Imatges de pÓgina

as the leaks increased, while provisions and water failed, Riley and his men came to the conclusion, that by remaining at sea they must perish, and on land they could do no more. They retouched the coast near Cape Barbas on the 8th September, but finding it to consist of perpendicular rocks, they walked four miles, and finally clambered up broken fragments, almost at the risk of life, ere they could reach the summit. But what a scene was there presented! Before them extended an immeasurable plain, without a shrub, plant, or a blade of grass; nothing that even for a moment could support human life. They fell to the ground, exclaiming, “ 'Tis enough!-here we must breathe our last!” From such utter despair even the horrors of African bondage appeared almost a deliverance. Towards evening a light was descried gleaming along the waste, indicating that they were in the neighbourhood of a band of these marauders. Having waited till morning they approached the camp, and prostrated themselves in a suppliant attitude. The Arabs uttered a furious yell, and immediately engaged in a violent contest for the living booty thus unexpectedly presented. This dispute ended in a division of the sailors among the barbarians, by whom the captives were hurried in different directions into the interior of the wilderness. The sufferings of Riley were so extreme as made him almost regret the life which he had saved, till he met Sidi Hamet, a respectable caravan-merchant, who, in bargaining for his person, showed much sympathy for his situation, and undertook to conduct him to Mogadore, provided he were made sure of a good ransom. The American soon had the satisfaction of seeing two blankets, a cotton robe, and a bundle of ostrich feathers paid as the price of his liberty. He prevailed on the Mussulman also to purchase his companions; after which they set out together to cross the Desert with their master and deliverer. They had a very painful journey to perform, riding with the utmost rapidity on the naked backs of camels, over hills of loose sand, while the air was filled with tempests of drift. Food and water being moreover very scanty, they were reduced almost to the condition of skeletons, and Riley declares that he did not ultimately weigh above ninety pounds. His mind also was oppressed with much anxiety, as Sidi Hamet, with all his humanity, gave notice from time to time, that, should his expectations as to the ransom fail, he would cut all their throats. Having procured, therefore, a reed and some black liquid, Riley wrote a pathetic representation of his sufferings, addressed generally to the consuls or to any Christians who might happen to be resident at Mogadore. After eight days of dreadful suspense, a letter arrived. His emotion was too great to allow him to read it; but one of his companions found it to be from Mr. Willshire, the English consul, expressed in the most sympathizing terms, and with an assurance that the ransom would be provided. This was faithfully performed; and a hospitable reception at Mogadore soon restored Riley to health and to his former dimensions.

The most interesting part of the intelligence, however, obtained on this occasion, was that communicated to Riley by Sidi Hamet, concerning his own journeys and adventures. He had accompanied a caravan to Timbuctoo, and after much exertion and suffering had arrived at the banks of the Gozen Zair, which, running eastward through Soudan, falls into the Niger. He followed its current till he reached the capital just named, which, like Adams, he described as being entirely ruled and possessed by negroes ; though a smaller town, separated by a strong wall, was assigned to the Moors, who were only allowed to enter the principal city by fifties at a time. He represents Timbuctoo, on the whole, as being larger and handsomer than it had appeared to his countryman. The shegar, or king, happened to send a caravan southward to the city of Wassanah, which Sidi Hamet resolved to accompany. A ride of two hours brought the travellers to the banks of the Zolibib (Joliba of Park, and our Niger). Its course for six days was nearly due east, when it turned to the south-east, and continued to flow in that direction during the remainder of their journey. At length, after travelling in all about sixty days, they arrived at Wassanah, which appeared to Sidi Hamet a city twice as large as Timbuctoo. The inhabitants were pagans, but honest, hospitable, and kindhearted. Oleebo, the king, lived in a large and lofty palace, had 150 wives, 10,000 slaves, and a very large army But the chief interest was excited by a report received from the king's brother, of expeditions which were sent down the river, consisting of numerous boats with large cargoes

of slaves. They were described as sailing two months, first south and then west, till they came to the great water, where they met pale people with large boats, and guns which made a noise like thunder. This relation was eagerly embraced as favouring the supposition of the Niger being the same river with the Congo or Zaire ; and it may even be adduced to support the hypothesis which now identifies it with the river of Benin. The south-east and southerly course assigned to the Niger, as well as the assertion that it flowed among rocks and formed cataracts, having been since found to be correct, though contrary to the ideas then prevalent in Europe, are facts which afford reasonable ground to believe that this journey was not altogether a romance. It is not easy, however, to conjecture what was the city described by Sidi Hamet under the name of Wassanah.


Government ExpeditionsTuckey, Campbell, Laing, Gray,

Ritchie, and Lyon.

The fate of Park, notwithstanding the deep regret which it had excited in England and in Europe, presented nothing which could destroy the hope of future success. The chief cause of failure could be easily traced to the precipitation into which he had been betrayed by a too ardent enthusiasm. Nothing had even been discovered adverse to the hypothesis which identifies the Niger with the Congo, and which still retained a strong hold on the public mind. The views of government and of the nation on this subject were entirely in unison. It was therefore determined that an expedition on a great scale should be fitted out, divided into two portions one to descend the Niger, and the other to ascend the Congo; which two parties, it was fondly hoped, would effect a triumphant meeting in the middle of the great stream that they were sent to explore. The public loudly applauded this resolution; and never, perhaps, did a military or naval armament, by which the most splendid victories were expected to be achieved, excite a deeper interest than this, which seemed destined to triumph over the darkness that had so long enveloped the vast interior of the African continent.

The expedition to the Congo was intrusted to Captain Tuckey, an officer of merit and varied services, and who had published several works connected with geography and navigation. Besides a crew of about fifty individuals, including marines and mechanics, he was accompanied by Mr. Smith, an eminent botanist, who likewise possessed some knowledge of geology ; Mr. Cranch, a self-taught but able zoologist; Mr. Tudor, a good comparative anatomist; Mr. Lockhart, a gardener from Kew; and Mr. Galwey, an intelligent person who volunteered to join the party. They sailed from Deptford on the 16th February, 1816, and reached Malemba on the 30th June, where they met with a most cordial reception from the mafook, or king's merchant, in the belief that they were come to make up a cargo of slaves. The chiefs, on being reluctantly convinced of the contrary, burst into the most furious invectives against the crowned heads of Europe, particularly our own most gracious sovereign, whom they denominated “the Devil,” imputing chiefly to him the stop put to this odious but lucrative traffic. A few days thereafter brought the English into the channel of the Congo; which, to their great surprise, instead of exhibiting the stupendous magnitude they had been taught to expect, scarcely appeared a river of the second class. The stream, it is true, was then at the lowest, but the depth being still more than 150 fathoms, made it impossible to estimate the mass of water which its channel might convey to the ocean.

The banks were swampy, overgrown with mangrove trees; and the deep silence and repose of these immense forests made a solemn impression upon the mind. At Embomma, the emporium of the Congo, much interest was excited by the discovery that a negro officiating as cook's mate was a prince of the blood. He was welcomed with rapture by his father, and with a general rejoicing by the whole village. The young savage was soon arrayed in full African pomp, having or an embroidered coat very much tarnished, a silk sash, and a black glazed-hat, surmounted by an enormous feathe


Captain Tuckey was introduced to the chenoo, who, with his huge gilt buttons, stockings of pink sarsenet, red halfboots, and high-crowned embroidered hat, reminded him of punch in a puppet-show. It was vain to attempt to convey to this sage prince any idea of the objects of the expedition. The terms which express science and an enlightened curiosity did not excite in his mind a single idea, and he rang continual changes on the questions, “ Are you come to trade ?" and " Are you come to make war?”–unable to conjecture any other motive. At length, having received a solemn declaration that there was no intention to make war, he sealed peace by the acceptance of a large present of brandy.

After sailing between ridges of high rocky hills, the expedition came to the Yellala, or Great Cataract ; and here they met with a second disappointment. Instead of another Niagara, which general report had led them to expect, they saw only “a comparative brook bubbling over its stony bed.” The fall appears to be occasioned merely by masses of granite, fragments of which have fallen down and blocked up the stream. Yet this obstruction rendered it quite impossible for the boats to pass; nor could they be carried across the precipices and deep ravines by which the country was intersected. The discoverers were therefore obliged to proceed by land through this difficult region, which, without a guide on whom they could rely, was attended with overwhelming toil. Cooloo, Inga, and Mavoonda, the principal villages, were separated by wide intervals, which placed the travellers under the necessity of often sleeping in the open air. At length the country began to improve and become more level, the river to widen, while the obstacles to its navigation gradually disappeared. But just as the voyage began to assume a prosperous aspect, indications of its fatal termination were already perceptible. The health of the party was rapidly giving way under the effects of fatigue, as well as the alignant influence of a damp and burning atmosphere. Tudor, Cranch, and Galwey were successively obliged to return to the ship. Captain Tuckey, after struggling for some time against the increasing pressure of disease and exhaustion, as well as the accumulating difficulties of the undertaking, saw the necessity of putting a stop to the farther progress of the expedition. Mr. Smith at first expressed deep disappointment at this resolution,

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