Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo Volume 2 by Richard F. Burton

Part 1 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Two Trips to

Gorilla Land

the Cataracts of the Congo.


Richard F. Burton.

In Two Volumes

Vol. II.

London: 1876

Contents of Vol. I.

Chapter I. From Fernando Po to Loango Bay.--the German
Chapter II. To São Paulo De Loanda
Chapter III. The Festival.--a Trip to Calumbo--portuguese
Chapter IV. The Cruise along Shore--the Granite Pillar of
Chapter V. Into the Congo River.--the Factories.--trip to
Shark's Point.--the Padrao and Pinda
Chapter VI. Up the Congo River.--the Slave Depot.--porto Da
Lenha.-arrival at Boma
Chapter VII. Boma.--our Outfit for the Interior
Chapter VIII. A Visit to Banza Chisalla
Chapter IX. Up the Congo to Banza Nokki
Chapter X. Notes on the Nzadi or Congo River
Chapter XI. Life at Banza Nokki
Chapter XII. Preparations for the March
Chapter XIII. The March to Banza Nkulu
Chapter XIV. The Yellala of the Congo
Chapter XV. Return to the Congo Mouth
Chapter XVI. The Slaver and the Missionary in the Congo River
Chapter XVII. Concluding Remarks
I. Meteorological
II. Plants collected in the Congo, at Dahome, and the Island of
Annabom, by Mr. Consul Burton
III. Heights of Stations, West Coast of Africa, computed from
Observations made by Captain Burton
IV. Immigration Africaine


The Cataracts of the Congo.

"Allí o mui grande reino está de Congo,
Por nós ja convertido à fé de Christo,
Por onde o Zaire passa claro e longo,
Rio pelos antiguos nunca visto."

"Here lies the Congo kingdom, great and strong,
Already led by us to Christian ways;
Where flows Zaïre, the river clear and long,
A stream unseen by men of olden days."

The Lusiada, V. 13.

Part II.

The Cataracts of the Congo.

Chapter I.

From Fernando Po to Loango Bay.--the German Expedition.

During the hot season of 1863, "Nanny Po," as the civilized
African calls this "lofty and beautiful island," had become a
charnel-house, a "dark and dismal tomb of Europeans." The yellow
fever of the last year, which wiped out in two months one-third
of the white colony--more exactly, 78 out of 250--had not
reappeared, but the conditions for its re-appearance were highly
favourable. The earth was all water, the vegetation all slime,
the air half steam, and the difference between wet and dry bulbs
almost nil. Thoroughly dispirited for the first time, I was
meditating how to escape, when H. M. Steamship "Torch" steamed
into Clarence Cove, and Commander Smith hospitably offered me a
passage down south. To hear was to accept. Two days afterwards
(July 29, 1863) I bade a temporary "adios" to the enemy.

The bitterness of death remained behind as we passed out of the
baneful Bights. Wind and wave were dead against us, yet I greatly
enjoyed the gradual emerging of the sun through his shroud of
"smokes;" the increasing consciousness that a moon and stars
really exist; the soft blue haze of the sky, and the coolness of
73° F. at 6 A.M. in the captain's cabin. I had also time to enjoy
these charms. The "Torch" was not provided with "despatch-
boilers:" she was profoundly worm-eaten, and a yard of copper,
occasionally clapped on, did not prevent her making some four
feet of water a day. So we rolled leisurely along the well-known
Gaboon shore, and faintly sighted from afar Capes Lopez and St.
Catherine, and the fringing ranges of Mayumba-land, a blue line
of heights based upon gently rising banks, ruddy and white,
probably of shaly clay. The seventh day (August 5) placed us off
the well-known "red hills" of Loango-land.

The country looks high and bold after the desperate flatness of
the Bights, and we note with pleasure that we have left behind us
the "impervious luxuriance of vegetation which crowns the
lowlands, covers the sides of the rises, and caps their summits."
During the rains after October the grass, now showing yellow
stubble upon the ruddy, rusty plain, becomes a cane fence, ten to
twelve feet tall; but instead of matted, felted jungle, knitted
together by creepers of cable size, we have scattered clumps of
dark, lofty, and broad-topped trees. A nearer view shows great
cliffs, weather-worked into ravines and basins, ribs and ridges,
towers and pinnacles. Above them is a joyful open land,
apparently disposed in two successive dorsa or steps, with bright
green tiers and terraces between, and these are pitted with the
crater-like sinks locally called "holes," so frequent in the
Gaboon country. Southwards the beauty of eternal verdure will
end, and the land will become drier, and therefore better fitted
for Europeans, the nearer it approaches Mossamedes Bay. South of
"Little Fish," again, a barren tract of white sand will show the
"Last Tree," an inhospitable region, waterless, and bulwarked by
a raging sea.

Loango is a "pool harbour," like the ancient Portus Lemanus
(Hythe), a spit of shingle, whose bay, north-east and south-west,
forms an inner lagoon, bounded landwards by conspicuous and
weather-tarnished red cliffs. This "lingula" rests upon a base of
terra firma whose westernmost projection is Indian Point. From
the latter runs northwards the "infamous" Indian Bar, compared by
old sailors with a lengthened Bill of Portland; a reef some three
miles long, which the waves assault with prodigious fury; a
terror to slavers, especially in our autumn, when the squalls and
storms begin. The light sandy soil of the mainland rests upon
compact clay, and malaria rises only where the little drains,
which should feed the lagoon, evaporate in swamps. Here and there
are clumps of tall cocoas, a capot, pullom or wild cotton-tree,
and a neat village upon prairie land, where stone is rare as on
the Pampas. Southwards the dry tract falls into low and wooded

The natural basin, entered by the north-east, is upwards of a
mile in length, and the narrow, ever-shifting mouth is garnished
with rocks, the sea breaking right across. Gunboats have floated
over during the rains, but at dead low water in the dry season we
would not risk the gig. Guided by a hut upon the beach fronting
French Factory and under lee of the breakers off Indian Bar, I
landed near a tree-motte, in a covelet smoothed by a succession
of sandpits. The land sharks flocked down to drag the boat over
the breakwater of shingle. They appeared small and effeminate
after the burly negroes of the Bights, and their black but not
comely persons were clad in red and white raiment. It is a tribe
of bumboat men, speaking a few words of English, French, and
Portuguese, and dealing in mats and pumpkins, parrots, and
poultry, cages, and Fetish dolls called "idols."

Half a mile of good sandy path led to the English Factory, built
upon a hill giving a charming view. To the south-east, and some
three miles inland from the centre of the bay, we were shown
"Looboo Wood," a thick motte conspicuously crowning a ridge, and
forming a first-rate landmark. Its shades once sheltered the
nyáre, locally called buffalo, the gorilla, and perhaps the more
monstrous "impungu" (mpongo). Eastward of the Factory appears
Chomfuku, the village of Jim Potter, with a tree-clad sink,
compared by old voyagers with "the large chalkpit on Portsdown
Hill," and still much affected by picnickers. At Loanghili, or
Loanguilli, south of Looboo Wood, and upon the right bank of a
streamlet which trickles to the sea, is the cemetery, where the
kings are buried in gun-boxes.

The Ma-Loango (for mwani, "lord" of Loango), the great despot who
ruled as far as the Congo River, who used to eat in one house,
drink in another, and put to death man or beast that saw him
feeding, is a thing of the past. Yet five miles to the eastward
(here held to be a day's march) King Monoyambi governs "big
Loango town," whose modern native name, I was told, is Mangamwár.
He shows his power chiefly by forbidding strangers to enter the

The Factory (Messrs. Hatton and Cookson) was a poor affair of
bamboos and mats, with partition-walls of the same material, and
made pestilent by swamps to landward. Little work was then doing
in palm oil, and the copper mines of the interior had ceased to
send supplies. We borrowed hammocks to cross the swamps, and we
found French Factory a contrast not very satisfactory to our
insular pride. M. Charles de Gourlet, of the Maison Régis, was
living, not in a native hut lacking all the necessaries of
civilized man, but in a double-storied stone house, with
barracoons, hospital, public room, orchestra, and so forth,
intended for the "emigrants." Instead of water, the employés had
excellent cognac and vermouth, and a succulent cuisine replaced
the poor Britishers' two barrels of flour and biscuit. No wonder
that in our half-starved fellow countrymen we saw little of the
"national failing, a love of extravagant adventure." The
Frenchmen shoot, or at least go out shooting, twice a week, they
walk to picnics, learn something of the language, and see
something of the country. They had heard a native tradition of
Mr. Gorilla's "big brother," but they could give no details.

I will conclude this chapter with a notice of what has taken
place on the Loango Coast a decade after my departure. Although
Africa has changed but little, Europe has, and we can hardly envy
the German nation its eminence and unexpected triumphs in war
when we see the energy and persistency with which they are
applying themselves to the arts of peace--especially of
exploration. And nowhere have they been more active than in this
part of the world, where their old rivals, the English, are
apparently contented to sit at home in ease, working their
factories and counting out their money.

To begin with the beginning. The year 1872 found the Berlin
Geographical Society intent upon "planting a lance in Africa,"
and upon extending and connecting the discoveries of Livingstone,
Du Chaillu, Schweinfurth, and other travellers. Delegates from
the various associations of Germany met in congress, and
organized (April 19, 1873) the Germanic "Afrikanische
Gesellschaft." Ex-President Dr. Adolf Bastian, a well-known
traveller in Siam, Cambodia, China, and the Indian Archipelago,
and who, moreover, had visited Ambassi or Salvador do Congo, the
old missionary capital, in 1857, was at once sent out as pioneer
and vanguard to prospect the coast for a suitable station and a
point de départ into the interior--a scientific step dictated by
trained and organized common sense. The choice of leader fell
upon Dr. Gussfeldt, Herr von Hattorf being his second in command,
and with them were associated Dr. Falkenstein as zoologist, and
Dr. Soyaux as botanist. A geologist, Dr. Lenz, of Hamburg, was
sent to connect the Ogobe and Okanda rivers with, the Loango
coast, unless he found a likely northeastern route. In this case,
the Society would take measures to supply him with the necessary

The expedition began unfortunately, by the loss of outfit and
instruments in the "Nigritia," wrecked off Sierra Leone: it
persevered, however, and presently met Dr. Bastian and Professor
von Gorschen at Cabinda. The former had collected much
information about the coast. He had learned from slaves that the
old kingdoms of Loango, Mahango, and Angay are bounded eastwards,
or inland, by Mayombe, a belt of forest, the threshold of the
unknown interior. It begins the up-slope to the great Ghat ridge,
which, visible after a day's journey, separates the coast from
the central basin. A fortnight or three weeks' march leads to an
open country, a land of metalliferous hills, where the people
barter their goods against gunpowder and weapons, brought by
traders from the east. These "Orientals" are now heard of almost
all along the West African coast, and doubtless, in several
places, the report will prove true. The prospector had also
visited, in search of a depôt, Futila in Cabinda-land; the
Tschiluango (Chiloango), or Cacongo River, a fine navigable
stream, where the people float down their palm oil; Landana;
"Chinsonso" (Chinxoxo, pronounced Chinshosho), Chicambo, Loango,
and the Quillu (Kwillu) stream, the latter breaking through the
coast range, disemboguing near Loango Bay, and reported to be
connected with the great Congo. He found the old despotism of
Loango to be insignificant, reduced, in fact, to the strip of
coast between the Quillu and the Luema-Lukallo Rivers. The slave
trade, once a monopoly of kings, princes, and chiefs, is now no
more; legitimate commerce has levelled ranks, and the real power
is in the hands of the wealthiest merchants.

From the Abbé Durand, librarian of the Paris Geographical
Society, we learn: 1. That Loango is in the Province of Cacongo;
2. That Cacongo is considered a province of Loango; 3. That
Cacongo forms a kingdom of itself, with a capital, Ringwele. The
name of the late king was "Dom João, Capitão Mempolo," and,
though he had died some years ago, he was not buried, for the
usual reasons, in early 1874. Meanwhile his nephew and successor,
Mwátá Bona, was acting regent until the obsequies shall take

The station finally chosen by the German explorers was Chinxoxo,
or, as Herr Kiepert uncompromisingly writes it,
"Tschinschonkscho." It is within easy distance of the Chiloango
or "Luiza Loango" River; and its port, Landana in Cabindaland,
has become a thoroughly Europeanized settlement, with five
trading stations up stream. An empty Dutch factory was repaired,
and the house, containing a parlour, three small bed rooms, and
the usual offices, was ready for habitation by the second week in

On October 26th, Dr. Güssfeldt, after shaking off the "seasoning
fever" at Ponta Negra, proceeded to make a trial trip, and a
route survey with compass and chronometer, up the important
Quillu River. As usual, it has a bar; within the last few years
the right bank has been carried away by the floods, and some of
the old factories are under water. The average breadth is 400
paces, which diminishes to 25 at the rocky "gates" near Kama-
Chitoma, Manyamatal and Gotu. At 29 direct miles from the mouth
lies "Chimbak," a trading station, where Dr. Güssfeldt rested and
recruited strength for a month. Thence he went leisurely up
stream to the Bumina Rapids, and found the easterly rhumb of the
river bending to the N.E. and the N.N.E.; its channel did not
exceed 50 yards in width, and precipitous rock-walls rose on
either hand. At Bumina as at Gotu the Quillu breaks through the
parallel lines of Ghats, whose trend is from N.W. to S.E.; in
fact, these "Katarakten" are the Yellalas of the Congo. A march
of four hours brought him to the Mayombe country (circ. S. Lat.
4°), which must not be confounded with the Ma-yumba or
northernmost possession of the Congo kingdom; the latter word
properly means "King of Yumba," as Ma-Loango is Mwani-Loango. The
Mayombe chief proved friendly, and assisted Dr. Güssfeldt to hire
bearers (November 7) for Yangela, where his excursion ended. The
boundary-line is marked by a large gate, like the two openings in
the wooden wall denoting the Loango frontier between the Quillu
and Luema rivers. The character of the country changed to the
normal park-like aspect of Africa above the Ghats; the dense
forests waxed thin; picturesque views presented themselves,
reminding the wayfarer of Switzerland; and bare, dome-shaped
mountains formed the background. At Nsunsi, about 2,100 feet
above sea-level, the eye ranged over the Yangela country, as far
as the land of the Batetye, whose grassy plains are traversed by
ranges trending to the W.S.W., and apparently culminating to the
south. At the Tondo village the skull of a gorilla was remarked.
The upper Quillu, after its great bend, proved to be 350 to 400
paces broad; and the traveller ascertained that, instead of being
connected with the great artery, it rises in a lake nearly due
north of Nsundi (Sundi), near the country of the Babongo and the
Babum. Dr. Güssfeldt returned to the coast on December 2, and
prepared for the great march into the interior.

Dr. Falkenstein, the medicus and zoologist, in November 1873
reported favourably of Chinxoxo. The station is situated on a
hilly ridge commanding a view of the sea. "It looks imposing
enough, but it would produce more effect if we could hoist the
German flag, as the other establishments here do those of their
respective nations. German ships would then take home news of the
progress of our undertaking, and the natives would see at a
distance this token of the enterprising spirit of the German
nation, and come to us with provisions and other natural
products." He adds, "In Fernando Po, an island which I would
recommend as a sanatorium for wealthy hypochondriacs, we found an
extraordinary abundance of fruit, cocoa-nuts, bananas, mangoes,
delicious oranges, and pine-apples...The ivory trade on the
Gaboon is very flourishing. A German firm which I visited
exports, £10,000 worth per annum, the value of total exports
being, £26,000. The tusks are very large; one weighed about 80
lbs., and some have ranged to 120 lbs. The other articles
exported are gum and ebony, which are brought by the natives,
especially the Fans and Mpangwes (sic) from the interior. The
slave trade is said still to be carried on by Europeans, though
it is not known where the slaves go to " (of course to São Thomé
and Prince's Island). "In the immediate vicinity of our station
the chief trade is in palm oil and ground nuts..... Rings,
chains, crosses, watches, &c., are readily taken by the savages
in exchange for native goods, and I obtained a valuable fetish
for a chain and a cross worth a silbergroschen."

After three months spent upon the coast, and much suffering from
fever, the energetic Dr. Bastian was welcomed home on December
13, 1873. His present book[FN#1] makes only one instalment of the
work, the other being the "Correspondenzblätter der Afrikanischen
Gesellschaft." Briefly, everything has been done to lay the
foundation for success and to advertise the undertaking. Finally,
not satisfied with these steps, the German Society for the
Exploration of equatorial Africa organized in September, 1874, a
second expedition. Captain Alexander von Homeyer, a well-known
ornithologist, will lead it viâ S. Paulo de Loanda and Cassange
(Kasanji) to the mysterious lands of the Mwata ya Nvo, and thus
supplement the labours of Portuguese travellers. This fine
undertaking set out early in 1875.

Chapter II.

To São Paulo De Loanda.

At Loango, by invitation of Commander Hoskins, R.N., I
transferred myself on board H.M. Steamship "Zebra," one of the
nymphs of the British navy, and began the 240 miles southwards.
There was no wind except a slant at sunset, and the current often
carried us as far backwards as the sails drove us onwards. The
philosophic landlubber often wonders at the eternal restlessness
of his naval brother-man, who ever sighs for a strong wind to
make the port, and who in port is ever anxious to get out of it.
I amused myself in the intervals of study with watching the huge
gulls, which are skinned and found good food at Fernando Po, and
in collecting the paper-nautilus. The Ocythoë Cranchii was often
found inside the shell, and the sea was streaked as with cotton-
flecks by lines of eggs several inches long, a mass of mucus with
fine membraneous structure adhering to the rocks, and coagulating
in spirits or salt water. The drum-fish was not heard except when
we were at anchor; its sound somewhat suggests a distant frog-
concert, and I soon learned to enjoy what M. Dufosse has
learnedly named "ichthyopsophosis," the song of the fish. Passing
Cabinda, 57 miles from Loanda, but barely in sight, we fell in
with H.M. Steamship "Espoir," Commander Douglas, who had just
made his second capture of a slave-schooner carrying some 500
head of Congos. In these advanced days, the representative man
walks up to you as you come on board; touches his cap or his
wool, and expresses his best thanks in West Coast English; when
you offer him a dram he compares it with the trade article which
"only ‘ting, he no burn." The characteristic sights are the
captured Moleques or negrokins, who, habited in sacks to the
knees, choose an M.C. to beat time, whilst they sing in chorus,
extending the right arm, and foully abusing their late masters,
who skulk about the forecastle.

Ten days sped by before we sighted the beginning of the end, Cape
Spilemberta and Dande Point, two bluffs in distinct serrations;
the aspect of the land was pleasant, a vista of tall cliffs,
white or red, rising wall-like from a purple sea, jagged with
sharp, black reef and "diabolito," and bearing on the summit a
plateau well grown with grass and tree. We then opened a deep
bight, which has the honour of being entitled the longest
indentation from Cape Lopez to Great Fish Bay, some 17° or a
thousand miles of coast. A gap in the cliff line and darker
vegetation showed the Zenza River, generally called Bengo from
the district (Icolo e Bengo) which it traverses. Here was once a
busy settlement much frequented by shipping, which thus escaped
harbour dues. The mosquito-haunted stream, clear in the dries,
and, as usual, muddy during the rains, supports wild duck, and,
carried some ten miles in "dongos" or flat-bottomed boats,
supplies the capital of Angola with drinking water and dysentery.

As we glide towards the anchorage two features attract my
attention: the Morro or hill-ridge on the mainland, and the
narrow strip which forms the harbour. The escarpment, sweeping
from a meridian to a parallel, juts westward in the bluff Cape
Lagostas (Lobsters), a many-coloured face, in places not unlike
the white cliffs of Dover; it then trends from north-east to
south-west, bending at last in a picturesque bow, with a shallow
sag. The material is the tauá or blood-red marl of the Brazil,
banded with white and brown, green, chocolate, and yellow; huge
heaps of "rotten earth," washed down by the rains, cumber the
base of the ruined sea-wall north of the town; in front is a
pellucid sea with the usual trimmings, while behind roll the
upland stubbles of autumn, here mottled black with fire, there
scattered with the wild ficus and the cashew, a traveller from
the opposite hemisphere.

The Ilha de Loanda, which gave its name to the city, according to
Mr. W. Winwood Reade ("Savage Africa," chapter xxv.), is "derived
from a native word meaning bald:" I believe it to be the Angolan
Luánda, or tribute. Forming the best harbour of the South African
coast, it is made by the missionaries of the seventeenth century
to extend some ten leagues long. James Barbot's plan (A.D. 1700)
shows seven leagues by one in breadth, disposed from north-east
to south-west, and, in the latter direction, fitting into the
"Mar Aparcelado" or shoaly sea, a curious hook-shaped bight with
a southern entrance, the "Barra de Curinba" (Corimba). But the
influences which formed the island, or rather islands (for there
are two) have increased the growth, reducing the harbour to three
and a half miles by two in breadth, and they are still
contracting it; even in the early nineteenth century large ships
floated off the custom house, and it is dry land where boats once
rode. Dr. Livingstone ("First Expedition," chapter xx.) believes
the causa causans to be the sand swept over the southern part of
the island: Douville more justly concludes that it is the gift of
the Cuanza River, whose mud and ooze, silt and débris are swept
north by the great Atlantic current. Others suppose that it
results from the meeting of the Cuanza and the Bengo streams; but
the latter outfall would be carried up coast. The people add the
washings of the Morro, and the sand and dust of the sea-shore
south of the city.

This excellent natural breakwater perfectly shelters the shipping
from the "calemas," or perilous breakers on the seaward side, and
the surface is dotted with huts and groves, gardens and palm
orchards. At the Ponta do Norte once stood a fort appropriately
called Na. Sa. Flór de Rosa; it has wholly disappeared, but
lately, when digging near the sea, heaps of building stone were
found. Barbot here shows a "toll-house to collect the customs,"
and at the southern extremity a star-shaped "Fort Fernand."

This island was the earliest of Portuguese conquests on this part
of the coast. The Conquistador Paulo Dias de Novaes, a grandson
of Bartholomeo Dias, was sent a second time, in A.D. 1575, to
treat with the king of "Dongo," who caused trouble to trade.
Accompanied by 700 Portuguese, he reached the Cuanza River,
coasted north, and entered by the Barra de Corimba, then
accessible to caravels. He landed without opposition amongst a
population already Christianized, and, after occupying for a few
months the island, which then belonged to Congo, he founded,
during the next year, the Villa de São Paulo de Loanda on the

The importance of the island arose from its being the great money
bank of the natives, who here collected the zimbo, buzio, cowrie,
or cypræa moneta. Ample details concerning this industry are
given by the old writers. The shell was considered superior to
the "impure or Braziles," brought from the opposite Bahia (de
Todos os Santos), though much coarser than the small Indian, and
not better than the large blue Zanzibar. M. Du Chaillu ("Second
Expedition," chap, iv.) owns to having been puzzled whence to
derive the four sacred cowries: "They are unknown on the Fernand
Vaz, and I believe them to have come across the continent from
eastern Africa." There are, indeed, few things which have
travelled so far and have lasted so long as cowries--they have
been found even amongst "Anglo-Saxon" remains.

The modern Muxi-Loandas hold aloof from the shore-folk, who
return the compliment in kind. They dress comparatively well, and
they spend considerable sums in their half-heathen lembamentos
(marriages) and mutambé (funerals).

As might be expected, after three centuries of occupation, the
Portuguese, both in East and West Africa, have naturalized a
multitude of native words, supplying them with a Lusitanian
termination. The practice is very useful to the traveller, and
the despair of the lexicographer. During the matumbé the
relations "wake" the toasted, swaddled, and aromatized corpse
with a singular vigour of drink and general debauchery.

I arrived with curiosity at the capital of Angola, the first
Portuguese colony visited by me in West Africa. The site is
pleasing and picturesque, contrasting favourably with all our
English settlements and with the French Gaboon; for the first
time after leaving Teneriffe, I saw something like a city. The
escarpment and the sea-bordering shelf, allowing a double town
like Athenæ or Thebæ, a Cidade Alta and a Cidade Baixa, are
favourites with the Lusitanians from Lisbon to the China seas,
and African São Paulo is reflected in the Brazilian Bahia. So
Greece affected the Acropolis, and Rome everywhere sought to
build a Capitol. The two lines follow the shore from north-east
to south-west, and they form a graceful amphitheatre by bending
westward at the jutting headland, Morro de São Miguel, of old de
São Paulo. Three hundred years of possession have built forts and
batteries, churches and chapels, public buildings and large
private houses,white or yellow, withample green verandahs--each
an ugly cube, but massing well together. The general decline of
trade since 1825, and especially the loss of the lucrative slave
export, leave many large tenements unfinished or uninhabited,
while the aspect is as if a bombardment had lately

026--- taken place. Africa shows herself in heaps of filthy
hovels, wattle and daub and dingy thatch; in "umbrella-trees"
(ficus), acacias and calabashes, palms and cotton-trees, all
wilted, stunted, and dusty as at Cairo. We are in the latitude of
East African Kilwa and of Brazilian Pernambuco; but this is a
lee-land, and the suffering is from drought. Yet, curious to say,
the flora, as will appear, is here richer than in the well-
watered eastern regions.

Steaming onwards, at one mile off shore, we turned from south-
east to south-west, and presently rounded the north-east point of
Loanda Island, where a moored boat and a lantern showed the way.
We passed the first fort, São Pedro do Morro (da Cassandama),
which reminded me of the Aguada at the mouth of Goa Harbour. The
two bastions and their batteries date from A.D. 1700, and have
been useful in administering a strongish hint--in A.D. 1826 they
fired into Captain Owen. The next work is the little four-gun
work, Na. Sa. da Conceição. We anchored in five fathoms about
1,200 yards off shore, in company with some fifteen craft, large
and small, including a neat despatch cruizer, built after the
"Nimrod" model. Fort São Francisco, called "do Penedo," because
founded upon and let into a rock, with the double-tiered
batteries à la Vauban, carefully whitewashed and subtended by any
amount of dead ground, commands the anchorage and the northern
road, where strings of carregadores, like driver-ants, fetch and
carry provisions to town. A narrow causeway connects with the
gate, where blacks on guard lounge in fantastic uniform, and
below the works are the coal-sheds. Here the first turf was
lately turned by an English commodore--this tramway was intended
to connect with the water edge, and eventually to reach the
Cuanza at Calumbo. So Portugal began the rail system in West

The city was preparing for her ecclesiastical festival, and I
went ashore at once to see her at her best. The landing-place is
poor and mean, and the dusty and sandy walk is garnished with a
single row of that funereal shrub, the milky euphorbia. The first
sensation came from the pillars of an unfinished house--

"Care colonne, che fate quà?
--Non sappiamo in verità!"

The Ponta de Isabel showed the passeio, or promenade, with two
brick ruins: its "five hundred fruit-trees of various
descriptions" have gone the way of the camphor, the tea-shrub,
and the incense-tree, said to have been introduced by the
Jesuits. "The five pleasant walks, of which the central one has
nine terraces, with a pyramid at each extremity, and leads to the
Casa de Recreio, or pleasure-house of the governor-general,
erected in 1817 by Governor Vice-Admiral Luiz da Motta Feio,"
have insensibly faded away; the land is a waste, poor grazing
ground for cattle landed from the south coast, whilst negrokins
scream and splash in the adjoining sea.

Beyond the Government gardens appears the old Ermida (chapel), Na
Sa. da Nazareth, which English writers have dubbed, after
Madeiran fashion, the Convent. The frontage is mean as that of
colonial ecclesiastical buildings in general, and even the
epauletted façades of old São Paulo do not deserve a description.
Here, according to local tradition, was buried the head of the
"intrepid and arrogant king of Congo," Dom Antonio, whose 100,000
warriors were defeated at Ambuilla (Jan. ist, 1666) by Captain
Luiz Lopes de Sequeira, the good soldier who lost his life, by a
Portuguese hand, at the battle of Matamba (Sept. 4th, 1681). A
picture in Dutch tiles (azulejos) was placed on the right side of
the altar to commemorate the feat.

After the Ermida are more ruined houses and ragged plantations
upon the narrow shelf between the sea-cliff and the sea: they
lead to the hot and unhealthy low town skirting the harbour, a
single street with small offsets. A sandy strip spotted with
cocoa-nuts, represents the Praia do Bungo (Bungo Beach), perhaps
corrupted from Bunghi, a praça, or square; it debouches upon the
Quitanda Pequena, a succursale market-place, where, on working-
days, cloth and beads, dried peppers, and watered rum are sold.
Then come a single large building containing the Trem, or
arsenal, the cavalry barracks, the "central post-office," and the
alfandega, or custom-house, which has a poor platform, but no
pier. The stables lodge some half-a-dozen horses used by mounted
orderlies--they thrive, and, to judge from their high spirits,
the climate suits them. In Captain Owen's time (A.D. 1826) there
was "a respectable corps of cavalry."

Passing the acting cathedral for the See of Angola and Congo,
which deserves no notice, you reach the Quitanda Grande, where
business is brisker. There is a sufficiency of beef and mutton,
the latter being thin-tailed, and not "five-quartered." Fish is
wisely preferred to meat by the white man, "affirming that it is
much easier digested;" and a kind of herring, and the sparus
known upon the Brazilian coast as the "tainha," the West African
"vela," and the French "mulet," at times superabound. All the
tropical fruits flourish, especially the orange; the exotic
vegetables are large and sightly, but tasteless and insipid,
especially peas and radishes: the indigenous, as tomatoes, are
excellent, but the list is small. Gardens are rare where the soil
is so thin, and the indispensable irrigation costs money. The
people still "choke for want of water," which must be bought:
there is only one good well sunk in the upper town, about 1840,
when the Conde de Bomfim was Minister of Marine and the
Colonies,--it is a preserve for government officials. Living in
the native style is cheap; but cooks are hardly procurable, and a
decent table is more expensive than in an English country town. A
single store (M. Schutz) supplies "Europe" articles, of course at
fancy prices, and here a travelling outfit may be bought. It has
been remarked that Loanda has no shop that sells "food for the
mind;" this is applicable, not only to all East and West Africa,
but to places far more progressive. A kind of cafe-billard
supplies a lounge and tepid beer. The attendants in Portuguese
houses are slaves; the few English prefer Cabindas, a rude form
of the rude Kru-boy, and the lowest pay of the lowest labourer is
5d. per diem.

The "Calçada Nova," a fine old paved "ramp"--to speak Gibraltar-
English--connects Basse Ville and Hauteville. The latter was once
a scatter of huge if not magnificent buildings, now in ruins; we
shall pass through it en route to Calumbo. Here are the remains
of the three chief convents, the Jesuit, the Carmelite, and the
Third Order of St. Francis. The citadel de São Miguel, lately
blown up, has been restored; the extensive works of dressed
freestone, carefully whitewashed, stand out conspicuously from
the dark bush dotting the escarpment top. Here also is the Alto
das Cruzes, the great cemetery, and the view from the sheer and
far-jutting headland is admirable. A stroll over this cool and
comparatively healthy escarpment ended by leaving a card at the
Paço do Governo.

Lopes de Lima (vol. iii. part ii.) gives São Paulo in 1846 a
total of 5,065 whites, mulattoes, and blacks, distributed into
1,176 hearths; the census of 1850-51 raised the number to 12,000,
including 7,000 negroes, of whom 5,000 were serviles; in 1863 the
figure was understood to have diminished rather than to have
increased. Old authors divided the population into five orders.
The first was of ecclesiastics, the second contained those who
were settled for command or trade, and the third were convicts,
especially new Christians of Jewish blood, who were prevented
from attending the sacred functions for a scandalous reason. Then
ranked the Pomberos, or Pombeiros, mostly mulattoes, free men,
and buyers of slaves; their morals seem to have been abominable.
Last and least were the natives, that is, the "chattels." Amongst
the latter the men changed wives for a time, "alleging, in case
of reproof, that they are not able to eat always of the same
dish;" and the women were rarely allowed by their mistresses to
marry--with the usual results. The missionaries are very severe
upon the higher ranks of colonists. Father Carli (A.D. 1666)
found the whites the most deceitful and the wickedest of men,--an
effect caused by the penal settlement. Father Merolla (A.D. 1682)
declares that "the women, being bred among blacks, suffer
themselves to be much perverted--they scarcely retain anything
white about them except their skins." J. C. Fêo Cardoso (Memoir
published in Paris in 1825) attributes the decadence of Angola
and Benguela to three reasons; rare marriages amongst the higher
orders; poverty amongst the lower; and the immorality and
incontinence of both. Lopes de Lima (p. 149 loc. cit.) traces the
decline and fall of Christianity in the eighteenth century to the
want of priests, to the corruption of the regular clergy
(Carmelites and Franciscans), for whom West Africa, like Syria
and Palestine, was made a kind of convict station, and to the
inhuman slave-export, as opposed to domestic slavery. All has now
changed for the better; society in Angola is not a whit inferior
to that of any English colony in West Africa, and, as a convict
establishment, Loanda is a great success.

The theoretical garrison is one regiment of the line, a squadron
of cavalry, and two companies of artillery with three-pounders;
the real force is of some 800 men, mostly convicts. No difference
is made between white and black, nor is the corps force, which
was once very cruelly used, severely treated as the Légion
Etrangère of Algeria. Most of the men have been found guilty of
capital crimes, yet they are allowed to carry arms, and they are
intrusted with charge of the forts. Violence is almost unheard of
amongst them: if an English sailor be stabbed, it is generally by
the free mulattoes and blacks, who hate the uniform for
destroying their pet trade of man-selling. It is true that these
convicts have hopes of pardon, but I prefer to attribute their
remarkable gentleness and good behaviour to the effects of the
first fever, which, to quote from the Latin grammar,

"Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros."

The negroes of Loanda struck me as unusually ill-favoured; short,
"stumpy," and very dark, or tinged with unclean yellow. Lepers
and hideous cripples thrust their sores and stumps in the face of
charity. There was no local colouring compared with the
carregadores, or coolies, from the northeast, whose thrum-mop
heads and single monkey skins for fig-leaves, spoke of the wold
and the wild. The body-dress of both sexes is the tángá, pagne,
or waist-cloth, unless the men can afford trousers and ragged
shirts, and the women a "veo preto," or dingy black sheet,
ungracefully worn, like the graceful sárí of Hindostan, over the
bright foulard which confines the wool. "It is mighty ridiculous
to observe," says the old missionary, "that the women, contrary
to the custom of all other nations, buy and sell, and do all
things which the men ought to do, whilst their husbands stay at
home and spin or weave cotton, or busy themselves in such other
effeminate actions." This is not wholly true in ‘63. The
"munengana,"or machila-man, is active in offering his light cane
palanquin, and he chaffs the "mean white" who is compelled to
walk, bitterly as did the sedan-chairmen of Bath before the days
of Beau Nash. Of course the Quitandeira, or market-woman, holds
her own. The rest of the street population seems to consist of
negro "infantry" and black Portuguese pigs, gaunt and long-
legged. The favourite passe-temps is to lie prone in sun or
shade, chattering and smoking the cachimbo, a heavy clay pipe,
with peculiar stem--"to sleep supine," say the Arabs, "is the
position of saints; on the dexter side, of kings; on the
sinister, of learned men; and on the belly, of devils."

Chapter III.

The Festival--a Trip to Calumbo--portuguese Hospitality.

My first step after reaching S. Paolo de Loanda was to call upon
Mr. Commissioner Vredenburg, who had lately taken up the
undesirable appointment, and who, moreover, had brought a pretty
French wife from Pará. I had warned him that he was risking her
life and that of her child; he bravely made the attempt and
nearly lost them both. I have reason to be grateful to him and to
Mr. Vice-consul E. H. Hewett for hospitality during my stay at
the Angolan capital. There is a place called an hotel, but it is
in the Seven Dials of the African city, and--nothing more need be

Fortunately for me, as for herself, Loanda had got rid of Mr.
Vredenburg's predecessor, who soon followed the lamented Richard
Brand, first British Consul, appointed in 1844. The "real whole-
hearted Englishman" was after that modern type, of which La
Grundy so highly approves. An honest man, who does not hold to
the British idea that "getting on in the world" is Nature's first
law, would be sorely puzzled by such a career.

The day after my arrival was the festival which gives to São
Paulo de Loanda its ecclesiastical name "da Assumpção." The
ceremonies of the day were duly set forth in the Boletim Official
do Governo Geral da Provincia de Angola. A military salute and
peals of bells aroused us at dawn; followed a review of the
troops, white and black; and a devout procession, flags flying
and bands playing, paced through the chief streets to the
Cathedral. A visit of ceremony in uniform to the Governor-
General, Captain José Baptista de Andrade, a historic name in
Angola, led to an invitation for the evening, a pleasant soirée
of both sexes. The reception was cordial: whatever be the
grievances of statesmen and historians, lawyers and slave-
mongers, Portuguese officers are always most friendly to their
English brethren. The large and airy rooms were hung with
portraits of the several dignitaries, and there was an Old World
look about Government House, like the Paço at Pangim (Goa). Fifty
years ago colonial society was almost entirely masculine; if you
ever met a white woman it was in a well-curtained manchila
surrounded by "mucambas" or "mucacamas, negro waiting maids:" as
the old missioner tells us, "when they go abroad, which is
seldom, they are carried in a covered net with attendance of
captives." All this is changed, except as regards leaving the
house, which is never done during the day: constitutionals are
not wanted in the tropics, and the negroes everywhere make the
streets unfit, except for any but the very strongest-minded of
the weaker sex. The evenings at Government House are passed with
music and dancing, and petits jeux innocents for the juniors,
whilst the seniors talk and play voltarete till midnight. I well
remember one charming face, but I fear to talk about it--ten
years in Africa cannot pass without the saddest changes.

With an eye to future exploration, I was anxious to see something
of the style of travel in Angola, and to prospect the proposed
line of railway intended to checkmate the bar of the river
Cuanza. The Cassange (Kasanjí) war on the eastern frontier had
just ended honourably to Portuguese arms, but it proved costly;
the rich traffic of the interior had fallen off, and the well-
known Feira was sending down its fairings to independent
Kinsembo. Moreover, in order to raise funds for the rail, the
local Government talked of granting the land to an English
company for growing the highly prized gossypium arboreum.

Sr. João Soares Caldeira, C.E., kindly asked me to join his
party, which started early on August 19. All rode the tipoia, a
mere maca or hammock sadly heating to the back, but handier than
the manchila: the bearers wore loose waistbelts, with a dozen
small sheep's bells on the crupper, intended to proclaim our
importance, and supposed to frighten away wild beasts. These
gentry often require the stimulus of "ndokwe" (go on), but seldom
the sedative of "malemba" (gently) or "quinga" (stop). The "boi-
cavallo," the riding bull (not ox) of the interior, which costs
about £4, is never used in these fashionable localities. I failed
to remark the line of trenches supposed to defend the land-side,
but I did remark the "maiangas," said to be indigo vats made by
the Jesuits. After a hot depression we ascended a rough zigzag,
and halting we enjoyed a charming view of St. Paul. The domed
Morro concealing the squalid lower town was crowned with once
lordly buildings--cathedral, palace, treasury, and fort; the
colours of the ground-swell were red and white, with here and
there a dot of green; and the blue sea rose in its loveliness
beyond the hill horizon. For a whole league we were in the region
of "arimos," or outside farms, where villages, villas, and
plantations, threaded by hot and sandy lanes with hedges of green
euphorbia, showed the former prosperity of the country. Beyond it
the land forms, as in Yoruba, lines of crescents bulging west or
seaward, quartz and pebbles showing here and there an old true

After a five hours' ride we reached Cavúa, the half-way house,
where breakfast had been sent on; the habitations are wretched
thatches, crowded with pigs and mosquitoes. Clearings had all
ended, and the red land formed broken waves of poor soil, almost
nude of vegetation at this mid-winter of the tropics, except
thickets of "milk plant" and forests of quadrangular cactus; the
latter are quaint as the dragon-tree, some twenty feet tall and
mostly sun-scorched to touchwood. The baobab (adansonia) is
apparently of two kinds, the "Imbundeiro," hung with long-
stringed calabashes, which forms swarming-places for bees; and
the "Aliconda" (Nkondo), whose gourd is almost sessile, and whose
bark supplies fibre for cloth and ropes. The haskúl or big-aloe
of Somali-land was not absent, and, amongst other wild fruits, I
saw scattered over the ground the husks of a strychnine, like the
east African species. Deer, hares, and partridges are spoken of
in these solitudes, but they must be uncommonly hard to find at
such a season.

About three hours after leaving Cavúa were spent upon this high,
dry, and healthy desert, when suddenly we sighted the long
reaches of the Cuanza River, sharply contrasting, like the Nile,
with the tawny yellow grounds about its valley. A steep descent
over water-rolled pebbles showed the old bank; the other side,
far and blue, gave a goodly breadth of five miles; then we
plunged into the green selvage of the modern stream, following
muddy paths where the inundation had extended last June. Here
tobacco, orchilla, and indigo in the higher, and sugar-cane,
rice, and ricinus on the lower lands flourish to perfection. The
Angolan orchilla was first sent to Lisbon by Sr. F. R. Batalha:
it is a moss, like the tillandsia of the Southern United States,
and I afterwards recognized it in the island of Annobom. Passing
Pembe and other outlying hamlets, after nine hours of burning
sun, we entered Calumbo Town, and were hospitably lodged by the
Portuguese Commandant. We had followed the highway, as a line for
the intended railway had not yet been marked out, and the
distance measured 33,393 metres (= 20.75 English miles).

Calumbo is now a poor place, with a few dilapidated stone houses
in a mass of wattle and daub huts, surrounded by large "arimos."
The whole "Districto da Barra do Calumbo" contains only 444
hearths. A little stone pier, which Loanda wants, projects into
the stream; the lime was formerly procured from shells, but in
1761 calcareous stone was found near the Dande stream. The
sightliest part is the vegetation, glorious ceibas (bombax) used
for dug-outs; baobabs, tamarinds which supply cooling fruit and
distilled waters; limes and bitter oranges. The most remarkable
growth is the kaju or cashew nut: an old traveller quaintly
describes it "as like St. John's apple with a chestnut at the end
of it." M. Valdez ("Six Years of a Traveller's Life," vol. ii.
267), calls it "a strange kind of fruit," though it was very
familiar to his cousins in the Brazil, of which it is an
aborigine. Here it is not made into wine as at Goa: "Kaju-brandy"
is unknown, and the gum, almost equal to that of the acacia, is
utterly neglected. A dense and shady avenue of these trees, ten
paces apart, leads from the river to the parish church of S.
José, mentioned by Carli in 1666: an inscription informs us that
it was rebuilt in 1850, but the patron is stored away in a
lumber-room, and the bats have taken the place of the priest.
Portugal has perhaps gone too far in abolishing these church
establishments, but it is a reaction which will lead to the
golden mean.

The site of Calumbo is well chosen, commanding a fine view, and
raised above the damps of the cold Cuanza, whose stagnant lagoon,
the Lagôa do Muge on the other side, is divided from the main
branch by a low islet with palms and some cultivation. At the
base of Church Hill are huts of the Mubiri or blacksmiths, who
gipsy-like wander away when a tax is feared; they are not
despised, but they are considered a separate caste. I was shown a
little north of the town a place where the Dutch, true to their
national instincts, began a canal to supply Loanda with sweet and
wholesome drinking material and water communication; others place
it with more probability near the confluence of the Cuanza and
the Lucala, the first great northern fork, where Massangano was
built by the Conquistadores. This "leat" was left incomplete, the
terminus being three miles from St. Paul's; the Governor-General
José de Oliveira Barbosa, attempted to restore it, but was
prevented by considerations of cost.

Calumbo must be a gruesome place to all except its natives.
Whilst Loanda has improved in climate since Captain Owen's day
(1826), this has become deadly as Rome in 1873. The raw mists in
early morning and the hot suns, combined with the miasmas of the
retreating waters, sometimes produce a "carneirado" (bilious
remittent) which carries off half the inhabitants. Dysenteries
are everywhere dangerous between the Guinea Coast and Mossamedes,
the cause being vile water. All the people looked very sickly;
many wore milongos, Fetish medicines in red stripes, and not a
few had whitewashed faces in token of mourning. I observed that
my Portuguese companions took quinine as a precaution. Formerly a
few foreign merchants were settled here, but they found the hot
seasons fatal, and no wonder, with 130° (F.) in the shade! The
trade from the upper river, especially from the Presidio das
Pedras Negras de Pungo Andongo,[FN#2] consists of hides, cattle
tame and wild (cefos); saltpetre washed from earth in sieves,
mucocote or gum anime (copal), said by Lopes de Lima to be found
in all the forests of Pungo Andongo; wax, white and yellow; oil
of the dendêm (Elaïs Guineënsis) and mandobim, here called
ginguba (arachis); mats, manioc-flour, and sometimes an ivory.

Calumbo was built as early as 1577 by the Conquistador Porcador
and first Capitão Mór Paulo Dias II., a gallant soldier, who died
in 1589 at Massangano, the "Presidium," which he had founded
between 1580-83, and who was buried in the Church of Na. Sa. da
Vittoria; he is said also to have built the Church of Santa Cruz.
Equidistant from Loanda and the sea, the settlement soon had a
wealthy trade with the fortified stations of the interior, and
large Government stores filled with merchandize. In 1820 a number
of schooners, pinnaces, and small crafts plied up and down to
Muchimo, Massangano, Cambembe, and other inland settlements; now
we find out only a few canoes. The Cuanza at "Sleepers' Bay" has
one of the worst shifting bars on the whole coast. At this
distance, five leagues from the mouth, its width is one hundred
fathoms, and the depth varies from eight to nine. It breeds good
fish; the manatus is common, people talk of fresh-water sharks,
and the jacare (crocodile) is fatal to many a pig even in the
village. It is navigable for schooners, they say, six days, or
150 miles, to the large "Presidio de Cambembe," where Andrew
Battel (1589-1600) visited a "perpendicular water-fall, which
made such a noise as to be heard thirty miles' distance." This
and another water-fall higher up are laid down in the map of Dr.
Livingstone's admirable first journey. Above Cambembe the river-
bed is broken by archipelagoes, and the shoals render it fit only
for boats. The Cuanza head has been explored only lately,
although a royal order to that effect was issued on March 14,

After receiving and returning the visits of the principal whites,
all habited in frocks and continuations of the blackest and
heaviest broadcloth, we feasted with the excellent commandant,
who was hospitality itself. The mosquitoes soon roused us from
any attempt at sleep, and we passed the night after a fashion
which sometimes leads to red eyes and "hot coppers" in the
morning. I left early, for my companions had business at Calumbo;
as they were no longer present to control the bearers, a race
soft as putty, and I was not used to manage them, the gang became
unbearable. The soldier sent to keep them in order did his best
with his "supple-jack," and the consequence was that all bolted
into the bush. At Cavúa two men were forcibly enlisted, but I
preferred walking in. When at home in the Red House (Mr.
Hewett's) the hammock men came complaining of my deserting them,
and begging bakhshish.

It was another lesson to me--the Gaboon had lately administered
one--that, however well you may know the negro generally, each
tribe requires a specific study. This, however, would not take
long, and with a little knowledge of the language there would be
no difficulty in following the footsteps of Joaquim Rodrigues
Graça; letters would be required to the several commandants, the
season of setting out should be in early Cacimbo (April), and the
up march would take six months, with about four to return. But,
unless active measures are adopted, only the seaboard will remain
to the Portuguese. This is an exploration which I had kept "dark"
for myself; but Captain von Homeyer has gained the day, and
nothing remains for me but to give the gallant officer God speed.
After a short but exceedingly pleasant visit, I left the capital
of Angola with regret. All seemed anxious to further my views of
travel; the authorities gave me the very best advice, and offered
me introductions to all the district commandants, Sr. Moses
Abecasis, and Sr. Francisco A. Flores, Sir Henry Huntley's host,
obliged me with recommendations to the most influential agents at
Porto da Lenha on the Congo River. Mr. Essex of St. Helena placed
me in the hands of his compatriot, Mr. Scott, and Captain
Hoskins, R.N., ended his kindness with ordering for me a passage
on board H.M. Steamship "Griffon," an old acquaintance in the
Gaboon River. Briefly, I quitted São Paulo with the best wishes
for one and all who had befriended me.

Chapter IV.

The Cruise along Shore--the Granite Pillar of Kinsembo.

On August 22nd we left Loanda, and attacked the 180 miles
separating it from the Congo mouth. Steaming along shore we
enjoyed the vanishing perspective of the escarpment disappearing
in the misty distance. The rivers Bengo, Dande, and Onze are
denoted by densely wooded fissures breaking the natural sea-wall,
and, as usual in West Africa, these lines are the favourite sites
for settlements. The Onze or the Lifune of Mazula Bay--which the
Hydrographic Chart (republished March 18, 1869) changes into
"River Mazulo," and makes the mouth of the "River Onzo"--is
chosen by Bowdich and writers of his day as the northern boundary
of Angola, greatly to the disgust of the Portuguese, whose
pretensions extend much farther north. Volumes of daily smoke and

048--- nightly flame suggest the fires of St. John lighted by the
goatherds of Tenerife. They greatly excite the gallant
"Griffons," who everywhere see slaver-signals, and the system is
old upon this coast as the days of Hanno and Herodotus. At this
season they are an infallible sign that the dries are ending; the
women burn the capim (tall grass) for future forage, and to
manure the land for manioc, maize, and beans. The men seek
present "bush-beef:" as the flames blow inland, they keep to
seaward, knowing that game will instinctively and infallibly
break cover in that direction, and they have learned the
"wrinkle" of the prairie traveller to make a "little Zoar" in
case of accidental conflagration.

At 2 P.M. on the 24th we were abreast of Ambriz, an important
settlement, where a tall red and white cliff, with a background
of broken blue hill, showed a distinct "barra," or river mouth,
not to be confounded with the English "bar." The north point of
the Rio dos Ambres, of the "green" or "raw copal," is low and
mangrove-grown, throwing into high relief its sister formation,
Ambriz Head or Strong-Tide Corner, which stands up gaunt and

A little to the south-east lies the fort, flying the argent and
azure flag, and garrisoned by some 200 men; five large
whitewashed houses and the usual bunch of brown huts compose the
settlement. This nest of slavers was temporarily occupied in May
15, 1855. The Governor-General, Senor Coelho de Amaral,
reinforced by 1,000 soldiers from home, and levying 2,500
"Empacasseiros,"[FN#3] embarked from Loanda in the "Dorn
Fernando" frigate, landed here, once more burnt the barracoons,
and built the fort. In 1856 a force was sent under Colonel
Francisco Salles Ferreira, to re-open a communication with the
Bembe mines of copper and malachite. That energetic officer
marched on São Salvador, the old capital of Congo, and crowned
Dom Pedro V., whose predecessor died the year before. He there
fell a victim to fever, and his second in command, Major Andrade,
was nearly cut off on his return. Shortly afterwards the natives
blockaded, but were driven from, Bembe, and they attempted in
vain to carry Ambriz.

The far-famed copper mines were granted to the Portuguese in the
sixteenth century by the King of Congo. They were the property of
his feudatory, the (black) "Marquess of Pemba" (Bembe): Barbot
mentions their being mistaken for gold, and feels himself bound
to warn his readers that the metal was brought "from Sondy, not
from Abyssinia or the empire of Prester John." They lost all
their mystery about A.D. 1855, when they were undertaken by an
English company, Messrs. John Taylor & Co. of London, after
agreement with the concessionists, Messrs. Francisco A. Flores
and Pinto Perez of Loanda. Between Ambriz and Bembe, on the
Lunguila (Lufula?) River, and 770 feet above sea-level, the
Angolan government built four presidios, Matuta, Quidilla,
Quileala, and Quimalenco. But the garrison was not strong enough
to keep the country quiet, and the climate proved deadly to white
men. The 24 sappers and 60 linesmen extracted nearly 4,000 lbs.
of gangue per diem, when the English manager and his assistant,
with four of the ten miners died, and the plant was destroyed by
fire. I was assured that this line (Ambriz-Bembe) was an easy
adit to the interior, and so far the information is confirmed by
the late Livingstone-Congo Expedition under Lieutenant Grandy.

In 1863 the coast was still in confusion. The Portuguese claimed
too much seaboard according to the British: the British
government ignored the just claims of Portugal, and the political
bickerings were duly embittered by a demoralized race of English
traders, who perpetually applied for cruisers, complaining that
the troops interfered with their trade. Even in the seventeenth
century the Portuguese had asserted their rights to the Reino do
Congo, extending between the great stream of that name and the
Ambriz, also called the Loge and Doce River. In the older maps--
for instance, Lopes de Lima--the Loge is an independent stream
placed north of the Ambriz River; in fact, it represents the Rue
or Lue River of Kinsembo, which is unknown to our charts. Within
the Doce and the Cuanza lies the Reino de Angola, of which, they
say, the Congo was a dependency, and south of the Cuanza begins
the Reino de Benguela. The Government-General of Loanda thus
contained four provinces-Congo (now reduced to Ambriz), Angola,
Benguela, and Mossamedes. The English government has now agreed
to recognize the left or southern bank of the Ambriz as the
northern frontier of Angola and of Portuguese rule.

Passing the river mouth, we were alongside of independent lands,
and new to us. Boobies (Pelecanus sula), gulls, petrels, and men-
of-war birds (P. aquila), flew about the ship; according to the
experts, they were bound for fetid marshes which outlie the Loge
River. Before nightfall we were off the Lue or Rue River of
Kinsembo, which disputes with Landána (not "Landano"[FN#4]) the
palm of bad landing. At this season boats are

052--- sometimes kept waiting fourteen days, and the "barreiras"
(cliffs) are everywhere at unbounded war with the waters. I
determined to land and to inspect the "remarkable lofty granite
pillar," which was dimly visible from our deck; but we rowed in
vain along the tall and rusty sea-walls. No whaler could attack
the huge rollers that raised their monstrous backs, plunged over
with a furious roar, and bespread the beach with a swirl of foam.
At last, seeing a fine surf-boat, artistically raised at stern
and bow, and manned by Cabindas, the Kruboys of the coast, made
fast to a ship belonging to Messrs. Tobin of Liverpool, we
boarded it, and obtained a passage.

The negroes showed their usual art. Paddling westward they
rounded the high red and white South Point, where a projecting
reef broke the rollers. We waited for some twenty minutes for a
lull; at the auspicious moment every throat was strained by a
screaming shout, and the black backs bent doughtily to their
work. We were raised like infants in the nurse's arms; the good
craft was flung forward with the seething mass, and as she
touched shore we sprang out, whilst our conveyance was beached by
a crowd of stragglers. The dreaded bar is as usual double: in the
heaviest weather boats make for a solitary palm-tree at the
bottom of the sandy bay. Some of the dug-outs are in pairs like
the Brazilian Ajoujo; the sides are lashed together or fastened
by thwarts, and both are made to bend a little too much inwards.

It was dark when we climbed up the stiff Jacob's ladder along the
landward side of the white Kinsembo bluff. There are three ramps:
the outermost is fit only for unshod feet; the central is better
for those who can squeeze through the rocky crevices, and the
furthest is tolerably easy; but it can be reached only by
canoeing across the stream. Mr. Hunter of Messrs. Tobin's house
received us in the usual factory of the South Coast, a ground-
floor of wicker-work, windowless, and thatched after native
fashion. The chief agent, who shall be nameless, was drunk arid
disorderly: it is astonishing that men of business can trust
their money to such irresponsible beings; he had come out to
Blackland a teetotaller, and presently his condition became a
living lecture upon geographical morality.

The night gave us a fine study of the Kinsembo mosquito, a large
brown dipter, celebrated even upon this coast. A barrel of water
will act as nursery; at times the plagues are said to extinguish
a lantern, and to lie an inch deep at the bottom. I would back
them against a man's life after two nights of full exposure: the
Brazilian "Marimbondo" is not worse. At 7 A.M. on the next day we
descended the easiest of the ramps, which are common upon this
coast, and were paddled over the Kinsembo River. Eleven miles
off, it issues from masses of high ground, and at this season it
spreads out like the Ambriz in broad stagnant sheets, bordered
with reeds and grass supplying fish and crabs, wild ducks and
mosquitoes. Presently, when the Cacimbo ends in stormy rains and
horrid rollers, its increased volume and impetus will burst the
sand-strip which confines it, and the washed-away material will
recruit the terrible bar.

Leaving the ferry, wre mounted the "tipoias," which Englishmen
call "hammocks" after the Caribs of Jamaica, and I found a
strange contrast between the men of Kinsembo and of São Paulo.
The former are admirable bearers, like their brethren of
Ambrizette, famed as the cream of the coast: four of them carried
us at the rate of at least six miles an hour; apparently they
cannot go slowly, and they are untireable as black ants. Like the
Bahian cadeira-men, they use shoulder-pads, and forked sticks to
act as levers when shifting; the bamboo-pole has ivory pegs, to
prevent the hammock-clews slipping, and the sensation is somewhat
that of being tossed in a blanket.

Quitting the creeper-bound sand, we crossed a black and fetid
mire, and struck inland to a higher and drier level. The
vegetation was that of the Calumbo road, but not so utterly
sunburnt: there were dwarf fields of Manioc and Thur (Cajanus
indicus), and the large wild cotton shrubs showed balls of
shortish fibre. As we passed a euphorbia-hedged settlement,
Kizúlí yá Mú, "Seabeach Village," a troop of women and girls,
noisy as those of Ugogo, charged us at full gallop: a few silver
bits caused prodigious excitement in the liberal display of
charms agitated by hard exercise. The men were far less
intrusive, they are said not to be jealous of European rivals,
but madly so amongst themselves: even on suspicion of injury, the
husband may kill his wife and her lover.

At Kilwanika, the next hamlet, there was a "king;" and it would
not have been decent to pass the palace unvisited. Outside the
huts stood a bamboo-girt "compound," which we visited whilst H.M.
was making his toilette, and where, contrary to Congo usage, the
women entered with us. Twenty-two boys aged nine or ten showed,
by faces whitened with ashes, that they had undergone
circumcision, a ceremony which lasts three months: we shall find
these Jinkimba in a far wilder state up the Congo. The rival
house is the Casa das Tinta, where nubile girls are decorated by
the Nganga, or medicine-man, with a greasy crimson-purple pigment
and, preparatory to entering the holy state of matrimony, receive
an exhaustive lecture upon its physical phases. Father Merolla
tells us that the Congoese girls are locked up in pairs for two
or three months out of the sight of man, bathing several times a
day, and applying "taculla," the moistened dust of a red wood;
without this "casket of water" or "of fire," as they call it,
barrenness would be their lot. After betrothal the bride was
painted red by the "man-witch" for one month, to declare her
engagement, and the mask was washed off before nuptials. Hence
the "Paint House" was a very abomination to the good Fathers.
Amongst the Timni tribe, near Sierra Leone, the Semo, or
initiation for girls, begins with a great dance, called Colungee
(Kolangí), and the bride is "instructed formally in such
circumstances as most immediately concern women."

After halting for half an hour, ringed by a fence of blacks, we
were summoned to the presence, where we found a small boy backed
by a semi-circle of elders, and adorned with an old livery coat,
made for a full-grown "Jeames." With immense dignity, and without
deigning to look at us, he extended a small black paw like a
Chimpanzee's, and received in return a promise of rum--the sole
cause of our detention. And, as we departed through the euphorbia
avenue, we were followed by the fastest trotters, the Flora
Temples and the Ethan Allens, of the village.

Beyond Kilwanika the land became rougher and drier, whilst the
swamps between the ground-waves were deeper and stickier, the
higher ridges bearing natural Stonehenges, of African, not
English, proportions At last we dismounted, ascended a rise, the
most northerly of these "Aravat Hills," and stood at the base of
the "Lumba" The Pillar of Kmsembo is composed of two huge blocks,
not basaltic, but of coarse-grained reddish granite the base
measures twenty and the shaft forty feet high. With a little
trimming it might be converted into a superior Pompey's Pillar:
we shall see many of these monoliths in different parts of the
Congo country.

The heat of the day was passed in the shade of the Lumba,
enjoying the sea-breeze and the novel view. It was debated
whether we should return viâ Masera, a well-known slaving
village, whose barracoons were still standing. But the bearers
dissuaded us, declaring that they might be seized as "dash,"
unless the white men paid heavy "comey" like those who shipped
black cargoes: they cannot shake off this old practice of
claiming transit money. So we returned without a halt, covering
some twelve of the roughest miles in two hours and a quarter.

The morning of the 26th showed an ugly sight from the tall
Kinsembo cliff. As far as the eye could reach long green-black
lines, fronted and feathered with frosted foam, hurried up to the
war with loud merciless roars, and dashed themselves in white
destruction against the reefs and rock-walls. We did not escape
till the next day.

Kinsembo does not appear upon the old maps, and our earliest
hydrographic charts place it six miles wrong.[FN#5] The station
was created in 1857-61 by the mistaken policy of Loanda, which
determined to increase the customs three per cent, and talked of
exacting duties at Ambriz, not according to invoice prices, but
upon the value which imported goods represented amongst the
natives. It was at once spread abroad that the object was to
drive the wax and ivory trade to São Paulo, and to leave Ambriz
open to slavers. The irrepressible Briton transferred himself to
Kinsembo, and agreed to pay the king £9 in kind, after "country
fashion," for every ship. In 1857 the building of the new
factories was opposed by the Portuguese, and was supported by
English naval officers, till the two governments came to an
arrangement. In February, 1860, the Kinsembo people seized an
English factory, and foully murdered a Congo prince and
Portuguese subject, D. Nicoláo de Agua Rosada, employed in the
Treasury Department, Ambriz. Thereupon the Governor-General sent
up two vessels, with thirty guns and troops; crossed the Loge
River, now a casus belli; and, on March 3rd, burned down the
inland town of Kinsembo. On the return march the column debouched
upon the foreign factories. About one mile in front of the point,
Captain Brerit, U.S. Navy, and Commander A. G. Fitzroy, R.N., had
drawn up 120 of their men by way of guard. Leave was asked by the
Portuguese to refresh their troops, and to house six or seven
wounded men. The foreign agents, headed by a disreputable M--M--,
now dead, protested, and, after receiving this unsoldierlike
refusal, the Portuguese, harassed by the enemy, continued their
return march to Ambriz. The natives of this country have an
insane hate for their former conquerors, and can hardly explain
why: probably the cruelties of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, not peculiar to the Lusitanians, have rankled in the
national memory. A stray Portuguese would infallibly be put to
death, and it will, I fear, be long before M. Valdez sees
"spontaneous declarations of vassalage on the part of the King of
Molembo (Malemba) and others."

In 1860 the trade of Kinsembo amounted to some £50,000, divided
amongst four houses, two English, one American, and one Rotterdam
(Pencoff and Kerdyk). The Cassange war greatly benefited the new
station by diverting coffee and other produce of the interior
from Loanda. There are apochryphal tales of giant tusks brought
from a five months' journey, say 500 miles, inland. I was shown
two species of copal (gum anime) of which the best is said to
come from the Mosul country up the Ambriz River: one bore the
goose-skin of Zanzibar, and I was assured that it does not
viscidize in the potash-wash. The other was smooth as if it had
freshly fallen from the tree. It was impossible to obtain any
information; no one had been up country to see the diggings, and
yet all declared that the interior was open; that it would be
easy to strike the Coango (Quango) before it joins the Congo
River, and that 150 miles, which we may perhaps reduce by a
third, would lodge the traveller in the unknown lands of "Hnga."

Bidding kindly adieu to Mr. Hunter and wishing him speedy
deliverance from his dreadful companion, we resumed our travel
over the now tranquil main. Always to starboard remained the
narrow sea-wall, a length without breadth which we had seen after
the lowlands of Cape Lopez, coloured rosy, rusty-red, or white,
and sometimes backed by a second sierra of low blue rises, which
suggests the sanatorium. Forty miles showed us the tall trees of
Point Palmas on the northern side of the Conza River; on the
south of the gap-like mouth lies the Ambrizette settlement, with
large factories, Portuguese and American, gleaming against the
dark verdure, and with Conza Hill for a background. The Cabeça de
Cobra, or "Margate Head," led to Makula, alias Mangal, or Mangue
Grande, lately a clump of trees and a point; now the site of
English, American, and Dutch factories. Here the hydrographic
charts of 1827 and 1863 greatly vary, and one has countermarched
the coast-line some 75 miles: Beginning with the Congo River, it
lays down Mangue Pegueno (where Grande should be), Cobra, and
Mangue Grande (for Pequeno) close to Ambrizette. Then hard ahead
rose Cape Engano, whose "deceit" is a rufous tint, which causes
many to mistake it for Cape or Point Padrão. To-morrow, as the
dark-green waters tell us, we shall be in the Congo River.

Chapter V.

Into the Congo River.--the Factories.--trip to Shark's Point.--
the Padrão and Pinda.

The best preparation for a first glance at the Congo River is to
do as all do, to study the quaint description which old Purchas
borrowed from the "Chronica da Companhia de Jesus em Portugal."

"The Zaire is of such force that no ship can get in against the
current but near to the shore; yea, it prevails against the
ocean's saltness three-score, and as some say, four-score miles
within the sea, before his proud waves yield their full homage,
and receive that salt temper in token of subjection. Such is the
haughty spirit of that stream, overrunning the low countries as
it passeth, and swollen with conceit of daily conquests and daily
supplies, which, in armies of showers, are, by the clouds, sent
to his succour, runnes now in a furious rage, thinking even to
swallow the ocean, which before he never saw, with his mouth wide
gaping eight-and-twenty miles, as Lopez[FN#6] affirmeth, in the
opening; but meeting with a more giant-like enemie which lies
lurking under the cliffes to receive his assault, is presently
swallowed in that wider womb, yet so as, always being conquered,
he never gives over, but in an eternall quarrel, with deeper and
indented frownes in his angry face, foaming with disclaine, and
filling the aire with noise (with fresh helpe), supplies those
forces which the salt sea hath consumed."

I was disappointed after the Gambia and Gaboon rivers in the
approach to the Congo. About eight miles south of the mouth the
green sea changed to a clear brown which will be red during the
flood. Some three degrees (F. 79° to 82°) cooler than the salt
tide, the lighter water, which was fresh as rain, feathered out
like a fan; a rippling noise was faintly audible, and the clear
lines of white foam had not time to melt into the coloured
efflux. The flow was diverted into a regular curve northwards by
the South Atlantic current; voyagers from Ascension Island to the
north-west therefore feel the full throb of the great riverine
pulse, and it has been recognized, they say, at a distance of 300
miles. Lopez, Merolla, and Dapper[FN#7] agree that the Congo
freshens the water at thirty miles from the mouth, and that it
can be distinguished thirty leagues off. The Amazonas tinges the
sea along the Guiana coast 200 miles, and the effect of the
Ganges extends to about twenty leagues. At this season, of
course, we saw none of the floating islands which during the
rains sail out sixty to seventy leagues from land. "Tuckey's
Expedition" informs us, that the Hon. Captain Irby, H.M.S.
"Amelia," when anchored twelve miles from the South Point, in
fifteen fathoms, "observed on the ocean large floating islands
covered with trees and bushes, which had been torn from the banks
by the violent current." The Journal of Captain Scobell, H.M.S.
"Thais," remarks: "In crossing this stream I met several floating
islands or broken masses from the banks of that noble river." We
shall find them higher up the bed, only forming as the inundation
begins; I doubt, however, that at any time they equal the meadows
which stud the mouth of the Rio Formoso (Benin River).

Historic Point Padrao, the "Mouta Seca," or Dry Bush, of the
modern Portuguese, showed no signs of hospitality. The fierce
rollers of the spumous sea broke and recoiled, foaming upon the
sandy beach, which they veiled with a haze of water-dust, almost
concealing the smoke that curled from the mangrove-hedged "King
Antonio's Town." Then, steaming to the north-east, we ran five
miles to Turtle Cove, formerly Turtle Corner, a shallow bay,
whose nearest point is "Twitty Twa Bush," the baptismal effort of
some English trader. And now appeared the full gape of the Congo
mouth, yawning seven sea-miles wide; the further shore trending
to the north-west in a low blue line, where Moanda and Vista,
small "shipping-ports" for slaves, were hardly visible in the
hazy air. As we passed the projecting tooth of Shark Point, a
sandspit garnished with mangroves and dotted with palmyras, the
land-squali flocked from their dirty-brown thatches to the beach,
where flew the symbolic red flag. Unlike most other settlements,
which are so buried in almost impenetrable bush that the
traveller may pass by within a few yards without other sign but
the human voice, this den of thieves and wreckers, justly named
in more ways than one, flaunts itself in the face of day.

The Congo disclaims a bore, but it has a very distinct bar, the
angle pointing up stream, and the legs beginning about Bananal
Bank (N.) and Alligator River (S.). Here the great depth above
and below (145 and 112 fathoms) shallows to 6-9. Despite the
five-knot current we were "courteously received into the embraces
of the river;" H.M. Steamship "Griffon" wanted no "commanding
sea-breeze," she found none of the difficulties which kept poor
Tuckey's "brute of a transport" drifting and driving for nearly a
week before he could anchor off Fuma or Sherwood's Creek, the
"Medusa" of modern charts (?) and which made Shark Point, with
its three-mile current, a "more redoubtable promontory than that
of Good Hope was to early navigators." We stood boldly E.N.E.
towards the high blue clump known as Bulambemba, and, with the
dirty yellow breakers of Mwáná Mazia Bank far to port, we turned
north to French Point, and anchored in a safe bottom of seven

Here we at once saw the origin of the popular opinion that the
Congo has no delta. On both sides, the old river valley, 32 miles
broad, is marked out by grassy hills rolling about 200 feet high,
trending from E.N.E. to W.S.W., and forming on the right bank an
acute angle with the Ghats. But, whilst the northern line
approaches within five or six miles, the southern bank, which
diverges about the place where "King Plonly's town" appears in
charts, sweeps away some seventeen miles down coast, and leaves a
wide tract of mangrove swamps. These, according to the Portuguese
traders, who have their own plans of the river, extend some
seventy miles south to Ambrizette: slavers keep all such details
very close, and doubtless for good reasons--"short-cuts" greatly
facilitate shipping negroes. The lesser Congo delta is bounded
north by the Banana or Malela stream, whose lower fork is
"Pirates' Creek;" and south by the mangrove-clad drains, which
subtend the main line: the base measures 12-15 miles. At the
highest station, Boma, I shall have something to say about the
greater delta. The left bank of the embouchure projects further
seaward, making it look "under hung," representing in charts a
lower jaw, and the projection of Shark Point the teeth, en

My first care was to collect news at the factories. French Point
is a long low spit, which supports two establishments where the
chart (September 1859) gives "Emigration Depot." It is the old
Banana Point, and probably the older Palmeirinha Point of James
Barbot, who places it in the territory of Goy (Ngoy), now
Cabinda. This part has greatly changed since 1859; either the
Banana River requires removing two miles to the north, or French
Point must be placed an equal distance south. The principal
establishment, M. Régis' of Marseilles, is built in his best
style; a two-storied and brilliantly "chunam'd" house, containing
a shop and store on the ground-floor, defended by a three-
pounder. Behind it a square "compound," with high walls, guards
the offices and the other requisites of a bar racoon. It is
fronted by a little village where "Laptots," Senegal Moslems, and
men-at-arms live with their families and slaves. In the rear
stands the far more modest and conscientious establishment of
Messrs. Pencoff and Kerdyk: their plank bungalow is full of work,
whilst the other lies idle; so virtue here is not, as in books,
its own reward.

M. Victor Parrot, the young Swiss agent of M. Régis, hospitably
asked us to take up our quarters with him, and promised to start
us up stream without delay; his employer fixes the tariff of
every article, and no discretion is left to the subordinates. We
called upon M. Elkman of the Dutch factory. His is a well-known
name on the river, and, though familiar with the people, he has
more than once run some personal risk by assisting our cruizers
to make captures. He advised us to lose no time in setting out
before the impending rains: I wanted, however, a slight
preparation for travel, and determined to see something of the
adjoining villages, especially the site of the historic Padrão.

Whilst crossing the stream, we easily understood how the river
was supposed to be in a perpetual state of inundation. The great
breadth and the shallows near either jaw prevent the rain-floods
being perceptible unless instruments are used, and "hydrometry,"
still in an imperfect state, was little to be depended upon in
the days when European ideas concerning the Congo River were
formed. Twenty miles up stream the high-water mark becomes
strongly marked, and further on, as will be seen, it shows even

If Barbot's map have any claim to correctness, the southern shore
has changed greatly since A.D. 1700. A straight line from Cape
Padrão to Chapel Point, now Shark Point, was more than double the
breadth of the embouchure. It is vain to seek for the "Island of
Calabes" mentioned by Andrew Battel, who was "sent to a place
called Zaire on the River Congo, to trade for elephants' teeth,
wheat, and palm oil." It may be a mistake for Cavallos, noticed
in the next chapter; but the "town on it" must have been small,
and has left, they say, no traces. After a scramble through the
surf, we were received at Shark Point, where, at this season, the
current is nearer five than three knots, by Mr. Tom Peter,
Mafuka, or chief trader, amongst these "Musurungus." He bore his
highly respectable name upon the frontal band of his "berretta"
alias "corôa," an open-worked affair, very like the old-fashioned
jelly-bag night cap. This head-gear of office made of pine-apple
fibre-- Tuckey says grass--costs ten shillings; it is worn by the
kinglets, who now distribute it to all the lieges whose fortunes
exceed some fifty dollars.

Most of the Squaline villagers appeared to be women, the men
being engaged in making money elsewhere. Besides illicit trade,
which has now become very dangerous, a little is done in the
licit line: grotesquely carved sticks, calabashes rudely
ornamented with ships and human figures, the neat bead-work
grass-strings used by the women to depress the bosom, and
cashimbos or pipes mostly made about Boma. All were re-baptized
in 1853, but they show no sign of Christianity save crosses, and
they are the only prostitutes on the river.

Following Tom Peter, and followed by a noisy tail, we walked to
the west end of Shark Point, to see if aught remained of the
Padrão, the first memorial column, planted in 1485 by the
explorer Diogo Cam, knight of the king's household, Dom João II.
"O principe perfeito," who, says De Barros ("Asia," Decad. I.
lib. iii. chap. 3), "to immortalize the memory of his captains,"
directed them to plant these pillars in all remarkable places.
The Padrões, which before the reign of D. João were only wooden
crosses, assumed the shape of "columns, twice the height of a man
(estado), with the scutcheon bearing the royal arms. At the sides
they were to be inscribed in Latin and Portuguese (to which James
Barbot adds Arabic), with the name of the monarch who sent the
expedition, the date of discovery, and the captain who made it;
on the summit was to be raised a stone cross cramped in with
lead." According to others, the inscription mentioned only the
date, the king, and the captain. The Padrão of the Congo was
especially called from the "Lord of Guinea's favourite saint, de
São Jorge"--sit faustum! As Carli shows, the patron of Congo and
Angola was Santiago, who was seen bodily assisting at a battle in
which Dom Affonso, son of Giovi (Emmanuel), first Christian king
of Congo, prevailed against a mighty host of idolaters headed by
his pagan brother "Panso Aquitimo." In 1786 Sir Home Popham found
a marble cross on a rock near Angra dos Ilheos or Pequena (south
latitude 26° 37'), with the arms of Portugal almost effaced. Till
lately the jasper pillar at Cabo Negro bore the national arms.
Doubtless much latitude was allowed in the make and material of
these padrões; that which I saw near Cananea in the Brazil is of
saccharine marble, four palms high by two broad; it bears a
scutcheon charged with a cross and surmounted by another.

There is some doubt concerning the date of this mission. De
Barros (I. iii. 3) says A.D. 1484. Lopes de Limn (IV. i. 5) gives
the reason why A.D. 1485 is generally adopted, and he believes
that the cruise of the previous year did not lead to the Congo
River. The explorer, proceeding to inspect the coast south of
Cape St. Catherine (south latitude 2° 30'), which he had
discovered in 1473, set out from São Jorge da Mina, now Elmina.
He was accompanied by Martin von Behaim of Nürnberg (nat. circ.
A.D. 1436, ob. A.D. 1506), a pupil of the mathematician John
Müller (Regiomontanus); and for whom the discovery of the New
World has been claimed.

After doubling his last year's terminus, Diogo Cam chanced upon a
vast embouchure, and, surprised by the beauty of the scenery and
the volume of the stream, he erected his stone Padrão, the first
of its kind. Finding the people unintelligible to the
interpreters, he sent four of his men with a present of hawk's
bells (cascaveis) and blue glass beads to the nearest king, and,
as they did not soon return, he sailed back to Portugal with an
equal number of natives as hostages, promising to return after
fifteen moons. One of them, Caçuta (Zacuten of Barbot), proved to
be a "fidalgo" of Sonho, and, though the procedure was contrary
to orders, it found favour with the "Perfect Prince." From these
men the Portuguese learned that the land belonged to a great
monarch named the Mwani-Congo or Lord of Congo, and thus they
gave the river a name unknown to the riverine peoples.

Diogo Cam, on his second visit, sent presents to the ruler with
the hostages, who had learned as much Portuguese and Christianity
as the time allowed; recovered his own men, and passed on to
Angola, Benguela and Cabo Negro, adding to his discoveries 200
leagues of coast. When homeward bound, he met the Mwani-Sonho,
and visited the Mwani-Congo, who lived at Ambasse Congo (São
Salvador), distant 50 leagues (?). The ruler of the "great and
wonderful River Zaire," touched by his words, sent with him
sundry youths, and the fidalgo Caçuta, who was baptized into Dom
Joao, to receive instruction, and to offer a present of ivory and
of palm cloth which was remarkably strong and bright. A request
for a supply of mechanics and missionaries brought out the first
mission of Dominicans. They sailed in December, 1490, under
Gonçalo de Sousa; they were followed by others, and in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the country was fairly over-
run by the Propaganda. A future page will enter into more
details, and show the results of their labours.

The original Padrão was destroyed by the Dutch in 1645, an act of
barbarism which is justly called "Vandalica façanha." Father
Merolla says (1682), "The Hollanders, out of envy, broke the fine
marble cross to pieces; nevertheless, so much remained of it,
when I was there, as to discover plainly the Portuguese arms on
the ruins of the basis, with an inscription under them in Gothic
characters, though not easy to be read." In 1859 a new one was
placed in Turtle Cove, a few yards south-west of Shark Point; but
the record was swept away by an unusually high tide, and no
further attempt has been made.

We were then led down a sandy narrow line in the bush, striking
south-east, and, after a few yards, we stood before two pieces of
marble in a sandy hollow. The tropical climate, more adverse than
that of London, had bleached and marked them till they looked
like pitted chalk: the larger stump, about two feet high, was
bandaged, as if after amputation, with cloths of many colours,
and the other fragment lay at its feet. Tom Peter, in a fearful
lingua-Franca, Negro-Anglo-Portuguese, told us that his people
still venerated the place as part of a religious building; it is
probably the remnant thus alluded to by Lopes de Lima (iii. 1-6):
"Behind this point (Padrão) is another monument of the piety of
our monarchs, and of the holy objects which guided them to the
conquest of Guinea, a Capuchin convent intended to convert the
negroes of Sonho; it has long been deserted, and is still so.
Even in A.D. 1814, D. Garcia V., the king of Congo, complained in
a letter to our sovereign of the want of missionaries." Possibly
the ruined convent is the church which we shall presently visit.
Striking eastward, we soon came to a pool in the bush
sufficiently curious and out of place to make the natives hold it
"Fetish;" they declare that it is full of fish, but it kills all
men who enter it--"all men" would not include white men. Possibly
it is an old piscina; according to the Abbé Proyart, the
missionaries taught the art of pisciculture near the village of
Kilonga, where they formed their first establishment. The place
is marked "Salt-pond" in Barbot, who tells us that the condiment
was made there and carried inland.

A short walk to a tall tree backing the village showed us,
amongst twenty-five European graves, five tombs or cenotaphs of
English naval officers, amongst whom two fell victims to
mangrove-oysters, and the rest to the deadly "calenture" of the
lower Congo. We entered the foul mass of huts,

"Domus non ullo robore fulta
Sed sterili junco cannâque intecta palustri."

It was too early for the daily debauch of palm wine, and the
interiors reeked with the odours of nocturnal palm oil. The older
travellers were certainly not blasés; they seemed to find
pleasure and beauty wherever they looked: Ca da Mosto (1455),
visiting the Senegal, detected in this graveolent substance, fit
only for wheel-axles, a threefold property, that of smelling like
violets, of tasting like oil of olives, and tinging victuals like
saffron, with a colour still finer. Even Mungo Park preferred the
rancid tallow-like shea butter to the best product of the cow. We
chatted with the Shark Point wreckers, and found that they
thought like Arthegal,

"For equal right in equal things doth stand."

Moreover, here, as in the Shetlands of the early nineteenth
century, when the keel touches bottom the seaman loses his
rights, and she belongs to the shore.

Tom Peter offered to show us other relics of the past if we would
give him two days. A little party was soon made up, Mr. J. C.
Bigley, the master, and Mr. Richards, the excellent gunner of the
"Griffon," were my companions. We set out in a south-by-easterly
direction to the bottom of Sonho, or Diogo's Bay, which Barbot
calls "Bay of Pampus Rock." Thence we entered Alligator River, a
broad lagoon, the Raphael Creek of Maxwell's map, not named in
the hydrographic chart of 1859. Leading south with many a bend,
it is black water and thick, fetid mud, garnished with scrubby
mangrove, where Kru-boys come to cut fuel and catch fever; here
the dew seemed to fall in cold drops. After nine miles we reached
a shallow fork, one tine of which, according to our informants,
comes from the Congo Grande, or São Salvador, distant a week's
march. Leaving the whaler in charge of a Kru-man, we landed, and
walked about half a mile over loose sand bound by pine-apple
root, to the Banza Sonho, or, as we call it, King Antonio's Town-
-not to be mistaken for that placed in the charts behind Point
Padron. Our object being unknown, there was fearful excitement in
the thatched huts scattered under the palm grove, till Tom Peter
introduced us, and cleared for us a decent hut. The buildings, if
they can be so called, are poor and ragged, copies of those which
we shall see upon the uplands. Presently we were visited by the
king named after that saint "of whom the Evil One was parlous
afraid." This descendant of the "Counts of Sonho," in his dirty
night-cap and long coat of stained red cloth, was a curious
contrast to the former splendour of the "count's habit," with cap
of stitched silk which could be worn only by him and his nobles,
fine linen shirt, flowered silk cloak, and yellow stockings of
the same material. When King Affonso III. gave audience to the
missioners (A.D. 1646), the negro grandee "had on a vest of cloth
set with precious stones, and in his hat a crown of diamonds,
besides other stones of great value. He sat on a chair under a
canopy of rich crimson velvet, with gilt nails, after the manner
of Europe; and under his feet was a great carpet, with two stools
of the same colour, and silk laced with gold." After the usual
palaver we gave the black earl a cloth and bottle of rum for
leave to pass on, but no one would accompany us that evening, all
pretending that they wanted time to fit up the hammocks. At night
a body of armed bushmen marched down to inspect us.

The demands for porterage were so exorbitant next morning, that
we set out on foot under the guidance of Tom Peter. We passed
southwards over large tracts of bush and gramineous plants, with
patches of small plantations, manioc and thur; and settlements
girt by calabash-trees, cocoas, palmyra and oil palms. The people
poured out, threatened impotent vengeance on those who brought
the white men to "make their country," that is, to seize and
settle in it. The only animals were fowls and pigs; small strong
cages acting as hogstyes showed that leopards were dangerous; in
1816 Lieutenant Hawkey found signs of these animals, together
with elephant, wild boar, and antelope. Now there is no sport
below the cataracts, and possibly very little, except in the
water, above them. Thence we debouched upon rolling land, loose
and sandy waves, sometimes divided by swamps; it is the lower end
of the high yellow band seen from the south of the river, the
true coast of alluvial soil, scattered here and there with quartz
and pebbles. Then the bush opened out, and showed to the north-
east stretches of grassy land, where the wild fig-tree drooped
its branches, laden with thick fleshy leafage, to the ground;
these are the black dots which are seen from afar studding the
tawny desert-like surface. Flowers were abundant despite the
lateness of the season, and the sterility of the soil was
evidenced by cactus and euphorbia.

After a walk of six miles Tom Peter pompously announced that we
had reached the church. We saw only an oblong furrow and a little
worm-eaten wood near three or four of the most miserable
"magalia;" but a bell, hung to a dwarf gallows, was dated 1700,
and inscribed, "Si Deus cum nobis Qis (sic) contra nos?" The
aspect of this article did not fail to excite Mr. Richards'
concupiscence: I looked into the empty huts, and in the largest
found a lot of old church gear, the Virgin (our Lady of Pinda),
saints, and crucifixes, a tank-like affair of iron that acted as
font, and tattered bundles of old music-scores in black and red
ink. In Captain Tuckey's day some of the Sonho men could read the
Latin Litany; there was a priest ordained by the Capuchins of
Loanda, a bare-footed (and bare-faced) black apostle, with a wife
and five handmaids; and a multitude of converts loaded with
crucifixes and satchels of relics. Our home march was enlivened
by glimpses of the magnificent river seen through the perennial
tropical foliage, and it did not suggest trite reflections upon
the meanness of man's highest aspirations in presence of eternal

We had been treading upon no vulgar spot. We are now in the
earldom of Sonho, bounded north by the Congo River and south by
the Ambriz, westward by the Atlantic, and eastward by the "Duchy
of Bamba." It was one of the great divisions of the Congo
kingdom, and "absolute, except only its being tributary to the
Lord Paramount." The titles of Portugal were adopted by the
Congoese, according to Father Cavazzi, after A.D. 1571, when the
king constituted himself a vassal of the Portuguese crown. Here
was the Pinda whose port and fort played an important part in
local history. "Built by the Sonhese army at the mouth of the
River Zaire," it commanded both the stream and sea: it was
plundered in 1600 by four French pirates. According to Carli
(1666-67) "the Count of Sonho, the fifth dignitary of the empire,
resided in the town of Sonho, a league from the River Zaire."
Pinda was for a time the head-quarters of the Portuguese Mission,
subject only to that of São Salvador; it consisted of an
apartment two stories high, which caused trouble, being contrary
to country custom.

At the French factory I found the employés well "up" in the
travels of the unfortunate adventurer Douville ("Voyage au Congo
et dans l'Intérieur de l'Afrique Equinoxiale fait dans les années
1828, 1829, et 1830. Par J. B. Douville, Secrétaire de la Société
de Géographic de Paris pour l'année 1832, etmembre de plusieurs
Sociétés savantes françoises et étrangères. Ouvrage auquel la
Société de Géographic a décerné le prix dans sa séance du 30
mars, 1832. 3 tomes. 8vo. Paris, 1832"). Dr. Gardner, in his
Brazilian travels, gives an account of Douville's murder, the
consequence of receiving too high fees for medical attendance on
the banks of the São Francisco. So life like are his descriptions
of the country and its scenery, that no one in the factory would
believe him to have been an impostor, and the Frenchmen evidently
held my objections to be "founded on nationality." The besetting
sins of the three volumes are inordinate vanity and
inconséquence, but these should not obscure our vision as to
their solid and remarkable merits. Compare the picturesque
account of São Paulo with those of the latest English travellers,
and the anthropology of the people, their religion, their
ceremonies, their magic, their dress and costume, their trade,
their manufactures, their maladies (including earth-eating),
their cannibalism, the condition of their women, and the
necessity of civilizing them by education before converting them,
all subjects of the highest interest, with that of Mungo Park,
for instance, arid we have a fair measure of the French
traveller's value. The native words inserted into the text are
for the most part given with unusual correctness, and the carping
criticism which would correct them sadly requires correction
itself. "Thus the word which he writes mouloundu in his text, and
mulundu in his vocabulary, is not singular, as he supposes, but
the plural of loondu, a mountain" (p. 200 of the" Review").
Firstly, Douville has warned the reader that the former is the
spelling best adapted to French, the latter to Portuguese.
Secondly, "mulundu" in Angolan is singular, the plural being
"milundu"--a handful, the Persians say, is a specimen of the
heap. The excess of female births in low and unhealthy places (1,
309) and as the normal result of polygamy (3, 243), is a highly
interesting subject still awaiting investigation. I do not mean
that Douville was the first to observe this phenomenon, which
forced itself upon the notice of physiologists in ancient times.
Foster ("Cook's Third Voyage") remarks that, wherever men and
animals have many females, the feminine births preponderate over
the masculine; a fact there explained by the "organic molecule"
of Buffon. Pigafetta, the circumnavigator, gives the King of
Tidor eighteen daughters to eight sons.

The French traveller does not pretend to be a mineralogist, but
he does his best to lay open the metallic riches of the country;
he gives careful observations of temperature, in water as well as
air, he divines the different proportions of oxygen in the
atmosphere, and he even applies himself to investigating the
comparative heat of the negro's blood, an inquiry still far from
being exhausted. The most remarkable part is certainly the
medical, and here the author was simply in advance of his age.
Instead of the lancet, the drastic cathartics, and the calomel
with which our naval surgeons slew their patients, he employed
emetics and tonics to an extent that would have charmed my late
friend, Dr. Dickson, the chromothermalist, and he preceded Dr.
Hutchinson in the use of quinine wine. Indeed, the peculiar
aptitude for medicine shown in these pages led to the traveller's
adopting the destructive art of healing as a profession, and
caused his unhappy end. The curious mixture of utter imposture
and of genius for observation which a traveller can detect in
Douville renders him worthy of a monograph.

Chapter VI.

Up the Congo River.--the Slave Depot, Porto Da Lenha.--arrival at

M. Parrot was as good as his word. By August 31st, "L'Espérance,"
a fine schooner-rigged palhabote (launch) of thirty-five tons,
heavily sparred and carrying lots of "muslin," was ready to
receive my outfit. The party consisted of the commander, Mr.
Bigley, and five chosen "Griffons," including William Deane,
boatswain's mate, as good a man as his namesake in Blake's day,
and the estimable Friend, captain's cook and Figaro in general.
M. Pissot, an Arlésien, clerk to the factory, went up on business
with a crew of eight useless Cabindas under Frank, their pagan
"patron," who could only run us aground. Finally, there was a
guard of half-a-dozen "Laptots," equally good sailors and
soldiers. The French squadron in West Africa has the advantage
over ours of employing these men,

086--- who are clean, intelligent, and brave; whilst we are
reduced to the unprogressive Kru-man, who is, moreover, a model
coward, a poltroon on principle.

At 5 P.M. our huge canvas drove us rapidly over the shoals and
shallows of this imperfectly known sea: the Ethiopic Directory
justly grumbles, "It is a subject of regret that navigators who
have had occasion to enter the Congo, and to remain there some
time, have not furnished us with more information about the
tides." This will be a work of labour and endurance; detached
observations are of very little use. We at once remarked the
complication caused by the upper, surface, or freshwater current
of 3 to 4 knots an hour, meeting the under, or oceanic inflow.
There is a short cut up Pirate's Creek, but we avoided it for the
usual reason, fear of finding it very long. Passing a low point
to port, subtended north and south by the Bananal River and
Pirate's Creek, after some six knots we were abreast of
Bulambemba (the Boulem beembo of Tuckey's Vocabulary). It is
interpreted "Answer," hence our "Echo Point"(?); but others
render it, "Hold your tongue." The former is correct, and the
thick high screen of trees explains the native and English names.
Old writers call it Fathomless Point, which it is not now; a
bank, the south-eastern projection of the great Mwáná Mázia
shoal, has formed a few feet below the surface; but the term will
apply at the distance of a mile further south. This acute angle
shows a glorious clump, the "Tall Trees," white mangroves rising
a hundred feet, and red mangroves based upon pyramidal cages of
roots; and beyond it the immediate shore is covered with a dense
tropical vegetation, a tangle of bush, palms, and pandanus,
matted with creepers and undergrowth, and rhyzophoras of many
varieties delighting in brackish water. We passed on the right
the Ponta de Jacaré (Point of the Crocodile), fronting Point
Senegal on the other side. The natives call the former Ngándu
(li. Jigándu), and farcical tales are told about it: in the lower
settlements Europeans will not go abroad by night without a
lantern. During my trip I sighted only one startled crocodile
that floated log-like a mile off, and Captain Baak, of the Dutch
house, had not seen one during a whole year at Banana Point.

We anchored for the night off the south side of the Zungá chyá
Ngombe, in Portuguese Ilha do Boi (Bullock), the Rhinoceros
Island of our early charts. It emerges from the waters of the
right bank, a mere "ponton" plumed with dark mangroves and
streaked with spar-like white trunks. This is probably the
"Island of Horses," where the Portuguese, flying from the
victorious Hollanders, were lodged and fed by the courteous Count
of Sonho; perhaps it is Battel's "Isle Calabes." The place is
backed by the Monpanga or Mombang, the "Look-out Islands" of the
chart, which has greatly changed since the beginning of the
century; the dark mass of mangroves is now apparently part of the
northern shore. Almost due south of the Ilha do Boi is the Zungá
chyá Kampenzi, whence our word chimpanzee: in the hydrographic
chart it is miswritten Zoonga Campendi, and in Tuckey's map,
which contradicts his text, "Zoonga Casaquoisa." His "Zoonga
Kampenzey," also named "Halcyon Island," appears to be the
Draper's Island or the "Monkey Island" of Mr. Maxwell: the latter
in modern charts is more to the north-east, that is, above Porto
da Lenha, than the former. The Simiads have been killed out;
Captain Tuckey going up the river saw upwards of twenty which,
but for their tails, might have been mistaken for negroes.
Merolla says that wild men and women (gorillas?) have been
captured in Sonho, and he carefully distinguishes them from
baboons: one of them was presented to a friar of his order, who
"bestowed it on the Portuguese governor of Loanda." Chimpanzee
Island may be the Zariacacongo of Father Merolla, who makes
Cacongo (Great Congo) a large and independent kingdom" lying in
the middle between Congo and Loango." He describes Zariacacongo,
"none of the smallest, and situate in the midst of the River
Zaire." It abounded in all sorts of provisions, was well peopled,
consisted of a plain raised eight fathoms above water, and was
divided from the kingdom of Congo by a river, over which there
was a bridge.

After a pleasant breezy night upon the brown waters, on September
1st we hove anchor betimes and made for Scotchman's Head, a
conspicuous mangrove bluff forming a fine landmark on the left
bank. The charts have lately shifted it some two miles west of
its old position. Six or seven miles beyond it rise the blue
uplands of the "Earldom of Sonho." On our right, in mid-stream,
lay a "crocodile bank," a newly fixed grass islet, a few square
feet of green and gold, which the floods will presently cover or
carry away. To the left, above the easternmost "Mombang" and the
network of islands behind it, opens the gape of the Malela River,
a short cut to French Point, found useful when a dangerous tide-
rip is caused by the strong sea-breeze meeting the violent
current of the Thalweg. Above it lies a curious formation like
concentric rings of trees inclosing grass: it is visible only
from the north-east. Several slave factories now appear on either
shore, single-storied huts of wood and thatch, in holes cut out
of the densest bush, an impenetrable forest whose sloppy soil and
miry puddles seem never to dry. The tenements serve as videttes
and outposts, enabling cargoes to ship without the difficulties
of passing Palm Point, and thus to make a straight run down
stream. There are three on the north bank, viz. M. Rágis (aîné),
now deserted, Sr. Lima Viana, and Sr. Antonio Fernandez; and
three on the left side, Sr. Alessandro Ferreira, Sr. Guilherme,
and Sr. Fonseca. Those on the southern or left bank facilitate
overland transit to Mangue, Ambrizette, and other dépôts. At
present it is "tiempo seco" (dull time), and the gérants keep
their hands in by buying ground-nuts and palm oil. The slave
trade, however, makes 500, not 50, per cent., and the agents are
naturally fond of it, their mere salaries being only some 150
francs a month.

Landing at the factory of Sr. Fernandez, we were received by his
agent, Sr. Silva, in a little bungalow of bamboo and matting,
paved with tamped earth and old white ostreoid shells, a kind of
Mya, relished by the natives but not eaten by Europeans. To
these, doubtless, Mr. W. Winwood Reacle refers ("Savage Africa,"
chap, xxxvii.), "The traders say that in Congo there are great
heaps of oyster-shells, but no oysters. These shells the negroes
also burn for lime." I did not hear of any of these "ostreiras,"
which, if they exist, must reflect the Sambaquis of the opposite
Brazilian shore. The house was guarded by three wooden figures,
"clouterly carved," and powdered with ochre or red wood; two of
them, representing warriors in studded coatings of spike nails,
with a looking-glass fixed in the stomach, raised their hands as
if to stab each other. These figures are sometimes found large as
life: according to the agents, the spikes are driven in before
the wars begin, and every one promises the hoped-for death of an
enemy. Behind them the house was guarded by a sentinel with drawn
sword. The unfortunate tenant, who looked a martyr to ague, sat

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest