Imatges de pàgina
[ocr errors]

a power which the Caffres express by saying, "the elephant is a powerful lord, his trunk is his arm." According to the opinion of the Caffres, death annihilates the soul with the body; and this opinion appears to augment the terrors of death. Nevertheless, it does not diminish their un-prowess in battle.

Such is our author's account of a part of the Caffre character; but, as if man were destined, in every state, saThe Caffres have absolutely no idea of vage as well as civilized, to offer a mass the Divinity, or of any invisible being, to of contradictions, these people who which they might attribute the exertion of know no God, are nevertheless conany influence over them, or over nature inscious of moral impurity. Says our general. Other nations, not civilized, author, render some kind of worship to the sun, or to some other object, real or imaginary, and by that discover some notion of a cause for the ordinary and extraordinary phenomena of nature, or some acknowledgement in a general way, of the existence of an active power from which they may await either good or evil; but no trace of any such belief is found among the Caffres. They have neither priests, nor any religious ceremony. Sometimes indeed, they seem to attribute an unfortunate event to the influence of I know not what inexplicable power, displeased or angry with them; on such occasions they endeavour to appease this wrath by submissions, to avert it by marks of respect: but it does not appear that they conceive of any universal agent, or that they personify in any way this obscure power, or that they consider it as being either corporeal or spiritual. Occaionally, for instance, they regard a sickness, as the consequence of some offence given to a river, from which the horde has been accustomed to draw water; in this case they fancy they can appease the river, by throwing into it the entrails of some beast from their herd, or a certain quantity of millet. A Caffre died, accidentally, some days after he had carried away part of the anchor of a vessel, which had been wrecked on the coast, and his death was regarded as a punishment for his offence committed against that anchor; since that accident, no Caffre passes by the broken anchor, without saluting it, with design to avert its anger from himself. When after a multitude of labours, they have accomplished the death of an elephant, they haste away to make their apologies to the corpse, alledging that they had not premeditated his slaughter, but that it was the consequence of a mere accident: they then inter his trunk very carefully, to deprive him of the imaginary power to hurt them, and to avenge his death;

ledge among them, that whatever they once possessed of principle has evaporated, and they now practise, without so much as surmising a cause for what custom,-unintelligible custom, has continued among them.

This picture of a people wholly tutored, is too singular to be passed over slightly. M. Alberti says,

The Caffres have, like the ancient Iraelites, the notion of a moral defilement, The persou incurred in certain cases. thus defiled, is excluded for a time, from intercourse with others, and there are established rules for his purification. It is not allowed him to wash himself, nor to paint his body, during the whole period of his defilement; he is forbidden also from the use of milk [their usual nourishment] and from all intercourse with the other sex; after the time of his confinement has expired, he purifies himself by washing again, painting his skin, and rincing his mouth with milk.

[ocr errors]

A inan

All children are considered as unclean, until the age of puberty-or circumcision: females are unclean at certain periods; also, after the death of a husband or child; after childbirth, &c. The man whose wife is dead, is unclean during half a lunar month; the woman whose husband is dead, is unclean during a whole month. returning from battle is defiled till he has washed himself; and if, during a storm, the lightning should strike within the limits where a herde inhabits, the whole horde is polluted; the place is abandoned; the inhabitants purify themselves by immolating several head of cattle, and in the mean while, all intercourse is suspended between this defiled horde and all others.

These accounts give rise to many reflections. The first is, that these people formerly held many things in common with others: whence did they obtain the rite of circumcision, but from some authority, now unknown to them? and whence the notion of moral poliu

tion, had they not formerly been instructed? They have retained the fear inherent in human nature; which, says Lucretius, first made gods; yet they have neither images, nor symbols, nor representations in any shape, nor any mental references to the Supreme Being, or to any subordinate power, commissioned by him to

them in morals, in enjoyments, or in civilization.

This is not the conduct of men lost in stupidity, but proves the possession of no inactive intellect; and indeed, the laws and customs of these people, generally, are not destitute of a certain portion of wisdom and refinement, savage though they be.

The Caffres relish food prepared in the European manner: above all they are fond of bread: but they refuse to eat swine's flesh, hares, geese, or ducks, and all kinds of fish. They indulge in smoking tobacco of their own growth. They dress skins, of which to make their dresses, with great dexterity and patience. They have their personal ornaments also; and they endure every extre

Ride in the whirlwind, and direct the storm. What a total renunciation of what it has been thought, even the light of ua-mity of pain, rather than part with some of them, which are marks of personal valour, and badges of honour and distinction.

ture must teach! And yet these people are not without curiosity, nor without a desire to preserve their old connections, and to renew their remembrance of former ties. The work opens with an account of a visit received by Gaïka, King of the Caffres, from a party of ten of his nation, who resided so far off as to have spent three months in their journey; and whose language was intelligible to few besides the king himself; who described them as coming from the country, out of which all the Caffres came. They brought with them twenty cattle for their sustenance; and were excited to this tedious undertaking, simply by curiosity, by the desire of knowing to what distance the Caffre tribes extended in the country. ·

[ocr errors]

They know no other calculation of time, than by the month; the women state their age by the number of their children; they are aged-one, two, or three children; while the men count their fingers: and after two or three tens, their arithmetic ends: yet so sharp is their sight, that out of a herd of five hundred cattle, they readily detect the absence of any one. in omens, in witchcraft, and in the power They believe of magic.

They train their cattle with as much assiduity as a European trains his setting-dog and no dog more accurately obeys his master, than a herd of cattle obeys the Caffre's whistle, by which they are ordered to the right, or to the left, to collect around him, to disperse, to stop in their progress, to go single, or in a body, &c.

We had already inserted an epitome of the contents of this volume, before it was imported. M. Alberti, accompanied M. Jansens, the Dutch gover

Their mode of courtship and marriage. differs little from that of other savages: the bride is bought by a number of cattle: the negotiation is more or less obstinate, according to circumstances; after all is adjusted, the betrothed

tled themselves on territories, part of the colonial possessions, besides others beyond the Dutch Boundaries. He remained with them some months. He describes the country, the people, their stature, their food, dress, education, mode of life, government, &c. He ad vises, that they be restricted to localities, as far removed as possible from intercourse with the colonists; and that they be left entirely to themselves. He even objects to all attempts to improve

nor, on a visit to the Caffres, who set-pair are brought to receive the nuptial exhortation from the chief of the troop, who reminds the bride that he is happy to see her so respectably united; and that " from this time it will be her duty to manage the domestic concerns of her spouse with zeal and activity: he exhorts her particularly to labour in culti vating the earth; and in general to conduct herself as becomes an excellent wife, that she may give no occasion of complaint." In return for this exhortation, the bride makes her humble

[ocr errors]

thanks to the chief for his sage advice, and returns to her company by whom she is attended. The bridegroom, in his turn, steps forward before the great man, to receive his admonition."Since, at this time, thou quittest the cabin of thy father, to establish thyself at the bead of thine own, govern it as a man should do; comport thyself in such a manner, that not only thy wife and defithy children may never feel any ciency of meat and of milk for their support, but that thou mayest be able also to receive thy chief in a suitable manner whenever he may visit thee, and that thou mayest be able to pay him the tax which belongs to him."

These addresses are delivered in public assembly. The enclosure in which the cattle are secured by night serving for the pretorium and tribunal of this The marriage is supreme magistrate. complete, if the bride drinks a portion of milk, presented to her on this occasion: the whole group of withesses exclaiming, "She drinks the milk !"Polygamy is allowed; the wives live to gether very comfortably; and if one dies the others adopt her children. But those wives who have no rivals have the more numerous issue. Polygamy favours national population very little, if at all.

The Caffres are very active in the chase, and their manner of surrounding a lion, is described by M. Alberti, much to the same effect as Kolben had formerly described it.

The political institutions of these demi-savages, their customs in relation to war and peace, with their maxims of government, must be read in the volume itself. It resembles a contradiction that they should be regulated to such a degree as they really are, yet be entirely destitute of professional advisers, or records, of priesthood, and of those many other authorities which have always been thought absolutely indispensable to the existence or preservation of any kind of policy and government

among men.

* For further particulars extracted from this work, as reported from a Continental Communication, Vide LITERARY PANORAMA, New Series, Vol. I. P. 103.

Travels in South Africa. Undertaken at the request of the Missionary Society. By John Campbell, Minister of Kingsland Chapel. 8vo. pp. 524, price 14s. For the Author, London, 1815.

VERY different motives influenced

Mr. Camphell from those which influenced M. Alberti; and it may be presumed, at the mere mention of their different purposes, that their testimony in relation to some particulars, would be tremely distinct, if not contradictory. So far as the manners of the Caffres are concerned, much is common to them both, though it does not appear that Mr. Campbell was acquainted with Alberti's work; but respecting the benefits conferred on Africa by the Missionaries, their opinions are at variance.

Not that Mr. Campbell here communicates a full report on the state of missionary exertions, and of missions, as he saw them in South Africa: although he justifies equally, the commendations universally bestowed on the Moravian establishments; with the censures against an English missionary station, Bethelsdorp; to which may be added Pella, a most melancholy spot, not less unfertile and waste than its coadjutor. Mr. Campbell acknowledges also, speaking of Dr. Vanderkemp, that he was an eccentric man, and did eccentric things, which it is not my business to vindicate;" this is expressed by M. Alberti, as it had been by M. Lichtenstein, with less reserve: he thinks the English missionaries have done more harm than good;-because "they entirely neglect the instruction of their converts in the mechanic arts, which ought to be the first degree of civilization for these savages ;" and this he attributes to the total ignorance of the persons sent out as missionaries, in the arts of civilization, and in the order of things proper to be observed with respect to minds uninformed. This subject, therefore, we must leave; but not without regret, that a better fortune, the consequence of superior judgment, had not attended those efforts, which gave occasion to the adventurous expedition of which Mr., Campbell now presents the history to the public.

This traveller has probably made a more complete tour of Southern Africa, than any of his predecessors in African journeys. He first travels east, (misprinted west, in the introductory advertisement); to Bethelsdorp, and to the Great Fish river, the boundary of the Colony towards the Caffres, beyond which they are now repulsed, in conformity to the opinion of M. Alberti. He then proceeds almost due north, to Orange river, and from thence further north to Lattakoo; of which our readers may find an account in our first volume, and our first number, with a wood cut, representing a dwelling of the natives. Returning to Orange river, Mr. Campbell traces that stream from its source almost to its mouth, travelling west; and then, directing his progress southward, after many difficulties he safely reaches the Cape. Much of this course is new, and much of it is desert, beyond improvement by human labour: on the other hand, Mr. C. reports the discovery of millions of acres yielding, unenjoyed, abundant supplies for cattle, and Consequently for man; with woods of stately trees, furnishing the most usefel timber, but of no value, because there are no inhabitants within reach, which might demand them; over, there are no inhabitants in many places, because that indispensable necessary of life, water, is bestowed with uncertain and usually with reluctant, hand, by nature, while oceans of sand inundate the country, and vegetation is every where overwhelmed by their deadly domination.

a member of the whip club might envy; and, when occasion demands, they can make wonderful exertions, and display infinite activity, whether in the chace or the field, provided it promise variety.


Whoever travels in Africa should be a naturalist, a botanist, a geographer, an astronomer, a draughtsman, short, a complete man of science: he should concentrate in himself the practice of almost every art that is known. Such qualifications do not fall to the lot of many; but had they been added to the other good qualities of this writer, his opportunities of remark would have been more keenly improved, without any detriment to the main object of his voyage.

We shall proceed to justify this remark, by extracting and combining some of those incidental observations which the reverend traveller has scattered in various parts of his volume: they will at least furnish hints, from which his successors may derive advantage.

The earthquakes which about three (or four) years ago convulsed the Cape of Good Hope, were preceded by circumstances deserving notice. Says Mr. C.

True it is, that, here and there, a boor has taken root and rankly vegetates in consummate idleness: his nights he passes in sleep, and his days in listless slumber: he has nothing to think of nothing to talk of nothing to do.-His life is a life of nothingness! for, why should he labour? He assembles thirty hottentots about him, to do the work of three; and the whole duties of a day consist in fetching his whip from the hook on which it hangs, and replacing it after a drive, a ride, or a lounge. Yet can some of these Colonists boast of a skill in driving a wag gon drawn by a dozen oxen, at which, VOL II. Lit. Pan. New Series. April 1.

From Mr. Burchers, minister of Stellenmore-bosch, I received the following account of the first two earthquakes, which occurred here three years ago.

"The church at Paarl, about eight miles distant, was then vacant. The governor desired me to preach once a month there. On a Saturday before setting off to that place, I felt exceedingly dull and indolent. On Sabbath morning my wife and I went to Paarl. On reaching it I felt very feeble, aud asked for some water, but could not drink it, for it was luke-warm. They said it was brought from the fountain. I sent my own slave to the fountain, but what he brought was warm also. I went myself, and found it the same. We could not myself so dull, I hardly knew what I said. account for this. While preaching, I found I mentioned my feelings to some of the people after sermon, who said they felt in the same way. Next morning we returned to Stellenbosch. All day my family, myself and slaves, and even the dogs, were


"At ten o'clock at night we were all thousand waggons running along the alarmed with a noise resembling that of a streets. We did not know what it was,


Griqua land. Were the ladies' gowns in
England woven of this substance, many
lives would annually be saved, that are lost
by their dress catching fire; for cloth
made from it stands the fire, and the an-
cients burned their dead in such cloth to
A considerable
retain their real ashes.
portion of it is used in making their roads.
It is very remarkable that it is called by
the Griquaas, handkerchief stone.

A great but my family were terrified. light shone into the room. Supposing it had been thunder, I told them not to be afraid, for the danger was over, the lightning being gone. While talking, the same noise as before was repeated, and every thing shook. Oh! said I, it is an earthquake: come all out of the house into the garden. We felt as if there had been no life in us, as the scripture expresses it. There was then a third shock, which was inferior to the former two. The noise was

not only awful, because of its loudness, but

also from the nature of the sound-it was a kind of melancholy groan or howl. The dogs and bire's shewed, by their noise, that they were terrified, which added to the horror of that night. The night was very still; there was no wind, but I observed a great number of little fiery meteors. noticed some little clouds, in different directions, like thunder-clouds, but they had something new in their aspect. The people came all flocking to me in the garden, much alarmed. I said what I could to support their minds. At length we ventured again into our house, when we tried to get a little sleep to refresh us, but we tried

in vain."

This variation of colour-deep bluegolden-white, &c. all found near the same spot, is, we apprehend, extraordinary.

"A powder mine," of no common fame, to which both beaux and belles among the Griquas, and Boutchuana tribes, are deeply indebted for an essential addition to that personal appearance in which mankind delight, is well entitled to distinction. White powder for the hair was a favourite with European ladies lately; gold-dust (sanctioned by Venus herself) enjoyed its pre-eminence as hair powder, ages ago; the Saxon dames of our island, preferred blue; and this is less unnatural, it seems, than we had thought it; for such is the taste of these sons and daughters of Nature in South Africa.

If this change of temperature in the water, should prove to be a decisive symptom of approaching shocks, it might give occasion to salutary precautions.


Altogether singular, so far as we recollect, and equally interesting, is Mr. C.'s discovery of the Mountains of Asbestos. We give it in his own words. Day-light discovered the beauty of the scenery that surrounded Hardcastle. lies in a valley not above three miles in circumference, surrounded by the Asbestos Mountains of diversified shapes. There are four long passes between the mountains, leading from it in different direc tions, which not only increase the convenience of the situation, but add greatly to the grandeur of the prospect around.Some of us walked after breakfast to examine the abestos rocks, where we found plenty of that rare mineral, between strata

rocks. That which becomes, by a little beating, soft as cotton, is all of Prussian blue. When ascending a mountain alone, I found some of the colour of gold, but not soft, or of a cotton texture like the blue; some I found white, and brown, and green, &c. Had this land been known to the ancients in the days of imperial Rome, many a mercantile pilgrimage would have been made to the Asbestos Mountains in


Thermometer at sun-sise, 44. Blink or Shining Mountain, at the foot of which we were, is a kind of Mecca to the surThey are constantly rounding nations. making pilgrimages thither, not indeed to pay religious homage, but only to obtain fresh supplies of blue powder to ornament their hair. For how many ages this custom has existed, none can say; it is from time immemorial, and no doubt will coutinue till some great revolution in the sentiments of the people shall take place. In the present state of society such a journey must afford much entertainment, having little at home to make one day differ from another. This constant sameness has a tendency to bring the mind into a kind of torpid state, which it is distressing even to witness. The gospel is remarkably fitted for rousing such sleeping, inactive minds, by placing before them the majesty and glory of the infinite Jehovah, the endless, unbounded felicity of the blessed, and the unspeakable misery of the wicked in the world to come-subjects which in all ages have produced wonderful effects on the human mind.

After breakfast, Mr. Read and I, with one of our Hottentots carrying a lighted caudic, proceeded to explore this powder

« AnteriorContinua »