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

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"in palaver" with a petty island "king," and at times the tap of
a war-drum roused my experienced ear. The monarch, habited in a
shabby cloth coat, occupied a settee, with a "minister" on either
side; he was a fat senior of light complexion, with a vicious
expression upon features, which were not those of the
"tobacconist nigger," nor had he the effeminate aspect of the

I looked curiously at these specimens of the Musulungu or
Musurungu, a wilder race than that of Shark Point: the English,
of course, call them Missolonghi, because Lord Byron died there.
Here the people say "le" for "re," and "rua" for "lua,"
confounding both liquids, which may also be found in the Kibundo
tongue. In Loango, according to the Abbé Proyart, the national
organ does not admit the roughness of the r, which is changed to
l. Monteiro and Gamitto assert (xxii.) that the "Cazembes or
Lundas do not pronounce the letter r, in whose place they use l."
The "Ibos" of the lower Congo, dwelling on the southern shore
between the mouth and the Porto da Lenha, above which they are
harmless, these men have ever been dangerous to strangers, and
the effect of the slave-trade has been to make them more
formidable. Lieutenant Boteler (1835) was attacked by twenty-
eight canoes, carrying some 140 men, who came on boldly,
"ducking" at the flash, and who were driven off only by a volley
of musketry and a charge of grape. In 1860 a whaler and crew were
attacked by their war-canoes sallying out from behind Scotchman's
Head. These craft are of two kinds, one shaped like a horse-
trough, the other with a lean and snaky head. The "Wrangler" lost
two of her men near Zungá chyá Kampenzi, and the "Griffon"
escaped by firing an Armstrong conical shell. They have
frequently surprised and kept for ransom the white agents, whom
"o negocio" deterred from reprisals. M. Pissot, our companion,
was amarré by them for some weeks, and the most unpleasant part
of his captivity was the stunning concert of songs and
instruments kept up during the day to prevent his escaping by
night. The more sensible traders at Boma pay them black mail by
employing them as boats' crews, upon our Anglo-Indian principle
of the "Paggi" and the "Ramosi."

Merolla calls these men Musilongo or Sonhese. The word appears to
me opprobrious, as if each tribe termed itself Mushi-Congo (Congo
people), and its neighbours Musulungus: Barbot writes as a
Frenchman Moutsie, the Portuguese Muxi (Mushi). Mushi-Longo would
perhaps mean Loango-people; but my ear could not detect any
approach to "Loango" in "Musulungu." The first syllable, Mu, in
Fiote or Congoese, would be a contraction of Muntu (plural
Wántú). They inhabit the islands, own a part of the north bank,
and extend southwards to Ambriz: eastward they are bounded by the
Fiote or Congo-speaking peoples, to whom their tongue is
intelligible. They have no tattoo, but they pierce the nose
septum and extract the two central and upper incisors; the Muxi-
Congoes or Lower Congoese chip or file out a chevron in the near
sides of the same teeth-- an ornament possibly suggested by the
weight of the native pipe. The chipping and extracting seem to be
very arbitrary and liable to change: sometimes the upper, at
other times the lower teeth are operated upon. The fashionable
mutilation is frequently seen in Eastern Africa, and perhaps it
is nothing but a fashion. They are the "kallistoi" and "megistoi"
of the Congoese bodies, taller and darker, fiercer and braver
than their neighbours, nor will they cease to be river pirates
till the illicit trade dies.

After taking leave of Sr. Silva we resumed our way, the
thermometer (F.) showing at 1.45 P.M. 95° in the air when the sun
was obscured, and the mirage played the usual fantastic tricks.
The mangrove, which Tuckey's introduction prolongs to fifty miles
from the mouth, now disappears; in fact, it does not extend much
above Bullock Island, nineteen direct miles on the chart from
Shark Point and, as usual, it enables us to measure the extreme
limit where the salt-tide ascends. The palhabote went gallantly,

"The water round her bows
Dancing as round a drinking cup."

Small trembling waves poppled and frothed in mid-stream, where
the fresh water met wind and tide; and by the "boiling" of the
surface we saw that there was still a strong under-current
flowing against the upper layer. A little beyond the factory we
were shown on the northern bank Mariquita Nook, where the slaver
of that name, commanded by a Captain Bowen, had shipped some 520
men. She was captured by H.M. Steamship "Zebra," Commander
Hoskins, after being reported by a chief, whom her captain had
kicked, to a trader at the river mouth, and by him to the
cruizer. Slavers used to show their sense by starting on Sundays,
when the squadron kept a careless look-out; but their inevitable
danger was the general "drunk" of the officers and crew to
celebrate the event, and this libation often caused delays which
led to seizure. It was an admirable site, a bit of golden sand
fronting the cleared bush, commanding an unbroken sweep of vision
to the embouchure, and masked by forest from Porto da Lenha. It
is easily known by its two tall trees, and that nearest the sea,
when viewed from the east, appears surmounted by what resemble
the "Kangaroo's Head:" they are cones of regular shape, covered
to the topmost twig with the lightest green Flagellaria. The
"bush" now becomes beautiful, rolling in bulging masses of
verdure to the very edge of the clear brown stream. As in the
rivers of Guinea, the llianas form fibrous chains, varying in
size from a packthread to a cable; now straight, then twisted;
investing the trees with an endless variety of folds and
embraces, and connecting neighbours by graceful arches like the
sag of an acrobat's rope. Here and there a grotesque calabash
contrasted with the graceful palms towering in air for warmth and
light, or bending over water like Prince of Wales's feathers. The
unvarying green was enlivened by yew-like trees with scarlet
flowers, the "Burning Bush" of Sierra Leone, setting off the
white boles of the cotton-trees; and the whole was edged by the
yellow green of the quaint pandanus hung with heavy fruit.

A little beyond "Mariquita Nook" the right bank becomes a net-
work of creeks, "obscure channels," tortuous, slimy with mud,
banked with the snake-like branches of trees, and much resembling
the lower course of the Benin, or any other north equatorial
African river; the forest is also full of large villages,
invisible like the streams till entered. A single tree,
apparently growing out of the great stream-bed, showed shallow
water as we passed the Ponte de tres Palmeiras; the three oil-
palms are still there, but the easternmost is decaying. At 2 P.M.
we were in sight of the chief slaving settlement on the Congo,
the Whydah of the river, Porto da Lenha. Our charts have "Ponta
de Linha," three mistakes in as many words. Some authorities,
however, prefer Ponta da Lenha, "Woody Point," from the piles
flanking the houses; others, Ponte da Lenha, from a bridge built
by the agent of Messrs. Tobin's house over the single influent
that divides the settlement. Cruizers have often ascended thus
far; the Baltimore barque of 800 tons went up and down safely in
1859, but now square-rigged ships, which seldom pass Zungá chyá
Kampenzi, send up boats when something is to be done higher up.

Porto da Lenha dates like Abeokuta from the second decade of the
present century. In Tuckey's time the projection from the
northern bank was known as "Tall Trees," a term common to several
places in the "Oil rivers;" no factories existed, schooners
sailed to Boma for cargo, and dropped down stream as soon as
loaded. From French Point it is distant 40,000 measured metres (=
21 statute miles and 1,615 yards); our charts show 20.50 nautical
miles (= 32,500 metres in round numbers). The river opposite the
projection narrows to a gate barely a mile and a half broad,
whilst the valley stretches some five miles, and the blue hills
inhabited by the Musulungus are clearly visible; the flood rises
four or five feet, and drinking water must be brought from up
stream. The site of the settlement is on the right or northern
bank behind the projection, a slip of morass backed by swamps and
thick growths, chiefly bombax, palm and acacia, lignum vitae, the
mammee-apple and the cork-tree, palmyra, pandanus, and groves of
papyrus. Low and deeply flooded during the rains, the place would
be fatal without the sea-breeze; as it is, the air is exceedingly
unwholesome. There is no quay, the canoe must act gondola; the
wharf is a mere platform with steps, and in places the filthy
drains are not dry even at this season. The length of the station
is about one mile, and of no depth except what is taken up by the
neat and expensive gardens. Eastward or up stream it thins out,
and the foundations give considerable trouble; the inhabitants
are condemned to do beavers' work, to protect the bank with
strong piles, and to heap up earth for a base, whilst, despite
all their toil, the water often finds its way in. The sixteen
houses look well; they are substantial bungalows, built country
fashion, with timber and matting; they have large and shady
verandahs, and a series of inner rooms. Each house has a well-
kept pottage plot, inferior, however, to those up stream.

The tenure of ground here, as at Borna, is by yearly rent to the
two "kings," Nengongo and Nenzalo, each of whom claims a half.
Like the chiefs of Porto Novo, the despot of Dahome, the rulers
of many Nigerian tribes, and even the Fernandian "Bube," these
potentates may not look at the sea nor at the river. Their power
is, therefore, deputed to "linguisters" or interpreters,
linguistele ya Nchinu, "linguist to the king," being the official
titles of these worthies, who massacre the Portuguese language,
and who are empowered to receive "comey" (customs) and rent. The
revenue is composed of three principal items; an ounce ($16) per
head of negro embarked at Porto da Lenha; four per cent, on all
goods sold, and, lastly, a hundred hard dollars monthly ground-
rent--£l92 (English pound symbol) a year. The linguist becomes
more powerful than the chief, who is wholly in his power, and
always receives the best presents. Neagongo's fattore is old
Shimbah, an ignoble aspect with a "kink in his leg;" Mashel or
Machela, a corruption of the Portuguese Maciel, died about two
months aeo: we shall see him disembarked for burial at Boma.

It is evident that the slavers were wrong not to keep hulks like
those of the Bonny River; health would have gained, and the
procedure might have modified negro "sass." The chiefs begin
early morning by going their rounds for drink, and end business
between 7 and 10 A.M. Everywhere on this coast a few hours of
work support a "gentleman;" even the comparatively industrious
and hard-working Egbas rarely do anything after noon. These lords
and masters are fully aware that the white men are their willing
slaves as long as the large profits last. If a glass of watered
rum, which they detect more easily than we do watered milk, be
offered to them, it will be thrown in the donor's face. Every
factory must keep a barrel of spirits ready broached if the
agents would buy eggs and yams, and the poorest negro comes
regularly with his garrafa. The mixed stuff costs per bottle only
a hundred reis (= fourpence), and thoroughly demoralizes the
black world.

We landed at once, sent our letters to M. Monteiro, who
hospitably offered his house, and passed the day quickly enough
in a round of visits. Despite the general politeness and
attention to us, we found a gloom overhanging the place: as at
Whydah, its glories have departed, nor shall they ever return.
The jollity, the recklessness, the gold ounces thrown in handfuls
upon the monte-table, are things of the past: several houses are
said to be insolvent, and the dearth of cloth is causing actual
misery. Palm and ground-nut oil enable the agents only to buy
provisions; the trade is capable of infinite expansion, but it
requires time--as yet it supports only the two non-slaving
houses, English and Dutch. The forty or fifty tons brought in
every month pay them cent, per cent.; the bag of half a hundred
weight being sold for four fathoms of cloth; or two hatchets, one
bottle of rum, and a jug or a plate.

Early next day I went to the English factory for the purpose of
completing my outfit. Unfortunately, Mr. P. Maculloch, the head
agent, who is perfectly acquainted with the river and the people,
was absent, leaving the business in the hands of two "mean
whites," walking buccras, English pariahs. The factory--a dirty
disgrace to the name--was in the charge of a clerk, whom we saw
being rowed about bareheaded through the sun, accompanied by a
black girl, both as far from sober as might be. The cooper, who
was sitting moony with drink, rose to receive us and to weigh out
the beads which I required; under the excitement he had recourse
to a gin-bottle, and a total collapse came on before half the
work was done. Why should south latitude 6°, the parallel of
Zanzibar, be so fatal to the Briton?

At 2.20 P.M. on September 2, we left Porto da Lenha, and passed
Mashel's Creek, on whose right bank is the village of Makatalla;
the charts call it Foomou, and transfer it to the left. Here we
enter upon the riverine archipelago. The great stream before one,
now divides into three parallel branches, separated by long
narrow islands and islets, banks and shallows. The northernmost
channel in our maps, "Maxwell River," is known to Europeans and
natives as Noangwa; Mamballa or the central line is called by the
moderns Nshibúl, and the southern is dubbed by the hydrographer,
"Rio Konio," a truly terrible mistake for Sonho. As a rule, the
Noangwa, though infested during the rains by cruel mosquitoes, is
preferred for the ascent, and the central for dropping down
stream. The maximum breadth of the Congo bed, more than half
island, is here five miles; and I was forcibly reminded of it
when winding through the Dalmatian Archipelago.

The river still maintained its alluvial aspect as we passed along
the right bank. The surface was a stubble strewn with the usual
trees; the portly bombax; the calabash, now naked and of wintry
aspect; and the dark evergreen palmyra, in dots and streaks upon
the red-yellow field, fronted by an edging of grass, whose king,
cyperus papyrus, is crowned with tall heads waving like little
palms. This Egyptian bush extends from the Congo mouth to Banza
Nokki, our landing-place; it grows thickest about Porto da Lenha,
and it thins out above and below: I afterwards observed it in the
sweet water marshes of Syria and the Brazils. We passed sundry
settlements--Loango Pequeno, Loango Grande, and others--and many
canoes were seen plying up and down. On the left or to the south
was nothing but dense reedy vegetation upon the low islands,
which here are of larger dimensions than the northern line. As
evening drew near, the grasshoppers and the tree frogs chirped a
louder song, and the parrots whistled as they winged their rapid
flight high overhead. Presently we passed out of the lower
archipelago, and sighted the first high land closing upon the
stream, rolling hills, which vanished in blue perspective, and
which bore streaks of fire during the dark hours. Our Cabinda
Patron grounded us twice, and even the high night breeze hardly
enabled us to overcome the six-knot current off the narrow, whose
right side is called Ponta da Diabo. Devil's Point is not so
named in the chart: the place is marked "Strong Tide" (No. 1),
opposite Chombae Island, which the natives term Zungá chyá
Bundika, hence probably the name of the village Bemandika (Boma
ndika). At this satanic headland, where the banks form a gate
three miles broad, a man hailed us from the bank; none understood
him, but all made up their minds that he threatened to visit us
during the night.

A light breeze early next morning fortunately freshened as we
approached "Strong Tide" (No. 2). We ran north of the second
archipelago above the gate; south of us lay the "Low Islands" of
the chart, with plantations of beans and tobacco; the peasants
stood to stare like Icelanders, leaning on oblong-bladed paddles
six feet long, or upon alpen-stocks capped with bayonets; the
"scare-crows" were grass figures, with pots for heads and wooden
rattles suspended to bent poles. On the right bank a block of
hills narrows the stream, and its selvage of light green grasses
will contribute to the "floating islands." Higher up, blocks and
boulders of all sizes rise from the vegetation, and prolong
themselves into the shallower waters. There are two distinct
bluffs, the westernmost marked by a tree-clump at its feet, and
between them lies a baylet, where a dozen palms denote the once
dreaded village Bemandika. The second block, 400 to 500 feet
high, bears on its rounded summit the Stone of Lightning, called
by the people Tadi Nzázhí, vulgò, Taddy Enzazzi. The Fiote
language has the Persian letter Zh (j), sounding like the initial
of the French "jour:" so Lander ("On the Course and Termination
of the Niger," "Journal Royal Geographical Society," vol. i. p.
131) says of the Island Zegozhe, that "zh is pronounced like z in
azure." This upright mass, apparently 40 feet high, and seeming,
like the "Lumba" of Kinsembo to rest upon a basement, is very
conspicuous from the east, where it catches the eye as a watch-
tower would. At the bluff-base, a huge slab, an irregular
parallelogram, slopes towards the water and, viewed far up
stream, it passably represents a Kaffir's pavoise. This Fingal's
Shield, a name due to the piety of Mr. George Maxwell, is called
by the French La Pierre Fétiche: it must not be confounded with
our Fetish Rock (Tádi ya Muingu) on the southern bank at the
entrance of the Nshibúl and Sonho branches. I can add nothing to
Tuckey's description or Lieutenant Hawkey's tracing of the rude
figures which distinguish a not unusual feature. Tuckey (p. 97)
calls Fingal's Shield Taddy d'ya M'wangoo, and Professor Smith,
Taddi Moenga (p. 303); the only defect in Lieutenant Hawkey's
sketch is that of exaggerating the bluff, a mere mamelon, one of
many lumps upon a continued level. Both rocks are of the oldest
granite, much weather-worn and mixed and banded with mica and
quartz. M. Charles Konig found in the finer-grained varieties
"minute noble garnets," which also appeared in the mica-slate of
"Gombac" higher up stream, and in the primitive greenstone of
"Boka Embomma."[FN#8]

Beyond this point, where Boma is first sighted, lies the large
marauding village of Twáná. Here also a man shouted to us from
the bank "Muliele! muliele!" for the Portuguese "mulher," one of
the interminable corruptions of the tongue--a polite offer, as
politely declined. The next feature is the Rio Jo Jacaré, a
narrow sedgy stream on the right bank, which, winding northward
through rolling lines of hills, bends westward, and joins, they
say, the Rio Lukullu (Lukallo?) of Cabinda Bay. Men have
descended, I am told, three leagues, but no one has seen the
junction, consequently there may be a portage between the drains.
If not, this is the apex of the greater Congo delta, a false
formation, whose base between Cabinda Bay (S. lat. 5° 25') and
Ambrizette (S. lat. 7° 16') measures 1° 51', equal to 111 direct
geographical miles, whilst its depth inland would be sixty.

Chapter Vii.

Boma.--our Outfit for the Interior

We now reach Boma, the furthest Portuguese factory, about thirty,
usually reckoned thirty-eight, nautical miles from Porta da
Lenha, and a total of 52.50 from French Point.

The upper dépôt of the Congo lies upon the north bank, accidenté
ground, poor, stony, and sandy soil, with rounded, grass-clad
hills, The southern is less broken; there are long slopes and
waves of land which trend in graceful lines, charmingly
diversified, to the uplands, where the old capital, São Salvador,
is situated; and upon the undulating blue ridges, distance behind
distance, appear markings by Nature's hand, which the stranger's
eye can hardly distinguish from villa or village. The view
explains how the old expedition felt "every day more in love with
this beautiful country," The sea-like river wants nothing but
cattle on its banks to justify the description--

"Appunto una scena pastorale, a cui fanno
Quinci il mar, quinci i colli, e d' ogn' intorno
I fior, le piante, e l' ombre, e l' onde, e ‘l cielo.
Unteatro pomposo."

In the centre of the broad stream, whose southern arm is not
visible, are three islets. The western most, backed by a long,
grassy, palm-tasselled bank, is called Zungá chyá Bundiká. This
Chombae Island of the charts is a rocky cone, dark with umbrella-
shaped trees. Its north-eastern neighbour, Simúle Kete, the
Molyneux Island of Mr. Maxwell, the Hekay of Tuckey, and the
Kekay of the chart, contrasts sharply with the yellow stubbles
and the flat lines of Zungá chyá Ngándi. Here, since Tuckey's
time, the trees have made way for grass and stones; the only
remnants are clumps in the south-eastern, which is not only the
highest point, but also the windy and watery direction. On the
Congo course the foul weather is mostly from the "sirocco," where
the African interior is a mass of swamps. At the mouth tornadoes
come down the line of stream from the north-east, and I heard
traditions of the sea-tornado, which blows in shore instead of
offshore as usual. About the close of the last century one or
other of these islands was proposed as a dépôt and settlement,
which a few simple works would convert into a small Gibraltar.
The easternmost Buka, the Booka Embomma of the charts and maps,
will presently be described. In this direction the Zaire assumes
the semblance of a mountain lake, whilst down stream the broad
bosom of the Nshibúl branch forms almost a sea-horizon, with dots
showing where tall, scattered palms spring from the watery
surface. We cannot but admire the nightly effects of the wintry
bush-fires. During the day livid volumed smoke forms cumuli that
conceal their enemy, the sun, and discharge a rain of blacks ten
times the size of Londoners. In the darkened air we see storms of
fire fiercely whirling over the undulating ranges, here sweeping
on like torrents, there delaying, whilst the sheets meet at the
apex, and a giant beard of flame ( )
flouts the moon. The land must be splendidly grassed after the

The Boma factories are like those of Porto da Lenha, but humbler
in size, and more resembling the wicker-work native houses. The
river, which up stream will show a flood mark of twelve feet,
here seldom rises above five, and further down three and four;
consequently piles are not required, and the swiftness of the
current keeps off the jacaré. Formerly there were fourteen
establishments, which licit trade in palm oil and ground-nuts,
instead of men, women, and children, have reduced to ten. The air
is sensibly drier and healthier than at the lower settlement, and
apparently there is nothing against the place but deadly ennui
and monotony.

We landed at once, and presented our letters to Sr. Antonio
Vicente Pereira, who at once made us at home: he had seen Goa as
well as Macáo, so we found several subjects in common. The
factory enjoyed every comfort: the poultry yard throve, far
better than at Porto da Lenha; we saw fowls and pigeons,
"Manilla" ducks and ducklings, and a fine peacock from Portugal,
which seemed to enjoy the change. The fish is not so good as that
caught further down, and the natives have a habit of narcotizing
it: the Silurus electricus is exceptionally plentiful. The
farmyard contained tame deer, and a house-dog fierce as a
tethered mastiff; goats were brought whenever wanted, and the
black-faced, thin-tailed sheep gave excellent mutton. Beef was
impossible; the Portuguese, like the natives, care little for
milk, and of the herd, which strangers had attempted to
domesticate, remained only a bull and a cow in very poor
condition--the deaths were attributed to poisonous grass, but I
vehemently suspect Tsetse. A daily "quitanda," or market, held
under the huge calabashes on a hill behind the house, supplied
what was wanted.

Upon Market Hill executions also take place, the criminal being
shot through the heart. M. Pereira's garden produces all that
Porta da Lenha can grow, with less trouble and of a superior
kind. Water-melons, tomatoes, onions, and pimento, or large
pepper (pimentão, siliquastrum, ndungu ya yenéne), useful to
produce "crocodiles' tears;" mint, and parsley flourish
remarkably; turnips are eatable after two months; cabbage and
lettuce, beet, carrot, and endive after three or four. It is a
waste of ground to plant peas; two rows, twelve feet by four,
hardly produce a plateful. Manioc ripens between the sixth and
ninth month, plantains and bananas once a year, cotton and rice
in four months, and maize in forty days--with irrigation it is
easy to grow three annual crops. The time for planting is before
the rains, which here last six weeks to two months, September and
October. The staple of commerce is now the nguba, or ground-nut
(plural, jinguba), which Merolla calls incumba, with sometimes a
little milho (maize), and Calavance beans. Of fruits we find
trellised grapes, pines, and guavas, which, as at Fernando Po,
are a weed. The agrumi, limes, oranges and citrons are remarkably
fine, and hold, as of old, a high place in the simple medicines
of the country. A cup of lime-leaf tea, drunk warm in the
morning, is the favourite emetic and cathartic: even in Pliny's
day we find "Malus Assyria, quam alii vocant medicam (Mediam?,
venenis medetur" (xii. 7). On the Gold Coast and in the Gaboon
region, colic and dysentery are cured by a calabash full of lime-
juice, "laced" with red pepper. The peculiarity of European
vegetables throughout maritime Congo and Angola is the absence of
all flavour combined with the finest appearance; it seems as
though something in the earth or atmosphere were wanting to their
full development. Similarly, though in the upper regions the
climate is delicious, the missionaries could not keep themselves
alive, but died of privation, hardship, and fatigue.

Chapter VIII.

A Visit to Banza Chisalla,

Boma, at the head of the Congo delta, the great dépôt between the
interior and the coast, owes its existence wholly to

"the cruel trade
Which spoils unhappy Afric of her sons."

Father Merolla (1682), who visited it from "Angoij," our
"Cabinda," speaks of it as a pretty large island, tributary to
the Mani-Congo, extremely populous, well supplied with
provisions, and outlaid by islets belonging to the Count of
Sonho. Tuckey's Embomma was an inland banza or town, and the site
of the factories was called Market Point; the Expedition map and
the hydrographic chart term it Loombee, the latter being properly
the name of a large quitanda (market) lying two miles to the
north-west. Early in the present century it is described as a
village of a hundred huts, opposite which trading vessels
anchored under charge of the "Fuka or king's merchant;" no market
was held there, lest, in case of dispute, the royal person might
suffer. Although the main features of our maps are still correct,
there have been great changes in the river-bed between Porto da
Lenha and Boma, especially about the latter place, which should
be transferred from its present site to Lumbi. The broad Chisalla
Creek, which Mr. Maxwell calls Logan, between the northern bank
and the island "Booka Embomma," is now an arm only 200 feet wide.
In fact all the bank about Boma, like the lower delta, urgently
calls for re-surveying.

This part of the river belongs to the "Rei dos Reis," Nessalla,
under whom are some ten chief officers called "kings," who buy
and sell; indeed, Africa knows no other. The title is prostituted
throughout the West Coast, but it is nowhere so degraded as in
the Congo regions; the whites abuse it to flatter the vanity of
the astute negro, who accepts it with a view to results--a "king-
dash" must, of course, be greater than that of a subject. Every
fellow with one black coat becomes a "preese" (prince), and if he
has two he styles himself a "king." Without permission of the
"King of Kings" we could obtain neither interpreter, canoe, nor
crew; a visit to Banza Chisalal was therefore necessary and, as
it would have been vain to ask anything empty-handed, I took with
me a fine spangled cloak, a piece of chintz, and a case of ship's
rum, the whole worth £9.

At 6.30 A.M. on September 5th we set out up stream in a fine
canoe, wall-sided and rather crank, but allowing the comfort of
chairs. She was of Mayumba make, superior to anything built on
the river, and the six men that drove her stood up to pole, and
paddle. Above Boma the hills, which are the outlines of the west
African Ghats, form a graceful semicircle, separated from the
water by a flat terrace garnished with little villages and tree-
islets. On the north bank are many of the crater-like sinks which
dot the coast from the Gaboon to Loango. We hugged the right side
to avoid the rapid swirl; there was no backwater at the points,
and hard work was required to prevent our being swept against the
boulders of gneiss, schiste, and pudding-stone edging the shores
and stretching into the stream. Here the fish is excellent as at
Porto cla Lenha, and we found the people catching it in large
spoon-shaped basins: I enquired about the Peixe mulher (woman-
fish), the French sirène, which old missioners describe as an
African mermaid, not exactly as she appeared to the "lovely lord
of Colonsay," and which Barbot figures with "two strutting
breasts." He makes the flesh taste like pork, and tells us that
the small bones of the hand were good for gravel, whilst
bracelets made of the left rib were worn near the heart, to stop
bleeding. This manatus, like the elephant and the hippopotamus,
has long disappeared before the gun.

After some three quarters of an hour we reached the entrance of
Chisalla Creek, which is the northernmost branch of the main
stream. On the left (north) was a plain showing traces of a large
village, and we sighted our first grass-island--a compact mass of
fibrous, earth-washed roots and reedy vegetation, inhabited by
serpents and ardeine birds. To the right, or southward, rises the
tall island of Boma, rocky and wooded, which a narrow channel
separates from its eastern neighbour, Chisalla Islet. The latter
is the royal Pere la Chaise, the graves being kept carefully
concealed; white men who have visited the ground to shoot
antelope have had reason to regret the step. Here also lie three
officers of the Congo Expedition-- Messrs. Galwey, Tudor, and
Cranch--forgotten, as Gamboa and Reitz at Mombasah.

The banks of the winding creek were beautified with the
malaguetta pepper, the ipomsea, the hibiscus, and a yellow flower
growing upon an aquatic plant like a magnified water-cress.
Animal life became somewhat less rare; we saw sandpipers, hawks,
white and black fish-eagles, and long-legged water-hens, here
supposed to give excellent sport. An embryo rapid, formed by a
gneiss-band connecting the north bank with the islet, delayed us,
and the rocks on the right showed pot-holes dug by the poling-
staves; during the rains canoes from Boma avoid this place, and
seek fuel down stream. After a total of two hours and a quarter
we reached Banza Chisalla: it is a "small country," in African
parlance, a succursal of Boma proper, the Banza on the hills
beyond the reedy, grassy plain. The site is charming--a flat
palm-orchard backed by an amphitheatre of high-rolling ground,
and the majestic stream approaches it through a gate, whose right
staple is the tall Chisalla, and whose left is a rocky islet with
outlying needles.

We ascended the river-bank, greeted by the usual accidents of an
African reception; the men shouted, the women rushed screaming
under cover, and the children stood howling at the horrible
sight. A few paces placed us at the "palace," a heap of huts,
surrounded by an old reed-fence. The audience-room was a trifle
larger than usual, with low shady eaves, a half-flying roof, and
a pair of doorways for the dangerous but indispensable draught; a
veteran sofa and a few rickety chairs composed the furniture, and
the throne was known by its boarded seat, which would have been
useful in taking a "lamp-bath."

Presently entered the "Rei dos Reis," Nessalla: the old man,
whose appearance argued prosperity, was en grande tenue, the
State costume of Tuckey's, not of Merolla's day. The crown was
the usual "berretta" (night-cap) of open work; the sceptre, a
drum-major's staff; the robes, a "parochial" beadle's coat of
scarlet cloth, edged with tinsel gold lace. His neck was adorned
with hair circlets of elephants' tails, strung with coral and
beads; the effect, to compare black with white, was that of Beau
Brummell's far-famed waterfall tie, and the head seemed supported
as if on a narrow-rimmed "charger." The only other ornament was a
broad silver ring welded round the ankle, and drawing attention
to a foot which, all things considered, was small and well

Some of the chiefs had copper rings of home manufacture, with
neatly cut raised figures. The king held in his right hand an
article which at first puzzled us--a foot's length of split reed,
with the bulbous root attached. He may not, like his vassals,
point with the finger, and without pointing an African can hardly
give an order. Moreover, the Sangálávú or Malaguetta pepper
(Amomum granum Paradisi), fresh or old, is not only a toothstick,
but a fetish of superior power when carried on journeys.
Professor Smith writes "Sangala woo," and tells us that it was
always kept fresh in the house, to be rolled in the hands when
invoking the Fetish during war-time; moreover, it was chewed to
be spat at the enemy. Possibly he confuses it with the use as a
tooth-stick, the article which Asia and Africa prefer to the
unclean hog's- bristle brush of Europe.

On the left of the throne sat the Nchinu, or "second king,"
attired in a footman's livery of olive-coloured cloth, white-worn
at the seams, and gleaming with plated buttons, upon which was
the ex-owner's crest--a cubit arm.

The stranger in Africa marvels why men, who, as Dahome shows, can
affect a tasteful simplicity, will make themselves such "guys."
When looking at these caricatures, he is tempted to read
(literally) learned Montesquieu, "It is hardly to be believed
that God, who is a wise being, should place a soul, especially a
good soul, in such a black, ugly body," and to consider the few
exceptions as mere "sporting plants." But the negro combines with
inordinate love of finery the true savage taste--an imitative
nature,--and where he cannot copy the Asiatic he must ape the
European; only in the former pursuit he rises above, in the
latter he sinks below his own proper standard. Similarly, as a
convert, he is ennobled by El Islam; in rare cases, which may be
counted upon the fingers, he is civilized by Christianity; but,
as a rule, the latter benefits him so far only as it abolishes
the barbarous and murderous rites of Paganism.

But there is also a sound mundane reason which causes the African
"king" to pose in these cast-off borrowed plumes. Contrast with
his three-quarter nude subjects gives him a name; the name
commands respect; respect increases "dash;" and dash means
dollars. For his brain, dense and dead enough to resist
education, is ever alive and alert to his own interest; whilst
the concentration of its small powers prevails against those who,
in all other points, are notably his superiors. The whole of
negro Africa teaches this lesson. "The Ethiopians," says Father
Merolla, "are not so dull and stupid as is commonly imagined, but
rather more subtle and cunning than ordinary;" and he adds an
instance of far-sighted treachery, which would not have been
despicable even in a Hindoo.

A desultory palaver "came up;" the soul of the meeting not being
present. M. Pissot explained my wish to "take walk and make
book," carefully insisting upon the fact that I came to spend,
not to gain money. The grizzled senior's face, before crumpled
like a "wet cloak ill laid up," expanded at these last words, and
with a grunt, which plainly meant "by' m' by," he rose, and
retired to drink-- a call of nature which the decencies of
barbarous dignity require to be answered in private. He returned
accompanied by his nephew, Manbuku Prata (pronounced Pelata), the
"Silver Chief Officer," as we might say, Golden Ball. The title
is vulgarly written Mambuco; the Abbé Proyart prefers Ma-nboukou,
or "prince who is below the Makaia in dignity." The native name
of this third personage was Gidifuku. It was a gorgeous
dignitary: from the poll of his night-cap protruded a dozen
bristles of elephant's tail hair, to which a terminal coral gave
the graceful curve of a pintado's crest, and along his ears, like
the flaps of a travelling casquette, hung two dingy little
mirrors of talc from Cacongo, set in clumsy frames of ruddled
wood. Masses of coral encircled his neck, and the full-dress
naval uniform of a French officer, with epaulettes of stupendous
size, exposed a zebra'd guernsey of equivocal purity. A long
black staff, studded with broad-headed brass beads, served to
clear the room of the lieges, who returned as fast as they were
turned out--the baton was evidently not intended to be used

But the Manbuku Prata is not a mere "Punch in a puppet show." His
face expresses more intelligence and resolution than usual, and
his Portuguese is not the vile article of the common trader. He
means business. When other chiefs send their "sons," that is
their slaves, to fight, he leads them in person--venite, non ite.
The French "Emigration Libre" put 30,000 dollars into his pocket,
and he still hopes against hope to ship many a cargo for the
Banana factory. He has some 300 armed serviles at Chinímí and
Lámbá, two villages perched like condors' nests upon hills
commanding the river's northern bank, and, despite the present
dearth of "business," he still owns some 100,000 francs in cloth
and beads, rum and gunpowder.

As the "Silver Minister" took his seat upon the ground before the
king, all removed their caps with a simultaneous grunt and
performed the "Sákilá" or batta-palmas; this hand-clapping must
be repeated whenever the simplest action is begun or ended by
king or chief. Monteiro and Gamitto (pp. 101 et seg.) refer to
the practice everywhere on the line of country which they
visited: there it seems to be even a more ceremonious affair than
in the Congo. The claps were successively less till they were
hardly audible; after a pause five or six were given, and the
last two or three were in hurried time, the while without
pronouncing a word. The palaver now opened steadily with a drink:
a bottle of trade "fizz" was produced for the white man, and rum
for his black congeners; then the compliment of healths went all
round. After this we fell to work at business. By dint of
abundant wrangling and with an immense display of suspicion,
natural under the circumstances, it was arranged that the king
should forward me in a couple of his own canoes to Banza Nokki,
the end of river navigation, as we were told, and falsely told;
in my turn I was to pay goods valued about £6, at least three
times the usual tariff. They consisted of fourteen red caps, as
many "sashes," and fifty-two fathoms of cloth for the crew; ten
Peças de lei or Chiloes for each interpreter, and two pieces for
the canoes. I should have given four fathoms for each man and the
same for each boat. The final scene was most gratifying to the
African mind: I solemnly invested old Nessala with the grand
cloak which covered his other finery; grinning in the ecstasy of
vanity, he allowed his subjects to turn him round and round, as
one would a lay figure, yet with profound respect, and, lastly,
he retired to charm his wives.

This part of the negotiations ended with presenting some "satin
stripe" and rum to the Nchinu and Manbuku Prata, and with shaking
hands--a dangerous operation. The people are cleanly; they wash
when rising, and before as well as after every meal; they are
always bathing, yet from prince to pauper, from baby to grey
beard, they are affected with a psora known by its Portuguese
name, "sarnas." The Congo "fiddle" appears first between the
articulations of the fingers, and bleaches the hands and wrists
as if it were leprosy. Yet I did not see a single case of true
lepra Arabum, or its modifications, the huge Barbadoes leg
(elephantiasis), and the sarcoma scrotale and sarcocele of
Zanzibar and East Africa. From the extremities the gale extends
over the body, especially the shins, and the people, who appear
in the perpetual practice of scalpturigo, attribute it to the
immoderate use of palm wine. I observed, however, that Europeans,
in the river, who avoid the liquor, are hardly ever free from
this foul blood-poison, and a jar of sulphur mixture is a common
article upon the table. Hydrocele is not unfrequent, but hardly
so general as in the Eastern Island; one manner of white man, a
half caste from Macáo, was suffering with serpigo, and boasted of

All predicted to me a similar fate from the "botch of Congo," but
happily I escaped. Indeed, throughout the West African Coast,
travellers risk "craw-craw," a foul form of the disease, seen on
board the African steamers. Kru-men touching the rails of the
companion ladders, have communicated it to passengers, and these
to their wives and families.

The town was neat and clean as the people. The houses were built
upon raised platforms, and in the little fenced fields the
Cajanus Indicus vetch was conspicuous. In Hindostani it is called
Thur, or Doll-plant, by the Eastern Arab Turiyan, in Kisawahili
Mbarazi, in Angola voando (Merolla's Ouuanda), and in the Brazil
Guandu.[FN#9] The people had lost their fear, and brought their
exomphalous little children, who resembled salmon fry in the
matter of umbilical vesicles, to be patted by the white man; a
process which caused violent screams and in some cases nearly
induced convulsions-- the mothers seemed to enjoy the horror
displayed by their hopefuls. There is little beauty amongst the
women, and settled Europeans prefer Cabinda girls. The latter
have perhaps the most wiry and wig-like hair on the whole West
African coast, where all hair is more or less wiry and wig- like.
Cloth was less abundant in the village than a smear of red; the
bosom even after marriage was unveiled, and the rule of fashion
was shown by binding it tightly down. The rich wore armlets and
leglets of staircase rods, brass and copper, like the metal
gaiters and gauntlets of the Gaboon River. The only remarkable
object was the Quesango, a wooden effigy of a man placed in the
middle of the settlement: Battel mentions it amongst the "Gagas
or Guides," and Barbot terms it "Likoku Mokisi." Three faint
hurrahs, a feeble African echo of England like the "hoch!" of
Vienna, and the discharge of a four- pounder were our parting

We returned viâ the gateway between the two islets. On the south-
eastern flank of Chisalla is a dwarf precipice called Mbondo la
Zumba and, according to the interpreters, it is the Lovers' Leap
of Tuckey. But its office must not be confounded with that
attributed to the sinister-looking scaur of Leucadia; here the
erring wives of the Kings of Boma and their paramours found a
Bosphorus. The Commander of the First Congo Expedition applies
the name to a hanging rock on the northern shore, about eighteen
miles higher up stream. A portentous current soon swept us past
Père la Chaise, and shortly after noon we were comfortably at
breakfast with Sr. Pereira.

During the last night we had been kept awake by the drumming and
fifing, singing and shouting, weeping and howling, pulling at
accordions and striking the monotonous Shingungo. Merolla names
this cymbal Longa, and describes it justly as two iron bells
joined by an arched bar: I found it upon the Tanganyika Lake, and
suffered severely from its monotonous horrors. Monteiro and
Gamitto (p. 232) give an illustration of what is known in the
Cazembe's country as "Gomati:" The Mchua or gong-gong of Ashanti
has a wooden handle connecting the cones. Our palhabote had
brought up the chief Mashel's bier, and to-day we have the
satisfaction of seeing it landed. A kind of palanquin, covered
with crimson cloth and tinsel gold like a Bombay "Tabút," it had
three horns or prominences, two capped with empty black bottles,
and the central bearing the deceased's helmet; it was a fancy
article, which might have fitted him of Gath, with a terrific
plume and the spoils of three horses in the sanguine hues of war.
Although eight feet long by five broad, the coffin was said to be
quite full. The immense respect which the Congoese bear to their
rulers, dead as well as alive, prevented my verifying the
accounts of the slave dealers. I knew that the chief who had died
at Kinsembo, had been dried on a bamboo scaffolding over a slow
fire, and lay in state for some weeks in flannel stockings and a
bale of baize, but these regions abound in local variations of
custom. Some declared, as we find in Proyart, that the corpse had
been mummified by the rude process of smoking; others that it had
been exposed for some days to the open air, the relatives sitting
round to keep off the flies till preliminarily bandaged.
According to Barbot (iii. 23), the people of Fetu on the Gold
Coast and the men of Benin used to toast the corpse on a wooden
gridiron; and the Vei tribe, like the Congoese, still fumigate
their dead bodies till they become like dried hams. This rude
form of the Egyptian rite is known to East as well as to West
Africa: Kimera, late King of Uganda, was placed upon a board
covering the mouth of a huge earthern pot heated from below.

Instances are known of bodies in the Congo region remaining a
year or two above ground till the requisite quantity of fine
stuffs has been procured--the larger the roll the greater the
dignity, and sometimes the hut must be pulled down before it can
be removed. Here, as on the Gold Coast, we find the Jewish
practice recorded by Josephus of converting the tomb into a
treasury; in the case of Mashel some £600 in gold and silver,
besides cloth, beads, and ornaments, shared, they say, his fate.
The missionaries vainly fought against these customs, which are
evidently of sentimental origin--

"Now bring the last sad gifts, with these
The last lament be said;
Let all that pleased and still may please
Be buried with the dead."

The bier was borne by slaves, as the head men would not even look
at it; at times the carriers circled round, as if to deprecate
the idea that they were hurrying it to its bourne. The grave was
a pit fifteen to twenty feet deep, cut like a well, covered with
stones to keep out wild beasts, and planted round with the
cylindrical euphorbia by way of immortelles.

I could not find out if the Congoese still practise the vivi-
sepulture so common on the Western Coast--the "infernal
sacrifices of man's flesh to the memory of relatives and
ancestors," as the old missioners energetically expressed
themselves. According to Battel, the "Giaghi" corpse was seated
as if alive in a vault; in this "infernal and noisome dungeon"
were placed two wives with their arms broken, and thus there was
no danger of the Zumbi or ghost killing men by reapparition. When
the king of Old Calabar died, a huge hole was dug, with an off
chamber for two sofas, one of which supported the dressed and
ornamented corpse. Personal attendants, such as the umbrella,
sword, and snuff-box bearers, holding the insignia of their
offices, together with sundry virgins, were either slaughtered or
thrown in alive, a rude in pace. Quantities of food and trade
goods, especially coppers, were heaped up; after which the pit
was filled and the ground was levelled. The less wealthy sort of
"gentlemen" here are placed in smaller graves near the villages;
and the slaves are still "buried with the burial of an ass,"--
cast forth into the bush.

Yet, by way of showing themselves kind to the dead, the Congoese
are "commonly very cruel to the living." Lately, a chief, called
from his wealth, "Chico de Ouro" (Golden Frank) died somewhat
suddenly. The Nganga or medicine man who, on such occasions, here
as elsewhere, has the jus vitæ et necis, was called in; he
charged one of the sons with parricide by witchcraft, and the
youth was at once pierced by the bayonets of his brothers.
"Golden Frank" was peculiar in his ways. He used to entertain the
factors at dinner, imitating them from soup to cheese; his only
objections were to tea, and to drinking toasts out of anything
but the pet skull of an enemy: it was afterwards placed upon his

Boma is no longer "the emporium of the Congo Empire," if it ever
did deserve that title. Like Porto da Lenha, it is kept up by the
hopes of seeing better days, which are not doomed to dawn. Even
at the time of my visit some 400 to 500 negroes were under guard
in a deserted factory, and, whilst we were visiting Nessalla,
they were marched down to bathe. When I returned from the
cataracts, the barracoon contained only fifty or sixty, the rest
having been shunted off to some unguarded point. At a day's
notice a thousand, and within a week 3,000 head could be procured
from the adjoining settlements, where the chattels are kept at
work. As in Tuckey's day, "those exported are either captives in
war or condemned criminals." During the Free Emigration as much
as $80 have been paid per man, a large sum for "Congoes:" whilst
a cargo of 500 "Minas" (Guinea negroes) loses at most 20 per
cent., these less hardy gangs seldom escape without at least
double the deaths by dysentery or some other epidemic. Now they
are freely offered for $10 to $20, but there are no buyers; the
highest bid of which I heard was $100 for a house-"help."

The slave-traders in the Congo look upon their employment as did
the contrabandist in the golden days of smuggling; the "free
sailor" whom Marryatt depicts, a law-breaker, yet not less a very
pleasant, companionable fellow. The unhappy differences between
the late British Commissioner for Loanda and the Judge of the
mixed Court, Sr. José Julio Rodriguez, who followed his enemy to
the grave on April 12, 1863, rendered São Paulo anything but a
pleasant place to an English resident; but the rancour had not
extended to the Congo, and, so far from showing chagrin, the
agents declared that without the "coffin squadron," negroes would
have been a mere drug in the market. The only déplaisir is that
which I had already found in a Gaboon factory, the excessive
prevalence of petty pilfering. The Moleques or house-boys steal
like magpies, even what is utterly useless to them; these young
clerks of St. Nicholas will scream and writhe, and confess and
beg pardon under the lash, and repeat the offence within the
hour: as they are born serviles, we cannot explain the habit by

"Jove fixed it certain that whatever day
Makes man a slave takes half his worth away."

One of our watches was found in the pocket of a noble
interpreter, who, unabashed, declared that he placed it there for
fear of its being injured; and the traders are constantly
compelled to call in the Fetishman for the protection of their
stores against the prigging chiefs. Yet in Tuckey's time there
was only one thief at Boma, a boy who stole a knife, confessed,
and restored it. During a month's residence amongst the pagans of
the interior, where the houses swarmed with serviles, and where
my outfit, which was never locked up, must have represented a
plate-chest in England, not the smallest article was "found
missing," nor could anything be touched except by collusion with
the head man.

Chapter IX.

Up the Congo to Banza Nokki.

For a wonder the canoes came in time, and, despite their mat-
sails, we could not complain of them. There were twelve paddlers
two for the stem, and two for the stern of each craft, under a
couple of interpreters, Jotakwassi and Nchama-Chamvu, who were
habited in European frock-coats of broadcloth, and in native
terminations mostly "buff." Our excellent host bade us a kindly
adieu, with many auguries of success--during the last night the
frogs had made a noise in the house. Briefly, we set out on
September 6th.

In the forty-five miles between Boma, where we enter the true
trough of the Congo, and the landing-place of Banza Nokki below
the cataracts, there are half-a-dozen reaches, the shortest of
three, the longest of fifteen miles. They are not straight, as
upon the chart; the windings of the bed exclude direct vision,
and the succession of points and bays suggest, like parts of the
Rhine, a series of mountain-tarns. The banks show the high-water
level in a low shelf, a ribbon of green, backed by high rolling
hills, rounded and stony, with grass dry at this season; the
formation is primitive, and the material of the lower bed has
been held to "prove the probability that the mountains of
Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, and other adjacent parts of South
America, were primevally connected with the opposite chains, that
traverse the plains of Congo and Loango." In parts the rocks fall
bluff into the river, and here the current rushes past like a
mill-race without a shadow of backwater. The heights are
intersected by gullies and ravines, of which I counted sixty-nine
on the right and fifty-four on the left bank; many of them are
well wooded, and others are fronted by plains of the reeds and
flags, which manufacture floating islands, cast loose, like those
of the Niger, about the end of July by the "Malka" rains. About a
dozen contained running water: Captain Tuckey did not see one
that would turn a mill in August and September; but in November
and December all these fiumaras will discharge torrents.

The breadth of the entroughed bed varies from 700 yards to two
miles where it most dispreads itself. The current increases from
the normal three to five knots in rare places; the surface loses
the glassiness of the lower section, and at once shows the
boiling and swirling which will be noticed near the cataracts.
The shores are often foul, but the midway is mostly clear, and,
where sunken rocks are, they are shown by whirlpools. The flow of
the tide, or rather the damming up of the lower waters between
Porto da Lenha and the mouth, causes a daily rise, which we found
to measure about a foot; thus it assists in forming a treble
current, the rapid down-flow in the Thalweg being subtended by a
strong backwater on either side carrying a considerable portion
in a retrograde direction, and showing a sensible reflux; this
will continue as far as the rapids. In the Amazonas the tides are
felt a hundred leagues from the mouth; and, whilst the stream
moves seawards, the level of the water rises, proving an evident
under-current. Mr. Bates has detected the influence of oceanic
tides at a point on the Tapajos, 530 miles distant from its
mouth, such is the amazing flatness of the country's profile:
here we find the reverse.

The riverine trough acts as wind-conductor to a strong and even
violent sea-breeze; on the lower section it begins as a ground-
current--if the "bull" be allowed--a thin horizontal stratum near
the water, it gradually curves and slides upwards as it meets the
mountain flanks, forming an inverted arch, and extending some
2,000 to 3,000 feet above the summits. At this season it is a
late riser, often appearing about 3 P.M., and sometimes its
strength is not exhausted before midnight. The brown water,
grass-sheeted at the sides, conceals the bright yellow sand of
the bed; when placed in a tumbler it looks clear and colourless,
and the taste is perfectly sweet--brackishness does not extend
far above Porto da Lenha. Yet at Boma the residents prefer a
spring near the factories, and attribute dysentery to the use of
river-water. According to Mr. George Maxwell, the supply of the
lower bed has the quality of rotting cables, and the same
peculiarity was attributed to the Tanganyika.

Of late years no ship has ventured above Boma, and boats have
ascended with some difficulty, owing to the "buffing stream." Yet
there is no reason why the waters should not be navigated, as
proposed in 1816, by small steamers of good power, and the strong
sea-breeze would greatly facilitate the passage. In older and
more enterprising days merchant-schooners were run high up the
Zaire. The master of a vessel stated to Tuckey that he "had been
several voyages up to the distance of 140 miles from the mouth"
without finding any difficulty.

Our course passed by Banza Chisalla where, as we had paid double,
there was a vain attempt to make us pay treble. Travelling up the
south-eastern reach, we passed a triangular insulated rock off
the southern bank, and then the "diabolitos" outlying Point Kilu,
opposite Banza Vinda on the other side. A second reach winding to
the north-east showed on the right Makula (Annan) River, and a
little further Munga-Mungwa (Woodhouslee); between them is the
terminus of the São Salvador road. On the northern bank where the
hills now become rounded mountains, 1,500 feet above the stream,
perches Chinimi the village of Manbuku Prata, who expects canoes
here to await his orders; and who was sorely offended because I
passed down without landing. The next feature of the chart,
Matádi "Memcandi," is a rocky point, not an island. Turning a
projection, Point Makula (Clough Corner), we entered No. 3, elbow
bending southeast; on its concave northern side appeared the
settlement Vinda la Nzádi. This is the Vinda le Zally of Tuckey;
on the chart Veinde len Zally, and according to others Vinda de
Nzadi, or village of the Zaire River. It is probably the "Benda"
of the Introduction (p. xxxiv.); and as b and v sound alike in
Fiote, Cabinda, Cabenda or Kabendah is evidently Ca-vinda--great

Our terminus that day was the usual resting-place of travellers,
"Mfumba" behind Nkumungu (Point) Kaziwa, a mass of granitoid
slabs, with a single tree for landmark. Opposite us was Sandi ya
Nzondo, which others call Sanga ya Ngondo; in the chart this one-
tree island is written "Catlo Zonda," it is the first of two
similar formations. Oscar Rock, its western (down stream)
neighbour, had shared the fate of "Soonga lem Paccula," (Zunga
chya Makula?) a stone placed in the map north-east of the Makula
or Annan debouchure; both were invisible, denoted only by swirls
in the water. We had taken seven hours to cover what we easily
ran down in two, and we slept comfortably with groan of rock and
roar of stream for lullaby.

September 7.--Our course now lay uninterruptedly along the left
bank, where the scenery became yet more Rhine-like, in natural
basins, reaches on the chart: here and there rugged uprocks
passably simulated ruined castles. The dwarf bays of yellow sand
were girt by a goodly vegetation, the palm and the calabash only
telling us that we were in Africa.

Our men pointed to the work of a Nguvu or hippopotamus, which
they say sometimes attacks canoes; they believe with Tuckey that
the river-horses cause irregularity of soundings by assembling
and trampling deep holes in the bed; but the Ngadi is a proof
that they do not, as M. du Chaillu supposes, exclusively affect
streams with shoals and shallows. The jacaré (crocodile) is known
especially to avoid the points where the current sweeps swiftly
past, yet no one will hang his hand over the canoe into the
water: we did not see any of these wretches, but at Boma Coxswain
Deane observed one about sixteen feet long.

Curls of smoke arose from the mountain-walls of the trough,
showing that the bush was being burned; and spired up from a
grassy palm-dotted plain, between two rocky promontories on the
left bank, the site of the Chacha or Wembo village: in a gap of
the herbage stood half-finished canoes, and a man was bobbing
with rod, line, and float. After an hour's paddling we halted for
breakfast under "Alecto Rock," a sheer bluff of reddish schist,
150 feet high; here a white trident, inverted and placed ten feet
above the water, showed signs of H.M. Ship "Alecto," (late)
Captain Hunt, whose boat passed up in 1855. The people call it
Chimbongolo. The river is now three quarters of a mile wide, and
the charming cove shows the brightest of sands and the densest of
vegetation waving in the cool land-wind.

Resuming our way at 9 P.M., we passed on the left "Scylla Rocks,"
then a wash, and beyond them four high and tree-clad heads off
the right bank. Three are islets, the Zunga chya Gnombe--of the
bull--formed by a narrow arm passing round them to the north:
other natives called them Zunga chya Umbinda, but all seem to
differ. These are the Gombac Islands of the chart, Hall Island
being the easternmost, and the northern passage between the three
horns and the main is called by us "Gombac Creek." Half an hour
beyond was a mass of villages, in a large, grassy low-land of the
left bank, girt by mountains higher than those down stream. Some
outlying huts were called by the interpreters Suko Nkongo, and
formed the "beach town" of large interior settlements, Suko do
Wembo and Mbinda. Others said Lasugu or Sugo Nkongo, the Sooka
Congo of the charts: others again for "Mbinda" proposed "Mpeso
Birimba." This is probably the place where according to the mail
of November, ‘73, diamonds were found, and having been submitted
to "Dr. Basham (Dr. Bastian before mentioned), Director of the
Museum of Berlin," were pronounced to be of very fine water. It
is possible that the sandstone may afford precious stones like
the itacolumite of the Brazil ("Highlands of the Brazil," i.
380), but the whole affair proved a hoax. In mid-stream rose No.
2, "One-Tree Island," Zunga chya Nlemba or Shika chya Nzondo; in
Tuckey it is called Boola Beca or Blemba (the husband) Rock; the
old ficus dying at the head, was based upon a pedestal which
appeared groin-shaped from the east. Here the mirage was very
distinct, and the canoes seemed to fly, not to swim--

"As when far out of sea a fleet descried,
Hangs in the clouds."

The northern bank shows a stony projection called by Maxwell
"Fiddler's Elbow;" it leads to the fourth reach, the second of
the north-eastern series; and the breadth of the stream, once
more a mountain lake, cannot be less than two miles.

I foresaw trouble in passing these settlements. Presently a
snake-like war canoe with hawser-holes like eyes, crept out from
the southern shore; a second fully manned lay in reserve, lurking
along the land, and armed men crowned the rocks jutting into the
stream. We were accosted by the first craft, in which upon the
central place of honour sat Mpeso Birimbá, a petty chief of Suko
Nkongo; a pert rascal of the French factory, habited in a red
cap, a green velvet waistcoat, and a hammock-shaped tippet of
pine-apple fibre; his sword was a short Sollingen blade. The
visit had the sole object of mulcting me in rum and cloth, and my
only wish was naturally to expend as little as possible in mere
preliminaries. The name of Manbuku Prata was duly thrown at him
with but little effect: these demands are never resisted by the
slave-dealers. After much noise and cries of "Mwendi" (miser,
skin-flint) on the part of the myrmidons, I was allowed to
proceed, having given up a cloth twenty-four yards long, and I
felt really grateful to the "trade" which had improved off all
the other riverine settlements. Beyond this point we saw nothing
but their distant smokes.

Before the second north-eastern reach, the interpreters exclaimed
"Yellala falla"--"the cataract is speaking," and we could
distinctly hear the cheering roar. The stream now assumed the
aspect of Niagara below the Falls, and the circular eddies
boiling up from below, and showing distinct convexity, suggested
the dangerous "wells" of the northern seas. Passing the "Three
Weird Sisters," unimportant rocks off, the right bank, we entered
upon the remarkably long stretch, extending upwards of five
miles, and, from its predominating growth, we proposed to call it
"Palmyra Reach." The immediate river banks were clad with sedge,
and the broad leaves of the nymphæa, a plant like the calamus of
Asia, but here used only as a toothpick, began to oust the rushy
and flaggy growth of the lower bed. The pink balls of the spinous
mimosa, and bright flowers, especially the convolvulus and
ipomaea, illuminated the dull green. The grassy land at the foot
of the mountains was a mere edging, faced by outlying rocks, and
we were shown the site of a village long ago destroyed.

The Nteba, or palmyra nobilis, mixed here and there with a
glorious tamarind, bombax or calabash, forms a thin forest along
the reach, and rarely appears upon the upper hills, where we
should expect it. The people use both fruit and wine, preferring,
however, the liquor of the Ebah (oil palm-tree), and the autumnal
fires can hardly affect so sturdy a growth. The other trees are
the mfuma, cotton-tree or bombax (Pentandria truncospinoso,
Smith), much valued as a canoe: Merolla uses Mafuma, a plural
form, and speaks of its "wonderful fine wool." The wild figs show
glorious stature, a truly noble growth, whose parents were sun
and water.

The birds were lank black clivers (Plotus), exceedingly wild; the
African roller (Coracias); halcyons of several species,
especially a white and black kingfisher, nimble and comely; many
swallows, horn-bills, and wild pigeons which made the bush
resound; ardeine birds, especially a heron, like the large Indian
"kullum;" kites, crows, "whip-poor-wills," and a fine haliaetus,
which flies high and settles upon the loftiest branches. One of
these eagles was shot, after a gorge of the electric fish here
common; its coat was black and white, and the eyes yellow, with
dark pupils. Various lizards ran over the rocks; and we failed to
secure a water-snake, the only specimen seen on the whole trip.

About noon we struggled past Point Masalla, our "Diamond Rock," a
reef ending in a triangular block, towering abruptly, and showing
by drift-wood a flood-line now twelve feet high. There are
several of these "bench-marks;" and the people declare that after
every few years an unusual freshet takes place. Here the current
impinges directly upon the rocks, making a strong eddy. "They die
each time," said the interpreters, as the canoemen, with loud
shouts of "Vai ou nao Vai? Vai sempre! Vai direito, ya mondele!"
and "Arister," a mariner's word, after failing to force the way,
tumbled overboard, with a hawser of lliana to act as tow-line.
"Vai direito," according to Father Ciprani, also applies to a
"wonderful bird, whose song consists in these plain words;" and
"Mondele" is synonymous with the Utangáni of the Gaboon and the
East African Muzungu, a white man.

This bend was in former days the terminus of canoe travel up
stream. Grisly tales of mishap are told; and even now a musketry
salute is fired when boats pass without accident. Beyond Diamond
Rock is a well-wooded, stony cove, "Salan Kunkati:" Captain
Tuckey makes this the name of the Diamond Rock, and translates it
"the strong feather." Quartz, before in lines and bands, now
appears in masses: the "Coal Rock," which the chart places near
Insála (Bechope Point) on the northern bank, was probably
submerged. High cliffs towered above us, and fragments which must
have weighed twenty tons had slipped into the water; one of them
bore an adansonia, growing head downwards.

The next feature was Npunga Bay, low and leek-green, between the
blue-brown water, here some 700 yards broad, and the yellow sun-
burnt trough-sides. A little further on, at 2 P.M., the canoe-men
halted beyond a sandy point with two large "Bondeiro" trees, and
declared their part of the bargain to have been fulfilled.
"Bonderro" is a corruption of the Lusitanianized imbundeiro, the
calabash, or adansonia (digitata?): the other baobab is called
nkondo, probably the Aliconda and Elicandy of Battel and old
travellers, who describe the water-tanks hollowed in its huge
trunk, and the cloth made from the bark fibre. Thus the "Condo
Sonio" of the Chart should be "Nkondo Sonho," the latter a proper
name. It is seldom that we find trees turned to all the uses of
which they are capable: the Congo people despise the nutritious
and slightly laxative flour of the "monkey bread," and the young
leaves are not used as pickles; the bast is not valued for cloth
and ropes, nor are the boles cut into cisterns.

As will be seen, we ought to have insisted upon being paddled to
Kala cliff and bight, the Mayumba Bay of the Chart, where the bed
trends west-east, and shows the lowest rapids: the First Congo
Expedition went up even higher. At Nkongo ka Lunga, the point
marked by two calabashes, we inquired for the Nokki Congo, of
which we had heard at Chisalla, and which still exists upon the
chart,--districts and villages being often confounded. All
laughed, and declared that the "port-town" had long been sold
off, the same had been the case, even in Tuckey's day, with the
next settlement, "Condo Sonio" (the Baobab of Sonho), formerly
the great up-stream mart, where the slave-traders transacted
their business. All the population was now transferred inland
and, like our predecessors, we were promised a two hours' climb
over the rough, steep highland which lay in front. Then we
understood that "Nokki" was the name of a canton, not of a
settlement. Its south-eastern limits may have contained the "City
of Norchie, the best situated of any place hitherto seen in
Ethiopia," where Father Merolla (p. 280) baptized 126 souls,--and
this is rendered probable by the crucifixes and coleworts which
were found by the First Congo Expedition.

Here, then, at 97.50 miles from the sea, ended our clan's cruize.
We could only disembark upon the clean sand, surrounded by cool
shade and blocks of gneiss, the favourite halting-place, as the
husks of ground-nuts show. Nchama Chamvu was at once sent off
with a present of gin and a verbal report of arrival to
Nessudikira Nchinu, (King), of Banza Nkaye, whilst we made ready
for a night's lodging à la belle étoile. The mesenger returned,
bringing a goat, and the good news that porters would be sent
early next morning. We slept well in the cool and dewless air,
with little trouble from mosquitoes. The voice of the cataract in
its "sublime same-soundingness" alone broke the silence, and the
scenery suggested to us, as to the first Britishers, that we
might be bivouacking among the "blue misty hills of Morven."

September 8.--Shortly after sunrise appeared Gidi Mavunga, father
to the "king," accompanied by five "princes," in the usual black
coats, and some forty slaves, armed with pistols, blunderbusses,
and guns of French and Yankee build. Our visitors wore the
official berretta, European shirts, that contrasted with coral
necklaces and rings of zinc, brass, and copper, and handsome
waistcoats, fronted by the well-tanned spoil of some "bush"
animal, generally a wild cat, hanging like a Scotch sporran--this
is and has long been the distinctive sign of a "gentleman."
According to John Barbot (Supplement, Churchill, v. 471), all men
in Loango were bound to wear a furskin over their clothes, viz.,
of an otter, a tame cat, or a cat-o'-mountain; a "great wood or
wild cat, or an angali (civet-cat). Besides which, they had very
fine speckled spelts, called ‘ enkeny,' which might be worn only
by the king and his peculiar favourites."

On the great man's mat was placed a large silver-handled dagger,
shaped somewhat like a fish-slicer; and the handsome hammocks of
bright-dyed cottons brought down for our use shamed our humble
ship's canvas. The visitors showed all that African câlinerie,
which, as fatal experience told me, would vanish for ever,
changing velvet paw to armed claws, at the first question of
cloth or rum. Meanwhile, we had only to visit their village "upon
the head of Gidi Mavunga."

About 9 A.M. we attacked a true Via Dolorosa, the normal road of
the Lower Congo. The steep ascent of dry, clayey soil was strewed
with schist and resplendent silvery gneiss; quartz appeared in
every variety, crystallized and amorphous, transparent white,
opaque, dusky, and rusty. Tuckey's mica slate appears to be
mostly schist or gneiss: I saw only one piece of true slate which
had been brought from the upper bed. Merolla's talc is mostly

Followed an equally rough descent to a water set in fetid mud,
its iridescence declaring the presence of iron; oozing out of the
ground, it discharges during rains into the river: and,
throughout the dry season, it keeps its little valley green with
trees and shrubs. I observed what appeared to be the Esere or
Calabar bean (Physostigma venenosum), whose hairy pod is very
distasteful to the travelling skin: it was a "Mucuna urens."

Another scramble upon a highly inclined hogsback, where weather-
worn brown-black granite, protruded bone-like from the clay
flesh, placed us at the outlying village of Kinbembu, with its
line of palms; here the aneroid showed 1,322 feet. After a short
rest, the hammock men resumed work over a rough plateau: the
rises were scattered with brush-wood, and the falls were choked
with the richest vegetation. Every hill discharged its own
rivulet bubbling over the rock, and the waters were mostly

Presently appeared a kind of barracoon, a large square of thick
cane-work and thatch about eight feet high, the Fetish house of
the "Jinkimba" or circumcised boys, who received us with
unearthly yells. After a march of an hour and three
quarters,'covering five indirect and three direct miles in a
south-eastern rhumb, we reached Banza Nkaye, the royal village,
where the sympiesometer showed 1430 feet. Our bearers yelled
"Abububu!" showing that we had reached our destination, and the
villagers answered with a cry of "Abía-a-a!" The entrance was
triumphal: we left the river with a tail of fifty-six which had
swelled to 150 ragged followers.

After a short delay we proceeded to the "palace," which was
distinguished from afar by a long projecting gable, forming a
cool verandah. Descending some three hundred feet, we passed a
familiar sight in Africa, where "arboribus suus horror inest." A
tree-trunk bore three pegged skulls somewhat white with age;
eight years ago they were taken off certain wizards who had
bewitched their enemies. A labyrinthine entrance of transparent
cane-work served to prevent indecent haste, and presently we
found ourselves in presence of the Mfumo, who of course takes the
title of "Le Rei." Nessudikira was a "blanc-bec," aged twenty or
twenty-one, who till lately had been a trading lad at Boma--now
he must not look upon the sea. He appeared habited in the usual
guy style: a gaudy fancy helmet, a white shirt with limp Byronic
collar, a broad-cloth frock coat, a purple velvet gold-fringed
loin-wrap: a theatrical dagger whose handle and sheath bore cut-
glass emeralds and rubies, stuck in the waist-belt; brass anklets
depended over naked feet, and the usual beadle's cloak covered
the whole. Truly a change for the worse since Tuckey's day, when
a "savage magnificence" showed itself in the display of lions'
and leopards' skins; when no women were allowed to be present,
and when the boys could only clap hands: now the verandah is
surrounded by a squatting crowd and resounds with endless chatter
and scream.

Nessudikira, whose eyes by way of grandeur never wandered from
the floor, shook hands with us without rising from his chair,
somewhat after the fashion of certain women in civilized society,
who would be dignified, and who are not. His father, Gidi
Mavunga, knelt before him on the ground, a mat being forbidden in
the presence: he made the "batta-palmas" before he addressed his
"filho de pistola," as he called him, in opposition to filho de
fazenda. The "king" had lately been crowned in virtue of his
mother being a uterine sister of his predecessor. Here the goods
and dignity of the father revert after death to his eldest
maternal brother; to his eldest nephew, that is, the eldest son
of the eldest uterine sister, and, all others failing, to the
first born of the nearest maternal relative. This subjection of
sire to son is, however, mainly ceremonious: in private life the
king wears a cotton pagne, and his "governor" asserts his birth-
right even by wigging royalty.

We disposed ourselves upon seamen's chests covered with red
baize, fronting the semi-circle of frock-coated "gentlemen" and
half-naked dependants and slaves. Proceedings began with the
"mata-bicho" de rigueur, the inevitable preliminary and
conclusion of all life-business between birth and burial. The
Congo traveller will hear "Nganna! mata bicho" (Master! kill the
worm, i.e., give me a dram), till the words seem, like
"Bakhshish" further east, to poison his ears. This excuse for a
drink arose, or is said to have arisen, from some epidemic which
could be cured only by spirits, and the same is the tradition in
the New World ("Highlands of the Brazil," i. chap. 38). Similarly
the Fulas of the Windward coast, who as strict Moslem will not
drink fermented liquors, hold a cup of rum to be the sovereignest
thing in the world for taenia. The entozoon of course gives rise
to a variety of stale and melancholy jokes about the early bird,
the worm that dieth not, and so forth.

A greybeard of our gin was incontinently opened and a tumbler in
a basin was filled to overflowing; even when buying ground-nuts,
the measure must be heaped up. The glass was passed round to the
"great gentlemen," who drank it African fashion, expanding the
cheeks, rinsing the mouth so that no portion of the gums may lose
their share, and swallowing the draught with an affectedly wry
face. The basin then went to the "little gentlemen" below the
salt, they have the "vinum garrulum," and they scrambled as well
as screamed for a sup of the precious liquor. I need hardly quote
Caliban and his proposed genuflections.

I had been warned by all the traders of the lower river that
Banza Nokki would be to me the far-famed point of which it was

"Quern passar o Cabo de Nam
Ou tornará, ou n o,"

and prepared accordingly. Old Shimbal, the linguist, had declared
that a year would be required by the suspicious "bush-men" to
palaver over the knotty question of a stranger coming only to
"make mukanda," that is to see and describe the country. M.
Pissot was forbidden by etiquette to recognize his old employé
(honours change manners here as in Europe), yet he set about the
work doughtily. My wishes were expounded, and every possible
promise of hammocks and porters, guides and interpreters, was
made by the hosts. The royal helmet was then removed, and a
handsome burnous was drawn over the king's shoulders, the hood
covering the berretta in most grotesque guise. After which the
commander and M. Pissot set out for the return march, leaving me
with my factotum Selim and the youth Nchama Chamvu. To the
question "Quid muliere levius?" the scandalous Latin writer
answers "Nihil," for which I would suggest "Niger." At the
supreme moment the interpreter, who had been deaf to the
charmer's voice (offering fifty dollars) for the last three days,
succumbed to the "truant fever." He knew something of Portuguese;
and, having been employed by the French factory, he had scoured
the land far and wide in search of "emigrants." He began well;
cooked a fowl, boiled some eggs, and made tea; after which he
cleared out a hut that was declared très logeable, and found a
native couch resembling the Egyptian kafas.

We slept in a new climate: at night the sky was misty, and the
mercury fell to 60° (F.). There was a dead silence; neither beast
nor bird nor sound of water was heard amongst the hills; only at
times high winds in gusts swept over the highlands with a
bullying noise, and disappeared, leaving everything still as the
grave. I felt once more "at home in the wilderness"--such,
indeed, it appeared after Boma, where the cockney-taint yet

Chapter X.

Notes on the Nzadi or Congo River.

And first, touching the name of this noble and mysterious stream.
Diogo Cam, the discoverer in 1485, called it River of Congo,
Martin von Behaim Rio de Padrao, and De Barros "Rio Zaire." The
Portuguese discoveries utilized by Dapper thus corrupted to the
sonorous Zaïre, the barbarous Nzadi applied by the natives to the
lower bed. The next process was that of finding a meaning.
Philippo Pigafetta of Vicenza,[FN#10] translated Zaïre by "so,
cioè Sapio in Latino;" hence Sandoval[FN#11] made it signify "Rio
de intendimiento," of understanding. Merolla duly records the
contrary. "The King of Portugal, Dom John II., having sent a
fleet under D. Diego Cam to make discoveries in this Southern
Coast of Africa, that admiral guessed at the nearness of the land
by nothing so much as by the complexion of the waters of the
Zaire; and, putting into it, he asked of the negroes what river
and country that was, who not understanding him answered
‘Zevoco,' which in the Congolan tongue is as much as to say ‘I
cannot tell;' from whence the word being corrupted, it has since
been called Zairo."

D'Anville (1749), with whom critical African geography began,
records "Barbela," a southern influent, perhaps mythical, named
by his predecessors, and still retained in our maps: it is the
Verbele of Pigafetta and the Barbele of Linschoten, who make it
issue either from the western lake-reservoir of the Nile, or from
the "Aquilunda" water, a name variously derived from O-Calunga,
the sea (?), or from A-Kilunda, of Kilunda (?) The industrious
compiler, James Barbot (1700), mentions the "Umbre," the modern
Wambre, rising in the northern mountains or, according to P.
Labat, in a lake: Dapper (1676), who so greatly improved the
outline of Africa, had already derived with De Barros the "Rio
Zaïre" from a central reservoir "Zaïre," whose island, the
Zembre, afterwards became the Vambere, Wambre, and Zambere, now
identified through the Zambeze with the Maravi, Nyassa or Kilwa
water. The second or northernmost branch is the Bancora of modern
maps, the Brankare of Pigafetta, and the Bancari of Cavazzi; it
flows from the same mountain as the Umbre, and Duarte Lopez
(1560) causes it to mingle with the Zaire on the eastern borders
of Pango, at the foot of the Sierra del Crystal. In certain
modern maps the Bankare fork is called "Lekure,"and is made to
receive the "Bambaye." The Barbela again anastomoses with the
Luba (?) or northern section of the Coango, including its
influent, the Lubilash; the Kasai (Kasabi) also unites with the
Coango, and other dotted lines show the drainage of the Lualaba
into the Kasai.

The Portuguese, according to Vasconcello, shunning all fanciful
derivations, were long satisfied to term the Congo "Rio de
Patron" (Rio do Padrao) from the first of memorial columns built
at its mouth. In 1816 Captain Tuckey's expedition learned with
Maxwell that the stream should be called, not Zaire, but Moienzi
Enzaddi, the "great river" or the "river which absorbs all other
rivers." This thoroughly corrupted name, which at once found its
way into popular books, and which is repeated to the present day
even by scientific geographers, suggested to some theorists
"Zadi," the name of the Niger at Wassenah according to Sidi
Harriet, as related by the American, James Riley, of the brig
"Commerce," wrecked on August 28, 1815: others remembered "Zad"
which Shaykh Yusuf (Hornemann), misleading Mungo Park, learned to
be the Niger east of Tinbuktu, "where it turns off to the
southward." I need hardly say that this "Zadi" and "Zad" are
evident corruptions of Bahr Shady, Shary, Shari, Chad, Tsad, and
Chadda, the swampy lake, alternately sweet and brackish, which
was formerly thrown by mistake into the Chadda River, now called
the Binue or Bimúwe, the great eastern fork of the Negro-land
Nile: the true drainage of the Chadda in ancient times has lately
been determined by the adventurous Dr. Nachtigal. Mr.
Cooley[FN#12] applied, as was his wont, a superficial knowledge
of Kibundo to Fiote or Congoese, and further corrupted Moienzi
Enzaddi to Muenya (for Menha or Menya) Zinzádi-this Angolan
"emendation," however, was not adopted.

The natives dwelling upon the Congo banks have, as usual in
Africa, no comprehensive generic term for the mighty artery of
the West Coast. Each tribe calls it by its own name. Thus even in
Fiote we find "Mulángo," or "Lángo," the water; "Nkoko," the
stream, "Mwánza," the river, and "Mwanza Nnenne," the great
river, all used synonymously at the several places. The only
proper name is Mwánza Nzádi, the River Nzadi: hence Zaire, Zaïre,
Zahir, Zaira the "flumen Congo olim Zaida" (C. Barlé)--all
corruptions more or less common.

The homogeneous form of the African continent causes a whimsical
family resemblance, allowing for the difference of northern and
southern hemispheres, in its four arterial streams--the Nile and
Niger, the Congo and Zambeze. I neglect the Limpopo, called in
its lower bed Espirito Santo, Maniça, Manhiça (Manyisa), and
Delagoa River; the Cunene (Nourse) River, the Orange River, and
others, which would be first-rate streams in Europe, but are mere
dwarfs in the presence of the four African giants. The Nile and
Niger, being mainly tenanted by Moslemized and comparatively
civilized races, have long been known, more or less, to Europe.
The Zambeze, owing to the heroic labours of Dr. Livingstone, is
fast becoming familiar to the civilized world; and the Congo is
in these days (1873) beginning at last to receive the attention
which it deserves. It is one of the noblest known to the world.
Whilst the Mississippi drains a basin of 1,244,000 English square
miles, and at Carrollton, in Louisiana, discharges as its mean
volume for the year 675,000 cubic feet of water per second, the
Congo, with a valley area of 800,000 square miles, rolls at least
2,500,000 feet. Moreover, should it prove a fact that the Nzadi
receives the Chambeze and its lakes, the Bangweolo (or Bemba),
the Moero, near which stands the capital of the Cazembe, the
Kamalondo, Lui or Ulenge, "Lake Lincoln" (Chibungo), and other
unvisited waters, its area of drainage will nearly equal that of
the Nile.

The four arteries all arise in inner regions of the secondary
age, subtended east and west by ghats, or containing mountains
mostly of palaeozoic or primary formation, the upheaval of
earthquakes and volcanoes. These rims must present four distinct
water-sheds. The sea-ward slopes discharge their superabundance
direct to the ocean often in broad estuaries like the Gambia and
the Gaboon, still only surface drains; whilst the counterslopes
pour inland, forming a network of flooded plains, perennial
swamps, streams, and lakes. The latter, when evaporation will not
balance the supply to a "sink," "escape from the basin of the
central plateau-lands, and enter the ocean through deep lateral
gorges, formed at some ancient period of elevation and
disturbance, when the containing chains were subject to
transverse fractures." All four head in the region of tropical
rains, the home of the negro proper, extending 35° along the
major axis of the continent, between Lake Chad (north latitude
14° to 15°), and the Noka a Batletle or Hottentot Lake, known to
the moderns as Ngami (south latitude 20° to 21°). Consequently
all are provided with lacustrine reservoirs of greater or smaller
extent, and are subject to periodical inundations, varying in
season, according as the sun is north or south of the line. Those
of the northern hemisphere swell with the "summer rains of
Ethiopia," a fact known in the case of the Nile to Democritus of
Abdera (5th cent. B.C.), to Agatharchidas of Cnidos (2nd cent.
B.C.) to Pomponius Nida, to Strabo (xvii. 1), who traces it
through Aristotle up to Homer's "heaven-descended stream" and to
Pliny (v. 10). For the same reason the reverse is the case with
the two southern arteries; their high water, with certain
limitations in the case of the Congo, is in our winter.

By the condition of their courses, all the four magnates are
broken into cataracts and rapids at the gates where they burst
through the lateral chains; the Mosi-wa-túnya (smoke that
thunders) of the Zambeze, and the Ripon Falls discovered by
Captains Speke and Grant upon the higher Nile, are the latest
acquisitions to geography, whilst the "Mai waterfall," reported
to break the Upper Congo, still awaits exploration. This accident
of form suggests a division of navigation on the maritime section
and on the plateau-bed which, in due time, will be connected,
like the St. Lawrence, by canals and railways. All but the Nzadi,
and perhaps even this, have deltas, where the divided stream,
deficient in water-shed, finds its sluggish way to the sea.

The largest delta at present known is the Nigerian, whose base
measures 155 direct geographical miles between the Rivers Kontoro
east, and Benin west. Pliny (v. 9) makes the Nile delta extend
170 Roman miles, from the Canopic or African to the Pelusiac or
Asiatic mouth, respectively distant from the apex 146 and 166
miles; the modern feature has been reduced to 80 miles from east
to west, and a maximum of 90 from north to south. The Zambeze
extends 58 miles between the Kilimani or northern and the west
Luabo, Cuama or southern outlet-at least, if these mouths are not
to be detached. The Nzadi is the smallest, measuring a maximum of
only 12 to 15 miles from the Malela or Bananal Creek to the
mangrove ditches of the southern shore.

In these depressed regions the comparatively salubrious climates
of the uplands become dangerous to the European; the people also
are degraded, mostly pirates and water-thieves, as the Nigerian
Ibos, the Congoese Musulungus, and the Landim (Amalandi) Kafirs
about the lower Zambeze. There is a notable similarity in their
productions, partly known to Pliny (v. 8), who notices "the
calamus, the papyrus, and the animals" of the Nigris and the
Nile. The black-maned lion and the leopard rule the wold; the
gorilla, the chimpanzee, and other troglodytes affect the thinner
forests; the giraffe, the zebra, and vast hosts of antelopes
scour the plains; the turtle swims the seas; and the
hippopotamus, the crocodile, and various siluridae, some of
gigantic size, haunt the lakes and rivers. The nymphæa, lotus or
water-lily, forms rafts of verdure; and the stream-banks bear the
calabash, the palmyra, the oil-palm, and the papyrus. Until late
years it was supposed that the water-lily, sacred to Isis, had
been introduced into Egypt from India, where it is also a
venerated vegetable, and that it had died out with the form of
Fetishism which fostered it. It has simply disappeared like the
crocodile from the Lower Nile. Finally, to conclude this rapidly
outlined sketch, all at the present moment happily share the same
fate; they are being robbed of their last mysteries; the veil of
Isis is fast yielding to the white man's grasp.

We can hardly as yet answer the question whether the Congo was
known to the ancients. Our acquaintance with the oldest
explorations is at present fragmentary, and we are apt to assume
that the little told us in our school-books is the sum-total of
former exploits. But possibly inscriptions in the New World, as
well as in the Old, may confirm the "first circumnavigation" so
simply recounted by Herodotus, especially that of the
Phoenicians, who set out from the Red Sea, and in three years
returned to the Mediterranean. The expression, "they had the sun
to the right," is variously explained. In the southern hemisphere
the sailors facing west during our winter would see the sun at
noon on the right, and in the northern hemisphere on the left.
But why should they face west? In the "Chronicle" of Schedel (p.
ccxc., printed in 1793, Pigafetta, Pinkerton, xi. 412) we read:
"These two, (i.e. Jacob Cam and Martin Behem, or Behaim) by the
help of the gods, ploughing the sea at short distance from shore,
having passed the equinoctial line, entered the nether
hemisphere, where, fronting the east, their shadow fell towards
the south, and on their right hand." Perhaps it may simply allude
to the morning sun, which would rise to port as they went
southwards, and to starboard as they returned north. Again, the
"First Overland Expedition" is related by the Father of History
with all the semblance of truth. We see no cause to doubt that
the Nasammones or Nasamones (Nás Amún), the five young Lybians of
the Great Syrtis (Fezzan) crossed the (watered
strip along the Mediterranean), passed through the
(the "bush") on the frontier, still famed for
lions, and the immeasurably sandy wastes (the Sahara proper,
across which caravan lines run). The "band of little black men"
can no longer be held fabulous, since Miani and Schweinfurth
added the Akya to M. du Chaillu's Obongo. The extensive marshes
were the northern limit of the tropical rains, and the "City of
Enchanters" is the type of many still existing in inner Africa.
The great river flowing from west to east, whose crocodiles
showed it to be the Nile, must have been the Niger. The ancients
knew middle Ethiopia to be a country watered by lakes and
streams: Strabo (xvii. 3) tells us that "some suppose that even
the Nile-sources are near the extremities of Mauritania." Hence,
too, the Nilides, or Lake of Standing Water in Pliny (v. 10). For
the most part they made a great central river traverse the
northern continent from west to east, whereas the Arabian
geographers of the middle ages, who were followed by the
Portuguese, inverted the course. Both may be explained by the lay
of the Quorra and the Binúwe, especially the latter; it was
chronically confounded with the true Nile, whose want of western
influents was not so well known then as now.

The generation which has discovered the "Moabite Stone," the
ruins of Troy (Schliemann), and the key to the inscriptions of
Etruria (Corssen), need not despair of further progress. It has
been well remarked that, whereas the course of modern exploration
has generally been maritime, the ancients, whose means of
navigation were less perfect, preferred travelling by land. We
are, doubtless, far better acquainted with the outlines of the
African coast, and the immediately maritime region, than the
Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Arabs. But it is still
doubtful whether their information respecting the interior did
not surpass ours. Eratosthenes, librarian of Alexandria (B. C.
276-196) expresses correct notions concerning the upper course of
the Nile; Marinus of Tyre[FN#13] had the advantage of borrowing
from the pilot, Diogenes, who visited the Nile reservoirs of
central inter-tropical Africa, and Ptolemy has been justified in
certain important points by our latest explorations.

No trace of the Nzadi or Congo is to be found in the Pelusian
geographer, whose furthest point is further north. In the "Tabula
Rotunda Rogeriana" of A. D. 1154 (Lelewel, No. X.) two lakes are
placed upon the equator, and the north-western discharges to the
Atlantic the river Kauga or Kanga, which the learned Mr. Hogg
suspected to be the Congo. Marino Sanudo (1321), who has an idea
of Guinea (Ganuya) and of Zanzibar (Zinziber), here bends Africa
to the south-east, and inscribes, "Regio inhabitabilis propter
calorem." Fra Mauro (1457) reduces "Ethiopia Occidentalis et
Australis" to the minimum, and sheds the stream into the F. Xebe
(Webbe or Galla-Somal River). Martin von Behaim of Nürnberg
(1492) in whose day Africa began to assume her present form,
makes the Rio de Padron drain the western face of the Montes
Lunae. Diogo Ribera, chief pilot of the Indies under Charles V.
(Seville, 1529) further corrects the shape of the continent, and
places the R. do Padrão north, and the Rio dos Boms Sinhaes
(Zambeze) south of the Montes Lunae. Mercator and Henry Hondt
(1623) make the Zaire Lacus the northern part of the Zembre
Lacus. John Senex (circ. 1712) shows the "R. Coango," the later
Quango, believed to be the great south-western fork of the Congo.
It is not a little peculiar that the last of the classics,
Claudius Claudianus, an Alexandrian Christian withal, describes
the Gir, or Girrhaeus, with peculiarly Congoese features. In "De
laud. Stilicho." (lib. i. 252) we have--

"Gir, notissimus amnis
Æthiopum, simili mentitus gurgite Nilum."

And again ("Eidyll. in Nilum," 20):

"Hunc bibit infrenis Garamas, domitorque ferarum
Girrhæus, qui vasta colit sub rupibus antra,
Qui ramos ebeni, qui denies vellit eburnos."

Here we find a Wady or torrent discharging into the
Mediterranean, made equal to "Egypt's heaven-descended stream;"
caused to flow under great rocks, as the Niger was long believed
to pass underground to the Nile, of which it was a western
branch; and said to supply ebony, which is the characteristic not
even of the Niger regions, but of the Zaire.[FN#14] A little of
this peculiar and precious commodity is produced by Old Calabar,
east of the Nigerian delta, and southwards it becomes common.

Pliny (v. i) places his Gir (which some editions read "Niger")
"some distance" beyond the snowy Atlas. Ptolemy (iv. 6) tells us
"in Mediterraneâ verò fluunt amnes maximi, nempe Gir conjungens
Usargalam montem et vallem Garamanticam, à quo divertens amnis
continet secundum situm (east longitude) 42° (north latitude)--
16°." Again: "Et Nigir fluvius jungens et ipse Mandrum" (Mandara,
south of Lake Chad?) "et Thala montes" (the range near the
western coast on the parallel of Cabo Blanco?). "Facit autem et
hic Nigritem Paludem" (Lake Dibbie or Debu, north-east of Sego
and Sansanding?) cujus situs 15°-18°."

Here the Gir, Ger, Gar, or Geir is clearly laid down as a
Mediterranean stream, whilst "Niger" gave rise to the confusion
of the Senegal with the true Niger. The name has greatly
exercised commentators' ingenuity. D'Anville believes the Niger
and the Gir to end in the same quarter of Africa, and the latter
to be entirely unknown. Gosselin, agreeing with Pliny, whose Ger
is the Nigir of the Greeks, places them south of the Atlas. Mr.
Leake (loc. cit.) holds all conjecture useless. Not so the Rev.
M. Tristram, whose geography is of the ornithological or bird's-
eye order. In "The Great Sahara" (pp. 362-4, Appendix I.), he
asks, "May not the name Giris or Gir be connected with Djidi?" i.
e. the Wadi Mzi, a mean sink in El Areg, south of Algeria.
Gräberg ("Morocco") had already identified it with the Ghir,
which flows through Sagelmessa; Burckhardt with the Jir, "a large
stream coming from about north latitude 10°, and flowing north-
west through the Wadaí, west of the borders of Dar-Fur." No
wonder that some geographers are disposed to believe Gir, Giris,
Ger, and Geir to be "a general native name for a river, like Bá"
(Bahr), "Bi" (in many Central African tongues a river,
Schweinfurth, ii. 241), "Quorra (Kwara), Gulbi and Gambaru (the
Yeou), Shadda, and Enzaddi."

It is still interesting to consider the circumstances which gave
rise to Captain Tuckey's disastrous expedition. As any map of
Africa during the early quarter of the present century, Bowdich
or Dupuis for instance, may prove, the course of the Niger was
laid down, now according to the ancients, then after Arab
information. The Dark Continent, of which D'Anville justly said
that writers abused, "pour ainsi dire, de la vaste carrière que
l'intérieur y laissait prendre" ("Mém. de l'Acad. des
Inscriptions," xxvi. 61), had not been subjected to scientific
analysis; this was reserved for the Presidential Address to the
Royal Geographical Society by the late Sir R. I. Murchison, 1852.
Geographers did not see how to pass the Niger through the" Kong
Mountains, which, uniting with the Jebel Komri, are supposed to
run in one unbroken chain across the continent;" and these Lunar
Mountains of the Moslems, which were "stretched like a chaplet of
beads from east to west," undoubtedly express, as M. du Chaillu
contends, a real feature, the double versant, probably a mere
wave of ground between the great hydrographic basins of the Niger
and the Congo, of North Africa and of Central Africa. Men still
wasted their vigour upon the Nigritis Palus, the Chelonídes
waters, the Mount Caphas, and the lakes of Wangara, variously
written Vancara and Vongara, not to mention other ways. Maps
place "Wangara"to the north-west of Dahome, where the natives
utterly ignore the name. Dupuis ("Ashantee," 1824) suggests that,
like "Takrúr," it is an obsolete Moslem term for the 660 miles of
maritime region between Cape Lahu and the Rio Formoso or the Old
Calabar River. This would include the three despotisms, Ashanti,
Dahome, and Benin, with the tribes who, from a distance of
twenty-five days, bring gold to Tinbuktu (the Tungubutu of De
Barros, i. 220). Thus the lakes of Wangara would be the lagoons
of the Slave-coast, in which the Niger may truly be said to lose

At length M. Reichard, of Lobenstein ("Ephémerides
Géographiques," Weimar, 1802), theoretically discovered the mouth
of the Niger, by throwing it into the Bight of Benin. He was
right in essentials and wrong in details; for instance, he
supposed the Rio Formoso or Benin River and the Rio del Rey to
join in one great stream beyond the flat alluvial delta: whereas
the former is indirectly connected through the Wari with the
Niger, and the latter has no connection with it at all. The truth
was received with scant courtesy, and the hypothesis was
pronounced to be "worthy of very little attention." There were,
however, honourable exceptions. In 1813, the learned Malte-Brun
("Précis de la Géographie Universelle," vol. iv. 635) sanctioned
the theory hinted at by Mungo Park, and in 1828 the well-abused
Caillié, a Frenchman who had dared to excel Bruce and Mungo Park,
wrote these remarkable words: "If I may be permitted to hazard an
opinion as to the course of the River Dhioliba, I should say that
it empties itself by several mouths into the Bight of Benin." In
1829, fortified by Clapperton's opinion, my late friend, James
Macqueen, who to immense industry added many qualifications of a
comparative geographer, recommended a careful examination of the
estuaries between the Rio Formoso and Old Calabar. The question
was not finally set at rest till 1830 (November 15th), when
Richard and John Lander entered Yoruba viâ Badagry and,
triumphantly descending the lower Niger, made the sea by the
"Nun" and Brass embouchures.

Meanwhile, Mr. George Maxwell, a Scotchman who had long traded in
the Congo, and who subsequently published a chart of the lower
river proposed, at the end of the last century, to take from
England six supernumerary boats for rowing and sailing, which
could be carried by thirty people and portaged round the
cataracts. This gave rise to Captain Tuckey's first error,
depending upon labour and provisions, which were not to be had
"for love or money" anywhere on the Congo above the Yellala. With
thirty or forty black rowers, probably Cabinda men, Maxwell
advised navigating the river about May, when the Cacimbo or dry
season begins; and with arms, provisions, and merchandize he
expected to reach the sources in six weeks. The scheme, which was
rendered abortive by the continental war of 1793, had two
remarkable results. It caused Mungo Park's fatal second journey,
and it led to the twin expeditions of Tuckey and Peddie.

In July, 1804, the ardent and irrepressible Scot wrote from
Prior's Lynn, near Longtown, to a friend, Mr. William Kier, of
Milholm, that the river "Enzaddi" was frequented by Portuguese,
who found the stream still as large as near the mouth, after
ascending 600 miles. It is useful to observe how these distances
are obtained. The slave-touters for the Liverpool and other
dealers used, we are told, to march one month up country, and
take two to return. Thirty days multiplied by twenty miles per
diem give 600 miles. I need hardly point out that upon such a
mission the buyer would be much more likely to travel 60 miles
than 600 in a single month, and I believe that the natives of the
lower river never went beyond Nsundi, or 215 indirect miles from
Point Padrão.

With truly national tenacity and plausibility Perfervidum
Ingenium contended that the Congo or Zaire was the Nigerian
debouchure. Major Rennell, who had disproved the connection of
the Niger and the Egyptian Nile by Bruce's barometric
measurements on the course of the mountain-girt Bahr el Azrak,
and by Brown's altitudes at Darfur, condemned the bold theory for
the best of reasons.

Mungo Park, after a brief coldness and coquetting with it, hotly
adopted to the fullest extent the wild scheme. Before leaving
England (Oct. 4, 1804), he addressed a memoir to Lord Camden,
explaining the causes of his conversion. It is curious to note
his confusion of "Zad," his belief that the "Congo waters are at
all seasons thick and muddy," and his conviction that "the annual
flood," which he considered perpetual, "commences before the
rains fall south of the equator." The latter is to a certain
extent true; the real reason will presently be given. Infected by
the enthusiasm of his brother Scot, he adds, "Considered in a
commercial point of view, it is second only to the discovery of
the Cape of Good Hope; and, in a geographical point of view, it
is certainly the greatest discovery that remains to be made in
this world."

Thereupon the traveller set out for the upper Niger with the
conviction that he would emerge by the Congo, and return to
England viâ the West Indies. From the fragments of his Journal,
and his letters to Lord Camden, to Sir Joseph Banks, and to his
wife, it is evident that at San-sanding he had modified his
theories, and that he was gradually learning the truth. To the
former he writes, "I am more and more inclined to think that it
(the Niger) can end nowhere but in the sea;" and presently a
guide, who had won his confidence, assured him that the river,
after passing Kashna, runs directly to the right hand, or south,
which would throw it into the Gulf of Guinea.

The fatal termination of Park's career in 1805 lulled public
curiosity for a time, but it presently revived. The geographical
mind was still excited by the mysterious stream which evaporation
or dispersion drained into the Lake-swamps of Wangara, and to
this was added not a little curiosity concerning the lamented and
popular explorer's fate. We find instructions concerning Mungo
Park issued even to cruizers collecting political and other
information upon the East African coast; e.g., to Captain Smee,
sent in 1811 by the Bombay Government. His companion, Lieutenant
Hardy, converted Usagára, west of the Zanzibar seaboard, into
"Wangarah," and remarks, "a white man, supposed to be Park, is
said to have travelled here twenty years ago" ("Observations,"

About ten years after Mungo Park's death, two expeditions were
fitted out by Government to follow up his discovery. Major Peddie
proceeded to descend the Niger, and Captain Tuckey to ascend the
Congo. We have nothing to say of the former journey except that,
as in the latter, every chief European officer died--Major
Peddie, Captain Campbell, Lieutenant Stokoe, and M. Kummer, the
naturalist. The expedition, consisting of 100 men and 200
animals, reached Kakundy June 13, 1817, and there fell to pieces.
Concerning the Zaire Expedition, which left Deptford on February
16, 1816, a few words are advisable.

The personnel was left to the choice of the leader, Commander J.
K. Tuckey, R. N. (died). There were six commissioned officers--
Lieutenant John Hawkey, R.N. (died); Mr. Lewis Fitz-maurice,
master and surveyor; Mr. Robert Hodder and Mr. Robert Beecraft,
master's mates; Mr. John Eyre, purser (died); and Mr. James
McKerrow, assistant surgeon. Under these were eight petty
officers, four carpenters, two blacksmiths, and fourteen able
seamen. The marines numbered one sergeant, one corporal, and
twelve privates. Grand total of combatants, forty-nine. To these
were added five "savants": Professor Chetien Smith, a Norwegian
botanist and geologist (died); Mr. Cranch, collector of objects
of natural history (died); Mr. Tudor, comparative anatomist
(died); Mr. Galway, Irishman and volunteer naturalist (died); and
"Lockhart, a gardener" (of His Majesty's Gardens, Kew). There
were two Congo negroes, Benjamin Benjamins and Somme Simmons; the
latter, engaged as a cook's mate, proved to be a "prince of the
blood," which did not prevent his deserting for fear of the

The allusions made to Mr. Cranch, a "joined methodist," and a
"self-made man," are not complimentary. "Cranch, I fear," says
Professor Smith, "by his absurd conduct, will diminish the
liberality of the captain towards us: he is like a pointed arrow
to the company." And, again, "Poor Cranch is almost too much the
object of jest; Galway is the principal banterer."In the
Professor's remarks on the" fat purser,"we can detect the
foreigner, who, on such occasions, should never be mixed up with

Sir Joseph Banks had suggested a steamer drawing four feet, with
twenty-four horse-power; an admirable idea, but practical
difficulties of construction rendered the "Congo" useless. Of the
fifty-four white men, eighteen, including eleven of the "Congo"
crew, died in less than three months. Fourteen out of a party of
thirty officers and men, who set out to explore the cataracts viâ
the northern bank, lost their lives; and they were followed by
four more on board the "Congo," and one at Bahia. The expedition
remained in the river between July 6th and October 18th, little
more than three months; yet twenty-one, or nearly one-third,
three of the superior officers and all the scientific men,
perished. Captain Tuckey died of fatigue and exhaustion (Oct.
4th) rather than of disease; Lieutenant Hawkey, of fatal typhus
(which during 1862 followed the yellow fever, in the Bonny and
New Calabar Rivers); and Mr. Eyre, palpably of bilious remittent.
Professor Smith had been so charmed with the river, that he was
with difficulty persuaded to return. Prostrated four days
afterwards by sickness on board the transport, he refused physic
and food, because his stomach rejected bark, and, preferring cold
water, he became delirious; apparently, he died of
disappointment, popularly called a "broken heart." Messrs. Tudor
and Cranchalso fell victims to bilious remittents, complicated,
in the case of the latter, by the "gloomy view taken of
Christianity by that sect denominated Methodists." Mr. Galway, on
September 28th, visited Sangala, the highest rapid ("Narrative,"
p. 328). In the Introduction, p. 80, we are wrongly told that he
went to Banza Ninga, whence, being taken ill on August 24th, he
was sent down stream. He, like his commander, had to sleep in the
open, almost without food, and he also succumbed to fever,
fatigue, and exhaustion.

The cause of this prodigious mortality appears in the records of
the expedition. Officers and men were all raw, unseasoned, and
unacclimatized. Captain Tuckey, an able navigator, the author of
"Maritime Geography and Statistics," had served in the tropics;
his biographer, however, writes that a long imprisonment in
France and "residence in India had broken down his constitution,
and at the age of thirty (ob. æt. thirty-nine) his hair was grey
and his head nearly bald." The men perished, exactly like the
missionaries of old, by hard work, insufficient and innutritious
food, physical exhaustion, and by the doctor. At first "immediate
bleeding and gentle cathartics" are found to be panaceas for mild
fevers (p. 46): presently the surgeon makes a discovery as
follows: "With regard to the treatment I shall here only observe
that bleeding was particularly unsuccessful. Cathartics were of
the greatest utility, and calomel, so administered as speedily to
induce copious salivation, generally procured a remission of all
the violent symptoms." The phlebotomy was inherited from the
missioners, who own almost to have blinded themselves by it. When
one was "blooded" fifteen times and died, his amateur Sangrado
said, "It had been better to have bled him thirty times:" the
theory was that in so hot a climate all the European blood should
be replaced by African. One of the entries in Captain Tuckey's

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