Imatges de pàgina

Caillié left Timbuctoo on the 4th May, and in six days arrived at Aroan or Arouan, which he found rather a wellbuilt town of 3000 inhabitants, supported solely by the passage of the caravans from Barbary, and from the salt-mines of Taudeny, which usually halt here before and after passing the desert that extends to the northwards. The environs of Aroan are of the most desolate aspect, and all its provisions are drawn from Jenne by way of Timbuctoo. The neighbourhood does not afford an herb or a shrub, and the only fuel consists of the dried dung of camels. The springs of water, which alone render it habitable, are abundant, but of bad quality. The town also carries on a considerable trade in light goods directly with Sansanding and Yamina. Walet was mentioned as a great emporium, situated to the west-south-west, in a position somewhat different from that assigned by Park; but the data in both cases are very vague, and we do not see the slightest ground for M. Jomard's conjecture that there are two Walets.

Our traveller departed from Aroan on the 19th May, in company with a caravan of 120 camels laden with the productions of Soudan. He had the prospect of crossing a desert of ten days' journey, in which there was scarcely a drop of water. "Before us appeared a horizon without bounds, in which our eyes distinguished only an immense plain of burning sand, enveloped by a sky on fire. At this spectacle the camels raised long cries, and the slaves mournfully lifted their eyes to heaven." M. Caillié, however, departed in high spirits, animated by the idea of being the first European who should, from the southern side, have

becomes manifest in the line from Galia to the mouth of the Debo, 35 miles of which are stated to run north-east, without a single movement in a contrary direction; yet M. Jomard has manoeuvred to make the last position the most westerly of the two. If the route from Jenne to Timbuctoo lies as much to the northward as M. Caillie represents, where, indeed, he in some measure agrees with the delineation of D'Anville, it must be somewhat farther west than our maps place it, but not nearly so far as M. Jomard fixes it. In regard to the observation of latitude attempted by the traveller, M. Jomard's claims are indeed very moderate, since he merely argues, that in the absence of any other, this is not wholly to be neglected; yet even this seems too much, when he at the same time admits, that all the observations made by him in a similar manner are of no value whatever. Under these circumstances, we conceive that it would be premature to change, in our map, the position of Timbuctoo from that formerly fixed by Major Rennel

crossed this ocean of shingle. But his tone of feeling was soon lowered when he came to experience the sufferings arising from the intense heat, the blowing of the sand, and the scanty supply of water, which was allowed to the caravan only twice a-day leaving long intervals, during which the most tormenting thirst was endured. Some small wells, from which they had hoped for a little aid, were found dry; so that both men and animals were reduced to the last extremity, when they reached the copious springs of Telig, and relieved their thirst by repeated draughts.

During many succeeding marches, water again became scarce, and Caillié had much to suffer from the insult and neglect of his companions. El Drah, on the outer frontier of Morocco, was the first inhabited district; but it was poor, and occupied by inhospitable tribes of Moors and Berebbers. Turning somewhat eastward, they passed through the fine country of Tafilet, covered with noble woods of date-trees, and producing a valuable breed of sheep. They then crossed with labour a rugged limb of the Atlas, and arrived at Fez, whence the adventurer found his way, though in a somewhat poor plight, to Tangier. He arrived on the 18th August, 1828, and M. Delaporte, the vice-consul, received and forwarded him to France.


Western Africa.

THE whole coast of Western Africa within the tropics, forming a wide sweep around the Gulf of Guinea, has long been occupied by a chain of European forts, erected with a view to the commerce in gold, iron, and palm-oil, but above all in slaves; and since this last object has been finally abandoned by Great Britain, these stations have become to her of very secondary importance. The territory is in the possession of a number of petty states, many of which compose aristocratic republics, turbulent, restless, licentious, and generally rendered more depraved by their fre

quent intercourse with Europeans. The interior country, extending parallel to the great central chain of mountains, of which the principal branch is here called Kong, presents nothing of that desert and arid character which is stamped on so great a proportion of the African continent. The soil, copiously watered, is liable rather to an excessive luxuriance; but, where well managed, it is highly fruitful. There are found, too, in this tract, several very powerful kingdoms, better organized and more improved than any near the coast. They have not, however, the slightest tincture of European civilization; and their manners, in several important respects, are stained with habits and practices that belong to the very lowest stage of savage life.

Of these greater states the first to which Europeans penetrated was Dahomey, which had distinguished itself early in the last century by the conquest it then achieved of the flourishing kingdom of Whidah, on the slave-coast. The Dahomans committed the most horrible ravages that were ever witneszed,-reducing their country, the most fertile and beautiful then known in Western Africa, to almost utter desolation. As the king of Dahomey continued to hold sway over this province, Mr. Norris, in 1772, undertook a journey thither to observe the character and position of this extraordinary potentate, and to make arrangements for the benefit of the English trade. He passed through a fine country, abounding in the usual tropical productions, and rising by a gentle ascent about 150 miles inland to Abomey, the capital. He arrived at an appalling season, that of the annual customs, when the great men were assembled from every quarter of the kingdom; and he was truly astonished to see those fierce and warlike chieftains, whose very name spreads terror throughout Africa, prostrating themselves before the monarch, flat on the ground, and piling dust on their heads in token of the most abject submission. This homage is yielded, not from fear, but from a blind and idolatrous veneration, which makes them regard their king in the light of a superior being. In his name they rush to battle, and encounter their foes with Spartan intrepidity. One of them said to Mr. Norris, "I think of my king, and then I dare engage five of the enemy myself." He added, "My head belongs o the king, and not to myself; if he please to send for it, I

am ready to resign it; or if it be shot through in a battle, I am satisfied, since it is in his service." The main object contemplated in this national anniversary is, that the king may water the graves of his ancestors with the blood of human victims. These are numerous, consisting of prisoners taken in war, of condemned criminals, and of many seized by lawless violence. The captives are brought out in succession, with their arms pinioned; and a fetisheer, laying his hand upon the devoted head, utters a few magic words, while another from behind, with a large scimitar severs it from the body, when shouts of applause ascend from the surrounding multitude. At any time when the king has a message to convey to one of his deceased rela tions, he delivers it to one of his subjects, then strikes off his head, that he may carry it to the other world; and if any thing farther occurs to him after he has performed this ceremony, he delivers it to another messenger, whom he despatches in the same manner.

Another grand object of this periodical festival is the market for wives. All the unmarried females throughout the kingdom are esteemed the property of the sovereign, and are brought to the annual customs, to be placed at his disposal. He selects for himself such as appear most beautiful and engaging, and retails the others at enormous prices to his chiefs and nobles. No choice on this occasion is allowed to the purchaser; in return for his twenty thousand cowries, a wife is handed out, and, even be she old and ugly, he must rest contented; nay, some, it is said, have in mockery been presented with their own mothers. The king usually keeps his wives up to the number of three thousand, who serve him in various capacities,-being partly trained to act as a body-guard, regularly regimented, and equipped with drums, flags, bows and arrows, while a few carry muskets. They all reside in the palace, which consists merely of an immense assemblage of cane and mud tents, enclosed by a high wall. The sculls and jawbones of enemies slain in battle form the favourite ornament of the palaces and temples. The king's apartment is paved, and the walls and roof stuck over with these horrid trophies; and if a farther supply appears desirable, he announces to his general that "his house wants thatch," wnen a war for that purpose is immediately undertaken.


Mr. M'Leod, during his residence at Whidah, in 1803 found the country still groaning under the cruel effects of Dahoman tyranny. He particularly deplores the case of Sally Abson, daughter of the late English governor by a native female, who, trained in all European accomplishments, added to them the most engaging simplicity of manners. Suddenly, she disappeared, and Mr. M'Leod's eager inquiries were met by a mysterious silence; all hung down their heads, confused and terrified. At length an old domestic whispered to him that a party of the king's halfheads (as his messengers are termed) had carried her off in the night, to be enrolled among the number of his wives, and warned him of the danger of uttering a word of com plaint.

A more pleasing spectacle was presented to Messrs. Watt and Winterbottom, who, in 1794, ascended the Rio Nunez to Kakundy, and made an excursion to Foota Jallo, the principal state of the southern Foulahs. This people profess the Mohammedan religion, are orderly and well instructed, display skill in working mines of iron, and in carrying on the manufacture of cloth, leather, and other African fabrics. Caravans of 500 or 600 Foulahs were often met, carrying on their heads loads of 160 pounds weight. The article chiefly sought after is salt, which the children suck as ours do sugar; and it is common to describe a rich man by saying, he eats salt. The two principal towns, Laby and Teemboo, were found to contain respectively 5000 and 7000 inhabitants. The king could muster 16,000 troops, whom, unhappily, he employed in war, or at least hunts, against twenty-four pagan nations that surround his territory, chiefly with the view of procuring slaves for the market on the coast. When the travellers represented to him the iniquity of this course, he replied, "The people with whom we go to war never pray to God; we never go to war with people who pray to God Almighty." As they urged, that in a case of common humanity this ought to make no dis-. tinction, he quoted passages from the Koran commanding the faithful to make war on unbelievers. They took the liberty to insinuate that these might be interpolations of the Devil, but found it impossible to shake his reliance on their authenticity.

A more recent and memorable intercourse was that opened

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