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Introductory Observations-Crocodiles-Lizards - Chameleon - Ser-
MAP of Africa.....
To face the Titlepage
VIGNETTE-Caravan in the Desert.
Group of Figures-Chief, Jillemen or Native Musicians, and Gree
gree Man or Magician
Female Negro Dancer........
Tuarick on his Camel, with Male and Female Tibboo
Denham and Clapperton's Routes.....
Sultan of Bornou
Fishing in the River Yeou......
Bornou Horseman, Kanemboo Spearman, and Munga Bowman.... 157 Timbuctoo according to Caillié 195
Ashantee Warrior and Attendant
Negroes preparing the Manioc Root.........
Group of African Animals--In front, in the centre, the Rhinoceros;
DISCOVERY AND ADVENTURE
General View of the Natural Features of Africa.
BEFORE following the career of adventure and discovery in Africa, and viewing its kingdoms and regions under their varied aspects, it may be interesting to take a rapid survey of this continent in its original state, as it came from the hands of nature. Though immense, and abounding even with the most striking and surprising contrasts, yet, on a general view, a certain uniformity, approaching almost to monotony, appears to pervade it. From one end to the other, dreary wastes of almost boundless extent are spread over its surface, alternating with bright intervals of the most luxuriant vegetation. These arid tracts also have their borders embellished by shrubs and flowers tinted with the most brilliant hues; while a profusion of animal life in all its forms distinguishes the more temperate latitudes.
Africa, considered in relation to her place on the map, forms an extensive continent, situated nearly in the centre of the earth, and obstructing the great highway across the ocean. Her coasts form the chief barrier to a direct maritime intercourse between the distant extremities of the globe. To perform the vast circuit of her shores, and to round her stormy capes, has tried the courage and hardihood of the greatest navigators. Could Africa cease to exist, great facilities would be afforded to the communication between the other continents, and many new channels of commerce would be opened up. As she, however,
has an existence likely to be coeval with theirs, our concern is with her actual condition, presenting as it does many peculiar claims to interest in the eyes of the philosopher and politician.
The physical peculiarities which distinguish Africa seem to depend chiefly on the circumstance that almost her whole territory is situated within the tropics. The other portions of the earth's surface which lie directly beneath the solar influence consist genera either of sea, or of narrow and insular lands, refreshed by breezes from the ocean. But the greatest breadth of Africa is under the immediate power and dominion of the sun; and most of her people see that great planet, in its annual progress from tropic to tropic, pass twice over their heads, and thus experience a repetition of its most intense and perpendicular rays. The highest blessings of this sublunary world, when carried beyond a certain limit, become its deadliest bane. That parent orb, which cheers and illumines the rest of the earth, glares on Africa with oppressive and malignant beam, blasting the face of nature, and covering her with barrenness and desolation. Sometimes it converts the soil into a naked desert, sometimes overspreads it with a noxious excess of animal and vegetable life. The soil, when not watered by copious rains or river inundations, is scorched and dried up till it is converted into a dreary waste. Hence it is, that in Africa plains of sand form a feature so truly alarming. The Great Desert, with the exception of the narrow valley of the Nile, reaches across the entire continent, exhibiting an expanse of burning surface, where for many days the traveller finds not a drop of water, nor sees the least vestige of animal or vegetable nature. He pursues his dreary route amid loose hills, continually shifting, and leaving no marks to guide his course. Every breeze is filled with dust, which enters the mouth and nostrils, and penetrates between the clothes and skin. Sometimes it drives along in clouds and whirlwinds, beneath which it was once thought that caravans and even armies had been buried; but it is now ascertained that the numerous bones which whiten the desert are merely those of travellers who have sunk under famine, thirst, and fatigue; and that the sand, which continually blows, has accumulated above them. Travellers over these tracts of shingle have been impressed with