Imatges de pÓgina

Abiad, the main stream of the Egyptian Nile. Prevalent as this belief is among the Arabs, late discoveries have proved it to be entirely erroneous; the river or rivers which water Houssa being wholly distinct from that great stream which flows through Bambarra and Timbuctoo.

Horneman, after remaining some time at Mourzouk, had resolved to join a caravan which was about to proceed southwards into the interior; when, observing that the cavalcade consisted almost wholly of black traders, any connexion or intercourse with whom was likely to afford him little favour in the eyes of the Moors, he was induced to forego this purpose, more especially as there was the greatest reason to apprehend obstruction in passing through the country of the Tuaricks, who were then at war with Fezzan. He was informed, besides, that caravans from Bornou occasionally terminated their journey at Mourzouk, again returning south; by which, at a future period and under more propitious circumstances, he hoped to have an opportunity of accomplishing his object. These considerations determined him to postpone his departure into the interior, resolving in the mean while, with the view of forwarding his despatches to the Association, to visit Tripoli; where, however, he did not arrive till the 19th August, 1799, having been detained a considerable time by sickness. After remaining in this city about three months, he again returned to Mourzouk; nor was it till the 6th April, 1800, that he departed thence for the southward, in company with two shereefs, or descendants of Mohammed, who had given him assurances of friendship and protection. His letters were filled with the most sanguine hopes of success. But the lapse of two years without any tidings threw a damp on the cheering expectations thus raised in the Association and the public. In September, 1803, a Fezzan merchant informed Mr. Nissen, the Danish consul at Tripoli, that Yussuph, as Horneman had chosen to designate himself, was seen alive and well on his way to Gondasch, with the intention of proceeding to the coast and of returning to Europe. Another Moorish merchant afterward informed Mr. M'Donough, British consul at Tripoli, that Yussuph was in safety at Kashna in June, 1803, and was there highly respected as a Mussulnan marabout or saint. Major Denham afterward learned that he had penetrated across Africa as far as Nyffe

on the Niger, where he fell a victim, not to any hostility on the part of the natives, but to disease and the climate. A young man was even met with, who professed to be his son, though there was some doubt as to the grounds of his claim to that character.

The Association, when their hopes from Horneman had failed, began to look round for other instruments; and there was still a number of active and daring spirits ready to brave the dangers with which this undertaking was surrounded. Mr. Nicholls, in 1804, repaired to Calabar, in the Gulf of Benin, with the view of penetrating into the interior by this route, which appeared shorter than any other. He was well received by the chiefs on that coast, but could not gain much intelligence respecting the Niger, being informed that most of the slaves came from the west, and that the navigation of the river, at no great distance, was interrupted by an immense waterfall, beyond which the surface of the country became very elevated. Unfortunately, of all the sickly climates of Africa this is perhaps the most pestilential; and Mr. Nicholls, even before he had commenced his journey fell a victim to the epidemic fever.

Another German, named Roentgen, recommended also by Professor Blumenbach, undertook to penetrate into the interior of Africa by the way of Morocco. He was described as possessing an unblemished character, ardent zeal in the cause, with great strength both of mind and body. Like Horneman, he made himself master of Arabic, and proposed to pass for a Mohammedan. Having, in 1809, arrived at Mogadore, he hired two guides, and set out to join the Soudan caravan. But his career was short indeed; for soon afterward his body was found at a little distance from the place whence he set out. No information could ever be obtained as to the particulars of his death; but it was, too probably, conjectured that his guides had murdered him with the view of seizing his property.

The public mind, meantime, continued fixed with intense interest on Africa, and every channel by which even the most imperfect information respecting it could be obtained was carefully examined. Much attention was at one time excited by tidings derived even from a foreign and rather doubtful source. The African coast from Morocco to the Senegal is singularly perilous, beset with numerous sand

banks, and without either port or shelter. On one of these banks the American ship Charles struck on the morning of 11th October, 1810, and was so surrounded by breakers as to leave no hope of escaping a total wreck. The sailors swam ashore, but soon after daybreak were attacked by a band of Moors, a race ever on the watch for plunder. The captain was killed, apparently in consequence of rash and violent behaviour; but the crew were taken prisoners, and divided among the captors. Adams, one of the sailors, according to his own statement, was carried to the border of Bambarra, where the Moors, who, by the practice of slavestealing, had roused the hostility of the natives, were surprised, made captive, and, after four days' confinement, marched to Timbuctoo. The companions of Adams, after being presented to the king, were thrown into prison; but he himself, being regarded as a curiosity, was retained in the palace, where he became a particular favourite of the queen, who used to sit gazing at him for hours. He remained there six months, well treated, and even caressed, when a party of Moorish traders arrived, ransomed their countrymen, and Adams along with them. The caravan reached Taudeny in thirteen days; after which it was obliged to march twenty-nine days over a tract of desert, where there was neither plant nor shrub, a blade of grass, nor a drop of water. Finding the spring dry, the prospect of which had sustained their hope, they gave way to the deepest despair; some perished, and the rest dispersed in search of water. Adams, having reached Ved Duleem, fell again under the power of the wild wanderers of the desert, and was carried from place to place, suffering extreme hardships; but at length he found, at Wedinoon, three of his old shipmates, who, like himself, were immediately libe rated by the humane interposition of M. Dupuis, British consul at Mogadore. He proceeded thence to London, in the view of obtaining a passage for America, and was found in the streets of that capital by a gentleman who took a deep interest in African affairs, and who communicated the fact to Mr. Cox, secretary to the Association. Adams was then strictly examined, and his statements taken down in writing; while M. Dupuis, the consul, who happened to be in London, confirmed the general fact of the shipwreck and captivity. Hence there appeared little room to doubt the

correctness of his relation. The remarks, however, of M. Graberg de Hemso, Swedish consul at Tripoli, lately given in the Foreign Review, seem to justify the suspicion that this narrative was in the main fictitious; that though Adams was cast ashore on the Sahara, it was in 1811 instead of 1810, as he asserted; that he never was south of Cape Blanco, and could not therefore have known Timbuctoo except by report. His real name, besides, was Benjamin Rose. At all events, he appears to have made diligent inquiries as to the state of the country; and his details, accordingly, as corrected by M. Dupuis, have enabled the public to form a pretty accurate opinion respecting Timbuctoo.

The picture drawn by him of this city was different from, and in many respects quite the reverse of, that hitherto presented to Europeans. There is said to exist nothing of that uncontrolled sway and fierce intolerance of the Moors, the belief of which was so strongly impressed upon Park. On the contrary, the king, and all his principal officers were negroes; the few religious ceremonies observed were pagan; and the Moors were allowed to enter the town only in small numbers, and under very rigid restrictions. This statement, which appeared at first improbable, has, however, been confirmed by subsequent accounts. The rumours that intolerance prevailed to such an extent in this seat of trade were, we may presume, exaggerated from the very first; but L'Hagi Mohammed, a resident at the well of Aroan, told M. Cahill of Rabat, that, subsequently to Mr. Park's first journey, the king of Bambarra had conquered Timbuctoo, and established there a negro government. This is confirmed by Mr. Jackson, and agrees also with the report which we shall find to be given by Riley. The description of that city, again, corresponded very little with the ideas formerly entertained of its pomp and splendour. The most spacious mansions could scarcely rank above huts, being composed of timber frames filled with earth, and only one story high; while the habitations of the lower orders were formed by putting together branches of trees, and covering them with mats made of the palmetto. Even the king's palace, or citadel, was represented as only a collection of apartments on the ground floor, enclosed by a mud wall. This, in fact, is an exact descrip

tion of all the African cities, where lofty structures of solid stone, in which consists the magnificence of European capitals, are totally unknown. The queen, immensely fat, was rather splendidly dressed in blue nankeen (the fine cotton cloth of the country dyed with indigo) edged with gold lace, and was lavishly ornamented with necklaces and earrings of gold. The inhabitants, like most negroes, were good-humoured, extremely gay, somewhat dissolute, and passionately fond of dancing, in which they spent great part of the night. Yet they had furious quarrels, in deciding which they employed, with desperation, not the fist only, but even the teeth. Slaves, the commodity always most eagerly sought after by the Moors, were procured by those marauding expeditions which are the disgrace and scourge of Central Africa. The citizens were accustomed to set out monthly in parties of from one to five hundred, and usually returned with a large supply. Slavery is, moreover, the punishment for all offences of great magnitude, though it is not very frequently inflicted.

James Riley, supercargo of the American brig Commerce, sailing from Gibraltar to the Cape de Verd Islands, found himself suddenly involved in fog and tempest. On the 28th August, 1815, the vessel ran aground in the neighbourhood of Cape Bojador. The crew, on landing, were assailed by a small band of armed natives, whose appearance indicated the utmost degree of poverty and ferocity. They began forthwith an indiscriminate plunder, emptied trunks, boxes, and casks, cut open the beds, and amused themselves with seeing the feathers fly before the wind. The sailors, in the mean while, were endeavouring to patch up their long-boat as a means of escape, but were greatly mortified, on the approach of dawn, to observe from their shattered wreck, on which they had passed a melancholy night, a much more numerous band of these merciless savages. By perfidious gestures addressed to the captain, whom they had recognised as commander, they now induced Mr. Riley to land; upon which they put their daggers to his breast. He contrived, however, by stratagem, to make his escape to the long-boat which was attached to the ship, when the crew immediately pushed out to sea, resolved to brave all the dangers of that element. Accordingly they worked a little way along the shore, incessantly employed in baling their crazy bark; but

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