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Lander's Travels by Robert Huish

Part 7 out of 15

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most powerful and warlike of the Bornou sovereigns, finding among
their subjects neither the requisite skill nor experience in
navigation, make no attempt to cope with the Biddoomahs on these
watery domains, and thus give up the lake to their undisputed sway.

While Major Denham was thus traversing in every direction Bornou, and
the surrounding countries, Lieutenant Clapperton and Dr. Oudney were
proceeding through Houssa, by a route less varied and hazardous
indeed, but disclosing forms both of nature and society fully as
interesting. They departed from Kouka on the 14th December 1823, and
passing the site of old Birnie, found the banks of the Yeou fertile,
and diversified with towns and villages.

On entering Katagum, the most easterly Fellata province, they
observed a superior style of culture; two crops of wheat being raised
in one season by irrigation, and the grain stored in covered sheds,
elevated from the ground on posts. The country to the south was
covered with extensive swamps and mountains, tenanted by rude and
pagan tribes, who furnish to the faithful an inexhaustible supply of
slaves. The practice of travelling with a caravan was found very
advantageous, from the help it afforded, as well as from the good
reports spread by the merchants, respecting their European
companions. In Bornou, these last had been viewed with almost
unmingled horror, and for having eaten their bread under the
extremest necessity, a man had his testimony rejected in a court of
justice. Some young Bornouese ladies, who accosted Major Denham,
having ventured to say a word in his favour, an attendant matron
exclaimed, "Be silent, he is an uncircumcised kafir--neither washes
nor prays, eats pork, and will go to hell." Upon which the others
screamed, and ran off. But in Houssa, this horror was not so great,
and was mingled with the belief, that they possessed supernatural
powers. Not only did the sick come in crowds expecting to be cured,
but the ladies solicited amulets to restore their beauty, to preserve
the affections of their lovers, and even to destroy a hated rival.
The son of the governor of Kano, having called upon Clapperton,
stated it was the conviction of the whole city and his own, that the
English had the power of converting men into asses, goats, and
monkeys, and likewise that by reading in his book, he could at any
time commute a handful of earth into gold. The traveller having
declared to him the difficulty he often found in procuring both asses
and gold, induced him with trembling hands to taste a cup of tea,
when he became more composed, and made a sort of recantation of his

As the caravan proceeded they met many other travellers, and found
sitting along the road, numerous females selling potatoes, beans,
bits of roasted meat, and water with an infusion of gussub-grains;
and when they stopped at any place for the night, the people crowded
in such numbers as to form a little fair. Clapperton attracted the
notice of many of the Fellata ladies, who, after examining him
closely, declared, that had he only been less white, his external
appearance might have merited approbation.

The travellers passed through Sansan, a great market place, divided
into three distinct towns, and Katagum, the strongly fortified
capital of the province, containing about eight thousand inhabitants.
Thence they proceeded to Murmur, where the severe illness under which
Dr. Oudney had long laboured, came to a crisis. Though now in the
last stage of consumption, he insisted on continuing his journey and
with the aid of his servant had been supported to his camel, when
Clapperton, seeing the ghastliness of death on his countenance,
insisted on replacing him in his tent, where, soon after, without a
groan, he breathed his last. His companion caused him to be buried
with the honours of the country. The body was washed, wrapped in
turban shawls, and a wall of clay built round the grave, to protect
it from wild beasts; two sheep were also killed and distributed
amongst the poor.

Katungwa, the first town of Houssa proper, and the next on the route,
is situated in a country well enclosed, and under high cultivation.
To the south is an extensive range of rocky hills, amid which is the
town of Zangeia, with its buildings picturesquely scattered over
masses of rocks. Clapperton passed also Girkwa, near a river of the
same name, which appears to come from these hills, and to fall into
the Yeou.

Two days after, he entered Kano, the Ghana of Edrisi, and which is
now, as it was six hundred years ago, the chief commercial city of
Houssa, and of all central Africa. Yet it disappointed our traveller
on his first entry, and for a quarter of a mile scarcely appeared a
city at all. Even in its more crowded quarters, the houses rose
generally in clusters, separated by stagnant pools. The inhabited
part on the whole, did not comprise more than a fourth of the space
enclosed by the walls, the rest consisted of fields, gardens, and
swamps; however, as the whole circuit is fifteen miles, there is
space for a population moderately estimated, to be between thirty or
forty thousand. The market is held on a neck of land, between two
swamps, by which, during the rains, it is entirely overflowed, but in
the dry season it is covered with sheds of bamboo, arranged into
regular streets. Different quarters are allowed for the several kinds
of goods; some for cattle, others for vegetables, while fruits of
various descriptions, so much neglected in Bornou, are here displayed
in profusion. The fine cotton fabrics of the country are sold either
in webs, or in what are called tobes and Turkadees, with rich silken
strips or borders ready to be added. Amongst the favourite articles
are goora or kolla nuts, which are called African coffee, being
supposed to give a peculiar relish to the water drunk after them; and
crude antimony, with the black tint of which every eyebrow in Houssa
must be dyed. The Arabs also dispose here of sundry commodities that
have become obsolete in the north; the cast-off dresses of the
mamelukes and other great men, and old sword-blades from Malta. But
the busiest scene is the slave market, composed of two long ranges of
sheds, one for males and another for females. These poor creatures
are seated in rows, decked out for exhibition. The buyer scrutinizes
them as nicely as a purchaser with us does a horse, inspecting the
tongue, teeth, eyes, and limbs; making them cough and perform various
movements, to ascertain if there be any thing unsound, and in case of
a blemish appearing, or even without assigning a reason, he may
return them within three days. As soon as the slaves are sold, the
exposer gets back their finery, to be employed in ornamenting others.
Most of the captives purchased at Kano, are conveyed across the
desert, during which their masters endeavour to keep up their
spirits, by an assurance, that on passing its boundary, they will be
set free and dressed in red, which they account the gayest of
colours. Supplies, however, often fail in this dreary journey, a want
first felt by the slaves, many of whom perish with hunger and
fatigue. Clapperton heard the doleful tale of a mother, who had seen
her child dashed to the ground, while she herself was compelled by
the lash to drag on an exhausted frame. Yet, when at all tolerably
treated, they are very gay, an observation generally made in regard
to slaves, but this gaiety, arising only from the absence of thought,
probably conceals much secret wretchedness.

The regulations of the market of Kano seem to be good, and strictly
enforced. A sheik superintends the police, and is said even to fix
the prices. The _dylalas_ or brokers, are men of somewhat high
character; packages of goods are often sold unopened bearing merely
their mark. If the purchaser afterwards finds any defect, he returns
it to the agent, who must grant compensation. The medium of exchange
is not cloth as in Bornou, nor iron as in Loggun, but cowries or
little shells, brought from the roast, twenty of which are worth a
halfpenny, and four hundred and eighty make a shilling, so that in
paying a pound sterling, one has to count over nine thousand six
hundred cowries. Amid so many strangers, there is ample room for the
trade of the _restaurateur,_ which is carried on by a female seated
on the ground, with a mat on her knees, on which are spread
vegetables, gussub water, and bits of roasted meat about the size of
a penny; these she retails to her customers squatted around her. The
killing of a bullock forms a sort of festival at Kano; its horns are
dyed red with henna, drums are beaten, and a crowd collected, who, if
they approve of the appearance and condition of the animal, readily
become purchasers.

Boxing in Houssa, like wrestling in Bornou, forms a favourite
exercise, and the grand national spectacle. Clapperton, having heard
much of the _fancy_ of Kano, intimated his willingness to pay for a
performance, which was forthwith arranged. The whole body of butchers
attended, and acted as masters of the ceremonies; while, as soon as
the tidings spread, girls left their pitchers at the wells; the
market people threw down their baskets, and an immense crowd were
assembled. The ring being formed, and drums beaten, the performers
first came forward singly, plying their muscles, like a musician
tuning his instrument, and each calling out to the bystanders--"I am
a hyena." "I am a lion." "I can kill all that oppose me." After about
twenty had shown off in this manner, they came forward in pairs,
wearing only a leathern girdle, and with their hands muffled in
numerous folds of country cloth. It was first ascertained that they
were not mutual friends; after which they closed with the utmost
fury, aiming their blows at the most mortal parts, as the pit of the
stomach, beneath the ribs, or under the ear; they even endeavoured to
scoop out the eyes; so that in spite of every precaution, the match
often terminated in the death of one of the combatants. Whenever
Clapperton saw the affair verging to such an issue, he gave orders to
stop, and after seeing six parties exhibit, he paid the hire, and
broke up the meeting.

The negroes here are excessively polite and ceremonious, especially
to those advanced in years. They salute one another by laying the
hand on the breast, making a bow, and inquiring, _Kona lafia? ki ka
ky kee--Fo fo da rana:_ How do you do? I hope you are well. How have
you passed the heat of the day? The last question corresponds in
their climate to the circumstantiality, with what our country folks
inquire about a good night's rest.

The unmarried girls, whether slaves or free, and likewise the young
unmarried men, wear a long apron of blue and white check, with a
notched edging of red woollen cloth. It is tied with two broad bands,
ornamented in the same way, and hanging down behind to the very
ankles. This is peculiar to Soudan, and forms the only distinction in
dress from the people of Bornou.

Their marriages are not distinguished by any great form or ceremony.
When a bride is first conducted to the house of the bridegroom, she
is attended by a great number of friends and slaves, bearing presents
of melted fat, honey, wheat, turkadees, and tobes as her dower.
She whines all the way, _"Wey kina! wey kina! wey lo!"_ O my head! My
head! Oh! dear me. Notwithstanding this lamentation, the husband has
commonly known his wife some time before marriage. Preparatory to the
ceremony of reading the fatah, both bridegroom and bride remain shut
up for some days, and have their hands and feet dyed for three days
successively, with henna. The bride herself visits the bridegroom,
and applies the henna plasters with her own hands.

Every one is buried under the floor of his own house, without
monument or memorial, and among the commonalty the house continues
occupied as usual, but among the great there is more refinement, and
it is ever after abandoned. The corpse being washed, the first
chapter of the Koran is read over it, and the interment takes place
the same day. The bodies of slaves are dragged out of town, and left
a prey to vultures and wild beasts. In Kano they do not even take the
trouble to convey them beyond the walls, but throw the corpse into
the morass, or nearest pool of water.

Major Denham was now informed that the sultan had sent a messenger
express, with orders to have him conducted to his capital, and to
supply him with every thing necessary for his journey. He now begged
him to state what he stood in need of. The major assured him that the
king of England, his master, had liberally provided for all his
wants, but that he felt profoundly grateful for the kind offer of the
sultan, and had only to crave from him the favour of being attended
by one of his people as a guide. He instantly called a
fair-complexioned Fellata, and asked the major if he liked him; the
answer was given in the affirmative, and Major Denham took his leave.
He afterwards went by invitation, to visit the governor of Hadyja,
who was here on his return from Sockatoo, and lived in the house of
the Wanbey. He found this governor of Hadyja, a black man, about
fifty years of age, sitting amongst his own people, at the upper end
of the room, which is usually a little raised, and is reserved in
this country for the master of the house, or visitors of high rank.
He was well acquainted with the major's travelling name, for the
moment he entered, he said laughing, "How do you do, Abdallah? Will
you come and see me at Hadyja on your return?"

"God be willing," answered the major, with due moslem solemnity.

"You are a Christian, Abdallah?" asked the governor. "I am," replied
the major.

"And what are you come to see?" inquired the governor. "The country,"
replied the major, "its manners and customs." "What do you think of
it?" asked the governor. "It is a fine country," said the major, "but
very sickly." At this the governor smiled, and again asked, "would
you Christians allow us to come and see your country?"

"Certainly," said the major, "and every civility and kindness would
be shown to you."

"Would you force us to become Christians?" asked the governor.

"By no means," answered the major, "we never meddle with a man's

"What!" he exclaimed, "and do you ever pray?" "Sometimes," said the
major. "Our religion commands us to pray always, but we pray in
secret, and not in public, except on Sundays."

One of his attendants here abruptly asked, what a Christian was "Why,
a kafir," rejoined the governor. "Where is your Jew servant?" he
asked, "you ought to let us see him."

"Excuse me," said the major, "he is averse from it, and I never allow
my servants to be molested for their religious opinions."

"Well, Abdallah," said the governor, "thou art a man of
understanding, and must come and see me at Hadyja."

The major then retired, and the Arabs afterwards told him, that he
was a perfect savage, and sometimes put a merchant to death for the
sake of his goods, but this account, if true, is less to be wondered
at, from the notorious villainy of some of them.

From Kano, Lieutenant Clapperton set out, under the guidance of
Mohammed Jollie, leader of a caravan intended for Sockatoo, capital
of the sultan of the Fellatas. The country was perhaps the finest in
Africa, being under high cultivation, diversified with groves of
noble trees, and traversed in a picturesque manner by ridges of
granite. The manners of the people, too, were pleasing and pastoral.
At many clear springs, gushing from the rocks, young women were
drawing water. As an excuse for engaging in talk, our traveller asked
several times for the means of quenching his thirst. Bending
gracefully on one knee, and displaying, at the same time, teeth of
pearly whiteness and eyes of the blackest lustre, they presented a
gourd, and appeared highly delighted, when he thanked them for their
civility, remarking to one another, "Did you hear the white man thank
me?" But the scene was changed on reaching the borders of the
provinces of Goobar and Zamfra, which were in a state of rebellion
against Sockatoo. The utmost alarm at that moment prevailed; men and
women, with their bullocks, asses, and camels, all struggled to be
foremost, every one crying out, "Woe to the wretch that falls behind;
he will be sure to meet an unhappy end, even at the hands of the
Goobarites!" There was danger of being even thrown down and trampled
to death by the bullocks, which were furiously rushing backward and
forward; however, through the unremitting care of the escort,
Clapperton made his way safely, though not without much fatigue and
annoyance, along this perilous frontier.

The country was now highly cultivated. The road was crowded with
passengers and loaded bullocks, going to the market of Zimrie, which
town was passed a little to the southward about noon, when the
country became more wooded. In the evening, a halt was made at a town
called Quarra, where Clapperton waited upon the governor, who was an
aged Fellata. Here Clapperton was unluckily taken for a fighi, or
teacher, and was pestered at all hours of the clay to write out
prayers by the people. His servants hit upon a scheme to get rid of
their importunities, by acquainting them, that, if he did such
things, they must be paid the perquisites usually given to the
servants of other fighis. Clapperton's washerwoman positively
insisted on being paid with a charm in writing, that would entice
people to buy earthen-ware of her, and no persuasion of his could
either induce her to accept of money for her service, or make her
believe that the request was beyond human power. In the cool of the
afternoon, he was visited by three of the governor's wives, who,
after examining his skin with much attention, remarked,
compassionately, it was a thousand pities he was not black, for then
he would have been tolerably good looking. He asked one of them, a
buxom young girl of fifteen, if she would accept of him for a
husband, provided he could obtain the permission of her master, the
governor. She immediately began to whimper, and on urging her to
explain the cause, she frankly avowed, _she did not know what to do
with his white legs._ He gave to each of them a snuff-box, and, in
addition, a string of white beads to the coy maiden. They were
attended by an old woman and two little female slaves, and, during
their stay, made very merry; but he feared much that their gaiety
soon fled on returning to the close custody of their old gaoler.

Clapperton now tried every thing in his power to induce his guide to
proceed, without waiting for the escort; but El Wordee and the
shreef, who were the most pusillanimous rascals he ever met with,
effectually dissuaded him from it.

He was much amused with a conversation he overheard between the blind
shreef and his servant, respecting himself and his intended journey.
"That Abdallah," says the servant, "is a very bad man; he has no more
sense than an ass, and is now going to lead us all to the devil, if
we will accompany him. I hope, master, you are not such a fool."

"Yes," ejaculated the shreef, "it was a black day when I joined that
kafir; but if I don't go with him; I shall never see the sultan; and
when I return to Kano without any thing, the people will laugh at me
for my pains."

"Why did you not talk to him," said the servant, "about the dangers
of the road?"

"D--n his father!" replied the shreef; "I have talked to him, but
these infidels have no prudence."

Clapperton now called out, "A thousand thanks to you, my lord

"May the blessings of God be upon you!" exclaimed the shreef. "Oh!
Rais Abdallah, you are a beautiful man. I will go with you wherever
you go. I was only speaking in jest to this dog."

"My lord shreef," said Clapperton, "I was aware of it from the first;
it is of no importance, but, if the escort does not arrive to-morrow,
I may merely mention to you, I shall certainly proceed, without
further delay, to Kashna."

This Clapperton said by way of alarming the shreef, who liked his
present quarters too well, from the number of pious females, who
sought edification from the lips of so true a descendant of the
prophet; besides the chance such visits afforded of transmitting to
their offspring the honour of so holy a descent.

The small-pox was at this time raging in the country to an alarming
degree. The treatment of the disease is as follows:--When the disease
makes its appearance, they anoint the whole body with honey, and the
patient lies down on the floor, previously strewed with warm sand,
some of which is also sprinkled upon him. If the patient be very ill,
he is bathed in cold water early every morning, and is afterwards
anointed with honey, and replaced in the warm sand. This is their
only mode of treatment; but numbers died every day of this loathsome
disease, which had now been raging for six months.

Clapperton had now his baggage packed up for his journey to Kashna,
to the great terror of El Wordee, the shreef, and all his servants,
who earnestly begged him to remain only a day longer. A party of
horse and foot arrived from Zirmee the same night. It was the retinue
of a Fellata captain, who was bringing back a young wife from her
father's, where she had made her escape. The fair fugitive bestrode a
very handsome palfrey, amid a groupe of female attendants on foot.
Clapperton was introduced to her on the following morning, when she
politely joined her husband in requesting Clapperton to delay his
journey another day, in which case, they kindly proposed they should
travel together. Of course, it was impossible to refuse so agreeable
an invitation, to which Clapperton seemed to yield with all possible
courtesy. Indeed he had no serious intention of setting out that day.
The figure of the lady was small, but finely formed, and her
complexion of a clear copper colour, while, unlike most beautiful
women, she was mild and unobtrusive in her manners. Her husband, too,
whom she had deserted, was one of the finest looking men Clapperton
ever saw, and had also the reputation of being one of the bravest of
his nation.

A humpbacked lad, in the service of the gadado, or vizier of Bello,
who, on his way from Sockatoo, had his hand dreadfully wounded by the
people of Goober, was in the habit of coming every evening to
Clapperton's servants to have the wound dressed. On conversing with
Clapperton himself, he told him that he had formerly been on an
expedition under Abdecachman, a Fallata chief. They started from the
town of Labogee, or Nyffee, and, crossing the Quarra, travelled south
fourteen days along the banks of the river, until they were within
four days journey of the sea, where, according to his literal
expression, "the river was one, and the sea was one," but at what
precise point the river actually entered the sea, he had no distinct


Early in the morning of the 13th March, Clapperton commenced his
journey, in company with the Fellata chief. El Wordee and the shreef
were evidently in much trepidation, as they did not consider their
present party sufficiently strong, in case of attack; but they had
not proceeded far on their route, when they were agreeably surprised
by meeting the escort, which they expected. It consisted of one
hundred and fifty horsemen, with drums and trumpets. Their leader,
with his attendants, advanced to Clapperton in full gallop, and bade
him welcome to the country in the name of his master, the sultan,
who, he said, was rejoiced to hear he was so near, and had sent him
to conduct the travellers to his capital.

They continued to travel with the utmost speed, but the people soon
began to fag, and the lady of the Fellata chief, who rode not far
from Clapperton, began to complain of fatigue. In the evening they
halted at the wells of Kamoon, all extremely fatigued, and on the
following morning, they discovered that all their camels had strayed
away in quest of food; they were, however, recovered by the exertions
of the escort, to the commander of which Clapperton made a handsome
present, consisting of some European articles, and to his officers a
present of minor value.

On the following day, Clapperton left the wells of Kamoon, followed
by his escort and a numerous retinue, and a loud flourish of horns
and trumpets. Of course, this extraordinary respect was paid to him
as the servant of the king of England, as he was styled in the sheik
of Bornou's letter. To impress them still farther with his official
importance, Clapperton arrayed himself in his lieutenant's coat,
trimmed with gold lace, white trousers, and silk stockings, and to
complete his finery, he wore Turkish slippers and a turban. Although
his limbs pained him extremely, in consequence of their recent forced
march, he constrained himself to assume the utmost serenity of
countenance, in order to meet, with befitting dignity, the honours
they lavished on him as the humble representative of his country.

From the top of the second hill after leaving Kamoon, they at length
saw Sockatoo. A messenger from the sultan met them here to bid the
travellers welcome, and to acquaint them that the sultan was at a
neighbouring town, on his return from a ghrazzie or expedition, but
intended to be in Sockatoo in the evening. At noon they arrived at
Sockatoo, where a great number of people were assembled to look at
the European traveller, and he entered the city amid the hearty
welcomes of young and old. He was immediately conducted to the house
of the gadado or vizier, where apartments were provided for him and
his servants. The gadado, an elderly man named Simnon Bona Lima,
arrived near midnight, and came instantly to see him. He was
excessively polite, but would on no account drink tea with
Clapperton, as he said, he was a stranger in their land, and had not
yet eaten of his bread. He told Clapperton that the sultan wished to
see him in the morning, and repeatedly assured him of experiencing
the most cordial reception. He spoke Arabic extremely well, which he
said he learned solely from the Koran.

After breakfast on the following morning, the sultan sent for
Clapperton, his residence being at no great distance. In front of it
there is a large quadrangle, into which several of the principal
streets of the city lead. They passed through three coozees, as
guardhouses, without the least detention, and were immediately
ushered into the presence of Bello, the second sultan of the
Fellatas. He was seated on a small carpet, between two pillars
supporting the roof of a thatched house, not unlike one of our
cottages. The walls and pillars were painted blue and white, in the
moorish taste and on the back wall was sketched a fire screen,
ornamented with a coarse painting of a flower-pot. An arm-chair with
an iron lamp standing on it, was placed on each side of the screen.
The sultan bade Clapperton many hearty welcomes, and asked him if he
were not much tired with his journey from Burderewa. Clapperton told
him it was the most severe travelling he had experienced between
Tripoli and Sockatoo, and thanked him for the guard, the conduct of
which he did not fail to commend in the strongest terms.

The sultan asked him a great many questions about Europe, and our
religious distinctions. He was acquainted with the names of some of
the more ancient sects, and asked whether we were Nestorians or
Socinians. To extricate himself from the embarrassment occasioned by
this question, Clapperton bluntly replied, we were called
Protestants. "What are Protestants?" said he. Clapperton attempted to
explain to him, as well as he was able, that having protested more
than two centuries and a half ago, against the superstition,
absurdities, and abuses practised in those days, we had ever since
professed to follow simply what was written "in the book of our Lord
Jesus," as they call the New Testament, and thence received the name
of Protestants. He continued to ask several other theological
questions, until Clapperton was obliged to confess himself not
sufficiently versed in religious subtleties, to resolve these knotty
points, having always left that task to others more learned than

The sultan was a noble-looking man, forty-four years of age, although
much younger in appearance, five feet ten inches high, portly in
person, with a short curling black beard, a small mouth, a fine
forehead, a grecian nose, and large black eyes. He was dressed in a
light blue cotton tobe, with a white muslin turban, the shawl of
which he wore over the nose and mouth, in the Tuarick fashion.

In the afternoon Clapperton repeated his visit, accompanied by the
Gadado, Mahomed El Wordee, and Mahomed Gomsoo, the principal Arab of
the city, to whom he had a letter of introduction from Hat Salah, at
Kano. The sultan was sitting in the same apartment in which he
received him in the morning, and Clapperton laid before him the
presents, in the name of his majesty the king of England. Amongst
these presents, the compass and spy glass excited the greatest
interest, and the sultan seemed highly gratified when Clapperton
pointed out, that by means of the former he could at any time find
out the east, to address himself in his daily prayers. He said "Every
thing is wonderful, but you are the greatest curiosity of all," and
then added, "What can I give that is most acceptable to the king of
England?" Clapperton replied, "The most acceptable service you can
render to the king of England, is to cooperate with his majesty, in
putting a stop to the slave trade on the coast, as the king of
England sends every year large ships to cruise there, for the sole
purpose of seizing all vessels engaged in this trade, whose crews are
thrown into prison, and of liberating the unfortunate slaves, on whom
lands and houses are conferred, at one of our settlements in Africa."

"What!" said the sultan, "have you no slaves in England."

"No," replied Clapperton, "whenever a slave sets his foot on England,
he is from that moment free."

"What do you do then for servants?" asked the sultan.

"We hire them for a stated period," replied Clapperton, "and give
them regular wages; nor is any person in England allowed to strike
another, and the very soldiers are fed, clothed, and paid by

"God is great!" exclaimed the sultan, "you are a beautiful people."

Clapperton now presented the sheik of Bornou's letter. On perusing
it, the sultan assured Clapperton that he should see all that was to
be seen within his dominions, as well as in Youri and Nyffee, both of
which Clapperton informed him, he was most anxious to visit. This
interview terminated very satisfactory to Clapperton, as through the
influence and power of the sultan, he hoped to be able to accomplish
his design of penetrating further into the country, but the sequel
will show, that the knowledge which Clapperton had as yet entertained
of the African character, was very limited and superficial.

In describing the events which took place during the residence of
Clapperton at Sockatoo, we shall be obliged in several instances to
be very circumstantial, as they have all a reference proximate or
remote to the affairs which took place, when he visited the place at
a future period, in company with Richard Lander, in whose papers some
highly interesting information is contained, respecting the conduct
of the sultan and the natives, both prior and subsequent to the death
of Clapperton, and from which in some degree resulted the death of
that amiable and highly spirited officer.

On the morning of the 19th March, Clapperton was sent for by the
sultan, and desired to bring with him "the looking glass of the sun,"
the name which they gave to the sextant. He was on this occasion
conducted further into the interior of his residence, than on his two
former visits. Clapperton first exhibited a planisphere of the
heavenly bodies. The sultan knew all the signs of the zodiac, some of
the constellations, and many of the stars by their Arabic names.
The looking glass of the sun was then brought forward, and occasioned
much surprise. Clapperton had to explain all its appendages. The
inverting telescope was an object of intense astonishment, and
Clapperton had to stand at some little distance, to let the sultan
look at him through it, for his people were all afraid of placing
themselves within its magical influence. He had next to show him how
to take an observation of the sun. The case of the artificial
horizon, of which Clapperton had lost the key, was sometimes very
difficult to open, as happened on this occasion, and he asked one of
the people near him for a knife to press up the lid. The person
handed him one much too small, and he quite inadvertently asked for a
dagger for the same purpose. The sultan was instantly thrown into a
fright; he seized his sword, and half drawing it from the scabbard,
placed it before him, trembling all the time like an aspen leaf.
Clapperton did not deem it prudent to take the least notice of this
alarm, although it was himself who had in reality the greatest cause
of fear. On receiving the dagger, Clapperton calmly opened the case,
and returned the weapon to its owner with apparent unconcern. When
the artificial horizon was arranged, the sultan and all his
attendants had a peep at the sun, and the breach of etiquette which
Clapperton had committed, seemed to be entirely forgotten. In the
evening the sultan sent him two sheep, a camel load of wheat and
rice, and some of the finest figs which Clapperton had ever tasted in

On the following day, Clapperton returned the visit of Mahomed
Gomsoo, the chief of the Arabs, of whose excessive greediness he had
been warned at Kano, but at the same time recommended to make him a
handsome present, and to endeavour by all means to keep him in good
humour, on account of his great influence. On receiving the presents,
Gomsoo promised to give Clapperton a letter to the sultan of Youri,
who was his particular friend, and with whom he had lived many years.
From this person Clapperton obtained the following information
respecting the death of Mr. Park, and which confirmed the previous
reports which had been obtained respecting him. Gomsoo said he was at
Youri when the English came down in a boat from Timbuctoo, and were
lost, which circumstance he related in the following manner:--They
had arrived off a town called Boosa, and having sent a gun and some
other articles as presents to the sultan of Youri, they sent to
purchase a supply of onions in the market. The sultan apprised them
of his intention to pay them a visit, and offered to send people to
guide them through the ledges of rock, which run quite across the
channel of the river a little below the town, where the banks rise
into high hills on both sides. Instead of waiting for the sultan,
they set off at night, and by daybreak next morning, a horseman
arrived at Youri, to inform the sultan that the boat had struck upon
the rocks. The people on both sides of the river then began to assail
them with arrows, upon which they threw overboard all their effects,
and _two white men,_ arm and arm, jumped into the water, two slaves
only remaining in the boat, with some books and papers, and several
guns. One of the books was covered with wax-cloth, and still remained
in the hands of the sultan of Youri. Gomsoo also told Clapperton, and
his account was confirmed by others, that the sultan of Youri was a
native of Sockna, in the regency of Tripoli, and prided himself
extremely on his birth, but that he was such a drunkard, whenever any
person of consequence came to visit him, that nothing proved so
acceptable a present as a bottle of rum.

On Clapperton's return home from Gomsoo's, he found a message had
been left for him to wait upon the sultan, which he complied with
immediately after breakfast. He received him in an inner apartment,
attended only by a few slaves. After asking Clapperton how he did,
and several other chit chat questions, he was not a little surprised,
without a single question being put to him on the subject, to hear,
that if he wished to go to Nyffee, there were two roads leading to
it, the one direct, but beset by enemies; the other safer, but more
circuitous; that by either route he would be detained during the
rains, in a country at present in a state of rebellion, and therefore
that he ought to think seriously of these difficulties. Clapperton
assured the sultan that he had already taken the matter into
consideration, and that he was neither afraid of the dangers of the
roads nor of the rains. "Think of it with prudence," the sultan
replied, and they parted.

From the tone and manner in which the sultan pronounced the latter
sentence, Clapperton felt a foreboding that his intended visit to
Youri and Nyffee was at an end. He could not help suspecting the
intrigues of the Arabs to be the cause, as they knew well, if the
native Africans were once acquainted with English commerce by the way
of the sea, their own lucrative inland trade would from that moment
cease. He was much perplexed during the whole of the day, to know how
to act, and went after sunset to consult Mahomed Gomsoo. Clapperton
met him at the door of his house, on his way to the sultan, and
stopped him to mention what had passed, and how unaccountably strange
it appeared to him, that the sultan, after having repeatedly assured
him of being at liberty to visit every part of his dominions, should
now, for the first time, seem inclined to withdraw that permission,
adding, that before he came to Sockna, he never heard of a king
making a promise one day and breaking it the next. All this, he knew,
would find its way to the sultan. Gomsoo told Clapperton that he was
quite mistaken; for that the sultan, the gadado, and all the
principal people, entertained the highest opinion of him, and wished
for nothing so much as to cultivate the friendship of the English
nation. But, said Clapperton, on leaving him, it is necessary for me
to visit those places, or else how can the English get here? As
Clapperton anticipated, Gomsoo repeated to the sultan every word he
had said, for he was no sooner at home, than he was sent for by the
sultan, whom he found seated with Gomsoo and two others. He was
received with great kindness, and Gomsoo said he had made the sultan
acquainted with their conversation. Clapperton thanked him, and
expressed his earnest hope, that he had neither done nor said any
thing to offend him. The sultan assured him that his conduct had
always met with his approbation, and although he was freely disposed
to show him all the country, still he wished to do so with safety to
him. An army, he added, was at this moment ravaging the country,
through which he had to pass, and until he heard from it, it would be
unsafe to go, he expected, however, further information in three or
four days. He drew on the sand the course of the river Quarra, which
he informed Clapperton entered the sea at Fundah. By his account the
river ran parallel to the sea coast for several days' journey, being
in some places only a few hours, in others a day's journey distant
from it. After questioning Clapperton on some points connected with
the English trade, the sultan said, "I will give the king of England
a place on the coast to build a town, only I wish a road to be cut to
Rakah, if vessels should not be able to navigate the river."
Clapperton asked him, if the country which he had promised, belonged
to him. "Yes," said he, "God has given me all the lands of the
infidels." This was an answer that admitted of no contradiction.

The sultan informed Clapperton, that some timbers of Park's boat,
fastened together with nails, remained a long time on the rocks of
the river, and that a double-barrelled gun, taken in the boat, was
once in his possession, but it had lately burst. His cousin,
Abderachman, however, had a small printed book, taken out of the
boat; but he was now absent on an expedition to Nyffee. The other
books were in the hands of the sultan of Youri, who was tributary to
him. Clapperton told the sultan, if he could procure these articles
for the king of England, they would prove a most acceptable present,
and he promised to make every exertion in his power.

The direct road to Youri is only five days' journey; but on account
of the rebellious state of the country, it was necessary to take a
circuitous route of twelve days. Numbers of the principal people of
Sockatoo came to Clapperton, to advise him to give up the idea of
going, all alleging that the rains had already commenced it Youri,
and that the road was in the hands of their enemies. They repeated
the same tales to the servants who were to accompany him, and threw
them all into a panic at the prospect of so dangerous a journey.
Clapperton discovered also, that the Arabs were tampering with his
servants, and some of them absolutely refused to go, from some
information that was given to them, that, if they met with no
disasters on the route to Youri, the sultan there would assuredly
sell them, and that they would never be allowed to return.

The journey to Youri now appeared to engross the whole of
Clapperton's attention, and the sultan sent for him, to consult with
him about the guide, who was to accompany him to that place. One man
had already refused, and he had to tempt another with a promise of
forty thousand kowries unknown to the sultan, who kindly took much
pains to impress upon Clapperton the necessity of his return within
twenty-six days, on account of the capricious character of the people
of the place.

Clapperton now began to see that no chance existed of his prosecuting
his journey to Youri; but it must be admitted, that some of the
suspicions which he entertained were groundless, for the state of the
country was afterwards found to be, if possible, worse than had been
described; and the ravages of the Fellatas so terrible, that any one
coming from amongst them was likely to experience a very disagreeable
reception. Indeed it may be suspected, that the sultan must have been
a good deal embarrassed by the simplicity with which his guest
listened to his pompous boasting as to the extent of his empire, and
by the earnestness with which he entreated him to name one of his
seaports, where the English might land, when it was certain that he
had not a town which was not some hundred miles distant from the
coast. To prevent the disclosure of this fact, which must have taken
place, had Clapperton proceeded in that direction, might be an
additional motive for refusing his sanction. In short, it was finally
announced to Clapperton, that no escort could be found to accompany
him on so rash an enterprise, and that he could return to England
only by retracing his steps.

One morning, Clapperton was surprised at a visit from Ateeko, the
brother of the sultan, to whom he had sent a present of a scarlet
jacket, breeches, and bornouse. When he was seated, and the usual
compliments were over, Clapperton apologized, on the score of ill
health, for not having already paid him a visit. He now told him he
had a few things belonging to the Englishman who was at Musfeia with
the late Boo Khaloom, but as no person knew what they were, he would
gladly sell them to him, ordering his servant, at the same time, to
produce a bundle he held under his arm. The servant took from the
bundle a shirt, two pair of trousers, and two pieces of parchment
used for sketching by Major Denham. The only other articles, Ateeko
said, were a trunk, a broken sextant, and a watch; the latter had
been destroyed, as he alleged, in their ignorant eagerness to examine
its structure. He then invited Clapperton to visit him on the
following morning, when they might fix the price of what he wished to
buy, to which Clapperton assented; but on reconsidering the matter,
he thought it prudent first to consult the gadado, particularly as
the sultan had gone on an expedition, and was not expected to return
for five days. Clapperton began to fear lest a bad construction might
be put upon his visit to this mean prince, who, on the death of his
father, Bello the First, had aspired to the throne, and even had
himself proclaimed sultan in Sockatoo; from the mere circumstance of
his brother Bello, the present sultan, having expressed the
intention, during his father's lifetime, of resigning the splendour
of royalty for the tranquillity of a holy and learned life. Ateeko
had even the audacity to enter his brother's house, preceded by drums
and trumpets; and when Bello inquired the cause of the tumult, he
received the first intimation of his brother's perfidy in the answer,
"The sultan Ateeko is come." Bello, nowise disconcerted, immediately
ordered the usurper into his presence, when Ateeko pleaded, in
vindication of his conduct, his brother's proposed disinclination to
reign; to which the sultan only deigned to reply, "Go and take off
these trappings, or I will take off your head." Ateeko, with
characteristic abjectness of spirit, began to wring his hands, as if
washing them in water, and called God and the prophet to witness that
his motives were innocent and upright, since which time he has
remained in the utmost obscurity. According, however, to another
authority, Bello confined him to the house for twelve months, and
then a reconciliation took place between them. We are apt to speak of
the sovereigns of barbarous and uncivilized nations as deficient in
those virtues for which civilized sovereigns are or ought to be
distinguished; but we suspect that few of the latter would have acted
towards the usurper of his throne with the same magnanimity as was
displayed by the Fellata sovereign.

On visiting the gadado, he told Clapperton by no means to go to
Ateeko whilst the sultan was absent, as his visit at this juncture
might be regarded with a very jealous eye by the people, who would
not hesitate to charge him with a plot to place Ateeko on the throne,
by the assistance of England. The gadado undisguisedly expressed his
contempt at Ateeko's conduct, and assured him that it was entirely
without the sanction of the sultan.

On the return of the sultan from the army, permission was given to
Clapperton to purchase from Ateeko the sorry remains of Major
Denham's baggage; accompanied, therefore, by El Wordee, he went to
the prince's house, and after waiting for some time in the porch of a
square tower, they were introduced into an inner coozee, hung round
with blue and yellow silk, in sharp-pointed festoons, not unlike
gothic arches. Ateeko soon made his appearance, and after a few
compliments, they proceeded to business. He brought out a damaged
leathern trunk, with two or three shirts, and other articles of
dress, much the worse for wear, and the sextant and parchment already
mentioned. The former was completely demolished, the whole of the
glasses being taken out, or, where they could not unscrew them,
broken off the frame, which remained a mere skeleton. Ateeko seemed
to fancy that the sextant was gold, in which Clapperton soon
undeceived him; and selecting it, with the parchment and one or two
flannel waistcoats and towels, likely to be useful to Major Denham,
he offered the prince five thousand kowries, at which he appeared
much surprised and mortified. El Wordee whispered into Clapperton's
ear, "Remember he is a prince, and not a merchant." But Clapperton
said, loud enough for his highness to hear, "Remember, that when a
prince turns merchant, he must expect no more than another man; and
as that is the value of the articles, it is a matter of indifference
to me whether I buy them or not." Ateeko frequently repeated his
belief of the sextant being gold; but at length the bargain seemed to
be concluded, and Clapperton requested the prince to send a slave to
his house with the articles he had picked out, to whom also he would
pay the money. The slave, however, was recalled before he got
half-way, and his suspicious master took back the sextant-frame, in
dread of being overreached by the purchaser in its value, which
Clapperton did not fail to deduct from the price agreed on.

The prince stated, that he kept two hundred civet cats, two of which
he showed Clapperton. These animals were extremely savage, and were
confined in separate wooden cages. They were about four feet long
from the nose to the tip of the tail, and, with the exception of a
greater length of body and a longer tail, they very much resembled
diminutive hyenas. They are fed with pounded guinea corn and dried
fish made into balls. The civet is scraped off with a kind of muscle
shell every other morning, the animal being forced into a corner of
the cage, and its head held down with a stick during the operation.
The prince offered to sell any number of them which Clapperton might
wish to have; but he did not look upon them as very desirable
travelling companions. Ateeko was a little spare man, with a full
face, of monkey-like expression. He spoke in a slow and subdued tone
of voice, and the Fellatas acknowledge him to be extremely brave, but
at the same time avaricious and cruel. "Were he sultan," say they,
"heads would fly about in Soudan."

One evening, on paying the gadado a visit, Clapperton found him
alone, reading an Arabic book, one of a small collection he
possessed. "Abdallah," said he, "I had a dream last night, and am
perusing this book to find out what it meant. Do you believe in such

"No, my lord gadado. I consider books of dreams to be full of idle
conceits. God gives a man wisdom to guide his conduct, while dreams
are occasioned by the accidental circumstances of sleeping with the
head low, excess of food, or uneasiness of mind."

"Abdallah," he replied, smiling, "this book tells me differently." He
then mentioned, that, in a few days, the sultan was going on another
expedition, and wished him to join it; but that he preferred
remaining, in order to have a mosque, which was then building,
finished before the Rhamadan, lest the workmen should idle away their
time in his absence.

Previously to the sultan's departure, he sent Clapperton a present of
two large baskets of wheat, who now began to think seriously of
retracing his steps to Kano. He was sitting in the shade before his
door, with Sidi Sheik, the sultan's fighi, when an ill-looking
wretch, with a fiend-like grin on his countenance, came and placed
himself directly before Clapperton, who immediately asked Sidi Sheik
who he was. He immediately answered, "The executioner." Clapperton
instantly ordered his servants to turn him out. "Be patient," said
Sidi Sheik, laying his hand upon that of Clapperton; "he visits the
first people in Sockatoo, and they never allow him to go away without
giving him a few goora nuts, or money to buy them." In compliance
with this hint, Clapperton requested forty kowries to be given to the
fellow, with strict orders never again to cross his threshold. Sidi
Sheik now related a professional anecdote of Clapperton's uninvited
visitor. Being brother of the executioner of Yacoba, of which place
he was a native, he applied to the governor for his brother's
situation, boasting of superior adroitness in the family vocation.
The governor coolly remarked, "We will try; go and fetch your
brother's head." He instantly went in quest of his brother, and
finding him seated at the door of his house, without noise or
warning, he struck off his head with a sword at one blow; then
carrying the bleeding head to the governor, and claiming the reward
of such transcendent atrocity, he was appointed to the vacant office.
The sultan being afterwards in want of an expert headsman, sent for
him to Sockatoo, where, a short time after his arrival, he had to
officiate at the execution of two thousand Tuaricks, who, in
conjunction with the rebels at Goober, had attempted to plunder the
country, but were all made prisoners. It may be added, that the
capital punishments inflicted in Soudan are beheading, impaling, and
crucifixion; the first being reserved for Mahometans, and the other
two practised on pagans. Clapperton was told, that wretches on the
cross generally linger three days before death puts an end to their
sufferings. Clapperton was for some time delayed in completing his
arrangements for his departure from Sockatoo, on account of the fast
of the Rhamadan, which the Fellatas keep with extreme rigour. The
chief people never leave their houses, except in the evening to
prayer; and the women frequently pour cold water over their backs and
necks. Under the idea, that the greater the thirst they appear to
endure, the better entitled they become to paradise; though
Clapperton was inclined to believe that they made a parade of these
privations, in a great measure, to obtain the reputation of
extraordinary sanctity.

On the 2nd May, Clapperton sent for the steward of the gadado's
household, and all the female slaves, who had daily performed the
duty of bringing him provisions from the time of his arrival. These
provisions were about a gallon of new milk every morning, in a large
bowl, for himself, and two gallons of sour milk and siccory for his
servants at noon, in return for which he always gave fifty kowries;
at three o'clock three roast fowls, with doura or nutta sauce, for
which he sent fifty kowries; again after sunset two bowls of bozeen
were brought by two female slaves, to whom he gave one hundred
kowries; and about two quarts of new milk afterwards, for which he
gave fifty kowries more. As an acknowledgment for their attention
during his residence in Sockatoo, he now presented the steward of the
household with ten thousand kowries, and the slaves with two thousand
each. The poor creatures were extremely grateful for his bounty, and
many of them even shed tears. In the afternoon he waited upon the
sultan, who told him that he had appointed the same escort which he
had before, under the command of the gadado's brother, to conduct him
through the provinces of Goober and Zamfra, and that an officer of
the gadado, after the escort left him, should accompany him to
Zirmee, Kashna, Kano, and Katagun; the governor of which would
receive orders to furnish him with a strong escort through the Bedite
territory, and to deliver him safely into the hands of the sheik of
Bornou. He also mentioned that the letter for the king of England
would be ready the next day.

On the following day, Clapperton was visited by all the principal
people of Sockatoo, to bid him farewell, and in the evening he went
to take his leave of the sultan. He was, however, at the mosque, and
he had to wait about two hours before he came out. Clapperton
followed him at a little distance to the door of his residence, where
an old female slave took Clapperton by the hand and led him through a
number of dark passages, in which, at the bidding of his conductress,
he had often to stoop, or at times to tread with great caution, as
they approached flights of steps, whilst a faint glimmering light
twinkled from a distant room. He could not imagine where the old
woman was conducting him, who, on her part, was highly diverted at
his importunate inquiries. After much turning and winding, he was at
last brought into the presence of Bello, who was sitting alone, and
immediately delivered into his hands a letter for the king of
England. He had previously sent to Clapperton to know what were his
majesty's name, style, and title. He again expressed with much
earnestness of manner, his anxiety to enter into permanent relations
of trade and friendship with England, and reminded Clapperton to
apprise him by letter, at what time the English expedition would be
upon the coast. After repeating the fatah, and praying for his safe
arrival in England, and speedy return to Sockatoo, he affectionately
bade him farewell.

Clapperton went next to take his leave of his good old friend the
gadado, for whom he felt the same regard, as if he had been one of
his oldest friends in England, and he was certain it was equally
sincere on his side. The poor old man prayed very devoutly for his
safety, and gave strict charge to his brother, who was to accompany
Clapperton, to take especial care of him in their journey through the
disturbed provinces.

The town of Sockatoo lies in latitude 13 deg. 4' 52" north, and longitude
6 deg. 12' east, and is situated near the junction of an inconsiderable
stream, with the same river which flows past Zirmee, and which taking
its rise between Kashna and Kano, is said to fall into the Quarra
four days' journey to the west. The name in their language signifies,
a halting place, the city being built by the Fellatas, after the
conquest of Goober and Zamfra, as near as Clapperton could learn
about the year 1805. It occupies a long ridge, which slopes gently
towards the north, and appeared to Clapperton the most populous town
he had visited in the interior of Africa, for unlike most other towns
in Houssa, where the houses are thinly scattered, it is laid out in
regular well-built streets. The houses approach close to the walls,
which were built by the present sultan in 1818, after the death of
his father; the old walls being too confined for the increasing
population. This wall is between twenty and thirty feet high, and has
twelve gates, which are regularly closed at sunset. There are two
large mosques, including the new one which was then building by the
gadado, besides several other places for prayer. There is a spacious
market-place in the centre of the city, and another large square in
front of the sultan's residence. The inhabitants are principally
Fellatas, possessing numerous slaves. Such of the latter as are not
employed in domestic duties, reside in houses by themselves, where
they follow various trades; the master of course reaping the profit.
Their usual employments are weaving, house-building, shoemaking, and
iron work, many bring firewood to the market for sale. Those employed
in raising grain and tending cattle, of which the Fellatas have
immense herds, reside in villages without the city. It is customary
for private individuals to emancipate a number of slaves every year,
according to their means, during the great feast after the Rhamadan.
The enfranchised seldom return to their native country, but continue
to reside near their old masters, still acknowledging them as their
superiors, but presenting them yearly with a portion of their
earnings. The trade at Sockatoo is at present inconsiderable, owing
to the disturbed state of the surrounding country. The necessaries of
life are very cheap, butchers' meat is in great plenty and very good.
The exports are principally civet, and blue check tobes called
sharie, which are manufactured by the slaves from Nyffee, of whom the
men are considered the most expert weavers in Soudan, and the women
the best spinners. The common imports are goora nuts, brought from
the borders of Ashantee, and coarse calico and woollen cloth in small
quantities, with brass and pewter dishes, and some few spices from

The Arabs from Tripoli and Ghadamis bring unwrought silk, attar of
roses, spices and beads; slaves are both exported and imported. A
great quantity of guinea coin is taken every year by the Tuaricks, in
exchange for salt. The market is extremely well supplied, and is held
daily from sunrise to sunset.

After encountering several difficulties, and experiencing some very
hair-breadth escapes, Clapperton arrived at Zirmee the capital of
Zamfra, a kind of outlawed city, the inhabitants of which are
esteemed the greatest rogues in Houssa, and where all the runaway
slaves find protection. He passed also through Kashna or Cassina, the
metropolis of a kingdom, which, till the rise of the Fellata power,
ruled over all Africa from Bornou to the Niger. In its present
subject and fallen state, the inhabited part does not cover a tenth
of the wide circuit enclosed by its walls, yet a considerable trade
is still carried on with the Tuaricks, or with caravans coming across
the desert by the route of Ghadamis and Suat. Here Clapperton met
with much kindness from Hadgi Ahmet, a powerful and wealthy Arab
chief, who even took him into his seraglio, and desired him, out of
fifty black damsels to make his choice, a complaisance, nothing
resembling which had ever before been shown by a Mussulman. The Arab
was so importunate, and appeared so determined that Clapperton should
have one of his ladies, that to satisfy him, he at length selected
the oldest of the groupe, who made him an excellent nurse in his

Lieutenant Clapperton rejoined Major Denham at Kouka, whence they set
out, and crossed the desert in the latter part of 1824. They reached
Tripoli in January 1825, and soon after embarked for Leghorn, but
being detained by contrary winds and quarantine regulations, did not
reach London until the following June.


Having now completed our preparatory analysis of the principal
travels for the exploration of the interior of Africa, we proceed to
enter upon those in which Richard Lander was remotely or closely
connected, as the coadjutor or the principal, and to whose
perseverance and undaunted courage, we are indebted for some of the
most important information respecting the interior of Africa,
particularly in the solution of the great geographical problem of the
termination of the Niger. At the time when Lander was ransomed by
Captain Laing, of the Maria of London, belonging to Messrs. Forster
and Smith, the papers, which he had with him respecting the travels
which he had performed, as the servant of Captain Clapperton, who had
been promoted on his return from his first expedition, were not very
voluminous. In our personal intercourse with him, however, he
unreservedly dictated to us many interesting particulars respecting
his travels, whilst in the service of Captain Clapperton, which are
not to be found in his published narrative, and particularly of the
occurrences which took place at Whidah, in the kingdom of Dahomey, on
their passage through that territory, in fulfilment of the object of
their mission to sultan Bello of Sockatoo.

Although the second expedition of Clapperton is ostensibly published
under his name, yet it is generally known, that but for the
information given by Lander on his return, after the death of Captain
Clapperton, very little would have transpired relative to any
discoveries which had been made, or towards an elucidation of those
geographical and statistical objects, for which the expedition was
undertaken. We are therefore more disposed to award the merit where
it is most particularly due, for although in accordance with the
received notion, that whatever was accomplished in the second
expedition, is to be attributed to Clapperton, yet, from our private
resources, we are enabled not only to supply many deficiencies in the
published accounts of Clapperton's second expedition, gathered from
the oral communication of Lander himself, but also to give a
description of many interesting scenes, which throw a distinct light
upon the character of the natives, their progress towards
civilisation, and the extent of their commercial relations.

It may be remembered that when Clapperton took his leave of the
sultan at Sockatoo, he delivered into his hands a letter for the king
of England, in consequence of several conversations that had passed
between him and Clapperton, touching the establishment of some
commercial relations between England and the central kingdoms of
Africa. In that letter the sultan proposed three things:--the
establishment of a friendly intercourse between the two nations by
means of a consul, who was to reside at the _seaport_ of Raka; the
delivery of certain presents described, at the port of Fundah,
supposed to be somewhere near Whidah, and the prohibition of the
exportation of slaves, by any of the Houssa merchants, to Atagher,
Dahomy, or Ashantee.

No doubt whatever rested on the mind of Lander, that Clapperton was
in some respects made the dupe of the pride, pomposity, and deception
of the African sultan. It may be remembered that the sultan offered
him land on the sea coast, on which to form a settlement, when it was
subsequently discovered, that he was not in possession of an inch of
territory within several hundred miles of the sea; the _seaport_ of
Raka was nearly similar to Sancho Panza's Island Barrataria, it was
not to be found in any existing map, and it will be seen in the
sequel, that the people resident on the sea coast knew as little of
sultan Bello of Sockatoo, as he knew of them, although, according to
his own report, the greater part of the sea coast belonged to him.

On the arrival of Clapperton in England, Lord Bathurst, then
secretary of state for the colonies, conceived the proposals
contained in the sultan's letter, to afford a fair opportunity for
endeavouring to carry into effect objects of such considerable
importance, and Clapperton immediately volunteered his services for
the occasion. He had arranged with sultan Bello, that his messengers
should about a certain time be at Whidah, to conduct the presents and
the bearers to Sockatoo. Clapperton was allowed to take with him on
this novel and hazardous enterprise two associates, one of whom was
Captain Pearce of the navy, an excellent draughtsman, and the other
Dr. Morrison, a surgeon in the navy, well versed in various branches
of natural history; and at his particular request, a fellow
countryman of the name of Dickson, who had served as a surgeon in the
West Indies, was added to the list; Richard Lander accompanying
Captain Clapperton in the capacity of a servant.

The travellers embarked on board his majesty's ship Brazen, on the
25th August 1825, and arrived off Whidah on the 26th of the following
November. Mr. Dickson landed at Whidah, for reasons which do not
appear in the narrative of Clapperton's expedition, but which have
been fully stated to us by Lander, to whom we are indebted for the
information which we now lay before our readers of the kingdom of
Dahomy, its natives, customs, natural productions, and commercial

Mr. Dickson, accompanied with a Portuguese of the name of De Sousa,
proceeded from Whidah to Dahomy, where the latter had resided for
some time. Here he was well received, and sent forward with a
suitable escort to a place called Shar, seventeen days' journey from
Dahomy, where he also arrived in safety, and thence proceeded with
another escort towards Youri, but has not since been heard of.

It was in consequence of the inquiries that were set on foot relative
to Mr. Dickson, that Lander obtained the following highly interesting
information relative to a part of Africa, which was at one time, the
emporium of the slave trade on the sea-coast, but the interior of
which was but very little known.

Whidah was once an independent kingdom, but in the year 1727 was
conquered by Guadja Trudo, the king of Dahomy. Grigwee, the present
capital, lies a few miles up from the sea coast, and may contain
about twenty thousand inhabitants. Dahomy, including the subjugated
districts, extends at least a hundred and fifty miles into the
interior, the principal town of which is Abomey, lying in about 3 deg.
east longitude.

Dahomy produces in perfection all the immense variety of fine fruits
found within the torrid zone, and amongst others one of a most
singular quality. It is not unlike a ripe coffee berry, and does not
at first appear to have a superior degree of sweetness, but it leaves
in the mouth so much of that impression, that a glass of vinegar
tastes like sweet wine, and the sourest lemon like a sweet orange;
sugar is quite an unnecessary article in tea or coffee; in fact, the
most nauseous drug seems sweet to whomever chews this fruit, and its
effect is not worn away until after several meals. It is generally
called the miraculous berry, and whoever eats of it in the morning,
must be content at least for that day to forego the flavour of every
kind of food, whether animal or vegetable, for all will be alike
saccharine to the palate, and the most ridiculous effect is often
produced by playing tricks upon those, who are not aware of its
peculiar property. Lander himself was one of the dupes, and he
relates, that the first time he partook of one of these berries, he
thought himself under the influence of witchcraft--the fowl of which
he partook at dinner seemed to him as if it had been soaked in a
solution of sugar--the lime juice appeared to him as if it were mixed
with some saccharine matter--his biscuit tasted like a bun--and
although he was convinced that he had not put any sugar into his
grog, it seemed to him as if it had been sweetened by the first maker
of punch in his native country.

The beasts of prey are numerous and dangerous, and often commit great
havoc amongst the sheep, and other live stock, notwithstanding every
precaution to put them in a place of security at night. The tigers
and leopards are not contented with what they actually carry off, but
they leave nothing alive which comes within the reach of their
talons. During the residence of Lander in the country, a good mode of
astonishing a tiger was practised with success. A loaded musket was
firmly fixed in a horizontal position, about the height of his head,
to a couple of stakes driven into the ground, and the piece being
cocked, a string from the trigger, first leading a little towards the
butt, and then turning through a small ring forwards, was attached to
a shoulder of mutton, stuck on the muzzle of the musket, the act of
dragging off which, drew the trigger, and the piece loaded with two
balls, discharged itself into the plunderer's mouth, killing him on
the spot.

Elephants are common in Dahomy, but are not tamed and used by the
natives, as in India, for the purposes of war or burthen, being
merely taken for the sake of their ivory and their flesh, which is,
on particular occasions, eaten.

An animal of the hyena tribe, called by the natives tweetwee, is
likewise extremely troublesome; herds of these join together, and
scrape up the earth of newly-made graves, in order to get at the
bodies, which are not buried here in coffins. These resurrection men,
as Lander termed them, make, during the night, a most dismal howling,
and often change their note to one very much resembling the shriek of
a woman in some situation of danger or distress.

Snakes of the boa species are here found of a most enormous size,
many being from thirty to thirty-six feet in length, and of
proportional girth. They attack alike wild and domestic beasts, and
often human kind. They kill their prey by encircling it in their
folds, and squeezing it to death, and afterwards swallow it entire;
this they are enabled to do by a faculty of very extraordinary
expansion in their muscles, without at the same time impairing the
muscular action or power. The bulk of the animals which these
serpents are capable of gorging would stagger belief, were the fact
not so fully attested as to place it beyond doubt. The state of
torpor in which they are sometimes found in the woods, after a
_stuffing_ meal of this kind, affords the negroes an opportunity of
killing them. Lander informed us, that there is not in nature a more
appalling sight than one of these monsters in full motion. It has a
chilling and overpowering effect on the human frame, and it seems to
inspire with the same horror every other animal, even the strongest
and most ferocious; for all are equally certain of becoming victims,
should the snake once fasten itself upon them.

The religion of this country is paganism. They believe in two beings,
equal in power; the one doing good, the other evil; and they pray to
the demon to allow them to remain unmolested by the magicians, who
are constantly endeavouring to injure them.

In Whidah, for some unaccountable reason, they worship their divinity
under the form of a particular species of snake called daboa, which
is not sufficiently large to be terrible to man, and is otherwise
tameable and inoffensive. These daboas arc taken care of in the most
pious manner, and well fed on rats, mice, or birds, in their fetish
houses or temples, where the people attend to pay their adoration,
and where those also who are sick or lame apply for assistance.

The tiger is also an object of religious regard in Dahomy Proper; but
they deem it the safest mode of worship to perform their acts of
devotion to his skin only after death, which is stuffed for that

The people of Whidah occasionally imagine themselves inspired by the
divinity, or, as they term it, are seized by the fetish; and in such
cases, it becomes necessary, from the frantic manner in which they
run about, to secure and place them under the charge of the
fetisheers, or priests, until this fit of inspiration be over, and
they become themselves again.

The political management of Whidah is entrusted to a viceroy, who is
called the Yavougah, or captain of the white men. This officer, at
the time of Lander's visit to the country, was a man of majestic
stature, and possessed an uncommon share of dignity, mingled with
complacency of manner. His dress was generally a large hat, somewhat
resembling that of a Spanish grandee, tastefully decorated, and a
piece of damask silk, usually red, thrown over one shoulder, like a
Scotch plaid, with a pair of drawers; but his arms and legs were
bare, except the bracelets of silver, which encircled the arm above
the elbow, with manillas of the same sort, and rows of coral round
the wrist.

When he had any message to deliver from the king, or other public
affairs to transact with the Europeans, it was done with much
ceremony and state; his guards, musicians, and umbrella-bearers, and
a numerous retinue, always attending him. The most polished courtier
of Europe could not have deported himself more gracefully on public
occasions than this man, or have carried on a conference with greater
ease and affability. He was master, besides his own, of the English,
French, and Portuguese languages, having resided from his birth
chiefly in the vicinity of the European forts, and in his younger
days had been much connected with them, officially as a linguist.

Although, therefore, he understood perfectly what was said to him by
the Europeans, who accompanied Lander, yet it was etiquette for the
viceroy to be spoken to through an interpreter, and it was often
amusing to see the bungling efforts of the latter in the performance
of a task, which the yavougah himself so much better understood, and
which he good humouredly, and in an under tone, assisted him to
complete. After the business of ceremony was finished, he laid aside
all formality, and conversed in a familiar manner upon general
subjects, the whole party joining convivially in a collation, or
repast, which was always served up on such occasions.

The government of Dahomy is, in the fullest sense of the word,
despotism. It is a monarchy the most unlimited and uncontrolled on
the face of the earth, there being no law but the king's will, who
may chop off as many heads as he pleases, when he is "i' the vein,"
and dispose of his subjects' property as he thinks fit, without being
accountable to any human tribunal for his conduct. He has from three
to four thousand wives, a proportion of whom, trained to arms, under
female officers, constitute his body-guards. As may naturally be
supposed, but a few of these wives engage his particular attention.

The successor to the throne is not announced during the king's
lifetime; but the moment his decease is known, the proclamation is
made with all possible despatch by the proper officers; for all is
murder, anarchy, and confusion in the palace until it takes place;
the wives of the late king not only breaking the furniture and
ornaments, but killing each other, in order to have the honour of
attending their husband to the grave.

The choice usually falls on the eldest son of the late sovereign's
greatest favourite, provided there exists no particular reason for
setting him aside. There seem to be no rank nor privileges annexed to
any branches of the royal family; the king, in his own person,
absorbing the undivided respect of the people. Those of his relations
whom his majesty may deign to patronise, will, of course, be more
noticed by their fellow-slaves; but are all alike the slaves of the

His palace at Abomey is walled round, and consists, according to the
report of Lander and others, who had an opportunity of visiting its
interior, of numerous courts connected with each other, occupying, in
the whole, a space full as large as St. James' Park.

The first minister is called the _tamegan,_ and he is the only man in
the country whose head the king cannot cut off at pleasure. By some
ancient regulation, he who attains this rank has that very essential
part of his person secured to him, perhaps that he may honestly speak
his mind to the king, without fear of consequences. The second, or
mahou, is the master of the ceremonies, whose office it is to receive
and introduce all strangers, whether black or white, and also to take
care of them during their stay at court, and to see that they are
well fed and lodged, with all their attendants. The third officer in
the state is the yavougah of Whidah; and the fourth is the jahou, or
master of the horse, who is likewise the chief executioner, and has
the duty of superintending the numerous decapitations, which occur in
various ways.

There are entertained about the court a number of king's messengers,
called half-heads, because one side of their head is always shaved,
whilst the hair on the other is allowed to grow to its full length.
They are men, who have distinguished themselves in battle, and wear,
as the badge of their office, strings of the teeth of those enemies
they have actually killed with their own hands, slung round their
necks, like the collar of an order.

These extraordinary-looking couriers, when sent on any mission, are
never permitted to walk, but run at full speed, and are relieved at
certain distances on the road by relays of others, who push on in the
same manner, on receiving their orders, which they transfer from one
to the other with the greatest exactness. The general officers in the
Dahomian army are distinguished by large umbrellas, and when any of
that class are killed in action, they say figuratively, that, on such
an occasion, we lost so many umbrellas.

In delivering what is termed the king's word, the messenger, as well
as all those around him, fall prostrate on the ground, and cover
their heads with dust, or with mud, if it rains; so that they often
display very hideous figures, with their black bodies and the wool
of their heads thus bedaubed with red puddle.

The ministers of state, in communicating with the king, approach
within a certain distance of him, crawling on their hands and knees,
at last they prostrate themselves, kiss the ground, cover their heads
with dust, then make their speech, and receive his reply. His majesty
usually sits on public occasions, as he is represented in our
engraving, under a rich canopy, on a finely carved stool or throne,
surrounded by his women, some with whisks driving away the flies, one
with a handkerchief to wipe his mouth, and another on her knees,
holding a gold cup to spit in, as he smokes.

Their marriages, like those of most barbarous nations, are settled by
the bridegroom paying a certain sum for the woman, which is
calculated at the rate of one or more slaves, or moveable property in
shells, cloth, or other articles, to the amount of the specified
number of slaves. Polygamy is allowed to any extent, and it is
generally carried as far as the means of the gentlemen will admit,
as, after a short period, or honeymoon, the women are employee in the
fields and plantations, and usually are no better situated than the
common servants of their husbands.

Adultery is punished by slavery, or the value of a slave, by the
offender, and the lady likewise subjects herself to be sold, but it
is remarked that this measure is seldom resorted to, and it sometimes
happens that a handsome wife is repeatedly turned to advantage by her
husband, in alluring the unwary into heavy damages.

The state of women is upon the whole very abject in Dahomy. Wives
approach their husbands with every mark of the humblest submission.
In presenting him even with a calabash containing his food, after she
has cooked it, she kneels and offers it with an averted look, it
being deemed too bold to stare him full in the face. By their
constantly practising genuflexion upon the bare ground, their knees
become in time almost as hard as their heels.

A mutinous wife or a vixen, sometimes the treasure and delight of an
Englishman; the enlivener of his fireside, and his safeguard from
ennui, is a phenomenon utterly unknown in Dahomy--that noble spirit,
which animates the happier dames in lands of liberty, being here,
alas! extinguished and destroyed.

In most nations a numerous progeny is considered a blessing, as being
likely to prop the declining years of their parents, but in Dahomy,
children are taken from their mothers at an early age, and
distributed in villages remote from the places of their nativity,
where they remain with but little chance of being ever seen, or at
least recognized by their parents afterwards. The motive for this is,
that there may be no family connexion nor combinations; no
associations that might prove injurious to the king's unlimited
power. Hence each individual is detached and unconnected, and having
no relative for whom he is interested, is solicitous only for his own
safety, which he consults by the most abject submission. Paternal
affection, and filial love, therefore, can scarcely be said to exist.
Mothers, instead of cherishing, endeavour to suppress those
attachments for their offspring, which they know will be violated, as
soon as their children are able to undergo the fatigue of being
removed from them.

At a particular period of the year, generally in April or May, a
grand annual festival is held, which may with much propriety be
termed a _carnival._ On this occasion the chief magistrates or
caboceers of the different towns and districts, the governors of the
English, French, and Portuguese settlements, are expected to attend
at the capital, with their respective retinues; and the captains of
ships, and factors trading at Whidah, usually take this opportunity
of paying their respects to the king. A great part of the population,
in fact; repair to Abomey, which resembles some great fair, from the
number of booths and tents erected in it for various purposes.

It is at this time also that the revenue is collected; all the people
either bringing or sending their respective quotas to the royal
treasury. White men are received there with every mark of respect,
and even saluted by the discharge of cannon. There appears to be an
extraordinary mixture of ferocity and politeness in the character of
these people; though terrible and remorseless to their enemies,
nothing can exceed their urbanity and kindness to strangers.

Should any white person be taken ill at Abomey, the king sends the
mayhou, or some other great officer, to make daily inquiries about
the state of his malady, and desiring to know in what way he can
assist or promote his recovery.

Notwithstanding, the king exacts from his own subjects the most
humiliating and abject prostrations, on approaching his person, yet
he admits Europeans to his presence without the least scruple,
requiring only from them those marks of respect which they may think
fit to perform, in the style of salutation they have been accustomed
to in their own countries. They are allowed to be seated in his
company, and he personally pays them great attention. Cooks are
procured, who understand the mode of preparing European dishes; even
table cloths, with knives and forks, although never used by
themselves, are furnished, and in short every thing which can
contribute to their comfort, is provided with eastern hospitality.

They are likewise entertained with feasts, music, public dances,
processions of the king's women, and the exhibition of sports and

But amidst this general enjoyment of festivity and mirth, deeds are
done from which the civilized mind recoils with horror, and which it
cannot contemplate without feeling an ardent desire, to see mankind
raised from that state of savage ignorance and superstition, which
leads to acts so monstrous and unnatural.

In order to _water_ with their blood the graves of the king's
ancestors, and to supply them with servants of various descriptions
in the other world, a number of human victims are annually sacrificed
in solemn form, and this carnival is the period at which these
shocking rites are publicly performed.

Scaffolds are erected outside the palace wall, and a large space
fenced in round them. On these the king, with the white strangers who
think proper to attend, are seated, and the ministers of state are
also present in the space beneath. Into this field of blood the
victims are brought in succession, with their arms pinioned, and a
fetisheer, laying his hand on the devoted head, pronounces a few
mystical words, when another man, standing behind, with a large
scymitar severs the sufferer's head from his body, generally at a
single blow, and each repetition of this savage act is proclaimed by
loud shouts of applause from the surrounding multitude, who affect to
be highly delighted with the power and magnificence of their

His bards, or laureats, join also at this time in bawling out his
strong names, (their term for titles of honour,) and sing songs in
his praise. These scenes are likewise enlivened by a number of people
engaged in a savage dance round the scaffolds; should the foot of one
of these performers slip, it is considered an ill omen; the
unfortunate figurante is taken out of the ring, and his head
instantly struck off, whilst the dance continues without
interruption, as if nothing unusual had occurred.

The people thus sacrificed are generally prisoners of war, whom the
king often puts aside for this purpose, several months previously to
the celebration of his horrid festival; should there be any lack of
these, the number is made up from the most convenient of his own
subjects. The number of these victims sometimes amount to several
hundred, but about seventy are the average number.

Their bodies are either thrown out into the fields, to be devoured by
vultures and wild beasts, or hung by the heels in a mutilated state
upon the surrounding trees, a practice exceedingly offensive in so
hot a climate. The heads are piled up in a heap for the time, and
afterwards disposed of in decorating the walls of the royal
_simbonies,_ or palaces, some of which are two miles in
circumference, and often require a renewal and repair of these

An anecdote is related of king Adahoouza, who, on a successful attack
upon Badagry, having a great number of victims to sacrifice, ordered
their heads to be applied to the above purpose. The person to whom
the management of this business was committed, having neglected to
make a proper calculation of his materials, had proceeded too far
with his work, when he found that there would not be a sufficient
number of skulls to adorn the whole palace; he therefore requested
permission to begin the work, as the lawyers would say, _de novo,_ in
order that he might, by placing them farther apart, complete the
design in a regular manner; but the king would by no means give his
consent to this proposal, observing that he would soon find a
sufficient number of Badagry heads to render the plan perfectly
uniform, and learning that a hundred and twenty seven were required
to complete this extraordinary embellishment, he ordered that number
of captives to be brought forth and slaughtered in cold blood.

On visiting the bed-chamber of Bossa Ahadee, the passage leading to
it was found to be paved with human skulls. They were those of his
more distinguished adversaries, captured at different times, and
placed in that situation that he might nightly enjoy the savage
gratification of trampling on the heads of his enemies. The top of
the little wall, which surrounded this detached apartment, was
adorned likewise with their jaw-bones. In some more civilized minds
there is an instinctive dread on viewing the remains of a human
being; but it cannot be laid to the charge of these savages, that the
fear of ghosts and hobgoblins forms any part of their character.

The immolation of victims is, however, not confined to this
particular period; for at any time, should it be necessary to send an
account to his forefathers of any remarkable event, the king
despatches a courier to the shades, by delivering his message to
whomsoever may happen to be near him, and then ordering his head to
be chopped off immediately; and it has not unfrequently happened,
that as something new has occurred to the king's mind, another
messenger, as Mr. Canning very justly observed of the postscript of a
letter, has instantly followed on the same errand, perhaps in itself
of the most trivial kind.

It is considered a high honour where his majesty personally
condescends to become the executioner in these feats of decapitation,
an office in which the king, at the time of the visit of Lander to
Abomey, considered himself as a most expert proficient. The Europeans
were present on one occasion, when a poor fellow, whose fear of death
outweighing the sense of the honour conferred on him, on being
desired by the king to carry some message to his father, who was in
the shades below, humbly declared on his knees that he was ignorant
of the way, on which the tyrant vociferated, "I'll show you the way,"
and with one blow made his head fly many yards from his body, highly
indignant that there should have been the least expression of

The performance of the annual sacrifice is considered a duty so
sacred, that no allurement in the way of gain, no additional price
which the white traders can offer for slaves, will induce the king to
spare even a single victim of the established number; and he is
equally inexorable with respect to the chiefs of his enemies, who are
never, on any account, permitted to live if they fall into his hands.

In illustration of the above, the following narrative is highly
characteristic, and serves at once to a clear exposition of the
savage and relentless feelings of the uncivilized negro. In a warlike
excursion towards the Mahee or Ashantee borders, an enemy's town was
surprised, and a great number of the inhabitants were either killed
or made prisoners; but especial care was taken that the head of the
prince of that district should be sent to Abomey, and that every
branch of his family should, if possible, be exterminated, for it was
one which had often given the Dahomian forces a great deal of
trouble. A merciless massacre, therefore, of these individuals took
place, in obedience to strict injunctions to that effect; and it was
believed that not one of the breed was left alive.

A youth, however, about seventeen years of age, one of the sons of
the obnoxious prince, had managed to conceal his real quality, and
not being pointed out, succeeded in passing among the crowd of
prisoners to the Dahomian capital, where, after selecting that
portion thought necessary for the ensuing sacrifices, the captors
sent the remainder to Grigwee, to be sold at the factories. This
young man happened to be purchased by Mr. M'Leod, and he lived
thenceforth in the fort, as a sort of general rendezvous, or trunk,
as it is called, for those belonging to that department.

In a short time after this transaction, it some how transpired at
Abomey that there yet lived the remnant of the enemy's family, and in
order to trace him out, the king fell upon a scheme, which strongly
displays that species of cunning and artifice so often observed among

Some of his half-heads, who may very appropriately be termed his
mortal messengers, in contradistinction to the immortals sent to the
shades, arrived at the fort, and, with the Coke, a stern and
hardhearted villain, who, in the absence of the yavougah, was the
next caboceer, demanded admittance in the king's name, prostrating
themselves as usual, and covering their heads with dust. On
entering, they proceeded immediately to that quarter where the slaves
were, and repeated the ceremony of kissing the ground before they
spoke the _king's word,_ that is to say, delivered his message. The
Coke then made a long harangue, the purport of which was to signify
the king's regret that animosity should have so long existed between
him and the chief of that country which he had just despoiled, and to
express his sorrow for the fate of a family, which had suffered from
his displeasure, through false accounts and misrepresentations. For
this reason, he was now most anxious to make every reparation in his
power to a son yet remaining of that prince, and would readily
re-establish him in the rank and possessions of his father, could he
only find him out. Completely duped by this wile, the unsuspecting
lad exultingly exclaimed, "I am the son of the prince!"--"Then,"
replied the Coke, with a hellish joy at having succeeded in his
object, "you are just the person we want." Upon which these
half-heads seized him, and began to bind his hands. Finding by this
time the real state of the case, which at first it was impossible to
comprehend, Mr. M'Leod strongly protested against their seizing a
slave whom he had regularly purchased, and complained loudly of the
insult offered to the company's fort; but all in vain. He then
earnestly entreated them to offer the king his own price, or
selection of goods, and to beg as a favour from Mr. M'Leod, that he
might be spared, strongly urging the plea also, that, when once
embarked, he would be as free from every apprehension, respecting
him, as if he had killed him.

The Coke coolly replied, that Mr. M'Leod need not give himself any
further trouble to make any proposals, for he dared not repeat one of
them to the king; and, after an ineffectual struggle, Mr. M'Leod was
at last compelled to witness, with the most painful emotion, this
ill-fated youth dragged off in a state of the gloomiest despair, a
despair rendered more dismal from the fallacious glimpse of returning
happiness, by which he had been so cruelly entrapped.

The party not being able to obtain the slightest information
respecting Mr. Dickson, retraced their steps, and rejoined Captain
Clapperton in the river Benin, where they met with an English
merchant, of the name of Houston, who advised them by no means to
think of proceeding by that river, a circuitous track, and covered
with pestilential swamps; and more particularly as the king bore a
particular hatred to the English for their exertions in putting an
end to the slave-trade, nor did he, Mr. Houston, know how far, or in
what direction, that river might lead them. He recommended Badagry as
the most convenient point on the coast to start from, and he offered
to accompany them across the mountains to Katunga, the capital of
Youriba. His offer was accepted, and Lander's journal commences with
their starting from Badagry, on the 7th December. They were also
attended by a Houssa black, of the name of Pascoe, who had been sent
from one of the king's ships to accompany the late enterprizing
traveller Belzoni, as interpreter, in his last and fatal journey.

It appears, that during their stay at Whidah, every inquiry was made
after Bello and his messengers, but without the slightest success,
and equally so as to Funda and Raka, names never heard of on that
part of the coast. It is now known that these places are nearly two
hundred miles inland, and that Raka is not even on the banks of any
river, and that neither of them was then under the dominion of Bello.

Badagry, the capital of a small territory, is situated at the mouth
of the Lagos river, in latitude 6 deg. 20', and is much frequented by the
Portuguese slave-merchants, who have five factories there. Canoes
being obtained, the party proceeded slowly up a branch of this river,
as far as the mouth of the Gazie creek, which comes from the
north-west, running through part of the kingdom of Dahomy, having its
rise in the country called Keeto. They ascended this creek for about
a mile and a half, and then landed on the western bank, at a place
called Bawie, where a market is held for the people of Badagry and
the adjacent towns. The very first night, they were guilty of a fatal
imprudence. The banks of both these streams are low and covered with
reeds; the soil a red clay mixed with sand; and the surrounding
country is covered with forests of high trees and jungle. Not a hum
of a single mosquito was to be heard. Every circumstance combined to
create an atmosphere fatal to animal life, and the consequence of the
unaccountable disregard of all precaution on the part of the
travellers was too soon apparent. The seeds of those diseases were
here sown, in the very first night of their journey, which speedily
proved fatal to two of the party, and had nearly carried off the
whole. How an old naval surgeon and two experienced naval officers
could commit such an imprudence, in such a climate, is to us most
surprising, when most dreadful consequences are well known to have
almost invariably resulted from such a practice in tropical climates,

On the 9th of December, they again slept in the open air, in the
market-place of Dagmoo, a large town, where they might have had as
many houses as they wanted. This reckless indifference to the
preservation of their health can only be accounted for on the
principle, that on an expedition attended by so many difficulties and
privations, it was deemed justifiable to attempt to inure the
constitution to the noxious influences of the climate, and to look
down with contempt upon any act which had the least tendency to
effeminacy, or a scrupulous attention to personal comfort. The
constitution of Clapperton was well known to have been of an iron
nature; it had already withstood the pestilential climate of some
parts of Soudan, in his previous travels, and, with that impression
upon his mind, he regarded, perhaps, with indifference, or more
likely with inattention, any effect which might arise from the marshy
and swampy country through which the party travelled in the
commencement of their journey. The disastrous sequel will, however,
soon manifest itself.

One morning, Captain Clapperton walked forward with Mr. Houston to
the town of Puka, the first place in the Youriba territory, where
they were civilly received, and they were visited by one of the Eyeo
war-chiefs, who came in state. He was mounted on a small horse, as
were two of his attendants; the rest of the cavalcade were on foot.
His dress was most grotesque, consisting of a ragged red coat, with
yellow facings, and a military cap and feather, apparently
Portuguese. He came curvetting and leaping his horse, until within
the distance of a hundred yards, when he dismounted, and, approaching
the travellers, seated himself down on the ground. Captain
Clapperton, by the hand of Lander, sent him his umbrella, as a token
that he wished him well, on the receipt of which the drums were
beaten, and hands were clapped and fingers cracked at a great rate.
It must be observed, that the latter motion is the method of
salutation practised by the natives of Dahomy and Eyeo. The chief now
came up to them, capering and dancing the whole of the way, and shook
them by the hand, a few of his attendants accompanying him. Lander
informed us that he was not on this occasion honoured by the salute
of the Eyeo chief, and he attributed it to the nigh notion which the
chief entertained of his own dignity and importance, and that it
would be in him an act of great condescension to notice an individual
who was evidently but a subordinate, and an attendant upon his
superior. He, however, did not hesitate to steal a handkerchief
belonging to Lander, which perhaps he considered to be also an act of
condescension in him. Like other great men, who sometimes speak a
great deal, without much meaning or sense being discoverable in their
oration, the Eyeo chief began his speech by saying that he was very
glad that he now saw a white man, and he doubted not that white man
was equally glad to see him, and then, pointing to the various parts
of his dress, he said, "This cloth is not made in my country; this
cap is of white man's velvet; these trousers are of white man's
nankeen; this is a white man's shawl; we get all good things from
white man, and we must therefore be glad when white man come to visit
our country." Although not cheered at the conclusion of his speech,
like other great speakers, yet, on the other hand, like them in
general, he appeared to be very well satisfied with himself; and
Captain Clapperton, by his demeanour, fully gave him to understand
that he fully approved of the sentiments which flowed from his lips,
and that they were perfectly worthy of a chief of the Eyeo nation.

The two men, who appeared next in authority to himself, were stout
good-looking men, natives of Bornou; they were dressed in the fashion
of that country, with blue velvet caps on their heads. Being
Mahometans, they could not be prevailed on to drink spirits, but the
captain and his men drank two drams.

They paid a visit to the caboceer, or chief man of the town, whom
they found seated in the midst of his elders and women. He was an
ancient, tall, stupid-looking man, dressed in a long silk tobe, or
long shirt; on his head was a cap, made of small glass beads of
various colours, surrounded with tassels of small gold-coloured
beads, and three large coral ones in front. The cap was the best part
of the man, for it was very neat; in his hand he held a fly-flapper,
the handle of which was covered with beads. After a number of
compliments, they were presented with goroo nuts and water. They told
him of their intention to proceed to Eyeo; that they were servants of
the king of England; and that they wanted carriers for themselves and

The baggage, however, had not come up from the coast, and Captain
Pearce had to return to the beach and see after it. They remained
here for the night, and the old caboceer, their host, sent them a
present of a sheep, a basket of yams, and some firewood. But when,
the next morning, application was made to him for carriers, not a
single man could be obtained. After a great deal of palavering, the
Eyeo captain loaded his own people. They could not procure any
bearers for the hammocks, but they nevertheless set off, having only
one horse, which Captain Clapperton and Mr. Houston agreed to ride
alternately. The former, however, who had almost crippled himself the
preceding day, with a pair of new boots, and could only wear
slippers, became so galled by riding without a saddle, that he was
soon reduced to walk bare-foot, and whenever he crossed an ant path,
his feet felt as if on fire, these insects drawing blood from them
and his ankles.

After a most toilsome and distressing march, part of which wound
through thick and dark woods, the morning proved raw, cold and hazy;
the travellers had nothing to eat, and when at noon they reached the
town of Humba, Captain Clapperton had a slight fit of ague. On the
following day, bearers were with some difficulty procured, and he was
carried forward in a hammock. At Bedgie, which they reached on the
12th, Dr. Morrison became very unwell with symptoms of fever. This
place stands on the banks of a river about a quarter of a mile in
width, full of low swampy islands and floating reeds. On the 14th,
Captain Pearce and Richard Lander were taken ill.

They had by this, time reached Laboo, a town situated on a rising
ground, where the country begins to undulate in hill and dale. Its
distance from the coast is not specified, but it can hardly be so
much as fifty miles, as Lagos can be reached in one day by a
messenger, yet the journey had occupied the travellers no fewer than
seven days. The delay seems partly to have been occasioned by the
heavy baggage and stores, and by the difficulty of obtaining bearers.
The Eyeo people, as they were afterwards told, are unaccustomed to
carry hammocks, and they ought to have proceeded on horseback, in
fact, Lander did not hesitate to express himself in rather severe
terms, in regard to the manner in which the early part of the
expedition was conducted; for, had the plan been adopted of making
use of horses for the conveyance of the baggage, and not have allowed
themselves to be delayed by the difficulty of procuring human
assistance; had the whole party pressed forward to Laboo, and there
attempted to recruit their strength, it is highly probable that they
would have altogether escaped the poisonous effects of the miasmata.

The country thus far appears to have been an almost perfect level; in
some places swampy, for the most part covered with dense forests, but
partially cultivated, and very populous. Towns and villages were
numerous, and everywhere on the road they were met by numbers of
people, chiefly women, bearing loads of produce on their heads,
always cheerful and obliging, and delighted to see white men. At
Humba, the inhabitants kept up singing and dancing all night, in the
true negro style, round the house allotted to the white men. Their
songs were in chorus, and, as Lander expressed himself, "not unlike
some church-music that I have heard."

On leaving Laboo, they were attended for some distance by the
caboceer of the town, at the head of the whole population, the women
singing in chorus, and holding up both hands as they passed, while
groupes of people were seen kneeling down, and apparently wishing
them a good journey. The road now lay over an undulating country,
through plantations of millet, yams, and maize, and at three hours
from Laboo, led to Jannah, which was once a walled town, but the gate
and fosse are all that remain of the fortifications. It is situated
on a gentle declivity, commanding an extensive prospect to the
westward; to the eastward the view is interrupted by thick woods. The
inhabitants may amount to from eight hundred to a thousand souls. The
account which Lander gave us of the natives of this district was
highly favourable. He had only to complain of the eternal loquacity
of the women, by which he was exceedingly annoyed; in addition to
which, they appeared sometimes to be highly offended because, as he
was ignorant of their language, he very often committed the most
extraordinary blunders, in the answers which he gave by signs, and
which were wholly opposite to what they had every reason to expect,
from the significant language which they made use of. The women here
are, however, not much better treated than in more central Africa;
not only the domestic duties are performed by them, but in all
matters of industry the labour appears to be imposed upon them,
whilst their husbands or owners are loitering away their time,
telling unaccountable stories to each other, or sleeping under the
shade of some of the beautiful trees which adorn this part of the

Very differently is it constituted with the canine species; for here
the dog is treated with respect, and made the companion of man; here
he has collars round his neck, of various colours, and ornamented
with kowries; he sits by his master, and follows him in all his
journeys and visits. The great man is never without one; and it
appeared to Lander that a boy was appointed to take care of him. In
no other country in Africa is this faithful animal treated with
common humanity.

The general character of the people of Eyeo appears to be good and
amiable, and, as a proof of their honesty, to which all the
travellers bore ample testimony, they had now travelled sixty miles
in eight days, with a numerous and heavy baggage, and about ten
different relays of carriers, without losing so much as the value of
a shilling, public or private; a circumstance evincing not only
somewhat more than common honesty in the inhabitants, but a degree of
subordination and regular government, which could not have been
supposed to exist among a people hitherto considered as barbarous. It
appears, however, that the Eyeo captain, Adamooli, had not quite so
high an opinion of their spontaneous honesty; for he told the
travellers, at Puka, to keep a good look-out after their things, as
the people there were great thieves.

In some branches of the arts they possess an extraordinary skill.
They are great carvers; their doors, drums, and every thing of wood
being carved. In the weaving of cloth and linen they also evinced
considerable skill. Eight or ten looms were seen at work in one
house; in fact it was a regular manufactory. Captain Clapperton
visited several cloth manufactories, and three dye-houses, with
upwards of twenty vats in each, all in full work. The indigo is of
excellent quality, and the cloth of a good texture; some of it very
fine. The women are the dyers, the boys the weavers, the men, in
general, lookers on. The loom and shuttles are on the same principle
as the common English loom, but the warp is only four inches wide.
They also manufacture earthen-ware, but prefer that of Europe, which
they obtain from Badagry. In walking through the town, the strangers
were followed by an immense crowd, but met with not a word nor a look
of disrespect. The men took off their caps as they passed, and the
women remained kneeling. The market was well supplied with raw
cotton, cloths, oranges, limes, plantains, bananas, onions, pepper,
and gums for soup, boiled yams, and acassous, a paste made of maize
and wrapped in leaves.

A country finely cleared, and diversified with hill and dale, extends
from Jannah to Tshow, distant two short stages. The route then again
entered upon a thickly-wooded tract, with only patches of corn land,
and the roads were dreadfully bad, being partially flooded by heavy
rains. Captain Clapperton here caught a fresh cold, and all the
patients became worse. Dr. Morrison, after being carried in a hammock
as far as Tshow, finding himself grow no better, was left behind,
under the charge of Mr. Houston, who was to see him safe back to the
coast. He, however, expired at Jannah on the 27th. On the same day,
at a town called Engwa, Captain Pearce breathed his last. On this
occasion, Captain Clapperton says, "The death of Captain Pearce has
caused me much concern; for, independently of his amiable qualities
as a friend and companion, he was eminently fitted by his talents,
perseverance, and fortitude, to be of singular service to the
expedition, and on these accounts I deplore his loss, as the greatest
I could have sustained, both as regards my private feelings and the
public service."

On the following morning, the remains of this lamented officer were
interred, in the presence of all the principal people of the town.
The grave was staked round by the inhabitants, and a shed built over
it. An inscription was carved on a board, and placed at the head of
the grave by Lander, Captain Clapperton being unable to sit up, or to
assist in any manner in the mournful ceremony. Thus did Captain
Clapperton see himself bereft of his comrades, and left to pursue his
journey in very painful and distressing circumstances, with only
Richard Lander as his servant, who stood by him in all his fortunes,
and Pascoe, not a very trusty African, whom he had hired at Badagry.
Two days after the interment of Captain Pearce, Mr. Houston joined
Captain Clapperton from Jannah, bearing the intelligence of the death
of Dr. Morrison.

These unfortunate officers had been conveyed thus far, about seventy
miles, in hammocks, by the people of the country, every where
experiencing the kindest attention, lodged in the best houses, and
supplied with every thing that the country afforded. The fear,
however, that continually preyed upon the mind of Lander was
excessive; for the general appearance of Captain Clapperton indicated
that he would soon join his comrades in the grave; he was able
occasionally to ride on horseback, and sometimes to walk, but he was
greatly debilitated, and subject to a high degree of fever. By
anticipation, Lander saw himself a solitary wanderer in the interior
of Africa, bereft of all those resources with which Clapperton was
liberally supplied, and his only hope of deliverance resting on his
being able to accomplish his return to Badagry, literally as a
Christian mendicant. Lander describes the country between Badagry and
Jannah, the frontier town of the kingdom of Youriba, as abounding in
population, well cultivated with plantations of Indian corn,
different kinds of millet, yams, plantains, wherever the surface was
open and free from the noxious influence of dense and unwholesome

The old caboceer of Jannah was, according to the report of Lander, a
merry, jocose kind of companion. On one occasion, when he was
surrounded by a whole crowd of the natives, and was informed that the
English had only one wife, they all broke out into a loud laugh, in
which the women in particular joined immoderately. The vanity of this
old negro almost exceeded belief; during the ceremony of the
reception of Captain Clapperton and Mr. Houston, he changed his dress
three different times, each time, as he thought, increasing the
splendour of his appearance.

The whole court in which they were received, although very large, was
filled, crowded, and crammed with people, except a place in front,
where the august strangers sat, into which his highness led Captain
Clapperton and Mr. Houston, in each hand, followed by Lander, who,
ever and anon, first to the right, and then to the left, felt a
twitch at the tail of his coat, and on looking to ascertain the
cause, found it to have proceeded from the _fair_ hands of a
bewitching negress, who, casting upon him a look of irresistible
fascination, accompanied by a smile from a pair of huge pouting lips,
between which appeared a row of teeth, for which one of the toothless
grannies at Almack's would have given half her dowry, seemed to be
anxious of trying the experiment of how far the heart of an
Englishman was susceptible of the tender passion, especially when
excited by objects of such superlative beauty. It may be supposed
that neither Clapperton nor Houston had as yet taken any lessons in
the art and mystery of African dancing, and as to waltzing, neither
of them felt any great inclination to be encircled in the arms of a
negress, who, although she might be young and graceful in her
attitudes, had a scent about her of stinking rancid oil, which was
not very agreeable to the olfactory nerves of the delicate Europeans.
However, it was the etiquette of the court,--and every court, from
the Cape of Good Hope to the country of Boothia, that is, if a court
were ever held in the latter place,--is cursed with the ridiculous
forms of ceremony and etiquette; it must be repeated, that at the
court which his highness the caboceer of Jannah, in the plenitude of
his official importance, held at that place, it was a rule of
etiquette, that every stranger, of whatever rank or nation, should
choose for himself a partner, wherewith to dance an African fandango
or bolero; and it may be easily supposed that, when the Europeans
looked around them, and saw the African beauties squatting on their
haunches, or reclining, in graceful negligence, on banks of mud, a
great difficulty existed as to whom they should select to be their
partners in the African quadrille. We have ourselves been in a
ball-room where the beating of the female heart was almost audible,
when the object of its secret attachment approached to lead out the
youthful beauty to the dancing circle; and although it cannot be
supposed, that, on so short an acquaintance, the heart of any
beautiful negress palpitated at the approach of Captain Clapperton,
Mr. Houston, or the more timid and bashful Lander, yet it was evident
that the negresses, who were selected as their partners, testified
their unqualified delight at the honour conferred upon them by a
grin, which in a civilized country would be called a smile, but which
happened to be of that extent, as if nature had furnished them with a
mouth extending from ear to ear, similar to the opening of the jaws
of a dogger codfish. The Taglionis and Elsters of the court were
present; and although a latitude of a few degrees to the northward of
the line is not exactly suitable for pirouetting and tourbillons,
which, in a negress in a state of almost complete nudity, could not
fail to attract the doting eyes even of the bishop of London, or of
Sir Andrew Agnew, particularly on the Sabbath; yet, on this occasion,
the beauties of the court attempted to outvie each other in the
gracefulness of their attitudes, and the extraordinary height of
their salutations. There is very little doubt but that the _tout
ensemble_ would have formed an excellent subject for a Cruickshanks,
and particularly to take a sketch of the old black caboceer, sailing
majestically around in his damask robe, with a train-bearer behind
him, and every now and then turning up his old withered face, first
to one of his visitors, and then to the other; then whisking round on
one foot, and treading without ceremony on the shoeless foot of his
perspiring partner, then marching slow, with solemn gait, like the
autocrat of all the Russias in a polonnaise, then, not exactly
leading gracefully down the middle, but twining the hands of his
visitors in his, which had very much the appearance of a piebald
affair, showing at the same time an extraordinary inflation of pride,
that a white man should dance with him. But the fate of Lander was
the most to be commiserated; for although it might be the etiquette
of his country, that master and servant should not be quadrilling at
the same time, yet as no such distinction existed in the court of the
old caboceer of Jannah, as far as the sentiments of the female
beauties were concerned, poor Lander led the very devil of a life of
it. He certainly, as it would have been highly unbecoming in him, did
not solicit the hand of any of the expectant beauties, and therefore,
giving him all due credit for his extreme bashfulness and insuperable
modesty, they were determined to solicit his; he was first twirled
round by one beauty, then by another; at one moment he found himself
in a state of juxta position with the old caboceer; at another, his
animated partner was nearly driving him into a state of positive
collision with his own master; in fact he was, like Tom at Almack's,

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