyance
is by means of very large canoes and launches built at Senna.
The amount of merchandise brought up during the five months of peace
previous to my visit was of the value of 30,000 dollars, or about 6000 Pounds.
The annual supply of goods for trade is about 15,000 Pounds,
being calico, thick brass wire, beads, gunpowder, and guns.
The quantity of the latter is, however, small, as the government of Mozambique
made that article contraband after the commencement of the war.
Goods, when traded with in the tribes around the Portuguese,
produce a profit of only about 10 per cent., the articles traded in being
ivory and gold-dust. A little oil and wheat are exported, but nothing else.
Trade with the tribes beyond the exclusive ones is much better.
Thirty brass rings cost 10s. at Senna, 1 Pound at Tete, and 2 Pounds
beyond the tribes in the vicinity of Tete; these are a good price for
a penful of gold-dust of the value of 2 Pounds. The plantations of coffee,
which, previous to the commencement of the slave-trade, yielded one material
for exportation, are now deserted, and it is difficult to find a single tree.
The indigo (`Indigofera argentea', the common wild indigo of Africa)
is found growing every where, and large quantities of the senna-plant*
grow in the village of Tete and other parts, but neither indigo nor senna
is collected. Calumba-root, which is found in abundance in some parts
farther down the river, is bought by the Americans, it is said,
to use as a dye-stuff. A kind of sarsaparilla, or a plant
which is believed by the Portuguese to be such, is found from Londa to Senna,
but has never been exported.
* These appear to belong to `Cassia acutifolia', or true senna of commerce,
found in various parts of Africa and India. -- Dr. Hooker.
The price of provisions is low, but very much higher than previous to
the commencement of the war. Two yards of calico are demanded
for six fowls; this is considered very dear, because, before the war,
the same quantity of calico was worth 24 fowls. Grain is sold in little bags
made from the leaves of the palmyra, like those in which we receive sugar.
They are called panjas, and each panja weighs between 30 and 40 lbs.
The panja of wheat at Tete is worth a dollar, or 5s.; but the native grain
may be obtained among the islands below Lupata at the rate of three panjas
for two yards of calico. The highest articles of consumption
are tea and coffee, the tea being often as high as 15s. a pound.
Food is cheaper down the river below Lupata, and, previous to the war,
the islands which stud the Zambesi were all inhabited, and, the soil being
exceedingly fertile, grain and fowls could be got to any amount.
The inhabitants disappeared before their enemies the Landeens,
but are beginning to return since the peace. They have no cattle,
the only place where we found no tsetse being the district of Tete itself;
and the cattle in the possession of the Portuguese are a mere remnant
of what they formerly owned.
When visiting the hot fountain, I examined what were formerly
the gold-washings in the rivulet Mokoroze, which is nearly
on the 16th parallel of latitude. The banks are covered
with large groves of fine mango-trees, among which the Portuguese lived
while superintending the washing for the precious metal.
The process of washing is very laborious and tedious. A quantity of sand
is put into a wooden bowl with water; a half rotatory motion
is given to the dish, which causes the coarser particles of sand to collect
on one side of the bottom. These are carefully removed with the hand,
and the process of rotation renewed until the whole of the sand is taken away,
and the gold alone remains. It is found in very minute scales, and,
unless I had been assured to the contrary, I should have taken it to be mica,
for, knowing the gold to be of greater specific gravity than the sand,
I imagined that a stream of water would remove the latter
and leave the former; but here the practice is to remove the whole of the sand
by the hand. This process was, no doubt, a profitable one to the Portuguese,
and it is probable that, with the improved plan by means of mercury,
the sands would be lucrative. I had an opportunity of examining
the gold-dust from different parts to the east and northeast of Tete.
There are six well-known washing-places. These are called
Mashinga, Shindundo, Missala, Kapata, Mano, and Jawa.
From the description of the rock I received, I suppose gold is found
both in clay shale and quartz. At the range Mushinga to the N.N.W.
the rock is said to be so soft that the women pound it into powder
in wooden mortars previous to washing.
Round toward the westward, the old Portuguese indicate a station
which was near to Zumbo on the River Panyame, and called Dambarari,
near which much gold was found. Farther west lay the now unknown
kingdom of Abutua, which was formerly famous for the metal; and then,
coming round toward the east, we have the gold-washings of the Mashona,
or Bazizulu, and, farther east, that of Manica, where gold is found
much more abundantly than in any other part, and which has been
supposed by some to be the Ophir of King Solomon. I saw the gold
from this quarter as large as grains of wheat, that found in the rivers
which run into the coal-field being in very minute scales.
If we place one leg of the compasses at Tete, and extend the other
three and a half degrees, bringing it round from the northeast of Tete
by west, and then to the southeast, we nearly touch or include
all the known gold-producing country. As the gold on this circumference
is found in coarser grains than in the streams running toward the centre,
or Tete, I imagine that the real gold-field lies round about the coal-field;
and, if I am right in the conjecture, then we have coal encircled
by a gold-field, and abundance of wood, water, and provisions --
a combination not often met with in the world. The inhabitants are not
unfavorable to washings, conducted on the principle formerly mentioned.
At present they wash only when in want of a little calico.
They know the value of gold perfectly well, for they bring it for sale
in goose-quills, and demand 24 yards of calico for one penful.
When the rivers in the district of Manica and other gold-washing places
have been flooded, they leave a coating of mud on the banks.
The natives observe the spots which dry soonest, and commence digging there,
in firm belief that gold lies beneath. They are said not to dig
deeper than their chins, believing that if they did so the ground
would fall in and kill them. When they find a `piece' or flake of gold,
they bury it again, from the superstitious idea that this
is the seed of the gold, and, though they know the value of it well,
they prefer losing it rather than the whole future crop. This conduct
seemed to me so very unlikely in men who bring the dust in quills,
and even put in a few seeds of a certain plant as a charm
to prevent their losing any of it on the way, that I doubted
the authority of my informant; but I found the report verified
by all the Portuguese who knew the native language and mode of thinking,
and give the statement for what it is worth. If it is really practiced,
the custom may have been introduced by some knowing one who wished to defraud
the chiefs of their due; for we are informed in Portuguese history
that in former times these pieces or flakes of gold were considered
the perquisites of the chiefs.
Major Sicard, the commandant, whose kindness to me and my people
was unbounded, presented a rosary made of the gold of the country,
the workmanship of a native of Tete, to my little daughter;
also specimens of the gold-dust of three different places,
which, with the coal of Muatize and Morongoze, are deposited in
the Museum of Practical Geology, Jermyn Street, London.
All the cultivation is carried on with hoes in the native manner,
and considerable quantities of `Holcus sorghum', maize,
`Pennisetum typhoideum', or lotsa of the Balonda, millet, rice, and wheat
are raised, as also several kinds of beans -- one of which,
called "litloo" by the Bechuanas, yields under ground, as well as
the `Arachis hypogaea', or ground-nut; with cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons.
The wheat is sown in low-lying places which are annually flooded
by the Zambesi. When the waters retire, the women drop a few grains
in a hole made with a hoe, then push back the soil with the foot.
One weeding alone is required before the grain comes to maturity.
This simple process represents all our subsoil plowing, liming,
manuring, and harrowing, for in four months after planting a good crop
is ready for the sickle, and has been known to yield a hundred-fold.
It flourished still more at Zumbo. No irrigation is required,
because here there are gentle rains, almost like mist, in winter,
which go by the name of "wheat-showers", and are unknown
in the interior, where no winter rain ever falls. The rains at Tete
come from the east, though the prevailing winds come from the S.S.E.
The finest portion of the flour does not make bread nearly so white
as the seconds, and here the boyaloa (pombe), or native beer,
is employed to mix with the flour instead of yeast. It makes excellent bread.
At Kilimane, where the cocoanut palm abounds, the toddy from it,
called "sura", is used for the same purpose, and makes the bread
As it was necessary to leave most of my men at this place,
Major Sicard gave them a portion of land on which to cultivate their own food,
generously supplying them with corn in the mean time. He also said
that my young men might go and hunt elephants in company with his servants,
and purchase goods with both the ivory and dried meat, in order that
they might have something to take with them on their return to Sekeletu.
The men were delighted with his liberality, and soon sixty or seventy of them
set off to engage in this enterprise. There was no calico to be had
at this time in Tete, but the commandant handsomely furnished my men
with clothing. I was in a state of want myself, and, though I pressed him
to take payment in ivory for both myself and men, he refused all recompense.
I shall ever remember his kindness with deep gratitude. He has written me,
since my arrival in England, that my men had killed four elephants
in the course of two months after my departure.
On the day of my arrival I was visited by all the gentlemen of the village,
both white and colored, including the padre. Not one of them had any idea
as to where the source of the Zambesi lay. They sent for
the best traveled natives, but none of them knew the river
even as far as Kansala. The father of one of the rebels
who had been fighting against them had been a great traveler to the southwest,
and had even heard of our visit to Lake Ngami; but he was equally ignorant
with all the others that the Zambesi flowed in the centre of the country.
They had, however, more knowledge of the country to the north of Tete
than I had. One man, who had gone to Cazembe with Major Monteiro,
stated that he had seen the Luapura or Loapula flowing past
the town of that chieftain into the Luameji or Leeambye,
but imagined that it found its way, somehow or other, into Angola.
The fact that sometimes rivers were seen to flow like this
toward the centre of the country, led geographers to the supposition
that inner Africa was composed of elevated sandy plains, into which
rivers ran and were lost. One of the gentlemen present, Senhor Candido,
had visited a lake 45 days to the N.N.W. of Tete, which is probably
the Lake Maravi of geographers, as in going thither they pass through
the people of that name. The inhabitants of its southern coast
are named Shiva; those on the north, Mujao; and they call the lake
Nyanja or Nyanje, which simply means a large water, or bed of a large river.
A high mountain stands in the middle of it, called Murombo or Murombola,
which is inhabited by people who have much cattle. He stated that
he crossed the Nyanja at a narrow part, and was 36 hours in the passage.
The canoes were punted the whole way, and, if we take the rate
about two miles per hour, it may be sixty or seventy miles in breadth.
The country all round was composed of level plains covered with grass,
and, indeed, in going thither they traveled seven or eight days without wood,
and cooked their food with grass and stalks of native corn alone.
The people sold their cattle at a very cheap rate. From the southern
extremity of the lake two rivers issue forth: one, named after itself,
the Nyanja, which passes into the sea on the east coast under another name;
and the Shire, which flows into the Zambesi a little below Senna.
The Shire is named Shirwa at its point of departure from the lake,
and Senhor Candido was informed, when there, that the lake was simply
an expansion of the River Nyanja, which comes from the north and encircles
the mountain Murombo, the meaning of which is junction or union,
in reference to the water having parted at its northern extremity,
and united again at its southern. The Shire flows through a low, flat,
marshy country, but abounding in population, and they are said to be brave.
The Portuguese are unable to navigate the Shire up to the Lake Nyanja,
because of the great abundance of a water-plant which requires no soil,
and which they name "alfacinya" (`Pistia stratiotes'), from its resemblance
to a lettuce. This completely obstructs the progress of canoes.
In confirmation of this I may state that, when I passed
the mouth of the Shire, great quantities of this same plant
were floating from it into the Zambesi, and many parts of the banks below
were covered with the dead plants.
Senhor Candido stated that slight earthquakes have happened several times
in the country of the Maravi, and at no great distance from Tete.
The motion seems to come from the eastward, and never to have lasted
more than a few seconds. They are named in the Maravi tongue "shiwo",
and in that of the people of Tete "shitakoteko", or "shivering".
This agrees exactly with what has taken place in the coast of Mozambique --
a few slight shocks of short duration, and all appearing to come
from the east. At Senna, too, a single shock has been felt several times,
which shook the doors and windows, and made the glasses jingle.
Both Tete and Senna have hot springs in their vicinity,
but the shocks seemed to come, not from them, but from the east,
and proceed to the west. They are probably connected with
the active volcanoes in the island of Bourbon.
As Senhor Candido holds the office of judge in all the disputes
of the natives, and knows their language perfectly, his statement
may be relied on that all the natives of this region
have a clear idea of a Supreme Being, the maker and governor of all things.
He is named "Morimo", "Molungo", "Reza", "Mpambe",
in the different dialects spoken. The Barotse name him "Nyampi",
and the Balonda "Zambi". All promptly acknowledge him as the ruler
over all. They also fully believe in the soul's continued existence
apart from the body, and visit the graves of relatives,
making offerings of food, beer, etc. When undergoing the ordeal,
they hold up their hands to the Ruler of Heaven, as if appealing to him
to assert their innocence. When they escape, or recover from sickness,
or are delivered from any danger, they offer a sacrifice of a fowl or a sheep,
pouring out the blood as a libation to the soul of some departed relative.
They believe in the transmigration of souls, and also that while persons
are still living they may enter into lions and alligators,
and then return again to their own bodies.
While still at Tete the son of Monomotapa paid the commandant a visit.
He is named Mozungo, or "White Man", has a narrow tapering head,
and probably none of the ability or energy his father possessed.
He was the favorite of his father, who hoped that he would occupy his place.
A strong party, however, in the tribe placed Katalosa in the chieftainship,
and the son became, as they say, a child of this man. The Portuguese
have repeatedly received offers of territory if they would only
attend the interment of the departed chief with troops,
fire off many rounds of cartridges over the grave, and then give eclat
to the installment of the new chief. Their presence would probably
influence the election, for many would vote on the side of power,
and a candidate might feel it worth while to grant a good piece of land,
if thereby he could secure the chieftainship to himself.
When the Portuguese traders wish to pass into the country beyond Katalosa,
they present him with about thirty-two yards of calico and some other goods,
and he then gives them leave to pass in whatever direction
they choose to go. They must, however, give certain quantities of cloth
to a number of inferior chiefs beside, and they are subject to the game-laws.
They have thus a body of exclusive tribes around them,
preventing direct intercourse between them and the population beyond.
It is strange that, when they had the power, they did not insist
on the free navigation of the Zambesi. I can only account for this
in the same way in which I accounted for a similar state of things
in the west. All the traders have been in the hands of slaves,
and have wanted that moral courage which a free man, with free servants
on whom he can depend, usually possesses. If the English had been here,
they would have insisted on the free navigation of this pathway
as an indispensable condition of friendship. The present system
is a serious difficulty in the way of developing the resources of the country,
and might prove fatal to an unarmed expedition. If this desirable
and most fertile field of enterprise is ever to be opened up,
men must proceed on a different plan from that which has been followed,
and I do not apprehend there would be much difficulty in commencing
a new system, if those who undertook it insisted that it is not our custom
to pay for a highway which has not been made by man. The natives themselves
would not deny that the river is free to those who do not trade in slaves.
If, in addition to an open, frank explanation, a small subsidy were given
to the paramount chief, the willing consent of all the subordinates
would soon be secured.
On the 1st of April I went to see the site of a former establishment
of the Jesuits, called Micombo, about ten miles S.E. of Tete.
Like all their settlements I have seen, both judgment and taste had been
employed in the selection of the site. A little stream of mineral water
had been collected in a tank and conducted to their house,
before which was a little garden for raising vegetables at times of the year
when no rain falls. It is now buried in a deep shady grove of mango-trees.
I was accompanied by Captain Nunes, whose great-grandfather,
also a captain in the time of the Marquis of Pombal, received sealed orders,
to be opened only on a certain day. When that day arrived,
he found the command to go with his company, seize all the Jesuits
of this establishment, and march them as prisoners to the coast.
The riches of the fraternity, which were immense, were taken possession of
by the state. Large quantities of gold had often been sent
to their superiors at Goa, inclosed in images. The Jesuits here
do not seem to have possessed the sympathies of the people as their brethren
in Angola did. They were keen traders in ivory and gold-dust.
All praise their industry. Whatever they did, they did it
with all their might, and probably their successful labors in securing
the chief part of the trade to themselves had excited the envy of the laity.
None of the natives here can read; and though the Jesuits are said
to have translated some of the prayers into the language of the country,
I was unable to obtain a copy. The only religious teachers
now in this part of the country are two gentlemen of color, natives of Goa.
The one who officiates at Tete, named Pedro Antonio d'Araujo,
is a graduate in Dogmatic Theology and Moral Philosophy.
There is but a single school in Tete, and it is attended
only by the native Portuguese children, who are taught to read and write.
The black population is totally uncared for. The soldiers are marched
every Sunday to hear mass, and but few others attend church.
During the period of my stay, a kind of theatrical representation
of our Savior's passion and resurrection was performed.
The images and other paraphernalia used were of great value,
but the present riches of the Church are nothing to what it once possessed.
The commandant is obliged to lock up all the gold and silver in the fort
for safety, though not from any apprehension of its being stolen
by the people, for they have a dread of sacrilege.
The state of religion and education is, I am sorry to say, as low as
that of commerce; but the European Portuguese value education highly,
and send their children to Goa and elsewhere for instruction
in the higher branches. There is not a single bookseller's shop,
however, in either eastern or western Africa. Even Loanda,
with its 12,000 or 14,000 souls, can not boast of one store
for the sale of food for the mind.
On the 2d the Zambesi suddenly rose several feet in height.
Three such floods are expected annually, but this year there were four.
This last was accompanied by discoloration, and must have been caused
by another great fall of rain east of the ridge. We had observed
a flood of discolored water when we reached the river at the Kafue;
it then fell two feet, and from subsequent rains again rose so high
that we were obliged to leave it when opposite the hill Pinkwe.
About the 10th of March the river rose several feet with
comparatively clear water, and it continued to rise until the 21st,
with but very slight discoloration. This gradual rise was the greatest,
and was probably caused by the water of inundation in the interior.
The sudden rise which happened on the 2d, being deeply discolored,
showed again the effect of rains at a comparatively short distance.
The fact of the river rising three or four times annually,
and the one flood of inundation being mixed with the others, may account for
the Portuguese not recognizing the phenomenon of the periodical inundation,
so well known in the central country.
The independent natives cultivate a little cotton, but it is not at all equal,
either in quantity or quality, to what we found in Angola. The pile is short,
and it clings to the seed so much that they use an iron roller to detach it.
The soil, however, is equal to the production of any tropical plant or fruit.
The natives have never been encouraged to cultivate cotton for sale,
nor has any new variety been introduced. We saw no palm-oil-trees,
the oil which is occasionally exported being from the ground-nut.
One of the merchants of Tete had a mill of the rudest construction
for grinding this nut, which was driven by donkeys. It was
the only specimen of a machine I could exhibit to my men.
A very superior kind of salad oil is obtained from the seeds of cucumbers,
and is much used in native cookery.
An offer, said to have been made by the "Times", having excited attention
even in this distant part, I asked the commandant if he knew of any plant
fit for the production of paper. He procured specimens
of the fibrous tissue of a species of aloe, named Conge, and some also
from the root of a wild date, and, lastly, of a plant named Buaze,
the fibres of which, though useless for the manufacture of paper, are probably
a suitable substitute for flax. I submitted a small quantity of these fibres
to Messrs. Pye, Brothers, of London, who have invented a superior mode
for the preparation of such tissues for the manufacturer. They most politely
undertook the examination, and have given a favorable opinion of the Buaze,
as may be seen in the note below.*
* 80 Lombard Street, 20th March, 1857.
Dear Sir, -- We have the pleasure to return you
the specimens of fibrous plants from the Zambesi River,
on which you were desirous to see the effects of our treatment;
we therefore inclose to you,
No. 1. Buaze, in the state received from you.
1 A. Do. as prepared by us.
1 B. The tow which has come from it in hackling.
No. 2. Conge, as received from you.
2 A. Do. as prepared by us.
With regard to both these fibres, we must state that
the VERY MINUTE QUANTITY of each specimen has prevented
our subjecting them to any thing like the full treatment of our process,
and we can therefore only give you an APPROXIMATE idea of their value.
The Buaze evidently possesses a very strong and fine fibre,
assimilating to flax in its character, but we believe,
when treated IN QUANTITY by our process, it would show
both a stronger and finer fibre than flax; but being unable
to apply the rolling or pressing processes with any efficiency
to so very small a quantity, the gums are not yet so perfectly extracted
as they would be, nor the fibre opened out to so fine a quality
as it would then exhibit.
This is even yet more the case with the Conge, which, being naturally
a harsh fibre, full of gums, wants exactly that powerful treatment
which our process is calculated to give it, but which can not be applied
to such miniature specimens. We do not therefore consider this
as more than half treated, its fibre consequently remaining yet harsh,
and coarse, and stiff, as compared with what it would be
if treated IN QUANTITY.
Judging that it would be satisfactory to you to be in possession
of the best practical opinion to be obtained on such a subject,
we took the liberty of forwarding your little specimens
to Messrs. Marshall, of Leeds, who have kindly favored us
with the following observations on them:
"We have examined the samples you sent us yesterday,
and think the Conge or aloe fibre would be of no use to us,
but the Buaze fibre appears to resemble flax, and as prepared by you
will be equal to flax worth 50 Pounds or 60 Pounds per ton,
but we could hardly speak positively to the value unless we had
1 cwt. or 2 cwt. to try on our machinery. However, we think the result
is promising, and we hope further inquiry will be made
as to the probable supply of the material."
We are, dear sir, your very obedient servants,
The Rev. Dr. Livingstone.
A representation of the plant is given in the annexed woodcut,*
as a help to its identification. I was unable to procure
either the flowers or fruit; but, as it is not recognized at sight
by that accomplished botanist and eminent traveler, Dr. J. D. Hooker,
it may safely be concluded that it is quite unknown to botanists.
It is stated by the Portuguese to grow in large quantities
in the Maravi country north of the Zambesi, but it is not cultivated,
and the only known use it has been put to is in making threads on which
the natives string their beads. Elsewhere the split tendons of animals
are employed for this purpose. This seems to be of equal strength,
for a firm thread of it feels like catgut in the hand,
and would rather cut the fingers than break.
* Unfortunately, this woodcut can not be represented in this ASCII text,
but buaze, or bwazi, is `Securidaca longipedunculata'. -- A. L., 1997.
Having waited a month for the commencement of the healthy season at Kilimane,
I would have started at the beginning of April, but tarried a few days
in order that the moon might make her appearance, and enable me to take
lunar observations on my way down the river. A sudden change of temperature
happening on the 4th, simultaneously with the appearance of the new moon,
the commandant and myself, with nearly every person in the house,
were laid up with a severe attack of fever. I soon recovered
by the use of my wonted remedies, but Major Sicard and his little boy
were confined much longer. There was a general fall of 4 Deg. of temperature
from the middle of March, 84 Deg. at 9 A.M., and 87 Deg. at 9 P.M.;
the greatest heat being 90 Deg. at midday, and the lowest 81 Deg. at sunrise.
It afforded me pleasure to attend the invalids in their sickness,
though I was unable to show a tithe of the gratitude I felt
for the commandant's increasing kindness. My quinine and other remedies
were nearly all expended, and no fresh supply was to be found here,
there being no doctors at Tete, and only one apothecary with the troops,
whose stock of medicine was also small. The Portuguese, however,
informed me that they had the cinchona bark growing in their country --
that there was a little of it to be found at Tete --
whole forests of it at Senna and near the delta of Kilimane.
It seems quite a providential arrangement that the remedy for fever
should be found in the greatest abundance where it is most needed.
On seeing the leaves, I stated that it was not the `Cinchona longifolia'
from which it is supposed the quinine of commerce is extracted,
but the name and properties of this bark made me imagine
that it was a cinchonaceous tree. I could not get the flower,
but when I went to Senna I tried to bring away a few small living trees
with earth in a box. They, however, all died when we came to Kilimane.
Failing in this mode of testing the point, I submitted
a few leaves and seed-vessels to my friend, Dr. Hooker,
who kindly informs me that they belong "apparently to an apocyneous plant,
very nearly allied to the Malouetia Heudlotii (of Decaisne),
a native of Senegambia." Dr. H. adds, "Various plants of this natural order
are reputed powerful febrifuges, and some of them are said to equal
the cinchona in their effects." It is called in the native tongue Kumbanzo.
The flowers are reported to be white. The pods are in pairs,
a foot or fifteen inches in length, and contain a groove on their inner sides.
The thick soft bark of the root is the part used by the natives;
the Portuguese use that of the tree itself. I immediately began
to use a decoction of the bark of the root, and my men found it so efficacious
that they collected small quantities of it for themselves,
and kept it in little bags for future use. Some of them said
that they knew it in their own country, but I never happened to observe it.
The decoction is given after the first paroxysm of the complaint is over.
The Portuguese believe it to have the same effects as the quinine,
and it may prove a substitute for that invaluable medicine.
There are numbers of other medicines in use among the natives,
but I have always been obliged to regret want of time to ascertain
which were useful and which of no value. We find a medicine in use
by a tribe in one part of the country, and the same plant employed
by a tribe a thousand miles distant. This surely must arise
from some inherent virtue in the plant. The Boers under Potgeiter
visited Delgoa Bay for the first time about ten years ago,
in order to secure a port on the east coast for their republic.
They had come from a part of the interior where the disease called croup
occasionally prevails. There was no appearance of the disease among them
at the period of their visit, but the Portuguese inhabitants of that bay
found that they had left it among them, and several adults were cut off
by a form of the complaint called `Laryngismus stridulus',
the disease of which the great Washington died. Similar cases have occurred
in the South Sea Islands. Ships have left diseases from which
no one on board was suffering at the time of their visit.
Many of the inhabitants here were cut down, usually in three days
from their first attack, until a native doctor adopted the plan
of scratching the root of the tongue freely with a certain root,
and giving a piece of it to be chewed. The cure may have been effected
by the scarification only, but the Portuguese have the strongest faith
in the virtues of the root, and always keep some of it within reach.
There are also other plants which the natives use in the treatment of fever,
and some of them produce `diaphoresis' in a short space of time.
It is certain that we have got the knowledge of the most potent febrifuge
in our pharmacopoeia from the natives of another country.
We have no cure for cholera and some other diseases. It might be worth
the investigation of those who visit Africa to try and find other remedies
in a somewhat similar way to that in which we found the quinine.*
* I add the native names of a few of their remedies in order to assist
the inquirer: Mupanda panda: this is used in fever
for producing perspiration; the leaves are named Chirussa;
the roots dye red, and are very astringent. Goho or Go-o:
this is the ordeal medicine; it is both purgative and emetic.
Mutuva or Mutumbue: this plant contains so much oil
that it serves as lights in Londa; it is an emollient drink
for the cure of coughs, and the pounded leaves answer as soap
to wash the head. Nyamucu ucu has a curious softening effect
on old dry grain. Mussakasi is believed to remove the effects of the Go-o.
Mudama is a stringent vermifuge. Mapubuza dyes a red color.
Musikizi yields an oil. Shinkondo: a virulent poison;
the Maravi use it in their ordeal, and it is very fatal.
Kanunka utare is said to expel serpents and rats by its pungent smell,
which is not at all disagreeable to man; this is probably
a kind of `Zanthoxylon', perhaps the Z. melancantha of Western Africa,
as it is used to expel rats and serpents there. Mussonzoa dyes cloth black.
Mussio: the beans of this also dye black. Kangome, with flowers and fruit
like Mocha coffee; the leaves are much like those of the sloe,
and the seeds are used as coffee or eaten as beans.
Kanembe-embe: the pounded leaves used as an extemporaneous glue
for mending broken vessels. Katunguru is used for killing fish.
Mutavea Nyerere: an active caustic. Mudiacoro: also an external caustic,
and used internally. Kapande: another ordeal plant, but used
to produce `diaphoresis'. Karumgasura: also diaphoretic.
Munyazi yields an oil, and is one of the ingredients for curing
the wounds of poisoned arrows. Uombue: a large root employed
in killing fish. Kakumate: used in intermittents. Musheteko:
applied to ulcers, and the infusion also internally in amenorrhoea.
Inyakanyanya: this is seen in small, dark-colored,
crooked roots of pleasant aromatic smell and slightly bitter taste,
and is highly extolled in the treatment of fever; it is found in Manica.
Eskinencia: used in croup and sore-throat. Itaca or Itaka:
for diaphoresis in fever; this root is brought as an article of barter
by the Arabs to Kilimane; the natives purchase it eagerly.
Mukundukundu: a decoction used as a febrifuge in the same way as quinine;
it grows plentifully at Shupanga, and the wood is used as masts
for launches. I may here add the recipe of Brother Pedro of Zumbo
for the cure of poisoned wounds, in order to show the similarity of practice
among the natives of the Zambesi, from whom, in all probability,
he acquired his knowledge, and the Bushmen of the Kalahari.
It consists of equal parts of the roots of the Calumba, Musheteko, Abutua,
Batatinya, Paregekanto, Itaka, or Kapande, put into a bottle and covered
with common castor-oil. As I have before observed, I believe
the oily ingredient is the effectual one, and ought to be tried by any one
who has the misfortune to get wounded by a Bushman's or Banyai arrow.
The only other metal, besides gold, we have in abundance in this region,
is iron, and that is of excellent quality. In some places it is obtained
from what is called the specular iron ore, and also from black oxide.
The latter has been well roasted in the operations of nature,
and contains a large proportion of the metal. It occurs generally
in tears or rounded lumps, and is but slightly magnetic.
When found in the beds of rivers, the natives know of its existence
by the quantity of oxide on the surface, and they find no difficulty
in digging it with pointed sticks. They consider English iron as "rotten";
and I have seen, when a javelin of their own iron lighted on
the cranium of a hippopotamus, it curled up like the proboscis of a butterfly,
and the owner would prepare it for future use by straightening it COLD
with two stones. I brought home some of the hoes which Sekeletu gave me
to purchase a canoe, also some others obtained in Kilimane,
and they have been found of such good quality that a friend of mine
in Birmingham has made an Enfield rifle of them.*
* The following remarks are by a practical blacksmith,
one of the most experienced men in the gun-trade. In this trade
various qualities of iron are used, and close attention is required
to secure for each purpose the quality of iron peculiarly adapted to it:
The iron in the two spades strongly resembles Swedish or Russian;
it is highly carbonized.
The same qualities are found in both spades.
When chilled in water it has all the properties of steel:
see the piece marked I, chilled at one end, and left soft at the other.
When worked hot, it is very malleable: but cold, it breaks
quite short and brittle.
The great irregularity found in the working of the iron affords evidence
that it has been prepared by inexperienced hands.
This is shown in the bending of the small spade; the thick portion
retains its crystallized nature, while the thin part has been changed
by the hammering it has undergone.
The large spade shows a very brittle fracture.
The iron is too brittle for gun-work; it would be liable to break.
This iron, if REPEATEDLY heated and hammered, would become decarbonized,
and would then possess the qualities found in the spear-head,
which, after being curled up by being struck against a hard substance,
was restored, by hammering, to its original form without injury.
The piece of iron marked II is a piece of gun-iron of fibrous quality,
such as will bend without breaking.
The piece marked III is of crystalline quality; it has been submitted
to a process which has changed it to IIII; III and IIII are cut
from the same bar. The spade-iron has been submitted to the same process,
but no corresponding effect can be produced.
The iron ore exists in great abundance, but I did not find any limestone
in its immediate vicinity. So far as I could learn, there is neither
copper nor silver. Malachite is worked by the people of Cazembe,
but, as I did not see it, nor any other metal, I can say nothing about it.
A few precious stones are met with, and some parts are quite covered
with agates. The mineralogy of the district, however, has not been explored
by any one competent to the task.
When my friend the commandant was fairly recovered, and I myself
felt strong again, I prepared to descend the Zambesi. A number of my men
were out elephant-hunting, and others had established a brisk trade
in firewood, as their countrymen did at Loanda. I chose sixteen of those
who could manage canoes to convey me down the river. Many more
would have come, but we were informed that there had been
a failure of the crops at Kilimane from the rains not coming
at the proper time, and thousands had died of hunger.
I did not hear of a single effort having been made to relieve the famishing
by sending them food down the river. Those who perished were mostly slaves,
and others seemed to think that their masters ought to pay for their relief.
The sufferers were chiefly among those natives who inhabit the delta,
and who are subject to the Portuguese. They are in a state of slavery,
but are kept on farms and mildly treated. Many yield
a certain rental of grain only to their owners, and are otherwise free.
Eight thousand are said to have perished. Major Sicard lent me a boat
which had been built on the river, and sent also Lieutenant Miranda
to conduct me to the coast.
A Portuguese lady who had come with her brother from Lisbon,
having been suffering for some days from a severe attack of fever,
died about three o'clock in the morning of the 20th of April.
The heat of the body having continued unabated till six o'clock,
I was called in, and found her bosom quite as warm as I ever did
in a living case of fever. This continued for three hours more.
As I had never seen a case in which fever-heat continued so long after death,
I delayed the funeral until unmistakable symptoms of dissolution occurred.
She was a widow, only twenty-two years of age, and had been ten years
in Africa. I attended the funeral in the evening, and was struck
by the custom of the country. A number of slaves preceded us,
and fired off many rounds of gunpowder in front of the body.
When a person of much popularity is buried, all the surrounding chiefs
send deputations to fire over the grave. On one occasion at Tete, more than
thirty barrels of gunpowder were expended. Early in the morning of the 21st
the slaves of the deceased lady's brother went round the village
making a lamentation, and drums were beaten all day, as they are at such times
among the heathen.
The commandant provided for the journey most abundantly,
and gave orders to Lieutenant Miranda that I should not be allowed
to pay for any thing all the way to the coast, and sent messages
to his friends Senhors Ferrao, Isidore, Asevedo, and Nunes,
to treat me as they would himself. From every one of these gentlemen
I am happy to acknowledge that I received most disinterested kindness,
and I ought to speak well forever of Portuguese hospitality.
I have noted each little act of civility received, because somehow or other
we have come to hold the Portuguese character in rather a low estimation.
This may have arisen partly from the pertinacity with which some of them have
pursued the slave-trade, and partly from the contrast which they now offer
to their illustrious ancestors -- the foremost navigators of the world.
If my specification of their kindnesses will tend to engender
a more respectful feeling to the nation, I shall consider myself
well rewarded. We had three large canoes in the company
which had lately come up with goods from Senna. They are made
very large and strong, much larger than any we ever saw in the interior,
and might strike with great force against a rock and not be broken.
The men sit at the stern when paddling, and there is usually a little shed
made over a part of the canoe to shade the passengers from the sun.
The boat in which I went was furnished with such a covering,
so I sat quite comfortably.
Leave Tete and proceed down the River -- Pass the Stockade of Bonga --
Gorge of Lupata -- "Spine of the World" -- Width of River --
Islands -- War Drum at Shiramba -- Canoe Navigation -- Reach Senna --
Its ruinous State -- Landeens levy Fines upon the Inhabitants --
Cowardice of native Militia -- State of the Revenue -- No direct Trade
with Portugal -- Attempts to revive the Trade of Eastern Africa --
Country round Senna -- Gorongozo, a Jesuit Station --
Manica, the best Gold Region in Eastern Africa -- Boat-building at Senna --
Our Departure -- Capture of a Rebel Stockade -- Plants Alfacinya and Njefu
at the Confluence of the Shire -- Landeen Opinion of the Whites --
Mazaro, the point reached by Captain Parker -- His Opinion
respecting the Navigation of the River from this to the Ocean --
Lieutenant Hoskins' Remarks on the same subject -- Fever, its Effects --
Kindly received into the House of Colonel Nunes at Kilimane --
Forethought of Captain Nolloth and Dr. Walsh -- Joy imbittered --
Deep Obligations to the Earl of Clarendon, etc. -- On developing
Resources of the Interior -- Desirableness of Missionary Societies
selecting healthy Stations -- Arrangements on leaving my Men --
Retrospect -- Probable Influence of the Discoveries on Slavery --
Supply of Cotton, Sugar, etc., by Free Labor -- Commercial Stations --
Development of the Resources of Africa a Work of Time -- Site of Kilimane --
Unhealthiness -- Death of a shipwrecked Crew from Fever --
The Captain saved by Quinine -- Arrival of H. M. Brig "Frolic" --
Anxiety of one of my Men to go to England -- Rough Passage in the Boats
to the Ship -- Sekwebu's Alarm -- Sail for Mauritius -- Sekwebu on board;
he becomes insane; drowns himself -- Kindness of Major-General C. M. Hay --
Escape Shipwreck -- Reach Home.
We left Tete at noon on the 22d, and in the afternoon arrived
at the garden of Senhor A. Manoel de Gomez, son-in-law and nephew of Bonga.
The Commandant of Tete had sent a letter to the rebel Bonga,
stating that he ought to treat me kindly, and he had deputed his son-in-law
to be my host. Bonga is not at all equal to his father Nyaude,
who was a man of great ability. He is also in bad odor with the Portuguese,
because he receives all runaway slaves and criminals. He does not trust
the Portuguese, and is reported to be excessively superstitious.
I found his son-in-law, Manoel, extremely friendly, and able to converse
in a very intelligent manner. He was in his garden when we arrived,
but soon dressed himself respectably, and gave us a good tea and dinner.
After a breakfast of tea, roasted eggs, and biscuits next morning,
he presented six fowls and three goats as provisions for the journey.
When we parted from him we passed the stockade of Bonga
at the confluence of the Luenya, but did not go near it,
as he is said to be very suspicious. The Portuguese advised me
not to take any observation, as the instruments might awaken fears
in Bonga's mind, but Manoel said I might do so if I wished;
his garden, however, being above the confluence, could not avail
as a geographical point. There are some good houses in the stockade.
The trees of which it is composed seemed to me to be living,
and could not be burned. It was strange to see a stockade
menacing the whole commerce of the river in a situation
where the guns of a vessel would have full play on it,
but it is a formidable affair for those who have only muskets.
On one occasion, when Nyaude was attacked by Kisaka, they fought for weeks;
and though Nyaude was reduced to cutting up his copper anklets for balls,
his enemies were not able to enter the stockade.
On the 24th we sailed only about three hours, as we had done the day before;
but having come to a small island at the western entrance
of the gorge of Lupata, where Dr. Lacerda is said to have taken
an astronomical observation, and called it the island of Mozambique,
because it was believed to be in the same latitude, or 15d 1',
I wished to verify his position, and remained over night: my informants
must have been mistaken, for I found the island of Mozambique here
to be lat. 16d 34' 46" S.
Respecting this range, to which the gorge has given a name,
some Portuguese writers have stated it to be so high that snow lies on it
during the whole year, and that it is composed of marble.
It is not so high in appearance as the Campsie Hills when seen
from the Vale of Clyde. The western side is the most abrupt,
and gives the idea of the greatest height, as it rises up perpendicularly
from the water six or seven hundred feet. As seen from this island,
it is certainly no higher than Arthur's Seat appears from Prince's Street,
Edinburgh. The rock is compact silicious schist of a slightly reddish color,
and in thin strata; the island on which we slept looks as if torn off
from the opposite side of the gorge, for the strata are twisted and torn
in every direction. The eastern side of the range is much more sloping
than the western, covered with trees, and does not give the idea of altitude
so much as the western. It extends a considerable way
into the Maganja country in the north, and then bends round
toward the river again, and ends in the lofty mountain Morumbala,
opposite Senna. On the other or southern side it is straighter,
but is said to end in Gorongozo, a mountain west of the same point.
The person who called this Lupata "the spine of the world"
evidently did not mean to say that it was a translation of the word,
for it means a defile or gorge having perpendicular walls.
This range does not deserve the name of either Cordillera or Spine,
unless we are willing to believe that the world has a very small
and very crooked "back-bone".
We passed through the gorge in two hours, and found it rather tortuous,
and between 200 and 300 yards wide. The river is said to be here
always excessively deep; it seemed to me that a steamer
could pass through it at full speed. At the eastern entrance of Lupata
stand two conical hills; they are composed of porphyry,
having large square crystals therein. These hills are called Moenda en Goma,
which means a footprint of a wild beast. Another conical hill
on the opposite bank is named Kasisi (priest), from having a bald top.
We sailed on quickly with the current of the river, and found
that it spread out to more than two miles in breadth; it is, however,
full of islands, which are generally covered with reeds, and which,
previous to the war, were inhabited, and yielded vast quantities of grain.
We usually landed to cook breakfast, and then went on quickly.
The breadth of water between the islands was now quite sufficient
for a sailing vessel to tack, and work her sails in; the prevailing winds
would blow her up the stream; but I regretted that I had not come
when the river was at its lowest rather than at its highest.
The testimony, however, of Captain Parker and Lieutenant Hoskins,
hereafter to be noticed, may be considered conclusive
as to the capabilities of this river for commercial purposes.
The Portuguese state that there is high water during five months of the year,
and when it is low there is always a channel of deep water.
But this is very winding; and as the river wears away some of the islands
and forms others, the course of the channel is often altered.
I suppose that an accurate chart of it made in one year
would not be very reliable the next; but I believe, from all that I can learn,
that the river could be navigated in a small flat-bottomed steamer
during the whole year as far as Tete. At this time a steamer of large size
could have floated easily. The river was measured at the latter place
by the Portuguese, and found by them to be 1050 yards broad.
The body of water flowing past when I was there was very great,
and the breadth it occupied when among the islands had a most imposing effect.
I could not get a glimpse of either shore. All the right bank beyond Lupata
is low and flat: on the north, the ranges of hills and dark lines below them
are seen, but from the boat it is impossible to see the shore.
I only guess the breadth of the river to be two miles; it is probably more.
Next day we landed at Shiramba for breakfast, having sailed 8-1/2 hours
from Lupata. This was once the residence of a Portuguese brigadier,
who spent large sums of money in embellishing his house and gardens:
these we found in entire ruin, as his half-caste son had destroyed all,
and then rebelled against the Portuguese, but with less success
than either Nyaude or Kisaka, for he had been seized and sent a prisoner
to Mozambique a short time before our visit. All the southern shore
has been ravaged by the Caffres, who are here named Landeens,
and most of the inhabitants who remain acknowledge the authority of Bonga,
and not of the Portuguese. When at breakfast, the people of Shiramba
commenced beating the drum of war. Lieutenant Miranda,
who was well acquainted with the customs of the country,
immediately started to his feet, and got all the soldiers of our party
under arms; he then demanded of the natives why the drum was beaten
while we were there. They gave an evasive reply; and, as they employ
this means of collecting their neighbors when they intend to rob canoes,
our watchfulness may have prevented their proceeding farther.
We spent the night of the 26th on the island called Nkuesi,
opposite a remarkable saddle-shaped mountain, and found that we were
just on the 17th parallel of latitude. The sail down the river was very fine;
the temperature becoming low, it was pleasant to the feelings;
but the shores being flat and far from us, the scenery
was uninteresting. We breakfasted on the 27th at Pita, and found
some half-caste Portuguese had established themselves there, after fleeing
from the opposite bank to escape Kisaka's people, who were now ravaging
all the Maganja country. On the afternoon of the 27th we arrived at Senna.
(Commandant Isidore's house, 300 yards S.W. of the mud fort
on the banks of the river: lat. 17d 27' 1" S., long. 35d 10' E.)
We found Senna to be twenty-three and a half hours' sail from Tete.
We had the current entirely in our favor, but met various parties
in large canoes toiling laboriously against it. They use long ropes,
and pull the boats from the shore. They usually take about twenty days
to ascend the distance we had descended in about four.
The wages paid to boatmen are considered high. Part of the men
who had accompanied me gladly accepted employment from Lieutenant Miranda
to take a load of goods in a canoe from Senna to Tete.
I thought the state of Tete quite lamentable, but that of Senna
was ten times worse. At Tete there is some life; here every thing
is in a state of stagnation and ruin. The fort, built of sun-dried bricks,
has the grass growing over the walls, which have been patched in some places
by paling. The Landeens visit the village periodically, and levy fines
upon the inhabitants, as they consider the Portuguese a conquered tribe,
and very rarely does a native come to trade. Senhor Isidore, the commandant,
a man of considerable energy, had proposed to surround the whole village
with palisades as a protection against the Landeens, and the villagers
were to begin this work the day after I left. It was sad to look at the ruin
manifest in every building, but the half-castes appear to be in league
with the rebels and Landeens; for when any attempt is made by the Portuguese
to coerce the enemy or defend themselves, information is conveyed at once
to the Landeen camp, and, though the commandant prohibits
the payment of tribute to the Landeens, on their approach
the half-castes eagerly ransom themselves. When I was there,
a party of Kisaka's people were ravaging the fine country
on the opposite shore. They came down with the prisoners they had captured,
and forthwith the half-castes of Senna went over to buy slaves.
Encouraged by this, Kisaka's people came over into Senna
fully armed and beating their drums, and were received into
the house of a native Portuguese. They had the village at their mercy,
yet could have been driven off by half a dozen policemen. The commandant
could only look on with bitter sorrow. He had soldiers, it is true,
but it is notorious that the native militia of both Senna and Kilimane
never think of standing to fight, but invariably run away,
and leave their officers to be killed. They are brave only among
the peaceable inhabitants. One of them, sent from Kilimane
with a packet of letters or expresses, arrived while I was at Senna.
He had been charged to deliver them with all speed, but Senhor Isidore
had in the mean time gone to Kilimane, remained there a fortnight,
and reached Senna again before the courier came. He could not punish him.
We gave him a passage in our boat, but he left us in the way
to visit his wife, and, "on urgent private business," probably gave up
the service altogether, as he did not come to Kilimane all the time
I was there. It is impossible to describe the miserable state of decay
into which the Portuguese possessions here have sunk.
The revenues are not equal to the expenses, and every officer I met
told the same tale, that he had not received one farthing of pay
for the last four years. They are all forced to engage in trade
for the support of their families. Senhor Miranda had been actually engaged
against the enemy during these four years, and had been highly lauded
in the commandant's dispatches to the home government, but when he applied
to the Governor of Kilimane for part of his four years' pay, he offered him
twenty dollars only. Miranda resigned his commission in consequence.
The common soldiers sent out from Portugal received some pay in calico.
They all marry native women, and, the soil being very fertile, the wives find
but little difficulty in supporting their husbands. There is no direct trade
with Portugal. A considerable number of Banians, or natives of India,
come annually in small vessels with cargoes of English and Indian goods
from Bombay. It is not to be wondered at, then, that there have been
attempts made of late years by speculative Portuguese in Lisbon to revive
the trade of Eastern Africa by means of mercantile companies. One was
formally proposed, which was modeled on the plan of our East India Company;
and it was actually imagined that all the forts, harbors, lands, etc.,
might be delivered over to a company, which would bind itself
to develop the resources of the country, build schools, make roads,
improve harbors, etc., and, after all, leave the Portuguese
the option of resuming possession.
Another effort has been made to attract commercial enterprise
to this region by offering any mining company permission to search
for the ores and work them. Such a company, however, would gain but little
in the way of protection or aid from the government of Mozambique,
as that can but barely maintain a hold on its own small possessions;
the condition affixed of importing at the company's own cost
a certain number of Portuguese from the island of Madeira or the Azores,
in order to increase the Portuguese population in Africa, is impolitic.
Taxes would also be levied on the minerals exported. It is noticeable
that all the companies which have been proposed in Portugal
have this put prominently in the preamble, "and for the abolition
of the inhuman slave-trade." This shows either that the statesmen in Portugal
are enlightened and philanthropic, or it may be meant as a trap
for English capitalists; I incline to believe the former. If the Portuguese
really wish to develop the resources of the rich country beyond
their possessions, they ought to invite the co-operation of other nations
on equal terms with themselves. Let the pathway into the interior
be free to all; and, instead of wretched forts, with scarcely an acre of land
around them which can be called their own, let real colonies be made.
If, instead of military establishments, we had civil ones,
and saw emigrants going out with their wives, plows, and seeds,
rather than military convicts with bugles and kettle-drums,
we might hope for a return of prosperity to Eastern Africa.
The village of Senna stands on the right bank of the Zambesi.
There are many reedy islands in front of it, and there is much bush
in the country adjacent. The soil is fertile, but the village,
being in a state of ruin, and having several pools of stagnant water,
is very unhealthy. The bottom rock is the akose of Brongniart,
or granitic grit, and several conical hills of trap have burst through it.
One standing about half a mile west of the village is called Baramuana,
which has another behind it; hence the name, which means "carry a child
on the back". It is 300 or 400 feet high, and on the top
lie two dismounted cannon, which were used to frighten away the Landeens,
who, in one attack upon Senna, killed 150 of the inhabitants. The prospect
from Baramuana is very fine; below, on the eastward, lies the Zambesi,
with the village of Senna; and some twenty or thirty miles beyond
stands the lofty mountain Morumbala, probably 3000 or 4000 feet high.
It is of an oblong shape, and from its physiognomy, which can be
distinctly seen when the sun is in the west, is evidently igneous.
On the northern end there is a hot sulphurous fountain,
which my Portuguese friends refused to allow me to visit, because the mountain
is well peopled, and the mountaineers are at present not friendly
with the Portuguese. They have plenty of garden-ground and running water
on its summit. My friends at Senna declined the responsibility
of taking me into danger. To the north of Morumbala we have a fine view
of the mountains of the Maganja; they here come close to the river,
and terminate in Morumbala. Many of them are conical, and the Shire
is reported to flow among them, and to run on the Senna side of Morumbala
before joining the Zambesi. On seeing the confluence afterward,
close to a low range of hills beyond Morumbala, I felt inclined
to doubt the report, as the Shire must then flow parallel with the Zambesi,
from which Morumbala seems distant only twenty or thirty miles.
All around to the southeast the country is flat, and covered with forest,
but near Senna a number of little abrupt conical hills diversify the scenery.
To the west and north the country is also flat forest, which gives it
a sombre appearance; but just in the haze of the horizon southwest by south,
there rises a mountain range equal in height to Morumbala,
and called Nyamonga. In a clear day another range beyond this may be seen,
which is Gorongozo, once a station of the Jesuits. Gorongozo is famed
for its clear cold waters and healthiness, and there are some inscriptions
engraved on large square slabs on the top of the mountain,
which have probably been the work of the fathers. As this lies
in the direction of a district between Manica and Sofala,
which has been conjectured to be the Ophir of King Solomon,
the idea that first sprang up in my mind was, that these monuments
might be more ancient than the Portuguese; but, on questioning some persons
who had seen them, I found that they were in Roman characters,
and did not deserve a journey of six days to see them.
Manica lies three days northwest of Gorongozo, and is the best gold country
known in Eastern Africa. The only evidence the Portuguese have of its being
the ancient Ophir is, that at Sofala, its nearest port, pieces of wrought gold
have been dug up near the fort and in the gardens. They also report
the existence of hewn stones in the neighborhood, but these can not
have been abundant, for all the stones of the fort of Sofala
are said to have been brought from Portugal. Natives whom I met
in the country of Sekeletu, from Manica, or Manoa, as they call it,
state that there are several caves in the country, and walls of hewn stones,
which they believe to have been made by their ancestors;
and there is, according to the Portuguese, a small tribe of Arabs there,
who have become completely like the other natives. Two rivers,
the Motirikwe and Sabia, or Sabe, run through their country into the sea.
The Portuguese were driven out of the country by the Landeens,
but now talk of reoccupying Manica.
The most pleasant sight I witnessed at Senna was the negroes of Senhor Isidore
building boats after the European model, without any one to superintend
their operations. They had been instructed by a European master,
but now go into the forest and cut down the motondo-trees, lay down the keel,
fit in the ribs, and make very neat boats and launches,
valued at from 20 Pounds to 100 Pounds. Senhor Isidore had some of them
instructed also in carpentry at Rio Janeiro, and they constructed for him
the handsomest house in Kilimane, the woodwork being all of country trees,
some of which are capable of a fine polish, and very durable.
A medical opinion having been asked by the commandant respecting a better site
for the village, which, lying on the low bank of the Zambesi,
is very unhealthy, I recommended imitation of the Jesuits,
who had chosen the high, healthy mountain of Gorongozo, and to select
a new site on Morumbala, which is perfectly healthy, well watered,
and where the Shire is deep enough for the purpose of navigation at its base.
As the next resource, I proposed removal to the harbor of Mitilone,
which is at one of the mouths of the Zambesi, a much better port
than Kilimane, and where, if they must have the fever,
they would be in the way of doing more good to themselves and the country
than they can do in their present situation. Had the Portuguese
possessed this territory as a real colony, this important point
would not have been left unoccupied; as it is, there is not even
a native village placed at the entrance of this splendid river
to show the way in.
On the 9th of May sixteen of my men were employed to carry government goods
in canoes up to Tete. They were much pleased at getting this work.
On the 11th the whole of the inhabitants of Senna, with the commandant,
accompanied us to the boats. A venerable old man, son of a judge,
said they were in much sorrow on account of the miserable state of decay
into which they had sunk, and of the insolent conduct of the people of Kisaka
now in the village. We were abundantly supplied with provisions
by the commandant and Senhor Ferrao, and sailed pleasantly
down the broad river. About thirty miles below Senna
we passed the mouth of the River Zangwe on our right, which farther up
goes by the name of Pungwe; and about five miles farther on our left,
close to the end of a low range into which Morumbala merges,
we crossed the mouth of the Shire, which seemed to be about 200 yards broad.
A little inland from the confluence there is another rebel stockade,
which was attacked by Ensign Rebeiro with three European soldiers,
and captured; they disarmed the rebels and threw the guns into the water.
This ensign and Miranda volunteered to disperse the people of Kisaka
who were riding roughshod over the inhabitants of Senna; but the offer
was declined, the few real Portuguese fearing the disloyal half-castes
among whom they dwelt. Slavery and immorality have here done their work;
nowhere else does the European name stand at so low an ebb; but what
can be expected? Few Portuguese women are ever taken to the colonies,
and here I did not observe that honorable regard for the offspring
which I noticed in Angola. The son of a late governor of Tete
was pointed out to me in the condition and habit of a slave.
There is neither priest nor school at Senna, though there are
ruins of churches and convents.
On passing the Shire we observed great quantities of the plant Alfacinya,
already mentioned, floating down into the Zambesi. It is probably
the `Pistia stratiotes', a gigantic "duck-weed". It was mixed
with quantities of another aquatic plant, which the Barotse named "Njefu",
containing in the petiole of the leaf a pleasant-tasted nut.
This was so esteemed by Sebituane that he made it part of his tribute
from the subjected tribes. Dr. Hooker kindly informs me
that the njefu "is probably a species of `Trapa', the nuts of which
are eaten in the south of Europe and in India. Government derives
a large revenue from them in Kashmir, amounting to 12,000 Pounds per annum
for 128,000 ass-loads! The ancient Thracians are said to have
eaten them largely. In the south of France they are called water-chestnuts."
The existence of these plants in such abundance in the Shire
may show that it flows from large collections of still water.
We found them growing in all the still branches and lagoons of the Leeambye
in the far north, and there also we met a beautiful little floating plant,
the `Azolla Nilotica', which is found in the upper Nile.
They are seldom seen in flowing streams.
A few miles beyond the Shire we left the hills entirely,
and sailed between extensive flats. The banks seen in the distance
are covered with trees. We slept on a large inhabited island,
and then came to the entrance of the River Mutu (latitude 18d 3' 37" S.,
longitude 35d 46' E.): the point of departure is called Mazaro,
or "mouth of the Mutu". The people who live on the north are called Baroro,
and their country Bororo. The whole of the right bank is in subjection
to the Landeens, who, it was imagined, would levy a tribute upon us,
for this they are accustomed to do to passengers. I regret
that we did not meet them, for, though they are named Caffres,
I am not sure whether they are of the Zulu family or of the Mashona.
I should have liked to form their acquaintance, and to learn
what they really think of white men. I understood from Sekwebu,
and from one of Changamera's people who lives at Linyanti,
and was present at the attack on Senna, that they consider the whites
as a conquered tribe.
The Zambesi at Mazaro is a magnificent river, more than half a mile wide,
and without islands. The opposite bank is covered with
forests of fine timber; but the delta which begins here
is only an immense flat, covered with high, coarse grass and reeds,
with here and there a few mango and cocoanut trees. This was the point
which was reached by the late lamented Captain Parker,
who fell at the Sulina mouth of the Danube. I had a strong desire
to follow the Zambesi farther, and ascertain where this enormous body of water
found its way into the sea; but on hearing from the Portuguese
that he had ascended to this point, and had been highly pleased
with the capabilities of the river, I felt sure that his valuable opinion
must be in possession of the Admiralty. On my arrival in England
I applied to Captain Washington, Hydrographer to the Admiralty,
and he promptly furnished the document for publication
by the Royal Geographical Society.
The river between Mazaro and the sea must therefore be judged of
from the testimony of one more competent to decide on its merits
than a mere landsman like myself.
`On the Quilimane and Zambesi Rivers'. From the Journal
of the late Capt. HYDE PARKER, R.N., H. M. Brig "Pantaloon".
"The Luabo is the main outlet of the Great Zambesi. In the rainy season
-- January and February principally -- the whole country is overflowed,
and the water escapes by the different rivers as far up as Quilimane;
but in the dry season neither Quilimane nor Olinda communicates with it.
The position of the river is rather incorrect in the Admiralty chart,
being six miles too much to the southward, and also considerably
to the westward. Indeed, the coast from here up to Tongamiara
seems too far to the westward. The entrance to the Luabo River
is about two miles broad, and is easily distinguishable, when abreast of it,
by a bluff (if I may so term it) of high, straight trees, very close together,
on the western side of the entrance. The bar may be said to be formed
by two series of sand-banks; that running from the eastern point
runs diagonally across (opposite?) the entrance and nearly across it.
Its western extremity is about two miles outside the west point.
"The bank running out from the west point projects to the southward
three miles and a half, passing not one quarter of a mile
from the eastern or cross bank. This narrow passage is the BAR PASSAGE.
It breaks completely across at low water, except under
very extraordinary circumstances. At this time -- low water --
a great portion of the banks are uncovered; in some places
they are seven or eight feet above water.
"On these banks there is a break at all times, but in fine weather,
at high water, a boat may cross near the east point.
There is very little water, and, in places, a nasty race and bubble,
so that caution is requisite. The best directions for going in
over the regular bar passage, according to my experience, are as follows:
Steer down well to the eastward of the bar passage, so as to avoid
the outer part of the western shoals, on which there is usually a bad sea.
When you get near the CROSS-BAR, keep along it till the bluff of trees
on the west side of the entrance bears N.E.; you may then steer
straight for it. This will clear the end of the CROSS-BAR,
and, directly you are within that, the water is smooth. The worst sea
is generally just without the bar passage.
"Within the points the river widens at first and then contracts again.
About three miles from the Tree Bluff is an island; the passage up the river
is the right-hand side of it, and deep. The plan will best explain it.
The rise and fall of the tide at the entrance of the river
being at springs twenty feet, any vessel can get in at that time,
but, with all these conveniences for traffic, there is none here at present.
The water in the river is fresh down to the bar with the ebb tide,
and in the rainy season it is fresh at the surface quite outside.
In the rainy season, at the full and change of the moon,
the Zambesi frequently overflows its banks, making the country
for an immense distance one great lake, with only a few small eminences
above the water. On the banks of the river the huts are built on piles,
and at these times the communication is only in canoes;
but the waters do not remain up more than three or four days at a time.
The first village is about eight miles up the river, on the western bank,
and is opposite to another branch of the river called `Muselo',
which discharges itself into the sea about five miles to the eastward.
"The village is extensive, and about it there is a very large quantity of land
in cultivation; calavances, or beans, of different sorts, rice, and pumpkins,
are the principal things. I saw also about here some wild cotton,
apparently of very good quality, but none is cultivated.
The land is so fertile as to produce almost any (thing?) without much trouble.
"At this village is a very large house, mud-built, with a court-yard.
I believe it to have been used as a barracoon for slaves,
several large cargoes having been exported from this river.
I proceeded up the river as far as its junction with the Quilimane River,
called `Boca do Rio', by my computation between 70 and 80 miles
from the entrance. The influence of the tides is felt about 25 or 30 miles
up the river. Above that, the stream, in the dry season,
runs from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 miles an hour, but in the rains much stronger.
The banks of the river, for the first 30 miles, are generally thickly clothed
with trees, with occasional open glades. There are many huts and villages
on both sides, and a great deal of cultivation. At one village,
about 17 miles up on the eastern bank, and distinguished by
being surrounded by an immense number of bananas and plantain-trees,
a great quantity of excellent peas are cultivated; also cabbages,
tomatoes, onions, etc. Above this there are not many inhabitants
on the left or west bank, although it is much the finest country,
being higher, and abounding in cocoanut palms, the eastern bank being
sandy and barren. The reason is, that some years back the Landeens,
or Caffres, ravaged all this country, killing the men and taking the women
as slaves, but they have never crossed the river; hence the natives
are afraid to settle on the west bank, and the Portuguese owners
of the different `prasos' have virtually lost them. The banks of the river
continue mostly sandy, with few trees, except some cocoanut palms,
until the southern end of the large plantation of Nyangue,
formed by the river about 20 miles from Maruru. Here the country
is more populous and better cultivated, the natives a finer race, and the huts
larger and better constructed. Maruru belongs to Senor Asevedo,
of Quilimane, well known to all English officers on the east coast