Imatges de pÓgina

handed it to his prime minister, who transmitted it to the next in dignity; thus it passed from mouth to mouth, till it reached the lowest of the attendants. The king afterwards introduced the Doctor to his two wives, of whom the principal one, Makaitshoah, dazzled him by the beauty which had raised her from a low degree to the station that she now occupied. She was loaded with a profusion of African finery,-a mantle trimmed with rich furs, and fastened to the shoulder by a bundle of cats' tails, sundry necklaces of bone, copper, and coral, and on one arm no less than seventy-two copper rings, on which she seemed to set the highest value; she displayed, and saw them counted with peculiar delight. The ladies paid a very long visit, but showed little regard for tea, which was at first presented as most suitable to their rank and sex ; while wine, and more especially brandy, were highly relished by them. In the course of a long conversation, the lot of European wives, in having each a husband to herself, became, as usual, the favourite theme; but Makaitshoah, though she approved of the system in general, thought that in Africa, where the waste of war was so great, polygamy, to a certain extent, was necessary to keep up the numbers of the nation.

Dr Lichtenstein had intended to proceed considerably farther into the interior; but his views were changed, by a proposal earnestly pressed upon him by the king to accompany, and assist with his firearms, an expedition which his majesty was about to undertake against his neighbour Makkrakka. Finding that he could not remain without involving himself in the deadly feuds of these African chiefs, he chose rather to return to the colony.

Mr John Campbell, animated by the benevolent desire of imparting to this people the blessings of true religion, undertook, in 1813, a mission into Southern Africa. Passing the Sneuwberg in the same direction that had been followed by Messrs Trutter and Sommerville, he reached Lattakoo, which, by a change not unusual in Africa, had been moved about sixty miles to the southward of its original situation; but the new city had not yet attained more than half the dimensions of the old. His reception was at first marked by a peculiar caution and jealousy. Not a sound was heard in the city; and he walked through empty streets till he came to the great square in front of the palace, where several hundred men were drawn up armed and in battle array. All this precaution was found to have been suggested by the fear that he and his companions were sent to avenge the death of Dr Cowan and Mr Denovan; but no sooner were the inhabitants satisfied that he came with no commission from government, and with no hostile object, than they crowded round him with their usual frankness, and eagerly begged for tobacco. Soon after, Mateebe, the king, entered with a numerous train of attendants, bearing spears tipt with ostrich feathers. He did not, in passing, take any notice of the English strangers, but immediately after admitted them to an interview, though without giving them quite so gracious a reception as they could have wished. He particularly demurred to the proposal of founding a mission at Lattakoo, on the ground or pretence that it would interfere with the tending of their cattle and other occupations; but this being Mr Campbell's favourite object, he pressed it so earnestly,

and represented, in such flattering terms, the superior wealth and industry of Europeans, that Mateebe at length gave his consent to the establishment of missionaries, and promised to treat them well.

Mr Campbell's observations finally dissipated all that yet remained of the original illusion, which had represented this people as enjoying at once the innocence and the felicity of the primitive ages. There was indeed, as not unfrequently happens in uncivilized life, a courteous, kind, and friendly spirit towards one another. But between neighbouring tribes the enmity is as deadly, and the laws and practices of war as barbarous, as among the rudest of African hordes. The missionary, with the view of paving the way for religious instruction, having asked one of them what was the chief end of man, received an immediate answer, "For commandos,”the term by which they express their raids or forays undertaken for the purpose of stealing cattle. With the profit of carrying off the herds, they seek also to combine the glory of killing the warriors to whom they belong. The number of men whom they have slain forms their chief boast; in which estimate they reckon one white equal to two blacks.

In 1820, Mr Campbell, supported by the Missionary Society, undertook another journey into this district of Africa. He found the Christian establishment at Lattakoo in a somewhat flourishing state. There was a chapel capable of containing about 400 persons, and a row of good houses with gardens for the missionaries. But the friendly conduct of the natives towards that body had not been accompanied with any disposition to embrace, or even to listen to

their doctrines. The Boshuanas, more perhaps than any other barbarians, seem to labour under a peculiar thraldom to the senses, and an utter disregard for all lofty and spiritual ideas. Beads for ornament, cattle for use, commandos or forays for the display of valour and activity, absorb their whole attention, and leave no room for any higher objects. The number assembled to see the missionaries dine was three times greater than could ever be induced to convene to hear them preach.

At Lattakoo Mr Campbell met Kossie, king or chief of Mashow, and obtained permission to visit him, which, though expressed in rather cold and haughty terms, his zeal induced him to embrace. The road lay through a delightful country, consisting neither, like most parts of the Cape territory, of a naked desert, nor, like some others, of an impenetrable forest, but of a boundless meadow of luxuriant pasture, interspersed with numerous clumps of trees, appearing at a distance like a continued wood, but gradually opening as he approached. These fertile plains are tenanted only by a few roving Bushmen; for so incessant and destructive are the wars carried on, even among the Boshuanas themselves, that they are obliged to concentrate in the immediate vicinity of their towns. Of these, the first they came to was Meribohwey, the capital of a chief named Tammahoo, where the warriors rushed forth to meet them dressed in the skins of wild beasts, painted red, and furiously brandishing their spears and battle-axes, rather an astounding welcome to the worthy missionaries, though it was found to be all meant in kindness. They came next to Mashow, beautifully situated on a hill surrounded by

a number of lesser eminences.

Within a circuit of

twenty miles there were twenty-nine villages, with an almost uninterrupted cultivation. The inhabitants are estimated at 10,000 or 12,000, and their houses and modes of life are somewhat superior to those of Lattakoo.

From Mashow Mr Campbell passed through a country continually improving in richness and beauty, and intersected by several streams that appeared to direct their course to the Indian Ocean. At length he reached Kureechane, which is thought entitled to the appellation of a city; and, at all events, its construction, and the arts practised in it, were decidedly superior to anything yet seen in Southern Africa. The natives smelted iron and copper in large clay furnaces; their houses were surrounded with good stone-enclosures; while the walls of mud were often painted, and moulded into pillars and other ornaments. Well-fashioned vessels of earthenware were used for holding their corn, milk, and other stores; and considerable ingenuity was shown in the preparation of skins. A certain extent of land, immediately round the town, was under cultivation, while a larger portion beyond was devoted to pasturage; but it was necessary that the cattle should every night be brought within the protection of the town.

At Kureechane Mr Campbell witnessed, on the largest scale, the peetso or African council, where the assembled chiefs act so extravagantly, yet speak with so much judgment, as makes it difficult to say whether they are sages or madmen. Even in their way to the meeting, these savages indulge in strange gambols, making immense leaps into the

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