Part 8 out of 15
striped English calico, an axe, and two hoes for our acceptance,
and returned the copper rings, as the chief was a great man, and did not need
the ornaments of my men, but we noticed that they were taken back again.
I divided the cloth among my men, and pleased them a little
by thus compensating for the loss of the ox. I advised the chief,
whose name we did not learn, as he did not deign to appear
except under the alias Matiamvo, to get cattle for his own use,
and expressed sorrow that I had none wherewith to enable him
to make a commencement. Rains prevented our proceeding till Thursday morning,
and then messengers appeared to tell us that their chief had learned
that all the cloth sent by him had not been presented; that the copper rings
had been secreted by the persons ordered to restore them to us,
and that he had stripped the thievish emissaries of their property
as a punishment. Our guides thought these were only spies of a larger party,
concealed in the forest through which we were now about to pass.
We prepared for defense by marching in a compact body,
and allowing no one to straggle far behind the others.
We marched through many miles of gloomy forest in gloomier silence,
but nothing disturbed us. We came to a village, and found all the men absent,
the guides thought, in the forest, with their countrymen.
I was too ill to care much whether we were attacked or not.
Though a pouring rain came on, as we were all anxious to get away
out of a bad neighborhood, we proceeded. The thick atmosphere
prevented my seeing the creeping plants in time to avoid them;
so Pitsane, Mohorisi, and I, who alone were mounted, were often caught;
and as there is no stopping the oxen when they have the prospect
of giving the rider a tumble, we came frequently to the ground.
In addition to these mishaps, Sinbad went off at a plunging gallop,
the bridle broke, and I came down backward on the crown of my head.
He gave me a kick on the thigh at the same time. I felt none the worse
for this rough treatment, but would not recommend it to others
as a palliative in cases of fever! This last attack of fever
was so obstinate that it reduced me almost to a skeleton.
The blanket which I used as a saddle on the back of the ox,
being frequently wet, remained so beneath me even in the hot sun,
and, aided by the heat of the ox, caused extensive abrasion of the skin,
which was continually healing and getting sore again. To this inconvenience
was now added the chafing of my projecting bones on the hard bed.
On Friday we came to a village of civil people on the banks
of the Loajima itself, and we were wet all day in consequence of crossing it.
The bridges over it, and another stream which we crossed at midday,
were submerged, as we have hitherto invariably found,
by a flood of perfectly clear water. At the second ford we were met
by a hostile party who refused us further passage. I ordered my men
to proceed in the same direction we had been pursuing,
but our enemies spread themselves out in front of us with loud cries.
Our numbers were about equal to theirs this time, so I moved on
at the head of my men. Some ran off to other villages,
or back to their own village, on pretense of getting ammunition;
others called out that all traders came to them, and that we must do the same.
As these people had plenty of iron-headed arrows and some guns,
when we came to the edge of the forest I ordered my men
to put the luggage in our centre; and, if our enemies did not fire,
to cut down some young trees and make a screen as quickly as possible,
but do nothing to them except in case of actual attack.
I then dismounted, and, advancing a little toward our principal opponent,
showed him how easily I could kill him, but pointed upward,
saying, "I fear God." He did the same, placing his hand on his heart,
pointing upward, and saying, "I fear to kill; but come to our village;
come -- do come." At this juncture, the old head man, Ionga Panza,
a venerable negro, came up, and I invited him and all to be seated,
that we might talk the matter over. Ionga Panza soon let us know
that he thought himself very ill treated in being passed by.
As most skirmishes arise from misunderstanding, this might have been
a serious one; for, like all the tribes near the Portuguese settlements,
people here imagine that they have a right to demand payment
from every one who passes through the country; and now, though Ionga Panza
was certainly no match for my men, yet they were determined
not to forego their right without a struggle. I removed with my men
to the vicinity of the village, thankful that no accident
had as yet brought us into actual collision.
The reason why the people have imbibed the idea so strongly
that they have a right to demand payment for leave to pass through the country
is probably this. They have seen no traders except those
either engaged in purchasing slaves, or who have slaves in their employment.
These slave-traders have always been very much at the mercy of the chiefs
through whose country they have passed; for if they afforded a ready asylum
for runaway slaves, the traders might be deserted at any moment,
and stripped of their property altogether. They are thus obliged
to curry favor with the chiefs, so as to get a safe conduct from them.
The same system is adopted to induce the chiefs to part with their people,
whom all feel to be the real source of their importance in the country.
On the return of the traders from the interior with chains of slaves,
it is so easy for a chief who may be so disposed to take away
a chain of eight or ten unresisting slaves, that the merchant is fain
to give any amount of presents in order to secure the good-will of the rulers.
The independent chiefs, not knowing why their favor is so eagerly sought,
become excessively proud and supercilious in their demands,
and look upon white men with the greatest contempt. To such lengths
did the Bangala, a tribe near to which we had now approached,
proceed a few years ago, that they compelled the Portuguese traders
to pay for water, wood, and even grass, and every possible pretext
was invented for levying fines; and these were patiently submitted to
so long as the slave-trade continued to flourish. We had unconsciously
come in contact with a system which was quite unknown in the country
from which my men had set out. An English trader may there hear a demand
for payment of guides, but never, so far as I am aware, is he asked to pay
for leave to traverse a country. The idea does not seem to have entered
the native mind, except through slave-traders, for the aborigines
all acknowledge that the untilled land, not needed for pasturage,
belongs to God alone, and that no harm is done by people passing through it.
I rather believe that, wherever the slave-trade has not penetrated,
the visits of strangers are esteemed a real privilege.
The village of old Ionga Panza (lat. 10d 25' S., long. 20d 15' E.) is small,
and embowered in lofty evergreen trees, which were hung around
with fine festoons of creepers. He sent us food immediately,
and soon afterward a goat, which was considered a handsome gift, there being
but few domestic animals, though the country is well adapted for them.
I suspect this, like the country of Shinte and Katema, must have been
a tsetse district, and only recently rendered capable of supporting
other domestic animals besides the goat, by the destruction of the game
through the extensive introduction of fire-arms. We might all have been
as ignorant of the existence of this insect plague as the Portuguese,
had it not been for the numerous migrations of pastoral tribes
which took place in the south in consequence of Zulu irruptions.
During these exciting scenes I always forgot my fever,
but a terrible sense of sinking came back with the feeling of safety.
The same demand of payment for leave to pass was made on the 20th
by old Ionga Panza as by the other Chiboque. I offered the shell
presented by Shinte, but Ionga Panza said he was too old for ornaments.
We might have succeeded very well with him, for he was
by no means unreasonable, and had but a very small village of supporters;
but our two guides from Kangenke complicated our difficulties
by sending for a body of Bangala traders, with a view to force us
to sell the tusks of Sekeletu, and pay them with the price. We offered
to pay them handsomely if they would perform their promise of guiding us
to Cassange, but they knew no more of the paths than we did;
and my men had paid them repeatedly, and tried to get rid of them,
but could not. They now joined with our enemies, and so did the traders.
Two guns and some beads belonging to the latter were standing
in our encampment, and the guides seized them and ran off.
As my men knew that we should be called upon to replace them, they gave chase,
and when the guides saw that they would be caught, they threw down the guns,
directed their flight to the village, and rushed into a hut.
The doorway is not much higher than that of a dog's kennel. One of the guides
was reached by one of my men as he was in the act of stooping to get in,
and a cut was inflicted on a projecting part of the body which would have made
any one in that posture wince. The guns were restored, but the beads
were lost in the flight. All I had remaining of my stock of beads
could not replace those lost; and though we explained that we had no part
in the guilt of the act, the traders replied that we had brought the thieves
into the country; these were of the Bangala, who had been accustomed
to plague the Portuguese in the most vexatious way. We were striving to get
a passage through the country, and, feeling anxious that no crime whatever
should be laid to our charge, tried the conciliatory plan here,
though we were not, as in the other instances, likely to be overpowered
My men offered all their ornaments, and I offered all my beads and shirts;
but, though we had come to the village against our will, and the guides
had also followed us contrary to our desire, and had even sent
for the Bangala traders without our knowledge or consent, yet matters
could not be arranged without our giving an ox and one of the tusks.
We were all becoming disheartened, and could not wonder
that native expeditions from the interior to the coast had generally failed
to reach their destinations. My people were now so much discouraged
that some proposed to return home; the prospect of being obliged to return
when just on the threshold of the Portuguese settlements
distressed me exceedingly. After using all my powers of persuasion,
I declared to them that if they returned I would go on alone,
and went into my little tent with the mind directed to Him
who hears the sighing of the soul, and was soon followed
by the head of Mohorisi, saying, "We will never leave you.
Do not be disheartened. Wherever you lead we will follow.
Our remarks were made only on account of the injustice of these people."
Others followed, and with the most artless simplicity of manner
told me to be comforted -- "they were all my children; they knew no one
but Sekeletu and me, and they would die for me; they had not fought because
I did not wish it; they had just spoken in the bitterness of their spirit,
and when feeling that they could do nothing; but if these enemies begin
you will see what we can do." One of the oxen we offered to the Chiboque
had been rejected because he had lost part of his tail,
as they thought that it had been cut off and witchcraft medicine inserted;
and some mirth was excited by my proposing to raise a similar objection
to all the oxen we still had in our possession. The remaining four
soon presented a singular shortness of their caudal extremities, and though
no one ever asked whether they had medicine in the stumps or no, we were
no more troubled by the demand for an ox! We now slaughtered another ox,
that the spectacle might not be seen of the owners of the cattle fasting
while the Chiboque were feasting.
Guides prepaid -- Bark Canoes -- Deserted by Guides --
Mistakes respecting the Coanza -- Feelings of freed Slaves --
Gardens and Villages -- Native Traders -- A Grave -- Valley of the Quango --
Bamboo -- White Larvae used as Food -- Bashinje Insolence --
A posing Question -- The Chief Sansawe -- His Hostility --
Pass him safely -- The River Quango -- Chief's mode of dressing his Hair --
Opposition -- Opportune Aid by Cypriano -- His generous Hospitality --
Ability of Half-castes to read and write -- Books and Images --
Marauding Party burned in the Grass -- Arrive at Cassange -- A good Supper
-- Kindness of Captain Neves -- Portuguese Curiosity and Questions --
Anniversary of the Resurrection -- No Prejudice against Color --
Country around Cassange -- Sell Sekeletu's Ivory -- Makololo's Surprise
at the high Price obtained -- Proposal to return Home, and Reasons --
Soldier-guide -- Hill Kasala -- Tala Mungongo, Village of --
Civility of Basongo -- True Negroes -- A Field of Wheat --
Carriers -- Sleeping-places -- Fever -- Enter District of Ambaca --
Good Fruits of Jesuit Teaching -- The `Tampan'; its Bite --
Universal Hospitality of the Portuguese -- A Tale of the Mambari --
Exhilarating Effects of Highland Scenery -- District of Golungo Alto --
Want of good Roads -- Fertility -- Forests of gigantic Timber --
Native Carpenters -- Coffee Estate -- Sterility of Country near the Coast --
Mosquitoes -- Fears of the Makololo -- Welcome by Mr. Gabriel to Loanda.
24TH. Ionga Panza's sons agreed to act as guides into the territory
of the Portuguese if I would give them the shell given by Shinte.
I was strongly averse to this, and especially to give it beforehand,
but yielded to the entreaty of my people to appear as if showing confidence
in these hopeful youths. They urged that they wished to leave the shell
with their wives, as a sort of payment to them for enduring
their husbands' absence so long. Having delivered the precious shell,
we went west-by-north to the River Chikapa, which here (lat. 10d 22' S.)
is forty or fifty yards wide, and at present was deep;
it was seen flowing over a rocky, broken cataract with great noise
about half a mile above our ford. We were ferried over in a canoe,
made out of a single piece of bark sewed together at the ends,
and having sticks placed in it at different parts to act as ribs.
The word Chikapa means bark or skin; and as this is the only river
in which we saw this kind of canoe used, and we heard that this stream
is so low during most of the year as to be easily fordable,
it probably derives its name from the use made of the bark canoes
when it is in flood. We now felt the loss of our pontoon, for the people
to whom the canoe belonged made us pay once when we began to cross,
then a second time when half of us were over, and a third time
when all were over but my principal man Pitsane and myself.
Loyanke took off his cloth and paid my passage with it.
The Makololo always ferried their visitors over rivers without pay,
and now began to remark that they must in future fleece the Mambari
as these Chiboque had done to us; they had all been loud
in condemnation of the meanness, and when I asked if they could descend
to be equally mean, I was answered that they would only do it in revenge.
They like to have a plausible excuse for meanness.
Next morning our guides went only about a mile, and then told us
they would return home. I expected this when paying them beforehand,
in accordance with the entreaties of the Makololo, who are rather
ignorant of the world. Very energetic remonstrances were addressed
to the guides, but they slipped off one by one in the thick forest
through which we were passing, and I was glad to hear my companions
coming to the conclusion that, as we were now in parts visited by traders,
we did not require the guides, whose chief use had been
to prevent misapprehension of our objects in the minds of the villagers.
The country was somewhat more undulating now than it had been,
and several fine small streams flowed in deep woody dells.
The trees are very tall and straight, and the forests gloomy and damp;
the ground in these solitudes is quite covered with yellow and brown mosses,
and light-colored lichens clothe all the trees. The soil is
extremely fertile, being generally a black loam covered with
a thick crop of tall grasses. We passed several villages too.
The head man of a large one scolded us well for passing, when he intended
to give us food. Where slave-traders have been in the habit of coming,
they present food, then demand three or four times its value as a custom.
We were now rather glad to get past villages without intercourse
with the inhabitants.
We were traveling W.N.W., and all the rivulets we here crossed
had a northerly course, and were reported to fall into the Kasai or Loke;
most of them had the peculiar boggy banks of the country.
As we were now in the alleged latitude of the Coanza,
I was much astonished at the entire absence of any knowledge of that river
among the natives of this quarter. But I was then ignorant of the fact
that the Coanza rises considerably to the west of this,
and has a comparatively short course from its source to the sea.
The famous Dr. Lacerda seems to have labored under the same mistake as myself,
for he recommended the government of Angola to establish a chain of forts
along the banks of that river, with a view to communication
with the opposite coast. As a chain of forts along its course would lead
southward instead of eastward, we may infer that the geographical data
within reach of that eminent man were no better than those according to which
I had directed my course to the Coanza where it does not exist.
26TH. We spent Sunday on the banks of the Quilo or Kweelo,
here a stream of about ten yards wide. It runs in a deep glen,
the sides of which are almost five hundred yards of slope,
and rocky, the rocks being hardened calcareous tufa lying on
clay shale and sandstone below, with a capping of ferruginous conglomerate.
The scenery would have been very pleasing, but fever took away
much of the joy of life, and severe daily intermittents rendered me
very weak and always glad to recline.
As we were now in the slave-market, it struck me that the sense of insecurity
felt by the natives might account for the circumstance that those
who have been sold as slaves and freed again, when questioned,
profess to like the new state better than their primitive one.
They lived on rich, fertile plains, which seldom inspire that love of country
which the mountains do. If they had been mountaineers, they would have
pined for home. To one who has observed the hard toil of the poor
in old civilized countries, the state in which the inhabitants here live
is one of glorious ease. The country is full of little villages.
Food abounds, and very little labor is required for its cultivation;
the soil is so rich that no manure is required; when a garden
becomes too poor for good crops of maize, millet, etc.,
the owner removes a little farther into the forest, applies fire
round the roots of the larger trees to kill them, cuts down the smaller,
and a new, rich garden is ready for the seed. The gardens usually present
the appearance of a large number of tall, dead trees standing without bark,
and maize growing between them. The old gardens continue
to yield manioc for years after the owners have removed to other spots
for the sake of millet and maize. But, while vegetable aliment is abundant,
there is a want of salt and animal food, so that numberless traps are seen,
set for mice, in all the forests of Londa. The vegetable diet
leaves great craving for flesh, and I have no doubt but that,
when an ordinary quantity of mixed food is supplied to freed slaves,
they actually do feel more comfortable than they did at home.
Their assertions, however, mean but little, for they always try
to give an answer to please, and if one showed them a nugget of gold,
they would generally say that these abounded in their country.
One could detect, in passing, the variety of character found among the owners
of gardens and villages. Some villages were the pictures of neatness.
We entered others enveloped in a wilderness of weeds, so high that,
when sitting on ox-back in the middle of the village, we could only see
the tops of the huts. If we entered at midday, the owners would come
lazily forth, pipe in hand, and leisurely puff away in dreamy indifference.
In some villages weeds are not allowed to grow; cotton, tobacco,
and different plants used as relishes are planted round the huts;
fowls are kept in cages, and the gardens present the pleasant spectacle
of different kinds of grain and pulse at various periods of their growth.
I sometimes admired the one class, and at times wished
I could have taken the world easy for a time like the other.
Every village swarms with children, who turn out to see the white man pass,
and run along with strange cries and antics; some run up trees
to get a good view: all are agile climbers throughout Londa.
At friendly villages they have scampered alongside our party
for miles at a time. We usually made a little hedge around our sheds;
crowds of women came to the entrance of it, with children on their backs,
and long pipes in their mouths, gazing at us for hours.
The men, rather than disturb them, crawled through a hole in the hedge,
and it was common to hear a man in running off say to them,
"I am going to tell my mamma to come and see the white man's oxen."
In continuing our W.N.W. course, we met many parties of native traders,
each carrying some pieces of cloth and salt, with a few beads
to barter for bees'-wax. They are all armed with Portuguese guns,
and have cartridges with iron balls. When we meet we usually stand
a few minutes. They present a little salt, and we give a bit of ox-hide,
or some other trifle, and then part with mutual good wishes.
The hide of the oxen we slaughtered had been a valuable addition
to our resources, for we found it in so great repute for girdles
all through Loanda that we cut up every skin into strips
about two inches broad, and sold them for meal and manioc as we went along.
As we came nearer Angola we found them of less value, as the people there
possess cattle themselves.
The village on the Kweelo, at which we spent Sunday, was that of a civil,
lively old man, called Sakandala, who offered no objections to our progress.
We found we should soon enter on the territory of the Bashinje
(Chinge of the Portuguese), who are mixed with another tribe, named Bangala,
which have been at war with the Babindele or Portuguese. Rains and fever,
as usual, helped to impede our progress until we were put on the path which
leads from Cassange and Bihe to Matiamvo, by a head man named Kamboela.
This was a well-beaten footpath, and soon after entering upon it
we met a party of half-caste traders from Bihe, who confirmed the information
we had already got of this path leading straight to Cassange,
through which they had come on their way from Bihe to Cabango.
They kindly presented my men with some tobacco, and marveled greatly
when they found that I had never been able to teach myself to smoke.
On parting with them we came to a trader's grave. This was marked
by a huge cone of sticks placed in the form of the roof of a hut,
with a palisade around it. At an opening on the western side
an ugly idol was placed: several strings of beads and bits of cloth
were hung around. We learned that he had been a half-caste,
who had died on his way back from Matiamvo.
As we were now alone, and sure of being on the way to the abodes
of civilization, we went on briskly.
On the 30th we came to a sudden descent from the high land,
indented by deep, narrow valleys, over which we had lately been traveling.
It is generally so steep that it can only be descended at particular points,
and even there I was obliged to dismount, though so weak
that I had to be led by my companions to prevent my toppling over
in walking down. It was annoying to feel myself so helpless,
for I never liked to see a man, either sick or well, giving in effeminately.
Below us lay the valley of the Quango. If you sit on the spot
where Mary Queen of Scots viewed the battle of Langside,
and look down on the vale of Clyde, you may see in miniature
the glorious sight which a much greater and richer valley
presented to our view. It is about a hundred miles broad,
clothed with dark forest, except where the light green grass
covers meadow-lands on the Quango, which here and there glances out in the sun
as it wends its way to the north. The opposite side of this great valley
appears like a range of lofty mountains, and the descent into it
about a mile, which, measured perpendicularly, may be from a thousand
to twelve hundred feet. Emerging from the gloomy forests of Londa,
this magnificent prospect made us all feel as if a weight had been lifted
off our eyelids. A cloud was passing across the middle of the valley,
from which rolling thunder pealed, while above all was glorious sunlight;
and when we went down to the part where we saw it passing, we found
that a very heavy thunder-shower had fallen under the path of the cloud;
and the bottom of the valley, which from above seemed quite smooth,
we discovered to be intersected and furrowed by great numbers
of deep-cut streams. Looking back from below, the descent appears
as the edge of a table-land, with numerous indented dells and spurs
jutting out all along, giving it a serrated appearance.
Both the top and sides of the sierra are covered with trees,
but large patches of the more perpendicular parts are bare,
and exhibit the red soil, which is general over the region
we have now entered.
The hollow affords a section of this part of the country; and we find
that the uppermost stratum is the ferruginous conglomerate already mentioned.
The matrix is rust of iron (or hydrous peroxide of iron and hematite),
and in it are imbedded water-worn pebbles of sandstone and quartz.
As this is the rock underlying the soil of a large part of Londa,
its formation must have preceded the work of denudation by an arm of the sea,
which washed away the enormous mass of matter required
before the valley of Cassange could assume its present form.
The strata under the conglomerate are all of red clay shale
of different degrees of hardness, the most indurated being at the bottom.
This red clay shale is named "keele" in Scotland, and has always been
considered as an indication of gold; but the only thing we discovered
was that it had given rise to a very slippery clay soil, so different
from that which we had just left that Mashauana, who always prided himself
on being an adept at balancing himself in the canoe on water,
and so sure of foot on land that he could afford to express contempt
for any one less gifted, came down in a very sudden and undignified manner,
to the delight of all whom he had previously scolded for falling.
Here we met with the bamboo as thick as a man's arm, and many new trees.
Others, which we had lost sight of since leaving Shinte, now reappeared;
but nothing struck us more than the comparative scragginess of the trees
in this hollow. Those on the high lands we had left were tall and straight;
here they were stunted, and not by any means so closely planted together.
The only way I could account for this was by supposing,
as the trees were of different species, that the greater altitude
suited the nature of those above better than the lower altitude did
the other species below.
SUNDAY, APRIL 2D. We rested beside a small stream, and our hunger
being now very severe, from having lived on manioc alone
since leaving Ionza Panza's, we slaughtered one of our four remaining oxen.
The people of this district seem to feel the craving for animal food
as much as we did, for they spend much energy in digging large white larvae
out of the damp soil adjacent to their streams, and use them as a relish
to their vegetable diet. The Bashinje refused to sell any food
for the poor old ornaments my men had now to offer. We could get
neither meal nor manioc, but should have been comfortable
had not the Bashinje chief Sansawe pestered us for the customary present.
The native traders informed us that a display of force was often necessary
before they could pass this man.
Sansawe, the chief of a portion of the Bashinje, having sent
the usual formal demand for a man, an ox, or a tusk,
spoke very contemptuously of the poor things we offered him instead.
We told his messengers that the tusks were Sekeletu's: every thing was gone
except my instruments, which could be of no use to them whatever.
One of them begged some meat, and, when it was refused,
said to my men, "You may as well give it, for we shall take all
after we have killed you to-morrow." The more humbly we spoke,
the more insolent the Bashinje became, till at last we were all feeling
savage and sulky, but continued to speak as civilly as we could.
They are fond of argument, and when I denied their right to demand tribute
from a white man, who did not trade in slaves, an old white-headed negro
put rather a posing question: "You know that God has placed chiefs among us
whom we ought to support. How is it that you, who have a book that tells you
about him, do not come forward at once to pay this chief tribute
like every one else?" I replied by asking, "How could I know
that this was a chief, who had allowed me to remain a day and a half near him
without giving me any thing to eat?" This, which to the uninitiated
may seem sophistry, was to the Central Africans quite a rational question,
for he at once admitted that food ought to have been sent,
and added that probably his chief was only making it ready for me,
and that it would come soon.
After being wearied by talking all day to different parties sent by Sansawe,
we were honored by a visit from himself: he is quite a young man,
and of rather a pleasing countenance. There can not have been
much intercourse between real Portuguese and these people even here,
so close to the Quango, for Sansawe asked me to show him my hair,
on the ground that, though he had heard of it, and some white men
had even passed through his country, he had never seen straight hair before.
This is quite possible, as most of the slave-traders are not Portuguese,
but half-castes. The difference between their wool and our hair
caused him to burst into a laugh, and the contrast between
the exposed and unexposed parts of my skin, when exhibited
in evidence of our all being made of one stock originally,
and the children of one Maker, seemed to strike him with wonder.
I then showed him my watch, and wished to win my way into his confidence
by conversation; but, when about to exhibit my pocket compass,
he desired me to desist, as he was afraid of my wonderful things.
I told him, if he knew my aims as the tribes in the interior did,
and as I hoped he would yet know them and me, he would be glad to stay,
and see also the pictures of the magic lantern; but, as it was now
getting dark, he had evidently got enough of my witchery,
and began to use some charms to dispel any kindly feelings
he might have found stealing round his heart. He asked leave to go,
and when his party moved off a little way, he sent for my spokesman,
and told him that, "if we did not add a red jacket and a man
to our gift of a few copper rings and a few pounds of meat,
we must return by the way we had come." I said in reply "that we should
certainly go forward next day, and if he commenced hostilities,
the blame before God would be that of Sansawe;" and my man added
of his own accord, "How many white men have you killed in this path?"
which might be interpreted into, "You have never killed any white man,
and you will find ours more difficult to manage than you imagine."
It expressed a determination, which we had often repeated to each other,
to die rather than yield one of our party to be a slave.
Hunger has a powerful effect on the temper. When we had got
a good meal of meat, we could all bear the petty annoyances of these borderers
on the more civilized region in front with equanimity; but having suffered
considerably of late, we were all rather soured in our feelings,
and not unfrequently I overheard my companions remark in their own tongue,
in answer to threats of attack, "That's what we want: only begin then;"
or with clenched teeth they would exclaim to each other,
"These things have never traveled, and do not know what men are."
The worrying, of which I give only a slight sketch, had considerable influence
on my own mind, and more especially as it was impossible to make any allowance
for the Bashinje, such as I was willing to award to the Chiboque.
They saw that we had nothing to give, nor would they be benefited in the least
by enforcing the impudent order to return whence we had come.
They were adding insult to injury, and this put us all into a fighting spirit,
and, as nearly as we could judge, we expected to be obliged
to cut our way through the Bashinje next morning.
3D APRIL. As soon as day dawned we were astir, and, setting off
in a drizzling rain, passed close to the village. This rain probably damped
the ardor of the robbers. We, however, expected to be fired upon
from every clump of trees, or from some of the rocky hillocks
among which we were passing; and it was only after two hours' march
that we began to breathe freely, and my men remarked, in thankfulness,
"We are children of Jesus." We continued our course,
notwithstanding the rain, across the bottom of the Quango Valley,
which we found broken by clay shale rocks jutting out,
though lying nearly horizontally. The grass in all the hollows,
at this time quite green, was about two feet higher than my head
while sitting on ox-back. This grass, wetted by the rain,
acted as a shower-bath on one side of our bodies; and some deep gullies,
full of DISCOLORED water, completed the cooling process.
We passed many villages during this drenching, one of which
possessed a flock of sheep; and after six hours we came to a stand
near the River Quango (lat. 9d 53' S., long. 18d 37' E.),
which may be called the boundary of the Portuguese claims to territory
on the west. As I had now no change of clothing, I was glad to cower
under the shelter of my blanket, thankful to God for his goodness
in bringing us so far without losing one of the party.
4TH APRIL. We were now on the banks of the Quango,
a river one hundred and fifty yards wide, and very deep.
The water was discolored -- a circumstance which we had observed
in no river in Londa or in the Makololo country. This fine river
flows among extensive meadows clothed with gigantic grass and reeds,
and in a direction nearly north.
The Quango is said by the natives to contain many venomous water-snakes,
which congregate near the carcass of any hippopotamus
that may be killed in it. If this is true, it may account
for all the villages we saw being situated far from its banks.
We were advised not to sleep near it; but, as we were anxious
to cross to the western side, we tried to induce some of the Bashinje
to lend us canoes for the purpose. This brought out the chief of these parts,
who informed us that all the canoe-men were his children,
and nothing could be done without his authority. He then made
the usual demand for a man, an ox, or a gun, adding that otherwise
we must return to the country from which we had come. As I did not believe
that this man had any power over the canoes of the other side, and suspected
that if I gave him my blanket -- the only thing I now had in reserve --
he might leave us in the lurch after all, I tried to persuade my men to go
at once to the bank, about two miles off, and obtain possession of the canoes
before we gave up the blanket; but they thought that this chief
might attack us in the act of crossing, should we do so.
The chief came himself to our encampment and made his demand again.
My men stripped off the last of their copper rings and gave them;
but he was still intent on a man. He thought, as others did,
that my men were slaves. He was a young man, with his woolly hair
elaborately dressed: that behind was made up into a cone, about eight inches
in diameter at the base, carefully swathed round with red and black thread.
As I resisted the proposal to deliver up my blanket until they had placed us
on the western bank, this chief continued to worry us with his demands
till I was tired. My little tent was now in tatters,
and having a wider hole behind than the door in front, I tried in vain
to lie down out of sight of our persecutors. We were on a reedy flat,
and could not follow our usual plan of a small stockade,
in which we had time to think over and concoct our plans. As I was trying
to persuade my men to move on to the bank in spite of these people,
a young half-caste Portuguese sergeant of militia, Cypriano di Abreu,
made his appearance, and gave the same advice. He had come across the Quango
in search of bees'-wax. When we moved off from the chief
who had been plaguing us, his people opened a fire from our sheds,
and continued to blaze away some time in the direction we were going,
but none of the bullets reached us. It is probable that
they expected a demonstration of the abundance of ammunition they possessed
would make us run; but when we continued to move quietly to the ford,
they proceeded no farther than our sleeping-place. Cypriano assisted us
in making a more satisfactory arrangement with the ferrymen
than parting with my blanket; and as soon as we reached the opposite bank
we were in the territory of the Bangala, who are subjects of the Portuguese,
and often spoken of as the Cassanges or Cassantse; and happily
all our difficulties with the border tribes were at an end.
Passing with light hearts through the high grass by a narrow footpath
for about three miles to the west of the river, we came to
several neat square houses, with many cleanly-looking half-caste Portuguese
standing in front of them to salute us. They are all enrolled in the militia,
and our friend Cypriano is the commander of a division established here.
The Bangala were very troublesome to the Portuguese traders,
and at last proceeded so far as to kill one of them; the government of Angola
then sent an expedition against them, which being successful, the Bangala
were dispersed, and are now returning to their former abodes as vassals.
The militia are quartered among them, and engage in trade and agriculture
for their support, as no pay is given to this branch of the service
by the government.
We came to the dwelling of Cypriano after dark, and I pitched my little tent
in front of it for the night. We had the company of mosquitoes here.
We never found them troublesome on the banks of the pure streams of Londa.
On the morning of the 5th Cypriano generously supplied my men
with pumpkins and maize, and then invited me to breakfast, which consisted of
ground-nuts and roasted maize, then boiled manioc roots and ground-nuts,
with guavas and honey as a dessert. I felt sincerely grateful
for this magnificent breakfast.
At dinner Cypriano was equally bountiful, and several of his friends
joined us in doing justice to his hospitality. Before eating,
all had water poured on the hands by a female slave to wash them.
One of the guests cut up a fowl with a knife and fork.
Neither forks nor spoons were used in eating. The repast was partaken of
with decency and good manners, and concluded by washing the hands as at first.
All of them could read and write with ease. I examined the books
they possessed, and found a small work on medicine, a small cyclopaedia,
and a Portuguese dictionary, in which the definition of a "priest" seemed
strange to a Protestant, namely, "one who takes care of the conscience."
They had also a few tracts containing the Lives of the Saints,
and Cypriano had three small wax images of saints in his room. One of these
was St. Anthony, who, had he endured the privations he did in his cell
in looking after these lost sheep, would have lived to better purpose.
Neither Cypriano nor his companions knew what the Bible was,
but they had relics in German-silver cases hung round their necks,
to act as charms and save them from danger by land or by water,
in the same way as the heathen have medicines. It is a pity that the Church
to which they belong, when unable to attend to the wants of her children,
does not give them the sacred writings in their own tongue;
it would surely be better to see them good Protestants, if these
would lead them to be so, than entirely ignorant of God's message to man.
For my part, I would much prefer to see the Africans good Roman Catholics
than idolatrous heathen.
Much of the civility shown to us here was, no doubt, owing to the flattering
letters of recommendation I carried from the Chevalier Du Prat, of Cape Town;
but I am inclined to believe that my friend Cypriano was influenced, too,
by feelings of genuine kindness, for he quite bared his garden
in feeding us during the few days which I remained, anxiously expecting
the clouds to disperse, so far as to allow of my taking observations for
the determination of the position of the Quango. He slaughtered an ox for us,
and furnished his mother and her maids with manioc roots,
to prepare farina for the four or five days of our journey to Cassange,
and never even hinted at payment. My wretched appearance must have excited
his compassion. The farina is prepared by washing the roots well,
then rasping them down to a pulp. Next, this is roasted slightly
on a metal plate over a fire, and is then used with meat as a vegetable.
It closely resembles wood-sawings, and on that account is named "wood-meal".
It is insipid, and employed to lick up any gravy remaining on one's plate.
Those who have become accustomed to it relish it even after they have returned
The manioc cultivated here is of the sweet variety; the bitter,
to which we were accustomed in Londa, is not to be found very extensively
in this fertile valley. May is the beginning of winter,
yet many of the inhabitants were busy planting maize;
that which we were now eating was planted in the beginning of February.
The soil is exceedingly fertile, of a dark red color,
and covered with such a dense, heavy crop of coarse grass,
that when a marauding party of Ambonda once came for plunder
while it was in a dried state, the Bangala encircled the common enemy
with a fire which completely destroyed them. This, which is related
on the authority of Portuguese who were then in the country,
I can easily believe to be true, for the stalks of the grass
are generally as thick as goose-quills, and no flight could be made
through the mass of grass in any direction where a footpath does not exist.
Probably, in the case mentioned, the direction of the wind was such
as to drive the flames across the paths, and prevent escape along them.
On one occasion I nearly lost my wagon by fire, in a valley where the grass
was only about three feet high. We were roused by the roar, as of a torrent,
made by the fire coming from the windward. I immediately set fire
to that on our leeward, and had just time to drag the wagon
on to the bare space there before the windward flames reached the place
where it had stood.
We were detained by rains and a desire to ascertain our geographical position
till Monday, the 10th, and only got the latitude 9d 50' S.;
and, after three days' pretty hard traveling through the long grass,
reached Cassange, the farthest inland station of the Portuguese
in Western Africa. We crossed several fine little streams
running into the Quango; and as the grass continued to tower
about two feet over our heads, it generally obstructed our view
of the adjacent country, and sometimes hung over the path,
making one side of the body wet with the dew every morning,
or, when it rained, kept me wet during the whole day. I made my entrance
in a somewhat forlorn state as to clothing among our Portuguese allies.
The first gentleman I met in the village asked if I had a passport,
and said it was necessary to take me before the authorities.
As I was in the same state of mind in which individuals are who commit
a petty depredation in order to obtain the shelter and food of a prison,
I gladly accompanied him to the house of the commandant or Chefe,
Senhor de Silva Rego. Having shown my passport to this gentleman,
he politely asked me to supper, and, as we had eaten nothing
except the farina of Cypriano from the Quango to this, I suspect I appeared
particularly ravenous to the other gentlemen around the table.
They seemed, however, to understand my position pretty well,
from having all traveled extensively themselves; had they not been present,
I might have put some in my pocket to eat by night; for, after fever,
the appetite is excessively keen, and manioc is one of the most unsatisfying
kinds of food. Captain Antonio Rodrigues Neves then kindly invited me
to take up my abode in his house. Next morning this generous man arrayed me
in decent clothing, and continued during the whole period of my stay
to treat me as if I had been his brother. I feel deeply grateful to him
for his disinterested kindness. He not only attended to my wants,
but also furnished food for my famishing party free of charge.
The village of Cassange (pronounced Kassanje) is composed of
thirty or forty traders' houses, scattered about without any regularity,
on an elevated flat spot in the great Quango or Cassange valley.
They are built of wattle and daub, and surrounded by plantations of manioc,
maize, etc. Behind them there are usually kitchen gardens,
in which the common European vegetables, as potatoes, peas, cabbages,
onions, tomatoes, etc., etc., grow. Guavas and bananas appear,
from the size and abundance of the trees, to have been introduced
many years ago, while the land was still in the possession of the natives;
but pine-apples, orange, fig, and cashew trees have but lately been tried.
There are about forty Portuguese traders in this district,
all of whom are officers in the militia, and many of them have become rich
from adopting the plan of sending out Pombeiros, or native traders, with large
quantities of goods, to trade in the more remote parts of the country.
Some of the governors of Loanda, the capital of this, the kingdom of Angola,
have insisted on the observance of a law which, from motives of humanity,
forbids the Portuguese themselves from passing beyond the boundary.
They seem to have taken it for granted that, in cases where
the white trader was killed, the aggression had been made by him,
and they wished to avoid the necessity of punishing those who had been
provoked to shed Portuguese blood. This indicates a much greater impartiality
than has obtained in our own dealings with the Caffres,
for we have engaged in most expensive wars with them without once inquiring
whether any of the fault lay with our frontier colonists.
The Cassange traders seem inclined to spread along the Quango,
in spite of the desire of their government to keep them on one spot,
for mutual protection in case of war. If I might judge
from the week of feasting I passed among them, they are generally prosperous.
As I always preferred to appear in my own proper character,
I was an object of curiosity to these hospitable Portuguese.
They evidently looked upon me as an agent of the English government,
engaged in some new movement for the suppression of slavery. They could
not divine what a "missionario" had to do with the latitudes and longitudes,
which I was intent on observing. When we became a little familiar,
the questions put were rather amusing: "Is it common for missionaries
to be doctors?" "Are you a doctor of medicine and a `doutor mathematico' too?
You must be more than a missionary to know how to calculate the longitude!
Come, tell us at once what rank you hold in the English army."
They may have given credit to my reason for wearing the mustache,
as that explains why men have beards and women have none;
but that which puzzled many besides my Cassange friends
was the anomaly of my being a "sacerdote", with a wife and four children!
I usually got rid of the last question by putting another:
"Is it not better to have children with a wife, than to have children
without a wife?" But all were most kind and hospitable;
and as one of their festivals was near, they invited me
to partake of the feast.
The anniversary of the Resurrection of our Savior was observed
on the 16th of April as a day of rejoicing, though the Portuguese
have no priests at Cassange. The colored population dressed up a figure
intended to represent Judas Iscariot, and paraded him on a riding-ox
about the village; sneers and maledictions were freely bestowed
on the poor wretch thus represented. The slaves and free colored population,
dressed in their gayest clothing, made visits to all the principal merchants,
and wishing them "a good feast", expected a present in return.
This, though frequently granted in the shape of pieces of calico
to make new dresses, was occasionally refused, but the rebuff
did not much affect the petitioner.
At ten A.M. we went to the residence of the commandant, and on a signal
being given, two of the four brass guns belonging to the government
commenced firing, and continued some time, to the great admiration of my men,
whose ideas of the power of a cannon are very exalted.
The Portuguese flag was hoisted and trumpets sounded,
as an expression of joy at the resurrection of our Lord.
Captain Neves invited all the principal inhabitants of the place,
and did what he could to feast them in a princely style.
All manner of foreign preserved fruits and wine from Portugal,
biscuits from America, butter from Cork, and beer from England,
were displayed, and no expense spared in rendering the entertainment joyous.
After the feast was over they sat down to the common amusement
of card-playing, which continued till eleven o'clock at night.
As far as a mere traveler could judge, they seemed to be polite and willing
to aid each other. They live in a febrile district, and many of them had
enlarged spleens. They have neither doctor, apothecary, school, nor priest,
and, when taken ill, trust to each other and to Providence.
As men left in such circumstances must think for themselves, they have all
a good idea of what ought to be done in the common diseases of the country,
and what they have of either medicine or skill they freely impart
to each other.
None of these gentlemen had Portuguese wives. They usually come to Africa
in order to make a little money, and return to Lisbon. Hence they seldom
bring their wives with them, and never can be successful colonists
in consequence. It is common for them to have families by native women.
It was particularly gratifying to me, who had been familiar
with the stupid prejudice against color, entertained only by those who are
themselves becoming tawny, to view the liberality with which people of color
were treated by the Portuguese. Instances, so common in the South,
in which half-caste children are abandoned, are here extremely rare.
They are acknowledged at table, and provided for by their fathers
as if European. The colored clerks of the merchants sit
at the same table with their employers without any embarrassment.
The civil manners of superiors to inferiors is probably the result
of the position they occupy -- a few whites among thousands of blacks;
but nowhere else in Africa is there so much good-will
between Europeans and natives as here. If some border colonists
had the absolute certainty of our government declining to bear them out
in their arrogance, we should probably hear less of Caffre insolence.
It is insolence which begets insolence.
From the village of Cassange we have a good view of the surrounding country:
it is a gently undulating plain, covered with grass and patches of forest.
The western edge of the Quango valley appears, about twenty miles off,
as if it were a range of lofty mountains, and passes by
the name of Tala Mungongo, "Behold the Range". In the old Portuguese map,
to which I had been trusting in planning my route, it is indicated
as Talla Mugongo, or "Castle of Rocks!" and the Coanza is put down
as rising therefrom; but here I was assured that the Coanza had its source
near Bihe, far to the southwest of this, and we should not see that river
till we came near Pungo Andonga. It is somewhat remarkable
that more accurate information about this country has not been published.
Captain Neves and others had a correct idea of the courses of the rivers,
and communicated their knowledge freely; yet about this time
maps were sent to Europe from Angola representing the Quango and Coanza
as the same river, and Cassange placed about one hundred miles
from its true position. The frequent recurrence of the same name has probably
helped to increase the confusion. I have crossed several Quangos,
but all insignificant, except that which drains this valley.
The repetition of the favorite names of chiefs, as Catende,
is also perplexing, as one Catende may be mistaken for another.
To avoid this confusion as much as possible, I have refrained from introducing
many names. Numerous villages are studded all over the valley;
but these possess no permanence, and many more existed previous to
the Portuguese expedition of 1850 to punish the Bangala.
This valley, as I have before remarked, is all fertile in the extreme.
My men could never cease admiring its capability for raising
their corn (`Holcus sorghum'), and despising the comparatively limited
cultivation of the inhabitants. The Portuguese informed me that no manure
is ever needed, but that, the more the ground is tilled, the better it yields.
Virgin soil does not give such a heavy crop as an old garden,
and, judging from the size of the maize and manioc in the latter,
I can readily believe the statement. Cattle do well, too. Viewing the valley
as a whole, it may be said that its agricultural and pastoral riches
are lying waste. Both the Portuguese and their descendants
turn their attention almost exclusively to trade in wax and ivory,
and though the country would yield any amount of corn and dairy produce,
the native Portuguese live chiefly on manioc, and the Europeans
purchase their flour, bread, butter, and cheese from the Americans.
As the traders of Cassange were the first white men we had come to,
we sold the tusks belonging to Sekeletu, which had been brought to test
the difference of prices in the Makololo and white men's country.
The result was highly satisfactory to my companions, as the Portuguese give
much larger prices for ivory than traders from the Cape can possibly give,
who labor under the disadvantage of considerable overland expenses
and ruinous restrictions. Two muskets, three small barrels of gunpowder,
and English calico and baize sufficient to clothe my whole party,
with large bunches of beads, all for one tusk, were quite delightful
for those who had been accustomed to give two tusks for one gun.
With another tusk we procured calico, which here is the chief currency,
to pay our way down to the coast. The remaining two were sold for money
to purchase a horse for Sekeletu at Loanda.
The superiority of this new market was quite astounding to the Makololo,
and they began to abuse the traders by whom they had, while in
their own country, been visited, and, as they now declared, "cheated".
They had no idea of the value of time and carriage, and it was somewhat
difficult for me to convince them that the reason of the difference of prices
lay entirely in what they themselves had done in coming here,
and that, if the Portuguese should carry goods to their country,
they would by no means be so liberal in their prices. They imagined that,
if the Cassange traders came to Linyanti, they would continue
to vend their goods at Cassange prices. I believe I gave them at last
a clear idea of the manner in which prices were regulated
by the expenses incurred; and when we went to Loanda, and saw goods delivered
at a still cheaper rate, they concluded that it would be better for them
to come to that city, than to turn homeward at Cassange.
It was interesting for me to observe the effects of the restrictive policy
pursued by the Cape government toward the Bechuanas. Like all other
restrictions on trade, the law of preventing friendly tribes
from purchasing arms and ammunition only injures the men who enforce it.
The Cape government, as already observed, in order to gratify
a company of independent Boers, whose well-known predilection
for the practice of slavery caused them to stipulate that
a number of peaceable, honest tribes should be kept defenseless,
agreed to allow free trade in arms and ammunition to the Boers,
and prevent the same trade to the Bechuanas. The Cape government
thereby unintentionally aided, and continues to aid, the Boers
to enslave the natives. But arms and ammunition flow in on all sides
by new channels, and where formerly the price of a large tusk
procured but one musket, one tusk of the same size now brings ten.
The profits are reaped by other nations, and the only persons
really the losers, in the long run, are our own Cape merchants,
and a few defenseless tribes of Bechuanas on our immediate frontier.
Mr. Rego, the commandant, very handsomely offered me a soldier as a guard
to Ambaca. My men told me that they had been thinking it would be better
to turn back here, as they had been informed by the people of color
at Cassange that I was leading them down to the sea-coast only to sell them,
and they would be taken on board ship, fattened, and eaten, as the white men
were cannibals. I asked if they had ever heard of an Englishman
buying or selling people; if I had not refused to take a slave
when she was offered to me by Shinte; but, as I had always behaved
as an English teacher, if they now doubted my intentions,
they had better not go to the coast; I, however, who expected to meet
some of my countrymen there, was determined to go on. They replied
that they only thought it right to tell me what had been told to them,
but they did not intend to leave me, and would follow wherever I should
lead the way. This affair being disposed of for the time,
the commandant gave them an ox, and me a friendly dinner before parting.
All the merchants of Cassange accompanied us, in their hammocks
carried by slaves, to the edge of the plateau on which their village stands,
and we parted with the feeling in my mind that I should never forget
their disinterested kindness. They not only did every thing they could
to make my men and me comfortable during our stay; but, there being no hotels
in Loanda, they furnished me with letters of recommendation to their friends
in that city, requesting them to receive me into their houses,
for without these a stranger might find himself a lodger in the streets.
May God remember them in their day of need!
The latitude and longitude of Cassange, the most easterly station
of the Portuguese in Western Africa, is lat. 9d 37' 30" S.,
and long. 17d 49' E.; consequently we had still about 300 miles to traverse
before we could reach the coast. We had a black militia corporal as a guide.
He was a native of Ambaca, and, like nearly all the inhabitants
of that district, known by the name of Ambakistas, could both read and write.
He had three slaves with him, and was carried by them in a "tipoia",
or hammock slung to a pole. His slaves were young, and unable
to convey him far at a time, but he was considerate enough to walk
except when we came near to a village. He then mounted his tipoia
and entered the village in state; his departure was made in the same manner,
and he continued in the hammock till the village was out of sight.
It was interesting to observe the manners of our soldier-guide.
Two slaves were always employed in carrying his tipoia,
and the third carried a wooden box, about three feet long,
containing his writing materials, dishes, and clothing.
He was cleanly in all his ways, and, though quite black himself,
when he scolded any one of his own color, abused him as a "negro".
When he wanted to purchase any article from a village, he would sit down,
mix a little gunpowder as ink, and write a note in a neat hand
to ask the price, addressing it to the shopkeeper with
the rather pompous title, "Illustrissimo Senhor" (Most Illustrious Sir).
This is the invariable mode of address throughout Angola. The answer returned
would be in the same style, and, if satisfactory, another note followed
to conclude the bargain. There is so much of this note correspondence
carried on in Angola, that a very large quantity of paper
is annually consumed. Some other peculiarities of our guide
were not so pleasing. A land of slaves is a bad school for even the free;
and I was sorry to find less truthfulness and honesty in him
than in my own people. We were often cheated through his connivance with
the sellers of food, and could perceive that he got a share of the plunder
from them. The food is very cheap, but it was generally made dear enough,
until I refused to allow him to come near the place where we were bargaining.
But he took us safely down to Ambaca, and I was glad to see,
on my return to Cassange, that he was promoted to be sergeant-major
of a company of militia.
Having left Cassange on the 21st, we passed across the remaining portion
of this excessively fertile valley to the foot of Tala Mungongo.
We crossed a fine little stream called the Lui on the 22d, and another
named the Luare on the 24th, then slept at the bottom of the height,
which is from a thousand to fifteen hundred feet. The clouds came floating
along the valley, and broke against the sides of the ascent,
and the dripping rain on the tall grass made the slaps in the face it gave,
when the hand or a stick was not held up before it, any thing but agreeable.
This edge of the valley is exactly like the other; jutting spurs and defiles
give the red ascent the same serrated appearance as that which we descended
from the highlands of Londa. The whole of this vast valley
has been removed by denudation, for pieces of the plateau
which once filled the now vacant space stand in it, and present
the same structure of red horizontal strata of equal altitudes
with those of the acclivity which we are now about to ascend.
One of these insulated masses, named Kasala, bore E.S.E. from the place
where we made our exit from the valley, and about ten miles W.S.W.
from the village of Cassange. It is remarkable for its perpendicular sides;
even the natives find it extremely difficult, almost impossible, to reach
its summit, though there is the temptation of marabou-nests and feathers,
which are highly prized. There is a small lake reported to exist
on its southern end, and, during the rainy season, a sort of natural moat
is formed around the bottom. What an acquisition this would have been
in feudal times in England! There is land sufficient
for considerable cultivation on the top, with almost perpendicular sides
more than a thousand feet in height.
We had not yet got a clear idea of the nature of Tala Mungongo.
A gentleman of Cassange described it as a range of very high mountains,
which it would take four hours to climb; so, though the rain and grass
had wetted us miserably, and I was suffering from an attack of fever
got while observing by night for the position of Cassange,
I eagerly commenced the ascent. The path was steep and slippery;
deep gorges appear on each side of it, leaving but a narrow path along
certain spurs of the sierra for the traveler; but we accomplished the ascent
in an hour, and when there, found we had just got on to a table-land
similar to that we had left before we entered the great Quango valley.
We had come among lofty trees again. One of these, bearing a fruit
about the size of a thirty-two pounder, is named Mononga-zambi.
We took a glance back to this valley, which equals that of the Mississippi
in fertility, and thought of the vast mass of material which had been
scooped out and carried away in its formation. This naturally
led to reflection on the countless ages required for the previous
formation and deposition of that same material (clay shale),
then of the rocks, whose abrasion formed THAT, until the mind grew giddy
in attempting to ascend the steps which lead up through
a portion of the eternity before man. The different epochs of geology
are like landmarks in that otherwise shoreless sea. Our own epoch,
or creation, is but another added to the number of that wonderful series
which presents a grand display of the mighty power of God:
every stage of progress in the earth and its habitants is such a display.
So far from this science having any tendency to make men undervalue
the power or love of God, it leads to the probability
that the exhibition of mercy we have in the gift of his Son
may possibly not be the only manifestation of grace which has taken place
in the countless ages during which works of creation have been going on.
Situated a few miles from the edge of the descent, we found
the village of Tala Mungongo, and were kindly accommodated with
a house to sleep in, which was very welcome, as we were all both wet and cold.
We found that the greater altitude and the approach of winter
lowered the temperature so much that many of my men suffered severely
from colds. At this, as at several other Portuguese stations,
they have been provident enough to erect travelers' houses
on the same principle as khans or caravanserais of the East.
They are built of the usual wattle and daub, and have benches of rods
for the wayfarer to make his bed on; also chairs, and a table,
and a large jar of water. These benches, though far from luxurious couches,
were better than the ground under the rotten fragments of my gipsy-tent,
for we had still showers occasionally, and the dews were very heavy.
I continued to use them for the sake of the shelter they afforded,
until I found that they were lodgings also for certain
27TH. Five hours' ride through a pleasant country of forest and meadow,
like those of Londa, brought us to a village of Basongo, a tribe living
in subjection to the Portuguese. We crossed several little streams,
which were flowing in the westerly direction in which we were marching,
and unite to form the Quize, a feeder of the Coanza. The Basongo
were very civil, as indeed all the tribes were who had been conquered
by the Portuguese. The Basongo and Bangala are yet only partially subdued.
The farther west we go from this, the less independent we find
the black population, until we reach the vicinity of Loanda,
where the free natives are nearly identical in their feelings
toward the government with the slaves. But the governors of Angola
wisely accept the limited allegiance and tribute rendered
by the more distant tribes as better than none.
All the inhabitants of this region, as well as those of Londa,
may be called true negroes, if the limitations formerly made be borne in mind.
The dark color, thick lips, heads elongated backward and upward and covered
with wool, flat noses, with other negro peculiarities, are general; but,
while these characteristics place them in the true negro family, the reader
would imbibe a wrong idea if he supposed that all these features combined
are often met with in one individual. All have a certain
thickness and prominence of lip, but many are met with in every village
in whom thickness and projection are not more marked than in Europeans.
All are dark, but the color is shaded off in different individuals
from deep black to light yellow. As we go westward, we observe
the light color predominating over the dark, and then again,
when we come within the influence of damp from the sea air,
we find the shade deepen into the general blackness of the coast population.
The shape of the head, with its woolly crop, though general, is not universal.
The tribes on the eastern side of the continent, as the Caffres,
have heads finely developed and strongly European. Instances of this kind
are frequently seen, and after I became so familiar with the dark color
as to forget it in viewing the countenance, I was struck by
the strong resemblance some natives bore to certain of our own notabilities.
The Bushmen and Hottentots are exceptions to these remarks,
for both the shape of their heads and growth of wool are peculiar; the latter,
for instance, springs from the scalp in tufts with bare spaces between,
and when the crop is short, resembles a number of black pepper-corns
stuck on the skin, and very unlike the thick frizzly masses
which cover the heads of the Balonda and Maravi. With every disposition
to pay due deference to the opinions of those who have made ethnology
their special study, I have felt myself unable to believe
that the exaggerated features usually put forth as those of the typical negro
characterize the majority of any nation of south Central Africa.
The monuments of the ancient Egyptians seem to me to embody the ideal
of the inhabitants of Londa better than the figures of any work of ethnology
I have met with.
Passing through a fine, fertile, and well-peopled country to Sanza,
we found the Quize River again touching our path, and here we had the pleasure
of seeing a field of wheat growing luxuriantly without irrigation.
The ears were upward of four inches long, an object of great curiosity
to my companions, because they had tasted my bread at Linyanti,
but had never before seen wheat growing. This small field was cultivated
by Mr. Miland, an agreeable Portuguese merchant. His garden was interesting,
as showing what the land at this elevation is capable of yielding;
for, besides wheat, we saw European vegetables in a flourishing condition,
and we afterward discovered that the coffee-plant has propagated itself
on certain spots of this same district. It may be seen
on the heights of Tala Mungongo, or nearly 300 miles from the west coast,
where it was first introduced by the Jesuit missionaries.
We spent Sunday, the 30th of April, at Ngio, close to the ford of the Quize
as it crosses our path to fall into the Coanza. The country becomes
more open, but is still abundantly fertile, with a thick crop of grass
between two and three feet high. It is also well wooded and watered.
Villages of Basongo are dotted over the landscape, and frequently
a square house of wattle and daub, belonging to native Portuguese,
is placed beside them for the purposes of trade. The people here
possess both cattle and pigs. The different sleeping-places on our path,
from eight to ten miles apart, are marked by a cluster of sheds
made of sticks and grass. There is a constant stream of people
going and returning to and from the coast. The goods are carried
on the head, or on one shoulder, in a sort of basket
attached to the extremities of two poles between five and six feet long,
and called Motete. When the basket is placed on the head,
the poles project forward horizontally, and when the carrier wishes
to rest himself, he plants them on the ground and the burden against a tree,
so he is not obliged to lift it up from the ground to the level of the head.
It stands against the tree propped up by the poles at that level.
The carrier frequently plants the poles on the ground, and stands
holding the burden until he has taken breath, thus avoiding the trouble
of placing the burden on the ground and lifting it up again.
When a company of these carriers, or our own party, arrives at
one of these sleeping-places, immediate possession is taken of the sheds.
Those who come late, and find all occupied, must then erect others
for themselves; but this is not difficult, for there is no lack of long grass.
No sooner do any strangers appear at the spot, than the women may be seen
emerging from their villages bearing baskets of manioc-meal,
roots, ground-nuts, yams, bird's-eye pepper, and garlic for sale.
Calico, of which we had brought some from Cassange, is the chief
medium of exchange. We found them all civil, and it was evident,
from the amount of talking and laughing in bargaining,
that the ladies enjoyed their occupation. They must cultivate largely,
in order to be able to supply the constant succession of strangers.
Those, however, near to the great line of road, purchase also much of the food
from the more distant villages for the sake of gain.
Pitsane and another of the men had violent attacks of fever,
and it was no wonder, for the dampness and evaporation from the ground
was excessive. When at any time I attempted to get an observation of a star,
if the trough of mercury were placed on the ground, so much moisture
was condensed on the inside of the glass roof over it
that it was with difficulty the reflection of the star could be seen.
When the trough was placed on a box to prevent the moisture entering
from below, so much dew was deposited on the outside of the roof
that it was soon necessary, for the sake of distinct vision,
to wipe the glass. This would not have been of great consequence,
but a short exposure to this dew was so sure to bring on a fresh fever,
that I was obliged to give up observations by night altogether.
The inside of the only covering I now had was not much better,
but under the blanket one is not so liable to the chill
which the dew produces.
It would have afforded me pleasure to have cultivated
a more intimate acquaintance with the inhabitants of this part of the country,
but the vertigo produced by frequent fevers made it as much as I could do
to stick on the ox and crawl along in misery. In crossing the Lombe,
my ox Sinbad, in the indulgence of his propensity to strike out a new path
for himself, plunged overhead into a deep hole, and so soused me
that I was obliged to move on to dry my clothing, without calling
on the Europeans who live on the bank. This I regretted,
for all the Portuguese were very kind, and, like the Boers
placed in similar circumstances, feel it a slight to be passed
without a word of salutation. But we went on to a spot
where orange-trees had been planted by the natives themselves,
and where abundance of that refreshing fruit was exposed for sale.
On entering the district of Ambaca, we found the landscape enlivened
by the appearance of lofty mountains in the distance,
the grass comparatively short, and the whole country at this time
looking gay and verdant. On our left we saw certain rocks of the same nature
with those of Pungo Andongo, and which closely resemble the Stonehenge group
on Salisbury Plain, only the stone pillars here are of gigantic size.
This region is all wonderfully fertile, famed for raising cattle,
and all kinds of agricultural produce, at a cheap rate. The soil contains
sufficient ferruginous matter, to impart a red tinge to nearly
the whole of it. It is supplied with a great number of little flowing streams
which unite in the Lucalla. This river drains Ambaca,
then falls into the Coanza to the southwest at Massangano.
We crossed the Lucalla by means of a large canoe kept there by a man
who farms the ferry from the government, and charges about a penny per head.
A few miles beyond the Lucalla we came to the village of Ambaca,
an important place in former times, but now a mere paltry village,
beautifully situated on a little elevation in a plain surrounded on all hands
by lofty mountains. It has a jail, and a good house for the commandant,
but neither fort nor church, though the ruins of a place of worship
are still standing.
We were most kindly received by the commandant of Ambaca, Arsenio de Carpo,
who spoke a little English. He recommended wine for my debility,
and here I took the first glass of that beverage I had taken in Africa.
I felt much refreshed, and could then realize and meditate on
the weakening effects of the fever. They were curious even to myself;
for, though I had tried several times since we left Ngio
to take lunar observations, I could not avoid confusion of time and distance,
neither could I hold the instrument steady, nor perform a simple calculation;
hence many of the positions of this part of the route were left till my return
from Loanda. Often, on getting up in the mornings, I found my clothing
as wet from perspiration as if it had been dipped in water.
In vain had I tried to learn or collect words of the Bunda, or dialect spoken
in Angola. I forgot the days of the week and the names of my companions,
and, had I been asked, I probably could not have told my own.
The complaint itself occupied many of my thoughts. One day I supposed that
I had got the true theory of it, and would certainly cure the next attack,
whether in myself or companions; but some new symptoms would appear,
and scatter all the fine speculations which had sprung up,
with extraordinary fertility, in one department of my brain.
This district is said to contain upward of 40,000 souls.
Some ten or twelve miles to the north of the village of Ambaca there once
stood the missionary station of Cahenda, and it is now quite astonishing
to observe the great numbers who can read and write in this district.
This is the fruit of the labors of the Jesuit and Capuchin missionaries,
for they taught the people of Ambaca; and ever since
the expulsion of the teachers by the Marquis of Pombal,
the natives have continued to teach each other. These devoted men
are still held in high estimation throughout the country to this day.
All speak well of them (os padres Jesuitas); and, now that they are gone
from this lower sphere, I could not help wishing that these
our Roman Catholic fellow-Christians had felt it to be their duty
to give the people the Bible, to be a light to their feet
when the good men themselves were gone.
When sleeping in the house of the commandant, an insect,
well known in the southern country by the name Tampan, bit my foot.
It is a kind of tick, and chooses by preference the parts
between the fingers or toes for inflicting its bite. It is seen
from the size of a pin's head to that of a pea, and is common
in all the native huts in this country. It sucks the blood until quite full,
and is then of a dark blue color, and its skin so tough and yielding
that it is impossible to burst it by any amount of squeezing with the fingers.
I had felt the effects of its bite in former years, and eschewed
all native huts ever after; but as I was here again assailed
in a European house, I shall detail the effects of the bite.
These are a tingling sensation of mingled pain and itching,
which commences ascending the limb until the poison imbibed
reaches the abdomen, where it soon causes violent vomiting and purging.
Where these effects do not follow, as we found afterward at Tete,
fever sets in; and I was assured by intelligent Portuguese there
that death has sometimes been the result of this fever.
The anxiety my friends at Tete manifested to keep my men
out of the reach of the tampans of the village made it evident
that they had seen cause to dread this insignificant insect.
The only inconvenience I afterward suffered from this bite
was the continuance of the tingling sensation in the point bitten
for about a week.
MAY 12TH. As we were about to start this morning, the commandant,
Senhor Arsenio, provided bread and meat most bountifully for my use
on the way to the next station, and sent two militia soldiers as guides,
instead of our Cassange corporal, who left us here. About midday
we asked for shelter from the sun in the house of Senhor Mellot, at Zangu,
and, though I was unable to sit and engage in conversation,
I found, on rising from his couch, that he had at once proceeded
to cook a fowl for my use; and at parting he gave me a glass of wine,
which prevented the violent fit of shivering I expected that afternoon.
The universal hospitality of the Portuguese was most gratifying,
as it was quite unexpected; and even now, as I copy my journal,
I remember it all with a glow of gratitude.
We spent Sunday, the 14th of May, at Cabinda, which is one of the stations
of the sub-commandants, who are placed at different points
in each district of Angola as assistants of the head-commandant, or chefe.
It is situated in a beautiful glen, and surrounded by plantations
of bananas and manioc. The country was gradually becoming more picturesque
the farther we proceeded west. The ranges of lofty blue mountains of Libollo,
which, in coming toward Ambaca, we had seen thirty or forty miles
to our south, were now shut from our view by others nearer at hand,
and the gray ranges of Cahenda and Kiwe, which, while we were in Ambaca,
stood clearly defined eight or ten miles off to the north, were now close
upon our right. As we looked back toward the open pastoral country of Ambaca,
the broad green gently undulating plains seemed in a hollow
surrounded on all sides by rugged mountains, and as we went westward
we were entering upon quite a wild-looking mountainous district,
called Golungo Alto.
We met numbers of Mambari on their way back to Bihe. Some of them
had belonged to the parties which had penetrated as far as Linyanti,
and foolishly showed their displeasure at the prospect of the Makololo
preferring to go to the coast markets themselves to intrusting them
with their ivory. The Mambari repeated the tale of the mode in which
the white men are said to trade. "The ivory is left on the shore
in the evening, and next morning the seller finds a quantity of goods
placed there in its stead by the white men who live in the sea."
"Now," added they to my men, "how can you Makololo trade with these `Mermen'?
Can you enter into the sea, and tell them to come ashore?"
It was remarkable to hear this idea repeated so near the sea as we now were.
My men replied that they only wanted to see for themselves;
and, as they were now getting some light on the nature of the trade
carried on by the Mambari, they were highly amused on perceiving
the reasons why the Mambari would rather have met them on the Zambesi
than so near the sea-coast.
There is something so exhilarating to one of Highland blood in being
near or on high mountains, that I forgot my fever as we wended our way among
the lofty tree-covered masses of mica schist which form the highlands around
the romantic residence of the chefe of Golungo Alto. (Lat. 9d 8' 30" S.,
long. 15d 2' E.) The whole district is extremely beautiful.
The hills are all bedecked with trees of various hues of foliage,
and among them towers the graceful palm, which yields the oil of commerce
for making our soaps, and the intoxicating toddy. Some clusters of hills
look like the waves of the sea driven into a narrow open bay, and have assumed
the same form as if, when all were chopping up perpendicularly,
they had suddenly been congealed. The cottages of the natives,
perched on the tops of many of the hillocks, looked as if the owners
possessed an eye for the romantic, but they were probably influenced more
by the desire to overlook their gardens, and keep their families
out of the reach of the malaria, which is supposed to prevail most
on the banks of the numerous little streams which run among the hills.
We were most kindly received by the commandant, Lieutenant Antonio
Canto e Castro, a young gentleman whose whole subsequent conduct
will ever make me regard him with great affection. Like every other
person of intelligence whom I had met, he lamented deeply
the neglect with which this fine country has been treated.
This district contained by the last census 26,000 hearths or fires;
and if to each hearth we reckon four souls, we have a population of 104,000.
The number of carregadores (carriers) who may be ordered out
at the pleasure of government to convey merchandise to the coast
is in this district alone about 6000, yet there is no good road in existence.
This system of compulsory carriage of merchandise was adopted
in consequence of the increase in numbers and activity of our cruisers,
which took place in 1845. Each trader who went, previous to that year,
into the interior, in the pursuit of his calling, proceeded on the plan
of purchasing ivory and beeswax, and a sufficient number of slaves to carry
these commodities. The whole were intended for exportation as soon as
the trader reached the coast. But when the more stringent measures of 1845
came into operation, and rendered the exportation of slaves almost impossible,
there being no roads proper for the employment of wheel conveyances,
this new system of compulsory carriage of ivory and beeswax to the coast
was resorted to by the government of Loanda. A trader who requires
two or three hundred carriers to convey his merchandise to the coast
now applies to the general government for aid. An order is sent
to the commandant of a district to furnish the number required.
Each head man of the villages to whom the order is transmitted
must furnish from five to twenty or thirty men, according to the proportion
that his people bear to the entire population of the district.
For this accommodation the trader must pay a tax to the government
of 1000 reis, or about three shillings per load carried.
The trader is obliged to pay the carrier also the sum of 50 reis,
or about twopence a day, for his sustenance. And as a day's journey
is never more than from eight to ten miles, the expense which must be incurred
for this compulsory labor is felt to be heavy by those who were accustomed
to employ slave labor alone. Yet no effort has been made to form
a great line of road for wheel carriages. The first great want of a country
has not been attended to, and no development of its vast resources
has taken place. The fact, however, of a change from one system of carriage
to another, taken in connection with the great depreciation in
the price of slaves near this coast, proves the effectiveness of our efforts
at repressing the slave-trade on the ocean.
The latitude of Golungo Alto, as observed at the residence of the commandant,
was 9d 8' 30" S., longitude 15d 2' E. A few days' rest
with this excellent young man enabled me to regain much of my strength,
and I could look with pleasure on the luxuriant scenery before his door.
We were quite shut in among green hills, many of which were cultivated
up to their tops with manioc, coffee, cotton, ground-nuts, bananas,
pine-apples, guavas, papaws, custard-apples, pitangas, and jambos,
fruits brought from South America by the former missionaries. The high hills
all around, with towering palms on many points, made this spot appear
more like the Bay of Rio de Janeiro in miniature than any scene I ever saw;
and all who have seen that confess it to be unequaled in the world beside.
The fertility evident in every spot of this district was quite marvelous
to behold, but I shall reserve further notices of this region
till our return from Loanda.
We left Golungo Alto on the 24th of May, the winter in these parts.
Every evening clouds come rolling in great masses over the mountains
in the west, and pealing thunder accompanies the fall of rain during the night
or early in the morning. The clouds generally remain on the hills
till the morning is well spent, so that we become familiar with morning mists,
a thing we never once saw at Kolobeng. The thermometer stands at 80 Degrees
by day, but sinks as low as 76 Degrees by night.
In going westward we crossed several fine little gushing streams
which never dry. They unite in the Luinha (pronounced Lueenya) and Lucalla.
As they flow over many little cascades, they might easily be turned
to good account, but they are all allowed to run on idly to the ocean.
We passed through forests of gigantic timber, and at an open space
named Cambondo, about eight miles from Golungo Alto,
found numbers of carpenters converting these lofty trees into planks,
in exactly the same manner as was followed by the illustrious Robinson Crusoe.
A tree of three or four feet in diameter, and forty or fifty feet
up to the nearest branches, was felled. It was then cut
into lengths of a few feet, and split into thick junks, which again
were reduced to planks an inch thick by persevering labor with the axe.
The object of the carpenters was to make little chests,
and they drive a constant trade in them at Cambondo. When finished
with hinges, lock, and key, all of their own manufacture,
one costs only a shilling and eightpence. My men were so delighted with them
that they carried several of them on their heads all the way to Linyanti.
At Trombeta we were pleased to observe a great deal of taste
displayed by the sub-commandant in the laying out of his ground
and adornment of his house with flowers. This trifling incident
was the more pleasing, as it was the first attempt at neatness I had seen
since leaving the establishment of Mozinkwa in Londa. Rows of trees had been
planted along each side of the road, with pine-apples and flowers between.
This arrangement I had an opportunity of seeing in several other districts
of this country, for there is no difficulty in raising any plant or tree
if it is only kept from being choked by weeds.
This gentleman had now a fine estate, which but a few years ago was a forest,
and cost him only 16 Pounds. He had planted about 900 coffee-trees upon it,
and as these begin to yield in three years from being planted,
and in six attain their maximum, I have no doubt but that ere now
his 16 Pounds yields him sixty fold. All sorts of fruit-trees and grape-vines
yield their fruit twice in each year, without any labor or irrigation
being bestowed on them. All grains and vegetables, if only sown, do the same;
and if advantage is taken of the mists of winter, even three crops of pulse
may be raised. Cotton was now standing in the pods in his fields,
and he did not seem to care about it. I understood him to say
that this last plant flourishes, but the wet of one of the two rainy seasons
with which this country is favored sometimes proves troublesome to the grower.
I am not aware whether wheat has ever been tried, but I saw
both figs and grapes bearing well. The great complaint of all cultivators
is the want of a good road to carry their produce to market.
Here all kinds of food are remarkably cheap.
Farther on we left the mountainous country, and, as we descended toward
the west coast, saw the lands assuming a more sterile, uninviting aspect.
On our right ran the River Senza, which nearer the sea takes
the name of Bengo. It is about fifty yards broad, and navigable for canoes.
The low plains adjacent to its banks are protected from inundation
by embankments, and the population is entirely occupied
in raising food and fruits for exportation to Loanda by means of canoes.
The banks are infested by myriads of the most ferocious mosquitoes I ever met.
Not one of our party could get a snatch of sleep. I was taken into
the house of a Portuguese, but was soon glad to make my escape
and lie across the path on the lee side of the fire, where the smoke
blew over my body. My host wondered at my want of taste,
and I at his want of feeling; for, to our astonishment,
he and the other inhabitants had actually become used to what was at least
equal to a nail through the heel of one's boot, or the tooth-ache.
As we were now drawing near to the sea, my companions were
looking at every thing in a serious light. One of them asked me
if we should all have an opportunity of watching each other at Loanda.
"Suppose one went for water, would the others see if he were kidnapped?"
I replied, "I see what you are driving at; and if you suspect me,
you may return, for I am as ignorant of Loanda as you are;
but nothing will happen to you but what happens to myself.
We have stood by each other hitherto, and will do so to the last."
The plains adjacent to Loanda are somewhat elevated and comparatively sterile.
On coming across these we first beheld the sea: my companions looked upon
the boundless ocean with awe. On describing their feelings afterward,
they remarked that "we marched along with our father,
believing that what the ancients had always told us was true,
that the world has no end; but all at once the world said to us,
`I am finished; there is no more of me!'" They had always imagined
that the world was one extended plain without limit.
They were now somewhat apprehensive of suffering want, and I was unable
to allay their fears with any promise of supply, for my own mind was depressed
by disease and care. The fever had induced a state of chronic dysentery,
so troublesome that I could not remain on the ox more than ten minutes
at a time; and as we came down the declivity above the city of Loanda
on the 31st of May, I was laboring under great depression of spirits,
as I understood that, in a population of twelve thousand souls,
there was but one genuine English gentleman. I naturally felt anxious to know
whether he were possessed of good-nature, or was one of those crusty mortals
one would rather not meet at all.
This gentleman, Mr. Gabriel, our commissioner for the suppression
of the slave-trade, had kindly forwarded an invitation to meet me
on the way from Cassange, but, unfortunately, it crossed me on the road.
When we entered his porch, I was delighted to see a number of flowers
cultivated carefully, and inferred from this circumstance that he was,
what I soon discovered him to be, a real whole-hearted Englishman.
Seeing me ill, he benevolently offered me his bed. Never shall I forget
the luxurious pleasure I enjoyed in feeling myself again
on a good English couch, after six months' sleeping on the ground.
I was soon asleep; and Mr. Gabriel, coming in almost immediately,
rejoiced at the soundness of my repose.
Continued Sickness -- Kindness of the Bishop of Angola
and her Majesty's Officers -- Mr. Gabriel's unwearied Hospitality --
Serious Deportment of the Makololo -- They visit Ships of War --
Politeness of the Officers and Men -- The Makololo attend Mass
in the Cathedral -- Their Remarks -- Find Employment
in collecting Firewood and unloading Coal -- Their superior Judgment
respecting Goods -- Beneficial Influence of the Bishop of Angola --
The City of St. Paul de Loanda -- The Harbor -- Custom-house --
No English Merchants -- Sincerity of the Portuguese Government
in suppressing the Slave-trade -- Convict Soldiers --
Presents from Bishop and Merchants for Sekeletu -- Outfit -- Leave Loanda
20th September, 1854 -- Accompanied by Mr. Gabriel as far as Icollo i Bengo
-- Sugar Manufactory -- Geology of this part of the Country --
Women spinning Cotton -- Its Price -- Native Weavers -- Market-places --
Cazengo; its Coffee Plantations -- South American Trees --
Ruins of Iron Foundry -- Native Miners -- The Banks of the Lucalla --
Cottages with Stages -- Tobacco-plants -- Town of Massangano --
Sugar and Rice -- Superior District for Cotton -- Portuguese Merchants
and foreign Enterprise -- Ruins -- The Fort and its ancient Guns --
Former Importance of Massangano -- Fires -- The Tribe Kisama --
Peculiar Variety of Domestic Fowl -- Coffee Plantations --
Return to Golungo Alto -- Self-complacency of the Makololo --
Fever -- Jaundice -- Insanity.
In the hope that a short enjoyment of Mr. Gabriel's generous hospitality
would restore me to my wonted vigor, I continued under his roof;
but my complaint having been caused by long exposure to malarious influences,
I became much more reduced than ever, even while enjoying rest.
Several Portuguese gentlemen called on me shortly after my arrival;
and the Bishop of Angola, the Right Reverend Joaquim Moreira Reis,
then the acting governor of the province, sent his secretary to do the same,
and likewise to offer the services of the government physician.
Some of her majesty's cruisers soon came into the port, and,
seeing the emaciated condition to which I was reduced, offered to convey me
to St. Helena or homeward; but, though I had reached the coast,
I had found that, in consequence of the great amount of forest,
rivers, and marsh, there was no possibility of a highway for wagons,
and I had brought a party of Sekeletu's people with me,
and found the tribes near the Portuguese settlement so very unfriendly,
that it would be altogether impossible for my men to return alone.
I therefore resolved to decline the tempting offers of my naval friends,
and take back my Makololo companions to their chief,
with a view of trying to make a path from his country to the east coast
by means of the great river Zambesi or Leeambye.
I, however, gladly availed myself of the medical assistance of Mr. Cockin,
the surgeon of the "Polyphemus", at the suggestion of his commander,
Captain Phillips. Mr. Cockin's treatment, aided by the exhilarating presence
of the warm-hearted naval officers, and Mr. Gabriel's unwearied
hospitality and care, soon brought me round again. On the 14th
I was so far well as to call on the bishop, in company with my party,
who were arrayed in new robes of striped cotton cloth and red caps,
all presented to them by Mr. Gabriel. He received us,
as head of the provisional government, in the grand hall of the palace.
He put many intelligent questions respecting the Makololo,
and then gave them free permission to come to Loanda as often as they pleased.
This interview pleased the Makololo extremely.
Every one remarked the serious deportment of the Makololo. They viewed the
large stone houses and churches in the vicinity of the great ocean with awe.
A house with two stories was, until now, beyond their comprehension.
In explanation of this strange thing, I had always been obliged
to use the word for hut; and as huts are constructed by the poles being let
into the earth, they never could comprehend how the poles of one hut
could be founded upon the roof of another, or how men could live
in the upper story, with the conical roof of the lower one in the middle.
Some Makololo, who had visited my little house at Kolobeng,
in trying to describe it to their countrymen at Linyanti, said,
"It is not a hut; it is a mountain with several caves in it."
Commander Bedingfeld and Captain Skene invited them to visit their vessels,
the "Pluto" and "Philomel". Knowing their fears, I told them
that no one need go if he entertained the least suspicion of foul play.
Nearly the whole party went; and when on deck, I pointed to the sailors,
and said, "Now these are all my countrymen, sent by our queen for the purpose
of putting down the trade of those that buy and sell black men."
They replied, "Truly! they are just like you!" and all their fears
seemed to vanish at once, for they went forward among the men,
and the jolly tars, acting much as the Makololo would have done
in similar circumstances, handed them a share of the bread and beef
which they had for dinner. The commander allowed them to fire off a cannon;
and, having the most exalted ideas of its power, they were greatly pleased
when I told them, "That is what they put down the slave-trade with."
The size of the brig-of-war amazed them. "It is not a canoe at all;
it is a town!" The sailors' deck they named "the Kotla";
and then, as a climax to their description of this great ark, added,
"And what sort of a town is it that you must climb up into with a rope?"
The effect of the politeness of the officers and men on their minds
was most beneficial. They had behaved with the greatest kindness to me
all the way from Linyanti, and I now rose rapidly in their estimation;
for, whatever they may have surmised before, they now saw that I was respected
among my own countrymen, and always afterward treated me
with the greatest deference.
On the 15th there was a procession and service of the mass in the Cathedral;
and, wishing to show my men a place of worship, I took them to the church,
which now serves as the chief one of the see of Angola and Congo.
There is an impression on some minds that a gorgeous ritual
is better calculated to inspire devotional feelings than the simple forms
of the Protestant worship. But here the frequent genuflexions,
changing of positions, burning of incense, with the priests' back turned
to the people, the laughing, talking, and manifest irreverence of the singers,
with firing of guns, etc., did not convey to the minds of my men
the idea of adoration. I overheard them, in talking to each other,
remark that "they had seen the white men charming their demons;"
a phrase identical with one they had used when seeing the Balonda
beating drums before their idols.
In the beginning of August I suffered a severe relapse, which reduced me
to a mere skeleton. I was then unable to attend to my men
for a considerable time; but when in convalescence from this last attack,
I was thankful to find that I was free from that lassitude which,
in my first recovery, showed the continuance of the malaria in the system.
I found that my men, without prompting, had established a brisk trade
in fire-wood. They sallied forth at cock-crowing in the mornings,
and by daylight reached the uncultivated parts of the adjacent country,
collected a bundle of fire-wood, and returned to the city.
It was then divided into smaller fagots, and sold to the inhabitants;
and as they gave larger quantities than the regular wood-carriers, they found
no difficulty in selling. A ship freighted with coal for the cruisers
having arrived from England, Mr. Gabriel procured them employment
in unloading her at sixpence a day. They continued at this work
for upward of a month, and nothing could exceed their astonishment
at the vast amount of cargo one ship contained. As they themselves
always afterward expressed it, they had labored every day
from sunrise to sunset for a moon and a half, unloading,
as quickly as they could, "stones that burn", and were tired out,
still leaving plenty in her. With the money so obtained they purchased
clothing, beads, and other articles to take back to their own country.
Their ideas of the value of different kinds of goods rather astonished
those who had dealt only with natives on the coast. Hearing it stated
with confidence that the Africans preferred the thinnest fabrics,
provided they had gaudy colors and a large extent of surface,
the idea was so new to my experience in the interior that I dissented,
and, in order to show the superior good sense of the Makololo,
took them to the shop of Mr. Schut. When he showed them
the amount of general goods which they might procure at Loanda
for a single tusk, I requested them, without assigning any reason,
to point out the fabrics they prized most. They all at once selected
the strongest pieces of English calico and other cloths,
showing that they had regard to strength without reference to color.
I believe that most of the Bechuana nation would have done the same.
But I was assured that the people near the coast, with whom the Portuguese
have to deal, have not so much regard to durability. This probably arises
from calico being the chief circulating medium; quantity being then
of more importance than quality.
During the period of my indisposition, the bishop sent frequently
to make inquiries, and, as soon as I was able to walk, I went to thank him
for his civilities. His whole conversation and conduct showed him to be
a man of great benevolence and kindness of heart. Alluding to
my being a Protestant, he stated that he was a Catholic from conviction;
and though sorry to see others, like myself, following another path,
he entertained no uncharitable feelings, nor would he ever sanction
persecuting measures. He compared the various sects of Christians,
in their way to heaven, to a number of individuals choosing to pass
down the different streets of Loanda to one of the churches --
all would arrive at the same point at last. His good influence,
both in the city and the country, is universally acknowledged:
he was promoting the establishment of schools, which, though formed
more on the monastic principle than Protestants might approve,
will no doubt be a blessing. He was likewise successfully attempting
to abolish the non-marriage custom of the country; and several marriages
had taken place in Loanda among those who, but for his teaching,
would have been content with concubinage.
St. Paul de Loanda has been a very considerable city, but is now
in a state of decay. It contains about twelve thousand inhabitants,
most of whom are people of color.* There are various evidences
of its former magnificence, especially two cathedrals,
one of which, once a Jesuit college, is now converted into a workshop;
and in passing the other, we saw with sorrow a number of oxen
feeding within its stately walls. Three forts continue
in a good state of repair. Many large stone houses are to be found.
The palace of the governor and government offices are commodious structures,
but nearly all the houses of the native inhabitants are of wattle and daub.
Trees are planted all over the town for the sake of shade,
and the city presents an imposing appearance from the sea.
It is provided with an effective police, and the custom-house department
is extremely well managed. All parties agree in representing
the Portuguese authorities as both polite and obliging;
and if ever any inconvenience is felt by strangers visiting the port,
it must be considered the fault of the system, and not of the men.
* From the census of 1850-51 we find the population of this city
arranged thus: 830 whites, only 160 of whom are females.
This is the largest collection of whites in the country,
for Angola itself contains only about 1000 whites.
There are 2400 half-castes in Loanda, and only 120 of them slaves;
and there are 9000 blacks, more than 5000 of whom are slaves.
The harbor is formed by the low, sandy island of Loanda, which is inhabited
by about 1300 souls, upward of 600 of whom are industrious native fishermen,
who supply the city with abundance of good fish daily. The space between it
and the main land, on which the city is built, is the station for ships.
When a high southwest wind blows, the waves of the ocean dash over
part of the island, and, driving large quantities of sand before them,
gradually fill up the harbor. Great quantities of soil
are also washed in the rainy season from the heights above the city,
so that the port, which once contained water sufficient to float
the largest ships close to the custom-house, is now at low water dry.
The ships are compelled to anchor about a mile north of their old station.
Nearly all the water consumed in Loanda is brought from the River Bengo
by means of launches, the only supply that the city affords
being from some deep wells of slightly brackish water.
Unsuccessful attempts have been made by different governors to finish a canal,
which the Dutch, while in possession of Loanda during the seven years
preceding 1648, had begun, to bring water from the River Coanza to the city.
There is not a single English merchant at Loanda, and only two American.
This is the more remarkable, as nearly all the commerce is carried on
by means of English calico brought hither via Lisbon.
Several English houses attempted to establish a trade about 1845,
and accepted bills on Rio de Janeiro in payment for their goods,
but the increased activity of our cruisers had such an effect
upon the mercantile houses of that city that most of them failed.
The English merchants lost all, and Loanda got a bad name
in the commercial world in consequence.
One of the arrangements of the custom-house may have had some influence
in preventing English trade. Ships coming here must be consigned to some one
on the spot; the consignee receives one hundred dollars per mast,
and he generally makes a great deal more for himself by putting a percentage
on boats and men hired for loading and unloading, and on every item
that passes through his hands. The port charges are also rendered heavy by
twenty dollars being charged as a perquisite of the secretary of government,
with a fee for the chief physician, something for the hospital,
custom-house officers, guards, etc., etc. But, with all these drawbacks,
the Americans carry on a brisk and profitable trade in calico, biscuit,
flour, butter, etc., etc.
The Portuguese home government has not generally received the credit
for sincerity in suppressing the slave-trade which I conceive to be its due.
In 1839, my friend Mr. Gabriel saw 37 slave-ships lying in this harbor,
waiting for their cargoes, under the protection of the guns of the forts.
At that time slavers had to wait many months at a time for a human freight,
and a certain sum per head was paid to the government
for all that were exported. The duties derived from the exportation of slaves
far exceeded those from other commerce, and, by agreeing to
the suppression of this profitable traffic, the government actually sacrificed
the chief part of the export revenue. Since that period, however,
the revenue from lawful commerce has very much exceeded that on slaves.
The intentions of the home Portuguese government, however good, can not be
fully carried out under the present system. The pay of the officers
is so very small that they are nearly all obliged to engage in trade;
and, owing to the lucrative nature of the slave-trade, the temptation
to engage in it is so powerful, that the philanthropic statesmen of Lisbon
need hardly expect to have their humane and enlightened views carried out.
The law, for instance, lately promulgated for the abolition
of the carrier system (carregadores) is but one of several
equally humane enactments against this mode of compulsory labor,
but there is very little probability of the benevolent intentions
of the Legislature being carried into effect.
Loanda is regarded somewhat as a penal settlement, and those who leave
their native land for this country do so with the hope of getting rich
in a few years, and then returning home. They have thus
no motive for seeking the permanent welfare of the country.
The Portuguese law preventing the subjects of any other nation
from holding landed property unless they become naturalized,
the country has neither the advantage of native nor foreign enterprise,
and remains very much in the same state as our allies found it in 1575.
Nearly all the European soldiers sent out are convicts,
and, contrary to what might be expected from men in their position,
behave remarkably well. A few riots have occurred, but nothing at all
so serious as have taken place in our own penal settlements.
It is a remarkable fact that the whole of the arms of Loanda
are every night in the hands of those who have been convicts.
Various reasons for this mild behavior are assigned by the officers,
but none of these, when viewed in connection with our own experience
in Australia, appear to be valid. Religion seems to have no connection
with the change. Perhaps the climate may have some influence in subduing
their turbulent disposition, for the inhabitants generally are a timid race;
they are not half so brave as our Caffres. The people of Ambriz
ran away like a flock of sheep, and allowed the Portuguese
to take possession of their copper mines and country without striking a blow.
If we must have convict settlements, attention to the climate
might be of advantage in the selection. Here even bulls are much tamer
than with us. I never met with a ferocious one in this country,
and the Portuguese use them generally for riding; an ox is seldom seen.
The objects which I had in view in opening up the country,
as stated in a few notes of my journey, published in the newspapers of Angola,
so commended themselves to the general government and merchants of Loanda,
that, at the instance of his excellency the bishop,
a handsome present for Sekeletu was granted by the Board of Public Works
(Junta da Fazenda Publica). It consisted of a colonel's complete uniform
and a horse for the chief, and suits of clothing for all the men
who accompanied me. The merchants also made a present,
by public subscription, of handsome specimens of all their articles of trade,
and two donkeys, for the purpose of introducing the breed into his country,
as tsetse can not kill this beast of burden. These presents were accompanied
by letters from the bishop and merchants; and I was kindly favored
with letters of recommendation to the Portuguese authorities
in Eastern Africa.
I took with me a good stock of cotton cloth, fresh supplies
of ammunition and beads, and gave each of my men a musket.
As my companions had amassed considerable quantities of goods,
they were unable to carry mine, but the bishop furnished me
with twenty carriers, and sent forward orders to all the commandants
of the districts through which we were to pass to render me every assistance
in their power. Being now supplied with a good new tent made by my friends
on board the Philomel, we left Loanda on the 20th of September, 1854,
and passed round by sea to the mouth of the River Bengo.
Ascending this river, we went through the district in which stand
the ruins of the convent of St. Antonio; thence into Icollo i Bengo,
which contains a population of 6530 blacks, 172 mulattoes, and 11 whites,
and is so named from having been the residence of a former native king.
The proportion of slaves is only 3.38 per cent. of the inhabitants.
The commandant of this place, Laurence Jose Marquis,
is a frank old soldier and a most hospitable man; he is one of the few
who secure the universal approbation of their fellow-men for stern,
unflinching honesty, and has risen from the ranks to be a major in the army.
We were accompanied thus far by our generous host, Edmund Gabriel, Esq., who,
by his unwearied attentions to myself, and liberality in supporting my men,
had become endeared to all our hearts. My men were strongly impressed
with a sense of his goodness, and often spoke of him in terms of admiration
all the way to Linyanti.
While here we visited a large sugar manufactory belonging to a lady,
Donna Anna da Sousa. The flat alluvial lands on the banks
of the Senza or Bengo are well adapted for raising sugar-cane,
and this lady had a surprising number of slaves, but somehow the establishment
was far from being in a flourishing condition. It presented such a contrast
to the free-labor establishments of the Mauritius, which I have since seen,
where, with not one tenth of the number of hands, or such good soil,
a man of color had, in one year, cleared 5000 Pounds by a single crop,
that I quote the fact, in hopes it may meet the eye of Donna Anna.
The water of the river is muddy, and it is observed that such rivers
have many more mosquitoes than those which have clear water.
It was remarked to us here that these insects are much more numerous
at the period of new moon than at other times; at any rate,
we were all thankful to get away from the Senza and its insect plagues.
The whole of this part of the country is composed of marly tufa,
containing the same kind of shells as those at present alive in the seas.
As we advanced eastward and ascended the higher lands, we found eruptive trap,
which had tilted up immense masses of mica and sandstone schists.
The mica schist almost always dipped toward the interior of the country,
forming those mountain ranges of which we have already spoken
as giving a highland character to the district of Golungo Alto.
The trap has frequently run through the gorges made in the upheaved rocks,
and at the points of junction between the igneous and older rocks
there are large quantities of strongly magnetic iron ore.
The clayey soil formed by the disintegration of the mica schist and trap
is the favorite soil for the coffee; and it is on these mountain sides,
and others possessing a similar red clay soil, that this plant
has propagated itself so widely. The meadow-lands adjacent to
the Senza and Coanza being underlaid by that marly tufa
which abounds toward the coast, and containing the same shells,
show that, previous to the elevation of that side of the country,
this region possessed some deeply-indented bays.
28TH SEPTEMBER, KALUNGWEMBO. -- We were still on the same path
by which we had come, and, there being no mosquitoes, we could now
better enjoy the scenery. Ranges of hills occupy both sides of our path,
and the fine level road is adorned with a beautiful red flower
named Bolcamaria. The markets or sleeping-places are well supplied
with provisions by great numbers of women, every one of whom
is seen spinning cotton with a spindle and distaff, exactly like those
which were in use among the ancient Egyptians. A woman is scarcely ever seen
going to the fields, though with a pot on her head, a child on her back,
and the hoe over her shoulder, but she is employed in this way.
The cotton was brought to the market for sale, and I bought a pound
for a penny. This was the price demanded, and probably double
what they ask from each other. We saw the cotton growing luxuriantly
all around the market-places from seeds dropped accidentally.
It is seen also about the native huts, and, so far as I could learn,
it was the American cotton, so influenced by climate as to be perennial.
We met in the road natives passing with bundles of cops,
or spindles full of cotton thread, and these they were carrying to other parts
to be woven into cloth. The women are the spinners, and the men
perform the weaving. Each web is about 5 feet long, and 15 or 18 inches wide.
The loom is of the simplest construction, being nothing but two beams
placed one over the other, the web standing perpendicularly.
The threads of the web are separated by means of a thin wooden lath,
and the woof passed through by means of the spindle on which
it has been wound in spinning.
The mode of spinning and weaving in Angola, and, indeed,
throughout South Central Africa, is so very like the same occupations
in the hands of the ancient Egyptians, that I introduce a woodcut
from the interesting work of Sir Gardner Wilkinson. The lower figures
are engaged in spinning in the real African method, and the weavers
in the left-hand corner have their web in the Angolese fashion.*
* Unfortunately, this woodcut can not be represented in this ASCII text.
The caption reads, `Ancient Spinning and Weaving, perpetuated in Africa
at the present day. From Wilkinson's "Ancient Egyptians", p. 85, 86.'
The web, or cloth on the loom, mentioned, has the vertical threads,
or the warp, hanging, perhaps five feet, from a horizontal beam.
The woof is passed through from side to side. -- A. L., 1997.
Numbers of other articles are brought for sale to these sleeping-places.
The native smiths there carry on their trade. I bought ten
very good table-knives, made of country iron, for twopence each.
Labor is extremely cheap, for I was assured that even carpenters, masons,
smiths, etc., might be hired for fourpence a day, and agriculturists
would gladly work for half that sum.*
* In order that the reader may understand the social position of the people
of this country, I here give the census of the district of Golungo Alto
for the year 1854, though the numbers are evidently not all furnished:
238 householders or yeomen.
4224 patrons, or head men of several hamlets.
23 native chiefs or sovas.
292 macotas or councilors.
184 soldiers of militia.
3603 privileged gentlemen, i.e., who may wear boots.
717 old men.
54 blind men and women.
81 lame men and women.
770 slave men.
807 slave women.
9578 free women.
393 possessors of land.
300 female gardeners.
139 hunters of wild animals.
4065 males under 7 years of age.
6012 females under 7 years of age.
These people possess 300 idol-houses, 600 sheep, 5000 goats, 500 oxen,
398 gardens, 25,120 hearths. The authorities find great difficulty
in getting the people to furnish a correct account of their numbers.
This census is quoted merely for the purpose of giving
a general idea of the employments of the inhabitants.
The following is taken from the census of Icollo i Bengo,
and is added for a similar reason:
3232 living without the marriage tie. (All those who have
not been married by a priest are so distinguished.)
4 orphans -- 2 black and 2 white.
9 native chiefs.
The cattle in the district are: 10 asses, 401 oxen, 492 cows, 3933 sheep,
1699 goats, 909 swine; and as an annual tax is levied of sixpence per head
on all stock, it is probable that the returns are less than the reality.
Being anxious to obtain some more knowledge of this interesting country
and its ancient missionary establishments than the line of route
by which we had come afforded, I resolved to visit the town of Massangano,
which is situated to the south of Golungo Alto, and at the confluence
of the rivers Lucalla and Coanza. This led me to pass
through the district of Cazengo, which is rather famous
for the abundance and excellence of its coffee. Extensive coffee plantations
were found to exist on the sides of the several lofty mountains
that compose this district. They were not planted by the Portuguese.
The Jesuit and other missionaries are known to have brought
some of the fine old Mocha seed, and these have propagated themselves
far and wide; hence the excellence of the Angola coffee.
Some have asserted that, as new plantations were constantly discovered
even during the period of our visit, the coffee-tree was indigenous;
but the fact that pine-apples, bananas, yams, orange-trees,
custard apple-trees, pitangas, guavas, and other South American trees,
were found by me in the same localities with the recently-discovered coffee,
would seem to indicate that all foreign trees must have been introduced
by the same agency. It is known that the Jesuits also introduced
many other trees for the sake of their timber alone. Numbers of these
have spread over the country, some have probably died out,
and others failed to spread, like a lonely specimen which stands
in what was the Botanic Garden of Loanda, and, though most useful in yielding
a substitute for frankincense, is the only one of the kind in Africa.
A circumstance which would facilitate the extensive propagation of the coffee
on the proper clay soil is this: The seed, when buried beneath the soil,
generally dies, while that which is sown broadcast, with no covering
except the shade of the trees, vegetates readily. The agent in sowing
in this case is a bird, which eats the outer rind, and throws the kernel
on the ground. This plant can not bear the direct rays of the sun;
consequently, when a number of the trees are discovered in the forest,
all that is necessary is to clear away the brushwood,