Part 9 out of 15
and leave as many of the tall forest-trees as will afford good shade
to the coffee-plants below. The fortunate discoverer has then
a flourishing coffee plantation.
This district, small though it be, having only a population of 13,822,
of whom ten only are white, nevertheless yields an annual tribute
to the government of thirteen hundred cotton cloths, each 5 feet
by 18 or 20 inches, of their own growth and manufacture.
Accompanied by the commandant of Cazengo, who was well acquainted
with this part of the country, I proceeded in a canoe down the River Lucalla
to Massangano. This river is about 85 yards wide, and navigable for canoes
from its confluence with the Coanza to about six miles above the point
where it receives the Luinha. Near this latter point
stand the strong, massive ruins of an iron foundry, erected in
the times (1768) and by the order of the famous Marquis of Pombal.
The whole of the buildings were constructed of stone, cemented with
oil and lime. The dam for water-power was made of the same materials,
and 27 feet high. This had been broken through by a flood,
and solid blocks, many yards in length, were carried down the stream,
affording an instructive example of the transporting power of water.
There was nothing in the appearance of the place to indicate unhealthiness;
but eight Spanish and Swedish workmen, being brought hither
for the purpose of instructing the natives in the art of smelting iron,
soon fell victims to disease and "irregularities". The effort of the marquis
to improve the mode of manufacturing iron was thus rendered abortive.
Labor and subsistence are, however, so very cheap that almost
any amount of work can be executed, at a cost that renders
expensive establishments unnecessary.
A party of native miners and smiths is still kept in the employment
of the government, who, working the rich black magnetic iron ore,
produce for the government from 480 to 500 bars of good malleable iron
every month. They are supported by the appropriation of a few thousands
of a small fresh-water fish, called "Cacusu", a portion of the tax levied upon
the fishermen of the Coanza. This fish is so much relished in the country
that those who do not wish to eat them can easily convert them into money.
The commandant of the district of Massangano, for instance,
has a right to a dish of three hundred every morning, as part of his salary.
Shell-fish are also found in the Coanza, and the "Peixemulher",
or woman-fish of the Portuguese, which is probably a Manatee.
The banks of the Lucalla are very pretty, well planted with orange-trees,
bananas, and the palm (`Elaeis Guineensis') which yields the oil of commerce.
Large plantations of maize, manioc, and tobacco are seen along both banks,
which are enlivened by the frequent appearance of native houses
imbosomed in dense shady groves, with little boys and girls
playing about them. The banks are steep, the water having cut out its bed
in dark red alluvial soil. Before every cottage a small stage is erected,
to which the inhabitants may descend to draw water without danger
from the alligators. Some have a little palisade made in the water for safety
from these reptiles, and others use the shell of the fruit of the baobab-tree
attached to a pole about ten feet long, with which, while standing
on the high bank, they may draw water without fear of accident.
Many climbing plants run up the lofty silk, cotton, and baobab trees,
and hang their beautiful flowers in gay festoons on the branches.
As we approach Massangano, the land on both banks of the Lucalla becomes
very level, and large portions are left marshy after the annual floods;
but all is very fertile. As an illustration of the strength of the soil,
I may state that we saw tobacco-plants in gardens near the confluence
eight feet high, and each plant had thirty-six leaves,
which were eighteen inches long by six or eight inches broad.
But it is not a pastoral district. In our descent we observed the tsetse,
and consequently the people had no domestic animals save goats.
We found the town of Massangano on a tongue of rather high land,
formed by the left bank of the Lucalla and right bank of the Coanza,
and received true Portuguese hospitality from Senhor Lubata.
The town has more than a thousand inhabitants; the district has 28,063,
with only 315 slaves. It stands on a mound of calcareous tufa,
containing great numbers of fossil shells, the most recent of which
resemble those found in the marly tufa close to the coast.
The fort stands on the south side of the town, on a high perpendicular bank
overhanging the Coanza. This river is here a noble stream,
about a hundred and fifty yards wide, admitting navigation in large canoes
from the bar at its mouth to Cambambe, some thirty miles above this town.
There, a fine waterfall hinders farther ascent. Ten or twelve large canoes
laden with country produce pass Massangano every day. Four galleons
were constructed here as long ago as 1650, which must have been of good size,
for they crossed the ocean to Rio Janeiro.
Massangano district is well adapted for sugar and rice, while Cambambe
is a very superior field for cotton; but the bar at the mouth of the Coanza
would prevent the approach of a steamer into this desirable region,
though a small one could ply on it with ease when once in. It is probable
that the objects of those who attempted to make a canal from Calumbo to Loanda
were not merely to supply that city with fresh water,
but to afford facilities for transportation. The remains of the canal
show it to have been made on a scale suited for the Coanza canoes.
The Portuguese began another on a smaller scale in 1811,
and, after three years' labor, had finished only 6000 yards.
Nothing great or useful will ever be effected here so long as men come
merely to get rich, and then return to Portugal.
The latitude of the town and fort of Massangano is 9d 37' 46" S., being nearly
the same as that of Cassange. The country between Loanda and this point
being comparatively flat, a railroad might be constructed at small expense.
The level country is prolonged along the north bank of the Coanza
to the edge of the Cassange basin, and a railway carried thither
would be convenient for the transport of the products of the rich districts
of Cassange, Pungo Andongo, Ambaca, Cambambe, Golungo Alto, Cazengo,
Muchima, and Calumbo; in a word, the whole of Angola and independent tribes
adjacent to this kingdom.
The Portuguese merchants generally look to foreign enterprise
and to their own government for the means by which this amelioration
might be effected; but, as I always stated to them when conversing
on the subject, foreign capitalists would never run the risk,
unless they saw the Angolese doing something for themselves,
and the laws so altered that the subjects of other nations
should enjoy the same privileges in the country with themselves.
The government of Portugal has indeed shown a wise and liberal policy
by its permission for the alienation of the crown lands in Angola;
but the law giving it effect is so fenced round with limitations,
and so deluged with verbiage, that to plain people it seems
any thing but a straightforward license to foreigners to become
`bona fide' landholders and cultivators of the soil. At present
the tolls paid on the different lines of roads for ferries and bridges
are equal to the interest of large sums of money, though but a small amount
has been expended in making available roads.
There are two churches and a hospital in ruins at Massangano;
and the remains of two convents are pointed out, one of which
is said to have been an establishment of black Benedictines,
which, if successful, considering the materials the brethren had to work on,
must have been a laborious undertaking. There is neither
priest nor schoolmaster in the town, but I was pleased to observe
a number of children taught by one of the inhabitants.
The cultivated lands attached to all these conventual establishments in Angola
are now rented by the government of Loanda, and thither the bishop
lately removed all the gold and silver vessels belonging to them.
The fort of Massangano is small, but in good repair; it contains
some very ancient guns, which were loaded from the breech, and must have been
formidable weapons in their time. The natives of this country
entertain a remarkable dread of great guns, and this tends much
to the permanence of the Portuguese authority. They dread a cannon greatly,
though the carriage be so rotten that it would fall to pieces
at the first shot; the fort of Pungo Andongo is kept securely
by cannon perched on cross sticks alone!
Massangano was a very important town at the time the Dutch held
forcible possession of Loanda and part of Angola; but when, in the year 1648,
the Dutch were expelled from this country by a small body of Portuguese,
under the Governor Salvador Correa de Sa Benevides, Massangano was left
to sink into its present decay. Since it was partially abandoned
by the Portuguese, several baobab-trees have sprung up and attained
a diameter of eighteen or twenty inches, and are about twenty feet high.
No certain conclusion can be drawn from these instances, as it is not known
at what time after 1648 they began to grow; but their present size shows
that their growth is not unusually slow.
Several fires occurred during our stay, by the thatch having,
through long exposure to a torrid sun, become like tinder.
The roofs became ignited without any visible cause except
the intense solar rays, and excited terror in the minds of the inhabitants,
as the slightest spark carried by the wind would have set the whole town
in a blaze. There is not a single inscription on stone visible in Massangano.
If destroyed to-morrow, no one could tell where it and most Portuguese
interior villages stood, any more than we can do those of the Balonda.
During the occupation of this town the Coanza was used
for the purpose of navigation, but their vessels were so frequently plundered
by their Dutch neighbors that, when they regained the good port of Loanda,
they no longer made use of the river. We remained here four days,
in hopes of obtaining an observation for the longitude,
but at this season of the year the sky is almost constantly overcast
by a thick canopy of clouds of a milk-and-water hue; this continues
until the rainy season (which was now close at hand) commences.
The lands on the north side of the Coanza belong to the Quisamas (Kisamas),
an independent tribe, which the Portuguese have not been able to subdue.
The few who came under my observation possessed much of the Bushman
or Hottentot feature, and were dressed in strips of soft bark
hanging from the waist to the knee. They deal largely in salt,
which their country produces in great abundance. It is brought
in crystals of about 12 inches long and 1-1/2 in diameter.
This is hawked about every where in Angola, and, next to calico,
is the most common medium of barter. The Kisama are brave;
and when the Portuguese army followed them into their forests,
they reduced the invaders to extremity by tapping all the reservoirs of water,
which were no other than the enormous baobabs of the country hollowed
into cisterns. As the Kisama country is ill supplied with water otherwise,
the Portuguese were soon obliged to retreat. Their country, lying near
to Massangano, is low and marshy, but becomes more elevated in the distance,
and beyond them lie the lofty dark mountain ranges of the Libollo,
another powerful and independent people. Near Massangano I observed
what seemed to be an effort of nature to furnish a variety of domestic fowls,
more capable than the common kind of bearing the heat of the sun.
This was a hen and chickens with all their feathers curled upward,
thus giving shade to the body without increasing the heat.
They are here named "Kisafu" by the native population,
who pay a high price for them when they wish to offer them as a sacrifice,
and by the Portuguese they are termed "Arripiada", or shivering.
There seems to be a tendency in nature to afford varieties
adapted to the convenience of man. A kind of very short-legged fowl
among the Boers was obtained, in consequence of observing that
such were more easily caught for transportation in their frequent removals
in search of pasture. A similar instance of securing a variety
occurred with the short-limbed sheep in America.
Returning by ascending the Lucalla into Cazengo, we had
an opportunity of visiting several flourishing coffee plantations,
and observed that several men, who had begun with no capital
but honest industry, had, in the course of a few years,
acquired a comfortable subsistence. One of these, Mr. Pinto,
generously furnished me with a good supply of his excellent coffee,
and my men with a breed of rabbits to carry to their own country.
Their lands, granted by government, yielded, without much labor,
coffee sufficient for all the necessaries of life.
The fact of other avenues of wealth opening up so readily
seems like a providential invitation to forsake the slave-trade
and engage in lawful commerce. We saw the female population occupied,
as usual, in the spinning of cotton and cultivation of their lands.
Their only instrument for culture is a double-handled hoe, which is worked
with a sort of dragging motion. Many of the men were employed in weaving.
The latter appear to be less industrious than the former, for they require
a month to finish a single web. There is, however, not much inducement
to industry, for, notwithstanding the time consumed in its manufacture,
each web is sold for only two shillings.
On returning to Golungo Alto I found several of my men laid up with fever.
One of the reasons for my leaving them there was that they might recover
from the fatigue of the journey from Loanda, which had much more effect
upon their feet than hundreds of miles had on our way westward.
They had always been accustomed to moisture in their own well-watered land,
and we certainly had a superabundance of that in Loanda. The roads, however,
from Loanda to Golungo Alto were both hard and dry, and they suffered severely
in consequence; yet they were composing songs to be sung
when they should reach home. The Argonauts were nothing to them;
and they remarked very impressively to me, "It was well you came
with Makololo, for no tribe could have done what we have accomplished
in coming to the white man's country: we are the true ancients, who can tell
wonderful things." Two of them now had fever in the continued form,
and became jaundiced, the whites or conjunctival membrane of their eyes
becoming as yellow as saffron; and a third suffered from an attack of mania.
He came to his companions one day, and said, "Remain well.
I am called away by the gods!" and set off at the top of his speed.
The young men caught him before he had gone a mile, and bound him.
By gentle treatment and watching for a few days he recovered. I have observed
several instances of this kind in the country, but very few cases of idiocy,
and I believe that continued insanity is rare.
Visit a deserted Convent -- Favorable Report of Jesuits and their Teaching
-- Gradations of native Society -- Punishment of Thieves --
Palm-toddy; its baneful Effects -- Freemasons -- Marriages and Funerals --
Litigation -- Mr. Canto's Illness -- Bad Behavior of his Slaves --
An Entertainment -- Ideas on Free Labor -- Loss of American Cotton-seed --
Abundance of Cotton in the country -- Sickness of Sekeletu's Horse --
Eclipse of the Sun -- Insects which distill Water --
Experiments with them -- Proceed to Ambaca -- Sickly Season --
Office of Commandant -- Punishment of official Delinquents --
Present from Mr. Schut of Loanda -- Visit Pungo Andongo --
Its good Pasturage, Grain, Fruit, etc. -- The Fort and columnar Rocks --
The Queen of Jinga -- Salubrity of Pungo Andongo -- Price of a Slave --
A Merchant-prince -- His Hospitality -- Hear of the Loss of my Papers
in "Forerunner" -- Narrow Escape from an Alligator --
Ancient Burial-places -- Neglect of Agriculture in Angola --
Manioc the staple Product -- Its Cheapness -- Sickness --
Friendly Visit from a colored Priest -- The Prince of Congo --
No Priests in the Interior of Angola.
While waiting for the recovery of my men, I visited, in company with
my friend Mr. Canto, the deserted convent of St. Hilarion,
at Bango, a few miles northwest of Golungo Alto. It is situated
in a magnificent valley, containing a population numbering 4000 hearths.
This is the abode of the Sova, or Chief Bango, who still holds
a place of authority under the Portuguese. The garden of the convent,
the church, and dormitories of the brethren are still kept
in a good state of repair. I looked at the furniture, couches,
and large chests for holding the provisions of the brotherhood with interest,
and would fain have learned something of the former occupants;
but all the books and sacred vessels had lately been removed to Loanda,
and even the graves of the good men stand without any record:
their resting-places are, however, carefully tended.
All speak well of the Jesuits and other missionaries, as the Capuchins, etc.,
for having attended diligently to the instruction of the children.
They were supposed to have a tendency to take the part of the people
against the government, and were supplanted by priests,
concerning whom no regret is expressed that they were allowed to die out.
In viewing the present fruits of former missions, it is impossible
not to feel assured that, if the Jesuit teaching has been so permanent,
that of Protestants, who leave the Bible in the hands of their converts,
will not be less abiding. The chief Bango has built a large two-story house
close by the convent, but superstitious fears prevent him from sleeping in it.
The Portuguese take advantage of all the gradations into which native society
has divided itself. This man, for instance, is still a sova or chief,
has his councilors, and maintains the same state as when the country
was independent. When any of his people are guilty of theft,
he pays down the amount of goods stolen at once, and reimburses himself
out of the property of the thief so effectually as to be benefited by
the transaction. The people under him are divided into a number of classes.
There are his councilors, as the highest, who are generally
head men of several villages, and the carriers, the lowest free men.
One class above the last obtains the privilege of wearing shoes
from the chief by paying for it; another, the soldiers or militia,
pay for the privilege of serving, the advantage being that
they are not afterward liable to be made carriers. They are also divided
into gentlemen and little gentlemen, and, though quite black,
speak of themselves as white men, and of the others, who may not wear shoes,
as "blacks". The men of all these classes trust to their wives for food,
and spend most of their time in drinking the palm-toddy. This toddy
is the juice of the palm-oil-tree (`Elaeis Guineensis'), which, when tapped,
yields a sweet, clear liquid, not at all intoxicating while fresh, but,
when allowed to stand till the afternoon, causes inebriation and many crimes.
This toddy, called malova, is the bane of the country. Culprits are
continually brought before the commandants for assaults committed
through its influence. Men come up with deep gashes on their heads;
and one, who had burned his father's house, I saw making a profound bow
to Mr. Canto, and volunteering to explain why he did the deed.
There is also a sort of fraternity of freemasons, named Empacasseiros,
into which no one is admitted unless he is an expert hunter,
and can shoot well with the gun. They are distinguished
by a fillet of buffalo hide around their heads, and are employed as messengers
in all cases requiring express. They are very trustworthy, and,
when on active service, form the best native troops the Portuguese possess.
The militia are of no value as soldiers, but cost the country nothing,
being supported by their wives. Their duties are chiefly
to guard the residences of commandants, and to act as police.
The chief recreations of the natives of Angola are marriages and funerals.
When a young woman is about to be married, she is placed in a hut alone
and anointed with various unguents, and many incantations are employed
in order to secure good fortune and fruitfulness. Here, as almost every where
in the south, the height of good fortune is to bear sons.
They often leave a husband altogether if they have daughters only.
In their dances, when any one may wish to deride another,
in the accompanying song a line is introduced, "So and so has no children,
and never will get any." She feels the insult so keenly
that it is not uncommon for her to rush away and commit suicide.
After some days the bride elect is taken to another hut,
and adorned with all the richest clothing and ornaments that the relatives
can either lend or borrow. She is then placed in a public situation,
saluted as a lady, and presents made by all her acquaintances are placed
around her. After this she is taken to the residence of her husband,
where she has a hut for herself, and becomes one of several wives,
for polygamy is general. Dancing, feasting, and drinking on such occasions
are prolonged for several days. In case of separation,
the woman returns to her father's family, and the husband receives back
what he gave for her. In nearly all cases a man gives a price for the wife,
and in cases of mulattoes, as much as 60 Pounds is often given
to the parents of the bride. This is one of the evils the bishop was trying
In cases of death the body is kept several days, and there is a grand
concourse of both sexes, with beating of drums, dances, and debauchery,
kept up with feasting, etc., according to the means of the relatives.
The great ambition of many of the blacks of Angola is to give their friends
an expensive funeral. Often, when one is asked to sell a pig,
he replies, "I am keeping it in case of the death of any of my friends."
A pig is usually slaughtered and eaten on the last day of the ceremonies,
and its head thrown into the nearest stream or river.
A native will sometimes appear intoxicated on these occasions,
and, if blamed for his intemperance, will reply, "Why! my mother is dead!"
as if he thought it a sufficient justification. The expenses of funerals
are so heavy that often years elapse before they can defray them.
These people are said to be very litigious and obstinate:
constant disputes are taking place respecting their lands.
A case came before the weekly court of the commandant involving property
in a palm-tree worth twopence. The judge advised the pursuer
to withdraw the case, as the mere expenses of entering it
would be much more than the cost of the tree. "Oh no," said he;
"I have a piece of calico with me for the clerk, and money for yourself.
It's my right; I will not forego it." The calico itself
cost three or four shillings. They rejoice if they can say of an enemy,
"I took him before the court."
My friend Mr. Canto, the commandant, being seized with fever in a severe form,
it afforded me much pleasure to attend HIM in his sickness,
who had been so kind to ME in mine. He was for some time
in a state of insensibility, and I, having the charge of his establishment,
had thus an opportunity of observing the workings of slavery.
When a master is ill, the slaves run riot among the eatables.
I did not know this until I observed that every time the sugar-basin
came to the table it was empty. On visiting my patient by night,
I passed along a corridor, and unexpectedly came upon the washerwoman
eating pine-apples and sugar. All the sweetmeats were devoured,
and it was difficult for me to get even bread and butter until I took
the precaution of locking the pantry door. Probably the slaves thought that,
as both they and the luxuries were the master's property,
there was no good reason why they should be kept apart.
Debarred by my precaution from these sources of enjoyment,
they took to killing the fowls and goats, and, when the animal was dead,
brought it to me, saying, "We found this thing lying out there."
They then enjoyed a feast of flesh. A feeling of insecurity
prevails throughout this country. It is quite common to furnish visitors
with the keys of their rooms. When called on to come to breakfast or dinner,
each locks his door and puts the key in his pocket. At Kolobeng
we never locked our doors by night or by day for months together;
but there slavery is unknown. The Portuguese do not seem at all bigoted
in their attachment to slavery, nor yet in their prejudices against color.
Mr. Canto gave an entertainment in order to draw all classes together
and promote general good-will. Two sovas or native chiefs were present,
and took their places without the least appearance of embarrassment.
The Sova of Kilombo appeared in the dress of a general, and the Sova of Bango
was gayly attired in a red coat, profusely ornamented with tinsel.
The latter had a band of musicians with him consisting of
six trumpeters and four drummers, who performed very well.
These men are fond of titles, and the Portuguese government humors them
by conferring honorary captaincies, etc.: the Sova of Bango
was at present anxious to obtain the title of "Major of all the Sovas".
At the tables of other gentlemen I observed the same thing
constantly occurring. At this meeting Mr. Canto communicated some ideas
which I had written out on the dignity of labor, and the superiority
of free over slave labor. The Portuguese gentlemen present
were anxiously expecting an arrival of American cotton-seed from Mr. Gabriel.
They are now in the transition state from unlawful to lawful trade,
and turn eagerly to cotton, coffee, and sugar as new sources of wealth.
Mr. Canto had been commissioned by them to purchase three sugar-mills.
Our cruisers have been the principal agents in compelling them
to abandon the slave-trade; and our government, in furnishing them
with a supply of cotton-seed, showed a generous intention to aid them
in commencing a more honorable course. It can scarcely be believed, however,
that after Lord Clarendon had been at the trouble of procuring
fresh cotton-seed through our minister at Washington, and had sent it out
to the care of H. M. Commissioner at Loanda, probably from having fallen
into the hands of a few incorrigible slave-traders, it never reached
its destination. It was most likely cast into the sea of Ambriz,
and my friends at Golungo Alto were left without the means of commencing
a new enterprise.
Mr. Canto mentioned that there is now much more cotton in the country
than can be consumed; and if he had possession of a few hundred pounds,
he would buy up all the oil and cotton at a fair price,
and thereby bring about a revolution in the agriculture of the country.
These commodities are not produced in greater quantity,
because the people have no market for those which now spring up
almost spontaneously around them. The above was put down in my journal
when I had no idea that enlarged supplies of cotton from new sources
were so much needed at home.
It is common to cut down cotton-trees as a nuisance, and cultivate beans,
potatoes, and manioc sufficient only for their own consumption.
I have the impression that cotton, which is deciduous in America,
is perennial here; for the plants I saw in winter were not dead,
though going by the name Algodao Americana, or American cotton.
The rents paid for gardens belonging to the old convents are merely nominal,
varying from one shilling to three pounds per annum. The higher rents
being realized from those in the immediate vicinity of Loanda,
none but Portuguese or half-castes can pay them.
When about to start, the horse which the governor had kindly presented
for Sekeletu was seized with inflammation, which delayed us some time longer,
and we ultimately lost it. We had been careful to watch it when coming
through the district of Matamba, where we had discovered the tsetse,
that no insect might light upon it. The change of diet here may have had
some influence in producing the disease; for I was informed by Dr. Welweitsch,
an able German naturalist, whom we found pursuing his arduous labors here,
and whose life we hope may be spared to give his researches to the world,
that, of fifty-eight kinds of grasses found at Loanda,
only three or four species exist here, and these of the most diminutive kinds.
The twenty-four different species of grass of Golungo Alto are
nearly all gigantic. Indeed, gigantic grasses, climbers, shrubs and trees,
with but few plants, constitute the vegetation of this region.
NOVEMBER 20TH. An eclipse of the sun, which I had anxiously
hoped to observe with a view of determining the longitude,
happened this morning, and, as often took place in this cloudy climate,
the sun was covered four minutes before it began. When it shone forth
the eclipse was in progress, and a few minutes before it should
(according to my calculations) have ended the sun was again
completely obscured. The greatest patience and perseverance are required,
if one wishes to ascertain his position when it is the rainy season.
Before leaving, I had an opportunity of observing a curious insect,
which inhabits trees of the fig family (`Ficus'), upward of twenty species
of which are found here. Seven or eight of them cluster round a spot
on one of the smaller branches, and there keep up a constant distillation
of a clear fluid, which, dropping to the ground, forms a little puddle below.
If a vessel is placed under them in the evening, it contains
three or four pints of fluid in the morning. The natives say that,
if a drop falls into the eyes, it causes inflammation of these organs.
To the question whence is this fluid derived, the people reply
that the insects suck it out of the tree, and our own naturalists
give the same answer. I have never seen an orifice,
and it is scarcely possible that the tree can yield so much.
A similar but much smaller homopterous insect, of the family `Cercopidae',
is known in England as the frog-hopper (`Aphrophora spumaria'),
when full grown and furnished with wings, but while still in the pupa state
it is called "Cuckoo-spit", from the mass of froth in which
it envelops itself. The circulation of sap in plants in our climate,
especially of the graminaceae, is not quick enough to yield much moisture.
The African species is five or six times the size of the English.
In the case of branches of the fig-tree, the point the insects congregate on
is soon marked by a number of incipient roots, such as are thrown out when
a cutting is inserted in the ground for the purpose of starting another tree.
I believe that both the English and African insects belong to the same family,
and differ only in size, and that the chief part of the moisture
is derived from the atmosphere. I leave it for naturalists to explain
how these little creatures distill both by night and day as much water
as they please, and are more independent than her majesty's steam-ships,
with their apparatus for condensing steam; for, without coal,
their abundant supplies of sea-water are of no avail. I tried
the following experiment: Finding a colony of these insects busily distilling
on a branch of the `Ricinus communis', or castor-oil plant,
I denuded about 20 inches of the bark on the tree side of the insects,
and scraped away the inner bark, so as to destroy all the ascending vessels.
I also cut a hole in the side of the branch, reaching to the middle,
and then cut out the pith and internal vessels. The distillation
was then going on at the rate of one drop each 67 seconds,
or about 2 ounces 5-1/2 drams in 24 hours. Next morning the distillation,
so far from being affected by the attempt to stop the supplies,
supposing they had come up through the branch from the tree,
was increased to a drop every 5 seconds, or 12 drops per minute,
making 1 pint (16 ounces) in every 24 hours. I then cut the branch
so much that, during the day, it broke; but they still went on
at the rate of a drop every 5 seconds, while another colony
on a branch of the same tree gave a drop every 17 seconds only,
or at the rate of about 10 ounces 4-4/5 drams in 24 hours.
I finally cut off the branch; but this was too much for their patience,
for they immediately decamped, as insects will do from either a dead branch
or a dead animal, which Indian hunters soon know, when they sit down
on a recently-killed bear. The presence of greater moisture in the air
increased the power of these distillers: the period of greatest activity
was in the morning, when the air and every thing else was charged with dew.
Having but one day left for experiment, I found again that another colony
on a branch denuded in the same way yielded a drop every 2 seconds,
or 4 pints 10 ounces in 24 hours, while a colony on a branch untouched
yielded a drop every 11 seconds, or 16 ounces 2-19/20 drams in 24 hours.
I regretted somewhat the want of time to institute another experiment,
namely, to cut a branch and place it in water, so as to keep it in life,
and then observe if there was any diminution of the quantity of water
in the vessel. This alone was wanting to make it certain
that they draw water from the atmosphere. I imagine that they have
some power of which we are not aware, besides that nervous influence
which causes constant motion to our own involuntary muscles,
the power of life-long action without fatigue. The reader will remember,
in connection with this insect, the case of the ants already mentioned.
DECEMBER 14TH. Both myself and men having recovered from
severe attacks of fever, we left the hospitable residence of Mr. Canto
with a deep sense of his kindness to us all, and proceeded on our way
to Ambaca. (Lat. 9d 16' 35" S., long. 15d 23' E.)
Frequent rains had fallen in October and November, which were nearly always
accompanied with thunder. Occasionally the quantity of moisture
in the atmosphere is greatly increased without any visible cause:
this imparts a sensation of considerable cold, though the thermometer
exhibits no fall of the mercury. The greater humidity in the air,
affording a better conducting medium for the radiation of heat from the body,
is as dangerous as a sudden fall of the thermometer: it causes considerable
disease among the natives, and this season is denominated "Carneirado",
as if by the disease they were slaughtered like sheep.
The season of these changes, which is the most favorable for Europeans,
is the most unhealthy for the native population; and this is by no means
a climate in which either natives or Europeans can indulge in irregularities
Owing to the weakness of the men who had been sick, we were able
to march but short distances. Three hours and a half brought us
to the banks of the Caloi, a small stream which flows into the Senza.
This is one of the parts of the country reputed to yield petroleum,
but the geological formation, being mica schist, dipping toward the eastward,
did not promise much for our finding it. Our hospitable friend, Mr. Mellot,
accompanied us to another little river, called the Quango,
where I saw two fine boys, the sons of the sub-commandant, Mr. Feltao,
who, though only from six to eight years old, were subject to fever.
We then passed on in the bright sunlight, the whole country
looking so fresh and green after the rains, and every thing so cheering,
one could not but wonder to find it so feverish.
We found, on reaching Ambaca, that the gallant old soldier,
Laurence Jose Marquis, had, since our passing Icollo i Bengo,
been promoted, on account of his stern integrity, to the government
of this important district. The office of commandant is much coveted
by the officers of the line who come to Angola, not so much for the salary
as for the perquisites, which, when managed skillfully,
in the course of a few years make one rich. An idea may be formed
of the conduct of some of these officials from the following extract
from the Boletin of Loanda of the 28th of October, 1854:
"The acting governor-general of the province of Angola and its dependencies
determines as follows:
"Having instituted an investigation (Syndecancia) against
the commandant of the fort of ----, a captain of the army of Portugal
in commission in this province, ----, on account of numerous complaints,
which have come before this government, of violences and extortions
practiced by the said commandant, and those complaints appearing
by the result of the investigation to be well founded, it will be convenient
to exonerate the captain referred to from the command of the fort of ----,
to which he had been nominated by the portfolio of this general government,
No. 41, of 27th December of the past year; and if not otherwise determined,
the same official shall be judged by a council of war for the criminal acts
which are to him attributed."
Even this public mention of his crimes attaches no stigma
to the man's character. The council of war, by which these delinquents
always prefer to be judged, is composed of men who eagerly expect
to occupy the post of commandant themselves, and anticipate their own trial
for similar acts at some future time. The severest sentence
a council of war awards is a few weeks' suspension from office
in his regiment.
This want of official integrity, which is not at all attributable
to the home government of Portugal, would prove a serious impediment in
the way of foreign enterprise developing the resources of this rich province.
And to this cause, indeed, may be ascribed the failure of the Portuguese laws
for the entire suppression of the slave-trade. The officers ought to receive
higher pay, if integrity is expected from them. At present,
a captain's pay for a year will only keep him in good uniform.
The high pay our own officers receive has manifest advantages.
Before leaving Ambaca we received a present of ten head of cattle
from Mr. Schut of Loanda, and, as it shows the cheapness of provisions here,
I may mention that the cost was only about a guinea per head.
On crossing the Lucalla we made a detour to the south, in order to visit
the famous rocks of Pungo Andongo. As soon as we crossed the rivulet Lotete,
a change in the vegetation of the country was apparent. We found trees
identical with those to be seen south of the Chobe. The grass, too,
stands in tufts, and is of that kind which the natives consider
to be best adapted for cattle. Two species of grape-bearing vines
abound every where in this district, and the influence of the good pasturage
is seen in the plump condition of the cattle. In all my previous inquiries
respecting the vegetable products of Angola, I was invariably directed
to Pungo Andongo. Do you grow wheat? "Oh, yes, in Pungo Andongo."
-- Grapes, figs, or peaches? "Oh, yes, in Pungo Andongo."
-- Do you make butter, cheese, etc.? The uniform answer was,
"Oh, yes, there is abundance of all these in Pungo Andongo."
But when we arrived here, we found that the answers all referred
to the activity of one man, Colonel Manuel Antonio Pires.
The presence of the wild grape shows that vineyards might be cultivated
with success; the wheat grows well without irrigation;
and any one who tasted the butter and cheese at the table of Colonel Pires
would prefer them to the stale produce of the Irish dairy, in general use
throughout that province. The cattle in this country are seldom milked,
on account of the strong prejudice which the Portuguese entertain
against the use of milk. They believe that it may be used with safety
in the morning, but, if taken after midday, that it will cause fever.
It seemed to me that there was not much reason for carefully avoiding
a few drops in their coffee, after having devoured ten times the amount
in the shape of cheese at dinner.
The fort of Pungo Andongo (lat. 9d 42' 14" S., long. 15d 30' E.)
is situated in the midst of a group of curious columnar-shaped rocks,
each of which is upward of three hundred feet in height. They are
composed of conglomerate, made up of a great variety of rounded pieces
in a matrix of dark red sandstone. They rest on a thick stratum
of this last rock, with very few of the pebbles in its substance.
On this a fossil palm has been found, and if of the same age as those
on the eastern side of the continent, on which similar palms now lie,
there may be coal underneath this, as well as under that at Tete.
The asserted existence of petroleum springs at Dande, and near Cambambe,
would seem to indicate the presence of this useful mineral,
though I am not aware of any one having actually seen a seam of coal
tilted up to the surface in Angola, as we have at Tete.
The gigantic pillars of Pungo Andongo have been formed by a current of the sea
coming from the S.S.E.; for, seen from the top, they appear arranged
in that direction, and must have withstood the surges of the ocean
at a period of our world's history, when the relations of land and sea
were totally different from what they are now, and long before
"the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God
shouted for joy to see the abodes prepared which man was soon to fill."
The imbedded pieces in the conglomerate are of gneiss, clay shale,
mica and sandstone schists, trap, and porphyry, most of which
are large enough to give the whole the appearance of being the only remaining
vestiges of vast primaeval banks of shingle. Several little streams
run among these rocks, and in the central part of the pillars
stands the village, completely environed by well-nigh inaccessible rocks.
The pathways into the village might be defended by a small body of troops
against an army; and this place was long the stronghold of the tribe
called Jinga, the original possessors of the country.
We were shown a footprint carved on one of these rocks.
It is spoken of as that of a famous queen, who reigned over all this region.
In looking at these rude attempts at commemoration, one feels
the value of letters. In the history of Angola we find
that the famous queen Donna Anna de Souza came from the vicinity,
as embassadress from her brother, Gola Bandy, King of the Jinga,
to Loanda, in 1621, to sue for peace, and astonished the governor
by the readiness of her answers. The governor proposed,
as a condition of peace, the payment by the Jinga of an annual tribute.
"People talk of tribute after they have conquered, and not before it;
we come to talk of peace, not of subjection," was the ready answer.
The governor was as much nonplussed as our Cape governors often are
when they tell the Caffres "to put it all down in writing,
and they will then be able to answer them." She remained some time in Loanda,
gained all she sought, and, after being taught by the missionaries,
was baptized, and returned to her own country with honor.
She succeeded to the kingdom on the death of her brother,
whom it was supposed she poisoned, but in a subsequent war with the Portuguese
she lost nearly all her army in a great battle fought in 1627.
She returned to the Church after a long period of apostasy,
and died in extreme old age; and the Jinga still live as an independent people
to the north of this their ancient country. No African tribe
has ever been destroyed.
In former times the Portuguese imagined that this place
was particularly unhealthy, and banishment to the black rocks of Pungo Andongo
was thought by their judges to be a much severer sentence
than transportation to any part of the coast; but this district
is now well known to be the most healthy part of Angola.
The water is remarkably pure, the soil is light, and the country
open and undulating, with a general slope down toward the River Coanza,
a few miles distant. That river is the southern boundary of the Portuguese,
and beyond, to the S. and S.W., we see the high mountains of the Libollo.
On the S.E. we have also a mountainous country, inhabited by
the Kimbonda or Ambonda, who are said by Colonel Pires to be
a very brave and independent people, but hospitable and fair
in their dealings. They are rich in cattle, and their country produces
much beeswax, which is carefully collected, and brought to the Portuguese,
with whom they have always been on good terms.
The Ako (Haco), a branch of this family, inhabit the left bank of the Coanza
above this village, who, instead of bringing slaves for sale, as formerly,
now occasionally bring wax for the purchase of a slave from the Portuguese.
I saw a boy sold for twelve shillings: he said that he belonged
to the country of Matiamvo. Here I bought a pair of well-made boots,
of good tanned leather, which reached above the knee, for five shillings
and eightpence, and that was just the price given for one pound of ivory
by Mr. Pires; consequently, the boy was worth two pairs of boots,
or two pounds of ivory. The Libollo on the S. have not so good a character,
but the Coanza is always deep enough to form a line of defense.
Colonel Pires is a good example of what an honest industrious man
in this country may become. He came as a servant in a ship,
and, by a long course of persevering labor, has raised himself to be
the richest merchant in Angola. He possesses some thousands of cattle;
and, on any emergency, can appear in the field with several hundred
While enjoying the hospitality of this merchant-prince
in his commodious residence, which is outside the rocks,
and commands a beautiful view of all the adjacent country, I learned
that all my dispatches, maps, and journal had gone to the bottom of the sea
in the mail-packet "Forerunner". I felt so glad that my friend
Lieutenant Bedingfeld, to whose care I had committed them,
though in the most imminent danger, had not shared a similar fate,
that I was at once reconciled to the labor of rewriting. I availed myself
of the kindness of Colonel Pires, and remained till the end of the year
reproducing my lost papers.
Colonel Pires having another establishment on the banks of the Coanza,
about six miles distant, I visited it with him about once a week
for the purpose of recreation. The difference of temperature
caused by the lower altitude was seen in the cashew-trees;
for while, near the rocks, these trees were but coming into flower,
those at the lower station were ripening their fruit.
Cocoanut trees and bananas bear well at the lower station,
but yield little or no fruit at the upper. The difference indicated
by the thermometer was 7 Deg. The general range near the rocks
was 67 Deg. at 7 A.M., 74 Deg. at midday, and 72 Deg. in the evening.
A slave-boy belonging to Colonel Pires, having stolen and eaten some lemons
in the evening, went to the river to wash his mouth, so as not to be detected
by the flavor. An alligator seized him and carried him to an island
in the middle of the stream; there the boy grasped hold of the reeds,
and baffled all the efforts of the reptile to dislodge him,
till his companions, attracted by his cries, came in a canoe
to his assistance. The alligator at once let go his hold;
for, when out of his own element, he is cowardly. The boy had
many marks of the teeth in his abdomen and thigh, and those of the claws
on his legs and arms.
The slaves in Colonel Pires' establishments appeared more like free servants
than any I had elsewhere seen. Every thing was neat and clean,
while generally, where slaves are the only domestics,
there is an aspect of slovenliness, as if they went on the principle
of always doing as little for their masters as possible.
In the country near to this station were a large number of the ancient
burial-places of the Jinga. These are simply large mounds of stones,
with drinking and cooking vessels of rude pottery on them. Some are arranged
in a circular form, two or three yards in diameter, and shaped like a haycock.
There is not a single vestige of any inscription. The natives of Angola
generally have a strange predilection for bringing their dead
to the sides of the most frequented paths. They have a particular anxiety
to secure the point where cross-roads meet. On and around the graves
are planted tree euphorbias and other species of that family.
On the grave itself they also place water-bottles, broken pipes,
cooking vessels, and sometimes a little bow and arrow.
The Portuguese government, wishing to prevent this custom, affixed a penalty
on any one burying in the roads, and appointed places of public sepulture
in every district in the country. The people persist, however,
in spite of the most stringent enforcement of the law,
to follow their ancient custom.
The country between the Coanza and Pungo Andongo is covered with low trees,
bushes, and fine pasturage. In the latter, we were pleased to see
our old acquaintances, the gaudy gladiolus, Amaryllis toxicaria, hymanthus,
and other bulbs in as flourishing a condition as at the Cape.
It is surprising that so little has been done in the way of agriculture
in Angola. Raising wheat by means of irrigation has never been tried;
no plow is ever used; and the only instrument is the native hoe,
in the hands of slaves. The chief object of agriculture is the manioc,
which does not contain nutriment sufficient to give proper stamina
to the people. The half-caste Portuguese have not so much energy
as their fathers. They subsist chiefly on the manioc,
and, as that can be eaten either raw, roasted, or boiled,
as it comes from the ground; or fermented in water, and then roasted or dried
after fermentation, and baked or pounded into fine meal;
or rasped into meal and cooked as farina; or made into confectionary
with butter and sugar, it does not so soon pall upon the palate
as one might imagine, when told that it constitutes their principal food.
The leaves boiled make an excellent vegetable for the table; and,
when eaten by goats, their milk is much increased. The wood is a good fuel,
and yields a large quantity of potash. If planted in a dry soil,
it takes two years to come to perfection, requiring, during that time,
one weeding only. It bears drought well, and never shrivels up,
like other plants, when deprived of rain. When planted in low alluvial soils,
and either well supplied with rain or annually flooded,
twelve, or even ten months, are sufficient to bring it to maturity.
The root rasped while raw, placed upon a cloth, and rubbed with the hands
while water is poured upon it, parts with its starchy glutinous matter,
and this, when it settles at the bottom of the vessel, and the water
poured off, is placed in the sun till nearly dry, to form tapioca.
The process of drying is completed on an iron plate over a slow fire,
the mass being stirred meanwhile with a stick, and when quite dry
it appears agglutinated into little globules, and is in the form
we see the tapioca of commerce. This is never eaten by weevils,
and so little labor is required in its cultivation that on the spot
it is extremely cheap. Throughout the interior parts of Angola,
fine manioc meal, which could with ease have been converted either into
superior starch or tapioca, is commonly sold at the rate of about ten pounds
for a penny. All this region, however, has no means of transport to Loanda
other than the shoulders of the carriers and slaves over a footpath.
Cambambe, to which the navigation of the Coanza reaches,
is reported to be thirty leagues below Pungo Andongo.
A large waterfall is the limit on that side; and another exists higher up,
at the confluence of the Lombe (lat. 9d 41' 26" S., and about long. 16d E.),
over which hippopotami and elephants are sometimes drawn and killed.
The river between is rapid, and generally rushes over a rocky bottom.
Its source is pointed out as S.E. or S.S.E. of its confluence with the Lombe,
and near Bihe. The situation of Bihe is not well known.
When at Sanza we were assured that it lies nearly south of that point,
and eight days distant. This statement seemed to be corroborated
by our meeting many people going to Matiamvo and to Loanda from Bihe.
Both parties had come to Sanza, and then branched off,
one to the east, the other to the west. The source of the Coanza
is thus probably not far from Sanza.
I had the happiness of doing a little good in the way of administering
to the sick, for there are no doctors in the interior of Angola.
Notwithstanding the general healthiness of this fine district
and its pleasant temperature, I was attacked by fever myself.
While confined to my room, a gentleman of color, a canon of the Church,
kindly paid me a visit. He was on a tour of visitation
in the different interior districts for the purpose of baptizing and marrying.
He had lately been on a visit to Lisbon in company with the Prince of Congo,
and had been invested with an order of honor by the King of Portugal as
an acknowledgment of his services. He had all the appearance of a true negro,
but commanded the respect of the people; and Colonel P.,
who had known him for thirty years, pronounced him to be a good man.
There are only three or four priests in Loanda, all men of color,
but educated for the office. About the time of my journey in Angola,
an offer was made to any young men of ability who might wish
to devote themselves to the service of the Church, to afford them
the requisite education at the University of Coimbra in Portugal.
I was informed, on what seemed good authority, that the Prince of Congo
is professedly a Christian, and that there are no fewer than twelve churches
in that kingdom, the fruits of the mission established in former times
at San Salvador, the capital. These churches are kept in partial repair
by the people, who also keep up the ceremonies of the Church,
pronouncing some gibberish over the dead, in imitation of the Latin prayers
which they had formerly heard. Many of them can read and write.
When a King of Congo dies, the body is wrapped up in a great many
folds of cloth until a priest can come from Loanda to consecrate
his successor. The King of Congo still retains the title of Lord of Angola,
which he had when the Jinga, the original possessors of the soil,
owed him allegiance; and, when he writes to the Governor of Angola,
he places his own name first, as if addressing his vassal.
The Jinga paid him tribute annually in cowries, which were found on the island
that shelters Loanda harbor, and, on refusing to continue payment,
the King of Congo gave over the island to the Portuguese,
and thus their dominion commenced in this quarter.
There is not much knowledge of the Christian religion in either
Congo or Angola, yet it is looked upon with a certain degree of favor.
The prevalence of fever is probably the reason why no priest occupies a post
in any part of the interior. They come on tours of visitation
like that mentioned, and it is said that no expense is incurred,
for all the people are ready not only to pay for their services,
but also to furnish every article in their power gratuitously.
In view of the desolate condition of this fine missionary field,
it is more than probable that the presence of a few Protestants
would soon provoke the priests, if not to love, to good works.
Leave Pungo Andongo -- Extent of Portuguese Power --
Meet Traders and Carriers -- Red Ants; their fierce Attack;
Usefulness; Numbers -- Descend the Heights of Tala Mungongo --
Fruit-trees in the Valley of Cassange -- Edible Muscle --
Birds -- Cassange Village -- Quinine and Cathory --
Sickness of Captain Neves' Infant -- A Diviner thrashed --
Death of the Child -- Mourning -- Loss of Life from the Ordeal --
Wide-spread Superstitions -- The Chieftainship -- Charms --
Receive Copies of the "Times" -- Trading Pombeiros --
Present for Matiamvo -- Fever after westerly Winds -- Capabilities of Angola
for producing the raw Materials of English Manufacture --
Trading Parties with Ivory -- More Fever -- A Hyaena's Choice --
Makololo Opinion of the Portuguese -- Cypriano's Debt -- A Funeral --
Dread of disembodied Spirits -- Beautiful Morning Scenes --
Crossing the Quango -- Ambakistas called "The Jews of Angola" --
Fashions of the Bashinje -- Approach the Village of Sansawe --
His Idea of Dignity -- The Pombeiros' Present -- Long Detention --
A Blow on the Beard -- Attacked in a Forest -- Sudden Conversion
of a fighting Chief to Peace Principles by means of a Revolver --
No Blood shed in consequence -- Rate of Traveling -- Slave Women --
Way of addressing Slaves -- Their thievish Propensities --
Feeders of the Congo or Zaire -- Obliged to refuse Presents --
Cross the Loajima -- Appearance of People; Hair Fashions.
JANUARY 1, 1855. Having, through the kindness of Colonel Pires,
reproduced some of my lost papers, I left Pungo Andongo
the first day of this year, and at Candumba, slept in
one of the dairy establishments of my friend, who had sent forward orders
for an ample supply of butter, cheese, and milk. Our path lay along
the right bank of the Coanza. This is composed of the same sandstone rock,
with pebbles, which forms the flooring of the country. The land is level,
has much open forest, and is well adapted for pasturage.
On reaching the confluence of the Lombe, we left the river,
and proceeded in a northeasterly direction, through a fine open green country,
to the village of Malange, where we struck into our former path.
A few miles to the west of this a path branches off to a new district named
the Duke Braganza. This path crosses the Lucalla and several of its feeders.
The whole of the country drained by these is described as extremely fertile.
The territory west of Braganza is reported to be mountainous,
well wooded and watered; wild coffee is abundant, and the people
even make their huts of coffee-trees. The rivers Dande, Senza, and Lucalla
are said to rise in one mountain range. Numerous tribes inhabit the country
to the north, who are all independent. The Portuguese power
extends chiefly over the tribes through whose lands we have passed.
It may be said to be firmly seated only between the rivers Dande and Coanza.
It extends inland about three hundred miles to the River Quango;
and the population, according to the imperfect data afforded by the census,
given annually by the commandants of the fifteen or sixteen districts
into which it is divided, can not be under 600,000 souls.
Leaving Malange, we passed quickly, without deviation, along the path
by which we had come. At Sanza (lat. 9d 37' 46" S., long. 16d 59' E.)
we expected to get a little seed-wheat, but this was not now to be found
in Angola. The underlying rock of the whole of this section
is that same sandstone which we have before noticed, but it gradually
becomes finer in the grain, with the addition of a little mica,
the farther we go eastward; we enter upon clay shale at Tala Mungongo
(lat. 9d 42' 37" S., long. 17d 27' E.), and find it dipping
a little to the west. The general geological structure
is a broad fringe of mica and sandstone schist (about 15 Deg. E.),
dipping in toward the centre of the country, beneath these
horizontal and sedimentary rocks of more recent date, which form
an inland basin. The fringe is not, however, the highest in altitude,
though the oldest in age.
While at this latter place we met a native of Bihe who has visited
the country of Shinte three times for the purposes of trade. He gave us
some of the news of that distant part, but not a word of the Makololo,
who have always been represented in the countries to the north
as a desperately savage race, whom no trader could visit with safety.
The half-caste traders whom we met at Shinte's had returned to Angola
with sixty-six slaves and upward of fifty tusks of ivory.
As we came along the path, we daily met long lines of carriers
bearing large square masses of beeswax, each about a hundred pounds weight,
and numbers of elephants' tusks, the property of Angolese merchants.
Many natives were proceeding to the coast also on their own account,
carrying beeswax, ivory, and sweet oil. They appeared to travel
in perfect security; and at different parts of the road
we purchased fowls from them at a penny each. My men took care
to celebrate their own daring in having actually entered ships,
while the natives of these parts, who had endeavored to frighten them
on their way down, had only seen them at a distance. Poor fellows!
they were more than ever attentive to me; and, as they were not obliged
to erect sheds for themselves, in consequence of finding them already built
at the different sleeping-places, all their care was bestowed
in making me comfortable. Mashauana, as usual, made his bed
with his head close to my feet, and never during the entire journey
did I have to call him twice for any thing I needed.
During our stay at Tala Mungongo, our attention was attracted
to a species of red ant which infests different parts of this country.
It is remarkably fond of animal food. The commandant of the village
having slaughtered a cow, slaves were obliged to sit up the whole night,
burning fires of straw around the meat, to prevent them from devouring
most of it. These ants are frequently met with in numbers like a small army.
At a little distance they appear as a brownish-red band,
two or three inches wide, stretched across the path, all eagerly pressing on
in one direction. If a person happens to tread upon them,
they rush up his legs and bite with surprising vigor. The first time
I encountered this by no means contemptible enemy was near Cassange.
My attention being taken up in viewing the distant landscape, I accidentally
stepped upon one of their nests. Not an instant seemed to elapse
before a simultaneous attack was made on various unprotected parts,
up the trowsers from below, and on my neck and breast above.
The bites of these furies were like sparks of fire, and there was no retreat.
I jumped about for a second or two, then in desperation
tore off all my clothing, and rubbed and picked them off seriatim
as quickly as possible. Ugh! they would make the most lethargic mortal
look alive. Fortunately, no one observed this rencounter,
or word might have been taken back to the village that I had become mad.
I was once assaulted in a similar way when sound asleep at night in my tent,
and it was only by holding my blanket over the fire that I could
get rid of them. It is really astonishing how such small bodies
can contain so large an amount of ill-nature. They not only bite,
but twist themselves round after the mandibles are inserted, to produce
laceration and pain, more than would be effected by the single wound.
Frequently, while sitting on the ox, as he happened to tread near a band,
they would rush up his legs to the rider, and soon let him know
that he had disturbed their march. They possess no fear,
attacking with equal ferocity the largest as well as the smallest animals.
When any person has leaped over the band, numbers of them leave the ranks
and rush along the path, seemingly anxious for a fight. They are very useful
in ridding the country of dead animal matter, and, when they visit
a human habitation, clear it entirely of the destructive white ants
and other vermin. They destroy many noxious insects and reptiles.
The severity of their attack is greatly increased by their vast numbers,
and rats, mice, lizards, and even the `Python natalensis',
when in a state of surfeit from recent feeding, fall victims
to their fierce onslaught. These ants never make hills like the white ant.
Their nests are but a short distance beneath the soil,
which has the soft appearance of the abodes of ants in England.
Occasionally they construct galleries over their path
to the cells of the white ant, in order to secure themselves
from the heat of the sun during their marauding expeditions.
JANUARY 15TH, 1855. We descended in one hour from the heights
of Tala Mungongo. I counted the number of paces made on the slope downward,
and found them to be sixteen hundred, which may give a perpendicular height
of from twelve to fifteen hundred feet. Water boiled at 206 Degrees
at Tala Mungongo above, and at 208 Deg. at the bottom of the declivity,
the air being at 72 Deg. in the shade in the former case,
and 94 Deg. in the latter. The temperature generally throughout the day
was from 94 Deg. to 97 Deg. in the coolest shade we could find.
The rivulets which cut up the valley of Cassange were now dry,
but the Lui and Luare contained abundance of rather brackish water.
The banks are lined with palm, wild date-trees, and many guavas,
the fruit of which was now becoming ripe. A tree much like the mango abounds,
but it does not yield fruit. In these rivers a kind of edible muscle
is plentiful, the shells of which exist in all the alluvial beds
of the ancient rivers as far as the Kuruman. The brackish nature of the water
probably enables it to exist here. On the open grassy lawns
great numbers of a species of lark are seen. They are black,
with yellow shoulders. Another black bird, with a long tail
(`Centropus Senegalensis'), floats awkwardly, with its tail
in a perpendicular position, over the long grass. It always chooses
the highest points, and is caught on them with bird-lime,
the long black tail-feathers being highly esteemed by the natives for plumes.
We saw here also the "Lehututu" (`Tragopan Leadbeaterii'),
a large bird strongly resembling a turkey; it is black on the ground,
but when it flies the outer half of the wings are white. It kills serpents,
striking them dexterously behind the head. It derives its native name
from the noise it makes, and it is found as far as Kolobeng.
Another species like it is called the Abyssinian hornbill.
Before we reached Cassange we were overtaken by the commandant,
Senhor Carvalho, who was returning, with a detachment of fifty men
and a field-piece, from an unsuccessful search after some rebels.
The rebels had fled, and all he could do was to burn their huts.
He kindly invited me to take up my residence with him; but, not wishing
to pass by the gentleman (Captain Neves) who had so kindly received me
on my first arrival in the Portuguese possessions, I declined.
Senhor Rego had been superseded in his command, because the Governor Amaral,
who had come into office since my departure from Loanda,
had determined that the law which requires the office of commandant
to be exclusively occupied by military officers of the line
should once more come into operation. I was again most kindly welcomed
by my friend, Captain Neves, whom I found laboring under
a violent inflammation and abscess of the hand. There is nothing
in the situation of this village to indicate unhealthiness,
except, perhaps, the rank luxuriance of the vegetation.
Nearly all the Portuguese inhabitants suffer from enlargement of the spleen,
the effects of frequent intermittents, and have generally a sickly appearance.
Thinking that this affection of the hand was simply an effort of nature
to get rid of malarious matter from the system, I recommended
the use of quinine. He himself applied the leaf of a plant called cathory,
famed among the natives as an excellent remedy for ulcers.
The cathory leaves, when boiled, exude a gummy juice,
which effectually shuts out the external air. Each remedy, of course,
claimed the merit of the cure.
Many of the children are cut off by fever. A fine boy of Captain Neves' had,
since my passage westward, shared a similar fate. Another child died
during the period of my visit. During his sickness, his mother,
a woman of color, sent for a diviner in order to ascertain
what ought to be done. The diviner, after throwing his dice,
worked himself into the state of ecstasy in which they pretend to be
in communication with the Barimo. He then gave the oracular response
that the child was being killed by the spirit of a Portuguese trader
who once lived at Cassange. The case was this: on the death of the trader,
the other Portuguese merchants in the village came together,
and sold the goods of the departed to each other, each man accounting
for the portion received to the creditors of the deceased at Loanda.
The natives, looking on, and not understanding the nature of written
mercantile transactions, concluded that the merchants of Cassange
had simply stolen the dead man's goods, and that now the spirit was killing
the child of Captain Neves for the part he had taken in the affair.
The diviner, in his response, revealed the impression made on his own mind
by the sale, and likewise the native ideas of departed souls.
As they give the whites credit for greater stupidity than themselves
in all these matters, the mother of the child came, and told the father
that he ought to give a slave to the diviner as a fee to make a sacrifice
to appease the spirit and save the life of the child. The father
quietly sent for a neighbor, and, though the diviner pretended to remain
in his state of ecstasy, the brisk application of two sticks to his back
suddenly reduced him to his senses and a most undignified flight.
The mother of this child seemed to have no confidence in European wisdom,
and, though I desired her to keep the child out of currents of wind,
she preferred to follow her own custom, and even got it cupped on the cheeks.
The consequence was that the child was soon in a dying state,
and the father wishing it to be baptized, I commended its soul to
the care and compassion of Him who said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven."
The mother at once rushed away, and commenced that doleful wail
which is so affecting, as it indicates sorrow without hope.
She continued it without intermission until the child was buried.
In the evening her female companions used a small musical instrument,
which produced a kind of screeching sound, as an accompaniment
of the death wail.
In the construction of this instrument they make use of caoutchouc, which,
with a variety of other gums, is found in different parts of this country.
The intercourse which the natives have had with white men
does not seem to have much ameliorated their condition.
A great number of persons are reported to lose their lives annually
in different districts of Angola by the cruel superstitions
to which they are addicted, and the Portuguese authorities either
know nothing of them, or are unable to prevent their occurrence.
The natives are bound to secrecy by those who administer the ordeal,
which generally causes the death of the victim. A person,
when accused of witchcraft, will often travel from distant districts
in order to assert her innocency and brave the test. They come to a river
on the Cassange called Dua, drink the infusion of a poisonous tree,
and perish unknown.
A woman was accused by a brother-in-law of being the cause of his sickness
while we were at Cassange. She offered to take the ordeal,
as she had the idea that it would but prove her conscious innocence.
Captain Neves refused his consent to her going, and thus saved her life,
which would have been sacrificed, for the poison is very virulent.
When a strong stomach rejects it, the accuser reiterates his charge;
the dose is repeated, and the person dies. Hundreds perish thus every year
in the valley of Cassange.
The same superstitious ideas being prevalent through the whole of the country
north of the Zambesi, seems to indicate that the people must originally
have been one. All believe that the souls of the departed still mingle
among the living, and partake in some way of the food they consume.
In sickness, sacrifices of fowls and goats are made to appease the spirits.
It is imagined that they wish to take the living away from earth
and all its enjoyments. When one man has killed another, a sacrifice is made,
as if to lay the spirit of the victim. A sect is reported to exist
who kill men in order to take their hearts and offer them to the Barimo.
The chieftainship is elective from certain families.
Among the Bangalas of the Cassange valley the chief is chosen
from three families in rotation. A chief's brother inherits
in preference to his son. The sons of a sister belong to her brother;
and he often sells his nephews to pay his debts. By this and other
unnatural customs, more than by war, is the slave-market supplied.
The prejudices in favor of these practices are very deeply rooted
in the native mind. Even at Loanda they retire out of the city in order
to perform their heathenish rites without the cognizance of the authorities.
Their religion, if such it may be called, is one of dread. Numbers of charms
are employed to avert the evils with which they feel themselves
to be encompassed. Occasionally you meet a man, more cautious or more timid
than the rest, with twenty or thirty charms round his neck. He seems to act
upon the principle of Proclus, in his prayer to all the gods and goddesses:
among so many he surely must have the right one. The disrespect
which Europeans pay to the objects of their fear is to their minds
only an evidence of great folly.
While here, I reproduced the last of my lost papers and maps;
and as there is a post twice a month from Loanda, I had the happiness
to receive a packet of the "Times", and, among other news,
an account of the Russian war up to the terrible charge of the light cavalry.
The intense anxiety I felt to hear more may be imagined by every true patriot;
but I was forced to brood on in silent thought, and utter my poor prayers
for friends who perchance were now no more, until I reached
the other side of the continent.
A considerable trade is carried on by the Cassange merchants with all the
surrounding territory by means of native traders, whom they term "Pombeiros".
Two of these, called in the history of Angola "the trading blacks"
(os feirantes pretos), Pedro Joao Baptista and Antonio Jose,
having been sent by the first Portuguese trader that lived at Cassange,
actually returned from some of the Portuguese possessions in the East
with letters from the governor of Mozambique in the year 1815,
proving, as is remarked, "the possibility of so important a communication
between Mozambique and Loanda." This is the only instance
of native Portuguese subjects crossing the continent. No European
ever accomplished it, though this fact has lately been quoted
as if the men had been "PORTUGUESE".
Captain Neves was now actively engaged in preparing a present,
worth about fifty pounds, to be sent by Pombeiros to Matiamvo.
It consisted of great quantities of cotton cloth, a large carpet,
an arm-chair with a canopy and curtains of crimson calico, an iron bedstead,
mosquito curtains, beads, etc., and a number of pictures rudely painted in oil
by an embryo black painter at Cassange.
Matiamvo, like most of the natives in the interior of the country,
has a strong desire to possess a cannon, and had sent ten large tusks
to purchase one; but, being government property, it could not be sold:
he was now furnished with a blunderbuss, mounted as a cannon,
which would probably please him as well.
Senhor Graca and some other Portuguese have visited this chief
at different times; but no European resides beyond the Quango;
indeed, it is contrary to the policy of the government of Angola
to allow their subjects to penetrate further into the interior. The present
would have been a good opportunity for me to have visited that chief,
and I felt strongly inclined to do so, as he had expressed dissatisfaction
respecting my treatment by the Chiboque, and even threatened to punish them.
As it would be improper to force my men to go thither, I resolved
to wait and see whether the proposition might not emanate from themselves.
When I can get the natives to agree in the propriety of any step, they go
to the end of the affair without a murmur. I speak to them and treat them
as rational beings, and generally get on well with them in consequence.
I have already remarked on the unhealthiness of Cassange;
and Captain Neves, who possesses an observing turn of mind, had noticed
that always when the west wind blows much fever immediately follows.
As long as easterly winds prevail, all enjoy good health;
but in January, February, March, and April, the winds are variable,
and sickness is general. The unhealthiness of the westerly winds
probably results from malaria, appearing to be heavier than common air,
and sweeping down into the valley of Cassange from the western plateau,
somewhat in the same way as the carbonic acid gas from bean-fields
is supposed by colliers to do into coal-pits. In the west of Scotland
strong objections are made by that body of men to farmers planting beans
in their vicinity, from the belief that they render the mines unhealthy.
The gravitation of the malaria from the more elevated land of Tala Mungongo
toward Cassange is the only way the unhealthiness of this spot
on the prevalence of the westerly winds can be accounted for.
The banks of the Quango, though much more marshy, and covered with
ranker vegetation, are comparatively healthy; but thither the westerly wind
does not seem to convey the noxious agent.
FEB. 20TH. On the day of starting from Cassange, the westerly wind
blew strongly, and on the day following we were brought to a stand
by several of our party being laid up with fever. This complaint
is the only serious drawback Angola possesses. It is in every other respect
an agreeable land, and admirably adapted for yielding
a rich abundance of tropical produce for the rest of the world.
Indeed, I have no hesitation in asserting that, had it been
in the possession of England, it would now have been yielding
as much or more of the raw material for her manufactures
as an equal extent of territory in the cotton-growing states of America.
A railway from Loanda to this valley would secure the trade
of most of the interior of South Central Africa.*
* The following statistics may be of interest to mercantile men.
They show that since the repression of the slave-trade in Angola
the value of the exports in lawful commerce has steadily augmented.
We have no returns since 1850, but the prosperity of legitimate trade
has suffered no check. The duties are noted in Portuguese money, "milreis",
each of which is about three shillings in value.
Return of the Quantities and Value of the Staple Articles,
the Produce of the Province of ANGOLA, exported from
ST. PAUL DE LOANDA between July 1, 1848, and June 30, 1849,
specifying the Quantities and Value of those exported
in Portuguese Ships and in Ships of other Nations.
| | In Portuguese Ships. || In Ships of other Nations. |
| Articles. |------------------------||----------------------------|
| | Amount. | Value. || Amount. | Value. |
| | | L. s. d. || | L. s. d. |
| Ivory. . . Cwt. | 1454 | 35,350 0 0 || 515 | 12,875 0 0 |
| Palm oil . " | 1440 | 2,160 0 0 || 6671 1 qr. | 10,036 17 6 |
| Coffee . . " | 152 | 304 0 0 || 684 | 1,368 0 0 |
| Hides. . . No. | 1837 | 633 17 6 || 849 | 318 17 6 |
| Gum. . . . Cwt. | 147 | 205 16 0 || 4763 | 6,668 4 0 |
| Beeswax. . " | 1109 | 6,654 0 0 || 544 | 3,264 0 0 |
| Orchella . Tons | 630 | 23,940 0 0 || .... | .... |
| | |--------------|| |--------------|
| | | 69,247 13 6 || | 34,530 19 0 |
TOTAL Quantity and Value of Exports from LOANDA.
L. s. d.
Ivory . . . Cwt. 1969 . . . . 48,225 0 0
Palm oil. . " 8111 1 qr. . . . . 12,196 17 6
Coffee. . . " 836 . . . . 1,672 0 0
Hides . . . No. 2686 . . . . 952 15 0
Gum . . . . Cwt. 4910 . . . . 6,874 0 0
Beeswax . . " 1653 . . . . 9,918 0 0
Orchella. . Tons 630 . . . . 23,940 0 0
L. 103,778 12 6
ABSTRACT VIEW of the Net Revenue of the Customs at St. Paul de Loanda
in quinquennial periods from 1818-19 to 1843-44, both included;
and thence in each year to 1848-49.
| | | | | |Tonnage Dues,|
| | Duties on | Duties on |Duties on | Duties on |Store Rents, |
| Years. | Importation.|Exportation.|Re-export-| Slaves. | and other |
| | | | ation. | | incidental |
| | | | | | Receipts. |
| | Mil. reis.| Mil. reis.|Mil. reis.| Mil. reis.| Mil. reis.|
| 1818-19 | 573 876 | ... | .... |137,320 800 | 148,608 661 |
| 1823-24 | 3,490 752 | 460 420 | .... |120,843 000 | 133,446 892 |
| 1828-29 | 4,700 684 | 800 280 | .... |125,330 000 | 139,981 364 |
| 1833-34 | 7,490 000 | 1,590 000 | .... |139,280 000 | 158,978 640 |
| 1838-39 | 25,800 590 | 2,720 000 | .... |135,470 320 | 173,710 910 |
| 1843-44 | 53,240 000 | 4,320 000 | .... | 72,195 230 | 138,255 230 |
| 1844-45 | 99,380 264 | 6,995 095 | .... | 17,676 000 | 134,941 359 |
| 1845-46 | 150,233 789 | 9,610 735 | .... | 5,116 500 | 181,423 550 |
| 1846-47 | 122,501 186 | 8,605 821 | .... | 549 000 | 114,599 235 |
| 1847-48 | 119,246 826 | 9,718 676 | 4097 868 | 1,231 200 | 146,321 476 |
| 1848-49 | 131,105 453 | 9,969 960 | 1164 309 | 1,183 500 | 157,152 400 |
| |-------------|------------| |------------| |
| | 717,763 420*| 54,790 987 | |756,195 550 | |
| | = L.102,680 | = L.7827 | |= L.108,028 | |
* This figure was originally miscalculated as 718,763 420,
which probably affected its conversion into Pounds. -- A. L., 1997.
| | Net Revenue | Revenue from | Total Net | Total Amount |
| Years. | of Customs. | other Sources. | Revenue. | of Charges. |
| | L. s. d. | L. s. d. | L. s. d. | L. s. d. |
| 1844-45 | 26,988 5 5 | 9,701 10 8 | 36,689 16 1 | 53,542 5 4 |
| 1845-46 | 36,284 14 2 | 24,580 4 10 | 60,864 19 0 | 56,695 9 7 |
| 1846-47 | 28,919 16 11 | 23,327 9 11 | 52,247 6 10 | 52,180 9 7 |
| 1847-48 | 29,264 5 10 | 24,490 11 8 | 53,754 17 6 | 53,440 8 8 |
| 1848-49 | 31,430 9 7 | 18,868 3 10 | 51,298 13 5 | 50,686 3 3 |
The above account exhibits the total revenue and charges of the government
of St. Paul de Loanda in each year, from 1844-45 to 1848-49, both included.
The above three tables are copied from the appendix to a dispatch
sent by Mr. Gabriel to Viscount Palmerston, dated the 5th of August, 1850,
and, among other facts of interest, show a very satisfactory diminution
in the duties upon slaves.
The returns from 1818 to 1844 have been obtained from different sources
as the average revenue; those from 1844 to 1849 are from
the Custom-house records.
As soon as we could move toward the Quango we did so, meeting in our course
several trading-parties, both native and Portuguese. We met two of the latter
carrying a tusk weighing 126 lbs. The owner afterward informed us
that its fellow on the left side of the same elephant was 130 lbs.
It was 8 feet 6-1/2 inches long, and 21 inches in circumference
at the part on which the lip of the animal rests. The elephant was
rather a small one, as is common in this hot central region.
Some idea may be formed of the strength of his neck when it is recollected
that he bore a weight of 256 lbs. The ivory which comes
from the east and northeast of Cassange is very much larger
than any to be found further south. Captain Neves had one weighing 120 lbs.,
and this weight is by no means uncommon. They have been found
weighing even 158 lbs.
Before reaching the Quango we were again brought to a stand
by fever in two of my companions, close to the residence of a Portuguese
who rejoiced in the name of William Tell, and who lived here
in spite of the prohibition of the government. We were using
the water of a pond, and this gentleman, having come to invite me to dinner,
drank a little of it, and caught fever in consequence. If malarious matter
existed in water, it would have been a wonder had we escaped;
for, traveling in the sun, with the thermometer from 96 Degrees to 98 Degrees
in the shade, the evaporation from our bodies causing much thirst,
we generally partook of every water we came to. We had probably thus
more disease than others might suffer who had better shelter.
Mr. Tell remarked that his garden was rather barren, being still,
as he said, wild; but when more worked it would become better,
though no manure be applied. My men were busy collecting
a better breed of fowls and pigeons than those in their own country.
Mr. Tell presented them with some large specimens from Rio Janeiro.
Of these they were wonderfully proud, and bore the cock in triumph
through the country of the Balonda, as evidence of having been to the sea.
But when at the village of Shinte, a hyaena came into our midst
when we were all sound asleep, and picked out the giant in his basket
from eighty-four others, and he was lost, to the great grief of my men.
The anxiety these people have always shown to improve the breed
of their domestic animals is, I think, a favorable point in their character.
On looking at the common breeds in the possession of the Portuguese,
which are merely native cattle, and seeing them slaughter
both heifer-calves and cows, which they themselves never do,
and likewise making no use of the milk, they concluded that the Portuguese
must be an inferior race of white men. They never ceased remarking
on the fine ground for gardens over which we were passing; and when
I happened to mention that most of the flour which the Portuguese consumed
came from another country, they exclaimed, "Are they ignorant of tillage?"
"They know nothing but buying and selling: they are not men."
I hope it may reach the ears of my Angolese friends, and that they
may be stirred up to develop the resources of their fine country.
On coming back to Cypriano's village on the 28th, we found
that his step-father had died after we had passed, and, according to
the custom of the country, he had spent more than his patrimony
in funeral orgies. He acted with his wonted kindness, though, unfortunately,
drinking has got him so deeply in debt that he now keeps out of the way
of his creditors. He informed us that the source of the Quango is eight days,
or one hundred miles, to the south of this, and in a range called Mosamba,
in the country of the Basongo. We can see from this a sort of break
in the high land which stretches away round to Tala Mongongo,
through which the river comes.
A death had occurred in a village about a mile off, and the people were busy
beating drums and firing guns. The funeral rites are half festive,
half mourning, partaking somewhat of the character of an Irish wake.
There is nothing more heart-rending than their death wails.
When the natives turn their eyes to the future world, they have a view
cheerless enough of their own utter helplessness and hopelessness.
They fancy themselves completely in the power of the disembodied spirits,
and look upon the prospect of following them as the greatest of misfortunes.
Hence they are constantly deprecating the wrath of departed souls,
believing that, if they are appeased, there is no other cause of death
but witchcraft, which may be averted by charms. The whole of the colored
population of Angola are sunk in these gross superstitions,
but have the opinion, notwithstanding, that they are wiser in these matters
than their white neighbors. Each tribe has a consciousness of following
its own best interests in the best way. They are by no means
destitute of that self-esteem which is so common in other nations;
yet they fear all manner of phantoms, and have half-developed
ideas and traditions of something or other, they know not what.
The pleasures of animal life are ever present to their minds
as the supreme good; and, but for the innumerable invisibilities, they might
enjoy their luxurious climate as much as it is possible for man to do.
I have often thought, in traveling through their land, that it presents
pictures of beauty which angels might enjoy. How often have I beheld,
in still mornings, scenes the very essence of beauty, and all bathed
in a quiet air of delicious warmth! yet the occasional soft motion
imparted a pleasing sensation of coolness as of a fan. Green grassy meadows,
the cattle feeding, the goats browsing, the kids skipping,
the groups of herd-boys with miniature bows, arrows, and spears;
the women wending their way to the river with watering-pots
poised jauntily on their heads; men sewing under the shady banians;
and old gray-headed fathers sitting on the ground, with staff in hand,
listening to the morning gossip, while others carry trees or branches to
repair their hedges; and all this, flooded with the bright African sunshine,
and the birds singing among the branches before the heat of the day
has become intense, form pictures which can never be forgotten.
We were informed that a chief named Gando, living on the other side
of the river, having been accused of witchcraft, was killed by the ordeal,
and his body thrown into the Quango.
The ferrymen demanded thirty yards of calico, but received six thankfully.
The canoes were wretched, carrying only two persons at a time;
but my men being well acquainted with the water, we all got over
in about two hours and a half. They excited the admiration of the inhabitants
by the manner in which they managed the cattle and donkeys in crossing.
The most stubborn of beasts found himself powerless in their hands.
Five or six, seizing hold on one, bundled him at once into the stream,
and, in this predicament, he always thought it best policy
to give in and swim. The men sometimes swam along with the cattle,
and forced them to go on by dashing water at their heads. The difference
between my men and those of the native traders who accompanied us
was never more apparent than now; for, while my men felt an interest
in every thing we possessed in common, theirs were rather glad when the oxen
refused to cross, for, being obliged to slaughter them on such occasions,
the loss to their masters was a welcome feast to themselves.
On the eastern side of the Quango we passed on, without visiting
our friend of the conical head-dress, to the residence of some Ambakistas who
had crossed the river in order to secure the first chances of trade in wax.
I have before remarked on the knowledge of reading and writing that these
Ambakistas possess; they are famed for their love of all sorts of learning
within their reach, a knowledge of the history of Portugal, Portuguese law,
etc., etc. They are remarkably keen in trade, and are sometimes called
the Jews of Angola. They are employed as clerks and writers,
their feminine delicacy of constitution enabling them to write
a fine lady's hand, a kind of writing much esteemed among the Portuguese.
They are not physically equal to the European Portuguese, but possess
considerable ability; and it is said that half-castes, in the course
of a few generations, return to the black color of the maternal ancestor.
The black population of Angola has become much deteriorated.
They are not so strongly formed as the independent tribes.
A large quantity of aguardiente, an inferior kind of spirit,
is imported into the country, which is most injurious in its effects.
We saw many parties carrying casks of this baneful liquor
to the independent chiefs beyond; and were informed that it is difficult for
any trader to convey it far, carriers being in the habit of helping themselves
by means of a straw, and then injecting an equal amount of water
when near the point of delivery. To prevent this, it is common to see
large demijohns with padlocks on the corks. These are frequently stolen.
In fact, the carriers are much addicted to both lying and thieving,
as might be expected from the lowest class of a people on whom
the debasing slave system has acted for two centuries.
The Bashinje, in whose country we now are, seem to possess
more of the low negro character and physiognomy than either
the Balonda or Basongo; their color is generally dirty black,
foreheads low and compressed, noses flat and much expanded laterally,
though this is partly owing to the alae spreading over the cheeks,
by the custom of inserting bits of sticks or reeds in the septum;
their teeth are deformed by being filed to points; their lips are large.
They make a nearer approach to a general negro appearance
than any tribes I met; but I did not notice this on my way down.
They cultivate pretty largely, and rely upon their agricultural products
for their supplies of salt, flesh, tobacco, etc., from Bangalas.
Their clothing consists of pieces of skin, hung loosely from the girdle
in front and behind. They plait their hair fantastically. We saw
some women coming with their hair woven into the form of a European hat,
and it was only by a closer inspection that its nature was detected.
Others had it arranged in tufts, with a threefold cord along the ridge
of each tuft; while others, again, follow the ancient Egyptian fashion,
having the whole mass of wool plaited into cords, all hanging down as far
as the shoulders. This mode, with the somewhat Egyptian cast of countenance
in other parts of Londa, reminded me strongly of the paintings of that nation
in the British Museum.
We had now rain every day, and the sky seldom presented
that cloudless aspect and clear blue so common in the dry lands of the south.
The heavens are often overcast by large white motionless masses,
which stand for hours in the same position, and the intervening spaces
are filled with a milk-and-water-looking haze. Notwithstanding these
unfavorable circumstances, I obtained good observations
for the longitude of this important point on both sides of the Quango,
and found the river running in 9d 50' S. lat., 18d 33' E. long.
On proceeding to our former station near Sansawe's village,
he ran to meet us with wonderful urbanity, asking if we had seen Moene Put,
king of the white men (or Portuguese); and added, on parting,
that he would come to receive his dues in the evening. I replied that,
as he had treated us so scurvily, even forbidding his people
to sell us any food, if he did not bring us a fowl and some eggs
as part of his duty as a chief, he should receive no present from me.
When he came, it was in the usual Londa way of showing
the exalted position he occupies, mounted on the shoulders of his spokesman,
as schoolboys sometimes do in England, and as was represented
to have been the case in the southern islands when Captain Cook visited them.
My companions, amused at his idea of dignity, greeted him with a hearty laugh.
He visited the native traders first, and then came to me with two cocks
as a present. I spoke to him about the impolicy of treatment we had received
at his hands, and quoted the example of the Bangalas, who had been conquered
by the Portuguese, for their extortionate demands of payment for firewood,
grass, water, etc., and concluded by denying his right to any payment
for simply passing through uncultivated land. To all this he agreed;
and then I gave him, as a token of friendship, a pannikin of coarse powder,
two iron spoons, and two yards of coarse printed calico.
He looked rather saucily at these articles, for he had just received
a barrel containing 18 lbs. of powder, 24 yards of calico,
and two bottles of brandy, from Senhor Pascoal the Pombeiro.
Other presents were added the next day, but we gave nothing more;
and the Pombeiros informed me that it was necessary to give largely,
because they are accompanied by slaves and carriers who are
no great friends to their masters; and if they did not secure
the friendship of these petty chiefs, many slaves and their loads
might be stolen while passing through the forests. It is thus
a sort of black-mail that these insignificant chiefs levy;
and the native traders, in paying, do so simply as a bribe
to keep them honest. This chief was a man of no power,
but in our former ignorance of this he plagued us a whole day in passing.
Finding the progress of Senhor Pascoal and the other Pombeiros
excessively slow, I resolved to forego his company to Cabango
after I had delivered to him some letters to be sent back to Cassange.
I went forward with the intention of finishing my writing, and leaving
a packet for him at some village. We ascended the eastern acclivity
that bounds the Cassange valley, which has rather a gradual ascent
up from the Quango, and we found that the last ascent, though apparently
not quite so high as that at Tala Mungongo, is actually much higher.
The top is about 5000 feet above the level of the sea,
and the bottom 3500 feet; water boiling on the heights at 202 Deg.,
the thermometer in the air showing 96 Deg.; and at the bottom at 205 Deg.,
the air being 75 Deg. We had now gained the summit of the western
subtending ridge, and began to descend toward the centre of the country,
hoping soon to get out of the Chiboque territory, which, when we ascended
from the Cassange valley, we had entered; but, on the 19th of April,
the intermittent, which had begun on the 16th of March, was changed into
an extremely severe attack of rheumatic fever. This was brought on
by being obliged to sleep on an extensive plain covered with water.
The rain poured down incessantly, but we formed our beds
by dragging up the earth into oblong mounds, somewhat like graves
in a country church-yard, and then placing grass upon them.
The rain continuing to deluge us, we were unable to leave for two days,
but as soon as it became fair we continued our march.
The heavy dew upon the high grass was so cold as to cause shivering,
and I was forced to lie by for eight days, tossing and groaning
with violent pain in the head. This was the most severe attack I had endured.
It made me quite unfit to move, or even know what was passing outside
my little tent. Senhor Pascoal, who had been detained by the severe rain
at a better spot, at last came up, and, knowing that leeches abounded
in the rivulets, procured a number, and applied some dozens
to the nape of the neck and the loins. This partially relieved the pain.
He was then obliged to move forward, in order to purchase food
for his large party. After many days I began to recover,
and wished to move on, but my men objected to the attempt
on account of my weakness. When Senhor Pascoal had been some time
at the village in front, as he had received instructions from his employer,
Captain Neves, to aid me as much as possible, and being himself
a kindly-disposed person, he sent back two messengers to invite me to come on,
It happened that the head man of the village where I had lain twenty-two days,
while bargaining and quarreling in my camp for a piece of meat,
had been struck on the mouth by one of my men. My principal men
paid five pieces of cloth and a gun as an atonement;
but the more they yielded, the more exorbitant he became,
and he sent word to all the surrounding villages to aid him in avenging
the affront of a blow on the beard. As their courage usually
rises with success, I resolved to yield no more, and departed.
In passing through a forest in the country beyond, we were startled
by a body of men rushing after us. They began by knocking down
the burdens of the hindermost of my men, and several shots were fired,
each party spreading out on both sides of the path. I fortunately had
a six-barreled revolver, which my friend Captain Henry Need,
of her majesty's brig "Linnet", had considerately sent to Golungo Alto
after my departure from Loanda. Taking this in my hand, and forgetting fever,
I staggered quickly along the path with two or three of my men,
and fortunately encountered the chief. The sight of the six barrels
gaping into his stomach, with my own ghastly visage looking daggers
at his face, seemed to produce an instant revolution in his martial feelings,
for he cried out, "Oh! I have only come to speak to you, and wish peace only."
Mashauana had hold of him by the hand, and found him shaking.
We examined his gun, and found that it had been discharged.
Both parties crowded up to their chiefs. One of the opposite party
coming too near, one of mine drove him back with a battle-axe.
The enemy protested their amicable intentions, and my men asserted
the fact of having the goods knocked down as evidence of the contrary.
Without waiting long, I requested all to sit down, and Pitsane,
placing his hand upon the revolver, somewhat allayed their fears.
I then said to the chief, "If you have come with peaceable intentions,
we have no other; go away home to your village." He replied, "I am afraid
lest you shoot me in the back." I rejoined, "If I wanted to kill you,
I could shoot you in the face as well." Mosantu called out to me,
"That's only a Makalaka trick; don't give him your back."
But I said, "Tell him to observe that I am not afraid of him;"
and, turning, mounted my ox. There was not much danger
in the fire that was opened at first, there being so many trees.
The enemy probably expected that the sudden attack would make us
forsake our goods, and allow them to plunder with ease.
The villagers were no doubt pleased with being allowed to retire unscathed,
and we were also glad to get away without having shed a drop of blood,
or having compromised ourselves for any future visit. My men were delighted
with their own bravery, and made the woods ring with telling each other
how "brilliant their conduct before the enemy" would have been,
had hostilities not been brought to a sudden close.
I do not mention this little skirmish as a very frightful affair.
The negro character in these parts, and in Angola, is essentially cowardly,
except when influenced by success. A partial triumph over any body of men
would induce the whole country to rise in arms, and this is the chief danger
to be feared. These petty chiefs have individually but little power,
and with my men, now armed with guns, I could have easily
beaten them off singly; but, being of the same family, they would readily
unite in vast numbers if incited by prospects of successful plunder.
They are by no means equal to the Cape Caffres in any respect whatever.
In the evening we came to Moena Kikanje, and found him a sensible man.
He is the last of the Chiboque chiefs in this direction,
and is in alliance with Matiamvo, whose territory commences
a short distance beyond. His village is placed on the east bank of the Quilo,
which is here twenty yards wide, and breast deep.
The country was generally covered with forest, and we slept every night
at some village. I was so weak, and had become so deaf
from the effects of the fever, that I was glad to avail myself
of the company of Senhor Pascoal and the other native traders.
Our rate of traveling was only two geographical miles per hour,
and the average number of hours three and a half per day, or seven miles.
Two thirds of the month was spent in stoppages, there being
only ten traveling days in each month. The stoppages were caused by sickness,
and the necessity of remaining in different parts to purchase food;
and also because, when one carrier was sick, the rest refused
to carry his load.
One of the Pombeiros had eight good-looking women in a chain
whom he was taking to the country of Matiamvo to sell for ivory.
They always looked ashamed when I happened to come near them,
and must have felt keenly their forlorn and degraded position.
I believe they were captives taken from the rebel Cassanges.
The way in which slaves are spoken of in Angola and eastern Africa
must sound strangely even to the owners when they first come from Europe.
In Angola the common appellation is "o diabo", or "brutu";
and it is quite usual to hear gentlemen call out, "O diabo! bring fire."
In eastern Africa, on the contrary, they apply the term "bicho" (an animal),
and you hear the phrase, "Call the ANIMAL to do this or that."
In fact, slave-owners come to regard their slaves as not human,
and will curse them as the "race of a dog". Most of the carriers
of my traveling companions were hired Basongo, and required
constant vigilance to prevent them stealing the goods they carried.
Salt, which is one of the chief articles conveyed into the country,
became considerably lighter as we went along, but the carriers
shielded themselves by saying that it had been melted by the rain.
Their burdens were taken from them every evening, and placed in security
under the guardianship of Senhor Pascoal's own slaves. It was pitiable
to observe the worrying life he led. There was the greatest contrast possible
between the conduct of his people and that of my faithful Makololo.
We crossed the Loange, a deep but narrow stream, by a bridge.
It becomes much larger, and contains hippopotami, lower down.
It is the boundary of Londa on the west. We slept also
on the banks of the Pezo, now flooded, and could not but admire
their capabilities for easy irrigation. On reaching the River Chikapa
(lat. 10d 10' S., long. 19d 42' E.), the 25th of March,
we found it fifty or sixty yards wide, and flowing E.N.E. into the Kasai.
The adjacent country is of the same level nature as that part of Londa
formerly described; but, having come farther to the eastward
than our previous course, we found that all the rivers had worn for themselves
much deeper valleys than at the points we had formerly crossed them.
Surrounded on all sides by large gloomy forests, the people of these parts
have a much more indistinct idea of the geography of their country than those
who live in hilly regions. It was only after long and patient inquiry
that I became fully persuaded that the Quilo runs into the Chikapa.
As we now crossed them both considerably farther down,
and were greatly to the eastward of our first route, there can be no doubt
that these rivers take the same course as the others, into the Kasai,
and that I had been led into a mistake in saying that any of them flowed
to the westward. Indeed, it was only at this time that I began to perceive
that all the western feeders of the Kasai, except the Quango,
flow first from the western side toward the centre of the country,
then gradually turn, with the Kasai itself, to the north;
and, after the confluence of the Kasai with the Quango,
an immense body of water, collected from all these branches,
finds its way out of the country by means of the River Congo or Zaire
on the west coast.
The people living along the path we are now following were quite accustomed
to the visits of native traders, and did not feel in any way bound
to make presents of food except for the purpose of cheating:
thus, a man gave me a fowl and some meal, and, after a short time, returned.
I offered him a handsome present of beads; but these he declined,
and demanded a cloth instead, which was far more than the value of his gift.
They did the same with my men, until we had to refuse presents altogether.
Others made high demands because I slept in a "house of cloth",
and must be rich. They seemed to think that they had a perfect right
to payment for simply passing through the country.
Beyond the Chikapa we crossed the Kamaue, a small deep stream
proceeding from the S.S.W., and flowing into the Chikapa.
On the 30th of April we reached the Loajima, where we had to form a bridge
to effect our passage. This was not so difficult an operation
as some might imagine; for a tree was growing in a horizontal position across
part of the stream, and, there being no want of the tough climbing plants
which admit of being knitted like ropes, Senhor P. soon constructed a bridge.
The Loajima was here about twenty-five yards wide, but very much deeper
than where I had crossed before on the shoulders of Mashauana.
The last rain of this season had fallen on the 28th, and had
suddenly been followed by a great decrease of the temperature.
The people in these parts seemed more slender in form, and their color
a lighter olive, than any we had hitherto met. The mode of dressing
the great masses of woolly hair which lay upon their shoulders, together with
their general features, again reminded me of the ancient Egyptians.
Several were seen with the upward inclination of the outer angles of the eye,
but this was not general. A few of the ladies adopt a curious custom
of attaching the hair to a hoop which encircles the head, giving it somewhat
the appearance of the glory round the head of the Virgin (wood-cut No. 1*).
Some have a small hoop behind that represented in the wood-cut.
Others wear an ornament of woven hair and hide adorned with beads.
The hair of the tails of buffaloes, which are to be found farther east,
is sometimes added. This is represented in No. 2. While others, as in No. 3,
weave their own hair on pieces of hide into the form of buffalo horns;
or, as in No. 4, make a single horn in front. The features given
are frequently met with, but they are by no means universal.
Many tattoo their bodies by inserting some black substance beneath the skin,
which leaves an elevated cicatrix about half an inch long: these are made
in the form of stars, and other figures of no particular beauty.
* Unfortunately these wood-cuts can not be represented in this ASCII text.
No. 1 appears like a wheel with spokes of hair connecting it to the head.
No. 2 appears somewhat like a tiara sloped forward, as the bow of a ship.
No. 3 appears like gently curving horns. There is a part in the middle,
and the hair, on leather frames, curls outward and upward at the temples.
No. 4 is likewise, but the single horn curves outward and upward
from the forehead -- it is labelled "A Young Man's Fashion".
Except for No. 1, all are represented as having the rest of their hair
hanging in braids around the sides and back. All of the faces,
as Livingstone asserts, appear much like paintings of ancient Egyptians,
and could easily be European except for the shading and the slanted eyes.
They are all handsome. -- A. L., 1997.
Make a Detour southward -- Peculiarities of the Inhabitants --
Scarcity of Animals -- Forests -- Geological Structure of the Country --
Abundance and Cheapness of Food near the Chihombo -- A Slave lost --
The Makololo Opinion of Slaveholders -- Funeral Obsequies in Cabango --
Send a Sketch of the Country to Mr. Gabriel -- Native Information
respecting the Kasai and Quango -- The Trade with Luba --
Drainage of Londa -- Report of Matiamvo's Country and Government --
Senhor Faria's Present to a Chief -- The Balonda Mode of spending Time --
Faithless Guide -- Makololo lament the Ignorance of the Balonda --
Eagerness of the Villagers for Trade -- Civility of a Female Chief --
The Chief Bango and his People -- Refuse to eat Beef -- Ambition of Africans
to have a Village -- Winters in the Interior -- Spring at Kolobeng --
White Ants: "Never could desire to eat any thing better" --
Young Herbage and Animals -- Valley of the Loembwe --
The white Man a Hobgoblin -- Specimen of Quarreling --
Eager Desire for Calico -- Want of Clothing at Kawawa's --
Funeral Observances -- Agreeable Intercourse with Kawawa --
His impudent Demand -- Unpleasant Parting -- Kawawa tries to prevent
our crossing the River Kasai -- Stratagem.
We made a little detour to the southward in order to get provisions
in a cheaper market. This led us along the rivulet called Tamba,
where we found the people, who had not been visited so frequently
by the slave-traders as the rest, rather timid and very civil.
It was agreeable to get again among the uncontaminated,
and to see the natives look at us without that air of superciliousness
which is so unpleasant and common in the beaten track.
The same olive color prevailed. They file their teeth to a point,
which makes the smile of the women frightful, as it reminds one
of the grin of an alligator. The inhabitants throughout this country
exhibit as great a variety of taste as appears on the surface of society
among ourselves. Many of the men are dandies; their shoulders are always wet
with the oil dropping from their lubricated hair, and every thing about them
is ornamented in one way or another. Some thrum a musical instrument
the livelong day, and, when they wake at night, proceed at once
to their musical performance. Many of these musicians are too poor
to have iron keys to their instrument, but make them of bamboo, and persevere,
though no one hears the music but themselves. Others try to appear warlike
by never going out of their huts except with a load of bows and arrows,
or a gun ornamented with a strip of hide for every animal they have shot;
and others never go any where without a canary in a cage. Ladies may be seen
carefully tending little lap-dogs, which are intended to be eaten.
Their villages are generally in forests, and composed of groups
of irregularly-planted brown huts, with banana and cotton trees,
and tobacco growing around. There is also at every hut a high stage erected
for drying manioc roots and meal, and elevated cages to hold domestic fowls.
Round baskets are laid on the thatch of the huts for the hens to lay in,
and on the arrival of strangers, men, women, and children
ply their calling as hucksters with a great deal of noisy haggling;
all their transactions are conducted with civil banter and good temper.
My men, having the meat of the oxen which we slaughtered from time to time
for sale, were entreated to exchange it for meal; no matter how small
the pieces offered were, it gave them pleasure to deal.
The landscape around is green, with a tint of yellow, the grass long,
the paths about a foot wide, and generally worn deeply in the middle.
The tall overhanging grass, when brushed against by the feet and legs,
disturbed the lizards and mice, and occasionally a serpent,
causing a rustling among the herbage. There are not many birds;
every animal is entrapped and eaten. Gins are seen on both sides of the path
every ten or fifteen yards, for miles together. The time and labor required
to dig up moles and mice from their burrows would, if applied to cultivation,
afford food for any amount of fowls or swine, but the latter
are seldom met with.
We passed on through forests abounding in climbing-plants, many of which
are so extremely tough that a man is required to go in front with a hatchet;
and when the burdens of the carriers are caught, they are obliged
to cut the climbers with their teeth, for no amount of tugging
will make them break. The paths in all these forests are so zigzag
that a person may imagine he has traveled a distance of thirty miles,
which, when reckoned as the crow flies, may not be fifteen.
We reached the River Moamba (lat. 9d 38' S., long. 20d 13' 34" E.)
on the 7th May. This is a stream of thirty yards wide, and, like the Quilo,
Loange, Chikapa, and Loajima, contains both alligators and hippopotami.
We crossed it by means of canoes. Here, as on the slopes
down to the Quilo and Chikapa, we had an opportunity of viewing the geological
structure of the country -- a capping of ferruginous conglomerate,
which in many parts looks as if it had been melted, for the rounded nodules
resemble masses of slag, and they have a smooth scale on the surface;
but in all probability it is an aqueous deposit, for it contains
water-worn pebbles of all sorts, and generally small. Below this mass
lies a pale red hardened sandstone, and beneath that a trap-like whinstone.
Lowest of all lies a coarse-grained sandstone containing a few pebbles,
and, in connection with it, a white calcareous rock is occasionally met with,
and so are banks of loose round quartz pebbles. The slopes are longer
from the level country above the further we go eastward,
and every where we meet with circumscribed bogs on them,
surrounded by clumps of straight, lofty evergreen trees,
which look extremely graceful on a ground of yellowish grass.
Several of these bogs pour forth a solution of iron, which exhibits
on its surface the prismatic colors. The level plateaus between the rivers,
both east and west of the Moamba, across which we traveled,
were less woody than the river glens. The trees on them
are scraggy and wide apart. There are also large open grass-covered spaces,
with scarcely even a bush. On these rather dreary intervals
between the rivers it was impossible not to be painfully struck
with the absence of all animal life. Not a bird was to be seen,
except occasionally a tomtit, some of the `Sylviadae' and `Drymoica',
also a black bird (`Dicrurus Ludwigii', Smith) common throughout the country.
We were gladdened by the voice of birds only near the rivers,
and there they are neither numerous nor varied. The Senegal longclaw,
however, maintains its place, and is the largest bird seen.
We saw a butcher-bird in a trap as we passed. There are remarkably few
small animals, they having been hunted almost to extermination,
and few insects except ants, which abound in considerable number and variety.
There are scarcely any common flies to be seen, nor are we ever troubled
The air is still, hot, and oppressive; the intensely bright sunlight
glances peacefully on the evergreen forest leaves, and all feel glad
when the path comes into the shade. The want of life in the scenery
made me long to tread again the banks of the Zambesi, and see
the graceful antelopes feeding beside the dark buffaloes and sleek elands.
Here hippopotami are known to exist only by their footprints on the banks.
Not one is ever seen to blow or put his head up at all;
they have learned to breathe in silence and keep out of sight.
We never heard one uttering the snorting sound so common on the Zambesi.
We crossed two small streams, the Kanesi and Fombeji, before reaching Cabango,
a village situated on the banks of the Chihombo. The country was becoming
more densely peopled as we proceeded, but it bears no population
compared to what it might easily sustain. Provisions were to be had
in great abundance; a fowl and basket of meal weighing 20 lbs.
were sold for a yard and a half of very inferior cotton cloth,
worth not more than threepence. An idea of the cheapness of food
may be formed from the fact that Captain Neves purchased 380 lbs. of tobacco
from the Bangalas for about two pounds sterling. This, when carried
into central Londa, might purchase seven thousand five hundred fowls,
or feed with meal and fowls seven thousand persons for one day,
giving each a fowl and 5 lbs. of meal. When food is purchased here
with either salt or coarse calico, four persons can be well fed
with animal and vegetable food at the rate of one penny a day.
The chief vegetable food is the manioc and lotsa meal.
These contain a very large proportion of starch, and, when eaten alone
for any length of time produce most distressing heartburn.
As we ourselves experienced in coming north, they also cause
a weakness of vision, which occurs in the case of animals fed
on pure gluten or amylaceous matter only. I now discovered that when
these starchy substances are eaten along with a proportion of ground-nuts,
which contain a considerable quantity of oil, no injurious effects follow.
While on the way to Cabango we saw fresh tracks of elands,
the first we had observed in this country. A poor little slave girl,
being ill, turned aside in the path, and, though we waited all the next day
making search for her, she was lost. She was tall and slender for her age,
as if of too quick growth, and probably, unable to bear the fatigue
of the march, lay down and slept in the forest, then, waking in the dark,
went farther and farther astray. The treatment of the slaves
witnessed by my men certainly did not raise slaveholders in their estimation.
Their usual exclamation was "Ga ba na pelu" (They have no heart);
and they added, with reference to the slaves, "Why do they let them?"
as if they thought that the slaves had the natural right
to rid the world of such heartless creatures, and ought to do it.
The uneasiness of the trader was continually showing itself,
and, upon the whole, he had reason to be on the alert both day and night.
The carriers perpetually stole the goods intrusted to their care,
and he could not openly accuse them, lest they should plunder him of all,
and leave him quite in the lurch. He could only hope to manage them
after getting all the remaining goods safely into a house in Cabango;
he might then deduct something from their pay for what they had purloined
on the way.
Cabango (lat. 9d 31' S., long. 20d 31' or 32' E.) is the dwelling-place
of Muanzanza, one of Matiamvo's subordinate chiefs. His village
consists of about two hundred huts and ten or twelve square houses,
constructed of poles with grass interwoven. The latter are occupied
by half-caste Portuguese from Ambaca, agents for the Cassange traders.
The cold in the mornings was now severe to the feelings,
the thermometer ranging from 58 Deg. to 60 Deg., though, when protected,
sometimes standing as high as 64 Deg. at six A.M. When the sun is well up,
the thermometer in the shade rises to 80 Deg., and in the evenings
it is about 78 Deg.
A person having died in this village, we could transact no business
with the chief until the funeral obsequies were finished. These occupy
about four days, during which there is a constant succession of dancing,
wailing, and feasting. Guns are fired by day, and drums beaten by night,
and all the relatives, dressed in fantastic caps, keep up the ceremonies
with spirit proportionate to the amount of beer and beef expended.
When there is a large expenditure, the remark is often made afterward,
"What a fine funeral that was!" A figure, consisting chiefly
of feathers and beads, is paraded on these occasions,
and seems to be regarded as an idol.
Having met with an accident to one of my eyes by a blow from a branch
in passing through a forest, I remained some days here,
endeavoring, though with much pain, to draw a sketch of the country thus far,
to be sent back to Mr. Gabriel at Loanda. I was always anxious
to transmit an account of my discoveries on every possible occasion,
lest, any thing happening in the country to which I was going,
they should be entirely lost. I also fondly expected
a packet of letters and papers which my good angel at Loanda