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NATIVES

'lIlF.

HISTORY
OF

AFRICA.

BY THE AUTHOR 0!

CONVERSATIONS ON CHRONOLOGY.

HENRY COLBURN AND RIC!.IARD_BENTLEY,


NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

KT.

C. Whiting,
Beaufort House, Strand.

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CONTENTS.
Page
CHAPTER I .

Introduction

CHAPTER. rr.
Description of Northern Africa.-States of Barbary

11

CHAPTER III.

Description of Northern Africa.Countries border


ing on the Nile.Lower and Middle Egypt; the
Libyan Deserts and their Oases
.
.

35

CIIAPTI-LR IV

Countries bordering on the Nile.Upper Egypt,


Nubia, and Abyssinia
.
.
.
.
. 55
CHAPTER V.

Description of Central Africa.Senegambia.='East-.


ern and Western Nigritia
.- .
. . .
.

67

CHAPTER. VI.

Sierra Leone.-Country of the Ashantees, and Up


per Guinea
.
.
..
.
.
.
.

84

CHAPTER VII

Wangara. and Congo .

. 94

CHAPTER VIII.

Description of Southern Africa.--The Cape of Good


Hope.Cararia.The Southern Desert.-Mo

zambique.The Eastern Coast

102

Manners, Customs, Religions, and Languages of


Northern Africa.--Countries bordering on the Nile

117

CHAPTER. IX.

iv

" corrrrurs.
Page
CHAPTER

X.

Manners, Customs, Religions, and Forms of G0


vernment of the Inhabitants of Northern Africa.-
The States of Barbary
.
.
.
.
.

139

CIIAPTER XI.

Manners, Customs, Religions, and Forms of Go


vernment of the Inhabitants of Central Africa

161

CHAPTER XII.
Manners, Customs, Religion, and Commerce of the
Inhabitants of Southern Africa.
.
.

175

CHAPTER XIII

Natural History of Africa

185

CHAPTER XIV.
Civil History of Northern Africa.Egypt, to the Era

of the Ptolemies

216

CHAPTER Xv.
Egypt, from the Era of the Ptoleinies, to its becom
ing a Roman Province

226

CHAPTER XVI.
Egypt, from its Conquest by Rome to the present
Time.Abyssinia

CHAPTER. XVII.
States of Barbary
.
.
.

CHAPTER XVIII.
Inland and Maritime Discoveries in Africa.

238

' . 258

277

286

CHAPTER XIX.
European Settlements in Africa

PREFACE.
.____?

Ir is the design of this small volume to com


municate to its readers a general outline of the

history, geography, and principal features, whe


ther moral, natural, or physical, of an entire

Quarter of the Earth. To compress the informa


tion contained in a multitude of standard pub
lications, of ancient and modern authors, within
so limited a compass, was no easy task; and while

we refer to this difficulty as our excuse for any


omissions, we, at the same time, condently
claim the credit of laying before the youth of
both sexes so valuable an Epitome of the annals
of Africa, from the earliest known records to the

present period, as will afford them a clear and


comprehensive view of all its past revolutions, as
well as of its actual condition.
As this, the Third Volume of the JUVENILE
LIBRARY, has been somewhat retarded in its ap
pearance, we take the occasion to state, that the

vi

PREFACE.

delay has arisen from two causes; rst, the desire


' to improve the text; and secondly, the impossi

bility of nishing the embellishments, which, it

may readily be perceived, are above the ordinary


character aimed at by the most liberally illus
trated works of this class.
In the former of these objects, we trust, we

have succeeded; not only for the sake of that


portion of the public to whom our page is ad
dressed, but because it was due to our under

taking to avoid even the trivial errors which, per


haps, too much haste admitted to enter into the
rst editions of the preceding volumes; errors

which, though corrected in subsequent impres


sions, have not failed to provoke the scurrility

of hostile criticism.
Our best answer to such
censure (if notice it deserve) will be to render our
future volumes yet more worthy of approbation;

and we can assure the candid and impartial, that


writers of great and acknowledged abilities are
employed upon them, and that no pains will be
spared in making them as correct in their slightest

points, as interesting and instructive in their


whole tenour and bearings.
With regard to the engravings, considering
Egypt the cradle of the human race, and her

rnnracn.

'vii

monuments at this moment the chief historical


and antiquarian attraction to the learned of Eu
rope, we have selected our illustrations from the
striking and picturesque remains of that ex

traordinary country. They are perfectly original,


and would, we are free to assert, do credit to an
expensive quarto.

In one, we present a view of

the palm-covered village of Mit-rahynh, all that


now remains of the once-glorious city of Memphis ;
in another, Messaborah, is seen the Necropolis

of the Ammonians, the mighty burial-place of the


powerful descendants of Ham.

A third affords

a perfect idea of the interior of one of these cele

brated catacombs which are found among the

tombs of Memphis, with its painted gures and


memorable representations of objects familiar to
the ancient world: and the fourth is a faithful
specimen of the costume, &c. of the modern in
habitants of Egypt.
The woodcuts, also, deserve notice.
No. 1 is
the signet-ring of one of the greatest of the Pha
raohs ; for we gather from its prex and inscrip
tion, that it is the seal of Thothmosis Moeris, the
twelfth Pharaoh; with whose reign commences
all the most splendid monuments, the ruins of

which yet tell of the prodigious power and gran

viii

PREFACE.

deur of these deied kings. We regret that our


acquaintance with hieroglyphical lore does not
enable us to explain the other curious seal, No. 3;
No. 2 is the form of a harp, from a painting in

the grotto of Beni-Hassan, the most ancient, we


believe, that has ever been engraved. In the
group to which it belongs, it is played upon by a
female; before her is another female listening,

and behind her a third suckling a child. Such


were the habits of the people of a country highly
civilized and cultivated about four thousand
years ago!

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Jun. ID.

HISTORY OF _AFRICA.

CHAP.

I.

INTRODUCTION.

Arman, though inferior in moral and poli


tical importance to the other quarters of the
globe, has yet much to interest the philosopher,
and to supply materials for the pen of the histo
rian. Except in its northern provinces it was
but little known

to

the ancients;

and the

striking changes those countries have experi


enced abrd an impressive lesson of the insta
bility of earthly greatness. In the earliest times
(since the deluge,) of which we have any record,
Egypt was the chosen seat of the arts and sciences,
and the learning of its wise men had become pro
verbial amongst nations. It was the theatre of
many remarkable events, both in sacred and
profane history; and when we contemplate its

present staterecollections of its ancient power,


and the magnicence of its cities; of its st
pendous monuments, and the astonishing fertility
of its soil; of its immense population, and the

/3

mrnonucrxon.

equity of the laws by which that mass of human


beings was governed, crowd upon the mind, and
each, in turn, excites admiration of its former

greatness, and regret at its present humiliation.


That humiliation is indeed most complete: a few
ignorant and semibarbarous Arabs, with their
Turkish masters, occupy the place of the numer
ous and polished inhabitants of Mizraim. Thebes

is become a mere heap of ruins, the site of He


liopolis is marked only by a single obelisk, and
a paltry village is all that now remains of the
ancient Memphis. The glory of Egypt has de
parted: its statues lie mutilated in the dust, the
sand of the desert lls its spacious temples, and
their solemn silence is only broken by the echoing

tread of the inquisitive sojourner, whocomes to


speculate upon their ruins!
.
Amidst this scene of desolation, however, the
great pyramids stand nearly in their original state,

as if spared to mock the curiosity of man; for


though innumerable travellers have visited" them,
and explored many of their passages, we do not

even know with certainty either the uses for


which they were designed, or the era when they
were built; each hypothesis that has been started
respecting them, seeming to hold good only till
supplanted by another, and all in turn being
liable to insurmountable objections. But these
stupendous monuments themselves, whilst learned
men are yet perplexing themselves with fresh con
jectures as to their origin, are gradually crumbling
.to decay ; the encroaching sands are slowly rising
round their base; and the years may come in which
they shall be heaps of ruin.

m.rnomrcrron,

From the fate of Egypt, the other portions of


ancient Africa have not escaped: Mauritania,
Numidia, Cyrene, and Libya, names endeared by
a thousand classical associations,have now merged
into .the states of Barbary; and the splendours of
Carthage and Utica are lost in the .barbarism of
modern Tunis.
The interior of Africa was almost unknown to
the ancients; the great deserts formed a barrier
which was rarely passed, and the extensive re
gions lying beyond were considered by the
Greeks and Romans as a species of fairy-land,
of which the wildest stories might be told with
out any danger of their exceeding the bounds
of belief. Extraordinary animals, enormous birds,
and beings more resembling demons than men,
were said to inhabit this vast territor , which was
also supposed to contain the magical gardens of
the Hesperides, and the happy Islands of the Blest.
The obscurity which has hung over the interior
of Africa for so many ages, appears remarkable,
when we remember that the spirit of discovery
has now been directed towards it for nearly four
thousand years (viz., from the reign of Necho to
the present time), without producing any satis
factory results; and that, notwithstanding the
attention it has so long excited amongst men of
learning and talent, and the many valuable lives
which have been lost in attempting to explore its
mysteries, we are still ignorant of many of its
kingdoms, the sources of several of its rivers
continue uncertain, and the very existence of one

of its principal cities is to this day a subject of

dispute.

But this mystery, strange as it seems


B 2

Inrnobucrro.

at rst, may be easily accounted for, when


we recollect that the coast of Africa, notwith
standing its immense extent, presents many
obstacles to the progress of discovery; its har
bours and roadsteads being unsafe, the navi
gation of its rivers interrupted by sandbanks
and cataracts, and its gulfs dreaded even by
experienced mariners. The interior of the coun
try, comprising an area of more than thirteen
millions of square miles, though occasionally of

extraordinary fertility, is generally either marshy


or composed of dry shifting sands, which it is
impossible to cultivate; and its inhabitants are
chiey ferocious and uncivilized.
Under such circumstances, it is not surprising
that our knowledge of this vast continent should
be limited, or that the accounts of travellers
respecting it should often appear greatly exag
gerated. The minds of men are naturally prone
to the marvellous; and every one is so desirous
to heighten the dangers he has himself under
gone, or magnify the wonders he alone has seen,
that very few writers, on a country so little known
as Africa, have suicient self-command to con

ne themselves to a plain, unvarnished tale;


and their stories being adopted without sufficient
examination by others, truth soon becomes so
entangled with ction, that it is difcult to se
parate them. In all things depending on oral
testimony, a multitude of witnesses is consi
dered to prove the matter under discussion be
yond the possibility of doubt; but this is not the

case with books: writers often copy from each


other, without giving themselves the trouble to

mrnonucrron.

examine the probability of what they write; and


errors (sometimes even of the press) are thus
transmitted from generation to generation. The
present age, however, is too well educated to
submit any longer to be led blindfold; people
will now see and judge for themselves; the spi
rit of Inquiry is roused, and stalks forth with

prying eyes from land to land, determined that


nothing shall escape her investigation: yet, as it
is the common fault of human nature to run always
into extremes, it is necessary, in avoiding an ex

cess of credulity, to guard against the danger of


falling into scepticism. Many things may seem
ctitious, solely because they happen to be quite
new to us, and contrary to our preconceived no
tions; whilst we may believe others, though
false, from their accordance with our previous
opinions. In Africa especially, all nature ap
pears under an aspect so different from that
which she wears in Europe, that we shall be
unable to reconcile ourselves to the wonders which
are every where presented to view, unless we con
stantly keep in mind the various peculiarities of
the country.
One of the most striking characteristics of
Africa is the deserts, and nothing can be more
desolate than the appearance presented by them.
They have generally a at and uniform surface,
only chequered by moving hills of sand, which,

like the billows of the mighty ocean, are raised


one instant and levelled again the next, by sud

den bursts of wind. Few trees diversify the


scene, save here and there a miserable and stunted

thorn, withering under a scorching sun and un

INTRODUCTION.

clouded sky of intense and dazzling blue.

No

cooling breezes can ever visit it; for the earth


resembles a vast sheet of heated metal; and the
winds which sweep over it are like blasts from
a burning furnace. The effect of these winds

can scarcely be conceived by the inhabitants of


a temperate clime. They come in violent gusts
from the mountains; piercing, though hot, and
loaded with sand so ne as to be almost imper
ceptible, but which penetrates into every cre

vice. Sometimes they rage with the fury of a


tornado; bending the loftiest palms like reeds,
and rolling the sand before them in mighty co
lumns, overwhelming the whole country through
which they pass.
The fruitful districts of Africa are much less in
extent than the uncultivated regions; which has

led some writers to conclude that they were once


actually islands, and that the great desert was oc
casionally covered by the sea. The supporters
of this
opinion
assert thatare
thefoundvin
sand is still
and
that
marine
productions
the salt,
few cal
careous elevations which are scattered over its
surface. Their fecundity is beyond descrip
tion: many portions of the soil bear three har
vests in the year; and, in the neighbourhood of the

Cape of Good Hope, several hundreds of different


kinds of plants, unknown elsewhere, spring spon
taneously in an incredibly small space. Amongst
the rest, are above three hundred different spe
cies of erica, including at least three-fourths of
all the heaths with which botanists are yet ac
quainted. The boabab, doum palm, and va
rious species of cacti, acacias, and mimosas,

mrnonucrion.

are found in great abundance in Senegambia


and on the borders of the deserts; particularly
in the oases, the astonishing fertility of which
is, by some, supposed to have induced the
ancients to call them the Islands of the Blest;

though they add, that this hypothesis explains


satisfactorily the Atlantic Island of Plato, since
the countries round Mount Atlas thus formed
one real island ; 'whilst others fancy this desert
to have been the great inland sea mentioned by
Diodorus and Leo Africanus, and said to have

been dried up by an earthquake. Without, how


ever, resorting to either of these hypotheses, which
appear much more fanciful than correct, the
comparison of the oases of the great desert to
islands, seems suiciently obvious to strike

every one, even in their present state: the


exaggerated descriptions which the ancients give

of their beauty, is also easily accounted for,


when we recollect, that the only travellers who
visited them in the early ages were hunters,

led by the pursuit of their game into. the


deserts, to whose casual observation and excited

feelings, almost any place where they could ob


tain rest and refreshment would naturally seem an
enchanted region. The notions of ancient authors
respecting the oases generally, however, are very
incorrect; and seem evidently to apply only to
those of the Great Desert; for Strabo describes

them as resembling the spots upon a leopard;


an expression which conveys an idea that they
are separate and scattered over the whole face

of the country, instead of being gathered to


gether in clusters of many miles in circum

mrnonucrron.

ference, as is the case at least with the oases of


the deserts of Libya.

The other peculiarities relating to the surface of


the country in continental Africa, are, the periodi

cal inundations of the rivers; the curious forma


tion of the mountains, which rise to a stupendous
height in terraces, with large tracts of table-land
on each ledge; the oating islands; the natron
and salt-water lakes; and the extraordinary na

tureof the sand,which sometimes rises incolumns


into the air, and bursts with the fury of a water
spout, overwhelming all beneath, and lling up
the courses of rivers, and the beds of lakes, instead
of water.
The varieties of thehuman race in Africa are
not less surprising than the wonders of inanimate
nature.

The Negroes, the Hottentots, and the

Bushmen, are each different from all other races


of human beings with which we are acquainted,
not only in their colour and outward appearance,
but in many respects in their physical organiza
tion. The accounts of travellers also give us
reason to suppose that other tribes, equally
strange in their persons and habits, reside both in

the interior of the country and upon the coast.


Herodotus relates wonderful stories of the Ich
thyophagi, or sh-eaters; and the Troglodytae,
or the livers in caves, who resided towards the
east; and other ancient writers mention tribes of
locust-eaters, &c., several of whom may be traced

in the African nations of the present day. Birds,


beasts, and insects of kinds unknown in any other
country, are also found in Africa: the brilliant
amingo, the egret, and innite varieties of

mrnonocrron.

cranes, ' the most beautiful of the paroquets,


the ibis, the pelican, and the stupendous ostrich,
are the principal varieties of the feathered tribes;
whilst the rhinoceros, hippopotamus, zebra, and
giraffe, mark the same difference in quadrupeds.
The camels are the ships of the desert ; and the
gnou, and a variety of antelopes, are remarkable
for their swiftness. The African lions, tigers, and
hyenas, are larger and more ferocious than those
found in other climates. The elephant is smaller,

but more active and intelligent; the leopards and


panthers are remarkably beautiful; and the Bar
bary horse, the Cape buffalo, the Senegal mule,
and the African gazelle, are each peculiarly ne
specimens of their respective species. The ying
galley, and gold sh, inhabit the seas; and the
serpents in partiuisr, are so large and numerous
in the interior, that the ancients called the de
serts of Africa, the Region of Serpents. The in
sect tribes are also both numerous and exces
sively venomous.

The termites, or white ants,

are of enormous size and rapacity; and some


kinds of locusts and scarabaei are peculiar to the
country; while ichneumons, crocodiles, and va

rious different kinds of lizards, are found in all


the rivers and marshes.

In the following pages, it will be attempted to


present a short summary of all that is known re
specting Africa, from the earliest ages to the pre
sent time. It must necessarily be brief, and may,
in some instances, be imperfect; but every en
deavour has been made to avoid the omission of

any fact of importance. It is intended, rst,


to give a sketch of the topographical details of the

10

mrnonucrrox .

whole peninsula, and of the islands; to trace the

courses of the rivers as far as they are known; to


enumerate the mountains and lakes; and shortly
to describe those countries with which we are ac
quainted. The remainder of the volume will
consist of the natural history, progress of the arts
and sciences, languages, inhabitants, manners
and customs, European settlements and commerce,

with a compend of the historical events of which


Africa has been the theatre, and an analysis of
the voyages and travels undertaken to explore its
mysteries.

CHAPTER II.
.
DESCRIPTION OF NORTHERN AFRICA.STATES OF

BARBARY

Armcx is an immense peninsula, ve thousand '

miles in length from north to south, and about


four thousand six hundred from east to west in
its broadest part, though it tapers nearly to a

point at the southern extremity. As it extends


from the thirty-seventh degree of north to the
thirty-fourth degree of south latitude, and from
the seventeenth degree of west to the fty-rst

degree of east longitude, it includes the whole of


the torrid zone, for a space equal to about seventy
degrees from east to west, and a great part of its

interior is thus exposed to the rays of a vertical


sun; the heat of which is rendered more intense
from the country being totally without the shelter
of forests, or the aid of any large body of water,
to assist in cooling the air ;-the lakes and rivers

hitherto discovered bearing but a very small pro


portion to the immense extent of land.
The natural boundaries of Africa are, the Me

diterranean on the north, the Atlantic Ocean on


the south and west, and the Red Sea on the east~
the peninsula being joined to the mainland of
Asia (between the Mediterranean and Red Seas),

by the isthmus of Suez.

A long chain of moun

12

mzscnrrrron or

tains, though occasionally broken, traverses the


country nearly from east to west, and only the
north of this line was known to the ancients.
Herodotus makes Africa to consist of three parts:
the inhabited districts, which include Cyrene, Li

bya, and the parts surrounding Carthage ;the


region of wild beasts, now called Bilud-el-Jerid;

--and Africa Deserta, or the region of sand,which

comprises all the country lying beyond.

He

indeed speaks of the whole world as being divi


ded into Europe, Libya, and Asia; and only he
sitates as to which of the two latter ought properly
to include Egypt. The provinces south of the
equator are never mentioned either by him or by
any other ancient writer; and there can be but

little doubt that, for many ages after his time,


the continent of Africa was supposed not to ex
tend beyond the Mountains of the Moon. It is
true that the Phoenicians, sent by Necho, and

some other adventurers (of whom we shall speak


more at length hereafter), appear to have reached
the Cape of Good Hope, and perhaps doubled it:

but their accounts obtained very little credit from


the philosophers of the day; for the circum
stance, which they related, of the stars ap
pearing changed when they had passed the line,
was a wonder too great for even the marvel
loving Herodotus to swallow; and the same
people who believed the most ridiculous stories
without the slightest hesitation, shook their heads
incredulously at a statement which was strictly
true, merely because it did not accord with their
previous information.

The present division of Africa is also into

iwonrnzniv AFRICA.

13

three portions; and, though they comprise a


much greater extent of country than those of
Herodotus, are scarcely less vague. They are,
Northern or Moorish Africa, Central Africa,

or the country of the Negroes, and Southern


Africa, including the kingdoms of the Caffres
and Hottentots, and the European settlements at
the Cape of Good Hope. Northern Africa is

subdivided into the States of Barbary, and the


countries bordering on the Nile;Central Africa

consists of Eastern and Western Nigritia, Sene


gambia, and Upper and Lower Guinea ;and
Southern Africa, of the European settlements at

the Cape, the nations of the Caires, the Bush


men, and the Hottentots, and those towards the
straits of Mozambique.
The States of Barbary are, Morocco, the an
cient Mauritania; Algiers, formerly Numidia;

Tunis and Tripoli, once Africa Proper, or the ter


ritory of Carthage; Fezzan and Barca, the an
cient Cyrene; and Zahara, or the Great Desert.

The inhabited States of Barbary, which include


the ancient Numidia, Carthage, Mauritania, and

Cyrene, are shut out from the rest of Africa by a


kind of natural barrier, consisting of the moun
tains of Atlas, and Bilud-el-Jerid, or the Region of
Dates. This country, though covered with palm

trees, as its name imports, has nevertheless such an


arid soil, and is so much exposed to the scorch
ing winds of the desert, that it is almost impass
able:

with the Atlas mountains, it forms a

double belt, as though to separate the inhabited


country from the burning sands which lie beyond.

It is a mighty bar placed by the hand of nature,

I4

DESCRIPTION or

which seems to say, Thus far shall man go, but


no farther: all beyond is destined never to sub
mit to his sway; and when he ventures to penetrate
into its mysteries, his life must pay the forfeit of
his temerity.
Mount Atlas was called by Homer and He
rodotus one of the pillars of heaven; and Virgil
describes it as a hero changed into a _rock,

who bears the whole weight of " the heavens

upon his shoulders: he says, the head of Atlas


is crowned with pines, and girt with storms;
a mantle of snow is thrown over his ample
shoulders, and torrents stream down his hoary
head.

The descriptions of the poets, however,

convey but an inadequate idea of the range of


lofty hills to which they allude. There are two
distinct chains, each extending many miles : that
adjoining the desert is called the Great Atlas;
and the other l ing towards the Mediterranean is
named the Litt e Chain. Both run east and west,
and are connected by smaller mountains leading
north and south. The Great and Little Atlas are
mentioned by Ptolemy; but the account he gives
of them is so much at variance with that of mo
dern travellers, as to create a doubt whether the
mountains of Barbary are the same Atlas as that
of which he speaks. Ideler, a learned German,
asserts, that the ancients alluded to the Peak of
Teneriffe; and has written a long dissertation

to prove that the Gardens of the Hesperides,


and the Fortunate Islands, were the Canaries:
but his arguments have very little probability
to support them. With regard to the mountains

lAt1as being always spoken of by the ancients

nonrnrnn AFRICA.

15

in the singular number, Malte-Brun supposes


the reason to be, the optical illusion, noticed by
Humboldt, which gives to a chain of hills seen
in prole, the appearance of a narrow peak.
These mountains are composed generally of a
stratum of calcarious earth, mingled with shells,
above which are beds of soft carbonate of lime,

resembling whitening: it is fusible, and in it


is imbedded a quantity of lamellar calcarious
spar. Above, and apparently extending to the
summit, is ne marble.

This formation varies of

course in different parts of so long a range. Jas

per and porphyry are frequently found; and the


mountains near Algiers and Tunis are said to
contain mines of gold and silver, as well as of iron
and lead, the latter of which have been worked.

The beautiful yellow marble of Numidia, to which


the Romans were so partial, was brought from
Mount Atlas. The western part of the range is
still imperfectly known; no European having as
yet succeeded in reaching the top, and all at
tempts at geological investigation being construed,
by the jealousy and ignorance of the Moors, into
researches after hidden treasures, and of course

prevented.
The height of the Atlas mountains, in their
loftiest part, has been calculated to be twelve
thousand feet above the level of the sea; but it is

very diicult to ascertain their real elevation, as,


like most of the mountains of Africa, they rise in a
succession of terraces, one above another, inter

spersed with table-lands of considerable extent.


The peaks are covered with snow; and their being
often hidden by clouds, probably gave rise to the

16

nnscnrrrtoiv or

ctions of the ancients respecting Atlas support


ing the heavens.
The accounts of Pliny, Solinus, and other
ancient writers, respecting Mount Atlas, which
stated that streams of liquid re appeared occa
sionally to pour down its sides, have been par

tially conrmed by modern travellers; and may


probably be attributed to the effect produced by
the refraction of the rays of light on the com

pact and polished snow. The fertility of the


valleys lying between the mountains has been
celebrated by Strabo and Pliny, who affirm that
not only gs, olives, and corn, grew there abund
antly, and to immense size, but also, that the

trunk of the vine was sometimes so thick that two


men could scarcely clasp it round. This astonish
ing luxuriance, however, has now vanished,though

a variety of rare plants still grow in the marshes,


and numerous saline and succulent ones in the
more arid soil; whilst the table-lands of the

mountains are covered with cork-trees and ever


green oaks, under whose shade aromatic shrubs
spring up in abundance, and above whose heads

the lofty cypress stretches its majestic branches,


tapering towards the sky like a verdant pyramid.
The empire of Morocco is of considerable im
portance. Malte-Brun says that its territory is
equal in extent to that of Spain; but (though

the estimates of its population differ exceedingly)


it is very thinly inhabited. The ravages of
the plague, and the uncertainty of the produce
of the earth, no doubt both contribute to this
effect; which would otherwise appear extraordi

nary, considering the uncommon richness ofthe soil.

NORTHERN AFRICA.

17

Morocco, however, like most countries bordering


on the tropics, is visited by periodical rains; and
when these are not suicient thoroughly to mois
ten the earth, the crops fail. The deciency of

moisture might easily be made up by irrigation,


as the rivers are numerous and abundantly sup
plied with water; but the indolence of the Moors
is too great to suffer them to take the slightest
trouble, and they expose themselves to all the
miseries of famine, while the means of remedying
the evil are at their very doors. The climate is
agreeable; as the winds, cooled by the snows of

Mount Atlas, are generally not only refreshing,


but impregnated with a balmy softness peculiar
to themselves. Morocco, on the otherhand, is
not entirely exempt from that curse of Africa,
the simoom, which, about the time of the vernal

equinox, sweeps over her vast plains like a


destroying angel, leaving death and desolation in
its train.

. The principal rivers of Morocco are the Wad


el-Kose, the Seboo, the Morabeya, the Tenrift,
the Suse, which empty themselves into the At
lantic; the Mulluwia, which falls into the
Mediterranean; and near a coast a lake called

El Murja. In addition to these, which are con


siderable, there are several minor streams; so

that the country may be considered as remarkably


well watered. There are also some other hills
besides the Atlas chains; and the scenery pre

sents an agreeable diversity of hill and dale,


wood and water.
" The empire of Morocco consists of four separate

provinces, or rather kingdomsFez, Morocco


c

18

DESCRIPTION or

Suse, and Talet; the principal places are, the


cities of Morocco, Mequinez, and Fez; and the
ports, those of Tangiers, Tetuan, Ceuta, Sallee,
Mogador, and Santa Cruz. The latter is in the

kingdom of Suse, and is built on the summit of


abranch of the Atlas mountains. Jackson de-.
scribes it as being surrounded by a strong wall,
and fortied with cannon and bastions. The

town is supplied with rain-water, preserved in


large tanks under the houses: these subterra
neous reservoirs tend also to cool them, and
render them agreeable residences even under
the sun of Barbary. A desert of sand-hills

separates the cultivated land from the rocky


peninsula on which the fort of Mogador is si
tuated; and it is so fatiguing for horses to cross
the moving sand, that it takes an hour and a half

to travel three miles. This is the only port in the


empire which maintains a regular intercourse

with Europe.

Sallee is divided from Rabat by

the river Burregreg: it was noted in the mid


dle ages for its pirates, who, under the name
of the Rovers of Sallee, were the terror of all

Christendom. It is now, however, of little im


portance, as its port is nearly choked up by an
accumulation of sand.

Ceuta, a fortress of con-_

siderable strength, is a possession of the crown

of Spain, situate on that part of the coast of


Africa which.is opposite to the rock of Gibraltar
in Europe, and contributing, with the former, to

guard the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea.

It

is also celebrated as being one of the Pillars of


Hercules, which the ancients supposed to be the
boundaries of the world.

NORTHERN AFRICA.

19

The city of Morocco is beautifully situated in


a ne plain, nearly covered with palm-trees, hav
ing Mount Atlas in the background. Its ap
pearance is very striking, from its noble mosques,"
and a curious tower with three large gold balls,
which the inhabitants believe to have been xed
there by magic. The walls embrace an extent of
about seven miles, great part of which is, however,
covered with ruins. The population is said to
have once exceeded seventy thousand persons,

but it is now thought to be under thirty thou


sand. There are several squares, and some ne
mosques and public buildings; but the general
aspect of the place is unfavourable, The cities
of Northern Africa are, indeed, seldom remark

able for their beauty: they have all narrow


streets, and lofty houses, projecting at every
story, till at last they almost meet. The build
ings are generally. of a quadrangular shape, with
windows overlooking a species of court-yard,

which is ornamented with a fountain in the cen


tre, and paved withcoloured tiles; into this court

the principal apartments open with large folding


doors, that serve at once to admit air and light.
The houses are usually at-roofed, having gar
dens on the top; which, though it presents a
most singular appearance, and almost looks like
a new world growing above the old one, yet adds
much to the beauty of the city, and, combined

with the rich verdure of the groves of palm,


myrtle, and sycamore, with which it is sur

rounded, forms a striking contrast to the white


ness of the walls and of the soil.
Jackson says, that a stranger passing through
c 2

. --. ~.

20

nnscnrrrron or

Morocco would think it an ill-built and mise


rable town; for the despotic nature of the go

vernment induces every individual to conceal his


wealth, rather than display it in outward mag

nicence; so that the houses of rich persons are


frequently surrounded by a shabby wall, broken
and out of repair, at a considerable distance from

the house, which is quite concealed by it.

The

interiors, however, are very handsome, and fur

nished in a style of Eastern luxury. The streets


are mostly unpaved, and consequently are dusty
in dry weather, and very dirty when it rains.
Though Morocco is considered the metropolis
of the south, Fez is the capital of the north. It
is a ne city, and the modern town stands on a
bold eminence, having many noble public build
ings, and above a hundred thousand inhabitants.

It is said to. possess a hundred inns or cara


vanserais, and was once celebrated for a mag
nicent library, which contained several thousand

volumes of Arabian MSS. On the accession of


Muley Soliman, however, all the books not relat

ing to the .Koran were either dispersed or de


stroyed. The old town of Fez lies in a hollow,
surrounded by steep hills. Mequinez is a royal
residence, and has a magnicent palace, covering
two square miles. A negro town, situated at a
short distance from the city, furnishes recruits for
the king's body-guard. Tangiers, when in pos
session of the English, was a place of consider
able strength; but, on its evacuation in 1684,

the fortications were demolished, and it has now


only an insignicant battery, fronting the bay.
The town is small, and the streets narrow and

NORTHERN urnrcs.

crooked.

21

Tetuan, which is only thirty miles

from Tangiers, Dr. Lemprier states to be plea


santly situated, near the opening. of the Straits
into the Mediterranean. It is built on a rising
ground, between two ranges of high hills, and is
of considerable extent. A beautiful river winds
through the valley, which lies below the town;
but it is of little use in navigation, its mouth

being so choked up with sand, as to admit only


vessels of very small burden.
The general abundance of water in Morocco
permits the inhabitants to indulge largely in the
African luxury of fountains; and the delicious
coolness imaged to the senses by the falling of

their silvery spray, in such a climate as that of


Barbary, must far surpass all description.

The kingdom of Algiers is said by Shaw to


extend from the river Tusca to Cape Bona, having
the Mediterranean on the north, and the Desert
of Zahara on the south. He states its length
to be about four hundred and eighty miles,
and its breadth to vary from forty miles to a
hundred; but Blaquiere, in his notes to Pananti,

estimates its length at six hundred and forty-nine


miles, and its breadth at one hundred and eighty.
The whole country, however, is not under the do

minion of the dey, whose power extends only four


days journey from the city. The population is
supposed to be about ve millions; the climate is
tolerably good, and the soil, excepting where it
adjoins the desert, is fertile. The kingdom is
divided into four provinces; Tlemsan, Algiers,

Titeri, and Constantina. Algiers, the ancient Nu


midia, is a country well known to the classical

22

DESCRIPTION or

reader, as including what was once the do


.minions of Syphax and Masinissa. Amongst its
natural curiosities, Shaw describes an extraor

dinary valley, continued for above half a mile


under two opposite ranges of the Atlas moun
tains, and which is so remarkable, that his account
of it seems worth extracting: At every wind
ing the rocky stratum that separated one part of
the valley from another, was hewn down like a
door-case, which occasions both the Arabs and

.Turks to call them gates: the Arab name is


Beban. Few persons can pass them without hor
ror, and a handful of men might there dispute the
passage of a whole army. Two leagues to the
south-east of the Beban is the Accaba, or Ascent,
another dangerous pass.
Here the road lies

over the narrow ridge of a mountain, with deep


valleys and precipices on each side, where the
least deviation from the beaten path would en
danger the traveller's life. Yet this is the com
mon road from Algiers to Constantina.
The coast of Algiers is so tortuous as to

embrace an extent of nearly six hundred miles.


The rst place deserving notice on the east is Bona,
the Hippo Regius of the ancients. It is built
in a low marshy plain, and is an insignicant
town, only celebrated in history for having sus
tained a siege from the Vandals of fourteen

months duration, and for having been the epis


acopal see of the celebrated St. Augustin; in
commerce, for producing remarkably ne gs. It

was aroyal city in the time of the Numidian


kings.

Constantine, the ancient Ciita, is built

on a deep and rapid river, and was formerly

NORTHERN AFRICA.

23

one of the nest and strongest cities in Numidia.


It still retains many Roman monuments, which

are suicient to verify the tales related of its


ancient splendour. The entrance to the town
is over a stupendous bridge, and it can also boast

of the ruins of a sumptuous aqueduct. The


province of Titeri contains very few places of im
portance, excepting the city of Shershell, which
is said to be the Julia Caesaria of the Romans.
The Shelitf is the largest river of this province,

which is watered also by several smaller streams.


The whole territory of Algiers is, indeed, well
supplied with rivers, the waters of some of which

are quite soft. Tlemsan is only remarkable for


its walls, which appear to have been formed in
the manner described by Pliny as common in the
African cities, called tabia.

This was done by

casting a thick mud in large frames, and per


mitting it to dry in the sun, when it resembled a
wall formed of one immense brick, and became
as hard as stone.
The city of Algiers, to which the recent expe
dition of the French has lately given so much
interest, is situated almost opposite Minorca, and

is nearly three hundred and eighty miles west of


Tunis.

It is built on the side of a hill, which

rises abruptly from the sea-shore, in the form of


an amphitheatre. Its appearance from the sea is
extremely singular: the white buildings ascending
in terraces, one above another, in a triangular

gure, are compared by Conder to the topsail


of a ship; and Malte-Brun tells us, that the
numerous country mansions scattered over an

amphitheatre of hills, are half-buried in groves of

24

nnscnrrvrrorr or

olive, citron, and banana trees. Pananti states


that the population consists of about a hundred

and twenty thousand persons. The modern name


of Algiers is derived from the Arabic words El
Jesireh, or the island ; meaning the fortied
islet in front of the city."
The streets of Algiers are very narrow, and so
concave as to be exceedingly dangerous for foot
passengers when any one is passing on horseback.
The town contains sixty mosques, and several

bazars and other public buildings.

There are

abundance_of taverns; but they have no sleeping-.


rooms for strangers, who are obliged to hire pri
vate lodgings even for a single night. A level
country extends for some miles beyond the city,
covered with vineyards.

Tripoli is the most unhealthy of all the states


of Barbary: it is barren and depopulated, and
the climate bad from the excessive heat of the

day and coldness of the night.

The town is

small, and half-full of rubbish; it has, however,


a Roman arch of the time of Marcus Aurelius,
which is very beautiful. The harbour is safe,

but not large; and though there is no river, there


are abundance of wells and large tanks to pre
serve the water which falls in the rainy season.
The desert approaches to within ve miles of the
town. Lebida, the Leptis Magna of the ancients,

is in the territory of Tripoli; as is Mesurata, a


city on the borders of the Greater Syrtis. The
houses of the latter are built only of mud and
stone; but its gardens are very extensive, and .
* See a paper in the New Monthly Magazine, for 1826.

NORTHERN AFRICA.

25

many of them raised a little above the road, and


enclosed by fences of the prickly pear and wild
aloe. Beyond the town is the desert of the
Great Syrtis, which reaches from Tripoli to Fez
zan. The aspect of this desert is that of a
dreary level moor, without'any thing to distin
guish one part from another, but the windings of
a marsh. A basaltic chain of black mountains
lies at its farthest extremity; the appearance

of which is described by travellers as the most


gloomy conceivable; there being seldom a tree
or a blade of grass to be seen in this dreary range,
which spreads over an extent of thirty-ve miles
of country.

The kingdom of Fezzan is the most southern


of the states of Barbary; .it lies to the east of

Tripoli, and is so surounded by the desert as to


be by some considered an oasis. Its towns, and
the face of the country generally, have an air
of desolation; the houses are built mostly of
mud and stonessome of a rude imitation of
unburnt bricks. Neither rain nor dew falls upon
the elds, and the only moisture they receive is

by the painful labour of the inhabitants, who


draw up the water necessary for irrigation from

deep wells.

Large tracts of land are covered

with sand, mixed with crystallizations of salt,


which shine brilliantly in the sun. The water

of many of the wells is brackisha circum


stance common to nearly all the deserts of
Africa.

The winds are very powerful, and the

_sound of their rushing across the waste has an


e'ect which, in the stillness of night, is truly

awful. They come sweeping over the immense

~i___~_ _____

26

DESCRIPTION or "

space with indescribable fury, and mingle their


roar with that of the wild beasts, who are the

native denizens of those arid plains.

They are

loaded with a ne sand, and their extreme dry


ness occasions any thing made of wood to
crack with a loud noise whenever they blow.

The principal towns of Fezzan are Sockna and


Mourzuk.
Tunis, the etymology of whose name is said to
be derived from a word signifying mud, includes
the greater part of the ancientdomain of Car
thage, which was originally called Africa Proper
by the ancients. The remains of the cities of
Carthage and Utica, both so celebrated in Roman
history, give this territory an interest which it
would not otherwise possess. The principal rivers

are the Mejerdale and the Wad-el-Quiber.

The

source of the rst is unknown, though it is of


considerable width and depth, and runs for
several hundred miles through a very fertile
country.

In the mountains are mines of silver,

copper, and lead; there is also one of quick


silver near Porto Farino. The Gulf of Tunis is
about a hundred and twenty miles in circum

ference. A large lake, which washes the walls


of the town, formerly served as an extensive port;
but is now nearly choked up. There is a great
deal of marshy ground near the city, notwith
standing which the soil produces mastic, myrtle,

rosemary, and other aromatic plants, in such


.abundance, that the inhabitants use them for fuel;
and make the whole place so fragrant, that it
might be fancied to be one enormous incense

burner.

Tunis is neither handsome nor well

NORTHERN srnrca.

27

situated; yet it is said to contain a hundred

and fty thousand inhabitants: in nearly all

respects it closely resembles the generality of


African cities.

The ruins of Carthage lie to the south-east of


Tunis; they are nely placed, on a bold pro
montory, at the western extremity of Tunis bay,

now called Cape Carthage. The plain of Zama


stretches below, and is covered with date and olive

trees.

There are few remains of antiquity; and

those of the celebrated aqueduct are the only

ones that possess any interest.


The country of Barca, which, with the name

of Cyrene, long existed as an independent king


dom under the Ptolemies, is now nearly a de
sert. Its soil was once so fertile, as to produce
three crops yearly ; and its fruit-trees and owers
were thought the nest in the world. The roses

of Cyrene were celebrated for their fragrance,


and the whole country was so completely covered
with beautiful shrubs, as to resemble an immense

garden. The city of Cyrene (which was one of


the ancient Pentapolis), was built on a com
manding situation, upon the edge of a range of
hills; and we may judge, from the ruins which

%yet remain, that it must have been magnicent


and beautiful in the extreme. Nothing can ex
_ceed the elegance of the monuments, and the ex
quisite workmanship of the gures and wreaths

of owers which ornament the sarcophagi they


.contain. Many paintings are also found; and
some of the walls are covered with designs similar
to those discovered in the tombs of Egypt, except

that the outline of the gures is drawn with a

28

nrscnrrrron or

bolder pencil, and with a better knowledge of


the principles of design than the Egyptians dis
played. Some of these sepulchres are excavated,

' and others built of ne marble; they evidently


belong to different periods; and the progress
and decay of the arts in Greece and Rome may
be seen in the examples they present. A large
fountain, supposed to be that which Herodotus
mentions as sacred to Apollo, still exists: it
issues from an excavated chamber at the foot of
a cliff, which has been ornamented with a portico

like a temple, and a channel cut out, through


which the water ows rapidly from the interior of
the rock, precipitating itself into a basin formed
to receive it, whence it afterwards issues in abroad

stream. M. Pacho explored this passage, in


February 1825, in his travels in the Cyrenaica,
and traced the spring to a grotto, covered with
stalactites, from the interstices of which the water
sprung up at once in every possible direction.

The ruins of Cyrene include temples and the


atres, embellished with beautiful pillars and sta
tues; and at a little distance from the city, M.
Pacho discovered some curious excavations,which

he conceives to have been anciently magazines


for goods, or bazars, but which now serve as

habitations for the Arab banditti of Barca.


He also supposes one of the tombs to be a
Jewish structure, as it has a sepulchral well in the
centre, instead of a sarcophagus; and the paint
ings round the walls display a curious mixture of
the Hebrew with the Roman and Egyptian taste.

He likewise describes two small excavated temples


with Christian emblems.

NORTHERN AFRICA.

29

The appearance of these ruins must be most


imposing, and cannot fail to have a powerful
e"ect upon the mind. The remains of Carthage
are too triing, and the impression they might '

produce is destroyed by the recollection of the


many changes the city had undergone previous to
its nal destruction, or rather, of the many cities

that had been successively erected on the same


site. The imagination has thus nothing left which
it can identify with the times of Dido, or the con
quests of Scipio; and the fragments are merely

those of an African city, unendeared by any


recollections of the past. The ruins of Cyrene
bear quite a different character; and as they now
stand, we can clearly trace the wonders of their

former greatness. The fallen pillars and broken


statues tell, indeed, a melancholy tale of vanished
power; but they are mixed with such strong
reminiscences of their ancient masters, that we

are almost transported back to the period when


the Ptolemies lled the throne of Cyrene, and at
last bent before the overwhelming inuence of
the Roman emperors. The succession of Egyp
tian, Grecian, and Roman monuments, evidently

belonging to different epochs, forms also an inter

esting feature in the remains of Cyrene ;. for age


after age appears thus to rise in all its glory
before us, and then in turn to fade from our
sight, like the ghosts of the race of Banquo, till at
last all have perished, and a race of jimcivilized

Arabs, whose very dwellings are tents, have sprung


up in their place.
Near Cyrene are some curious caverns, lled

with stalactites, which, it is supposed, have given

30

DESCRIPTION or

rise to the rumour of a petried city, alluded to

by Bruce and Shaw; though others fancy this


extraordinary city to be no other than Cyrene
itself, as the desolate grandeur of the uninhabited
ruins agrees exactly with the description given by
the Arabs.
The remains of the ancient city of Barca,

which lie in what is now called the desert of Bar-


ca, have little to distinguish them; though some
suppose that the town itself once ranked among
the cities of the Pentapolis. .Calmet, however,

does not mention it in his enumeration of those


cities, which, he says, were Cyrene, Apollonia,
Arsino, Berenice, and Ptolemais. Apollonia was

a station of the early Christians, and ha the


ruins of two Christian churches and a noble
basilica. The magnicence of these buildings,
and the beauty of the marble pillars with which
they are adorned, prove that the Christians of
Apollonia must have been both numerous and

wealthy in the time of Justinian, to which period


these buildings are thought to belong.
The ancient Tanehira took the name of Arsinoe
under the Ptolemies, and this appellation was
afterwards changed to that of Cleopatris by Marc
Antony. It has now, however, returned very
nearly to its original designation, being called
Taucra by the Arabs. The walls, which are of
uncommon strength and thickness, are alone left
standing; and the destruction of the city is so

complete, that it seems evidently to have been


done by design.

Ptolemais is principally celebrated for a


large and curious mausoleum. It has also the

nonruann arnrcn.

31

ruins of an amphitheatre, temple, and aque


duct; and the country around, as described by.
Beechey, is exceedingly beautiful. He prefers
it to Switzerland; and, speaking of the eastern
valley, says, It rises graduallyfrom the sea,
winding through forests of pines and ower
ing shrubs, which thicken as the sides of the
mountain become higher and more abrupt, till the
valley at length loses itself in a precipitous range
which bounds it to the southward, and which
presents a dark barrier of thickly-planted pines,

shooting up into the blue sky.


Bengazi occupies the site of the ancient Bere
nice. It is now one of the poorest and most

unhealthy of the Arab towns :--lthy and dusty,


having stagnant pools in the centre of the principal"
squares, and swarming with ies and every other
description of insect, it is scarcely possible to

fancy that Bengazi has, in its immediate neigh


bourhood, gardens of a most singular character,

situated at the bottom of deep pits and chasms.


in the rock. They consist of level spots of rich.
soil, sometimes several thousand feet in circum

ference, enclosed by steep perpendicular rocks,

which rise all round them, like the sides of a deep


well. It is conjectured that the soil has been
washed down by heavy rains from the plains
above; and as the position of these strange gar
dens enables them always to retain a degree of
moisture, their fertility is beyond all description.
Captain Beechey imagines them to be the Gardens
of the Hesperides; which, in that case, appear

to have been really such as the poets have re-.


presented them, and not the oases of the desert.

32

nnscnrrrron or

He also mentions a remarkable subterraneous


river, which he thinks is the Lethe of Strabo.
The monuments of the ancient Marmarica are
by no means interesting, and are generally in the

Egyptian style. The country, which reaches from


Cyrene to the borders of Egypt, was explored
by M. Pacho in 1825. He describes the soil
as fertile, but not so picturesquely beautiful

as the Cyrenaica.

The inhabitants are Bedouin

Arabs.

Before quitting_the States of Barbary, of the


peopled parts of which

the preceding pages

have given a cursory view, we must not for

get to describe the Desert of Zahara, though the


very limited space to which we are conned will
prevent us from entering into all its details.
' The Great Desert is named Zahara in Arabic;

and is considered to extend from Egypt and


Nubia to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the foot
of Mount Atlas to the banks of the Niger. Its
surface generally is at, and covered with moving
sand, which undulates in the wind, like the bil
lows of the ocean, producing neither trees nor

any species of vegetation, except where a few


slaty rocks serve as receptacles for the moisture
which falls from the clouds in the shape of dew
or rain. The valleys formed in the intervals be
tween the heights nourish some thorny acacias,
which, with nettles, brambles, and an aromatic

plant resembling thyme and bearing a berry called


the grains of Zahara, are the only products of the
desert. This vast waste is destitute both of springs
and habitations, save at the oases, which are small

and few in number. The only human beings seen

NORTHERN AFRICA.

33

in the solitude are a few tribes of wandering


Arabs, travelling with their tents and herds, like
the patriarchs of old ; or the merchants belonging _
to some caravan, who, seated on camels, and

followed by others bearing their merchandise,


wind slowly through the burning sands, sloping
their course from east to west, like the tacking of

a ship at sea, that they may visit the different oases


which are to be their resting-places on the way.
A caravan goes yearly from Morocco to Tim
buctoo ; and the horrors of this journey are said
to be beyond description. It usually takes a
hundred and thirty days to cross the desert; and
the travellers have to encounter, not only the

misery of journeying under a vertical sun, and,


should any accident happen to their camels,
of wading through a deep and burning sand;
but other perils fearful to contemplate. Some
times a violent wind rushes through the desert,
and raises the waves of sand like the billows of a
stormy sea, blinding the unfortunate beings ex
posed to its fury, or swallowing them up in
abysses, where they perish without the remotest
possibility of receiving any human aid. Captain
Lyon mentions that the bodies of some men and
animals found by his party in the desert of the
Great Syrtis, were quite perfect, though so brit
tle as to break with the slightest touch: and
the result produced by the sands of the Zahara
is of a similar nature; the excessive dryness of
the air, and the heat of the sun, preventing any
approach to putrefaction. The same writer por
trays very powerfully, the effects of a shower of

burning sand , so ne as to be almost impalpable,


D

34

nsscnnmou or

but which creates a sensation in the eyes and nos


trils as if they were sprinkled with pounded glass.
Denham and Clapperton relate similar calamities;

and mention a spot where part of a caravan had


been destroyed by it the year previous to their visit.
The ground was strewed with dried bodies, and the
bones of those devoured by the wild beasts lay
whitening in the sun, as though to warn other
pilgrims against the dangers to which they had
fallen a sacrice.

The hot wind, called the

Chamseen, or Simoom, is also often fatal to


those who do not prostrate themselves in the
sand to avoid its fury; and, when not sui

ciently violent to deprive of life, it yet frequently


dries up the water in the leathern bottles car
ried by the camels, so that both men and beasts
miserably perish from thirst. In 1805 a whole
caravan, consisting of two thousand persons, and
eighteen hundred camels, were lost in this man
ner. Leo Africanus relates a story of two mer
chants, one of whom, in the last stage of exhaus
tion, sold his only remaining cup of water to the
other for ten drachms of gold; but both expired

ere the bargain was completed.


The coast which borders the desert of Zahara,
towards the Atlantic ocean, is as_inauspicious to
mariners, as the desert itself is to travellers by land,

and its two capes are both celebrated as having


placed limits to discovery; for Cape Blanco was

the boundary of the coast known to the Cartha


ginians, and Cape Bojadore continued for many
centuries the terror of navigators, particularly the
Portuguese, who, till the year 1433, believed that

some magical power prevented them from ever


being able to pass it.

INORTIIERN AFRICA.

35

CHAPTER III.

DESCRIPTION OF NORTHERN AFRICA.COUN'lRlE5 BOR.~


DERING ON THE NILE."~LOWER AND MIDDLE EGYPT;
THE LIBYAN DESERTS AND THEIR OASES.

Or all the different parts of Africa with which


we are at present acquainted, Egypt is perhaps
the one that excites most general and perma
nent interest, from the important events of which,
in the early ages, it was the theatre; and from
the stupendous monuments still remaining of its
ancient grandeur, which invest it with a species
of dignity not belonging to any other country in this
vast peninsula. The soil, watered by the periodi
cal overowing of the Nile, is extremely productive,
and appears, indeed, to have been formed by the
successive dcposites of mud left by the river ; thus

presenting the extraordinary phenomenon of an

alluvial site to some of the oldest buildings in the


known world.
Egypt, properly speaking,may be said to consist
of alengthened strip of fertile country, lying on the
banks of the Nile ; since all beyond the immediate

neighbourhood of the river is mountainous, or


desert. The fecundity of the soil was so great in
the earlier ages, that Egypt was long considered
n 2

36

nr.scn1i>rro:~r or

the granary of the world; and its comparative


failure in the present day, is thought to arise from
some mismanagement of the fertilizing stream.
Herodotus, and many of his earliest commen
tators, suppose the whole of Lower Egypt, from
the Mediterranean to Memphis, to have been once
covered with the sea, and to have formed a species

of gulf, bounded by mountains on either side.


The ancients divided Egypt into three parts;
Upper Egypt, called also the Thebaid, because
Thebes was the capital; Middle Egypt, named
also the Heptanomes, from its being partitioned
into seven governments; and Lower Egypt, other
wise called the Delta, from the Nile there branch

ing into the shape of that letter (A), and which .


extended to the sea. The Arabs and Ottomans have
preserved these divisions, but have changed their
names : Upper Egypt is now called the Said, and
includes the provinces of Thebes, Djirdjeh, and
Siot; Middle Egypt is named the Vostani, and
consists of Faynoom, Benisooef, and Minyet;
and Lower Egypt is called Bahari, and includes
the provinces of Bahyreh, Rosetta, Ghorbyeh,

Menoof, Massoora, Sharhich, and the district of


Cairo.
On entering Egypt from the Mediterranean,
the rst town that engages the travellers attention
is Alexandria, now contracted into a compara
tively small and insignicant place, but contain
ing a population of sixteen thousand persons. It
is built upon a sandy slip of land, formed by
the sea along the ancient mole which once con
nected the celebrated Pharos with the conti
nent. One of its harbours is nearly destroyed by

NORTHERN AFRICA.

37

the gradual falling in of the earth, _ and the


long-continued practice of ships discharging their,
ballast into it. The famous Pharos (built upon
the island now become a peninsula of the same
name) serves as a lighthouse to the entrance of
the remaining harbour,where vessels are even now

frequently lost. To the south are the remains of


ancient Alexandria, covering the suburbs of the
modern town with ruins, to the extent of many

miles. Traces are still to be seen of the ancient


streets,colonnades of palaces, .with broken
shafts, and mutilated capitals of columns, inter

mixed with churches, mosques, and monasteries


yet standing; and all these incongruous buildings,
mingled with heaps of rubbish, are found amongst
ne gardens planted with palm, orange, and
citron trees. One of the obelisks is that cele
brated by the name of Cleopatras Needle, which
consists of a ne piece of granite, covered with
hieroglyphics. A double wall surrounds the whole
town, and beneath the suburbs are some vaults

serving as reservoirs for the water of the Nile.


Each inundation, however, brings with it a fresh
deposite of mud, and the accumulation will even
tually choke up these reservoirs, unless means are

taken to prevent it.

A canal connects the Nile

with.Alexandria, and it is said that upwards of

300,000 persons were employed in its formation

by the present pasha. Near the southern gate of


Alexandria is Pompeys Pillar: it is eighty-eight
feet high, and forms a. commanding object of at

traction in the city and its environs. It is, how


ever, erroneously attributed to the Romans, there

being now no doubt that it formed the principal

38

nnscnrrrrou or

ornament of the Serapium, a vast building con


secrated to an Egyptian divinity. Some naval
oicers contrived to ascend this pillar, some
years since, having, by means of ying a kite,
passed a string over the top of the column;

to this they fastened a cord, by which a rope


ladder was drawn up. The example thus set has
been followed by the crew of almost every man
of-war that has since arrived in the port: break
fasts, indeed, have been given on the top; and

even a lady has been known to ascend.

"

The modern Delta, by which the Nile empties


itself into the sea, is much smaller than that of
the ancients, which reached nearly from Alexan
dria to the deserts of Suez. The Nile had then
seven mouths, of which only two now remain.
The Canopic branch is lost in lake Aboukir;

the Bolbitine is that which at present leads to


Rosetta; the Serbentine mingles its waters with
lake Burlos; the Phatnitic, or Bucolic, still exists
at Damietta; the Mendesian is merged in the lake

Menzaleh; the Taintic, or Saitic, unites with the


same; and the Pelusiac disappeared A. 1). 640,

when the Caliph Omar, by the repairs done to


Tra_jans canal, completely drained this branch
of the river.
Near Aboukir, so celebrated on account of

Nelsons splendid victory, are the ruins of the an


cient Canopus, which gave its name to one of the
branches of the Nile. The lakes of Aboukir and
Etko are not far distant. The existence of the
remains of Canopus has been brought forward as
an argument against those who contend for the

progressive increase of Egypt from the deposites

NORTHERN AFRICA.

39

of mud brought by the Nile; Canopus having been


mentioned by Homer as being what it still con
tinues, the extreme point of that country, pro
jecting into the sea.

It is but fair, however, to

admit, that to this spot the coast is composed of


rocks, and that it is only here the alluvial soil

brgins.
Rosetta is one of the pleasantest of the cities
of Egypt. It abounds in ne gardens, and seems
in fact to lie in a grove of bananas, sycamores,
and palms. Near this town is an island in the
Nile, which M. Denon represented to be an

earthly paradise, but which other writers de


scribe as perfectly insupportable for a residence ;
a curious proof of the very different manner in
which different persons view the same object.
From Rosetta to Damietta is a low sandy coast,
bordering on lake Burlos, which extends over a
great part of the inland country. The branches of
the Nile, which pass through Rosetta and Dami
etta, form the extent of the modern Delt'a, the river

dividing a few miles below Grand Cairo. Damietta


contains a population of 80,000 persons; but it
is a mean town, and has no article of commerce

excepting rice.

It lies between the Nile and the

lake Menzaleh, which is of immense extent, and

studded with islands. It was formerly in three,


the Mendesiac and Taintic branches of the river
running through the rm land which separated
the lakes from each other.
On the eastern
side of the Menzaleh are the ruins of the
ancient Pelusium. The city of Mansourah is
also in this part of Egypt. It is distinguished by

its lofty minarets, and is famous for the battle

40

nnscrurrron or

fought under its walls, A 1). 1250, in which


Louis IX. of France was taken prisoner.
The point of the ancient Delta was situated near
the classic Heliopolis, or City of the Sun, of which

there now remains only a single obelisk. This city


is supposed to be identical with that mentioned in
Scripture; though others assert that the biblical
Heliopolis was in Upper Egypt. The country lying

near the Delta is now called Calyoubeh. It is ex


tremely fertile, an_d comprises several large villages.
The interior of the modern Delta contains the
city Mahallet, considered as second only in point
of importance to Cairo; and the city of Teuta,

celebrated as the resort of pilgrims, who come to


pay homage to the tomb of a saint called Seyd
Ahmed el Bedaooi. To the north of the Delta is
the monastery of Saint Germinian, which, by a
curious coincidence, is a place of pilgrimage both
for Christians and Mahometans. The ' festival
held there lasts eight days, and is attended by
dancing-women, &c., who contribute to the fes

tivities of the occasion.


Near Cairo the plain loses its uniformity, and
we nd Mount Mocatta and the pyramids of Giza
rising in solemn majesty. Opposite these monu
ments, on the eastern banks of the river, lie in
succession the towns of Boolac, New Cairo, and

Old Cairo. Boolak is the port of Cairo, and ex


hibits all the bustle of commerce. Old Cairo
has also an harbour, and consists principally of a
sort of country-seats, to which the inhabitants of

New Cairo retire during the inundation of the


Nile. Between Old Cairo and the port lies

Grand Cairo, so called by the Orientals by way

NORTHERN AFRICA.

41

of eminence. The Arabic name, Kahaira, signi


es the victorious. Grand Cairo is a mile and
a half from the Nile, and extends on the east to
the mountains, a distance of nearly three miles.

This ne city, built by the caliph Almanzor, A.D.


970, is surrounded by a lofty wall, and contains
many squares, mosques, and public buildings.
The whole country to the east is adesert, reaching
to the isthmus of Suez.
On the west bank of the Nile is the city of
Giza, pleasantly shaded by groves of sycamores,
dates, and olives, near which are the famous py

ramids. These extraordinary monuments are con


structed on scientic principles, and give evidence
of considerable progress in astronomy; their
sides corresponding accurately with the four car
dinal points.

In all of them which have yet

been opened, the principal passage is found to


preserve an inclination of twenty-six degrees to
the horizon, directed towards the polar star.
Herodotus supposes the great pyramid to have
been encircled by the Nile; but this appears to
have been impossible, except during an inunda

tion. The country is gradually elevated from


the sea to the pyramids, and thence towards the

mountains whence the Father of History says


the stones were brought of which these piles
are built.

Pliny remarks, that the number of

authors who have offered conjectures respecting


them is innumerable, and it must have increas

ed prodigiously since his time. The supposi


tion that they were intended for mausoleums is
contradicted by the great difference between
them and the undoubted tombs of the ancient

42

nnscnri>'_rrou or

Egyptians which have been discovered.

The

most rational opinion seems to be, that they were

temples; and that, as the Egyptian religion was


one of penancesthe long, intricate, and scarcely

accessible passages, were formed to render the


entrance to the ad;/tum, or most holy place, as

diliicult as possible.

The wells and other extra

ordinary contrivances found in their interiors,

might have been employed in the celebration of


the mysteries of Isis; and the carcass of an ox,

contained in a sarcophagus in the second pyramid


(the one opened by Belzoni), was certainly the
remains of the animal regarded as the emblem of
the god Apis. Neither does the discovery of
human bones within them militate against this
idea; since the bodies of some of the most cele
brated of the kings and high-priests were pre
served in the holy places.
The date of the erection of these stupendous
monuments is lost in the mazes of antiquity. The
oldest historians differ in their accounts of them ;

and by the diversity and incongruity of their


statements, prove the utter ignorance which pre
vailed respecting them even in their times. He
rodotus says that they were built by Cheops and
Cephren, who did not reign till after the siege of
Troy; whilst Manetho, who, being an Egyptian,
ought to be the best authority, alleges them to

have been erected by the Shepherd-kings. Hero


dotus himself, indeed, tells us that they were
raised by a king who kept the temples of the gods
shut during his whole reign ; a circumstance which
might very possibly happen under the dynasty of
the Palli, who were probably of a different religion

NORTHERN AFRICA .

43

from the Egyptians. The opinions of the inhabitants


of the surrounding countries are equally vague
and contradictory. Some imagine them to have
been erected before the Flood; others that they
were the work of the evil spirits subdued by Soly
man Giam ben Glam. The earliest European tra
vellers fancied them to have been built by the
Israelites during their long sojourn in Egypt; and
an Englishman named Webbe, who travelled in
the sixteenth century, says the natives told him
that they were intended to hold Pharaoh's
corn. The Arabs of the present day call them
Pharaohs Mountains; and the ancient Sabeans

believed them to be the sepulchres of Seth and


his immediate descendants.
The base of the largest pyramid covers a space
of ground equal to Linc0lns-inn-elds, or about
eleven English acres, and is four hundred and
sixty-one feet in height. A curious drawing, ex
hibited this year (1830) at the Royal Academy,
Somerset-house, shows its relative proportions to
St. Peters at Rome and St. Pauls in London;

and both look small in comparison, the latter


seeming quite insignicant. The quantity of
stone employed in the formation of this pyramid
is so great, that a French engineer calculated it
to be sufficient to build a wall round France ten
feet high and one foot broad. We are not told,
however, how he ascertained what amount had

been used, or at what period of French history


he formed his estimatea circumstance which
must be taken into account, when we recollect

how amazingly the boundaries of France have


varied within the last century. Buckingham says

44

nnscnrrrros or

that sixteen persons dined in the cavity of one of


the stones, which had been displaced :and, in

short, we have not room for half the wonders re


corded of these vast buildings. One thing, how
ever, deserves to be mentioned, that the passages
which have been examined, do not correspond
to half the dimensions of the exterior of the
pyramid.
_
The others too closely resemble the rst to
require a detailed description; and great num
bers of these monuments, of different sizes, are

scattered over the whole of Egypt. They are all


constructed "withstrict attention to geometrical
principles; and those that have been explored are
found so very similar in the interior, as to war

rant the idea, that if not temples of general wor


ship, they were probably consecrated to some par
ticular divinity, or intended for the celebration
of some peculiar mysteries. The names of various
sects among the Egyptians have been handed down
to us; and as those who differ about tries are

usually the most bitter against each other, it is


hardly possible that they should all have used
temples of exactly the same form.
The largest of the numerous sphinxes found in
Egypt is that near the pyramids of Giza: it was
once nearly buried in sand, but is now partially
cleared. The body is principally formed out of the
solid rock, but the paws are all of masonry, and
extend forwards fty feet from the body ; between
them is a small temple, and at a little distance a
square altar with horns. The mystical union of
the signs of the lion and the virgin in the body of
the sphinx, was intended to indicate the over

NORTHERN AFRICA.

45

owing of the Nile, which took place when the


sun was in the zodiac ; and a female gure with

ears of corn in her hand, was also employed to


show the fecundity which the inundation pro-'

duced.

There are likewise several pyramids at

Sakhara, a little higher up the Nile; they extend

over a space of about eleven miles: some of


them are built of brick, and adjoin the village
that stands upon the site of Memphis.
No greater contrast can be imagined, than that
which exists between the present and ancient state
of this celebrated city. The accounts handed down
to us of the splendour of Memphis in the times of
the Pharaohs, of its magnicent temples, its colos
sal statues, and its extensive palaces, seem rather

the legends of a fairy-tale, than the details of


sober history ; and when, on our asking for its re
mains, we are directed to a few miserable mud

cottages, the effect is almost ludicrous. The trade


in mummies, carried on by the inhabitants, is also

a striking proof of the uncertainty of human cal


culations. Those bodies which were embalmed
with so much care and expense are now dragged
from their recesses, and either sold for the merest

trie, or broken up for fuel.


On the opposite bank of the river is the
noted mosque, Atsar en Neby, which contains a

stone said by the Mussulmans to be marked with a


perfect impression of the feet of the prophet.
We here leave Lower Egypt, to enter on the
Vostani; and, through an openingin the mountains
west of the Nile, pass to the province of Faynoom,
the ancient Egyptian Arsinoe. To the north lies
the celebrated Lake Moeris, which is of an oblong

46

mascrurrrou or

shape, and about ninety miles in circumference :


it is said to have been formed by King Moeris, to
serve as a reservoir for the waters of the Nile, and

has a canal leading to it from that river.


Medinet-el-Faynoom is built on the ruins of
Arsinoe, and contains columns of a granite only
found in this place or at the pyramids. The
staple commodity of Faynoom is rose-water ; and
the whole district is lled with the fragrance
of the owers grown for the manufacture of that
article. Near this city was the famous Laby
rinth, said to contain three thousand chambers,

one-half of which were under ground. No traces


can now be discovered of it, unless in part of
what are called the ruins of Caroon, about three

miles from the western extremity of the lake:


Belzoni, however, does not agree with this sup

position; but thinks the remains of the labyrinth


are entirely buried beneath the accumulation of
sand left by the successive deposites of the
Nile. The province of Faynoom also contains a
town called Fedemin-el-Kumois, or the Place of
Churches, from atradition that it once contained
three hundred Christian chu'rches. The other
towns of Middle Egypt being of minor import
ance, we shall now give a slight sketch of the
western deserts, with their oases.
The deserts near the Nile are less desolate than
that of Zahara (though they resemble it in their
principal features), from their vicinity to the river,

and their comparatively small extent. They are,


however, equally dangerous, but from different
causes ; as they are infested with tribes of wander
mg Arabs, whose trade is robbery and murder, and

NORTHERN AFRICA.

47

who lie in wait near the watering-places, watching


for an opportunity to fall upon the unwary travel
ler. The desert between the Greater and Lesser
Syrtis, commonly called the Desert of Libya, has

the most celebrated oases ; and we shall take the


three largest and best known of these as speci
mens of the rest. It is generally supposed that
wherever there is a spring there is an oasis; but
this is not the case; for there are numerous wells
in the deserts which are not oases. The word
indeed signies a cultivated country, rather than
a mere spring, and is used only to describe those
spots of rm land amongst the sands which are
suiciently well watered to render them capable of
cultivation to a considerable extent. Each oasis
accordingly contains several villages, and some
hundred acres of land, sown with grain, and in
terspersed with a variety of fruit-trees; whilst
the inhabitants, who are generally Bedouin
Arabs, carry on a commerce with the caravans
passing through their towns, and exchange the
produce of their soil for the foreign articles of
which they may stand in need.
The oasis of Faynoom, which is generally
thought to be the Oasis Parvaof the ancients, is the
nearest to Grand Cairo, and on the way to it

from that city are the tumuli which Belzoni sup


poses cover the bodies of those soldiers whom
Cambyses sent againstthe Ammonites, and who
perished in the desert.

That they are tombs, is

probable; but there does not appear any reason


able grounds for considering them the graves of
the Persians: the Arabs call therri the tombs of
Zerao ..ek. There is also on this road a watering

48

nrscnrrrrou or

place, called a hatoci, similar to those alluded


to in the account of the Great Desert as being
formed by a cluster of small hills. The approach
to it is indicated by an appearance of fog or
mistiness in the air; but the water is so scanty

as scarcely to suce for the refreshment of a ca


ravan. The Arabs utter loud cries, and strike the

water with a stick whilst persons are drinking,


in order that it may ow more abundantly; and
_ when Europeans attempt to reason with them
on the folly of such a superstition, they onlylaugh,

and say it is not surprising that the Franks dis


credit it, for they do not believe any thing.
El Ouah, the oasis of Faynoom, is encircled

by a chain of gray mountains, enclosing an area of


about twenty-four miles in diameter, part of the

chain separating the oasis into nearly equal parts.


Some of this ground, however, is almost as steril
as the desert itself, being covered with a saltish
sand, sparkling with white crystals, and pro
ducing only saline plants; but in the centre,

near the springs, is a wood of beautiful palm


.trees, under the shade of which the inhabitants
grow corn and a variety of other grains: nearer
the water, rice is cultivated in great quanti
ties. There are also abundance of pumpkins and
melons, and a few apricot-trees, but the fruit is

generally rather dry and insipid. The oasis is


divided into four villages, which are tenanted by
Bedouin Arabs, under the government of the
Turksthis oasis, and that of Siwah, having
been conquered by Hassan Bey.
Several monuments, both Grecian and Egyp
tian, are found in the Oasis Parva; and in the

NORTIIERN AFRICA.

49

barren part are some ruins formed of unburnt


bricks, and bearing evident marks of great an
tiquity.

It may here be observed, as a cu

rious fact, that all the remains of ancient villages,


and many of the ruins of temples, are found in
places so barren, as to be now quite uninhabitable.

It thus seems clear, that these regions could not


always have been in their present state; but the oc

casion of the change,and the period at which it took


place, are wholly unknown. In one of the villages
of the Oasis Parva are the ruins of a Grecian
temple mentioned by Belzoni. Some of its springs
are mineral; and one of them is said to be hot
during the night, and cold in the dayprobably
because it gives out at night the latent heat which
it has absorbed in the daytime. An Arab mer
chant meeting some Christians near one of these
springs, exclaimed in his anger, What! has God

given the Christians the deserts, as well as all the


rest of the world!
In the waste between the Oasis Parva and that
of the Ammonites, may be traced the bed of an

ancient river, now completely dry, part of which


is nearly lled with a mass of shells, by the white
ness of which, as well as by a deposite of silex
apparently left by the water, its course may
be distinctly seen in all its windings through
the surrounding sands. This river without water,

of which so many travellers have written, is called


Bahr Belah-mah, and is bordered along part of
its course by two ridges of mountains, similar to

those situated near the Nile. There are also


several springs (some of which are bitter) in this

desert, and two lakes of salt-water.


E

50

nnscnrrrrou or

The oasis of Siwah is supposed to be the same


as that called by the Egyptians the oasis of Jupi
ter Ammon, and there are even now plainly to be
noticed the remains of a temple, the divinity of
which is represented with aram's head. A moun
tain, lying close to the village of Siwah, is lled

with Egyptian catacombs, and appears to have


been the Necropolis, or mummy-town, of the Am
monites. Travellers differ very much in their ac
counts of the ruins of this temple ; some stating
them to be now surrounded by the waters of a
lake, and others declaring that the lake alluded

to lies at a considerable distance: the only mode


of reconciling this discrepancy seems to be the
supposition, that one may have visited the place in
the dry season, and the other when the country

was partially inundated.


The diameter of the oasis of Siwah is about
thirty miles, including the whole of the cultivated
country; but there are only two villages, Siwah
and Agharmi, and some small hamlets. It is
bounded on the north by chains of calcareous
mountains; the south lies open to the desert, and
on the east and west are two salt-water lakes,

which appear to have once been very extensive,


but have now shrunk to moderate dimensions.
On the borders of these lakes are large groves of
olive-trees, from which remarkably ne oil is
made. The situation of this oasis is favourable
for commerce, being on the direct road between
Egypt and the States of Barbary. The inhabitants
consist of about four thousand souls.
At some distance from Siwah is another
lake of salt-water, called Bahr-en; it is fteen

NORTHERN AFRICA.

51

miles in circumference, and has several rocks


in its centre, against which it dashes with a
noise resembling the roaring of the ocean. Near
this are two other lakes, appearing to have
been at one time part of the rst, which must
then have been. an inland sea, of immense dimen

sions. The numerous lakes of the north of


Africa seem indeed to favour the supposition,
that the deserts were once so far covered with
water as to form several inland seas; many are

found partially dried up, and others broken into


smaller ones, like the pools of water left when

a lake or river is run dry. Some are become


completely beds of sand, whilst others are marshy

or only half-full of water, exhibiting the change


they are undergoing in every imaginable stage.
The oasis of El Khargeh is the Oasis Magna
of the ancients. It is on the road from Cairo to
Abyssinia, in the latitude of Thebes, and con
sists of several towns and villages, covering an

extent of nearly one hundred English miles. The


principal town is El Khargeh, where are the
ruins of a magnicent temple, supposed by some
to have been that of Jupiter Ammon; but this

does not appear to be the case. It is en


tirely Egyptian, and contains some interesting
remains: the banquet of Osiris, and Isis sitting
opposite to him with the attributes of Ceres, is
represented on one of the walls, in excellent pre
servation; and two curious Roman edicts, issued
by the prefects of Egypt in the reigns of the
Emperors Claudius and Galba, were found by
M. Calliaud engraved on the front.
These
edicts, which have been translated by M. Le
E 2

52

nnscnrrrron or

tronne, and published in the Revue Encyclo


pdique, are very interesting, not only because
they throw considerable light upon the govern
ment and habits of ancient Egypt, but also as
affording a clue to the discovery of others of
a similar nature.

The circumstance

of their

bearing no particular relation to the oasis, as


M. Letronne very justly observes, but belonging
equally to the whole of Egypt, proves that they
were sent to the magistrates of every district,
probaly with orders to display them in the tem
ples, that the greatest possible publicity might
be given to them; and if this supposition be
correct, there can be no doubt that many more
might be found if the temples were perfectly ex
plored. It would occupy too much space to copy
the whole of these edicts, which tend principally
to show that the ancient Egyptians had quite as
great an objection to paying their taxes as the
modern English. One expression is remarkable,
as it seems to imply that the people were taxed
according to the depth and extent of the inunda
tion of the Nile, and of course in proportion to the
presumed fertility of the soil for the currentyear;
an exactness of calculation in the Roman rulers
which could scarcely have been expected to have
reached so remote a province. The assurance
that the inhabitants should notbeaunoyed by the
survcyor's chain to measure their lands; and the

accusation against the tax-gatherers for having


contrived to sue for their private debts as though
they were part of the public revenue, seems to
bring the edicts home to the present time, and we

can scarcely fancy it possible that they could

NORTHERN AFRICA.

53

have been issued nearly two thousand years ago :


human nature, however, is every where the same,
and the lapse of centuries makes no difference
in the passions of mankind.
Near El Khargeh is a very curious Necropolis,
consisting of about two hundred buildings, or ra
ther mausoleums, of unburnt brick. These tombs
are scattered confusedly on the side of a hill,
where they form, as it were, little streets. They are
covered, partially, both inside and out with plaster,

and appear to be generally of Roman construc


tion. Almost all of them are square, and some
are surmounted with a dome, like the Arabian

mosques. The exterior of the walls is ornamented


with arches, the number varying from one to ten,
according to the size of the tomb. The shape of
these mausoleums differs exceedingly, and two
are evidently Egyptian.
It is probable that this was originally the
burying-place of the Roman inhabitants of the
oasis, the
having
hadrock;
catacombs
ad
joining
it, Egyptians
hollowed out
of ithe
but when
the Christian religion spread through the East,
and shed its light over even the barren sands
of the desert, the Copts who inhabited the oasis
employed the Necropolis as a place of sepul
ture for their own dead; and, instead of con

structing new tombs, used those of the ancient


Romans. This will account for the strange
medley of Christian inscriptions and paintings
which are mingled with those of the Romans.
Amongst the crowd of such tombs, there is one
larger than the rest. The walls are adorned with

arches, and its facade has ten.

In the interior

54

nnscnrrrron or

is a little gallery, with three pillars on each side,


and at the end a small room vaulted in three
arches, with doves at the angles, and the crux

ansatu on each front. This crux unsata is also


found upon a great number of the tombs.
Saints, with their names scrawled beneath them,

are painted or ratherdaubed over the walls. Un


der a dome, in a tomb near that which has just
been spoken of, are a number of Christian paint
ings, representing passages in the life of David ;
Noah's ark; Daniel in the lions den; Abraham
offering up his son Isaac; Jonah and the whale;

together with many others of a similar nature.


It is remarkable that in this Necropolis both
the Copts and Romans appear to have adopted
the Egyptian manner of burying their deadfor
in every tomb there is a well dug in the rock, in
which there is either a munnny, or some of the

strips of linen in which a mummy has been


wrapped.
There are several mineral springs at El Khargeh.
The other oases are smaller, but differ little in any
thing else. The inhabitants are generally Be
douin Arabs, who carry on some commercial inter

course with the caravans that pass through their


villages, and cultivate barley, rice, and indigo.

They are much annoyed by the sands from the


desert.

NORTHERN AFRICA.

55

CHAPTER IV.

COUNTRIES BORDERING ON THE NILE."-UPPER EGYPT,


NUBIA, AND ABYSSINIA.

THE Nile is so celebrated in itself, and is of

so much importance to the country of which we


are treating, that it seems unnecessary to give

any other sketch of the towns and districts of


Upper Egypt, than by simply mentioning the
course of the river through that province. We
have already traced its progress from the sea to
the point where the two branches from Damietta
and Rosetta unite into one stream; and, as far as

Cairo, the Nile ows through a rich and fertile


plain, formed, indeed, as is supposed, by the

deposites brought by its waters.

Beyond Cairo,

however, the country begins to assume a different


aspect; steep ridges of mountains rise on each
side of the valley, about eight miles broad, which
borders the Nile, and these continue nearly the .
whole way from Cairo to Syeneh, with occasional
deles opening on the one hand to the oasis, and on

the other to the Red Sea. At Syeneh, orAssu6an,


the current of the river is interrupted by some
cataracts, which, when compared with those of

Europe and America, scarcely deserve the name.

66

nnscmrrron or

The rst are formed by upright pieces of slaty


rock, between the interstices of which the stream

gradually oozes, and by small rocky islands of


granite, over some of which the water occasionally
gains strength enough to precipitate itself, rarely,
however, descending from a height of more than
ten or fteen feet. They are navigable; and the
descriptions which the ancient poets and other
writers have given of them appear ridiculously
exaggerated when contrasted with their actual
appearance.

'

Between Cairo and Syeneh are several consider


able towns. At Syut a cotton manufactory has
been established, but it has ceased working, the
machinery being impeded by the sand of the
desert, brought by the simoom. The dryness of
the air also causes the woodwoik to warp and

split, and the cotton threads to break. NearSyut


are some excavations of tombs or catacombs;

several of the paintings upon the walls of which


are preserved. El Arabat was formerly Abydos,
and still contains some interesting ruins. Den
dereh lies at a short distance from the Nile, and

presents a strange mixture of ancient grandeur


and modern wretehedness. The magnicent tem
ple continues nearly entire, but is surrounded on
every side with mud-houses and heaps of ruins.
It was here that the French found the emblema
ticul paintings which were supposed to indicate

the path of the sun in the ecliptic.


The ruins of Thebes at Carnac and Luxor
fully realise the ideas which the descriptions
of the ancients give of their surpassing gran

d8l1l'.

The two colossi, with the Memnonium

xorvrnnnn ArnrcA.

57 _

and temple of Medinet-Abu, rank among the


most splendid remains of antiquity; and the
lofty mountain that rises beyond, exhibits along
its sides numerous excavated tombs, which are
now inhabited by Arabs. The Memnonium is a
vast ruin, respecting which M. Champollion has
lately made some interesting discoveries. An
immense statue, twenty-three feet across the
shoulders, lies upon the ground; and at a short

distance are the celebrated colossi. Both statues


are in a sitting posture, and are forty-seven feet
high, exclusive of the base. The legs of the one
that gave forth the sounds, are covered with
inscriptions, in Greek and Latin. Several of
these appeared in The Literary Gazette for
June 26, 1830: they consist of the testimonies

of those who had heard the sounds, and belong


principally to the reign of the Emperor Adrian.
From these curious memorials, it appears that
Memnon was rather a capricious deity, and did
not always favour his votaries with his music.
Adrian himself visited the colossus, and adds his

evidence of the miracle to that of the others.


M. Letronne, the translator of the inscriptions,

says, that there can be no doubt that the colossi


were formerly the principal ornaments of a tem
ple or palace, built, he supposes, by Amenophis
the Second, or Third, and called after him Ame

nophium. This building was still in existence in


the time of Pliny; and it is believed that one of
the gures was that of the founder. The statues
were, in the rst instance, formed of a single
block of .breccia each: one is still entire; but

that on which the inscriptions are, bears evident

I
Q 56

nnscnrrrron or

marks of having been broken by force from


the waist; the original upper part has disap
peared, and its place been supplied by thirteen
blocks of gneiss, superinmosed upon each other,
or laterally attached so as to form ve layers of
stone. Strabo and Pausanias saw the colossus
in its mutilated state, the upper half lying upon
the ground; so that the restoration must have

taken place later than the reign of Adrian. The


mutilation is supposed to have been one of the sa
crilegious acts of violence committed by the Per
sians under Cambyses. The legend, that this
statue was that of Metnnon, son of Aurora, is too

well known to need repetition. He was said to give


forth sounds at the break of day, to welcome the

approach of his mother.


The temples of Luxor and Medinet-Abu are
deserving attention; but, though ne in them

selves, they sink into insignicance when com


pared with the noble remains at Carnac, which
are considered the nest ruins in the world. Here
stood the magnicent avenue of ve hundred co
lossal sphinxes leading to a temple, the colonnade
of which consists of a forest of one hundred and
twenty massive columns. It would take us too
long to describe the propylea and obelisks.
Esneh and Edfou present few attractions to the
modern traveller; and the next town is Syeneh

or Assuoan. Near this is the island of Elephan


tina, where is the Nilometer by which the an
cients were accustomed to measure the rise of
the Nile. It is surrounded by sixteen small

gures, supposed to typify (what is really the


case), that sixteen feet was the proper height to

NORTHERN AFRICA .

59 4

which the river ought to ascend, though it has


been known to rise as high as twenty-four. It is
curious to observe, however, that no great differ
ence has taken place in its inundations since the
time of Herodotus; for the height he mentions is

exactly that of its present elevation. A man is


appointed to watch till it has risen to the desired
mark, that he may announce the fact to the

people, which he does, by exclaiming, God is


just! God is merciful !
Above Syeneh, Webster tells us that the Nile
assumes the appearance of a lake winding up
wards, surrounded by high crumbling rocks,
along the base of which is seen a ring of dark
green. Here and there .are palm-trees, and on
the right the ruined temples of the island of Philoe.
The desert extends like a broad highway, bordered

by rocky lines, up
Syeneh is the well,
the rays of the sun,
luminary could be

to the side of the river. At


illuminated to the bottom by
in which it was supposed that
seen vertically. Bodies are

also reported to cast no shadow at this place.

The island of Philae was celebrated amongst


the ancients on account of its containing the tomb
of Osiris, and their most solemn oath was to
swear by that relic. The appearance of Philae in
its present state is said by Webster to be pic
turesque in the extreme. It is surrounded by
mountains of granite; through which the river
calmly winding, the reection of the rocks, the
ruins of the palaces, and its calm glassy surface,

form one of the most lovely pictures that can be


imagined.
Beyond is the rst cataract of the Nile, and

60

nrscnrrrron or

the river then enters the kingdom of Nubia, the


boundaries of which are uncertain. Batrovi states
its extent to be thirty days journey ; but Edrishi

(with whom agree Bruce and Poncet) say that


to cross Nubia requires two months r2 pas de
chameau.

Rain is scarce in Upper Egypt, and

considered a phenomenon in the Delta; but in


Nubia it falls regularly from June to September.
The climate during the dry season is dreadful; the

soil becomes parched, the water of the wells


putrid, and the traveller is compelled to toil
through plains of burning sand, interspersed with
masses of granite.

Deir, the capital of Lower

Nubia, is an insignicant place, with the houses


built of mud and stones.

The next town, lbrim,_

is remarkable as being the spot which has usually


bounded the voyages up the Nile. Belzoni is the
only modern traveller who has ventured to ascend
beyond this place. At WVadi is the second cata
raet, formed of a black basaltic rock in the middle

of the river, and not navigable.


In the centre of Nubia is Dongola ; a large

and populous state, which has a handsome city,


with a numerous population.
We return to the river, to enter Senaar, the

ancient Mero. The distance of this country from


the coast exactly corresponds with that assigned

to it by Herodotus and Eratosthenes. Pliny says


that Mero was partly an island; but this pro
bably alluded merely to the circumstance of Nubia
being partially encircled by a prodigious sweep of
the Nile; the ancients calling all lands which were
surrounded by water, islands, though the water

were but a triing rivulet.

The Nile here divides,

NORTHERN AFRICA.

61

or rather the main body of the Bahr el Abiad


(White River), which is the true Nile,receives here

the waters of the Bahr el Ayrek (Blue River),


which rises in Abyssinia: their sources were dis
covered by Bruce. They had, however, been vi
sited by the Jesuits Paez and Tillez two centuries
previously.
\Ve here lose all traces of the Bahr el Abiad ;
this celebrated stream, which runs nearly a

thousand miles without receiving.a single tributary


(viz., from the point of its conuence with the
Bahr el Ayrek to the sea), disappearing from
the homage of his worshippers. The two rivers
are named from the colour of their waters, which

are tinged, one with a light clay, and the other


with a rich black mud. They are said to run
together for some miles, without mingling, like
the Rhine and the Lake of Geneva. The source
of the Bahr el Abiad still remains entirely un
known ; some suppose it to have a communica

tion with the Niger, and others think that it


runs from some lake, or takes its rise in the

Mountains of the Moon.

A strange tale is told

of ve Negroes, who set off in a canoe from Jen

nie, a town on the Niger, and sailed down the


river, which they assert they found to be the same
as the Nile, till they arrived at Grand Cairo.
Their account, however, of the voyage, contains
circumstances so improbable as to make it unde

serving of notice.
_
The depth and rapidity of the Nile vary ex
ceedingly, and the navigation is occasionally ren
dered diliicult by the shifting sandbanks: not

withstanding this, the river from Nubia to Grand

__.-

62

nnscnrrrron or

Cairo is usually covered with boats containing


passengers and luggage, and many of them
go to the Mediterranean. The rise of the Nile
begins at the summer solstice, and attains its
greatest height at the autumnal equinox. It has
been already mentioned, that the diminished fer
tility of Egypt is supposed to proceed from a
want of due management of the river; and it

is certain that both the abundance and failure


of the harvests are mainly dependant on the
greater or less increase of the water. If the river
does not ascend to a certain height, the land
proves sterile; but if it rises too high, the conse
quences are fatal. Belzoni relates a dreadful
instance of this, which occurred in September,
1818, when it rose three feet and a half above

its usual elevation.

The crops and cattle of

the unfortunate inhabitants were swept away,

and their lives exposed to the most imminent


danger. Some climbed the highest palm-trees;
whilst others, clinging to the necks of their buf
faloes, endeavoured to swim on shore. The
effects were awful; the food of men and beasts
was alike destroyed, and a great number of those
who escaped the inundation perished afterwards by
famine; for, though the crop which followed was
immense, many died before it was ready to be
gathered, from the complete deprivation of all

their previously-collected stores.


The fecundity produced by the waters of the
Nile does not, however, depend entirely upon the
benet the land receives from irrigation; the
river washes a rich mud from the mountains,

which, combined with the natural soil of Egypt,

NORTIIERN AFRICA.

63

is admirably adapted for vegetation. This mud


is composed half of argil, a fourth of carbonate of
1ime,and the remainder of oxide of iron and car- '

bonate of magnesia.

VVhen the moisture is eva

porated, it is made into bricks and tobacco-pipes,


and serves occasionally to cover furnaces and
houses. The water of the Nile is extremely

light; and for drink, is said to bear the same


reference to other waters that champagne does
to other wines; this, however, does not apply
to it in the summer-season, when it is nearly

stagnant, as it then requires to be ltered before .


it can be used. When it rst begins to rise, it
is quite green, but in forty days it becomes
of a brownish red; no doubt from the colour
of the clay it contains.
Many theories have
been started to account for the periodical rise
of the waters; but the most probable seems
to be, that lakes are formed during the rainy
season on the table-lands in the south, and that

when these are surcharged with water, and


burst, they swell the river, and make it overow
its banks. The Egyptians say that if Mahomet
had tasted the water of the Nile, he would have

wished for it in Paradise; and the ancients con


sidered the river as a divinity, and worshipped it.
The city of Senaar contains a hundred thou
sand inhabitants, and sends caravans every year
to Egypt and Arabia: Gherri is the capital of
Upper Nubia.
'
We now enter Abyssinia. This country is
supposed to have been the ./Ethiopia supra
Egyptum of the ancients, though Ethiopia is

said to signify only people of a dark colour. Abys

64

nasc nrrrrow or

sinia forms a table-land of considerable extent,


with two great chains of mountains on the
east and south, which shoot up in abrupt peaks :
Paez says they are higher than the Alps, but
are not covered with snow. Many rivers take
their rise in these mountains. The Maleg,
Rahad, and Tacazz, fall into the Bahr el Ayreh,

which also comes from a similar source. The


Hanazo and Hawash disappear in the sands.
The '1ibee runs east towards the coast of Zangue
bar; and the great lake Denobea,like all lakes in

the torrid zone, changes its size with the seasons.


In the high lands of Abyssinia the climate is
more temperate than in Spain and Portugal ; and
the heat has no unpleasant effect on the human
frame, though the exhalations in low places are
suffocating. The winter is from June to Sep
tember, when the country is visited with thunder,

lightning, and violent rains.

There is often in

clement weather in other parts of the year, and

the seasons vary much between the mountain


ous country and the plain: this greatly surprised
Alvarez, a Portuguese, who, travelling slowly

through the country, followed the course of the


seasons, and thus found himself continually trans

ported from one winter to another.


Petit le Croix reports, that the mountains of
Abyssinia contain copper, lead, iron, and sul
phur; and Bruce says, that ne gold is found
in those of Dyne and Tigla.
Great plains,
which lie at the feet of the eastern mountains,
are covered with rock-salt, which shoots into

crystals of extraordinary length.

In the king

dom of Tigre is the ancient Axum, now consist

NORTHERN AFRICA.

65

ing of about six hundred houses. It was not known


to Strabo or Herodotus; but is mentioned by
Arrian in the second century, and by Procopius and
others in the fourteenth, fteenth, and sixteenth.
Here are many ruins; amongst which is an obelisk

thirty feet high, but without any hieroglyphics;


and a Greek inscription on amonument, attesting
the victories of King Aczanus. The number of
provinces in Abyssinia is uncertain: Bruce says
nineteen.
At Abu-casub there is a church cut out of the
solid rock: it is fty feet long and thirty wide,
and has a dome forty feet high. The walls are
covered with Ethiopic inscriptions and paintings,
representing different saints; the. most conspicu
ous of which is St. George. In the same province
is a monastery a mile in circumference, which
Bruce says would make an excellent post for de
fence.
To the south-west of Tigre is the kingdom, or
rather province, of Dembea; and Gondar, the
capital of Abyssinia, stated to be as large as
Cairo;

The houses are built of red stone, and

thatched. To the south of Dembea is the king


dom of Gojam, which is entirely surrounded
by the Nile, and has a much larger cataract
than those before spoken of, the water falling

above forty feet. To the east of Gojam are the


provinces of Amhara and Begander; the former
of which contains the prison of Amba Geshenm,
that gave rise to Johnson's celebrated Rasselas,
Prince of Abyssinia. This extraordinary place
of connement consists of a natural cavern, or

articial ditch, environed by steep mountains;


r

66

nnscnrrrron or

from the top of which the prisoners are said to


be let down by cords.

Here the king immures

all those whom he has reason to fear might at- _


tempt to seize his throne; and, as they are mostly

princes of the blood-royal, it is from amongst


these captives, that, on his death, the future mo
narch of Abyssinia is usually chosen. According

to some writers, the practice has been long dis


continued.

cnnrnxr. AFRICA.

67

CHAPTER V.

DESCRIPTION

OF

CENTRAL

AFRICA.-~SENEGAMBIA.'*

EASTERN AND WESTERN NIGRITIA.

Tm. immense regions comprised under the


name of Central Africa seem totally estranged
from the rest of the world; and, except a few

European settlements upon the coasts, and the


nations with which their situation has brought _
them into immediate contact, the vast tract which
stretches from Cape Guardafui to Cape de Verde,
and extends from ten degrees north of the equator
to the tropic of Capricorn, is wholly unknown.

The countries north of this line, and lying be


tween the Mountains of the Moon and the Great
Desert, have been occasionally visited by Euro
peans; but the various accounts of them are so
vague and contradictory, as to render it diicult
to discriminate between what is worthy of credit,
and what is merely founded in conjecture or error.
The rst district of any importance on the
western coast, to the south of the Great Desert,

is Senegambia. The heights of Cape de Verde


alone break the uniformity of the plain of which
it consists, and as this lies between the paral
lels of eight and twenty degrees, it is exposed to

intense heat.

The chain of mountains that


1" 2

68

DESCRIPTION or

bounds it on the south, stretches from west to east,


and, it is supposed, forms a portion of what may
be called the Andes of Africa, viz., the Moun
tains of the Moon, which were, till lately,
thought to extend in an uninterrupted belt across
the whole peninsula, from the Cong mountains
in Senegambia, to those of Donga near Abyssi
nia.

Major Denham, who saw part of the chain

at Mandara, describes them as composed of


rugged blocks of granite detached and reclin
ing upon each other ; the interstices being lled

not only with mosses and lichens, but having


sometimes trees of considerable size growing be
tween them.
"
The Senegal, which was long confounded with
_ the Niger, rises in the tenth degree of northern
latitude, in the Forta Jallon hills(which some
imagine to be part of the ridge above alluded to,
lying in the country of Forta Jallon, though
others consider them quite a different range,)
and its course, from its frequent windings, is
more than eight hundred miles before it reaches
the ocean. Like most of the African rivers, how
ever, it has a dangerous sand-bar at its mouth,

and its navigation is interrupted by cataracts, of


which those at Feloo are the most important;
since they are said, for seven months in the year,

entirely to stop the current of the river; but


during the other ve, the waters attain sufficient
force to overcome the obstacle. The stream is
only navigable in the rainy season; being ren
dered dangerous when the water is low, by in
numerable shifting sandbanks. The island of

St. Louis (generally looked upon as the centre of

CENTRAL AFRICA.

69

French Africa) is in the Senegal, about fourteen


miles from its mouth.

The banks of the river

are very beautiful; and Malte-Brun describes


them as lined with hills and mountains, where
tall trees, mixed with handsome shrubs, form ver

dant arches and amphitheatres. He adds, that


this river would furnish one of the most in
teresting voyages in the world, if its claims to ad
miration were not so essentially impaired by the
unwholesomeness of the air, and the immense

number of hippopotami and crocodiles upon its


banks.
.
The Gambia is quite different from the Sene
gal, being navigable only in the dry season; the
river having, when swollen with the rains, from
its immense depth and width, such inordinate ra
pidity, that no vessels are able to stem its torrent.

Forty-gun frigates can go up this river thirty


seven miles, and large merchantmen a hundred
and eighty. The whole length of its course is
about six hundred and ten miles. The Rio
Grande also is deep and wide; but its course is

only half as long as that of the Gambia.

The

Rio Mesurato is imperfectly known.


' The plains watered by the Senegal and the
Gambia are divided into a number of small king
d_oms, of which very little can be said with ac

curacy. The kingdom of Bambouk is reported to


contain gold-mines; and that of Owal has a
lake, which in the dry season is transformed into
a plain.

Colonies of the Foulah nations, which

inhabit part of the country between the Senegal

and the Gambia, spread as far south as Sierra


Leone, and as far east as the kingdom of Bornou.

70

nnscnrrrros or

The Serrawoolet negroes, who form a sort of


confederation of states, of which Gallam is the
Chief city; the Mandingoes, who live near the
source of the Niger; the Jaloof nations, who

reside between the Senegal and the Gambia; and


the Feloops and the Serreresseem to have little
in their respective territories to require any topo
graphical details. The empire of the Jaloofs
consists of four kingdoms : Cayor, which formerly

included Cape de Verde; the island of Goree


Sin, a small state to the south of Cayor, em
bracing about thirty miles of coast; Salem, the

capital of which is Cahon; and Brack, together


with the dominions of the Bourb Jaloof. Sa
lem is on a little river of the same name. The
king's residence is at Cahon, where he has a
palace in the form of a round tower, thirty feet
in diameter, and forty-ve in height, crowned by a

dome of twenty feet.

It is built of wood, covered

with millet-straw, and the ceiling is adorned with


carpets curiously gured; whilst the oor is
formed of a kind of mastic,

mats.

and spread with

This kingdom has an area of fteen hun

dred square miles, and three hundred thousand in


habitants : its lands are fertile and well cultivated.
The remainder of Senegambia is occupied by a
number of petty states, too unimportant, and too
little known, to deserve enumeration.

Cape de

Verde is the most western promontory of Africa.


As the Rio Grande is generally considered to
form the boundary between Senegambia and
Guinea, we shall leave the coast south of the
mountains, to proceed to the country of the Sou

dan, or Western Nigritia, which includes two

CENTRAL AFRICA.

71

of the most fertile subjects of contention that


ever inspired the pens of literary disputants;

namely,'the river Niger and the city of Tim


buctoo.
_
It is a curious example of the extreme igno
rance of Europeans in regard to Africa, that

it should be impossible to ascertain facts appa


rently so simple as the existence of a city cele
brated as a commercial mart for the whole inte
rior of Africa, to which caravans are continually

passing backwards and forwards from all the con


siderable places of the north; and the mouth of a
river which has a suicient body of water to inun
date a country containing at least 2260 square
miles. The sources of rivers are often obscure
and hard to be discovered; but the mouth of a

large and navigable stream appears, like the dome


of a magnicent cathedral, an object not likely to
be easily concealed.

The Niger, however, has

completely baffled all geographers, from Pliny,


who, fancying it a branch of the Egyptian

Nile, was obliged to add, that it occasionally


took a freak of travelling a few hundred miles
under ground; to Sir Rufane Donkin, respecting
whose work so much has recently been said and
written. It would be foreign to the plan of
such a publication as this, to enter into any
controversial details, or to support any parti
cular hypothesis; we shall therefore content our
selves with stating, as briey as possible, those

facts respecting this celebrated river, upon which


the contending parties are agreed. The Ni
ger, then, is a very considerable river, taking its
rise in the hill of Loma, which is supposed to

72

DESCRIPTION or

be part of the great chain before mentioned, at


an elevation of 1600 feet above the level of the
Atlantic, and owing due east. The river, when
seen by Mungo Park, about thirty degrees from
the western coast, and at least twenty degrees
from the coast of Guinea, was as wide as the

Thames at Westminster-bridge.

Its course was

remarkably gentle; and its waters, which appeared

very deep, glittered like a polished mirror in


the reected beams of the rising sun. It was
called Joliba, or the Great Water, by the natives;

and this name having been conrmed by recent


travellers, is now generally adopted in the maps.
The Niger overows its banks in the rainy
season, when the sun enters Cancer.

It runs

through a country covered with trees and shrubs


of immense size, which form verdant arches; and

large elephants, as well as crocodiles and hippo


potami, inhabit its shores. On the south are said
to be gold mines, in which lumps of pure gold
are sometimes found, weighing several ounces
each. The word Joli-Ba signies the Great River;
but it is also called Ba Ba, The river of rivers,

to express its importance and magnitude. The


negroes, indeed, consider it to be the largest river
in the world, and, as is usual with superstitious
people, exaggerate every thing that belongs to it.
They tell many extraordinary traditions of its
source; and amongst others, that if any one were
to attempt to leap over it, he would fall in, and

be instantly swallowed up, though it may be stept


over quietly, without the least apprehension of
danger. It is also forbidden to take water from

the spring, and any one offering to do so,

CENTRAL AFRICA.

73

will, it is said, have the calabash wrested from


his hand by an invisible power, and most probably
lose his arm. The natives of Soolimana told

Major Laing, that Sego, Jennie, and Timbuctoo,


were the principal towns upon its banks.

The

rst of these is the capital of Bambarra, and was

visited by Mungo Park.

He describes the river

as dividing into two parts (each a noble stream),

and re-uniting a little below the town, which is


built on both its banks.

The situation of Timbuctoo is less certainly


known.

The general opinion seems to be, that

it is a large city on the Niger; but though many


writers have given descriptions of it, no two of
them agree. Mungo Park was told that Tim
buctoo was two days journey from the Niger,
which, however, ran through Cabra, the port of
the city.
The American sailor, Adams, says,

that a stream, which he calls La Mer Zarah,


about three quarters of a mile wide, goes through
the town, owing very slowly, the waters of which
are brackish. In the account of a journey to
Timbuctoo, performed by two Moors, and

edited by Jackson, it is stated, that there is a


rivulet running through Timbuctoo, which is
brackish to the taste, but that it does not join
the Niger, the waters of which are sweet and

pleasant:whilst M. Rn Cailli, whose travels


rival those of the celebrated Le Vaillant in amuse
ment and authenticity, airms that the river
approaches neither the port nor the city. There

being so many different opinions respecting the


vicinity of the Niger, the position of which must
have been instantly ascertained by any one who

74

DESCRIPTION or

has really visited Timbuctoo, we can scarcely


expect to nd an accurate account of the city
itself; and beingwholly unable to decide, amongst

the multitude of totally opposite descriptions,


which is correct, we can only state, that Timbuc

too is a place of considerable trade, where cara


vans from Mourzuk, Bornou, and Fez, continually

arrive; and that in other respects it appears to


resemble the mud cities of the interior of Africa.
Jennie is a city in the neighbourhood of Tim

buctoo, second only to that metropolis in im


portance, and involved in equal mystery.

Park

was told by the natives, that it was on an island

in the Niger; and Cailli (who sometimes fol


lows the reports given to Park vefy closely) says

the same.

The rest of his account is owery,

and so exceedingly unlike all the other cities in


the interior of Africa, that we can only say, if
it be true, it is very surprising. The death of
Major Laing, the rst European who certainly

penetrated to Timbuctoo, is much to be lamented;


and the loss of his papers, if possible,

still

more so. Leo Africanus, and other early writers,


speak of this country as abounding in gold; and
it is probable that this is in some degree correct.
Several travellers mention a large sheet of water,
called Debbo, or the Black Lake, which is so ex

tensive, that canoes when passing over it lose sight


of land for a day together. The Niger runs through
this lake, but has not beentraced beyond Houssa,
a city west of Timbuctoo. Many hypotheses have
been started to prove that it discharges itself into
the Gulf of Guinea; to do which, it must turn
completely back in its course, and cross the lofty

cnnrrmr. AFRICA.

.75

Cong mountains: the Congo, and other large


rivers on the coast, have also been successively

named as its mouth. The story of its joining the


Egyptian Nile has been already noticed; but

if that be the case, its course must be upwards of


six thousand miles from the spot where it was seen
by Park to the Mediterranean. Others think that
it loses itself in the sands, or empties itself into
the large lake Tchad: nothing is known posi
tively.
Respecting the city of Houssa, said to be as
large as Timbuctoo, we are enveloped in similar
darkness.

Great part of its territory is, however,

well known, from having been lately traversed by


Denham and Clapperton, and afterwards by
Lander, the servant of the latter; who, after his
masters death, believed he had found traces of

the Niger at Fundah; but, just when he was a


days journey from that place (about twenty
four miles), he was ordered, by the sultan Zeg
zeg, in whose dominions he then was, not to

proceed any further. The problem, therefore,


still remains unsolved; and it is yet uncertain
whether the Niger may not, according to Sir
Rufane Donkins opinion, ow through the Great
Syrtis into the Mediterranean ; or, according to
Major Rennell, empty itself into the Gulf of

Guinea.

In either case, however, it has a peril

ous journey to perform; as it must run under


an immense desert of sand, or leap a chain of
lofty mountains~both rather awkward exploits
for a great river: yet, though all these suppo
sitions seem improbable, we have no better to
offer in their stead; and the veil which has so

76

'

mzscrurrrox or

long rested upon the Niger must still continue


to conceal it.
The tract of land which reaches from Sene
gambia. to Darfoor, bounded by the mountains on
the south, is comprised under the general name of
Soudan, or Nigritia; and as its eastern portion

has lately been fully explored by our enterprising


and unfortunate fellow-countrymen, Major Den

ham and Captain Clapperton, it is only necessary


for us to make a brief abstract of their travels,

which will give a satisfactory idea of the whole


country. Following the narrative of Major Den
ham, then, we nd that he and his companion
proceeded from Mourzuk through the country of
the Tibboos to Bornou. The road by which the
travellers quitted Fezzan was formed of a curious
mixture of sand and salt ; their path being some
times a narrow strip worn smooth, till it was as
polished and as hard as ice, and sometimes broken
into deep chasms, on the sides of which hung

beautiful crystals from beds of frost of the purest


white. Tegerhy was the rst place in the country
of the Tibboos ; an insignicant town, but having
a castle and an enchanted well, which the Arabs

say always rises on the approach of a caravan;


and as a proof, they pointed out how much lower
it was after the caravan had been drinking at it
for some hours than it was before ! The miseries
of crossing the deserts have been already men
tioned; but the usual horrors were, on this
occasion, increased by the immense number of

corpses scattered over the country; most of which


were those of slaves who had died on the way
from Bornou to Tripoli. Part of this desert was

CENTRAL AFRICA.

77

strewed with pieces of beautiful calcareous spar


resembling topazes and other precious stones.
There are several salt-water and trona, or carbo
nate-of-soda lakes, on the route. In one of the
latter is an island of .trona, fteen feet high, and
a hundred feet in circumference.
Bilma is the capital of the Tibboos. The
Tuarick country lies to the westward, as does a
portion of the Soudan, which is but little known,
not being in the route of any caravan. As the
travellers advanced, they found the face of the

country improve, and the desert assume the ap


pearance of an English heath. Mittimee was the
ast town they stayed at, before they reached the
great lake Tchad, which is just on the connes
of the kingdom of Bornou. The rst view they
obtained of the lake was at Lari, a town in the
kingdom of Canem. Lari stands on an eminence,

and has nearly two thousand inhabitants. The


huts (for they do not deserve the name of houses)
are built of the rush which grows by the side of
the lake; they are circular, and have conical tops

like haystacks. The houses in the towns adjoin


ing the desert a.re generally made round, to break,
as they say, the force of the wind, which if it
found a at surface to oppose it, would sweep
down the obstacle.
Burwha, the rst town on entering into Bor
nou, is walled; its extent is about three square
miles, and it has six thousand inhabitants. Bor
nou is a large kingdom of Central Africa, ex

tending from ten to fteen degrees of parallel


northern latitude, and from twelve to eighteen
degrees of east longitude. It is bounded on the

78

nnscnrrrron or

north by the desert, on the north-east by the


kingdom of Canem, and on the east by the lake
Tchad, which covers many thousand square miles,
and has several inhabited islands. On the south
is Mandara, at the foot of the chain of primitive
mountains previously adverted to, and on the west
is Soudan, or Western Nigritia.

The heat is excessive in Bornou from March

to June, and the country is subject to violent


storms of thunder, lightning, and rain. Before
the end of June, the lakes and rivers begin to
overow; and from the extreme atness of the
country, it seems all converted into one immense

sheet of water: the rainy season continues till


October. The population is numerous, and
there are thirteen principal cities. Couka is the
capital of Bornou, and is reckoned the most
healthy part of the kingdom. The valleys of
Mandara are extensive, and are well supplied

with water. Delou, the capital, contains about ten


thousand inhabitants. It has several ne springs
of water, and is remarkable for its g-trees and
odoriferous shrubs. The mountains of Mandara
have been already mentioned as being supposed
to be part of the chain called Cong, though this
name is said to be common to all African moun
tains, as that of Nile to all rivers.

Near these

is the race of Christian people so frequently


alluded to by ancient writers. Mora is a modern
town of Mandara; and the heights behind it
rise to about two thousand ve hundred feet.
Further westward a hollow was found among
the mountains, which appeared to have been the
basin of some vast lake, the waters of which

CENTRAL AFRICA.

79

had entirely disappeared. Whilst here, Major


lDenham was told of a large river amongst the
1lllS.

The remains of the old capital of Bornou are


described as being built with brick, and having
amongst them a palace and two mosques. It
should be mentioned, before leaving Bornou, that
the travellers explored the whole coast of lake
Tchad, and that they found it had only two rivers
running into it, which were the Yeou and the

Shary. It is remarkable, however, that the peo


ple told Lander the Shary ran out of the lake,
and fell into the Niger at Fundah. The Shary
divides into a kind of delta at the point where
its waters join those of the lake. The channel of
a river, now dry, which appears to have run out
of the lake, can be plainly traced. The size
of this immense inland sea may be guessed, from
its being two days journey from the mouth of
the river Shary to the nearest island. Its water
is perfectly fresh, and abounds with sh. Amongst
its numerous islands are some which are said to
be oating islands; but no detailed account has

been given of these phenomena. The natives


have a strange report about the water of this lake,
which they say sinks under ground, and rises
again in the kingdom of Darfoor, in the form of
the Bahr el Abiad, or White River, a branch of
the Egyptian Nile, whose inundations happen

whenever the Tchad is swollen by the periodical


rains.
The kingdoms of Bornou and Darfoor are

generally considered to form Eastern Nigritia ;

80

orscnrrrron or

and, as our information respecting the latter is


very scanty, it may be as well to give a slight
sketch of it, before we proceed with Captain
Clapperton from Couka to Soccatoo.
Darfoor is only known from the narrative of
Mr. Browne, who. visited it in 1793.

It lies be

tween Abyssinia and Kanem, the country before


pointed out as being one of the eastern bounda
ries of lake Tchad, whilst Begharme separates .
it from Bornou below the lake.
Darfoor is
bounded on the north by the desert which lies
between it and the Thebaic Oasis, and on the

south by some petty negro nations, beyond


which are the mountains of Donga. It extends
from the fteenth to the eleventh parallel of north
latitude, and is situated between the meridians of

26 and 29 east.

Mr. Browne saw neither lakes

nor rivers; but Malte-Brun mentions a river called

the Bahr Attaba. The soil, after the rainy


season, is very productive. Cobbeh, the resi
dence of the principal merchants, is a long nar
row town, containing about six thousand inhabi
tants. Ril, however, is considered the capital,
and is about sixty miles from Sennaar,

the

route leading through the small kingdom of Cor


(lofan.
Begharme comprehends a large tract of fertile
country, extending from the south-east of Bor

nou to Darfoor, of which \Vaday and Bergoo are


supposed to be subdivisions. The capital of
Begharme, respecting the name of which authori
ties differ, is said to stand on a large river.

There

is a vast lake, called Fittre, or the Darfoor Water,

CENTRAL AFRICA.

81

in this country; the people told Major Denham


that it was formed by thewater of the Nile (Niger).
It had also a stream running out of it; but the
lake itself was not so large as the Tchad.
We will now take a cursory view of Captain
Clappertons route from Couka to Soccatoo, in

the kingdom of Houssa.

At Bedecarfee, the

houses, from their conical shape, resemble im

mense bee-hives, and those having an ostrich egg


on the roof are the habitations of the great men.
Catagen, the frontier-town ofBornou, is a strongly
fortied place, built in the Turkish style, and
containing about eight thousand souls. There
is a room in the governors palace, supported

by pillars, formed of the trunks of the palm


tree fashioned into columns, with pedestals and
capitals of clay.

Catungwa, the rst town in

Houssa Proper, is walled. After passing through


several others, and crossing many small rivers,

besides the dry bed of a considerable stream, the


traveller arrived at Couka, which he was led to
expect was the metropolis of Houssa, and which

is, in fact, one of the principal towns of the


Soudan, having about thirty thousand inhabitants,
exclusive of strangers, who resort to it in great
numbers from all parts of Africa. The city is
rendered unhealthy by a morass dividing it into
two parts, and crossed by a narrow neck of land,
_ on which a market is held. Kano is about fteen
miles in circumference. The houses are generally
square, and built of clay, with a large room for
the reception of strangers, having pillars of palm
trees.

Besides the market for food, which is

well supplied, there is another for slaves, who are


G

82

nnscnrvrron or

bought and sold like cattle.

The dwellings of

the natives are nearly a quarter of a mile from


the walls, and are scattered in detached groups,
divided by large stagnant pools of water.
The bed of a river between Kano and Coshwa
was quite dry; but in the rainy season it is said

to wash the walls of Soccatoo, and to fall into


the Quorra (supposed to be the Niger) at Cubby.
Clapperton was about a month in travelling from
Kano to Soccatoo, which he found to be a popu

lous town, built on a hill near the junction of a


small stream with the river Zirmi, which also
empties itself into the Quorra. The city occupies
a long ridge, sloping to the north, and is laid out
in regular streets. The houses are built in the

Moorish style, with at roofs and large water


spouts, which at rst sight resemble tiers of guns.
While here, Clapperton frequently heard the

natives speak of the Youri country, or Nyffee, in


which it appeared that Mungo Park was drowned.
The sultan told him that Fundah was the place
where the Quorra enters the sea. He went no
further at that time; and on his return to the

same place four years after, he discovered that


great part of Soccatoo had been burnt down in
his absence. It was, however, soon rebuilt; and,

from the description he gives of the sultans


palace, apparently in a very sumptuous style.
Clapperton died at Soccatoo, and was buried
by his faithful servant Lander, who, after his
master's death, endeavoured to reach the Niger
alone; and, by descending the river, hoped to
arrive at Benin by water. On leaving Soccatoo,

he saw some tremendous rocks, described by him

CENTRAL AFRICA.

83

as consisting of large pieces of granite, which


looked as if they had been torn asunder, and
heaped one upon another, by an earthquake, and
which were sometimes hanging so fearfully ba
lanced, that they resembled the Logan stone,
in Cornwall. Lander passed two large rivers,
running to the north-west, the last being that

which he was told emptied itself into the Quorra


at Fundah. At length he reached the latitude
of this much-wished-for place, when, as before
related, he was compelled to return, and soon

after came back to England. He has since visited


Africa again, accompanied by a brother; and
great hopes are entertained that some important

discoveries will result from their expedition.

G2

-...-

Q;

84

DESCRIPTION or

CHAPTER VI.

SIERRA

LEONA.*COUNTB.Y

OF THE

ASHANTEES, AND

UPPER GUINEA.

Tm: countries we are now about to describe


are those lying southward of the great chain of
the Cong mountains, extending to the coast of
the Gulf of Guinea, and separated from Sene

gambia by the Rio Grande. Near the mouth of


this river are the Bissas islands; on which, and
on the banks of the stream, the Portuguese have

a colony, that will be spoken of more at length


in the chapter on the European Settlements.
The same remark applies to Cape Coast, and
the whole territory of Sierra Leona, of which
we shall at present only mention, that the
capital is Freetown, and that the climate is ex
ceedingly unhealthy. The coast of Guinea is
known by several appellations. The Windward
coast, extending from Cape Mount to the
mouth of the Assinee, is subdivided into the

Grain Coast which terminates at Cape Palmas,


and the Ivory Coast which reaches to Cape
Laboo, or rather about eighty miles further east

to the Assinee, the real boundary of the Gold


Coast. This portion of Guinea ends at the
Rio Volto; after which comes the Slave Coast,

CENTRAL AFRICA.

85

and the extent of territory that skirts the Bight of


Benin.

__

Before, however, entering into any detailed


account of the coast of Guinea, it may be as well
to give a slight sketch of the nations which l_ie
within it; and of these the most important is

the Mandingoes. The original country of this


people is situated in an elevated region, about
seven hundred miles from the coast, called Jallon
cadoo.
Mungo Park went through it on his
rst return from Sego, and says that he pursued
the course of the river, passing several large
towns, whose chief article of commerce was salt;
until he came to a little below Bammacoo, where

he was told the route crossed the river; but as


there was no canoe large enough to transport
his horse, he was obliged to go over the heights
through the kingdom of Manding, which he re
presents as a fertile valley, surrounded by rocky
hills; and thus reached the woods of the great
J alloncadoo wilderness. In exploring this tract he
crossed no fewer than eight rapid rivers, and was
for ve days in a country totally uninhabited, but
exceedingly beautiful, well wooded, and abound

ing in all kinds of game.

The Mandingo nation

extends nearly to Sierra Leona, and trades largely


with the English. There is abundance of gold in
the country.
The Soolimas are a powerful people, residing
in the interior, at the distance of about two hun

dred miles to the north of Sierra Leona. The


principal town is Falaba. The route Majcr Laing
took was along the banks of the river Bokelle,

through the countries of the Timannees and Coo

86
rancoes.

DESCRIPTION or
He describes Falaba, whose name is

derived from the river Fala, upon which it is situ


ated, as being a town of considerable extent, built
on a gently-rising eminence in the centre of a
large plain, the immediate vicinity of which is a
complete swamp during the wet season. It is
surrounded by a strong thick stockading of hard
wood, sufficient to defend it against any engine
less powerful than artillery. A very singular effect
is produced, however, by the extraordinary fertility
of the climate. Several parts of the stockading,
though formed of rude blocks of wood, have taken
root and sprung into large trees. Falaba con
tains about six thousand inhabitants; but is con
sidered unhealthy, from the marshy ground in its
neighbourhood.
Following the line of country which runs be
tween the settlements and the mountains, we
nd a hilly district called Gonona, supposed to

be a continuation of Cooranco. On the east of


this is the kingdom of Dogomba, and to the south
east the country called Sarem, comprising the
kingdoms of Ghaman, Banno, Takima, Soco,
Ghofan, Euhasi, and Cong: the latter takes its

name from the mountains which lie beyond.


Ghofan is partly hilly towards the north, but
on the south there are deserts of white sand,

with saline incrustations. We next arrive at the


much-talked-of kingdom of the Ashantees, of
which the above-mentioned tract formed part.
This vast empire, extending from Gaman to the
Volta, includes about four degrees of longitude
from east to west and north to south; that is,
from Cape Coast to the kingdom of Ghofan,

I ..- ||..=..__-1-. _-__-u._ -

CENTRAL AFRICA.

87

about four degrees of latitude. The king, who


rules with despotic sway, has now under his

sole dominion the whole of those numerous king


doms which formerly bordered the coast of Guinea.
There are eight or nine roads leading from the
principal towns of the Ashantees to the settle
ments on the coast. The country is described by
Dupuis as exhibiting a dense mass of vegetation,
stretching east and west, from Aquassim to Abanta,
in one compact forest, sloping upwards, from the
bushes nearest the coast, into gigantic trees.
Coomassy is the capital; and Dupuis was much
surprised when, after a long and laborious jour
ney, he arrived within sight of its walls, if a few

straggling heaps of mud deserve that name. The


houses are of the same material, and the whole

place presents the usual aspect of a Negro-town;


with a population of about a hundred and fty
thousand souls. Bowdich, however, describes it
as a handsome city: but these two authors, the
only modern writers on the subject, are so com

pletely at variance, that it is diicult to give any


satisfactory account either of Coomassy or of the
kingdom in general. Both assert that the towns
are numerous and well inhabited, and that the

country appears extremely fertile, but is. at the

same time unhealthy. It is watered by many noble


rivers and two large lakes; so that, though the
soil is generally sandy, and there is one small de
sert,yet a constant moisture is obtained from them,
and the earth in general yields an abundant pro
duce: the at lands, in the district of Apollonia,

are particularly well adapted to the culture of rice,


sugar-canes, and all plants requiring humidity.

88

nnscruvrrou or

The kingdom of Dahomey forms part of the


empire of the Ashantees, and closely resembles
the other portions of that state in its leading fea
tures. Its metropolis is Abomey. The natives are
said to combine the whole of the country subject
to the Ashantees under the common name of
Glumja; but Dupuis states Glumja to be only one
of the kingdoms of Ashantee.
North of this tract is situated Dagomba, the
metropolis of which is Yandy lying on the bor
ders of the great forest of Tonooma. To the
north-east of Yandy is the wilderness of Ghoo
mati, which abounds in elephants, and separates
Dagomba from the kingdom of Zogho. The whole
of this country, including Dagomba and Houssa,
with several minor states, is known under the

common name of Killinga: it is watered by the


Niger. The kingdom of Borgoo is part of Kil
linga, and is thought to join Zogho on the east.
Supposing this statement to be correct, a con

necting link is clearly made out between the


countries north of the Gulf of Guinea and those
visited by Denham and Clapperton south of
Fezzan : but it is right to mention, that Dupuis,
from whom the substance of the above is taken,

cannot always be implicitly depended on, as


he appears often to have confused what he ac
tually saw with what he heard; and to have set
down as ascertained facts, many things which
rested only on the assertion of a travelling Moor
or an ignorant native ; who, perceiving the eager
ness with which white men seek for information
respecting these puzzling districts, might easily,
with the cunning so natural to some barbarians,

CENTRAL AFRICA.

89

contrive to fashion his tale so as to please his


hearer, in the hope that his reward would be pro

portionate to the pleasure he had communicated.


The map which Dupuis has given of Wangara is

an abundant proof of the truth of this remark;


since he has there traced the whole course of the
Niger, from its source to the junction with the
Egyptian Nile; sweeping away lakes and moun
tains with a most relentless hand, whenever they
threatened to oppose the progress of his favourite
stream ; and setting at deance all the recent dis

coveries made by Denham and Clapperton in the


countries he professes to delineate. In the mean
time, notwithstanding the credulity which par
tially invalidates Dupuiss statements, it must be
granted, that the general substance of what he
says respecting the kingdoms bordering on the
Ashantees is conrmed by other writers, and that

there can be no doubt of the accuracy of what he


gives as the result of his own observation.
After this cursory view of the interior, we must
return to Guinea, which, as we have before said,

is divided into several districts. The kingdom of


Cape Mount lies to the extreme west of the wind
ward coast, extending about a hundred miles along

the shore, and to nearly the same distance in an


inland direction. Its capital, Coosea, contains
nearly fteen thousand inhabitants.
The Grain Coast produces, as its name implies,
corn, rice, yams, and indeed almost every kind

of vegetable, most abundantly.

The new settle

ment of Liberia (of which the chief _town, Mon

covia, stands near the mouth of the river Mur

suardo) is situated upon this coast.

The districts

90

DESCRIPTION or

immediately north of Liberia extend from the


river Gallinas to the Croo country, beyond which
is Cape Palmas; where the American philan
thropists contemplate forming a new settlement.
The Ivory Coast is so named from its trade in
elephants teeth, which are principally brought
from the kingdom of Dagomba. The Gold Coast
includes Cape Apollonia, Cape Three Points,

otherwise called Fort St. Athony, and Cape


Coast; the appellative of the latter being said to be
derived from the Portuguese, Capo Corse. The
Gold Coast is so called from the quantity of gold
dust which was formerly found there;

but its

territory is now circumscribed by the fast-spread


ing empire of the Ashantees. The chief disad
vantage of this shore is the violent surf, which
renders landing extremely dangerous; and it is

also subject to violent storms. The principal rivers


are the Assinee, the Ancobra, and the Chomah;

all large streams, and navigable for small craft


at a considerable distance from the land. The
kingdoms of Akim, Aquambo, Aquassim, and
several others, enumerated by Bosman (a Dutch
factor, who visited Guinea in 1700), together

with the country of the Fantees and the kingdom


of Diukra, have become provinces of Ashantee.
Echony, one of the two large lakes already
mentioned as being near Coomassy, is almost

in a line with Cape Coast.

The Echony is also

called the Sacred Lake;

and the natives of

Ashantee have a traditionary prophecy that the


Europeans will cut a canal between the sea and
this, the guardian deity of their metropolis; in
which case the whole country would be over

CENTRAL AFRICA.

owed.

91

It is said that this absurd belief is one

of the greatest obstacles to European discovery;


the Ashantees fancying that the curiosity which

is betrayed about the course of the Niger relates


to the same design. The waters of the Echony
are salt; but those of the Bonso, which is another
large lake in the interior, are perfectly fresh,
and abound in remarkably ne sh.
The em

pire of the Ashantees is generally considered to


extend along the whole country northward of the.

Gold and Slave Coasts to the mountains, though


writers differ as to its exact limits;

indeed,

the boundaries of a warlike and victorious nation


must necessarily be uncertain, since every con
quest is followed by an accession of territory.
Bowdich includes Dagomba in the empire.
The Slave Coast is separated _from the Gold

Coast by the Rio Volto, or Aswoda, a deep and


rapid stream, of but little use in navigation, from
its .impetuosity. Like most of the African rivers,
its progress is impeded by sandbanks and cata
racts : it is also subject to periodical inundations.
The states of Coto Posso, Widah, and Adra, into
which Malte-Brun divides the Slave Coast, are

now subject to the King of Dahomey.


Benin is a large kingdom adjoining the Slave
Coast, and giving its name to a partofthe gulf. It
has a ne river, called by the Portuguese Rio

Formosa, but now known by the same appellation

as the kingdom and city. To the north is the


state of Eycos. The houses of Benin are built
of clay, and covered with leaves of the mocca
tree; they are formed into regular streets, which

are both wide and convenient. The palace of the

92

nnscnrrrron or

king is outside the town; it is a spacious build

ing, and contains many good apartments. The


King of Benin can raise an army of a hundred
thousand men. The oating islands of the river,
the terror of navigators, are caused by large
masses of land (the soil being exceedingly soft)
detaching themselves, and oating down the
stream. This climate is one of the most fatal
to European constitutions of any in Africa.
The kingdom of Waree comprehends the at
low lands to the south of Benin. After passing Cape
Formosa, the Calabar country begins, in which
is the river Bey, or New Calabar, admitting ves
sels of three hundred tons. The island of Bonny,
near the mouth of this river, was formerly a great
slave-market, and, with Calabar, used to export
fourteen thousand slaves annually. Some parts
of the coast are entirely covered with sea-salt.
The Old Calabar, or Borgo River, and the Rio

del-Rey, also fall into the Bight of Benin, and,


with the rivers before named, create a kind of
delta. A ridge of very high volcanic mountains
lies near the river Cameroons, at the mouth of
which is a wide and convenient harbour. A great
trade is here carried on with the Dutch, in wax,
ivory, red wood, and provisions.
A hundred
and ten miles from the Camaroons, is the river
of San Benito; and from this point a double

range of lofty mountains is seen about forty


miles from the shore. To the south of the San
Benito is Cape St. John; and a little further,
Cape Esteiras, or Cape Claro, forming a bay
which stands on the island of Corisod. . In the
mouth of the river Gamboo, in the Pongo coun

CENTRAL AFRICA.

93

try, to the south of Esteiras, only twenty-eight


miles from the equator, are Kings Island and
Parrot Island. The Gulf of Biafra is bounded
on the north-west by Cape Formosa, and on the
south by Cape Lopez Gonsalvo, and contains
Fernando Po, St. Thomass, and Princes Islands.
Of the natives of these coasts little is known:
but the Colbongos live on the San Benito,
and the Biafras on the Cameroons. Cape Lopez
Gonsalvo divides Guinea from Congo, or the An

gola Coast. Malte-Brun says, that this country


is the Western Ethiopia of several French and
Italian authors, and the Lower Ethiopia of the

Portuguese: it is also often called Lower Guinea;


and by this name, or that of Congo, is most fre
quently to be found in the maps.

94

DESCRIPTION or

CHAPTER VII.

WANGARA AND CONGO.

THE name of Wangara frequently occurs in the


narratives of travellers who have visited Central
Africa;

but no very clear ideas are aixed to

the name. Mungo Park speaks of it as a coun


try watered and occasionally overowed by the
Niger ; and subsequent writers seem to imply by
it, all the country to the north and east of the

Gulf of Guinea, and to the south of the Soudan.


Dupuis says, that it includes the whole empire of
the Ashantees, with the kingdoms of Benin and
Dagomba, as well as a part of Yarroba; and

others make it extend quite to Cape Guardafui,


on the eastern coast of Africa. VVhatever may
be the limits of this region, very little seems to be
known of it'with certainty. The provinces on the
coast usually comprised in it, have been already
described ; and those in the interior depend very
much upon conjecture. Yarroba is said to be a
very extensive kingdom, lying to the east of
Dagomba and to the north of Benin; \Varee
Killinga is also "a most spacious territory; and

Houssa has been spoken of in the account of


Timbuctoo. It does not seem clear whether or

CENTRAL AFRICA.

95

not, Wangara embraces the great chain of moun

tains which is supposed to divide Africa.

The

volcanic mountains north of Benin, part"of the


Cong mountains, and these hills, probably join
those at Mandara; but there is no evidence to
decide the fact. Leaving the interior of Central
Africa to the mystery that still envelops it,

we return to the coast, which, as we have seen,


has been though partially, yet, at the same time
accurately, explored.
Lower Guinea, or Congo, like Upper Guinea,
is situated in the torrid zone; and its climate
is similar, except that the seasons occur in op
posite months. No rains fall from the vernal

equinox to September; but the heat is rendered


supportable by the south-east breezes: during
the rest of the year, however, the perpendicular
rays of the sun are like a scorching re, suicient

to dry up the sources of life, both in the ani


mal and vegetable kingdoms. This tremendous
heat would indeed realize the fable of Phaeton,
and destroy the world, were it not mitigated by

the heavy dews and the freshness of the nights


(which, of course, so near the equator, are of equal
length with the days), as well as cooled by the
torrents from the mountains and the numerous
rivers. After the autumnal equinox, the north-_
west winds bring immense volumes of vapour, in
the form of clouds, which pour down in streams,

from the beginning of October to the end of


April; and thus all-bountiful nature bestows an

equivalent for the aridity of the soil during the


summer.

The sudden change is indeed surpris

ing; for the earth, having been heated to acou

96

nnscnrrrron or

siderable depth, soon absorbs the waters; and in


the month of April the lands are covered with
the most

abundant verdure,

the leaves and

owers being of a size and depth of colour un


known in more northern climates.

Captain Tucker, who was sent to explore the


source of the river Congo in 1814, begins his
narrative by stating that the appearance of the
coast, from Cape Lopez Gonsalvo to Loango

Bay, is that of a large tract of reddish clay;


and that the sea is so imbued with the same
tinge, as to have the appearance of being mixed
with blood.

On examination, however, it was

found to be perfectly colourless, and to take its


tint from the soft red mud which lines the bottom
of the bay. The country, in the interior, is di
vided into petty sovereignties, tributary to the
king of Loango. The most northern of these

states is called Boal ; to this succeeds Macongo,


of which Malembo is the port; then follows

MGoy, the port being Cobenda: the latter


kingdom extends to the north entrance of the
Congo. The king of Macongo resides at an in
land town named Chingelee, which is not situated
on a river. The people, from their constant in
tercourse with strangers, arising from the slave
trade, speak both French and English, so as to
be very well understood. The coast consists of
reddish-gray cliffs, from Loango Bay to Cabenda,
beyond which point it becomes low and woody.
The river Congo, or Zaire, has long been cele
brated for its magnitude and velocity. In an old
work, quoted by Captain Tuckey in his intro
duction, the Zaire is said to be of such force,

CENTRAL AFRICA.

97

that no ship can get in against the current,


but near to the shore; yea, it prevails against
the oceans saltness threescore, and, as some say,
fourscore miles within the sea, before his proud
waves yield their full homage, and receive that
salt temper in token of subjection. Such is the
haughty spirit of the stream, overrunning the low
countries as it passeth, and swollen with conceit

of daily conquests and daily supplies, which in


armies of showers are by the clouds sent to his
succour, runnes now in a furious rage, thinking
even to swallow the ocean, which he never saw,

with his mouth wide gaping, eight-and-twenty


miles, as Lopez affirmeth, in the opening.
The description here given of the river has
been adopted by succeeding writers without ex
amination; and, to the great diiculties of its
navigation have been added those caused by its
oating islands, which consist of large masses of
earth, covered with trees and bushes, torn off

the banks by the violence of the stream. From


these accounts, and others of a similar nature,
the Zaire has generally been considered to be the
largest and most impetuous of all the rivers of
Africa; and many persons have believed that it

forms a junction with the Niger.

Upon inves

tigation, however, it seems that the strongest

argument in favour of the theory, is simply, that


the source of one river, and the mouth of the

other, are unknown; therefore (as a celebrated


legal character used to say) they must be the
same. But, as this reasoning does not ap

pear to us perfectly conclusive, we must be ex


B

98

nnscnnvrron or

cused if we defer our judgment till some more


satisfactory evidence can be obtained.
Captain Tuckeys statement differs exceedingly
from those of his predecessors, as he found the
river perfectly calm, with scarcely any current.
The depth was so great, that a hundred and fty
fathoms of line did not reach the bottom; and
the water,.though colourless in a glass, presented
the same red appearance when owing, as had

previously been observed in the sea. He, how


ever, considers what has been usually called the
mouth of the river, as a complete estuary, formed
by the sea; and thinks that the real mouth is
at Fathomless Point, where it is not three miles

in breadth. He says that small islands are oc


casionally formed by the current; and he ad
mits it possible that, in the rainy season, these
islands may be separated from their banks, and
oat down the stream, the entwined roots of the

trees keeping the earth together. When he saw


the river, however, nothing of the kind seemed
probable; and he only noticed a few particles
of mingled reed and brushwood, which, glid

ing gently along the surface of the water, con


veyed rather the idea of repose than of the rush
of a mighty river. He represents a small pro
montory, which he calls Shark Point, as both

difficult and dangerous to navigate.

Beyond

this point, the sides of the Zaire, to the extent

of seven or eight miles, are formed of an alluvial


soil, covered with mangroves, and having cli's

rising in the distance, which are now and then


seen through vistas accidentally formed in the

CENTRAL AFRICA.

99

trees. Except these chance breaks, the mangrove


tract appears quite impenetrable; the trees grow

ing in the water close together, with their foliage


intermingled, so as to form a species of verdant
wall. Farther up, palm-trees were observed
among the mangroves; and a ock of wild par
rots, on an excursion across the river to feed

upon some plantations of Indian corn, came chat


tering over the heads of the travellers.
Upon ascending the Zaire still higher, they
found a number of small islands, or rather shoal

banks; one of which was called Zoonga Cam


penzey, or Monkey's Island. Here they lost the
mangrove tract, and the banks became a sti' clay,
cut into slopinglow cliffs, at the margin of the river.
Soon after this change, Captain Tuckey descried
the Fetish rock. This remarkable object is com
posed of masses of granite, mixed with quartz
and mica, running into the water perpendicularly,
and is entirely insulated, the plain behind it

being covered with grass and corn. The rock


projects so much, as to be only a mile and a half
from the opposite bank; and the natives spoke with
horror of its whirlpools during the rainy season.
Our traveller, however, only saw some slight ed
dies. The at side of the rock, nearest the stream,

is inscribed with curious hieroglyphical characters,


which will be mentioned more in detail hereafter.
On the summit of one of the adjoining hills is an
upright block of loose granite, resembling a watch
tower. It is called the Lightning-stone ; and is
held in great veneration.
Embooma is the only place of consequence up

the Zaire; but from the description of Captain


H 2

100

nnscnrrrron or .

Tuckey, both the town, or Tonza (as it is called),


and the people, are in a miserable state. The Che

noo, or king, received the English very kindly, and


allowed them to ascend the river as far as they felt
inclined. It would occupy too much space to
follow the travellers minutely; and we can only
add, that the scenery of the Congo is reported to
be very beautiful, consisting of a great variety of
hill and wood.
Near Noki the hills became
slaty, and continued so without intermission to the
cataracts of Yellala, beyond which it was found
impossible to proceed by water. The expedition
accordingly left their boats, and determined to
advance by land. The appearance of the cataract
is represented as very extraordinary : the progress
of the river is intercepted by rocks, extending
nearly four miles, between which the water ows,
instead of throwing itself over their summits;

while the principal noise and difficulty seemed to


arise from an immense volume of water strug
gling to force itself a passage through the rocks
below the surface of the stream.
The termination of the voyage 'is melancholy
to relate: after going some daysj_ourney further
up the Zaire, and having their numbers daily
thinned by persons falling sick, and being obliged
to be sent back to the ship, the remainder reached

a short distance beyond Juga, when they were


compelled to return. Captain Tuckey and seven
-teen of his companions fell victims to the climate,
and were buried at Embooma, and three others

"died on their passage home.

The disease that

attacked them resembled the yellow fever of the

West Indies.

There appears to be little doubt,

CENTRAL AFRICA.

101

that the unhealthiness of the climate is occasioned


by the swampy ground and masses of trees bound
ing the lower part of the river, which generate
pestilential vapours, and prevent the free circu
lation of air. Captain Tuckey found that the
Zaire again became navigable about twenty miles
beyond Yellala, and he was assured that there
were no more cataracts. The unfortunate con
clusion of the expedition is the more to be re
gretted, from the very ample details which have
reached us of the portions explored.
The immense tract of land stretching from Congo "
to the eastern coast is totally unknown; and the
. places on the western coast, which have been oc

casionally touched at, have been so partially ob


served, and the accounts existing respecting them
are so contradictory, that it is impossible to say
what may be relied on as correct. The same ob
stacles to discovery attach to them as to the other
parts of continental Africa: rivers rendered im
passable by cataracts and sandbanks, unwhole

some climes, and an ignorant and suspicious peo


ple, who throw every diiculty in their power in
the way of travellers, from being unable to under

stand the motives of their researches.

102

nrscnrrrron or

CHAPTER VIII.

DESCRIPTION

OF

SOUTHERN

AFRICA.'lHE

CAPE

OF

GOOD I-IOPE.CAFFRARIA.TI.IE SOUTHERN DESERT.


'-MOZAMBIQUE.TIiE EASTERN COAST.

ANGOLA and Benguela, the coasts immediately


to the south of Congo, partake of the same cha
racter as that place; but the coast below, stretch
ing southward towards the Cape, is barren and
desolate, being entirely destitute of water till it
reaches Angro Pequina, in the country of the
Bushmen. After passing this point, the coast is
still sandy, with a barren and rocky region in
the distance, as far as the banks of the Lesser

Fish River, which runs through the country of


the Great Namaquas. The Little Namaquas
possess the coast from Orange River to the
borders of the colony at the Cape. A tract of
land, watered by Olifants River, reaches to
St. Helen's Bay, beyond which is Saldanha
Bay; the well-known Table Bay, adjoining Cape
Town; and the Cape of Good Hope. This is
the extreme point of the eastern coast of Africa,
and the southern coast is entirely occupied by
the domains of the colony, to the river Keis
kamma, which separates them from Caffraria.

The country belonging to the colony contains

sourrnznn AFRICA.

103

several bays and some large rivers; but it will

be more particularly described under the head of


European Settlements.

Beyond the boundaries

of the stations on the north, are tribes of wan

dering Bushmen, extending to Orange River,


on the north-east of which are missionary and
other settlements. To the north and east are
tribes of Bushmen, mixed with some apparently
more civilized nations; and to the north-west
lies a great desert called the Southern Zahara, and

a large tract of marshy land named the Kallibarry


Country. The eastern coast is almost unknown ;
but in the interior dwells the nation of Tam
bookies.

Campbell, who, at the request of the London


Missionary Society, visited South Africa for
the second time, in 1820, gives the following
notices of the country, for about a thousand miles,
extending from Cape Town on the north-east.
The rst place he describes is Hex-river Kloof,
. a serpentine dele lying between high and steep
mountains: the scenery is exceedingly grand!
and the river, which forces its way with a rum
bling noise through the wood, adds greatly to
the effect of the view. The Great Caroo, or

Desert, is divided by some hills from the Hex


river valley, and beyond it lie the Elephant
mountains, at a distance of twenty miles. Mr.
Campbell represents the intermediate country as
a scorched and arid plain: it has, however, se- .

veral rivers, amongst which are Buffalo's River


and the Dweeka. A chain of mountains in the
distance resembled, he says, a gigantic white
wall, broken by some deep caverns and high cliffs

104

nnscnrrrrou or

of .a dark-reddish hue. The Gamba, or Lion


river, is only a small brook in the dry season, but
is swelled to a deep and rapid current by the
autumnal rains. The new settlement of Beaufort
is watered by a branch of this river. Beaufort
lies on the borders of the Great Karoo, at the foot
of the Niemwold mountains.
There are many lofty hills in this country; but
all appear to partake of the usual character of
African mountains, rising in terraces, with table
lands interspersed, and having also occasionally
table-lands on their summits. The springs are
sometimes salt, and sometimes fresh, like those in
the north of Africa; and there are a few salt
water lakes. The Great Orange-river is undoubt
edly the nest and most important in South
Africa: it is formed by the conuence of two
streams, which unite about ve hundred miles
from its mouth; and also receives several minor

tributaries during its long course. After visiting


Griqua, a missionary settlement, Mr. Campbell
proceeded eastward to the native town of Lata
coo, in the country of the Matchappes, where
a missionary station has also been established.
Old and New Latacoo are fty miles from each
other, and contain each about four thousand
inhabitants.
Near them is the river Crooman,
once a considerable stream, and supposed to fall

into the Orange-river, but which is now lost


in the sands. The Tammaca country is to the
north of Latacoo, and the chief town is Meribo

lowky. The principal town of Marootzee is Cur


reacane, which contains about sixteen thousand
souls.

sourrmnn AFRICA.

105

. The country of the Wanketzens lies still fur


'ther north.
After leaving Curreacane, Mr.
Campbell visited the city of Maskow, which,
however, closely resembles the other Bootshuana"
towns, and is only a collection of huts. It would
require too much space to give accounts of all the
nations inhabiting this part of the interior. The
Tammakas are far more powerful than the Boot
shuana Bushmen, though, in other respects, very
similar. The Corannas are Hottentots, and the
Matchappes a tribe of Bushmen. Besides the
Bushmen belonging to different tribes, there are
many who wander in a half-savage state over
the country, little removed, in point of intelli

gence, from the beasts they tend.


Mr. Campbells description of the general
aspect of the country is by no means a favour
able one. Notwithstanding the immense number
of plants which grow near the Cape, the ground
is not covered, and the interstices left by the

long stalks of the herbage, give an air of poverty


to the landscape; while the great deserts that
have been found in the interior, hold out but

little promise as to the condition of the countries


which still remain unknown. The discoveries of
Europeans in South Africa have made rapid pro

gress within the last century. In 1718, the bounda


ries of the Cape colony were the mountain chains
of the Zwartzberg, or Black Mountain, and the
Bockebeld; but since that period the native

Hottentots have been either civilized or driven


higher up the country, their kraals or villages
gradually disappearing, and making way for
substantially-built towns. Not satised with

106

nnscrurrron or

having thus displaced the aborigines, the intru


ders have followed in their track, and have thus

arrived at that great desert of Southern Africa


which seems to serve as a pendant to the Zahara,
the desolation of the north.
The present extent of the colony at the Cape,
Barrow says, comprehends an area of about one

hundred and twenty thousand square miles: it


is, however, very thinly peopled, and a great part
of the soil is unt for any culture whatever,

consisting of level plains, with a dry impene


trable surface of clay, sprinkled over with crys
tallized salt, and chains of naked mountains.
The names of these mountains are Lange Cloof
or Long Pass, the Zwarteberg or Black Moun
tain, and the Nieuwbeldt's Gebergte; the last

two bounding the Great Caroo, or Desert.

All

these chains are composed of sandstone, rest

ing upon a base of granite. The celebrated Table


Mountain at the Cape is of a similar formation.
The principal rivers are the Berg, or Mountain
River; the Olifant, or Elephants River, on the
west; the .Brood, the Garitz, Cnysna,_Cear
boom, Camtoos, Zwartkops, Sunday, and Great
Fish rivers, on the south. They have all sand

bars at their mouths, and vary exceedingly in


the depth and rapidity of their currents, from the
periodical rains. Barrow calls the Cnysna a lake
open to the sea, and describes the surrounding
scenery as extremely beautiful. The others have
long courses, and several of them take their rise
in the Sneuwbergen, or Snowy Mountains, in the

north.

The Orange, Crooman, and Lesser Fish

rivers,have been already mentioned; and, besides

sourrmnn AFRICA.

107

these large ones, there are some smaller streams


and lakes, which we have not space to enumerate.
Campbell speaks of one on the Maclareen River,

which he calls an invisible lake; its surface


being so covered with rushes, reeds, &c., as

entirely to conceal the water.


The country near the Cape requires a few
words to give a general idea of its statistical de
tails. Cape Town lies in the angle of Table
Bay, at the foot of the Table Mountain. This
stupendous mountain, rising 3580 feet above the
level of the ocean, forms a magnicent back
ground to the town, and is seen at a considerable
distance out at sea. Close to it is another moun
tain, called the Lion's Head, from its supposed
resemblance to the form of a lion couchant. The
town is well built, and most of the streets are
open and airy, with canals of water running
through them, and trees on both sides. Before
each house is a paved platform, called the Steep,
or Step, usually about ten feet wide, and raised

three or four feet above the level of the street.


It has seats, and is ascended by stairs at each
end.

The rooms are generally large, but, for

want of aplastered ceiling, look unnished. There


are three or four squares, a market-house, stadi
haus, and castle. It has also several churches,
and an observatory erected in 1820. Constantia,
the small plantation on which the most admired
of the Cape wines is made, is at a short distance
from this place. The warm baths of the Zwartzberg
are about seventy-ve miles from Cape Town.
To the north of the Black Mountain is the
Bovian's Mountain, the chief settlement of the

108

mascnrrrrou or

Moravians; and four hundred and fty miles to


the east stands Bethelsdorp, the principal esta
blishment of the London Missionary Society. Mr.
Pringle has given us a very interesting account
of this town, which is near Algoa Bay; but is
otherwise badly situated. The chief missionary
stations in the south are at Bojesveld, Paarl,

Tullagh, Theopolis, Grahams Town, and Hankey.


We have already enumerated those lVIr. Campbell
visited in the north, viz. Griqua Town and New
Latacoo. There are also Campbells-dorf and
Philippolis; the latter amongst the wild Bosjrs
mans, and Tzatzoes Kraal near Bualo River,
in the Ca're.country. The Wesleyans and Mo
ravians have likewise several other settlements,
the largest of which is that of the Moravians at
Groenecloof.
It would be impossible to follow Campbell
through all the places he visited in the course of his
missionary tour; but his description of the Great
Desert seems deserving of notice. This immense
plain, which is quite distinct from the Caroo be

fore mentioned, appears to reach from the Orange


River to the equator, extending to the west as
far as the Great Namaqua land, and the Da
mora country, to Latacoo, lying about twenty
ve degrees east longitude, near the point where
the river Crooman is lost in the sand. The
Southern Zahara is an extraordinary instance
of a complete level stretching almost a thousand
miles in one direction, and more than ve hundred
in another. The natives of Turrechey, a town

on the borders of the desert, when interrogated


by Mr. Campbell, informed him, that there was

sournnnn AFRICA.

I09

a Matslaroo town in the desert, called Queese,

about three days journey from Turrechey.

The

Matslaroos are wild Bushmen, who live in the

desert, that they may be perfectly free from


all restraint. There are no springs; but the
inhabitants nd water when they want it, by dig
ging wells. Near the town is the dry bed of a
large river, which appears to have been lost in
the sand, in the same manner as the Crooman.

The principal food of the wanderers in the desert


is the water-melon, which grows there in great
abundance; the moisture contained in this fruit

serving for drink, and the solid part for food.


The natives spoke of a salt lake, the salt of
which they said was as hard as stone, existing

near the centre of the desert.

Mr. Campbell

returned to the colony, travelling eastward, along

the south bank of Orange River, for the 'pur


pose of exploring the countries of the Corannas
and wild Bushmen; but as they do not appear
to dier materially from those already noticed, it
is unnecessary to enter into a detailed account of
them. He also visited the Sneuwbergen, or Snow
Mountains, which take their name from their peaks

. being always covered with snow.


The country to the east of Griqua town is
very little known; but is supposed to be inha

bited by Corannas and Bushmen.

The Tamboo

kies are a division of the Care nation, and live in

a ne and extensive district. They have lately


applied to the British government for protection
against their enemies, the Mominatees ; and their
"chief, Powana, wishes to have a missionary esta
blishment among his people.

110

DESCRIPTION or

Mozambique was visited by Mr. Salt in 1809.


The coast is known by the general appellation of
the government of Sena: it is low, and destitute
of wood. The name of the kingdom of Sofala also
' signies, in Hebrew and Arabic, the low country.
Four hundred executioners always precede the
king of Sofala on public occasions; and he
assumes the title of grand-sorcerer, or grand
robber; words which, to an African, probably

convey a similar meaning to our epithets of great,


wise, or magnicent. Four of his ministers
traverse the country annually; the greatest re
presenting the royal person; the second, his
eyes; the third, his mouth; and the fourth, his

ears. This place has become proverbial among


the Arabians for its treasures of gold, which,
however, is brought from the interior. The cli
mate is tolerable, and the soil fertile; but the

approaches to the coast are extremely dangerous,


and will alone be suicient to prevent commerce
to any great extent being carried on with it. The
inhabitants have manufactures of cotton and stuffs,
but are ignorant of the art of dyeing.
Monomotapa is situated behind Sofala, and
is likewise watered by the Zambese, one of the
great rivers of Africa. According to the account
of the natives, this river originates in an immense
lake, on whose banks is avillage, from which ittakes
its name : it divides itself into branches at some
distance from the sea, which it enters in four
distinct streams; viz., the Quilitane, the Cuama
(the largest), the Zuabo, and the Luaboil. It
overows eriodically, like the Nile, and in the

month of pril actually swarms with crocodiles ;

SOUTHERN AFRICA.

1lI

insomuch that in sailing on the river, it is danger


ous to put an arm or leg into the water, lest it
should be seized by these ferocious creatures.
High up the country are magnicent falls, which
continue one above another, for an extent of sixty
miles. Monomotapa produces rice, fruits, and
maize; but the land is only cultivated along the
banks of the rivers; the rest of the ground is

covered by vast forests, and inhabited by ele


phants, rhinoceri, meroos, or wild oxen, of a gigan

tic growth, and almost every beast usually found


in Africa; here also lions, the hippopotamus, and
tortoise, attain an enormous size. Horses are
wanting; though the Portuguese have succeeded

in establishing a breed of horned cattle. Gold-dust


is met with in abundance in the environs of Tete
and in the province of Manica, as also in the
mines of Boro and Qualicuy, where the gold lies
imbedded in a rock; but the kingdom of Butua

is considered the richest in the precious metal, and


contains likewise some iron-mines, which are dili

gently worked by the natives. An ancient so


vereign of Monomotapa formerly extended his
dominion over numerous vassal kingdoms; and
the Portuguese, who trade there, say that its

present ruler is one of the most powerful princes


of Africa. There are capacious edices at Bu
tua, covered with inscriptions in an unknown '
language, which appear to bear silent evidence
that this was the capital of some nation, great

both in commerce and arms; the people belong


ing to which were perhaps annihilated, or driven
into the interior by the civil wars that long de

solated this portion of Africa.

112

nnscnrrrron or

Respecting the provinces and cities of Mono


motapa, little knowledge has been gained since
the sixteenth century. The chief city is situ
ated about a hundred and eighty miles from the
sea, and is called Zimbaoe, which, like Fou in
China, is the generic name of every great city.
The Portuguese still possess forts on the Zam
bese, and the posts of Chicova and Massapa
near the gold mountains of Fura. The people
of this country go nearly naked, like the savages
of the westerncoast; and many strange accounts
respecting their manners and customs are given
by the few travellers who have visited them; such
as, the kings body-guard being a regiment of
Amazons, and other wild stories, which would

almost cause us to doubt the truth of their re


ports even when not improbable or inconsistent
in other respects. A more interesting question
is, the possibility of crossing the unknown coun
try between Monomotapa and Congo, which, from
the reports of Portuguese exiles at Sena, and other
information collected by Mr. Salt, appears pos
sible, if not probable; as African slave-merchants

have frequently conducted convoys from Sena to


Angola, and from Pedras Negras to Chivoca.
The rivers of the Mozambique coast are (with
the exception of the Zambese), though wide at the
mouth, only navigable to a short distance; and
most of them take their rise in a chain of moun
_tains, which, on account of their shattered peaks,

the Portuguese call Picos-fragosos.


The port of the island of Mozambique, although
diicult of entrance, affords good shelter for

shipping; and the Portuguese, in their voyages

sovrnmm AFRICA.

113

to India, generally stay here for a while, where


they have built a fort, and hold the inhabitants,
who are Moors governed by a sherif, in com
plete subjection. The principal articles of com
merce are gold and elephants teeth, of the latter
of which there are large magazines. It has also
a considerable trade with Madagascar.
The insalubrity of Mozambique has caused the
formation of a large village in the neighbour
hood, nely situated in the bay, from the centre

of which rises the governors palace, towering


above a beautiful grove of cocoa, cashew, and

mango trees. This is considered a very valuable


settlement by the Portuguese, who monopolise
the whole trade. The northern part of the go
vernment of Mozambique is called Querimbe,
from a small island in which is a Portuguese fort:
here they allow the French, under certain stipu
lations, to carry on trade. They have another
port called Oibo. The islands of the coast are
governed by an Arab sheik, a mere vassal of the

Portuguese, whose possessions terminate at Cape


Delgado. This is the most southern- point of
Zanguebar, on the coast of Zangues, or Zindges,
as it is variously pronounced by the Arabs;

by whose account it extends from Abyssinia to


the country of the Macwas, on the. shores of

Mozambique. It is about seven hundred Ara


bian miles from Cape Delgado to Magadoxo.
Here aking, under the title of Wacliman, or the
Son of the Lord, is said to have marched at the

head of three hundred thousand troops mounted


on oxen, and" to have conquered, during the
third age of the Hegira, part of Eastern Arabia
r

114

nnscnrrrron or

and Irac. Such are the scanty notices given us of


this country by Arabs; and Europeans know still
less, having only visited the islands (which will be
treated of under the head of African Islands) and
a few places on the coast. From their descrip
tions it appears that the soil produces an excel

lent teak-wood for ship-building, and that the


sugar-cane, cotton-tree, and indigo, are indi
genous to its climate ; the baobab, the tamarind
tree, the gum-copal cedar. and the coffee-plant,
are also found here;

and elephants, rhinoceri,

lions, zebras, &c., maybe seen coming to the banks


of the rivers to quench their thirst; whilst droves

of wild oxen, and herds of almost every species of


animal, range the country. The coast is well
supplied with both sea and river sh; but fruits
and vegetables are rare, millet forming the prin
cipal food of the natives.
This embraces the whole amount of information
furnished by modern travellers; for the interest

ing descriptions of Zobo, Barros, and Conta,


are now three centuries old; so that we do not
know whether things which they describe remain
at this day. Does Mozamba (taken from the Por
tuguese by the Arabs, in 1698) still exist? Do
its seventeen splendid churches continue mosques,
devoted to the errors of Mahometanism? Does
the city of Melinda still form the proudest orna
ment of the banks of the beautiful river upon
which it was then said to be situated? Do the
Arabs, who possessed it by right of conquest,
at present array themselves in silk and purple?
Or have the cities passed away in the contention

and strife of nations?

Are the sources of the

sourunnn AFRICA.

mighty rivers dried up?

115

Or have the more po

lished Arabs, in their turn, been driven from the


fertile portions of Zanguebar by some less civilized
tribes ?~Questions only to be answered by the
adventurous traveller who shall devote himself to
the furtherance of scientic knowledge.
Behind these maritime countries are said to
dwell the Mosegueyos, a people rich in cattle;
and further north, the Maracates, a less barba

rous race, possessing a good exterior. A Lascar


sailor (who airms that he resided there sixteen
years) gives an account of the kingdom of
Magadoxo: he describes it as watered by a large
river, and abounding in corn, rice, fruit, red
haired sheep, horses, and camels. The city is
near the sea, and takes the name of the country :
according to this Lascar historian, its population
is in a tolerable state of civilization.

The coast of Ajan is one entire and desolate


range of rocky cliffs; but towards Cape Guarda
fui, the most eastern point of Africa, it assumes
a less barren aspect. The kingdom of Adel is
the principal state, the inhabitants of which are

called Berbers: they have an olive complexion


and long hair, and in fact differ in all respects
from the Caifres. The exports of Adel are men

tioned by Greek and Roman writers, and described


as myrrh, frankincense," cassia, and cannella;
which has been repeated by Bruce.
To complete our description of eastern Africa,
as far as Adel, something remains to be told of the

interior, but of it little or nothing is known. We


may, however, state respecting these tracts, that
the Giagas are said to occupy immense deserts to
r2

116

DESCRIPTION or SOUTHERN AFRICA.

the east of Congo; and, again, that the Mor


Gallas, or Mon-Gallas, towardsthe coastof Quilsa,

are supposed to be an emigration of the Gallas,


bordering on Abyssinia. In fact, some writers
think that over the table-land of interior southern
Africa various hordes are dispersed, without any
xed states or kingdoms, and destitute of laws or
regular employment. This hypothesis, wild as it

may seem, receives some support from the accounts


collected by Mr. Salt, of the slave-merchants of

Mozambique.

The caravans that travel to the

interior in the slave-trade, and sometimes reach

the western coast, make mention of two nations,

the Eevi and the Moravi, in whose territory they


say there is a sea of fresh water (probably the lake
of Moravi); and add, that seven months are re

quiied to reach their country from Mozambique.


The only part of these interior regions visited
by a European, is the small state of Gingino, de
scribed by the Jesuit Antonio Fernandez, in 1613.
Through this country ows the Zebee, a river larger
than the Egyptian Nile, and empties itself into
the sea near Melinda. The same writer gives a
particular account of the inhabitants, whose co

lour, he says, is not so dark as the Negroes,


and who are equally well formed with the Abys

sinians. But all this is not sufficiently certain


to warrant a more lengthened notice.

CHAPTER

MANNERS,

IX.

CUSTOMS, RELIGIONS, AND LANGUAGES OF

NORTHERN AFRICA 2COUNTRIES BORDERING ON THE


NILE.

MALTE-BRUN divides the inhabitants of Africa


into three races: the Moors (under which name
he classes Berbers, Arabs, Copts, Nubians, Abys
sinians, and all the intermediate varieties), the
Negroes, and the Caffres. The rst are distin
guished by their handsome features, lofty stature,
olive complexion, and silky hair; the second
by their black skins, round heads, projecting
faces, at noses, thick lips, and woolly hair;

and the latter unite the leading characteristics of


the other two, having the high forehead and ex

pressive features of the Moor, with_the woolly


hair and shining black complexion of the Negro.
The correctness of this division may be doubted,

since there are many entirely distinct races besides


those enumerated; but its general accuracy may

be admitted.

The nations belonging to the rst

class are decidedly superior to the others, not

only in form and face, but in intellectual acquire

ments and capability of improvement.

The Caf

fres rank next in the scale, both of moral and

118

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS

physical being; whilst, according to the same


dashing philosophizer, the unfortunate Negroes,
decient alike in endowments of body and mind,

seem almost designed for the unhappy and de


graded state of slavery into which they have fallen,
not only in foreign countries, but in their own.
The traic in slaves to be employed in Africa, is
equal to that for exportation into foreign countries.

Before entering into any account of the man


ners and customs of particular nations, it may be
as well to enumerate those points in whichmost of
the inhabitants of Africa are found very nearly to
resemble each other. The Africans are generally
indolent, timid, and suspicious. They love to lead
a wanderinglife, and are little disposed to esta
blish manufactories of any kind : their com
merce consists mostly of the animal, vegetable,
and mineral riches, which nature has bestowed
upon them ; and the Morocco leather, with

the few other manufactures of the state of


Barbary, are almost the only instances in which
they condescend to reap a commercial prot from

the labour of their hands.

The disgusting traic

in slaves is common throughout the whole king


dom ; and the revenue of most of the native so

vereigns depends, in a great measure, on a tax


derived from this trade. The governments are
usually both despotic and venal. Some of the
Negroes are addicted to cannibalism. Their re
ligion is either Mahometanism or Fetishism ; the
latter being" not merely a worship of idols, but a

belief in the supernatural powers of pieces of wood


and stone, animals, rocks, and trees. The Maho

metan religion is universal all over Africa, though

..

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

119

mixed here and there with sects of Christians, Jews,


and Pagans. The people for the most part are
grossly ignorant, and unacquainted with any arts
or sciences. There are innite varieties of lan
guage; but the Arabic, Berber, and Mandingo,
are the principal. Tiie food of the Africans is
chiey our or grain, prepared like panada, or
rather formed into a species of paste, called cus
casoo by the Negroes; though it is also known
under several different names. It bears some re
semblance to maccaroni (the usual aliment of the
Italian peasantry), and is considered very nou
rishing. The mode of cooking animal food among
the Negroes, is by digging a hole in the ground,
into which they put the esh, in a kind of tem
porary clay-oven, making a re round the out
side; and the meat thus dressed is said to be
delicious. The Africans have a great respect for
all professors of the occult sciences, including
serpent-catchers, jugglers, and fortunetellers.
They are fond of dancing, and delight in hearing
heroic songs. The singing-men, or bards, of
the Negroes, rehearse the glories of former vic
tories, to animate the armies to undertake new
conquests; and the effect of their exhortations

and rude music is often truly astonishing. The


most uncivilized Negroes seem to experience also
a thirst for fame; the kings having frequently
repeated to European travellers their fear lest the
neighbouring tribes should give them a bad
name ; appearing to regard what the call hav
ing their name spoiled, as a ca amity too
dreadful to contemplate.

The Negroes are in

general cowardly; but where they have courage,

120

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS

it is mingled with ferocity. All Africans excel


in dissimulation; and, from the Moor to the
Hottentot, they prize cunning as the most exalted

.quality of the human mind. Their women are


usually treated as slaves; amongst the barbarous
tribes they do all the labour of tilling the ground;
and, except by the Fellatahs, are not allowed
to eat with their husbands in any part of Africa.

The Moorish and Egyptian women are also in


.cluded in this observation: they are shut up at
home; and though not actually condemned to
.manual toil, are considered by their husbands

as an inferior race of beings.


By a remarkable coincidence, it is the custom

of the Europeans and Africans alternately to


enslave each other; and as the Negroes seem
the only race destined from time immemorial
to be bought and sold, like cattle, in other parts

of the world; so are the states of Barbary the


only nations that make slaves of Christians,
and expose them openly for sale in the public
markets.
It is also worthy of notice, that though in no
country are there more distinct classes of in
habitants, differing widely from each other in
manners, language, and prejudices; yet no where
has the Mahometan religion spread more rapidly,
or been more generally adopted, than in Northern

Africa.

Ignorance and obstinacy are usually so

closely allied, that it seems diicult to imagine


how such immense hordes of barbarians should
so readily have relinquished the belief of their
'youth, which must have grown with their

growth, and strengthened with their strength,

or norvrnnun AFRICA.

121

for a faith so different from their own: since,


notwithstanding the superstitions which deform
the Mahometan religion, the followers of Maho
met admit the grand fundamental principle of
there being but one God;

while the savage

naturally clings to a multitude of deities, to


whom he would pay his homage-their limited
and various powers suiting better with the con
ned measure of his understanding, than the
sublime though simple idea of one Great and
Supreme Power, ruling the whole universe. The
ridiculous stories of the Koran, however, and

what appear to us the unmeaning ceremonies


which it enjoins, were to the ignorant Africans
its greatest attraction; for it is a curious circum
stance in the history of the human mind, that

the rst step from ignorance is extravagance, and


that simplicity is the last stage of perfection to
which the works of man usually attain. Thus,
tawdry ornaments in dress or architecture, and

a variety of gods, of strange and unnatural


shapes, far removed from any resemblance to
human beings, mark the savage; whilst the re
verse is a sure concomitant of a high state of
knowledge and civilization. The numerous gods
of the Greeks and Romans form no argument
against the general truth of this observation; as
it is now well known, that they were considered
by the more enlightened philosophers only as
symbols, invented to afford a tangible object for
the devotions of the vulgar; and the learned

felt, that beyond mortal ken there was a supreme


.and mysterious Director of the universe, whose

nature and attributes (deprived as they were of

122

MANNERS mm CUSTOMS

the light afforded by the blessed revelations of


Christianity) they were unable to comprehend,

but whom nevertheless they worshipped; as the


Unknown God of Athens, and the Phtha and

Cneph of the Egyptian theocracy.


The most ancient nation of Africa of which
we have any record, is unquestionably the Egyp
tian ; and though, in our description of the
various countries of Africa, we began with West
ern Barbary, we shall, because of their great

antiquity, give precedence to the former in our


account of manners and customs.
The Egyptians, indeed, seem to have been the

people from whom even the Greeks took their


religion, arts, and sciences. They had twelve
gods, the principal of which were Osiris, Isis,
and Horus, and Who, like the gods of the Greeks

and Romans, were afterwards worshipped under


a variety of names. They had also Typho, or
the spirit of evil, whom they propitiated rather

than adored. They deied dogs, cats, serpents,


and even crocodiles; in fact, it is" scarcely pos
sible to name any thing that they did not occa
sionally worship. The bull was considered a god
at Memphis, under the title of Apis, and at
Thebes under the name of Minosis; and the sca
rabaeus, or beetle, was adored throughout the

whole country. There can be no doubt, however,


that the animal and vegetable deities of Egypt

were not positively worshipped, but were held


only in the light of symbols of the qualities they
were supposed to typify, or from some real or
imagined similitude between them and the won
ders of nature. Thus the abundant seed-vessel

No. 2.
.

Toface p. 122.

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

123

of the Indian lotus (the one held sacred in Egypt)


was thought an emblem of fecundity; the changes
in the cats eyes were fancied similar to the
phases of the moon, &c. The gods Phtha and
Cneph, adored at Thebes, were an exception,

however, to the general practice of symbolic wor


ship, as they seem mysterious indications of a
great and invisible power, which the more en
lightened among them discovered must be the
real Ruler of the universe, though they had no
means of ascertaining any particulars of his
nature or attributes. The ancient Egyptians

certainly thought the soul immortal; and their


object in so curiously preparing their mummies,
was to preserve the body till the soul should re
turn to it.

It was for this reason that, before

they suffered the corpse to be interred, they made


a solemn feast, to which all the friends and ac
quaintance of the deceased were invited, either
on the borders of the lake Moeris, or on the banks

of the Nile, where abaris, or boat, formed of reeds


(the boatman of which was called Charon),
oated on the water, in readiness to receive the
body. The actions of the dead were then recited;

and if the good were found, in the opinion of the


.judges, to exceed the bad, the corse was put

in the boat, and conveyed to its place of inter

ment, amidst the songs and rejoicings of the rela


tives; but if the contrary were the case, it was
ignominiously cast away, and deprived even of
the rites of sepulture.

The ceremony of embalming was performed


with more or less care according to the rank and

fortune of the individual; and the corpse was

124

nrxnunns AND CUSTOMS

afterwards carefully enveloped in long strips of


linen, wrapped round the body with much skill,
and in many folds, so as to cover every part. On
the breast was laid a sheet of papyrus, contain

ing an account of the principal deeds of the


person, both in hieroglyphics and in their encho

rial writing.

The mummy-case was also lined

and painted over with similar characters.


The food of the Egyptians was mostly pulse
and vegetables, and their drink the water of the
Nile. They had, besides, what Herodotus calls
barley-wine, as well as the fermented juice of the
grape.

They cultivated the arts and sciences,

had evidently made great progress in paint


ing and astronomy, and also understood how
to measure land and take observations by the
stars and other heavenly bodies: this learning
was, however, conned to the priests and the
initiated. Justice was impartially administered;
and the chief magistrate wore on his breast a

precious jewel, as a symbol of truth.

They had

a singular custom of having a skull, or some


other emblem of mortality, presented to them at
their feasts, with an admonition to remember that
they must soon resemble it.
Such were the ancient manners of this cele
brated kingdom: which deserve notice, not only
for the light they throw upon the Grecian my
thology, which was borrowed from the Egyp
tian, but also from the striking contrast they
afford to the manners of the Egyptians of the
present day. Modern Egypt, at least in name,
is part of the Ottoman empire, and the Pasha

of Egypt (who generally held his post for two

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

125

or three years) was sent from Constantinople.

But though great honours were paid him, and


he was allowed to preside at the divan, the
real power was in the hands of the Mameluke
beys ; and the Porte was sometimes obliged even

to submit to the indignity of having the pasha


dismissed by these military despots. Almost
all the land of Egypt was possessed by the
Mameluke soldiery, they (nominally) holding
the estates in ef under the grand signior. The
command of the provinces, twenty-four in num
ber, was also yearly distribnted among these
beys, each of whom made his annual circuit to
enforce the payment of his taxes, and to keep
the Arabs in subjection: they are said to have con
trived to extort about two millions in the year. It
is true they were charged with the expenses of
government, and the surplus was supposed to be
sent to Constantinople; but .according to Malte
Brun, from the receivers up to the beys, all
managed so Well, that the grand signior seldom
touched any part of these imposts. They were
always charged to his account, but were balanced

by expenses said to be incurred in the repairs of


buildings and canals, which were never executed.

The military body, of whichthese Mamelukes


were the continuation though not the descend
ants, were originally Georgian and Circassian
slaves, brought by the successors of Saladin from

the neighbourhood of Mount Caucasus, to form


a body-guard. The extreme vigour and per
sonal beauty of these slaves was the rst motive
for their organization; and these characteristics

have been continued to the present time, from

126

MANNER5 AND CUSTOMS *

the practice of recruiting the Mameluke band


in the same manner as it was originally formed;
that is, by the purchase of fresh Georgian and
Circassian captives from the numerous Turkish
merchants, who make it their business to select

the nest youths from those countries, solely for


this purpose; and the child of a Mameluke is

never allowed to succeed his father in his mili


tary capacity, but only in his civil rights. The
suppression of this formidable band, which for a

long series of years gave rulers to Egypt, and


even in our own times dictated all her councils,

will be detailed in the historical sketch of this


portion of Africa: it is sufficient to state here,
that its destroyer, Mehemet Ali, may now be
considered absolute sovereign of Egypt, although
still nominally acknowledging the authority of
the Porte.
Notwithstanding the present sovereignty of the
Turks, a few of the descendants of the ancient

inhabitants of Egypt still exist, under the name


of Copts, though very reduced in numbers,
and conned to a small portion of its surface.
Amongst this people the old Egyptian language
continued to be spoken long after the territory
of Egypt had submitted to its successive en
slavers; and traces of the religion of Osiris and

Isis may still be discovered in their habits and cere


monies.

They are, indeed, the real descendants

of the Egyptians, mingled with the Persians left


by Cambyses, and the Greeks of Alexander and
the Ptolemies. They are of a darker complexion
than the Arabs, and, in many respects, rather

resemble the Negroes in formation, yet differ from

________-_.

-_<-I__.

or NORTHERN ArmcA.

127

that race in many essential particulars. Their lan


guage is now principallyArabic; but theirown pecu
liar Coptic is still used in religious worship, and is

even commonly spoken in their town of Nagadh.


The general characteristics of the Coptic lan
guage are, the shortness of its words, the sim
plicity of its grammar, and the mode of expressing
genders by prexed syllables instead of termi
nations: it has but slight indications of any con
nexion with the Hebrew or Ethiopic, and seems

to have had an origin and formation of its own.


The religion of the Copts was long the Chris
tianity of the Greek church; but they now
usually adhere to the sect of the Eutychians,
the distinguishing mark of whose creed is, the

confounding of the two natures of Christ in one.


The Copts are cunning, avaricious, and grovelling;
and those living in the towns often succeed in
acquiring wealth, by making themselves useful
to the ignorant Mameluke and Turkish govern
ments.

Next to the Copts, the Arabs are the most


numerous inhabitants of Egypt: they are known
by their small and sparkling eyes, their short,

pointed beards, their parted and quivering lips,


and the nervous agility of their body. These
Asiatic Wanderers have spread their tribes over
a great part of Eastern Africa, but do not
appear to be the same as the Mograbin Arabs
of the Barbary states.

The Bedouin, or in

' ' dependent Arab, has a uilder physiognomy;


while, among the Egyptians, the sheiks of vil
lages, the fellahs or peasants, and the artisans,

being more intermixed, exhibit a less marked

128

MANNERS AND cusrozus

character. The Turks also form an important


though small portion of the Egyptian population.
There are likewise Greeks and Jews ; the former
reminding us, by their regular features, of the de
licacy of feeling, and versatility of talent, of their

ancestors; and the youth of the latter presenting


heads strikingly resembling that consecrated by
painters as a representation of Jesus Christ. The_

Jews are despised by all ; but, in the large towns,


they either compete with the Copts for situations
to manage the affairs of the wealthy; or,as is their
custom all over the world, obtain an ignominious
livelihood by usurious practices.
Webster says, that the Copts of the present
day have a peculiarly austere appearance, with
something like aQuakerish singularity of manner.
He adds, Their look is staid, their vestments
simple, their demeanour according to the strict
order of the ritual, their ceremonies precise; and

they are uniform in their hours of rising and


repose, eating and drinking, and, in short, in
all the ordinary usages of life.
In a country, great part of which is under
water for some portion of the year, it is not asto
nishing that the art of swimming should be carried
to great perfection, and that the children should
be expert at it; even the girls become fond of the
pastime, and during the inundations may be seen
sporting on the surface of the waters, or swim
ming in companies from village to village, real
izing the fabled stories of the nymphs of antiquity.
The inhabitants of Egypt, indeed, have many

aquatic sports; and, on the opening of canals,


&c., public swimmers are engaged to display

or Noivrnismv AFRICA.

129

their evolutions and mock-ghts on the liquid ele


ment. It is worthy of remark, that as early as
the seventeenth century, carrier-pigeons were em
ployed in Egypt by the Governor of Damietta in
his correspondence with the Pasha of Cairo. The
modern Psylli (enchanters of serpents) are also
not inferior in dexterity to their ancient brethren :
they make their serpents peiegform wonderful feats,
sometimes
earing
su eritsthe
oisonous
re tile to tear atligir
eshtowith
venlbmous
fangg;
an exhibition which, as the secret of its manage

ment is unknown to the multitude, is of course


attributed by them to magic.
The Copts have manufactories of pottery, which
supply the whole of Egypt, Syria, and the
Grecian Archipelago; and so stationary are the
habits, customs, and args of this singular people,
that M. Denon observe a vessel in common use
in modern Egypt exactly similar in shape, and
xed upon the same kind of tripod, as those re
presented in the hieroglyphic paintings and ma
nuscripts of the oldest date.
Nubia is supposed to be the Meroe of the an
cients, the origin of which is lost in the darkness
of antiquity; but it has been considered as the
cradle of the religious and political institutions

of Egypt. The Nubae of Ptolemy, however are


thought to have been a people living to the ivest
of modern Nubia. They are now a race of
_Negroes, with woolly hair and small features;
their language quite distinct from that of their
neighbours; and, from the accounts of recent

travellers, they appear to be still worshippers of


the sun and moon.

The Shillooks are also Ne

130

MANNERS AND cusroms

groes, inhabiting the city of Senaar, which con


tains a hundred thousand inhabitants, and carries

on trade, by means of caravans, with Egypt,


Arabia, and Nigritia.

The soil is fertile, but the

climate unhealthy; and it is said to be so preju


dicial to horses in particular, that the king of
Senaar has not a single mounted soldier, whilst

the sheik of the desert can boast a ne army of


cavalry. The Shillooks were originally idolaters,
but have been converted to Mahometanism. The
government is despotic, and the kingdom here
ditary; but on the demise of the monarch, while
his eldest son succeeds him, the others are put

to death. A council of the grandees of state has


the power of examining into the actions of the
king, and of deposing him if he is thought to
have transgressed the bounds prescribed to his
authority. It is said that the head execu
tioner is always one of the royal family. This
kingdom also has submitted to the arms of Mehe

met Ali; but he permits the king to rule under him


as viceroy, and the people to retain their original
form of government. The forests and meadows
on the banks of the Tacazze, which falls into the
Nile, abound with buffaloes and gazelles; but

a y devastates the country round about Senaar,


and destroys the harvests. The grain cultivated
in Nubia consists chiey of the dourra, bammia,
wheat,_and millet.

Sugar-cane is also abundant,

but is not turned to account.

The principal

productions of the country, indeed, are ebony,

and the oil, wine, &c., made from the palm.


The exact boundary of the Turkish power is
uncertain, but Mehemet Ali has extended it far

or norm.nmm ArrucA.

up the Nile.

'13!

Egyptian Nubia contains many

Greek and Egyptian monuments, in places at


the present time quite deserted for want of

water.

In several parts of Nubia the people

do not understand the use of money, but barter


the commodities they possess for those of which
they are in need. The high lands of Northern
Nubia are inhabited by two almost independent
tribes of Nomades; whose shining skin is of a
brown black, but who have no resemblance to

the Negroes of the west. The inhabitants of the


towns and villages are entirely under the dominion
of their despotic governors, who take from them
whatever they like, under the name of taxes.

The deserts to the east of the Nile are tenanted


by a race of Arabs who differ in all respects from
those found in Egypt, and appear to be the
original Cushites. They are black, but have the

same formation of skull as Europeans.

Their

only clothing is a piece of cloth fastened over the


middle: they have no rearms, and but few

horses, in lieu of which they substitute a small


sort of camel. They are fond of warlike amuse
ments, and their music is less monotonous than

that of the Egyptians. The same individual is


generally both poet and musician, and accom

panies himself on a sort of mandolin. They


are Mahometans, but not rigid; and when they
bury their dead, they cover the body with stones,
to prevent the wind from blowing off the sand
a.nd leaving the corpse exposed, as is frequently
the case when this precaution is not taken.

The elds in the kingdom of Dongola are wa


tered by the Nile, and are verdant in September.
.

K 2

132

mmwnns AND cosroms

The people are ferocious and cunning; and the


cottage. Theve
palace of the king is
_ only avast
_
not says, that their sovereign formerly paid tri
bute to Senaar. The Dongolians export gold
dust, slaves, feathers, and (Leo says) musk and
sandal-wood. They are skilful riders, and have

.beautiful horses. The religion they profess is


Mahometanism, of which they know only its brief
and comprehensive creed. Dongola has been
added by Mehemet Ali to his dominions. It was
here that the small remnant of the Mamelukes,

which escaped at the time of his tremendous mas


sacre of their body, took refuge when they were
driven out of Egypt. Their chief, Osman Bey,
fortied Dongola, and made a solemn vow that he
would never shave his beard till he had regained
Grand Cairo: but he was soon after forced to
yield.
We owe the greater part of our information re
specting Abyssinia to the early Portuguese travel
lers (whose works have been learnedly commented
upon by Ludolf, the German Strabo), Bruce, and

more lately to Mr. Salt.

They represent the

Abyssinians as hlaf-savages, having no idea of

money, but employing barter ; and when the arti


cles exchanged are not of equal value, making up
the difference with corn or salt.

Alvarez, who

visited the country in 1520, gives a dreadful ac


count of the devastations committed by the lo
which, however (he adds gravely), ceased
custs ;
their
ravages on being cursed by the Romish
priests, and commanded to depart within three
hours, for the sea, the mountains, or the land of
the Moors. The Abyssinians were among the

or norvrnnnn AFRICA.

133

rst converts to Christianity; and there can be


no doubt that their monarch was the origin of,
all the wonderful tales about Prester John, which

were current in the middle ages, and proved so


strong a stimulus to the exertions of the early tra
vellers.

Alvarez mentions a Moorish tribe, who

held it unlawful for any man to marry until he


had put twelve Christians to death. He also no
tices the strange custom, the narration of which
afterwards threw so much discredit on the veracity
.of Bruce, viz. that of eating pieces of raw esh
moist with the warm blood; but says that this

dish was not in common use, being reserved for


the higher classes. The government seems to have
been either very lax or very venal; for when a.

a number of things belonging to the embassy were


stolen, even in the king's palace, no redress could
be obtained. It is the general custom all over
Africa, to have a room open at the sides, and
supported by pillars, for the king to give audi
ence in, or rather, in which to hold a con
ference, which strongly resembles what the
Negroes call holding a palaver.
Alvarez represents the Abyssinians as having
rich dark complexions, but not black; and gives

a curious account of the ceremonies of their


church, from which it appears that the priests

are permitted to marry, and that they use adult


baptism by immersion. They scruple to eat the
esh of the hog or hare; and have several other
customs which partake either of Mahometanism
or Paganism, more than of Christianity.
Payz, who visited Abyssinia about seventy years

later than Alvarez, describes very particularly.

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS

an Abyssinian feast, in which he mentions the

serving up of warm raw esh, yet quivering


from the bone. He adds, that the only plates
used were large cakes, which were afterwards
devoured. He speaks of some countries, watered
by the Nile, and lying to the west of Abyssinia,
which were so barbarous and unknown, as to

be called the new world, by an Abyssinian


prince who had traversed them in time of war.
From the accounts of all travellers, which agree

in the general features, though they differ in the


minutiae, there appears to be little doubt that Abys
sinia was the Ethiopia and the Ethiopia supra
]Egyptum of the ancients; Ethiopia, in Greek,
meaning all persons of deep colour. Indeed, the
Abyssinians call themselves Itiopiawan, and their
country Itiopia; but they prefer the names of

Agazian for the people, and Agzi for the king


dom; probably from the term Axgagee, said by
the early writers on this country to signify the
Lord of Riches ; and in fact the stories told by
the Portuguese, of the immense wealth of some

of the Abyssinian mona.rchs tributary kings, far


surpass belief. The sovereign of Cola assured
Bermudez, that half the soil in his kingdom was
gold; and showed him a glittering mountain,
which he vehemently asserted was entirely com
posed of that metal. The name of Habesh, given
to Abyssinia by the Mahometans, is Arabic, and

signies a mixed people; but the inhabitants


scornfully disclaim this title.
The country of Abyssinia forms a table-land,

gently inclining to the north-west, with two great

chains of hills on the east and south; the rst

or nonrnnnu ArarcA.

135

stretching towards the Arabian Gulf, and the

second in the direction of the interior of Afri


ca. Travellers assert that these mountains shoot
up in points so steep that they can be ascended
only by ropes.
Tellez, a Portuguese, says
they are higher than the Alps, but have no
snow on their summits; except, perhaps, at So.
mer in the province of Tigre, and Namera in
Gojam. Several rivers, which disappear under
the sand before reaching the Arabian Gulf, make
the valleys marshy; and thus, though in the
high lands the climate is more temperate than
Spain or Portugal, and the heat altogether (judg

ing from its effects on the human body) not so


great, the exhalations are suffocating in the low

plains, where they produce elephantiasis and oph


thalmia.
Gingico, astate on the south-east of Abyssinia,

is the rst country on the eastern coast where the


inhabitants follow Fetishism. The people are
ferocious; and their laws, if correctly given by
Bruce, show them to be lost in the most brutal

ignorance and frightful barbarism.

Lobo speaks

in the same terms of the Gallas, the inveterate

enemies of the Abyssinians; who, he says, eat


raw esh, and wear, by way of ornament, the
entrails of the beasts they have killed. The ac-.

counts of Bruce and Salt do not materially dis


agree with those of earlier travellers; and perhaps
the slight discrepancies which occur may be
explained by recollecting the different manner in
which different persons often view the same ob.
jects. The egregious personal vanity, and owery
style, of Bruce, caused many parts of his narrative

136

MATNNERS AND CUSTOMS

to be disbelieved; but, upon examination, it is


fbund in the main to be substantially correct; and

his chief fault seems to have been, setting down


every thing that occurred as a positive fact, with
out waiting to see whether it was a xed habit, or
only a solitary instance.
The Abyssinians, generally speaking, are a
handsome people, with European features and
long hair. Their complexion is usually a shining
olive-brown, sometimes inclining to a reddish tint ;
but there are some whose skins Bruce compares
to pale ink. The language appears to be a dia- '
lect of the Arabic.

They are brave soldiers, but

understand nothing of military tactics; and,


though they possess rearms, know so little
about the use of them, as to be unable to dis

charge a gun without resting it upon a prop.


When victorious they give no quarter, and muti
late the bodies of the slain. They live in round
hovels with conical roofs, and wear light cotton

dresses; the children going quite naked to the age


of fteen. The king is called the Ras; he is des

potic, and derives his revenues from the taxes he


imposes upon his subjects.
The Abyssinians are generally Christians of the

Greek church, paying particular homage to the


Virgin Mary. There are among them, however,
some pagan tribes, which believe in Fetishism,
smear their faces with the blood of their enemies,

and, like the Gallas, wear the entrails of cattle


round their necks. The Gallas, Shangallas,
and Agows, go quite naked, and are hunted by
the Abyssinians like wild beasts. Some of these
idolaters worship trees, mountains, and stones,

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

I37

and put faith in magic; but the rites of marriage


are sacred amongst them, and _they acknowledge
a future state.
The most curious of the Abyssinian nations,
however, was that of the Jews, called Falasjas (or
the exiled), which remained for ages in the pro
vince of Samee, and was supposed by some to
have been the lost ten tribes of Israel. Their kings
always bore the name of Gideon, and their queens
that of Judith; but their dynasty having become
extinct, the Falasjas are now subjects of the king
of Abyssinia: many of them are scattered through
his dominions. They speak Hebrew, though
Bruce asserts their language to be Gheez, a harsh

dialect of the Arabic; and those living in towns


follow various mechanical trades.
The inhabitants of the eastern coast are mostly

Troglodytes, or dwellers in caves. The mountains


are reported to be rich in- metals and precious
stones; but, like the celebrated emerald-mines of
Egypt, their fame rests only on report. The soil
is dry and unfertile, and so destitute of water,

that the elephants are obliged to throw up the


sand with their trunks, to nd a spring.

The

Troglodytes are divided into tribes; live upon


the produce of their goats, and by shing; and
are perhaps the most barbarous people in the
world. They speak the Gheez language, the
sounds of which are so harsh and guttural,
as to be said to resemble the howling of wild
beasts and the hissing of ser ents. They seem
to have no idea of the sacred)ness of marriage,

nor of any religious duties.

Several tribes eat

locusts and serpents; and all agree very nearly,

138

MANNERS am: CUSTOMS

even at the present day, with the accounts given

of them by Herodotus.
Some wandering Cushites inhabit the countries
bordering on the coast, and differ very little from

their Mograbin brethren in the west.

or NORTIIERN Arnrca.

139

CHAPTER X.
.
MANNERS, CUSTOMS, RELIGIONS, AND
VERNMENT, OF THE INHABITANTS
AFRICA:'-THE

FORMS OF GO
OF NORTHERN

STATES OF BARBARY.

THE inhabitants of Barbary are divided by


Jackson into Moors, Arabs, Berbers, Shellahs,

Negroes, and Jews, to which may be added the


European Turks, who reside among the natives
in the eastern provinces, drawing, like janisaries,

all they can from thepeople in the shape of taxes


and tribute, and yielding no productive labour in
return.

. Of the above-mentioned classes, the Arabs and


Berbers are the inhabitants of the country, and

the Moors and Jews properly the dwellers in the


towns. The Negroes reside chiey in Morocco,
where their towns are distinct from those of the

other parts of the population; and their sole use


seems to be the furnishing of recruits for the
emperors body-guard. The Shellahs live in the
mountains of the southern provinces: they are
usually employed as servants in the northern
cities, and are remarkable for their art and du
plicity. They are separated by a very slight
shade of dierence from the Berbers, who in

habit the Atlas mountains north of Morocco.

140

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS

and are a hardy and independent race, apparently


the aborigines of the country, and exactly agree
ing with Sallusts description of the ancient inha
bitants of Mauritania. They have adopted the
Mahometan doctrines, and pay a sort of armed
obedience to the Emperor of Morocco, resisting
his ordinances whenever they do not happen per
fectly to accord with their own

inclinations.

Lempriere calls these tribes of"mountaineers the


Lazzaroni of Morocco;

and says, that if they

cannot live by labour, they have recourse to


theft.
The Bedouin Arabs, who inhabit the vast plains
at the foot of Mount Atlas, are in fact the agri
culturists of the country. They are a ne, noble
race of men, and are particularly famed for the
sacredness of their promises, and for their .un

bounded hospitality. In Western Barbary, their


tents are generally placed at a distance from the
towns; but their villages are always in the vici

nity of some considerable city. Their encamp


ments consist of broad tents made of palmetto-'
leaves, or camel's hair, dyed black; they stand
very low; the sheiks is the largest, and is set in

a conspicuous situation amongst the rest. An


encampment, or dooar, consists of from four or
ve to a hundred tents, according to the numbers
of the tribe or family to which it belongs, and is
formed either in a circle or an oblong square:
their cattle are suffered to graze at large in the
day, but are secured within the boundaries at

night. The tents are open only to the south,


by which means the Arabs escape the cold
northerly winds to which Morocco is so often sub

or NORTHERN Ararcx.

141

ject. Some parts of the country inhabited by


_them are very rich, having the appearance of
parks, from the variety and luxuriance of foliage,

and the beautiful and extensive lakes with which


they are diversied.
The Arabs seem to be at a vast distance
from civilization, both from their prejudices
in favour of a wandering life, and from the an
cient customs which oblige them always to asso
ciate in tribes, and only to intermarry with per
sons of their own family. They will not permit a
person not related to them to live even in the
same camp. Their women are any thing but
beautiful: they dislike the inhabitants of towns,
and conceal their faces in the presence of stran
gers. Each camp is governed by a sheik, who is
appointed by the emperor, and is generally the
Arab possessed of most property in the tribe.
One tent in the camp is devoted to religious cere
monies; and here the children assemble an hour

before daybreak to learn their prayers, which are


written in Arabic letters upon boards: this is
the only education that an Arab usually receives.
Though scarcely obeying any laws, they are con

sidered as subjects of the Emperor of Morocco,


and are obliged to procure a license from him
every time they change their situation, paying a
small proportion of the produce of each spot of
[ground of which they successively take possession:
all landed property, indeed, in Morocco, except

.that in the immediate vicinity of towns, belongs


to the emperor.
The dress of the Arabs is a coarse frock of

undyed wool, girt about the waist with a cord

142

srnmnas AND CUSTOMS

or belt; in addition to which they have the haik, a


piece of stuff several yards in length, wrapped
round them : when travelling, they wear over this
a cloak that covers the head and is thrown
round the body in a careless manner. Their
hair is cut short; and they have no turban,
shoes, or stockings, and seldom even slippers.

The dress of the women is nearly the same as that


of the men, excepting a bag, which hangs from

their back, for the purpose of carrying their


children. They are never without necklaces of
beads, are fond of gold and silver trinkets, and
wear their hair in plaits, round which a handker
chief is tied. _ The children run about naked till
nine or ten years old, when they are taught the
drudgery of their parents. The Arab complexion
is olive, and their features are usually hand
somer than those of the Moors of the towns:

they have all brilliant black eyes, and extremely


white and regular teeth.

Great jealousies exist between different neigh


bouring tribes, which often lead to bloodshed;

and the emperor nds heavy mulcts the readiest


way of pacifying the combatants. He receives
annually the tenth of the produce of the soil
from them, and sometimes exacts about a fortieth

part of all they possess. This tax is said to be for


the support of the army. The rst is paid in
corn., cattle, or money; the last always in corn

or cattle. The emperor sends information of the


sum he requires to the pasha of the province, who
generally collects through the alcaides from the
sheiks of the encampments, reserving the sur
plus for his own private benet; and, as the

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

143

oicers of every degree under him do the same,


the unfortunate people commonly pay two or three
times more than what has been demanded.

The Arab tents are made by the women ; they


are close, warm, and impervious to the rain,

and secured by indented pegs to prevent the


intrusion of the cattle. The whole encampment is
surrounded by a circular hedge of thorn bushes,
and a large re is kept up all night to drive oil
the lions and other wild beasts. The Arabs are
devout Mahometans; and the Cab ls, or tribes

of Bedouins found in Morocco, di er very little


from the Arabs of the Great Desert, or those

of Libya.

The powers of abstinence in these

wanderers almost surpass belief; for, on their

journeys, if they are decient of provisions, they


tie their hazam, or belt, tight round their loins,
and in this manner will sometimes remain seven
days without food of any kind. They speak pure
Arabic. This language is indeed spoken, par
tially, from the Mediterranean to the Cape of
Good Hope; for, though the inhabitants of the
different countries have each their own dia

lect, yet all Mahometans understand the lan


guage of the Koran.
The peculiar merits
of the Arabians will be more properly enume
rated under the head of Arabia, when we treat
of Asia.
_

The Arabs are skilled in astrology, and sus


pected of a fondness for the occult sciences.
They are proud and vindictive, and even in
their youth practise great seriousness and re
serve. Their fondness for poetry is well known;
and their verses were once in all the principal

" 144

MANNERS AND cusrozus

public buildings of Fez and Morocco.

They

ave regular spots xed for their markets, where

the adjacent tribes bring their produce, and meet


with a good sale; the Moorish merchants coming
from the towns to purchase.
"
The resemblance between the African and
Asiatic Arabs is so striking, as to leave no doubt
of their common origin; but the exact era when

the former established themselves in Africa is un


known, as we nd traces of them before any ac
count exists of their emigration. The difference,
however, between the Mograbin and Saracenic
Arabs is suiciently marked to prove their sepa
ration at a very early period; and that the asser

tion made by most writers, that the Mograbins

were brought to Africa by the caliphs, is without


foundation.
But the entire history of this people embraces
too many topics to. be discussed within our narrow
limits; and we have only room to add, that the

Gipsies, respecting whose origin so many conjec


tures have been hazarded, are by some supposed
to be tribes of Bedouin Arabs bordering upon
Egypt, who, under the conduct of their sheiks,

ed to Europe, to escape from some convulsion


in Africa.
The
gures
of the
are generally
slender
hand
well
formed,
withMoors
ne eyes,
good teeth,
and
rather regular features. Their expression is that
of ardent, though gloomy passion, and their smile
is disdainful and contemptuous,-Penaster says,
it is the smile of death. They indulge in ex
cesses that enervate their bodies and destroy their

courage; and their patience under suffering rather

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

145

resembles cold ferocity than stoical rmness. Their "


extreme avarice renders them hypocritical, cun
ning, and false to their word. Their heads are
shaved, except one lock of hair at the top. The
dress of the great consists of the caftan, a robe
reaching below the knee, over which they have
a jacket embroidered with gold and silver; they
wear also long trousers, and a black or white
bornoose, with yellow or red boots or slippers.
Several ne veils are twisted round the head ; and

it is remarked, that the more clothes a man heaps


on himself, the greater he is considered. In all
his actions a Moor seems sullen and resentful, as

though he could never forget the high state of


civilization from which he has fallen; and perhaps
the remembrance of the ancient glory of his
people, when his ancestors wielded the proud
sceptre of Granada, contributes to embitter his
recollections, and increase his detestation of
the Christians, by whom that power was over
thrown.
The government of Morocco is likewise well
calculated to destroy any particle of noble feeling
which might perchance remain in the bosoms of
the Moors.

It is an unmixed despotism; and

its great maxim seems to be, to preserve a state


of equality, that is, of poverty,

amongst the

people; which the emperor manages to do very


effectually by continual extortions. Under such
a system, it is not possible that the Moors should
ever become rich or ourishing, for if they get
wealth, they are compelled to hide it;

and a

Moorish merchant in the capital considers a com

pliment paid to his increasing prosperity almost


L

146

MANNERS AND cusroms

as his death-warrant. Inured to deceit, the minds


of the Moors become degraded; and the inuence

of constant fear makes them, like the often


beaten spaniel, appear for ever crouching to avoid
the dreaded blow. All greatness of character
has vanished; and the "nation seems to consist

only of a race of slaves, who revenge the tyranny


they suffer, by tyrannizing in return whenever
they have an opportunity. As a proof of the
extreme to which the debasing policy of the
government is carried, the emperor refuses to
allow his subjects to export corn, notwithstand

ing the fertility of the land is such as to produce


a hundred-fold; and, if a free trade were per

mitted, not only would the country become rich,


but his own revenue be trebled. His selsh
feelings, however, prevail; and though Spain an
nually remits presents to him, to be suffered to
import grain (without which she could not exist),
he reserves the whole as a monopoly for himself,
and the Arabs grow only what is sufficient for
their own use: large tracts of land consequently
remain totally uncultivated, thus frequently pro
ducing famine in one of the most fertile countries
in the world, should any accidental circumstance

chance to make the crops fail to yield exactly


their usual quantity.
'
The merchants who reside at a considerable
distance from the capital are more independent
than those in the city, and less fearful of the
consequences likely to follow the exposure of
their wealth. These individuals exhibit great
magnicence in their houses and gardens; and
the rich display they make of gold, china, glass,

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

147

and other articles of show and luxury, points out

forcibly the difference between the real character


of the Moor, and that which he is compelled to
assume from oppression.
The Jews of Morocco are a class completely by
themselves; and wear a distinguishing costume,
part of which is a black cap. They form about
one-seventh of the walled inhabitants, are all en

gaged in trade, and are looked upon with con


tempt by the Moors, who compel them to live
in a quarter by themselves, called the Jewdry,
the gates of which are closed at nine o'clock every
night, and do not allow them to mix in general
society. They are forced to walk barefooted when
ever they come into any Moorish town, castle, or
palace; not being suffered to enter even the
town where they reside, otherwise than on foot.

They are seldom permitted to ride horses; they


pay a heavy tax to the emperor ; and, in short, are
subject to so many hardships, that it is only sur
prising they should stay in a portion of the world
where they are so cruelly treated. The fact is,
the Jews who were expelled from Spain and Por
tugal, ed to Barbary as a place of refuge, where,
notwithstanding their ill-treatment, they make
immense sums of money, being the only mechanics
in the place, and having the management of all
pecuniary and commercial transactions. The Moors
show more humanity to their horses than to the
Jews, whom they beat so severely as to leave
them often lifeless on the ground; and there is

never the least doubt how a case will terminate


when a Jew and a Moor are parties in a suit.
The Jewish ladies have, however, a privilege, of

L 2

148

Mnzirnns AND CUSTOMS

which, as they are very handsome, they no doubt


gladly avail themselves; this is, permission to
appear in the streets with their faces uncovered ;
all the Moorish women being compelled to weara
thick veil.
The Moors sit cross-legged, like the Turks ; and
in ne weather a whole circle of friends will place
themselves in this manner on a mat or carpet
before their doors, till the street is lled with
groups smoking or drinking tea. They are in- _

deed naturally so indolent, that when two meet


to converse, they seat themselves upon the ground,
even should the conversation last only for ten
minutes.

Like all the Africans, they are very

fond of transacting business in the open air, and


generally have a room attached to their houses
with at least one side supported only by open
pillars.
The most usual food in Northern Africa is
cuscasoo, a granulated paste, garnished with
meat or vegetables. They have only one dish;
this is placed on a table, round which they

sit on cushions, cross-legged; a basin with water


is then introduced, in which they wash their
hands. This ceremony is performed both before
and after meals. A short grace being ended, each
puts his hand into the dish, and begins to feed,

pulling the meat asunder with his ngers.

It is

the custom, however, to eat with the right hand

only, and never to touch food with the left. They


generally take coffeeafter dinner; but when they

drink tea, they like it very sweet. They are fond


of smoking, but not so passionately addicted to
it as the Turks. It is part of the system of court
v

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

149

etiquette never to mention the word death, but to

use some other form of expression, such as he


has passed away, or he has completed his de
stiny, &c. The manners of the smaller towns
closely resemble those of the capital.
The factories of Mogador enjoy the protection
of the emperor: there are ve or six of them, of
different nations, who export mules to America,
and Morocco leather, hides, gum-arabic, ostrich
feathers, copper, ivory, mats, beautiful carpet
ing, dates, raisins, olives, oils, &c., to every
part of the globe ; and receive in return, artillery
of all kinds, gunpowder, woollens, iron, hard

ware, trinkets, and most of the useful articles


employed in the country. Besides this traic with
Europe and America, the Mogador merchants
trade to Tripoli, Algiers, Cairo, Mecca, &c., by

means of caravans. The public buildings of


Mogador are good; and the emperor has a small
handsome palace, where he occasionally resides.
The streets are straight, though narrow; and the

houses, differing from those of other towns in the


empire, are lofty and regular: the entrance of
the bay is well defended by a fort.

There are several other particulars respecting the


inhabitants of Barbary, which may be summed up
under the head of general observations. The Moors,
like the Jews, cut the throats of the animals they
kill, and, at the same time, turning their heads
towards Mecca, carefully wash away all the re

maining blood. They are unacquainted with the


use of pumps; but this furnishes occupation for
many poor, in bringing water in skins from the
nearest springs. Their looms, forges, ploughs,

150

mxunrns AND cusroms

carpenters tools, &c., are much the same in form


as those implements are in many parts of Europe,
but more clumsily made. Strength is with them a
greater object than neatness, and they have no no
tion that their performances admit of any improve
ment. Previous to their expulsion from Spain they
were an enlightened people, at a time when the
greater part of Europe was in a state of compara
tive barbarism; but they may now be considered

as only a few degrees removed from a savage state.


The have no wheel-carriages; and all articles of

bu en are carried by camels, mules, or asses.


Their houses possess hardly any good quality ex
cept that of strength. Their manner of preparing
tables is perhaps the only remains of their ancient
knowledge; it consists of a mixture of mortar and

very small stones beaten tight in a wooden case


and suffered to dry, when it forms a cement as

hard as solid rock. Their apartments are, if pos


sible, more inconvenient than those of their neigh
bours, the Spaniards; but the carved woodwork

with which they are ornamented is equal to that


of the most skilful Europeans. They never think
of mending their roads; not appearing to be
aware, that by this means travelling would be ren
dered less expensive and more expeditious.
Their gardens are mere enclosed tracts, inter

spersed with gs, oranges, lemons, and vines,


without the least arrangement; overrunwith weeds,
and seldom or never ornamented with owers.

They have very few bridges, and indeed do not


seem to understand the principle of the arch ; they

are thus obliged to pass rivers either by fording,


swimming, or rafts, which are very dangerous.

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

151

The towns are few in proportion to the extent of


the country; and those that do exist are thinly

peopled.

Many houses in Morocco itself are in

ruins, and uninhabited. Sidi Mahomet intro


duced large colonies of Negroes from Guinea, to
build the towns; and, as this race is of a more

lively and enterprising disposition than the Moors,


they might soon have been taught the arts of agri
culture.

Had this plan been followed, the coun

try would probably now have been populous and


ourishing.
.
At Tangiers, contrary to the custom of the rest
of Barbary, Jews and Moors intermix. Most of
the European consuls live there; and some of
the emperor's galleys are built at that port. It
has a constant intercourse with the coast of Spain,

exchanging commodities of all kinds. Ophthalmia


is frequent, and perhaps arises from the turbans of
the Moors not shielding the eyes; no one but the
emperor being allowed to use an umbrella. They
have many practitioners in medicine; but their
remedies consist mostly of simples, which can

neither do good nor harm. It is diicult to per


suade them that medicine taken into the stomach
can benet any other part.
The peculiarities above narrated, apply to the
Moorish nations generally; but at Marmora there
are some circumstances that seem to deserve sepa
rate notice. This town is surrounded by the sanc
tuaries of Moorish saints, the bodies of whom are

enshrined in stone buildings, about ten yards


square, with a cupola at the top. The canonized are
commonly either madmen or idiots, such persons

being supposed by the Mahometans to be always

'15?

MANN]"IRS AND CUSTOMS

under the inuence of the superior powers.

The

Marabouts, also, are sometimes considered saints:


they are professors of magic, and live by the sale
of charms, particularly those for procuring plea
sant dreams. The ceremonies in the mosques are
the same as those in all Mahometan countries;

and will be detailed in our account of the rise of the


Mahometan religion in Asia. The manners of the
other states of Barbary resemble those of Morocco,

modied, however, by those differences in situation


and government which produce such a striking
effect upon the minds and characters of men. The
government at Tunis is a popular one; and as
the sovereignty is hereditary, the country is not
subject to those violent convulsions which must
always agitate nations where the succession is
uncertain. In elective governments, every man
above a certain rank has some hope of being
chosen, on the death of the monarch; and as

such individuals have partisans whose interest is


indissolubly united to their own, they are often
induced to enforce their claims. Tumult and
bloodshed inevitably ensue; and, like the unfor
tunate sovereigns of Algiers, seven of whom were
once consecutively chosen, and six beheaded in

one day, the hapless aspirant for royalty nds too


often that there is but one step from a throne to
a scaffold.
Though the government of Tunis is better than
that of many of the Barbary states, it is by no
means perfect. The civil oices are, it is true,
divided pretty equally amongst the Moors, Turks,

and Arabs; but their army is principally composed

Of Turkish soldiery, recruited in time of war by

Q
OF NORTHERN" AFRICA.

I53

draughts from the Bedouin Arabs; and no govern

ment can prosper which is obliged to be supported


by mercenary troops.

The three regencies, as

they are called, of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers,


were formerly entirely dependent on Turkey, the
Sublime Porte sending Turks to be their chiefs ;
but they have long been gradually throwing off
the yoke, and, acting as independent sove
reigns, now succeed to their respective thrones
according to their own regulations, and consider
themselves rather as allies than as subjects of the
Porte.

Rivalry naturally exists between equal and in


dependent states in the vicinity of each other; con
sequently those of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, are
frequently quarrelling, whilst the Emperor of Mo
rocco regards all three with a jealous eye. What

changes will be produced by the occupation of


Algiers by the French (should the convulsions in
their own country permit them to retain their con
quest), remains to be seen. That it will have a
powerful effect both upon the external and in
ternal policy of the other states of Barbary, is
certain; as also, that it will afford facilities of

intercourse with the mysterious'regions beyond

the Zahara.

The Moors are now excessively ig

norant and bigoted, and it is the interest of their

Turkish masters to keep them in a state of bar


barism, that they may remain obedient slaves.
The natural consequence of an inux of civilized
strangers, who wish to impart to others the be
nets they themselves enjoy, must promote the
diffusion of knowledge; and there can be no

doubt that, under a more liberal policy, the

Q54

MANNERS AND cus'roMs

ancient glories of the Moorish race will revive;


and the learned sages of Fez, and the polished

conquerors of Granada, may in after-times be


equalled, if not eclipsed, by their descendants.
Commerce will also ourish, and instead of a
degrading traic in the liberty of. their fellow
creatures, the markets of northern Africa will

exhibit all the varieties of European industry,


combined with the rich products of their own
interior. At present Tunis has a large slave
market,where human beings are openlyexposed for
sale every day, excepting Friday, the Mahometan
sabbath. This trade is carried on in other parts
of Barbary, but Tripoli and Tunis are its chief
marts. The staple commodity of the latter, how

ever, is a kind of red woollen cap, commonly


worn by every Mahometan. The quantity of
Morocco leather manufactured is also consider

able; and Tunis used almost to supply Europe


with oil, hides, wool, dates, senna, oil "of roses,
and ostrich-feathers. The trade in the latter ar
ticles still continues. The Pasha of Tripoli ranks
above the Bey of Tunis; and Shaw says, that
in his time the inhabitants of Tunis were the most
civilized in Barbary. The manners of the people
of Tripoli have been so admirably described by
the author of A Ten Years Residence, &c., a book
in almost every bodys hands, as to render any
lengthened detail unnecessary. There is indeed
very little difference in the Moorish manners
throughout the whole of Africa. The exports

from Tripoli are nearly the same as those from


Tunis, with the exception of the woollen skull

caps, which are peculiar to the latter city,

or rroivrrmrm AFRICA.

15!

and the addition of gold-dust, ivory, gum, saf


fron, and trona, or carbonate of soda. The Tri
polians have also the colocinth-plaster, and the
tree yielding castor-oil, indigenous to their
country, the produce of which they export, as they
do also cotton and raw silk.
Great numbers of
slaves for the Tripoli market are brought from
Benin and the_ neighbouring countries through
Fezzan. The present government of Tripoli is
very mild; and even an aggrieved Jew has a chance
of obtaining justice, the oices of state being of
ten placed in the hands of the natives.
The government of Algiers is composed of a
dey, his council (consisting of the principal mi
nisters of state), and the divan. The dey is
elected by the janisaries, or Turkish militia,

hereditary succession being unknown here. On


the death of a dey, each soldier proceeds to the
palace to tender his vote for a new candidate;
and, as the ballot continues till one obtains their

undivided suffrages, it may easily be conceived


that these elections often become scenes of turbu
lence and violence; for, when the most numer

ous party have invested their favourite with the


oflice, it not unfrequently happens that the mal
contents assemble in another division of the pa
lace, appoint their chief,"and if sufiiciently strong,
rush into the hall of audience, where the new
leader wades through slaughter to his precarious
throne, his hands stained with the blood of his
unfortunate rival. Such are the governors of
Algiers, and the termination of a reign is seldom

less destructive of human life than its commence


ment.

__.,____=_.. _.

156

MAN.\*ERS AND CUSTOMS

The council is composed of the casnedar, or grand '


treasurer, the michelacci, minister of foreign affairs
(who may be considered as premier), the rais, or
grand admiral, the caia of the deys palace, the aga
of the camp, the commander-in-chief of the army,

and the coggia of the horse, &c.

There are also

four secretaries of state, who, though they seldom

speak in the council, are allowed to give their


advice freely in private. The divan consists of
the principal ministers and the oicers of the ja
nisaries and Turkish militia; and sometimes the
mezoul agas, or retired oicers of the Turkish
soldiery, are admitted, though they of course go
unarmed. In former times, every act of the dey
required the sanction of this body, but he now
assembles and dissolves it at pleasure. The grand
caia, who generally represents the dey, opens the
debate by stating the cause of the convocation; he
next makes his proposals, and then casting a fero
cious glance round the assembly, thus intimates
that he intends they shall be acceded to. This, as
Pananti says, reminds one of the amateur, who,

lost in admiration of a favourite picture, declared


he would throw any one out of the window who
spoke ill of it; and immediately turning to a
friend, asked him his candid opinion.
The only army to be depended on is the Turkish
militia, with whom rests the election of the dey.
These soldiers are recruited annually from the
lowest rabble of Smyrna and Constantinople, and
consist of about twelve thousand men, tolerably

disciplined, with whom the ruler of Algiers is en


abled to keep in subjection a population of ve
millions. In cases of emergency, however, this force

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

157'

may be increased to nearly a hundred thousand


strong, by calling out the Arab tribes, whose sheiks
are in general well affected to the dey. Three di
visions of the standing army annually perambulate
the country to collect or enforce the taxes, as is
found necessary : these consist of one-tenth of the
produce of the soil in the provinces, and of imposts
upon the merchandise, &c. in the towns.
The governor of each province bears the title
of bey, and of these delegated rulers there are
three; one at Oran, another at Constantia, and

a third who is usually employed in keeping those


tribes in subjection that seem inclined to throw
off their allegiance to the despotic power of their
ruler. The beys are suffered to lord over and plun
der the people, almost like absolute sovereigns;

the dey well knowing, that the greater the wealth


they acquire, the larger will be his portion: and
to make the misery of the inhabitants, if possible,
more complete, whatever oppression may have
been omitted by the beys, is most amply inicted
by the caids, or governors of cities, who buy their
places, with the laudable intention of regaining
their purchase-money, with interest, from the
pockets of the citizens.
As for the administration of justice, if it can
exist at all under such a government, we may
state, that all civil cases are disposed of by
the cadi, a species of lord chancellor, and gene

rally a person who has studied in the seminaries


of Cairo and Constantinople. His awards are
regulated by the precepts of the Koran, there

being no code of laws; so that the study of


Algerine jurisprudence is conned to the right in

i~iuu .-_- I

158

MANNERS AND cusroms

terpretation of that divine book and its sancti


ed commentators. Criminal cases are referred
to the dey, who sits in the hall of justice some
hours every day (except Thursday, which is de
voted to private business, and Friday, the Ma

hometan sabbath). Great impartiality is often


evinced in his decisions; but from the conicting
testimony of witnesses, it is not uncommon for a
trial to terminate in a plentiful administration of
the bastinado to both plaintiff and defendant.
Piracy forms the basis of the Algerine govern
ment, without which, in fact, it could not exist; and

the Algerines have been loud and bitter in their


complaints against the English nation for com
pelling them to make peace with so many of
their enemies. Indeed, they say we have reduced
them to such a state, that they have scarcely an

enemy left. Pananti says, he heard the grand


rais exclaim, How things are changed! time
was, we were at war with all Europe, and there
were captures to be made every day ; then the sea

was a jewel to us; but now we are at peace with


almost every nation, and the seas to us are but a
desert. The following circumstance may serve
to show the light in which they themselves look
upon their robberies: In remonstrating with the
English consul against the capture of an Algerine
vessel, taken whilst endeavouring to carry naval
stores into Toulon (then in a state of bloii 1)

they observed that we had done wrong; adage);


these things are allowed to us, be
lg,
are thieves, and pass for such; but mi Ye
you who are always preaching u P equlty
and

justice.

or NORTHERN smuca.

159

When a prize is brought into port, the dey


rst takes his share, after which the spoil is di
vided, and the miserable prisoners sold as slaves.
Dreadful indeed is the fate of those who have not
the means of purchasing their ransom ; an iron
ring, the sign of bondage, is rivetted to the ankle,
and they are compelled to labour under the burning
sun of Africa, without covering for their head, and
scarcely any for their body, which proves fatal to

many unfortunate Europeans: two small black


loaves per day are thrown down to the Christian
dogs, as they are called; and this, with a scanty
supply of water, forms almost their only sus
tenance. It is calculated that at least two
hundred of these wretched beings die annually
for want of food, proper care, and medical at
tendance.
The Algerines are pirates by land as well as
by sea, making excursions into the interior for the
capture of Negroes, twelve thousand of whom are
yearly sold in the states of Tripoli,Tunis, and

Algiers. But this reign of barbarism has received


a severe shock. The Dey of Algiers exists no
longer; and should the policy of Europe withhold
the restitution of his power, we may hope, under
the better regulation of an European government,
to see the classic shores of Carthage rise again in
the scale of civilization, and take that rank in

their commercial intercourse with Europe, which


their maritime situation is so admirably calculated
to sustain.
.
The modern population of Cyrene consists of
some tribes of Bedouin Arabs, who nearly resem
ble their brethren of Mount Atlas. The Zahara,

160

mmmnns AND CUSTOMS

the oases, and the deserts of Barca and Libya,

are inhabited by the same people ; the wandering


tribes differing from those that are more sta
tionary, only in the facility with which whole na
tions remove from place to place, and by the sur

prisingly small number of their actual wants.

or CENTRAL AFRICA.

161

CHAPTER XI.

MANNERS,

CUSTOMS,

RELIGIONS, AND POEMS OI GO

VERNMENT OF THE INHABITANTS OF CENTRAL AFRICA.

Ir it be interesting to a philosophical observer


to trace the various stages by which man ascends
in the scale of being, from enjoying the benets
of civilization; there is, perhaps, no region of

the known world in which he can pursue his


investigation with more facility than in Africa.
.Beginning with the Moors and Egyptians, who,
though generally considered inferior to their Eu
ropean brethren, must still rank among civilized
nations, we may gradually descend to the Bush
men, Corannas, and Hottentots, who appear very
little elevated above the brute creation.
.
Fezzan forms the rst connecting link between
the northern and southern districts; and its cus
toms exhibit a curious mixture of the habits of
civilized man and of the savage. The burying
"places certainly partake most of the latter; as

we are told that the graves are ornamented with


shreds of particoloured cloths tied to bits of
sticks; broken pots; and sometimes, as a mark of

distinction, wifh ostrich eggs.

Slaves are interred

so carelessly, that the wind soon sweeps the sand


M

162

MANNERS nun cusroms

away, and leaves the bodies exposed to view.


Animals are never buried, but are thrown on
mounds outside of the town, and there left
the heat and excessive dryness of the air pre
venting putrefaction. The dress of the inha
bitants of Fezzan resembles that of the Moors
generally; except that they wear sandals made of
the leaves and bres of the palm-tree. Like the
Hottentots, they put so much oil on their hair,
that it runs down over their face and clothes.

Their skin is quite black: they are very fond


of nery, particularly of large metal rings round
the arms and ankles; which, however, produce

callous lumps, and greatly deform the limbs


they are intended to adorn. Both men and women
stuff their nostrils with a twisted leaf of onions
or clover, which looks excessively disgusting.
They are very partial to music and dancing:
the latter is performed just in the style of sa
vages. The necessaries of life are extremely
scarce; and the people commonly live on dates.
Corn often failsfowls have quite disappeared,
and the sheep and goats brought to supply the
market, from Benioleed, a distance of four hun
dred miles, are frequently so exhausted for want
of food and water in their journey across the
desert, that on their arrival they are mere ske
letons.
The principal revenue of the .sultan arises
from the trade in slaves, of whom it is computed
that nearly six thousand annually pass through
his dcminions. He has also a tax on merchan
dise, and upon the produce of the land. He is

the heir of all who die intestate; and can order

or cnnrnar. AFRICA.

163

any one that he may please to execution, without


having recourse to the formality of a trial.

The

government is rigidly despotic.

About a tenth

part of the population are slaves.

The religion is

Mahometanism. The character of the people is


heavy and stupid in the extreme; though their
greatest delight is to boast of the cunning tricks
they say they have played to defraud those who
have dealt with them: and they believe that
there is a passage in the Koran which permits
cheating to those who are engaged in trade.

They have very little knowledge of any kind of


manufacture ; and treat their wives and children
like slaves. Their language is a kind of patois
between the Negro languages and Arabic.
Notwithstanding this unfavourable description
of Fezzan, Major Denham gives a portrait of a

woman of that country which is really beautiful.


She has Roman features, ne arched eyebrows,
a full but well-_closed mouth, and splendid eyes :

she is mentioned as about seventeen; and if her


form was equal to her face, she must have been

a perfect model. The climate of Fezzan is very


unwholesome; and its whole population does not
exceed seventy thousand souls. The govern
ment is nominally dependant on that of Tri
poli; but it is only applied to in cases of great

emergency. The army consists of about ve


thousand men. The ancients believed the town
of Gema, situated on the southern side of Fezzan,

to be the extremity of the world in that direction.


The Tuaricks, who are the only known inhabit'
ants of the Great Desert (except a few tribes of
wandering Arabs), are, ggnerally speaking, a re

l64

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS

markably ne race of men, tall and handsome,


and with an air of great dignity and independence.
Their costume, which is also like the Moorish,

is very striking,.consisting of a kind of veil of


blue, red, or yellow glazed cotton, entirely cover

ing the face, and leaving only the eyes visible. As


this dress is universal in all the countries border

ing on the Desert, it is probably designed to save


the mouth and nostrils from the effects of the ne

penetrating dust, which, if inhaled, would be very


injurious to the lungs, and impede respiration.
Their complexion is dark; but it is the hue of the

Moor, rather than of the Negro. Like all bar


barous nations, they are much attached to gaudy
colours. The men carry a dagger suspended from
the hand by a leathern thong, and a light elegant
spear, about six feet long, made sometimes of

iron inlaid with brass. The Tuaricks are Ma


hometans, but are very superstitious, and have
great faith in charms. They speak the same lan
guage as the Berbers of Morocco; and are so

proud of its antiquity, that they gravely assert it


was spoken by Noah, in preference to any other!
This people are exceedingly averse to washing
themselves; and when compelled by the duties

of their religion to perform ablutions, they always,


if possible, use sand instead of water. They are
very fond of riding, and generally carry a whip,
hanging from a belt passed over the shoulder on
the left side; but they seldom employ horses,
referring the tall swift camel called mahirry;
which they x very small saddles, and con
trive to balance themselves by placing their feet

rmly against the neck of the animal, and hold

or csnrnu. AFRICA;

165

ing a tight rein, to steady the head: they then


manage these creatures with great dexterity, ght
ing while mounted, and ring at marks when going
at the rate of nine miles an hour. The Tuaricks
inhabit the whole countiy between Fezzan and
Timbuctoo, from the borders of Morocco to Bor

nou. Some of them are pagans. Altogether, they


are one of the most interesting nations of Central
Africa; and though ignorant, are remarkably

anxious to obtain knowledge, and by no means de


cient in understanding.
Tribes of the same origin as the Tuaricks, and
bearing the denomination of Berbers, or shepherds,
are spread all over Northern and Central Africa,
from the Mediterranean to Cape Guardafui; the
promontory, indeed, of which that cape is the
extreme point, being called Berbera. On the west
they do not appear to extend further south than
the mountains which divide the Soudan from the
countries bordering on the coast; and suppos
ing a mountainous belt to part Africa, this may be
their southern boundary. This hypothesis, how
ever, rests entirely on conjecture, since we have no

certain data in support of it. The Berbers, who


have been already mentioned in the sketch of the
inhabitants of Morocco, seem, in fact, to be the

aborigines of Northern Africa, and are essentially


different both from the Negroes, and from the
..Cushites or wandering Arabs, who came originally_
from Ethiopia.
The .Fellatahs are the next people deserving
particular notice amongst the native inhabitants
of Africa. They occupy nearly all the country

west of Bornou, including the tracts of land to

166

MANN!.IRS AND CUSTOMS

the north-west of Sierra Leone, and southwest of


the Great Desert; in other words, of that ne

district watered by the Niger, the Senegal, and


the Gambia. The Fellatahs include the Foolahs,
the dwellers in the mountains of Forta J allon, and

a variety of other tribes, who differ only in name,

being clearly deducible from the same origin;


they are, however, interspersed with some nations
of very opposite characteristics. Tradition says
they are descended from the ancient Numidians,
and that they have been gradually driven south

ward by the strangers who have usurped their


original inheritance. They havehandsome Moorish
features, long silky hair, and tawny complexions
not darker than those of the Gipsies: yet it is
singular that the inhabitants of Nigritia (a country
supposed to take its appellation from the blackness
of its people) should pique themselves on being
the fairest nation in Africa. The Fellatahs are
bold and warlike, and entertain a higher idea of
the advantages of civilization than any of their

neighbours.

They are cleanly in their persons,

washing themselves very often; and take great

pride in their polished manners.

They look down

on the Negroes as their inferiors; and, when speak


ing of other countries, invariably class themselves
with the white people. Their language is quite
distinct from that of the Berbers, and is inter

mixed with many Arabic words.

They are Ma

hometans, but retain many superstitions of the


Fetishes. They wear the glazed calico veil of
the Tuaricks, and nearly the same dress, carrying

also a sword: they are likewise fond of riding;


but prefer the horse to the camel. When tra

or cnnrnsr. AFRICA.

167

velling, they sometimes put on a low-crowned


broad-brimmed straw hat over their turbans.
They always bury their dead behind the house
occupied by the deceased while living. All do
mestic oices are performed by slaves. When
these slaves have been born in the family, they
are never sold; and, as those in the country are

allowed to cultivate ground for themselves after


having executed the labour required by their mas
ters, and are only, in addition, expected to accom

pany him in his journeys or in war, they rather


resemble vassals under the feudal system, than
slaves in the general acceptation of the term.
The children of both sexes, of the richer Fel

latahs are taught to read and write Arabic; and

the males are usually sent to a distant town


to receive their education.

The government

is very irregular, the rulers of the different pro


vinces being sometimes appointed by the sultan,
and sometimes purchasing their places. The pro
perty of those who die, or are removed, is taken
by the sultan. The taxes vary exceedingly, but
generally consist of a portion (occasionally as much
as two-thirds) of the staple commodity of the

place.

The Fellatahs have of late greatly ex

tended their dominions by conquest. Balbi calls


them the Italians of Africa; and Clapperton gives a
very interesting account of the Fellatah sovereign,
Sultan Bello, whom he describes as a handsome
man, nearly six feet high, with ne features, an

intelligent countenance, and black eyes.

He is

fond of reading, and, considering the few oppor


tunities he has had of instructing himself, is re

markably well informed.

There is a tradition

168

MANNERS AND cusroms

among the natives, that the Fellatahs were ori


ginally Persians ; and this legend forms a curious
coincidence with the story related by Sallust, re
specting a large body of Persians, who, he says,
came over with Hercules, when he discovered the

celebrated pillars which bear his name (the pro


montory or rock of Ceuta, and the rock of Gib

raltar), and afterwards settled in the country. The


same writer states, that these Persians, when they
rst settled in Africa, were called Nomades (from
a Greek word signifying to feed), because their
usualoccupation was tending their ocks; and
that they spread downwards, from the African

pillar of Hercules, towards the south.


Mixed with the pastoraland half-polished Fel
latahs are several tribes of ferocious and bar
barous Negroes, believing in the wildest super
stitions of Fetishism, offering human sacrices,

and devouring the bodies of their fallen enemies.


The Negro races also inhabit all the country on
the western coast south of the Cong mountains,

to the tropic of Capricorn, probably spreading


across the whole of the interior to the east; and
the nations in the immediate vicinity of the Euro

pean settlements correspond exactly with the de


scription above given of those living in Senegam
bia and Soudan.
. The largest and most civilized body of Negroes
are the Mandingoes,a people divided into a
great number of races, differing in some of their
habits, but agreeing in the fundamental points
of language and religion. The Timmanees, the
rst nation Major Laing met with in his route
from Sierra Leone to Soolimana, appear to be

. or CENTRAL AFRICA.

169

part of the Mandingoes. They live in mud


houses, and the few tools they possess are of the
simplest possible construction; but they are ac
tive and industrious, and easily civilized. Their
religion is a species of Fetishism, as they believe
that certain shells, skulls, and images, which

are kept in little houses set apart to receive


them, are what they call Greegrees, and that '
these bits of rubbish have a supernatural power
to protect them.

Particular spots, which are

hills covered with wood, are also selected as con


secrated to the Greegrees, and are inhabited only
by the priests or Greegree-men, who seem to
unite the functions of bards and counsellors with
those of ministers of religion. The custom of
the Timmanees, of making a libation to the dead,
of food and drink, by throwing it on the ground
before they eat, bears a curious resemblance to
the habits of the Greeks and Romans; and their
introducing cooked provisions and palm wine into
the sepulchres of their kings, to be consumed, as

they suppose, by the spirits of the dead, make


it appear probable that they have some vague
notion of life after death; though, unable to sepa

rate in their mind the body from the soul, they

apply the idea solely in a corporeal sense.

The most extraordinary institution among them


however, is, that of the Purrah, a kind of mysteri
ous society which, like the Secret Tribunal of
Germany in the middle ages, and the Inquisition
in our own times, ' carries with it the awe of both
civil and religious power. Major Laing says, that
the head-quarters of the Purrah are in the woods;

and any uninitiated person who approaches them,

170

MANNERS AND cusroms

is never heard of again, unless it be as one of the

Purrahs himself.

They often carry off whole

parties, who may happen to be so independent as


to travel without a permission from them. Major
Laing was obliged to procure one of the Purrah

for a protector or guide; and, as he passed near


the haunts of the main body, he heard a dreadful
howling and screaming in the woods. They gene
rally make their incursions in the night, and take
away whatever they please, without resistance; the

natives believing them to be defended by magic.


The distinctive marks of a Purrah are two parallel
tattooed lines round the middle of the body,

meeting at the pit of the stomach.

Many of

them are reported to be people of rank, who


live in the towns; but no one dares say any

thing to them, for fear of a retributive visit from


the whole troop. Matters of importance, such as
disputes between rival towns, or crimes deserving
capital punishments, are always settled by them;

and no one ventures to dispute, for an instant, the


justice of their decisions. This fraternity exists
among several nations; and Mr. Golberry airms,
that no one can be admitted among them till he
is thirty;

and that each member is obliged to

take a solemn oath not to reveal the secrets of


the society: if he infringes this oath, 'or disobeys

the orders of the Grand Purrah, he is quickly


put to death, even in the bosom of his family; for
at the words the Grand Purrah decrees his pu
nishment, every one recedes, fearing some dread

ful calamity will befall him, if he presume to utter


a syllable in mitigation of the sentence. The
chief of every district takes cognizance of all crimes

or cnnrnxr. Armcn.

171

committed within his jurisdiction, and not only


pronounces the doom of the guilty, but puts it in

execution. Before being received into this confe


deracy, a man is obliged to go through a series of
trials like those undergone by the Egyptian ini
tiati when they were admitted to a knowledge of
the mysteries of Isis. The secrecy with which "
their deliberations are carried on, and the promp

titude of their vengeance, added to a degree of

superstitious mystery that hangs over their sup


posed magical incantations, contributes to give
them unbounded power over the minds of the

people. They speak of the Purrah with reserve


and fear; they imagine that all members of the
society are sorcerers; that they have intercourse

with the devil, and that they can exact whatever


they please, without its being possible to do them
any harm.

It is supposed that the number of

the Purrah amounts to several thousands,who know

each other by certain mysterious signs. They are


found in all nations resembling the Mandingoes.
The Coorancoes are a people very similar to
the Timmanees, believing also in Greegrees. They
are industrious and intelligent, fond of nery, and
so passionately attached to dancing, that they
will continue at it for several days together, the

places of those who are weary being constantly


lled up by fresh performers.

The Soolimanas

are partly Moslem and partly Pagans, the latter


believing in Greegrees. They have their jellmen,
or bards, who sing the praises of their chiefs;
and live under aregular government. In many

points all these nations agree.

only crime punishable with death.

Murder is the

The bride is

172

manmms AND cusroms

purchased from her parents, the king receiving a


tithe of the sum paid. They bury their dead
the day following their decease; and a time is

xed soon after for holding a kind of wake over


the body.

They are much addicted to holding

what they call palavers; that is, assembling all

the principal persons in the kingdom to debate


upon any subject of public interest. These meet
ings are held in sheds, with roofs supported by
pillars, and the space between them left open
to the air. The aged are treated with great
espect.

Notwithstanding the supposition of some tra


vellers to the contrary, there can be little doubt
that the people above spoken of are Mandingoes,

as not merely are all the customs peculiar to them


found amongst that nation, but also their persons
and languages are so nearly similar as to afford
strong evidence of a common origin. The only
difference is, that with them the formidable Purrah

seems to have degenerated into the Mumbo-jumbo,


who is described by Mungo Park as a strange
minister of justice, apparently appointed by hus
bands to keep refractory wives in good order.
Loud screams and howlings give notice, towards
night, of the approach of this extraordinary

personage, who comes disguised in a cloak made

of the bark of trees; and, after assembling all


the females of the place, to join in songs and
dancing, he seizes upon the unhappy victim, who
is stripped naked, and severely scourged with

Mumbos rod, amidst the shouts and rejoicings


of her companions.

All men above a certain

age are initiated into this society, and are bound

or CENTRAL AFRICA.

173

by solemn oaths never to reveal the mystery to


. any woman.
'
The Mandingoes are a very intelligent people,
who delight in travelling, and are eager in the
pursuit of knowledge. Their costume is neat,
and consists of a cap, shirt, trousers, and san
dals: the width of the trousers is considered as a
mark of distinction; and the expression, large
trousers, is among them synonymous with a great

man. The people are divided into four castes:


the ns, or orators; the jellmen, or minstrels;
the guarang, or shoemakers; and the noons, or

blacksmiths. They are nominally Moslems, but


have a great reverence for the Greegrees, and also
draw many inferences from the appearance of the
moon. The maraboos, or priests, teach the chil
dren to read a few verses of the Koran.
.
The Jaloofs, the Woolii, the people inhabiting

the whole country watered by the Faleme, a river


that falls into the Senegal, the Feloops, and many
other nations, both in Senegambia and Soudan,

are Mandingoes; amongst which race may also


be classed the inhabitants of~ Bambook, once so

famous for its gold-mines. The natives of Boodoo,


however, are Fellatahs; and no contrast can be

more marked than that which exists between them


and their Mandingo neighbours.
Nearer to the coast, the Ashantees and their
dependences are the most powerful and numerous:
they are ferocious and ignorantliving in mud
huts, and sacricing whole hecatombs of men
and women on all occasions of great ceremony.
They consider it a mark of respect to their ances

tors to moisten their graves annually with hu

174

MANNERS AND cusroius

man blood; and the account of their manners

given by Dupuis is offensive in the extreme.


Their religion is Fetishism, and their government
brutally despotic. The precious metals are abun
dant, but the necessaries of life scarce. The
above-mentioned traveller also describes them as

making offerings to their household gods.

When

admitted to an audience of the king, he beheld


his forehead streaked with blood, and saw the
royal death-stool standing near him, still reeking
with human gore; yet this sanguinary monster
was frightened like a child at the painted shadows
of a magic-lantern. The Ashantees do not seem
to have one solitary virtue to recommend them,
being uncivilized, conceited, bloodthirsty, inso
lent, superstitious, and untrustworthy; in short,

it is painful to write of them, and horrible to


reect on the many valuable lives that have fallen

victims to their cruelty.

or sournnan AFRICA.

175

CHAPTER XII.

MANNERS, CUSTOMS, RELIGION, AND COMMERCE OI THE


INHABITANTS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

Tm.: Negroes of Congo are very dirty in the

preparation of their food; they broil fowls with


the feathers on, and animals without taking off

the hair or skin; and devour them when scarcely


warm, tearing the esh to pieces with their teeth
in the most unsightly manner. None of the banzas,

or villages, has more than a hundred dwellings.


Embooma, Cooloo, and Inga, are each the resi
dence of a Chenoo, or king. Their huts are low,

and constructed of reedy grass, with an opening


hardly large enough for a man to creep in at;
and they are very light, and can easily be re
moved from one place to another. The dress of
the natives is only a small apron of plaited grass
tied round the loins; of the same kind of grass
they make caps and baskets, curiously worked,
so as to be quite waterproof. Brass or iron rings
are welded on their arms and ankles; and they
sometimes wear bracelets of lions teeth. The
early Portuguese writers speak in unmeasured
terms of the immense population of Congo ; but to

Captain Tuckey it appeared very thinly inhabited.

176

MANNERS AND cusroms

The title and authority of Chenoo are hereditary,


but he is succeeded by the son of his next heir in
the female line. The lions skin is used to cover
the throne; and it is death for any inferior per
son to stand or sit upon it. Slaves, for domestic
purposes, are common among this race; but
they are not sold for foreign exportation, unless
guilty of some great misdemeanor. When the
vessels belonging to Captain Tuckeys expedition
entered the Congo, the natives inquired if they
were come to trade, for war, or to make a book.
These people are of the very lowest class of Ne
groes: they are quiet and indolentcontent with
very humble food, and unwilling to undergo any
exertion except in dancing. The women per
form all the manual labour, the men either lying

asleep upon the ground, or carelessly strumming


on some instrument. They are fond of music,
and have songs on love, war, hunting, palm wine,
and, in short, on most of the subjects which
generally inspire the muse. They are lively,
honest, and hospitable; their religion is Fetishism;

and they wear a kind of rosary of cowrie-shells


as a charm against danger.

They carry their

fetishes on their person; and when a man is about

to do an improper act, he covers his guardian


deity up, that it may not see the deed. The
Fetish rock has been already mentioned; the

gures upon it are formed with sand and ashes,


laid on wet, and hardened by the sun. This rock
is supposed to be the particular residence of
Seembi, the Fetish spirit which presides over the
river. Those accused of crime are compelled to

eat a piece of poisonous bark: if the stomach

4~

or sourmznu AFRICA.

177

rejects it, and the man survives, he is declared


nnocent; but if he dies, he is thought guilty,

and is considered as having been justly punished.


They are very much alicted with cutaneous
diseases, particularly leprosy, and suffer also from
elephantiasis to a dreadful degree. Their lan
guage is a dialect of the Mandingo, closely re
sembling that spoken at Mozambique; and their
manners likewise bear an astonishing resemblance,
though they are at a distance of at least'three
thousand miles from each other. The inhabitants
of Loango and Angola are very similar to those
of Congo. In all the Wangara, and along the
coast of Guinea, salt is of more value than gold ;
and is esteemed the most desirable sort of mer
chandise. The people of Congo have some
commerce in ivory and gold-dust, but their prin

cipal traic is in slaves. Most of these, however,


have committed offences: sometimes, when they

cannot sell them, they throw them into the water


and drown them.
.
The coast from the districts adjoining Congo
southward is barren and without inhabitants, as

far as the country of the Namaquas. The vil


lages of these Hottentots are termed kraals, and
the huts of which they are composed are built in the
rudest manner. The only wealth of the Namaquas
consists of their ocks and herds; and they de

rive their principal amusement from twisting the


horns of their cattle, while young and pliable,
into a variety of curious shapes. Their lthy
habits generally were formerly beyond descrip
tion.

They never washed themselves ; but when

their hands were dirty with fat and ashes, from


N

178

MANNERS AND cusrozus

the mode of devouring their food, they rubbed


them upon their bodies, to make them clean, till

the accumulation of lth at last became so great


as to hide the natural colour of the skin: the
only other cleansing they ever thought of giving
themselves was with cow-dung! The men wore
merely a kind of apron, and the women a short
petticoat, in summer; though, in winter, both

sexes indulged in the luxury of a cloak. They


were excessively indolent, and even hunger would
scarcely force them to exertion;

indeed, they

would rather fast a whole day, than hunt in


search of food. When plenty was before them,
however, they made up for their previous absti
nence, and satised their appetites without re
straint. Their manner of eating was disgusting;
they cut their meat into long strips, and after
slightly warming it at the re, grasped it with
both hands, and beginning at one end, soon de
spatched an enormous quantity. Notwithstand
ing all this barbarity of manner, the Hottentot was
always honest and affectionate, mild in his temper,
patient under suffering, and willing to share his
last morsel with his companions. The tyranny
with which they were treated by the Dutch boors,
who rst became their masters, was excessive;

though the latter attempted to justify their con


duct, by asserting that the apathy of the Hot
tentots is naturally so great, that a degree of
harshness is absolutely necessary to make them
useful. Their condition is, however, exceedingly
improved by the exertions of the missionaries;

and an order in council has lately been passed,


placing them and other free coloured populations,

or sovrnnnn AFRICA.

179

equally under the protection of the laws, and


declaring them to stand in every respect on the
same footing as the white colonists, whether
English or Dutch. The picture Mr. Pringle
draws of the Hottentots of Bethelsdorp is highly
gratifying, and presents a striking contrast to
the degraded state in which they once were. He
says that their houses are now clean, substan
tial, and commodious; and that both adults and

children are decently dressed in articles of Eng


lish manufacture. Many of them have waggons
and oxen, which they employ in carrying goods,
&c. for the European settlers. They have skilful
masons, carpenters, smiths, and other artizans,

amongst them ; and are evidently advancing ra~


pidly in civilization.
The Bushmen and Corannas seem now what
the Hottentots were about half a century ago.
They are still uncultivated in their manners, and
lthy in their persons ; and Campbell says, that
when he endeavoured to persuade some of them,
who were extremely dirty, to wash themselves

in the adjoining pools; though quite diverted


with the idea of washing, they were perfectly

unable to comprehend what end could possibly


be answered by it. The same author gives the
following sketch of the habits of this people.
They do not believe in any God or good spirit;
but say that the devil made every thing with his
left hand. Yet they act as if conscious of the
immortality of the soul, or rather of the resurrec
tion of the body; for, when they bury their dead,

they lay an assagais, or spear, by the side of the


corpse, that he may have something wherewith to
N 2

180

MANNERS AND cusrons

defend himself, and get his living in the other


world: but if they hate the deceased, they de
posit no spear, that when he rises he may be
either murdered or starved. They suppose that
the land they inhabit after death will produce
an abundance of excellent food. They have no
idea of marriage; and, in short. rank little higher

in the scale of animated beings than their cattle.


They use poisoned arrows when they ght, ex

tracting the poison from the jaws of the yellow


serpent, having rst cut off its head.
The Corannas appear equally barbarous, and

wonderfully stupid. _ Campbell says, that on his


asking one of them how many children he had,
he paused, and after counting his ngers several
times, and considering for a long while, with his
eyes intently xed on the ground, he at length
answeredthree! Several women and children
belonging to this tribe were so frightened at an
umbrella as to run away. Some of a party who
came to visit the missionaries had plasters of
cow-dung covering the whole forehead, as an or
nament; whilst others had it painted with red

ochre. The unsophisticated narrator adds, What


a capricious thing is taste ! It is curious to nd
that a people so barbarous should have any idea of
drawing; yet we are told they were quite enchanted
with some pictures of animals shown them by the
missionaries. Their notions respecting the manner
of curing diseases are very strange. Campbell
mentions that he saw several with deep gashes on
the arms and other parts of their bodies, which they
said had been inicted to remove sickness.

The Bootchuna nations are very superior to

or "SOUTHERN AFRICA.

181

the Corannas and Bushmen. Some of the ex


pressions of the Matchappes are exceedingly
striking; in particular, they always say that the
heart is sweet when they are pleased. They
are obstinately attached to the customs of their
forefathers; and though fond of potatoes, will

not plant any, because they nd that they re


semble nothing they had ever seen before the
arrival of the white men. This bigotry to ancient
prejudices is an almost insurmountable obstacle
in the way of their conversion to Christianity.
They hold the aged in contempt, and would ra
ther give their food to the dogs than to them;

and were much vexed when they saw the mis


sionaries doing any thing to relieve their wants.
The king is the chief magistrate of his people.
The Mashows bear a close resemblance to the
Matchappes. Campbell saw their king assist in
punishing a criminal whom he had just before
tried and found guilty of stealing a goat. The
man was ogged with whips made of rhinoceros
skin, which left white marks like chalk upon
his back. All the tribes are excessively selsh;
and when the same traveller told the captain of

the Marootze people, who came to exchange


some tobacco for buffaloes esh, that he might

have the meat without giving any thing in re


turn, he could not comprehend what was meant;
and, as such generosity was quite incredible to
him, he appeared to suspect the English of some
trick or concealed design.
It would take too long to particularise all the
shades of difference that exist among these tribes.

They are ignorant and selsh, and prize cunning

139

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS

as the only quality requisite to constitute a wise


man.

Like every people in a similar state of

society, they are very superstitious, and go through

a variety of ceremonies to obtain rain. The rain


makers, as they are called, seem to be a kind of

priests; and in long dry seasons are gravely ac


cused by their countrymen of unkindness in
keeping back the wished-for rain. One of them,
on being asked his ideas of the origin of man
kind, said, that the rst men came out of a great
hole in the Marootze country, where the foot
marks that were made by them still remain.
Cattle also came out of the same hole. The
power of the rain-makers is said to be the result
of praying; and this is implicitly believed. They
appear to be individuals a little more advanced
in knowledge than the rest of their countrymen;
who, having observed the usual signs that precede
rain, take advantage of them to predict the exact
time when there will be a shower, thus pretend

ing that their skill has produced it. Should any


unforeseen circumstance, however, set their calcu
lations at nought, and the rain not fall at the time
they have foretold, they pretend to be very angry,
and vehemently accuse the inquiring person of
some unrepented sin, which they say has ren
dered their incantations of no avail. Fish are
reckoned unclean, and none of the Bootchuna
people will touch them. They do not allow par
ticular trees to be cut down, nor any elephants
to be killed, whilst corn is upon the ground, lest
they should prevent showers. They think all
their misfortunes ow from the evil spirit wor

Shipped by them, and suppose that their deity

or SOUTHERN AFRICA.

183

alicts them maliciously. They are uncommonly


fond of salt, and buy it greedily as an article of
trade; but will not themselves take any out of
their salt-lakes, though there is abundance in
them. They pay homage to the new moon, and
refrain from work.

When a woman has twins,

one of them is put to death; and if a cow brings


forth two calves, one is also killed. They are rm
believers in magic; and thinking that diseases
are produced by an evil spirit, they blow into the

ears of the sick, hoping to eject it.

They wed

early; and in the whole town of Latakoo there was

not one unmarried male who had attained the


age of manhood.
The Caffres are remarkably tall,well made, and
muscular.

Though their skin is black, their fea

tures are very handsome. They are fond of war


and hunting, being as active as the Hottentot is
indolent. They are exceedingly ignorant, and
seem to have no idea of religion, but are not
decient in sense; those who have been con
verted to Christianity having become much sooner
civilized than any of the neighbouring tribes.
The Tambookies are a nation of Cares. All the
inhabitants of this part of Africa oil or grease their
bodies, to prevent the intense heat of the sun
from making their skin hard and dry. They are
generally honest and hospitable, and disposed
to receive instruction. The character of being
excessively dirty, and having a great aversion to
water, applies equally to them all: indeed, it is
said, that when a rain-maker was once pressed

hard to procure rain, and could obtain none, he

was threatened with death; and only escaped from

184

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS or AFRICA.

the wrath of his employers, by telling them, that


there was but one means of getting it, which was
for all the young men to go instantly and bathe
in the river. Anxious as they were for the success
of their crops, their antipathy to water prevailed,
and they ceased to importune the rain-maker, who
would grant his favours on no other than such dis
agreeable conditions. TheWanketzens are the only
natives of South Africa who wash their bodies.
The countries on the eastern coast are chiey
inhabited by the Black Arabs, or Cushites; a

wandering race, partaking of all the peculiarities


of their brethren in the north, and uniting the
woolly hair and black skin of the Negro with the
handsome features of the Moor.
Taken altogether, the condition of the nations
of Africa is decidedly inferior to that of Europe,
Asia, or America; and some of the tribes on the
borders of the colonies in the south are certainly
in the very lowest state of barbarism in which
human nature can be found.

Great allowance,

however, is to be made in reading accounts of


Africa, as well as of all other countries, for the
unavoidable ignorance and prejudices of the fo
reigners who write them; and where religious mis
sionaries are the authors, for the inrmities which

are often attendant on spiritual rivalry and zeal.


The true picture of African manners and morals
is exceedingly dark; but we are not to believe

that it is always without its lights as well as


shadows.

CHAPTER XIII.

NATURAL HISTORY OF AFRICA

THERE is perhaps no other quarter of the globe


in which the vegetable kingdom appears under
such peculiar aspects as in Africa; nor where arid

deserts are more suddenlyconverted by the au


tumnal rains, or the periodical inundations of
the rivers, into plains covered with verdure, and
teeming with all the choicest products of nature.
The soil of Northern Africa is generally alluvial;
and, like most of those formed by successive de
posits from streams, it is argillaceous; the soft
oily nature of that earth being most soluble, and
of course easiest carried away by the rush of
waters. The rich clay thus thrown upon the original
land,when properly moistened, and fertilized by

the burning sun of Africa, brings forth crops which


would seem almost incredible, were they not so
well authenticated as to remove all doubt of the
fact. Barley, and other kinds of grain, often
yield a hundred-fold; and the ground will, in

many places, give three crops in the year. Nor is


this astonishingfruitfulness conned to the alluvial
districts; for, even the sandy soils of Senegambia

and the Soudan produce. plants of exceeding

186

NATURAL nrsrromr

richness; water and sun seeming all that is re


quired in that clime to make trees of the deepest
verdure spread their broad leaves over the sa
bulous plains, and rear their massive trunks to
the most majestic heights.
The striking resemblance which exists between
the soils of Egypt and Barbary seems to warrant
the supposition, that in both instances the same
causes have concurred to bring about similar
results; and that at some distant period, the waters

of the Mediterranean (probably before they forced


their passage through the Straits of Gibraltar),
covered alike the shores of Africa and Europe;
the southern coast of the latter region exactly cor
responding with that of Barbary. Although clay,
however, when properly moistened, may be con
sidered the most fruitful land in the world, yet it
becomes, when parched with heat and drought,
barren and impenetrable; gaping, where its hard
surface has cracked, in chasms so deep that a
spear six feet long will not reach their bottom,

and appearing incapable of vegetation; till the


abundant rains produce a change like magic, and
in a few days make the whole country look like
a verdant carpet. The inundation of the Nile has
the same inuence in Egypt that the rains have
in Barbary; and in both, the transition is truly
Wonderful.
The principal features of an Egyptian land~
scape are, the immense preponderance of thorny
plants, and the absence of large trees, except in

the immediate vicinity of towns.

The cities are

indeed generally surrounded by palms and syca

mores; the former, as is usual in all African

or AFRICA.

187

scenery, towering with proud pre-eminence over

every thing else.

Notwithstanding the bare ap

pearance of the landscapes in the valley of the


Nile, they assume an aspect of great richness and
beauty in the Delta, particularly near the coast,
where the ground is so completely covered as to
give the prospect the semblance of a European

scene.
The limits of this fertile region, however, are
continually contracting; and as each different

branch of the Nile has successively disappeared,


verdant plains have been changed into sandy
deserts: it is computed that one-third of the
whole territory of Egypt has undergone this meta
morphosis.
The largest tree in Egypt is the cus syca
morus, the real sycamore of the Scriptures: its
fruit is abundant and delicious; but the tree is

chiey valued for its wide-spreading branches and


gigantic leaves, which cast a delightful shade.
The cassia stula also grows to a great height
there; and though in England only a small
shrub, it becomes in Africa a handsome tree: it
is principally remarkable for its long ne pods,

which may often be seen in this country in the


windows of the seed-shops. The cordia sebestena
attains a large size, both wild and in cultivation;

its wood is distinguished for its hardness, and some


suppose the mummy-cases to have been made

of it.

The cordia crenata. is esteemed in the

gardens of Grand Cairo, on account of the


smell of its owers, which resemble those of the
Arabian jasmine.

The oriental tamarisk (tama

rix orientalis) is also much reared about Cairo,

18 8

NATURAL HISTORY

and is occasionally to be met with wild, though


it is not indigenous, having been brought from
Arabia originally. The tamarix indicus, too, is
grown in Egypt, and has been common in that
country for many ages. There are several species
of acacia, among which is the acacia vera, or mi
mosa nilotica, which yields the gum-arabic. The
olives and dates of Egypt have always been cele
brated; and the gs are not only remarkably ne,
but of exquisite avour.
The palm-tree is one of the most valuable pro
ducts of Africa, and some of its varieties seem to
ourish in every soil, in the sands as well as in the

cultivated districts; requiring, as Mr. London


says, in his excellent History of Agriculture, little
or no tending, and yielding a very consider
able prot, from the immense consumption of
its fruit. The doum palm (hyphaene crinita)
formerly called crucifera thebaica, is another of

the curious and useful kinds of this tree. All


other palms have long straight trunks, without
branches or leaves, till they spread out into the
crown which forms the top : but the doum palm
is twice forked at nearly equal distances~each of
thetwo branches into which its stem parts, di

viding again into other two. It is principally


found in the oasis of El Kargeh; but grows also,
though more sparingly, in Nubia and Arabia. .
The fronds (as all leaves are called which par
take of the character of branches) are shaped
like those of the fan palm; the fruit is good,
but full of threads. Great quantities are sold at
Cairo for eating, and its avour is said to re

semble gingerbread.

This palm in particular, if

or AFRICA.

189

sheltered by the walls of a town, grows to the


height of thirty or forty feet. The leaves are very
strong, and have bres shooting from their edges,
which separate as they expand: the leaf-stalks
are spiny. The fruit is yellowish; and Theo
phrastus says that in his time it was large enough
to ll the hand: its stone is of great hardness,
and is made into curtain-rings. The wood is
very durable, and was used by the ancient Per
sians for door-posts : it is employed by the modern
Egyptians for an exactly similar purpose. The
leaves are serviceable for covering the tops of
houses, and for making bags and panniers. The
doum palm is of the same species as the dwarf
fan palm of Italy and Barbary. The date palm
is another, that produces a bark which, besides its
leaves and the rind of its fruit, affords laments
from which are manufactured ropes and sails for
boats. The leaves are used for forming baskets
and other articles ; and the long rib of its branches

is employed by the Mamelukes in their military


exercises (by reason of its lightness and solidity)
to form the javelins they throw at each other
from their horses when at full speed.

A species of cyperus, which yields a fruit re


sembling the earth-nut, but more agreeable in
avour, is cultivated near Rosetta; and the small

tubercles are sent to Constantinople and other


towns in the Levant, where they are much valued.
The Egyptians express from them a milky juice,
which they deem pectoral and emollient. The
banana-trees, though not natives of Egypt, are
nevertheless grown in the northern parts of the
country. The custard apple-tree (anona) has

.190

NATURAL msronv

also been transplanted into their gardens, and


supplies afruit equally gratifying to the taste
and smell.
Egypt has two speciesof senna, one with pointed,
the other with obtuse leaves; the ower of which
resembles that of the bladder-senna common in
English gardens. Theleaves of the Egyptian senna
are gathered as a regular harvest, and used me
dicinally.

The colycinth, also a medicinal plant,

is cultivated in Egypt: it is a species of cu

cumber. The palma Christi, which yields the


castor-oil, grows here to a very large tree, and is
an evergreen. In England, however, it degene

rates into a small annual, undergoing the same


extraordinary change which attends many other
tropical plants on their removal to a colder
climate ;there being a wonderful provision in
nature, by which an alteration takes place in the
constitution of those plants that are unable to
bear the rigors of a northern winter; and the
owers, which in their native regions are peren
nials, and would perhaps neither blossom nor
bear seed till the second or third year, in the

north become annuals, blossoming, bearing seed,


and dying, with the other yearly occupants of
the soil.
One of the most curious plants of Egypt is the
balanites aegypticus, the persea of the ancients,
which is found abundantly in Darfoor and Senaar :
is called by the natives halyleg. It grows from
eighteen to twenty feet high, is a thorny ever
green; and bears a fruit somewhat resembling
the plum in avour. It is, however, heart-shaped;

and as the leaves were fancied to be like tongues,

or arnrca.

191

this tree was dedicated to the goddess Isis;


probably, as a quaint old writer remarks,

because all women do especially excel in the


largenesse of their hearts, and the nimblenesse of
their tongues. The Copts relate that this was
the rst of the trees which adored our blessed
Saviour. The wood of the cordia myxa is used by

joiners, and some of the planks are thirty feet


long. The principal value of the species arises
from the glue made of its fruit, called the glue
of Alexandria.

It is medicinal, and often re

commended by Arabian physicians.

The owers

are white or pale yellow, and the fruit plum.


shaped.

The principal plants of Egypt are, the mallow


(malva rotundifolia), usually dressed with meat
in the kitchens of Lower Egypt; the fenugreek,
cultivated for fodder; the plant called helb,
considered an excellent stomachic; and the lentil.

Their onions are remarkably mild, far surpassing


those of Spain and Portugal in avour, though
not in size; they are of the purest white, and

the laminae of a softer and looser texture than


those of any other species: we need not wonder,
therefore, at the ardent longing of the Israelites
after the delicious onions of Egypt, mentioned in
Scripture.
Nearly all the vegetables of Europe are grown
in the gardens of Rosetta, and millet and Turkey
corn in the elds.

The vine, the henne or

Egyptian privet, and the water-melon, are found


throughout Egypt; and of late years, cotton has

been extensively cultivated.

Among their plants

192

NATURAL nrsronv

we must not forget to enumerate the varieties of


the celebrated lotus. The nympheea nelumbium
speciosum, which was formerly abundant, is,
however, now no longer seen. It is an exceed
ingly handsome plant, with large scarlet owers,
and a leaf resembling the nasturtium, in having
the stalk growing from the centre: it is still
common in India. The nymphaea aegyptiaca, or

Egyptian lotus, is white, and its blossom like


that of the common water-lily; it is very plen
tiful in the canals and ditches of I.ower Egypt.

Nymphaea cserulea, or the blue lotus, is also met


with here, and is oftener represented in ancient

paintings and hieroglyphics than the other, per


haps from the extreme beauty of its colour.
A very small portion of the territory of Egypt
is tilled; for the greater part of the land be
longs either to government or religious bodies;
and as all property, excepting of the latter de
scription, returns into the hands of the state on
the death of the possessor, to be granted out

again, the occupier of the land has no induce


ment to cultivate more than is absolutely neces
sary for his subsistence. The Egyptians, how
ever, grow corn, rice, and dourra, or Indian
millet ;barley is sown for the horses, but they
have no oats. Flax and hemp are also produced,
as is indigo; and the beautiful blue borders on
some of the mummy-wrappers prove that the
ancients were well acquainted with the use of this
plant. The growth of wheat is so rapid, that it is
ready for reaping four months after it is sown. The

sugar-cane also thrives, but it is not cultivated to

or AFRICA.

193

the best advantage. The papyrus, so celebrated


in ancient times, was till lately believed to have
entirely disappeared from the banks of the Nile.
It was similar to a bulrush ; and the stalks were
split and fastened together to form the leaves ~on
which the ancients wrote. Ebony-trees grow in
Abyssinia. The henn, used for dying the nails
pink; and lupins, as an article of food, are cul

tivated in that country as well as in Egypt. .


The trees in Abyssinia and Nubia resemble
those in Egypt, excepting that they are larger
and more numerous. The inhabitants draw li

quors from the sugar-cane and from honey,which


serve them instead _of wine; and they have a
plant called enseti, that furnishes a species of

banana, an agreeable and nourishing food. The


forests contain the baobab, cypress, and other
trees common to Egypt.
.
The plantain, white and black mulberry, and

vine, are found in great abundance in all eastern


Africa. The salix aegyptiaca, or weeping willow,
and anona globosa, a handsome evergreen, adorn

the sides of the Upper Nile; and t_he peach,


pomegranate, almonds, together with every variety
of citrus, ornament the gardens. The Abyssinians
have the coffee-tree, but the produce does not

equal that grown in Turkey. The ground is very


fertile, though not well cultivated: there are often
two, or _even three, harvests in the year; and

where water is plentiful, the crop may be sown


at any season. They have a good supply of
grass; but as they know nothing of making hay,
are obliged to feed their cattle in the winter on
barley.
o

194

rmrvnar. rnsronv

The soil of the states of Barbary is generally


fruitful, though little labour is bestowed upon it.
In Tripoli there are a few elds of' grain (chiey
rice), and the trees are mostly either date palms,
olives, or the zizyphus lotus (the lotus-tree of
Homer), which yields a fruit, reckoned superior
to the date, that makes excellent wine : the'lotus

eaters of antiquity lived on this fruit. The gar


dens about Tripoli are lled with fruit-trees: the
Indian and Turkish gs, the orange, the citron,
and the lime, afford all that the imagination can
conceive of vegetable beauty and luxuriance. But
the account given by the author of Tullys Letters,
of the delightful olive-woods, with the olives
when they are ripe bursting, from their load of oil,
and falling upon the heads of those below, does
not appear quite so agreeable. All the fruits
common in the south of France are cultivated in
Barbary, and usually possess an exquisite avour.

Saffron is grown in the neighbourhood of Tripoli.


; Cyrene is remarkable for the elegance and va

riety of its plants: red and white roses, convol


vuli, honeysuckles, laurels, laurestini, marigolds,
and many other owers, mingle with carob, cy
press, myrtle, box, arbutus, pine, cedar, and a

number of beautiful shrubs. In the deserts, cacti,


and other succulent or eshy-leaved genera, alone
are found; for by a wonderful provision of nature,
the plants in those arid regions are provided
with skins so thick, and so little porous, as to
prevent the evaporation of the uid necessary for
their support, which they have absorbed during
the rainy season. Lavender (lavendula spica),
St. J ohns bread, and ceratonia oiliqua, are natives

or AFRICA.

195

of. Barbary; cotton, indigo, the pomegranate,


and cistus, grow wild in Tunis ; and a plant

resembling hemlock or wild carrot (thapsia syl


phium) is said to prove fatal to animals feeding
on it. It is indigenous to the soil of Cyrene,
and deemed of suicient value to be engraved on
the coinage of the city: Della Cella describes it
as having shining and eshy leaves. The stem is
eaten as well as the root, being rst stewed or boil
ed : the juice is useful in medicine.
The kingdom of Tunis is similar to Tripoli, ex
cept that the land is strongly impregnated with salt
. and nitre. Algiers has one very productive dis
trict, the Mettyah, which is generally reckoned the
garden of the whole territory. The soil of Morocco
is either of pure sand (passing sometimes into
quicksand), or clay; and is often so abundantly
mixed with iron ochre, as to tinge the wool, gum,
and wax, with a reddish hue; that in the wool
cannot be got rid of even by bleaching. Agri
cultural exertions in this country are very light;
when the season for sowing arrives, the weeds
are all so completely burnt up by the sun, and
the ground rendered so friable, that one rude
stirring serves both for preparing the earth and
covering the seed. The plants in Barbary are
chiey aromatic, and the trees in the neighbour
hood of Mount Atlas are large and handsome.
The evergreen and common oaks, as well as the
quercus coccifera, or oak yielding the gall berries,
are found here in great numbers. The cork-tree
and the stone-pine (pinus pinea) also ourish in

the mountains, with some remarkably ne cy


press-trees. The pinus haepensis is met with
0

I196

near Tunis.

rmruuar. nrsroav

The cassia of the poets, the osyris

alba, the salix aegyptiaca, and several other spe


cies of willow, grow in the same parts; as do also

the colocynthus, various species of melon, the pis


tachia vera, and pistachia terebinthus, or common
turpentine-tree.
In the Senegambia, rice, cotton, sugar, pepper,
tobacco, and other tropical products, are culti
vated. Gum-senegal (mimosa nilotica) is pro
cured from the native woods; and the cassava
(jatropha maniot) though poisonous, is so ma

naged by the natives as to supply wholesome food.


Grain grows to an amazing height in this district;
but in Congo is never well lled in the ear. The
grass also rises high enough to hide a man on
horseback, but is so hard and sharp as to cut
like a knife. The baobab, or monkey-bread (adan
sonia digitata) is the..most astonishing tree in this
country, and is considered the largest vegetable
in the world; for several have been found from

sixty to eighty feet in circumference. It is not,


however, lofty; but at the height of twelve or
fteen feet, divides into horizontal branches,
spreading from forty to fty feet from the trunk,
and touching the ground at their extremities. Bees
have a great propensity to swarm at the ends of
the boughs; and the hollow trunks of the de
cayed baobabs are said to be places of abode
for the natives, whole families occasionally living
in them: they also form receptacles for rain
water. At Sierra Leone it docs not exceed the
size of an orchard apple-tree. The fruit resembles
a gourd, is of an oblong shape, and contains a

farinaceous pulp, full of seeds, which tastes like

' or AFRICA.

"

I97

gingerbread, but has likewise a pleasant acid a


vour; and its rind serves for utensils of different
descriptions. The bark of the tree furnishes a

coarse thread, of which the people make ropes, and


" the cloth worn by them as their usual dress : the

small leaves supply them with food, and the large


ones for coverings to their houses: by burning
they are converted into an excellent soap.
The edible fruits of Sierra Leone (as collected
by Mr. George Don, on his visit to that settlement
in 1822, for the purpose of obtaining plants and
seeds of the most important varieties) are nume
rous. . One of the most valuable is the peach of
the Negroes, the sarcocephalus esculentus of Afze
lius. It is a la.rge eshy substance, with a brown
granulated surface, and a hard but eatable core,
something like the centre of a pine-apple, and

occupying about one-fourth of the diameter of


the fruit. The surrounding esh is softish, and
full of small seeds, of the consistence and avour

of a strawberry. It grows plentifully in low places


over the whole country, and is generally from ten
to fteen feet high. The locust-tree, or nty of
the Negroes (Inga biglobosa, now named Parkia '

africana), is a beautiful object when in bloom,


being covered with compact, pendulous heads
of ne Vermilion owers. It is large, having
spreading .branches, thickly covered with downy
leaves. The pods, which succeed the blossoms,

grow in dense bunches, and contain a yellow fa


rinaceous substance, enveloping the seeds, of

which the Negroes are very fond, its taste being


considered by them to resemble monkey-bread.

This plant is the same as that taken by Mungo

198

NATURAL nrsrorw

Park for a mimosa, and is called by the natives


nika. The monkey-apple is about the size and
shape of a pigeons egg, red on the sunny side
and yellow on the other, and its avour between
a nectarine and a plum. Guava and banana trees
are also found at Sierra Leone, but they differ little
from those of the same genera in other countries.
The tree which bears the rough-skinned plum
(parinarium excelsum) is one of the largest in
this place. It is an ornament to the forests, from
its triennial owers of white blossoms; and the
leaves are remarkable, having one side a deep
green and the other nearly white. The fruit is
greatly esteemed by the Negroes, and grows abund
antly: it is about the size and shape of anim
peratrice plum; but the pulp is dry and farina
ceous, and, owing to the bulk of the stone, is

small in quantity, with an insipid taste: the wood


of the tree is very compact and durable. The
sugar-plum is sold in vast quantities in the mar
kets of Sierra Leone. The sweet pishamin (car
podinus dulcis) is a climbing shrub, supporting
itself by tendrils, which cling to every thing that

comes in its way; the ower is yellow, in size and


appearance like a lime, and when broken or cut
it yields a large quantity of sweet milky juice:
the pulp in which the seeds are formed is also
pleasant. The butter-tree (pentadesmabutyracea)
grows to a great height, and produces its owers
when thirty or forty feet high: the fruit is twice '
the size of a mans st. The yellow greasy juice,
from which the tree derives its name, is given out
copiously when the fruit is cut or opened: it is

mixed by the natives with their food, but is not

or AFRICA.

199

much used by settlers, on account of its strong


avour of turpentine: the juice is more abundant
in the seeds than in any other part. The seeds
of the sterculia acuminata, known in the country

by the name of cola, are said to possess the virtues


of Peruvian bark. From two to ve pods grow
together, each containing one or two seeds some
what resembling the horse-chestnut; they are con
sidered to give an agreeable avour to water.
Two species of the cordarium acutifolium, the
velvet and brown tamarind, are common at Sierra
Leone. Pine-apples are so abundant in the woods
as to obstruct the way in every direction. They

grow vigorously, and produce great quantities of


ruit.

The cream fruit at Sierra Leone affords a whole


some and pleasant saccharine uid, with which
the people quench their thirst; though the plant
belongs to Apocyneae, a family generally delete-_
rious: two of the fruit are always united, and hang
down from the bend of a small branch; when

wounded, they yield a ne white juice, similar to


sugar, or the best milk. A species of bombax,
or silk cottontree, grows in this vicinity. The
Redwater-tree of the same district, called cassa

by the natives of Congo, is a kind of erythronium:


it gives out,on incision, an abundance of a brownish
red liquor, which is used as an ordeal; it is
a powerful emetic, and is administered in such

quantities as frequently to produce death. The


trial, however, depends entirely on the strength
of the persons stomach; if it reject the draught

instantly, he is pronounced innocent; if not,

guilty; and he dies from what he has been com

200

NATURAL nrsronr

pelled to drink. The akee-tree, now commonly


cultivated in the \Vest Indies, was always known
to have been introduced by the Negroes from
Africa, but its native country was not exactly
ascertained till the late mission to Ashantee. It
is now found to be indigenous to the neighbour
hood of Coomassey, and is there called attuah : its
botanical name is blighia sapida. Euphorbiacew
are also met with in great abundance on this coast;
and rhizophoreae, or mangroves, line both banks
of the Congo river for many miles.
Tamarinds, limes, oranges, plantains, papaw,
and a variety of pumpkins, are also seen here. The
natives form a cloth, of which they make cloaks.

and girdles, from the bark of the infanta-tree and


mulemba, a species resembling the laurel. The but

tcr-tree has been alreadymentioned: with the moss


that grows about its trunk the wealthy usually
stuff their pillows; and the Giagas, a savage
nation in the interior, apply it to wounds with
good effect. The Moors cover their houses with
the leaves, and draw from the trees, by incision,

a pleasant liquor like wine. Vines yield grapes


twice a-year; and the whole country produces
plants with such prodigality, that the earth seems
instinct with life, and lavishes her treasures with
a bountiful hand, instead of granting them with.

that scarcity and tardiness which she does in less


favoured regions.

The climate at the Cape is very uncertain ;


being within the inuence of the periodical winds,
which kill all vegetable productions that are not
well sheltered. From the same cause, the rains
are 6Xtremely unequal, sometimes descending in

or AFRICA.

"

201

torrents, and at other times affording scarcely


moisture suicient to fertilize the ground. The
soil is generally either a stiff clay or sand mixed
with pebbles. " All kinds of corn, however, thrive,

and the land is very luxuriant. The celebrated


Constantia wine is made on two farms of that
name, between Table Bay and False Bay: the
white wine comes from the farm called Little Con
stantia, and the red from the other. The grape
is the muscatel; and great care is taken to gather

only such berries as are fully ripe, and to let no


stalks go under the press. The remaining farms

at the Cape furnish the wine commonly sold as


Cape Madeira. The almond-tree is very prolic
in this country; it thrives in any soil, and the
fruit, though small, is of excellent quality. The
alos soccotrina and perfoliata cover large tracts
of land, and supply the resin used by apothecaries.
The leaves of the plant are cut o and thrown into
tubs, whence the juice runs off in a day or two:
they are afterwards employed as manure. The
juice is claried in the sun, or by boiling, and when
dry is cut into cakes and packed up for sale.
The tobacco grown at the Cape is said to equal
that of Virginia; and the neighbourhood is par

ticularly rich in indigenous plants; of heaths


alone, there are more than three hundred va
rieties. Many of the Cape plants are common
in our greenhouses, where they are remarkable
for their elegant shapes and brilliant colours. The
whole tribe of the pelargonia, or geraniums, may
be adduced as examples of this; and the genus
erica, " or heath, is, with very few exceptions,
peculiar to the Cape. There are also a profusion

202

NATURAL HISTORY

of bulbous-rooted plants, the owers of which

are extremely beautiful, belonging chiey to the


families Irideae and Amaryllideae : the genus stre
litzia, of the family of Musaceae, consisting of
six species, is singularly so. The diosmae are
small shrubs, some like the cistus, or rock-rose,

and others resembling the heaths: they bear


pretty owers, and are very abundant. The
leaves have a strong camphorous, or rather re
sinous, smell, which arises from their pores being

very open.
The Caroo plains in Southern Africa are studded
with eshy-leaved plants of the genera aloe
mesembryanthemum, or g marigold, and sta
pelia: the owers of the latter are like star-sh,
and are well known for their disagreeable odour,
which resembles carrion. The buccu-plant, one
of the diosmae, has also a peculiarly fetid smell,
but which so delights the Hottentot ladies, that
they rub their bodies with oil in which it has been
steeped. Flies seem also to possess the same
taste, since they always crowd to the plants of
the stapelia genus, even in a hot-house; nature

having, perhaps, purposely designed that they.'


should be attracted by the smell, that they may

carry the pollen to some parts of ~the ower


which it otherwise could not reach.

There are=

a number of pea-blossomed owers at the Cape


belonging to podalyria, aspalathus,_and psoralea.
It is also remarkable for the abundance of species

of everlasting gnaphalium, and of the family of


Proteaceae.

Agriculture is here at a very low ebb among


the Dutch boors. Their plough is formed of a

or AFRICA.

203

couple of deal boards nailed together, and armed


with a clumsy share, so heavy, that it requires a
dozen oxen to work it; whilst their harrow, when

they use one, is composed of a few brambles.


Their waggons, which do not carry above a ton
weight, are drawn by sixteen, and sometimes by
twenty oxen ; and their method of threshing corn
is, by turning the farmer's whole stock of horses

into the barn, where it is spread out, and making


them frisk and canter about with a long whip,
till the grain is separated from the straw.
The Hottentots and Bushmen live principally
on a very large bulbous root, which often grows
three feet above the ground, and is covered with
angular ligneous protuberances, that give it the
appearance of a tortoise-shell. The inside is a.
eshy substance, which may be compared to a
turnip. From the top of the bulb shoot several
annual stems; the branches of which have a

disposition to twine themselves round every object


near them.
The minerals of Africa are very imperfectly
known. Mines of gold are said to exist in several
of the middle and southern kingdoms; and gold
dust is found among the sand of the rivers, or on
the plains, where it has been deposited by .suc
cessive inundations. There are some silver mines
in the territory of Tunis, and others are reported
to exist in Mozambique and Congo. Copper
and iron are also met with in the different moun
tains; and mines of lead and antimony are
spoken of. The rocks are generally granite, por
phyry, greenstone, serpentine, marble, sandstone,

or limestone. The latter is much the most fre

204'

NATURAL msronv

quent, and contains numerous petrifactions of


shells,
sh, Africa,
and coral.
Salt is ver abundant
in
Northern
and occasionallyyforms
large
rocks. Gypsum also occurs in some situations
and trap-rocks of basalt. There do not appear
to be any traces of coal. The principal moun
tains are the Atlas chains, consisting, commonly,

of transition limestone, in many places quarried


like marble; the Cong mountains, which are
mostly granite; the Pearlberg near the Cape,
which takes
name
fromthat
a ver
ridgeof
rocks,itslike
pearls,
pasisesremarkable
round its
summit, and is composed of granite, though the

mountain itself is sandstone; the mountains in


Upper Egypt, which are marble and serpentine;
the Schneeberg, near the Cape, which are sand
stone; the volcanic range in the neighbourhood of
Congo; and those near Fez, which are testaceous

limestone, intermixed with trap and a kind ofbasalt.


The precious stones of Africa are mentioned by
most of the ancient writers; but both the Island

of Topazes, and Mountain of Emeralds, are un


known to the moderns. Garnets, agates, and
the beautiful Egyptian jaspers, are, however, still
common. Nitre is found in Darfoor and in the
deserts of Southern Africa, and natron in great
abundance. The latter substance has been already
noticed when describin the natron lakes. It is
strange that no accurgte account has yet been
given of the minerals contained in the sabulous
districts of Africa. The optical phenomenon
occasioned by the sand, to which the French

soldiers gave the name of mirage, has been often


alluded to. The villages in the deserts, when

._or AFRICA.

"

. 205

. seen at a distance, look like islands in the midst

of water; every object being reected from the


surface of the sand, or rather seeming to be

painted upon it.

M. Monge, who read a memoir

on the subject to the Institute at Cairo, during


the French invasion of Egypt, attributes this
extraordinary effect to the diminution of the den
sity of the lower stratum of the atmosphere,
which, he says, proceeds from the increase of heat,

arising from that communicated by the sun to


the sand, with which this stratum is in immediate

contact. The rays of light that come from the


lower part of the heavens, having arrived at the
surface which separates the less dense stratum

from those above it, do not pass through that


stratum, but are reected, and paint in the eye
of the observer an image of the heavens; which,
appearing to him to belong to the horizon, he
takes for water.
'
A much more simple explanation has, however,
been given. It has been observed, that this phe
nomenon is seen only at night, or early in the
morning; and it is supposed that the mirage is
merely the heavy mist, or rather vapour, which

the earth accumulates in the night, to supply


the immense expenditure that must take place
during the burning heat of the day. This mist
hangs in the air, in the stratum immediately
above the ground, till the air has become sui

ciently rareed to dispel it; and, as it really is


water, it of course possesses the reective powers
of that uid. Indeed, though its particles are too
much expanded to be visible to the unassisted

eye, the fact that a quantity of moisture is con

206

NATURAL nrsronv

tained in the lowest stratum of the atmospheric


air, is well known to be correct.
The sand in some of the northern deserts may
rather be called pulverized clay; as, when moist

ened, it becomes unctuous and productive. This


is peculiarly the case in those districts which
border upon Fezzan; where Captain_Lyon and

others speak of having experienced severe cold,


and even of their clothes being frozen by lying

all night upon the sands, though within a short


distance of the equator. This apparently strange
circumstance evidently arises from the propensity
clayey soils have to attract oxygen from the
atmospheric air, which occasions the azotic gas
to be let loose; and when this gas, combining
again with the superincumbent stratum of the I
atmosphere, makes that stratum to contain such
an increased proportion of nitrogen, that nitric

acid is formed, which generates saltpetre, the


natural consequence is, such a diminution of

temperature as to producea the effects above de


scribed.
There are great numbers of monkeys in Africa,
amongst which is the large black orang-outang, or
chimpanz, which sometimes grows to the height
of six feet, and in its general appearance very
strongly resembles man. Several kinds of bats
are frequently seen; and two species, the borbo
nicus and nigritia, are found only here. There

are also a variety of squirrels, some of which are


peculiar to the peninsula. The black rat (mus
rattus), and the common mouse (mus musculus),
are abundant; but the most remarkable of the

tribe is the rat epineux, which has hair and

or AFRICA.

spines like a porcupine.

207

Hares (which are reck

oned unclean and not eaten in Abyssinia), hedge


hogs, and moles, are met with, each having some
particular characteristics. The mole of the Cape
is so elegant, as to have obtained the epithet
golden, from the changing and brilliant colours of
its fur. The ichneumon, and the civet cat (viverra
civetta), that secretes, in a bag under its tail, the
perfume from which it takes its name, are known
' to Africa alone. There are few dogs, bears, and
Wolves; but the jackal (canis aureus) is common.
The African lion is the monarch of the desert,
and the noblest animal of his kind; he is far su

perior either to the Persian or the Indian species


in size and majesty; his strength is prodigious,

and he can carry off a buffalo with perfect ease.


Elks of immense size inhabit the Cape, and
antelopes with long spiral horns. The panthers,
lynxes, and leopards, are both numerous and
beautiful. Hyenas striped and spotted, the manis,

and the ant-eater, are also natives of Africa.


The giraffe is another of the-animals peculiar
to this continent; and its longneck, small head, and

disproportioned legs, give it a most extraordinary


appearance. It is the tallest of land quadrupeds,
often standing eighteen feet high; and is found
only in the southern and central districts: it
lives principally upon the branches and leaves
of trees, having great diiculty, on account of
the length of its fore legs, in making its mouth
reach the ground. The antelopes of Africa are
the swiftest and most elegant in the world. The
gnu, a native of the Cape of Good Hope, is a
strange mixture of the bull, the antelope, and

208

NATURAL HISTORY

the horse.

The African elephant is smaller and

less courageous than his Asiatic brethren. It is


even said that he will run away at the sight of .
an Indian elephant; and that he is never domesti
cated.

This, however, cannot be the case, as

ancient writers mention that the Ethiopians made


use of them in battle. There is a species of
rhinoceros known only to Africa, having two
horns, and a smooth skin not disposed in folds.

Campbell gives a picture of the head of one


killed near the Cape, with a long sharp-pointed
horn, and a much smaller one behind; which
(excepting in the latter particular) certainly agrees
in a very remarkable manner with the ideas
generally entertained of the unicorn. Hippopo
tami are found on the banks of all the south
ern rivers, where they grow to an enormous
size.

There is also an African boar, much larger

than any others of that tribe. These coasts are


sometimes infested with a remarkable species of
morse, and several varieties of seals (phocae),
which have doubtless given rise to the stories of
mermaids told by African travellers.
The horses of Africa are very beautiful, parti
cularly the Barbary breed, which is celebrated in
every part of the known world for its elegance
and swiftness; whilst the zebra, quagga, African

ass, and zecora or wild mule, are equally admired


for their several excellencies. The jerboa, a little
animal (resembling a kangaroo in its habit of
jumping, and in the shortness of its fore feet), is
peculiar to Africa. Camels and dromedaries, how

ever, are the most useful and important of all the

beasts of this continent. The natives call them

or AFRICA.

209

the ships of the desert; and certain it is, that were

it not for their power of travelling rapidly. over


burning sand, and supporting thirst for an almost
incredible length of time, the deserts would be
impassable, and the vast tracts of land surrounded

by them rendered inaccessible to Europeans. Se


veral sorts of oxen (some with immensely large
horns), and all the varieties of sheep and goats,
are common here; and the zebu, or humped ox, '
is considered a distinct species. The dante is a
kind of ox, the skin of which is sent to Germany
to be tanned and made into the targets called
dantes; it abounds in Senegambia, and is found
only in Africa; as are also the large-tailed sheep
at the Cape, which are wretched creatures, more
like goats than sheep, having-wool that might be

taken for frizzly hair, and only used for stuffing


chairs and similar purposes: indeed, their whole

body seems drained to feed the accumulation of


fat on the tail, which often weighs from six to
twelve pounds, and is supported on a sort of
sledge. The oxen in Egypt are employed in til
lage : their withers are higher than the same parts

in those of England, and they bear some resem


blance to the bison (bos ferns) or hunched ox.
The calves are all reared to maturity, veal being

forbidden both by the law of Mahomet and the


religious tenets ofthe Copts. The buffalo is very
abundant; it is readily known from the ox by the
uniform colour of its hair, and its wild lowering
aspect. Its esh is hard, red, and dry, with a

avour of musk, and is rather unpleasant.


The birds of Africa are so numerous, that it will
be impossible for us to give more than a cursory
r

210

NATURAL rrIsroRY

sketch of them. .The dodo, the guinea-fowl (nu


midica meleagris), the amingo, and the common
ostrich (struthocamelus), are natives. The a
mingoes inhabit the Cape, and are distinguished
by the brilliancy of their plumage. The ostrich
is one of the largest and most remarkable of the
feathered race: vast ocks of them are observed
in the deserts, scouring over the plains like armies
of mimic cavalry, each bird being generally from
six to eight feet high. They lay their eggs in
the sand, and leave them to be hatched by the
prolic sun. Peacocks are found in Africa; but

the privilege of keeping them is in Angola re


served for the king. The cuckoo has a different
note from that of Europe. Many species of the
parrot tribe are peculiar to Africa. These birds
are often seen ying in large ocks, chattering, or
rather screaming, clamorously ; and the diversied
tints of their glossy feathers produce a very
striking effect, under the brightness of an African
sun. Kingfishers are very numerous and beau
tiful. The bee-eater, y-catcher, warbler, thrush,
butcher-bird, titmouse, lark, starling, bunting,
nch, crow, swallow, and goat-sucker, are all

found in great abundance, with many others of


the ambulatores, each genus having many va
rieties.

The owl, falcon, and vulture, are the

principal genera of the African raptores. Le Vail


ant mentions several kinds of small eagles, and
some curious hawks; but, as his authority cannot

always be depended on, some further proof is ne


cessary before a circumstance so much at variance

with our previous information, can be considered


as substantiated. The cranes, storks, and herons,

or iiriucx.

21 1

are remarkably ne ; and the ibis, fteen species

of pigeons, and several partridges, bustards, and


plovers, are peculiar to Africa. That continent,
however, is not rich in the natatores; as the gulls,
petrels, albatrosses, ducks, geese, and pelicans,

though plentiful, are mostly of species common


to other countries.
Of the African reptiles, the crocodile is the most
celebrated ._ There are also several kinds of lizards,

among which the monitor of the Nile (lacerta.


nilotica)_was highly venerated by the ancients,
because it devours the eggs of the crocodile. The
land crocodile of Herodotus is now called the
ouran-el-bard. The chameleon is_ found in many
parts of the peninsula ;_ and the ying lizard, or
palm-rat, is still an object of religious worship
among the Negroes. Insects are very troublesome
in Africa; and there are some kinds the bite of
which is mortal. The scarabaei are numerous;

the one that was an object of adoration is the size


of a _cockchafer, and employs itself continually in

making deep holes and burying all impure and cor


i.upt matters, carefully covering them with earth;

and thus, by preventing their decomposition in


the open air, of course_contributes essentially to

the salubrity of the climate. Grasshoppers are


abundant, and are much relished as food by the
people. There is said to be a kind of slug the

size of a man s ai~_m._

The coluber haye is the largest serpent in Africa ;

and it is this reptile which the jugglers generally


train t0_ perform a variety of tricksmaking it

dance, ('_:Oll. round them, and go _through_various


other movements. When wild, it erects itself on
P 2

212

NATURAL msromr

seeing any one approach; hence it is supposed


that the Egyptians fancied it to be a deity, and
worshippedit; for this is the serpent mostly painted
in their hieroglyphics. Snakes abound in the
deserts; and, though it is uncertain whether the
boa constrictor ranks among them, the aspic is
still found. The Guinea worm (lacia medinense)
is very common in Guinea ; it insinuates itself un

der the skin, and is said to grow to the length of


ten feet: when it begins to protrude itself, it must
be extracted with great care; for if it breaks, it

frequently occasions such violent inammation as


to cause death. The blind serpent-the manbo,
(which is as thick as a man's thigh, and though
twenty feet long, accounted very nimble)with
several other species, are all too frequently met
with, and the bite of each is reckoned mortal.

The insects of Africa are very remarkable, and


the locust (gryllus- migratorius) is the most de
structive in the known world. These formidable
creatures come in such ocks, that the heavens
are literally darkened with them; and wherever

they alight, the country looks as if blasted by


lightning, every thing green being destroyed.
Their numbers are almost incredible; and Barrow
says, that a surface of two thousand square miles

was covered by their dead bodies in 1797.

The

locust is, however, an article of food in some dis


tricts, and is either boiled with milk or fried.

The white ants (termites bellicosi)


ruinous insects; they build conical
and clay, from ten to twelve feet in
are very numerous, and at a little

are also very


nests of loam
height, which
distance look

like African villages : those of the king and queen

or AFRICA

213

are larger than the rest, and in the centre;


around them are the nests of the labourers, or

working insects; then come the soldiers, whose


business is to defend the young, deposited in
the next circle;

and, last of all, in the outer

ring, are the stores or magazines. The white


ants devour every thing, and will cut through a
large tree in a few weeks. Bruce mentions a
kind of y, the bite of which is so dreadful, that
all animals are terried at its approach, which
is announced by a loud buzzing in the air: and
Campbell speaks of the dog-y (as he calls it),
which insinuates itself among the hair_of dogs,

and almost drives them mad by the torments it


inicts upon them. Several species of bees are
universal over Africa, and wax forms an article
of trade. The tarantula spider abounds in Bar
bary. The bite of the solpuga araneoides, found
at the Cape, is often fatal both to man and beast.
The common scorpion is also a native of Africa;
as is the tendaramin, the sting of which is so
poisonous that death ensues in a few hours after
its iniction. The great centipede (scolopendra.
morsitans), is likewise venomous. Captain Beeche y
tells of one he found in the ruins of Cyrene,
which it was almost impossible to kill. He says

that, any part which chanced to be separated


from the rest, continued to run about as though
nothing had happened, and seemed to be search
ing for the rest. The only way in which it could

be killed was by crushing the head, which in


stantly destroyed life in every other part.
The coasts and seas of Africa afford a vast va
"1.iety of molluscous animals, including several

214

NATURAL HISTORY

species of sepia, or cuttle-fish, which grow to a


gigantic size. The argonauts are also very numer
ous; and the common nautilus (one of this tribe,)

is a native of the seas near the Cape of Good Hope.


It is said that from this sh was derived the rst
idea of navigation. \Vhen it wishes to sail, it
discharges a quantity of water out of its shell, and
thus rises to the surface; it then extends two of
its arms, or tentaculae, upwards, and these are each

furnished with an oval membrane which serves as


a sail. The other six tentaculaa hang down, and act
as oars and rudder. When the sea is smooth, great
numbers of them may be seen sailing. about; but
if any thing alarms them, they instantly lower
their sails, take water into their shells, and sink
to the bottom. The shell of the cyprea moneta, or
money cowrie, is used for money by the natives of

the western coast: about two thousand cowries


are equal to one rupee.
A very curious animal,
the ocythoii, is also an inhabitant of the African

seas. It resembles the common polypus, and by


means of its suckers can adhere rmly to any
substance with which it comes in contact. It
has the power of leaving its shell and swimming
without it, returning to it at pleasure. This cir
cumstance has given rise to the supposition, that
it is a parasitical tenant of the shell of some of
the argonauta.
The zoophytes of Africa are multitudinous ; coral
reefs, rocks, and islands, abound in the tropical
seas. The asterias, or star-sh, are particularly
beautiful, especially that named the arborescent
star-sh (asterius caput Medusae), which is found

near the Cape of Good Hope.

The physalia, or

or AFRICA.

215'

Portuguese sailor, is often seen on the coast. The


red coral (corollum rubrum), is shed up on the
shores of Tunis and the borders of the Red Sea.
Common sponge (spongia oificinalis), is also met
with in the same places. Many of the different
species of quadrupeds, and a great number of
gorgonias, cellularias, and alcyoniums, are like

wise abundant in these seas.


The sh of Africa are little known : the torpedo
or electric-ray, whose tail is armed with a dart,

ying-sh, and saw-sh, are among those oftenest


observed. Several other remarkable kinds are
mentioned, but the accounts of them are gene
rally too vague to deserve attention. The pico
and different species of whales are found on the
southern coasts. There are many varieties of the
pike and shark tribes; with great numbers of carp,

eels, and other sh, proper for food, in the lakes.


About eighty species were taken by the expedi
tion sent to the Congo ; but no particular details

are given of more than two or three kinds seen in


the river.

216

CIVIL HISTORY

CHAPTER XIV.

CIVIL

HISTORY

OF

NORTHERN

AFRICA.EGYPT,

TO

THE ERA OF THE PTOLEMIES

THE history of Egypt is traced back to a very


distant period; the rst king, Misr, Mizraim, or

Menes, being said to have built Memphis 2188 B.c.


The earliest really authentic mention of Egypt,
however, is in the Bible; from which we learn

that the patriarch Abram and his wife Sarai went


thither B. c. l920, to avoid the effects of a famine

which had desolated the land of Canaan.


Josephus tells us that Abram was well acquaint
ed with the learning of the Chaldeans ; and that

when he visited Egypt, he held long conferences


with the priests of that country, who were pro
foundly skilled in astronomy, geometry, and the

other arts and sciences. The Egyptians must con


sequently have attained a considerable degree of

power and wealth; since poor and feeble nations


have neither ability nor inclination to bestow much
attention on the cultivation of the arts.
Most writers place the dynasty of the Shepherd
kings, or Palli, who invaded and conquered Egypt,

about this period ; it having been remarked, that

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

217

when Abram went to Egypt, the king showed no


repugnance to him on account of his being a

shepherd; though afterwards, when the descend


ants of Israel entered that country, shepherds were

become an abomination to the Egyptians ; the


reason that they were so, being, no doubt, the

excessive cruelty of the Shepherd-kings during


the existence of their dynasty.

Whatever may have been the exact era of the


Shepherd-kings, they were undoubtedly a very
extraordinary race. The mere epithet Shepherd
king appears a strange combination; for the

idea an English reader naturally entertains of a


shepherd, is that of a lowly and ill-clad peasant,
such as are usually seen in this country tending
sheep. Nothing can differ more from these than

did the shepherds of the olden time.

Money

was then little known; and land being too easily


obtained to be considered of much value, the

chief wealth of the patriarchs lay in their ocks


and herds. Egypt seems to have formed an ex
ception to this rule; for the richness of its soil made
corn its staple commodity; and we accordingly
_ always nd the terms Shepherd and Egyptian

placed in antithesis by all ancient writers, sacred


and profane. There can thus be no doubt that
the Shepherd-kings were a wholly distinct nation,
who invaded Egypt, and took possession of the
government by force of arms. Who they were,
it is not so easy to determine ; but the prevailing
opinion is, that they were a branch of the Arabian

Ethiopians, who having crossed into Asia at the


Straits of Bab-el-mandel, settled in that part of
Chaldea which borders on the Red Sea, and

218

CIVIL rnsronv

thence spread to the isthmus of Suez (or that


portion of it which was then called the land of
Midian), whence they proceeded into Egypt; and
being a warlike and enterprising people, soon
drove out the native princes, and seated them
selves upon the throne.
This dynasty was at length nally expelled by
Amosis; and it is supposed to have been in the
reign of this monarch that Joseph was sold as a
slave to Potiphar, the captain of the kings body
guard. That some important change had taken
place in the family which reigned in Egypt be
tween the period of Abram's visit to that country
and the slavery of Joseph, is evident, from the
circumstance of Abram being able to converse
with the

Egyptian

court

without diiculty;

whereas Josephwho, as he was the lineal de


scendant of Abram, might be supposed to speak
the same languagethought it necessary to
employ an interpreter, in order to make his
brethren think him a native of Egypt. This fact
has also given rise to another supposition; namely,
that the Shepherd-kings reigned in Egypt during
the rst visit of Abram, and that if they were
Arabian Ethiopians, he might naturally enough
be imagined to speak their language readily,
coming himself from Ur in Chaldea, upon the
borders of Arabia.
The story of Joseph is too well known to be
repeated. After his deliverance from prison, he

married a daughter of the priest of On, the


present Heliopolis, which name signies, both
in Greek and Egyptian, the City of the Sun.

Through the provident care of Joseph, Memphis

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

219

(during the famine which fullled his dream)


was esteemed as a general storehouse; whence
not only the Egyptians, but the people of other
nations, could alone nd relief. Of course large
sums of money were, from this circumstance,

poured into the royal treasury; and Joseph seems


to have availed himself of this sudden accession
of wealth to purchase various territorial rights
for his sovereign, which the latter had not before

possessed; for the Bible expressly tells us, that


when the people had given all their money and
cattle in exchange for corn, Joseph bought all
the land of Egypt for Pharao ; and the re
mainder of the passage tends to show that, .after

this period, the power of the Egyptian monarchs


became greater than it was before.
It is unnecessary to detail in what manner Israel
and his family (in number seventy persons) came
to settle in Egypt. \Vhen they did so, the land
of Goshen (supposed to lie between the Nile and
the Red Sea) was given them to reside in, that
they might retain their pastoral habits, (the
country consisting of extensive downs,) and live
quite apart from the Egyptians.
The history of Egypt during the residence of
the Israelites, and the Exodus of that chosen
ppople under Moses, are so fully described in
oly Writ, as to make it needless to dilate upon
the subject here; but the profane historians who

have written on Egypt are very obscure.


The Busiris mentioned by early authors as
celebrated for murdering all the strangers who
ventured into his domains, and the king Atlas,

who was transformed into the mountain bearing

220

CIVIL HISTORY

his name, seem such purely allegorical person


ages, that some have gone so far as to imagine
Busiris to be merely a personication of Africa
itself; and that the inhospitable disposition attri
buted to him, was intended to typify the deadly
nature of the climate to all foreign visiters.
Herodotus, the most ancient historian whose

works have descended to us, gives the following


account of the Egyptian monarchs." The priests,
he says, enumerated to him a long list of sove
reigns, amongst whom was one woman, named
Nitocris: she ascended the throne after the death
of her brother, who was slain; and was succeeded
by Moeris, under whom the lake which still bears
his name was made.

Then came Sesostris, the

mightiest conqueror of antiquity: his height is


stated to have exceeded thirty English feet;
but this monstrous exaggeration is supposed to
allude to the magnitude of his power, rather than
to his actual stature. Champollion thinks him
the same with Rameses the Great, of whom many
traces have been found in the ancient monuments
of Egypt. Herodotus tells us that Sesostris was
a great conqueror; and adds, that in his time
there were several pillars in Asia Minor, bearing
this inscription: Sesostris, king of kings, and
lord of lords, subdued this country by the power

of his arms.

He is said to have made himself

master of Arabia, Libya, Ethiopia, India, and

Scythia, and is even imagined to have advanced


into Europe. He built a hundred temples to the
gods, particularly one to Vulcan, in memory of
a_signal escape he had from a re, by which
his brother attempted to destroy him. Aftera

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

291

splendid reign of thirty-three years, in the course


of which his chariot was often drawn by captive
princes, he lost his sight in his old age, and
committed suicide.
Sesostris was followed by his son Pheron, who
was struck blind by the gods for his impiety.
Next came Proteus, a citizen of Memphis, who

ruled in Egypt during the siege of Troy.


Proteus was succeeded by Rhampsinitus, who
possessed abundance of wealth; and Herodotus
relates a ridiculous story of the manner in which
he discovered the thief who had robbed him of a
part of his treasures. It was this king who, on
his arrival in the Elysian Fields, is said to have
' played at dice with Ceres, and alternately won

and lost; his winning being considered a sign of


the future fecundity of the land, and his loss, of

famine. Some writers have thought this alter


nation to relate to the years of plenty and scarcity
in the time of Joseph; but this supposition sets
all chronology at deance.
Herodotus places
Cheops, who, he says, was a most agitious tyrant,

immediately after Rhampsinitus. According to


him, Cheops reigned conjointly with his brother
Cephren; and although the great pyramid was
erected for their tombs, no one knew exactly

where they were buried. Mycerinus, the son of


Cheops, followed Cephren; he opened the tem
ples, which had been shut during the reign of
Cheops, and excelled all that had gone before him '
in the administration of justice. The latter years
of his life were, however, rendered miserable by
the loss of his only daughter: whom he buried in

a heifer of wood richly gilt.

This wooden image

222

CIVIL HISTORY

was not put under ground, but placed in a sump


tuous hall, with costly aromatics burning before
it night and day.

After Mycerinus, Asychis

reigned in Egypt: this prince made a law en


abling the Egyptians to borrow money on the
dead bodies of their ancestors; and to this edict
the English custom of arresting a body for debt

has been traced, though there appears but small


analogy between the cases.
He was succeeded by Amysis, who was blind,

and was driven to take refuge in the fens (the


present marshy country), by Sabachus, King of
Ethiopia. The description Herodotus gives in
this part of his history of the temple at Bubastis,
accords exactly with the ruins which remain at
the present day. An oracle had foretold that Sa
bachus should reign only fty years in Egypt; ac
cordingly, at the expiration of that time, he re
tired to Ethiopia, and Amysis resumed his throne.
The successor of this prince was Sethos, a priest of

Vulcan.

After his death, the Egyptians were

for a short time free ; but nding that they could

not live without kings, they elected twelve, of


whom Psammetichus was one. These monarchs
were eminent for their strict attention to public
justice. It had been predicted by an oracle,
that he among them who made a libation from a
brazen vessel, should be king; this was done
accidentally by Psammetichus, who, not having

been supplied with a proper goblet for sacrice,


made use of his helmet, which was of brass.

The others becoming jealous, banished him to


the marshes, where he obtained the assistance of

some Ionians and Carians, who happened to land

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

223

on the coast, and was thus enabled to subdue


his brother kings, and place himself upon the
throne.

In gratitude for this service, Psamme

tichus gave his allies some lands near the Pelu


sian mouth of the Nile; which appears to be
the rst settlement of the Greeks in Egypt.
Psammetichus had a son, named Nechos, who

commenced
of the Nile
unnished.
discernible,

a canal from the Pelusian branch


to the Red Sea, though he left it.
Traces of this canal are yet clearly
but it seems to have been never

thrown open; as the ancients, nding that the level


of the Red Sea was higher than that of the Nile,

were fearful of inundating the country. _ It was


in the reign of Nechos that Phoenician adventu
rers explored the African coast. Psamnis, his
successor, reigned only six years; he made an ex

pedition into Ethiopia, and died soon after.

He

was followed by his son Apries, the Pharaoh


Hophra of the Scriptures.
Pharaoh Hophra entered into an alliance with
Zedekiah, king of Jerusalem, to assist him in his

war against Nebuchadnezzar; but, after marching


into J udea at the head of a large army, he became
alarmed and ed. It was on this occasion that the
prophet heaped those curses upon Egypt, which
have since been so remarkably fullled. The
cowardice of Apries was soon punished; for the

Cyrenians (a colony of Greeks) rebelled against


him, and the force he sent to quell them was
defeated.

Vexed at their ill success, his soldiers

mutinied against him, and chose Amasis (who had


gone to appease them) for their new sovereign.

Their rebellion was successful; and Apries was

224

CIVIL HISTORY

obliged to y to Ethiopia.

Nebuchadnezzar in

vaded Egypt during these commotions, hoping to


nd the kingdom an easy prey; but Amasis, hum

bling himself before him, obtained permission to


reign as his deputy. Apries soon after attempted
to regain his throne, but was taken prisoner, and
put to death at Memphis. Amasis now shook off
the Babylonish yoke, and was acknowledged king
ofEgypt, B.c. 570. He died in 556; and though
he was succeeded by his son Psammenitus, who

reigned six months, he is generally considered


as the last of the Pharaohs.
Psammenitus was defeated and put to death
by Cambyses, king of Persia; who, not content
with having conquered Egypt, committed the
most disgraceful excesses. He ordered the re
mains of Amasis to be taken out of his tomb,

and burnt; thus wounding the feelings of the


Egyptians in their tenderest part; since, as
has been before remarked, they preserved the
bodies of their friends, in the hope that, after a
series of years, the soul would return to them.
Cambyses also gave the bull worshipped as the
god Apis, a severe wound in the thigh, which
occasioned its death. He afterwards overturned
and broke the celebrated colossal statue of Mem
non; and sent a band of twenty thousand men
to destroy the temple of Jupiter Ammon, in the

oasis.

The army was overwhelmed and lost in

the sands of the desert; and Cambyses, after

murdering his brother and his wife, became


raving mad, and died at last of a wound he had
accidentally inicted on himself in the thigh,

and which the Egyptian priests declared to be

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

225

precisely similar to the one by which he had


slain Apis.

Several changes followed thedeath of Cambyses;


bu tDarins, the son of Hystaspes, succeeded in
nally obtaining the throne ; and, under him and

his successors, Egypt was reduced to the humili


ating condition of a Persian province. It was
consequently involved in the wars between the
Greeks and Persians; and Memphis was once

actually attacked by an army of Athenians.

At

length, B. c. 414, the Egyptians,under Amythaeus,


threw off the Persian yoke. The contempt with
which Tachos, about fty years afterwards, treated
the Spartan king Agesilaus, who came to assist
him against the Persians, is well known; as also,
that Agesilaus, in revenge, placed Nectanebus

on the Egyptian throne. The successor of this


prince, was, however, after many struggles, again
obliged to submit to the Persians, under Artax
erxes Ochus. The latter, unwarned by the fate
of his predecessor Cambyses, ordered the bull

Apis to be killed, and his esh to be dressed as


food. This violently incensed the Egyptians; and
Bagoas, one of the king's servants, who was an

Egyptian, murdered his master in revenge.

It

was at this epoch that Alexander the Great was


beginning to spread his fame through the world;
and after subduing the Persians, he invaded
Egypt, which, submitting to his arms without re

sistance, was made the foundation of Alexandria.

226

crvu. 1.rrsroxy

CHAPTER XV.

EGYPT,

FROM

THE ERA

OF THE

PTOLEMIES, TO ITS

BECOMING A ROMAN PROVINCE.

Arrsn the death of Alexander, his conquests


were divided amongst his generals; and Egypt
fell to the share of Ptolemy Soter, whose succes
sors, under the name of Ptolemy, long kept pos
session of the Egyptian throne, and maintained
the independence of their kingdom, though they

never raised it to a pitch of splendour and in


tellectual renement equal to what it had at

tained under the Pharaohs.

Ptolemy Soter was

a celebrated warrior; and it was he who, in

vading J udea, entered the city of Jerusalem, and


carried a hundred thousand of the inhabitants
captive to Egypt. After reigning above forty
years, he resigned his crown to his son Pto
lemy Philadelphus, who completed the cele
brated Pharos of Alexandria, begun by his

father.

He also founded the Alexandrian li

brary, and employed seventy-two learned Jews


to make that translation of the Holy Scriptures
into Greek, which has since obtained the title of
the Septuagint version. He was, likewise, the
rst Egyptian king who sent an embassy to

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

227

Rome, and received ambassadors in return. He


was succeeded by his son Ptolemy Evergetes, or
the Benefactor; who was thus named, because, in

an expedition made by him against the king of


Syria, he recovered the gold and silver vessels
which had been taken from Egypt by Cambyses.
During the contests that agitated the world

for many years after the death of Alexander, Egypt


appears to have been universally considered as a
place of refuge ; for we nd exiled monarchs, of
various countries, taking shelter there. The con
quests of Alexander had, indeed, shaken the

stability of thrones generally; and ambitious men,


who saw how easily he had contrived to subjugate
nations, were tempted to try their own chances
of success in a similar career.
Ptolemy Evergetes was followed, B. c. 221,
by his son Philopater; so named, ironically, be
cause he was suspected of having poisoned his
father. He was a weak and vicious prince, who,
after a reign unmarked by a single brilliant
action, died, B.C. 204, leaving an infant son,

called Ptolemy Epiphanes. The neighbouring


sovereigns, who (like deer butting a wounded bro
ther from their herd) were always ready to take
advantage of helplessness or misfortune, availed
themselves of this opportunity to deprive Egypt of
all its foreign dependencies in Syria, Judea, and
Phcenicia. The Roman power was now fast rising
to its zenith, and the guardians of the infant
Epiphanes placed him under the protection of the
Senate, B. c. 200; a Roman general being sent
into Egypt to watch over the rights of the Ptole
mies in that country. This guardianship was,
Q 2

228

crvrr. nrsronv

however, withdrawn when Ptolemy Epiphanes had


reached his fourteenth year, the period xed in
Egypt for majority. The young prince afterwards
married Cleopatra, daughter of Antiochus the
Great, with whom he received as a dowery the
provinces which had been previously wrested from
him by his father-in-law. Ptolemy died B. c. 180,
without having performed one deed to justify his
cognomen of Epiphanes, or the Illustrious.

His son Philometor ruled under_ the guidance


of his mother; and in his reign, as in that of his

father (the same causes being followed by the


same results),the foreign possessions ofEgypt were
seized by the king of Syria. After the death of
Cleopatra, the ministers of the young king at
tempted to recover his rights ; but, as Antiochus
refused to give up what he had usurped, a battle
ensued, in the plains between Pelusium and
Mount Casius, in which Philometor was defeated

and taken prisoner by Antiochus ; and the


Egyptians placed the crown upon the head of his
brother Physcon, B. C. 169. After this event,
Antiochus,thinking it useless to retain Philometor
any longer in captivity (and perhaps hoping that
some dissensions might ensue between the rival
monarchs, which would make their kingdom his

easy prey), set him at liberty, retaining Pelusium,


however, in his own hands; that city, from its situa

tion on the extreme eastern point of the Delta,


being considered the key of Egypt on the Arabian
ride.. Physcon received Philometor with open
arms; and agreeing to reign conjointly, they very
soon contrived, with the aid of the Roman deputy,

Publius, to expel Antiochus from Egypt.

or NORTI'IERN AFRICA.

229

In every case where the feelings of a people


are strongly excited by an act of manifest op
pression or injustice, they join unanimously in
opposing the common enemy, and their efforts
seldom fail of success. The time of real danger
to their prosperity, is when the necessity for
exertion has ceased. A reaction then inevitably
takes place; the bond of community of interest,
which had before knit them so strongly, is
broken; private motives and petty jealousies
arise, instead of the noble and universal impulse

by which they had been actuated; and, like the


bundle of reeds in the apologue, they nd that

one grand and irresistible power may be composed


of a mass of feeble individuals. These observa
tions apply to the two brothers, Ptolemies, who,
though united against a common enemy, were in

such a situation as could scarcely fail of producing


disunion; for each fancied that he was conferring
a favour in permitting his brother to be king. The
monarch dejure, Philometor, insisted on his le
gitimate rights; w-hilst the king defacto, Physcon,
thought he had been acting most liberally in ad
mitting his brother, without a contest, to an equal
share of a throne, of which he alone was in full

possession. They quarrelled, therefore; and Phy


scon, being driven out of Egypt, ed to Rome,
which he entered miserably clad and on foot, that

he might move the compassion of the Roman peo


ple, and induce them to take up arms on his be
half. This conduct produced its desired effect:
and the senate having decreed his restoration,
sent two of their body into Egypt to carry this

resolution into effect.

An amicable adjustment

230

crvrr, msronv

in consequence took place between the brothers;


and it was agreed that Physcon should have
Libya and Cyrene, whilst Philometor retained
possession of Egypt and Cyprus.
Physcon, however, did not long rest contented
with the portion assigned him; and, encouraged
by the success which had attended his former ap
peal to the.Roman senate, he again applied to
them for Cyprus, on the plea that his brother's
share was much greater than his own; whilst

Philometor, on his side, equally acknowledged

the Roman power, by sending messengers to Rome


to plead his cause before the senate: thus present
ing the curious spectacle of two powerful monarchs
appearing as clients before a foreign nation, and
awaiting its decision, in affairs involving their

kingdoms and their lives. It was when Physcon


.was at Rome, during this period, that he wished
to marry Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi;

but that noble lady (who was the daughter of


Scipio Africanus) scornfully refused his offer,
and told him that she would rather be a Roman
matron than an Egyptian queen. Physcon was
recalled from Rome by an insurrection in Cyrene,
which he was obliged to go in person to quell.
In the mean time Philometor gave his daughter

Cleopatra in marriage to Alexander Balas, a


young adventurer, who had started up as a claim
ant for the throne of Syria, supported by the
power of Rome; and Alexander was soon obliged

to implore the aid of his father-in-law, who


marched a large body of troops into Palestine to
his relief. The magnitude of the Egyptian forces,
.however, alarmed the ministers of Alexander;

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

231

and fearing lest Philometor should take advantage


of the opportunity to seize Syria for himself, they

attempted to poison him : but he discovered the


plot laid for him; and when Alexander refused
to punish the assassins, joined his army to that of
the legitimate monarch, and died a few days
afterwards, of a wound received in the very battle

which deprived his son-in-law of both his life and

crown.
This event happened B. c. 146; and a strug

gle immediately ensued for the Egyptian throne;


Cleopatra, widow of Philometor, endeavouring
to secure it for her infant son, while many of the

grandees of the kingdom declared in favour of


Physcon. The Romans interfered, and advised,
by way of compromise, that Physcon should

marry Cleopatra, and let her son by Philometor


succeed him. This was done; but Physcon had
no sooner obtained possession of the kingdom, by
marrying Cleopatra, than he violated his part
of the compact, and murdered her son in her
arms on the day of their nuptials. The Egyp
tians had soon reason to regret the loss of Phi

lometor (who was the only Ptolemy of whom


any good has been recorded), Physcon being the
very worst of all that evil race. His subjects
indeed called him Kakergetes, or the Evildoer;

instead of Evergetes, or the Benefactor, which


was the title he wished to assume.
On his
rst accession to the throne he was kept under

some restraint by the good advice of his minister


Hierax; but on the death of that counsellor, he

gave full vent to his cruelty; and "having de

populated his chief city of Alexandria, by con

232

crvn. insronr

tinued massacres, he then published an edict,


B.c. 136, inviting strangers to come thither to
settle, in order to repeople the place!
It was at this period that Scipio, Metullus,
Mummius, and Panaetius, undertook the famous

embassy to Egypt, Syria, Asia, and Greece, to


examine into the state of each country, and to
set to rights every thing they might nd amiss.
It is observable, that in the accounts we have of
this embassy by the Romans, the writers enlarge
so much on the magnicence of Alexandria, as to
warrant the belief, that its splendour must at that
time have surpassed even Rome itself ; since men
seldom express much surprise at seeing grandeur,
when they have been long accustomed to it.
Physcon divorced his wife, and married her
daughter by her rst husband, 1a.c. 130. This
' seemed, in the eyes of the people, to ll up the

measure of his crimes; and they instantly rose


in a body, and putting the government into the
hands of the divorced queen Cleopatra, compel
led him to y to Cyprus. He, however, retained
Cyrene; and apprehensive that the Egyptians
might elect his son, who was governor of that city,
for their king, he ordered him to be put to death.
The populace of Alexandria, when they heard of
this, pulled down" and demolished the statues

of Physcon which still remained there; and he,


in revenge, supposing the insult to have been

offered to him at the instigation of Cleopatra,


caused her son Memphitis to be slain; and cut-.

ting his body in pieces, put it into a box, which


he_sent to her as her husbands birthday gift, it
being the anniversary of her nativity.

Exas

or Nonrnrnu Armcn.

233

perated at his cruelty, she raised an army, and


gave battle to his forces, but was defeated; and
in her despair she sent to Demetrius, king of
Syria, iniploring him to come to her assistance,
and promising him the kingdom of Egypt as his
reward. Demetrius gladly accepted the proposal,
and marching into Egypt, laid siege to Pelusium.
His subjects, however, took advantage of his

absence to rebel; and he was obliged to return


to Syria, whither Physcon followed him, having
set up against him a man named Alexander
Zerbina, whom he pretended to be the son of
Alexander Balas. Abattle ensued, when De

metrius being defeated, ed to Tyre, where he


was slain.
It was about this time that such a vast quan
tity of locusts infested Northern Africa, as to

cause a pestilence by the stench of their dead


bodies, of which above eight hundred thousand
persons died in Libya and Cyrene.
After the defeat of Demetrius, Physcon re
turned to Egypt, and Cleopatra ed for refuge
to Syria. He reigned ten years longer, and at
length died, B. c. I17; leaving Cyrene to his ille

gitimate son Apion; and Egypt to his niece and

widow Cleopatra, daughter of Philometor, whom


he had married after divorcing her mother.
Cleopatra was left the option of selecting which

of her two sons she would associate with


herself in the government; but the people de
prived her of the liberty of choice, and com

pelled her to take the elder, named Lathy


rus from having an excrescence like a pea
upon his nose. She, however, preferred Alex

234

crvn. nrsrorvr

ander, the younger, whom she contrived a few


years afterwards to place upon the throne.
Alexander was soon terried at her cruelty, and

attempted to abdicate; but Cleopatra compelled


him for several years to retain the empty title of
king, whilst she usurped the power: at length
she attempted to destroy him, and he discovering
her design, put her to death. The people, on
this event, banished Alexander from Egypt, and
recalled Lathyrus. This monarch died B. c. 81,
and left his throne to his daughter Berenice,
otherwise called Cleopatra; a name which appears
to have been as common to the queens of Egypt
under this dynasty, as that of Ptolemy was to
their kings. Berenice subsequently married her
uncle Alexander,

who thus regained

sion of his throne.

posses

But the Egyptians were

not easily reconciled to his yoke; and after en


during it for some years, they again drove him

from the kingdom, and placed on the throne

Ptolemy Auletes,the illegitimate son of Lathyrus.


Alexander ed to Pompey for assistance; and
that general refusing to listen to him, he retired
to Tyre, where he died soon after, bequeathing
by will both Egypt and Cyprus to the Romans,
though they did not at that period attempt to
avail themselves of the bequest.
Ptolemy Auletes having disgusted his subjects
by l1lS effemmacy, was expelled by them, B. c. 58.
He ed to Rome for succour; and though the
senators denied him any aid, he persuaded the
Roman general, Gabinus, to lead an army into

Egypt, in order to reinstate him. This gave


much displeasure to the Romans, who fancied

or nonrnarm AFRICA.

$235

that their sending help to Egypt on this oc


casion, was forbidden by the Sibylline books,

which foretold that great troubles would in conse


quence fall upon Rome. Ptolemy Auletes died
just as the civil war broke out between Caesar
and Pompey, leaving his kingdom to his eldest
son and eldest daughter, who were, according to
the custom of the Ptolemies, joined in marriage.

This daughter was the celebrated Cleopatra.


When Pompey was defeated at Pharsalia, he
ed to Egypt, but was put to death as soon as
he reached the Egyptian shore, by order of the

reigning Ptolemy, who sent his head to Caesar.


That conqueror advanced to Alexandria, where

he was so captivated by the charms of Cleopatra,


as to stay with her much longer than prudence
warranted. He also dethroned her brother, and
made her sole queen of Egypt.

She was then

about seventeen, and was renowned for her beauty.


Her attractions, however, did not make Caesar
entirely forget his duty ; and having spent some
months with her, he proceeded on his victorious

career.
Marc Antony was not so rm. After the death
of- Caesar, when he and the other triumvirs had
established themselves in the Roman government,
Antony went on a tour through the East, to receive
the homage of his tributary sovereigns, and to
ascertain whether any of them appeared disaf
fected towards Rome. It was on this occasion
that Cleopatra came to visit him at Tarsus in Ci
licia, sailing down the Cydnus, at the mouth of
which river the city stood, with all that magni

cence so gorgeously described by the poets.

An

236.

crvn. nrsronv

tony was fascinated by her wit and beauty; and


instead of returning to Rome, went with her to
Egypt, where he remained twelve months. This
delay was his ruin ; for Octavius, afterwards Au

gustus, took advantage of his absence, and endea


voured to exclude him from the triumvirate; but

Antony compromised his quarrel with Octavius by

marrying his sister Octavia.

She was, however,

soon neglected for Cleopatra, and the Romans


were'involved in a second Parthian war by An
tonys fondness for the Egyptian queen; since it
was to supply her extravagance that he permitted
his soldiers to attempt to plunder the rich city
of Palmyra; which induced the inhabitants to

call in the assistance of the Parthians, to enable


them to resist the power of Rome.
Whilst Antony was listlessly carrying on the
war which ensued, and taking every possible op
portunity of visiting Egypt, where indeed he

passed the greater portion of his time, Octavius


was gradually establishing his power at Rome;
till, having successively encountered and over
come his other rivals, he only waited for a

plausible pretext for attacking Antony himself.


This the infatuation of the triumvir soon afforded
him. His passion for Cleopatra increased daily ;
till he at length carried it so far as to bestow

upon her nearly all the provinces which the


Romans had in the East. To make amends
for this, he treacherously seized the person of
the king of Armenia; and, boasting of having
conquered that kingdom, had a triumph for it
in Egypt, in imitation of those at Rome, with

this difference only, that he offered the trophies

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

237

to Cleopatra instead of Jupiter. He also caused


the people of Alexandria to worship Cleopatra
and himself, who were seated on two thrones of
gold, as Isis and Osiris. He afterwards divorced
Octavia, and married Cleopatra, making an extra
vagant will, by which he left her every thing that
he possessed.
Octavius could bear no more; but, pretend
ing to make war against Cleopatra, who had
declared the son she had by Caesar to be entitled
to the dominion of Rome, he invaded Egypt with
a large army. The Egyptians were defeated at
the battle of Actium ; Antony and Cleopatra put
themselves to death; and Egypt was made a

province of the Roman empire, B. c. 30.

238

crvrr. rusromr

CHAPTER

l EGYPT,

FROM

ITS

CONQUEST

XVI.

BY ROME TO THE

PRESENT TIME.-ABYSSINIA.

THE glory of Egypt had passed away with the


Ptolemies. Degraded to the condition of a Roman
province, the ingenuity of her learned men, and
the. industry of her peasantry, were alike without
avail; and we seldom read of the Egyptians in the
works of the Roman historians, except to nd "
them complaining of oppressive edicts, or remon
strating against new taxes; till, in the time of Gal
lienus, A. r). 254, the Egyptian prefect Emilian

assumed the title of king. He had reigned, how


ever, but a very brief period, when he was at
tacked by the Roman general Theodotus, and was

compelled to shut himself up in the Bruchiun,


at Alexandria, which was then a ourishing Chris
tian colony, where he sustained a long siege; the

Christian bishops, Anatolis and St. Eusebius,


going backwards and forwards between the con
icting parties, and giving all the aid in their
power to both. Emilian was shortly after over
come and slain.
Under Claudius, Zenobia, who derived her pe
digree from the Ptolemies, caused herself to be

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

239

proclaimed Queen of Egypt; but she was after

wards defeated and put to death by Aurelian and


his lieutenant Probus.

In the reign of Dioclesian, A.D. 296, Achillus


usurped the government of Egypt; and the em
peror having driven him into Alexandria, besieged
the city, which, after being surrounded seven

months, was compelled to yield, and was given up


to the sword.

Amrou, general of Omar, invaded Eg pt, A. D.


638, at the head of a large army of garacens,
and took Alexandria, after investing it for four
teen months. It was on this occasion that the
magnicent library in the Serapi in that city,which
was justly esteemed the nest in the world, was de
stroyed by the Saracens, who, thinking no books
valuable but the Koran, ordered the volumes to be
used as fuel for the public baths; and it is said,

that though there were four thousand baths in


Alexandria, the quantity of books was so great,
that it was six months before they were all con
sumed. The city of Memphis was also burnt by
the invaders; and Amrou built a town on the
site of the present Old Cairo, from its ruins. He
afterwards attempted to complete the work so
often begun, of cutting a canal from the Mediter
ranean to the Red Sea ; but the Caliph Omar for

bade him to proceed, from an apprehension that


the cities of the prophet might thus be rendered
accessible to Indel eets. He demolished the
fortications of Alexandria, and it has never since
recovered any partof its former splendour. Among
the manuscripts so barbarously committed to the

ames on the burning of the library, were the ori

240

crvrr. HISTORY

ginal copies of the works of Sophocles, Euripi


des, and Eschylus.
Achmed, son of Tulum, governor of Egypt, of
the Turkish race, made himself king of that
country, A.D. 868. He built the city of Catay,
near the ruins of ancient Memphis. His descend
ants succeeded him; but the dynasty of the

Tulmides ended A.D. 905, and Egypt was again


joined to the Caliphate.

It did not, however,

remain quiet in its subjection, and several minor


changes took place in its government; till A.D.
969, when Mo'z, one of those Fatimites who had

already established themselves in Barbary, con


quered Egypt, and built there a city, which he
called Al Kahira, or the Victorious, because the
planet Mars was in the ascendant at the time of
its foundation.

This was the modern Cairo; and

from the time of its erection, Al Kahira was the

seat of empire of the Caliphs of the house of Fa


timar, who (though their dominions in Asia had
been curtailed by the conquests of the sons of
Seljuk, that is, the Scythian inhabitants of Tur
kestan) still retained an empire which extended

from Western Barbary to the banks of the Eu


phrates.
The power of the Fatimite sultans existed in
deed (though gradually diminishing, as province
after province fell before the victorious Turks), till
A. D. 1171, when Shirakah, sonof Sadi, conquered
Egypt; and a few years afterwards, his descend
ant, the celebrated Saladin, under the name of

Malek-el-Nasr, seated himself on the throne of


the Fatimites in Egypt. He also subdued Sy

ria and Arabia Felix, took Tunis and Tripoli from

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

241

the Mowaheddins, and subdued Jerusalem. The


rest of his history belongs to Asia. After his
death, his dominions were divided amongst his
sons and kinsmen, and Egypt was the share of

Malek-el-Ramel.

It was Saladin who rst conceived the idea of

establishing the troops, since so celebrated, called


Mamelukes. VVhen the Tartars, under this prince,
ravaged the countries of Georgia and Circassia,
and carried the inhabitants away prisoners; the

sultan was so struck with the extreme beauty of


the captives, that he suggested to his officers the
expediency of forming a band of soldiers to con
sist entirely of them; but his plan was not fully
carried into effect till A.D. 1230, when Malek

Salel, then Sultan of Egypt, purchased twelve

thousand of these young men, trained them to


artillery exercises, and constituted them his body
guard. A ner corps, perhaps, never existed;
as the careful eye and absolute power of the
sovereign enabled him to detect and instantly
change every one who had any imperfection of
body or mind: but, like the Praetorian band of

Rome, they soon grew so powerful that they gave


laws to their masters.
Malek Salel died A. n. l249; and was sue

ceeded by his son, Turan Shah, in whose reign,


Louis IX. of France undertook a crusade against
the Mahometans of Egypt. Crusades were the
mania of the times; and Louis in a short while
collected an enormous army, with which he at
tacked and took Damietta, in order to secure
himself a road back to Jerusalem, in case his

enterprise should fail.

This temporary success


R

242

crvn. HISTORY

gave great joy to the French army; but a reverse


soon followed; for their troops were defeated
under the walls of Mansurah; and the kings
brother Robert, Comte dArtois, was killed, and

himself made prisoner.

The queen, who was at

Damietta when this melancholy news arrived, en

treated the Sieur de Joinville to cut off her head

if they should be captured by the indels; which


he, in the true spirit of chivalry, solemnly pro

mised to do. The Egyptian sultan is said to have


mastered Louis's army by surrounding it with the
waters of the Nile, which prevented every chance
of escape.

Louis, who had fought with heroic

valour, and was with great diiculty compelled


to yield, was not only obliged to restore the con
quered town, but also to pay a large sum for
his ransom and that of the other prisoners. The
capitulation granted by Turan Shah to the French
king proved his ruin; for the Mamelukes, en
'raged at nding their prey elude their grasp,
slew the sultan, and placed Moez Azeddin Ibek

Gashnekir, one of their body, on the throne.


The dynasty of the Baharite Mamelukes (as
they were called, from having been originally
mariners) began in 1250, and continued till 1382.

The power of the Mamelukes during this time was


of course supreme, and their number being annu
ally reinforced with men of the greatest strength
and beauty from the neighbourhood of Mount
Caucasus, their inuence over the effeminate in

habitants of Egypt never relaxed. They imposed


a tribute on the sultan sufficient to enable them
to live luxuriously; arranged the government ac
cording to their own wishes; and ordained that the

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

243

sultan and his viziers should consult their captain


in all affairs of importance. The Mameluke sove
reigns did not succeed by hereditary right, but
were chosen by the troops; so that every king
who reigned in Egypt during that dynasty had
been, in the rst instance, purchased in the open
market, and had performed all the duties of a

slave for the person by whom he was bought. In


course of time, growing suiciently versed in
military duties, he was admitted a Mameluke;
still retaining, however, a sort of clan-like devo

tion to his master, who was always one of the


same body; till, in turn, he acquired wealth and

consequence enough to become himself a master.


The last _sovereign of the Baharite Mamelukes
was Sheban Ascraf; the rst monarch who ordered

the sherifs, or descendants of Mahomet, to wear


green turbans as a mark of distinction.
The next race was that of the Borgite Mame
lukes, who were mostly of the Circassian descent,

and whose dynasty commenced A. D. 1382. These


sultans seldom reigned long; for, as each Mame
luke hoped that he should be the successor, pre

tences were always easily found for removing the


incumbent. Forty-seven of these ephemeral so
vereigns reigned in little more than two hundred
years; till at length, in 1517, Selim, Sultan of

the Ottomanshaving taken the city of Cairo,


after an obstinate resistance, and hanged the
last Mameluke chief Tuman Beyabolished their
monarchy : he suffered, however, their aristo
cracy to retain its power, on condition that they
paid an annual tribute to himself and his succes
sors, inserted the names of the Ottoman monarchs
11 2

244

crvrr. nrsronv

upon their coins, and obeyed in all matters of


faith the Mufti of Constantinople.

Selim after

wards established a form of government for Egypt,

consisting of a Turkish pasha and a divan, or


council of regency, formed of the chiefs of the
seven principal military corps. Besides these
counsellors, twenty-four beys were chosen from
the Mamelukes, one of which was appointed to
every province: but though the whole executive
government was intrusted to their hands, they
were considered merely as the instruments of the
council, to which they owned a nominal obe
dience.
It was scarcely possible that this institution
should remain long as Selim had framed it. The
natural consequence of the power put into the
hands of the beys was quite suicient to neutralize
that of the pasha; _accordingly, this governor

soon became a mere sitting member of the coun


cil, who, when he offended the beys, was igno

miniously sent back to Constantinople.

Never

theless, the form of government was retained till


1746; when Ibrahim, one of the commanding
oicers of the Mamelukes, made himself master

of Egypt, having previously contrived to get


eight of his enfranchised slaves elected beys.
On the death of Ibrahim, in I757, the Mame

lukes of his household seized the sovereignty

amongst them, and waged war against each other


till the greater part were slain, and one of their

number, Ali Bey, in 1766, obtained absolute


sway in Egypt.

This remarkable personage was a native of


Mount Caucasus, and had been publicly sold in

or uonrrrmm AFnICA.

245

the market at Cairo to the agents of Ibrahim.


After a variety of adventures, he became one of
the twenty-four beys, and for some fault was
banished to Gaza. He returned on the death
of Ibrahim, and succeeded in regaining his situa
tion. The Porte, who were just on the point of
engaging in an extensive war with Russia, paid
no attention to his movements; and Ali Bey not

only soon raised himself to be sole sultan of


Egypt, but despatched an army into Syria,
whither he himself followed; and Osman, the
Pasha of Damascus, ed before him. The suc

cess of Ali was, however, but temporary; for his


principal general, Mohammed Bey, deserted him;
and Osman having rallied his forces, Ali was
with difficulty able to escape their rage: indeed,

on his return from Syria, he was made prisoner,


and being delivered into the hands of Moham
med, died three days afterwards, of the wounds
he received in the conict before he allowed him
self to be taken.
Mohammed now became the ruler of Egypt,
professing, in name, submission to the Turks.
Soon after his accession, he requested leave to
continue the war in Syria; which was granted,

it being out of the power of the Porte to refuse


it. He then marched into Syria, and laid siege
to J affa, or Joppa; which he did not take, though
an opening was made in the walls, because the
Mamelukes could not ascend the breach on
horseback, and were unable to comprehend how
any military operations could possibly be performed
on foot. In the end, the town surrendered, and

Acre followed its example; but Mohammed had

246

crvrr. IIISTQRY

no opportunity to enjoy his conquest; for he died


of a fever after two days illness.
As soon as the pashas death was known,
Murad and Ibrahim Beys contested the succes
sion;

and, after several changes of fortune, it

was shared between them, in I786. A confede


racy was, however, formed against them, and
they were obliged to y as exiles into Upper
Egypt; but being reinforced, they came back
and compelled the leading conspirators, in their
turn, to escape into the Said. Though not without
mutual jealousies, and occasional attempts to
destroy each other, Murad and Ibrahim joined in
an endeavour to recruit the number of the Mame
lukes, and to collect treasure to enable them to

recover their authority.

In this aim they were

successful; and in 1791, one of Murads slaves

was deputed to negotiate peace between the vic


torious beys and the Porte : he carried with him
rich presents; and being well received, was ap

pointed Waquil Sultan, that is, agent or attorney


general of the Turkish monarch at Cairo; pro
bably in the hope that his constant interference
would create quarrels and disunion between the
beys. But if this was expected, the plan failed :
for the military rulers of Egypt had experienced
too often the evils of division, not to be rmly
united by common interest; and after their re

conciliation with the Porte, they employed their


whole time in increasing their treasures, which
very soon became immense.

Meanwhile, Murad and Ibrahim were regarded


as usurpers by the beys of Upper Egypt, whose

(llSCOIit6I1l2 towards their government was secretly

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

247

fomented by the sultan: nevertheless they con


tinued to reign together till the invasion of the
French, July 2, 1798, when Buonaparte landed

in Egypt, and took Alexandria almost without a


blow.

The eet of the invaders was moored in

the bay of Aboukir; and General Dessaix led a

body of troops across the desert to attack Cairo.


The situation of the government of Egypt now
became perilous in the extreme: a foreign army,
ushed with conquest, was at their doors; and

their own people, who had long been oppressed


and discontented, were only watching for a tting
opportunity to join with the strangers,_ and ob
tain redress for their wrongs. The characters of
the Mameluke rulers, we may here remark, were
essentially different. Murad was of a warlike
disposition ; gallant, bold, and impetuous, he was
as remarkable for bravery amongst his people as
Murat was among the French: so much so, that
it was common for the soldiers of both armies to
class them together as les deua: beaux sabreurs.
Ibrahim, on the contrary, was of a peaceable
disposition; and when the French made their

way into Egypt, he retired into Syria; whilst


Murad, leading on his Mamelukes against the
republican army, was vanquished at the cele

brated battle of the Pyramids, and compelled to


retreat into the Said, or Upper Egypt.

It was at this period that the English eet,


after vainly attempting to intercept the passage
of the French, came down upon them in Egypt.
The battle of Aboukir is well known. Brueya,
the French admiral, was slain; and Nelson hailed

as the hero of the Nile.

When the Sublime

248

CIVIL HISTORY

Porte heard of the victory, they concluded a.


treaty with England against the French; and
soon after, Buonaparte carrying the war into
Syria, Turkish troops were sent thither to join
the English under Sir Sydney Smith. In the
mean time Dessaix remained in Egypt, and, at

tacking Murad, won the battle of the Cataracts,


fought near Faynoom. Having sustained several "
defeats, Murad at length made peace with the
French, and obtained the two provinces of Djirdjeh
and Esneh; Buonaparte having left the rest of

Egypt under Klebers superintendence. After


that general's assassination, the French forces
were vanquished by Sir Ralph Abercrombie, in
1801, under Menou. Murad was then invited
to Cairo by General Belliard; but while there

he caught the plague, and died in a few days.

Shortly after, the English compelled the French


to leave Egypt; and British troops occupied
Alexandria and Rosetta, whilst Sir David Baird,

with his army, had possession of Giza. The


beys were collected at Cairo, and Ibrahim was
reinstated in his office, Osman Tambourj being
chosen as his colleague. The Turkish govern
ment had co-operated with England to drive
out the French; but their views with respect to
the Mamelukes were quite different, as it was the

policy of the Porte to depress that formidable


body, whilst the English wished to conciliate
them; and the latter being most powerful, the
Mamelukes were already beginning to recover
their former independencewhen Hassan, the
capitan-pasha of the Ottomans, resolved to effect

by artice what he found he had no chance of

or NORTHERN AFRICA-

249

doing in an undisguised manner. He accordingly


" invited all the principal beys to his camp at
Aboukir, where he entertained them very sumptu
ously; but detaining them till they began to grow
impatient, they complained to General Hutchin
son, that they were prevented from departing:
when that officer, relying on the honesty of the
pasha's intentions, persuaded them to remain.
In a few days, Hassan gave a grand enter

tainment, and invited the beys to embark in


some pleasure-boats, to enjoy a sail on_the lake
Aboukir. They had scarcely done so, however,
when a small boat was seen pursuing them; on
which the pasha lay to. The boat approach
ed, and he went on board, under pretence of

receiving, with due respect, despatches of great


importance from Constantinople. The skiff
instantly fell back; some large vessels appeared
lled with armed men; and the next instant dis

charges of artillery were levelled against the


unfortunate beys. The rage of the Mame
lukes, at this abominable treachery, was beyond

description: cooped up like lions in a den, they


had no hope of escaping the fate destined for
them; and their bravery was useless, for their
enemies were foo far distant for their swords to

be of any avail. Some leaped overboard, and


died swearing and gnashing their teeth; whilst
others tore their turbans from their heads, and

threw themselves on the bottom of the boats in


an agony of despair. A few reached the shore,
and were compelled to swear upon the Koran that
they would not seek the protection of the Eng

lish.

It was impossible, however, to bury such

250

crvrr. HISTORY

an act of base perdy in oblivion, and equally


impossible that British feelings should not be dis
gusted with it. The English, consequently, com
pelled the Turks to release their prisoners, and

to bury the bodies of the butchered chiefs with all


the honours of war.
Mahmoud Cusrouf was chosen to succeed the
faithless Hassan as pasha of Cairo. Osman,
the Mameluke chief, submitted to his authority;
but the other beys refusing to follow his ex
ample, and ying into the Said, Mehemet Ali

(since so celebrated) was appointed general of the


Turks, and joined Osman Bey against them. Os
man and Mehemet entered into negotiations with
the beys, and offered them all the land from Esneh

to Upper Egypt; but they being dissatised with


this proposal, Mahmoud sent fresh troops, under
Youssef Bey, to reduce them to obedience ; when

Osman, unwilling to ght against the corps


of which he had so long been a member, retired

into the desert.

This happened about the period

when Colonel Sebastiani arrived in Egypt, for the


purpose of carrying into effect that part of the
treaty of Amiens which related to the evacuation
of Alexandria; and shortly afterwards the Turkish
forces were defeated; the leaders, Youssef and
Mehemet Ali, each accusing the other of treachery.

The pasha favoured the former; and Mehemet in


revenge demanded, resolutely, a large sum of
money which was due to the army. Mahmoud
sent to him to try to negotiate the business se
cretly; but Mehemet, who suspected stratagem,

refused to leave his soldiers. The pasha became


alarmed, and invited Taher Pasha, an Albanian

or uowrnanu AFRICA.

251

chief, to his assistance; but his troops also soon


became clamorous for their pay; and, when the
pasha assured them of his total inability to satisfy
their demands, they seized his palace, and forced
him,with his wife and family, to y to Mansurah.
At rst, Taher used his victory with moderation,
and appeared anxious to conciliate all parties;
but becoming eager for wealth, the populace,
enraged at his exactions, rose and murdered
him, after a reign of only twenty-two days.
VVhilst Tahers Albanian soldiers were contending
with the Turkish guard for the possession of Grand
Cairo, Ibrahim returned from Syria, and Osman
from his retreat in the mountains ; and, unit
ing their Mamelukes with the Turks under

Mehemet Ali, they seized the city. The Sublime


Porte was now roused, and sent an oicer to re

establish the Turkish authority. He, however,


thought more of aggrandizing himself than of
subduing the Mamelukes, and was wholly unable
to resist the force Mehemet brought against him.
He was taken prisoner, and put to death.

Mehemets power had now become too rmly


xed to be shaken; yet he did not assume the
government till the Porte attempted to banish
him to Jedda, whereupon he declared himself
pasha of Egypt; and his authority was soon after

conrmed by the Sultan.

A massacre of the Ma

melukes followed; and Mehemet, to replenish his

nances, made his ministers disgorge their ill


gotten wealth, instead of oppressing the people;
giving them, at the same time, a gentle hint, that
whenever he found his tax-gatherers getting rich,
he should not only take their money, but their

Q52

crvn. Hrsronx

"heads also. After several minor struggles, in which


he was always successful, he prepared to attack
the Wahabees, a powerful nation in Arabia;
but as the Mamelukes still continued formidable,

he did not dare to leave Egypt till he had destroyed


them; and for this an opportunity soon offered.

The Grand Signior sent his Kisler Aga to Cairo,


in 1807, to invest Tousson, the son of Mehemet,
with the dignity of a pasha of two tails; and
the Mamelukes being invited to assist at the

ceremony, came with their bey at their head,


to offer their congratulations to Mehemet, in his

citadel. In returning, the procession had to pass


along a passage cut in a rock: Mehemets troops _
moved rst, followed by the Mamelukes; but as

soon as the Turks had passed, the gates were


closed at both ends, and the Mamelukes, thus
enclosed in a kind of trap, were red on by the

pashas soldiers from the top of the rocks.

At

the same moment a general massacre of them

was ordered throughout Egypt; their property


was universally destroyed; and above ve hundred
of their houses in Grand Cairo alone, were levelled
with the ground.
Some beys, however, es
caped, and, in the dress of women or slaves,

ed to Upper Egypt. Shortly after, the few


remains of their body rallied at Dongola, in Nubia,.
where they fortied the city, and raised a small
army of Negroes to defend it; Osman Bey, their
chief, swearing (as has been before incidentally
mentioned in an early portion of this volume) that
he would neither cut his hair nor shave his beard,
till they were again masters of Cairo. The aged

Ibrahim, who was still living, protested strongly

or Nonrrmnu AFRICA.

253

against the slaughter of the corps to which he had


himself once belonged : but it was in vain;
Mehemets will was law, and he suffered no one
to dictate to him with impunity.
The campaign against the Wahabees was bril
liant in the extreme; and Mehemet returning to

Egypt, after a long series of victories, loaded


with fame and treasures, immediately directed his
attention to the conquest of Nubia and Senaar.
Tousson having died in Lower Egypt, the com

mand of the army was intrusted to the pasha's


second son Ishmael;

who, in the autumn of

1810, passed the cataracts of the Nile, seized


Dongola, and annihilated the remaining Mame
lukes. He next attacked and subdued a bold and
independent race of Arabs; and proceeded to
Berber, which likewise fell before the power of his
arms : he also conquered the city of Shendy; and
reached the Bahr-el-Abiad, above its conuence

with the Nile. Senaar and Korclofan in like man


ner yielded to the arms of the victorious Egyp
tians; and they would have invaded Darfoor, had

not their attention been recalled to the north by


the insurrection of the Greeks in the Morea. On
his return, Ishmael was waylaid by the chief of
Shendy, and murdered, with all his attendants,
excepting his physician, whom they spared, that

they might torture him by pulling out his teeth


before they put him to death.
Since that time, Mehemet Ali has taken an
active part in all the operations of the Turks;
and now that the power of the Sublime Porte is
so completely shorn of its beams, it is supposed

that he aims at making himself independent

254

crvrr. msronv

sovereign of Egypt. Turkey is no longer in a


condition to restrain him ; and Russia will probably
be satised with what she has already acquired, _
without troubling herself respecting the Turkish
dependencies.

In the mean time, Mehemet has

listened to the complaints of the provincial as


semblies against their governors, and is about to
bring together deputies from each of the pro
vinces, to consult on the best means of afford

ing redress to their grievances. If he does this,


he will most likely discover, that the real strength
of a monarch consists in the prosperity of his
subjects; and he may then be induced to abolish

the present system, in which every thing depends


on the caprice of the sovereign. He will thus,
by giving stability to wealth, hold out the most
inuential motives to his subjects to amass
it; and should he also throw open the numerous
commercial products of his kingdom for the com
petition of the world, Egypt will soon become rich

and powerful. An odious system of monopoly and


tyranny has hitherto cramped its energies: for
the governors of the Egyptian provinces, being
only appointed for an uncertain time, felt them
selves entirely dependent on the caprice of a
despot; and having no salary but what they could
extort from the people, were the scourges of the
countries over which they ruled. Like their own
locusts, they withered wherever they came; and
the regions through which they passed were in
stantly deprived of all that could render life de
sirable. A free and enlightened government,
equally removed from despotism and anarchy, is

indeed all that Egypt wants to make her one of the

or Noivrm.zrm ArnxcA.

255

wealthiest and most ourishing nations on the


face of the globe.
Abyssinia is so closely connected with Egypt,
that it seems proper to insert the little that is
known of its history in this place; though in
deed it seems like quitting the walks of real life
to wander in the mazes of ction. This place is
chiey interesting on accountof its early conver
sion to Christianity, and from the few scattered

sects of Christians which have sprung up in


its territory, and are now spread over Central
Africa. It appears probable, from the intimate
relations which Abyssinia has always maintained
with Arabia, that the opinion is correct, which
supposes the natives to be the descendants of the
Cushite Arabs; of whom we hear nothing pre

vious to the time of the celebrated Queen of


Sheba, who is said to have been their sovereign,

and who travelled to Jerusalem to prove Solo


mon with hard questions. The descendants of
the son she is reported to have borne to the king
of the Jews, are thought to have reigned till the
year B. c. 960; but we have no recorded events of
their histoiy, until A. D. 330, when Christianity

was introduced into Abyssinia, during the reign


of the brothers Abraha and Azbaha.
In 522, King Elesbaan formed an alliance with
the Emperor Justinian, and fought in several
campaigns in Arabia against the Jews and the
Coreishites. The Zogaic dynasty reigned three
hundred and forty years; and it was Saliba, one
of the kings of this race, who caused those
churches to be cut in the solid rock, of which so

many descriptions have been given.

In 1368 a

256

crvn. HISTORY

branch of the old Solomonic dynasty was restored,


and twenty years ago it was still in possession
of the throne. Amda Zion and Zara Jacob were
celebrated princes of this race ; the latter of whom
sent ambassadors to Florence. The connexion
ofAbyssinia with Portugal began under DavidlII.;
and his son Claudius had to contend against
two formidable enemies, being attacked on one

side by the ferocious Mahometans, who sought


to subdue his kingdomand on the other by the
intriguing missionaries of the Portuguese (de
spatched for that purpose from their settlements
onthe eastern coast), who laboured to subject
him to the authority of the pope; and in 1542,
sent him a body of auxiliaries under the command
of Christopher de Gama, to assist him in his wars
against the Moors.

Abyssinia, however, did not

nally submit to Rome till 1620, when father


Paez prevailed on King Socinios to declare pub
licly for the church of Rome. The result of this

step was, twelve years of the bloodiest civil wars


that have ever desolated any country,

and

which were only put an end to by the total ex


pulsion of the Romish partisans, in 1632, by the
king Basilides, who secured the exclusive sway of
the Abyssinian church. ' This cut off the inter
course of Abyssinia from Europe; consequently,

we are acquainted with little more of their history:


but in 1691, Yasoos I. sent an embassy to Ba
tavia.
_
_
Yasoos II. spent his leisure hours in studying
the arts, particularly architecture; but he unfortu

nately counteracted the benets which might


have resulted from the reign of so enlightened a

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

1257

monarch by marrying a princess belonging to


one of the Galla tribes; for his successor by

this marriage gave rise to civil wars, which


deluged the kingdom with blo_od; and, by con
ferring the principal government appointments
upon Gallas, he disgusted his own subjects. At the
time of Bruces visit, King Tecla Haimanut had
succeeded in quieting these troubles; but he was
dethroned by a rebel prince, and the country again
left a prey to anarchy. The latest accounts of
Abyssinia are derived from Mr. Salt, from which it
appears that the Ras, or governor, of Tigre, supports a nominal sovereign, who lives at Axum;
while Guxo, a Galla chief, has set up another

monarch in Gondar. Probably when Mehemet Ali


has time to turn his attention again southward,
he will reconcile these divisions, by incorporating
both their kingdoms with his own. A striking
similitude, indeed, exists between Egypt, Nubia,
and Abyssinia; and the three united under a

powerful and intelligent sovereign would make a


most noble empire. Rich as the country is in
vegetable, mineral, and animal productions, and

watered by a magnicent river (the Nile), navi

gable for above a thousand miles; it is only to be


lamented, that it should be comparatively lost; and

any circumstance which would tend to throw open


its commerce to the world at large, must be hail
ed with pleasure by every well-wisher to mankind.
While, however, this account is printing, a
rumour has reached Europe, of the death of

Mehemet Ali; an event which, happen when it

will, may materially alter the condition and pro


spects of all these regions.
s

258

crvrr. amour

CHAPTER XVII.

' STATES or BARBARY.

THE ancient division of what is now called


Barbary, was into the two Mauritanias, Nurnidia,
Cyrene, Gaetulia, and Carthage. The chief city

ofthe latterwas built by Dido, sister of Pygmalion,


king of T re, about two hundred years before the
siege of roy; but its history is a complete
blank till the period of the rst Punic war, when
the Romans and Carthaginians were both called
in to aid the inhabitants of Sicily in their do-.
Inestic broils. A short time previous to the com
mencement of this celebrated war, Agathocles,
tyrant of Syracuse, invaded the territories of

Carthage, and burnt his ships to prevent the


ossibility of retreat. The events of the three
gunic wars, the fate of Regulus, the contests

between the Scipios and Hamilcar and Hannibal,


together with the nal destruction of Carthage,
B. c. 146, are all well known; as are also the in

tentions of Caius Gracchus, Julius Caesar, and


Augustus,to rebuild the city. It is notcertain when
this was done; but Strabo speaks of Carthage as

or IQBTHEBN ArswA-

259

being large and ourishing in the time Of Tiberius- ;


and after the Christian era, when Northern Africa

became quite a colony for the early converts, the


bishops of Carthage, and the patriarchs of Alex,
andria, ranked amongst the highest ecclesiastical
dignitaries.
In the reign of Marcus Aurelius, Carthage
was again consumed; but the bounty of the em
peror made it ample reparation for its losses, It
was the imperial capital during the transient
reign of the Gordians ; shared in the persecu
tions of the Christians in the reign of Valerian;
was the head-quarters of the sect of Donatists
during a very long period; and the memorable
schism which disturbed the peace of Christianity

in Africa for more than three hundred years, took


its rise from a dispute as to the right of this city
to the primacy. Cyprian suffered martyrdom
here, A. n. 258; Maxentius reduced it to ashes,

in 312; and Genseric, king of the Vandals, took


it, with all the other cities of North Africa, in

439. Tripoli was part of the domain of Carthage


till that country became a Roman province.

Shortly after the commencement of the Christian


era, the cities of Oca, Leptis, and Sabrata, formed
themselves into a confederation, which was called

Tripolis, from being composed of three cities.

The aborigines of Numidia are said to be the


descendants of Phut, son of Ham; but the
remotest account we have of that country is from
the settlements of the Phaanicians on the coast.

Numidia fell very early under the sway of Car


thage, and remained tributary to that state, till

Masinissa, king of Numidia, took advantage of


s 2

'.QGO

crvrr. HISTORY

the contest between Carthage and Rome, in the


Punic wars, to throw off the yoke. He after
wards assisted Rome against the Carthaginians;
and the Romans not only aided him in his wars
with Syphax, king of Gaetulia, but also in his
quarrel with the Carthaginians, who wished to
re-establish his kingdom entirely under their
power. Numidia maintained its independence,
after the fall of Carthage, till the J ugurthan war

broke out, B. c. ll3.

The country was then

governed by Jugurtha, a lineal descendant of


Masinissa; and the war which bears his name

lasted till he was basely betrayed into the hands

of Sylla, for a sum of money, by his father-in-law


Bocchus, in whom he had conded.
When Julius Caesar had subdued Pompey, in
his struggle for the empire of Rome, the remain
ing forces of that general ed to Numidia, where
they rallied under Scipio and Cato, J uba the
monarch of the country joining in their cause.

The consequences were fatal to the allies, for they


were defeated by Caesar. Scipio and Juba pe
rished in their ight, and Cato (the last real re
publican of Rome) killed himself at Utica near
Carthage, B. c. 46. Juba, the son of the de
ceased monarch, was carried prisoner to Rome;
and when he became of age, Augustus gave him
part of Gaetulia and the two Mauritanias, as a
compensation for the forfeiture of Numidia,
which was incorporated with Rome.
The rst settlement of the Greeks at Cyrene was
B. c. 628,when Battus, with a colony of Lacedae
monians, took possession of this part of Libya, and

built the ve cities subsequently called the Penta

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

261:

polis; but very little is known of the affairs of


that state till the time of Amasis, when it became

subject to Egypt. It was conquered by Alexander


the Great, and continued under the power of the

Ptolemies, till Physcon left it to his illegitimate


son Apion, who bequeathed it to the Romans.
The country was entirely deserted about A.D. 400,
and has since remained a waste.
The' exact boundaries of the ancient Gaetulia

have never been quite correctly dened: but it


is probable that it extended from the borders of
Cyrenaica to the kingdom of Bornou.
It is
supposed that the Gaetulians were the ancestors

of the Mograbin Arabs; but their ancient history


is very obscure, though, according to Livy, a
corps served under Hannibal in the Punic war;

and Sallust says, that some of their disciplined


troops formed part of the army of Jugurtha.
They revolted from Juba, to join Julius Caesar;

and their country seems to have been afterwards


in the power of Augustus, since_we nd him
bestowing it, with the two Mauritanias, upon.
Juba, as an amends for Numidia.

The Gaetu

Iians appear to have been always a rebellious race,


impatient of control, and unsettled in their habits.
Tribes of them were found in Mauritania Proper,
and in Numidia, before the time of the elder
Pliny.
Mauritania Proper, or the Tingitania of the
ancient Romans, corresponds very nearly with
the modern kingdoms of Morocco and Fez. The
Greeks sometimes slightly allude to that country;
but the rst remarkable event we nd recorded
of it, is when its king, Bogud, who was contem

962

rvn. nisroiw

porary with Julius Caesar, assisted him, not only


in Africa, but in Spain; and after Caesars death,
joined Antony against Octavius 2 his subjects,
however, revolted; and Bocchus, the betrayer of

Jugurtha, offering his assistance to Octavius for

a stipulated reward, was by him placed upon the


throne of Tingitania. After the death of Bocchus,
Tingitania became a Roman province, and, with
Mauritania Caesariensis and part o_f Geetulia, was

given by Augustus to Juba, on the occasion be


ore described.

The Mauritanians frequently re

belled against the Roman yoke, and under Pto


lemy, Son of Juba, attempted to set themselves
free; but Ptolemy was putto death by Caligula:
and Mauritania, under the reign of his successor
Claudius, nally made a province of the Roman
empire. _Yet they took part in the contest be
tween Otho and Vitellius, and rose in open re
bellion in the time of Diocletian; After the
abdication of that monarch, Alexander was pro
claimed lieutenant of the troops in Africa, but
" was soon defeated by Maxentius.

Boniface, the Roman governor of Africa, revolted, A.D. 427, and called in the assistance of
Genseric, king of the Vandals, who reigned _in

Gallacia; and that monarch in a very short while


obtained possession of nearly the whole of Roman
Africa, and compelled Boniface (who soon re
pented his imprudence) to take shelter in Hippo
Regius, where he sustained a_ long siege. The
Romans were, in the end, expelled from Africa; and
Genseric reascended the throne. He was a tyrant,
and oppressed his subjects, as did all his succes

sors, till 1.1:. 630, when Gelimer usurped his

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

263

kingdom. About this time the Emperor Justinian


intrusted Belisarius with an army to recover
Africa, and in 533 he landed on the Cartha
ginian coast. A battle ensued, in which Gelimer
was defeated, and forced to y into the deserts

of Numidia, whilst Carthage threw open her


gates to welcome herdeliverer.

Gelimer raised

a fresh army, but without success; and in three

months Belisarius had achieved the conquest of


Africa. The desolation which followed was ex
cessive; Moors and Vandals alike fell victims;

and the whole nation of the latter, amounting to


above a hundred and sixt thousand warriors, ex
clusive of women and chi dren, were either driven

back to Spain, or annihilated, with the exception of


afew who took refuge in the valleys of MountAtlas,
where a small tribe of their descendants yet re

main; strikingly distinguished by their blue eyes


and light hair, from the dark-complexioned Moors
in their vicinity.

Procopius asserts that ve mil

lions of Africans lost their lives by violent deaths


during the reign of Justinian !
The subjugation of Northern Africa was at

tempted by Caliph Othman, in 649; and was


nally eected, after various alternations of for
tune, by Akbar, about 670; the Mahometans, as
usual, imposing their religion upon the con uered.
Damia, queen of the Berbers, made an e ort in

682, to restore the independence of her country;


but was soon reduced to submission.

Akbar

laid the foundation of Cairwan, about fty


miles from Tunis; and this city became after
wards the seat of em ire.

The B zantines were

not nally banished rom Africa ti I 698, when a

264

CIVIL msronr

decisive engagement took place near Utica, and


they were obliged to y; Africa being thus re
duced to a province of the empire of the Saracens.
The Saracenic Moors invaded Spain in 710; but

the history of the Moorish rule in that country


belongs to the annals of Europe, rather than to
those of Africa. The rst political change in the
government of Morocco, under the Saracens, was
brought about by the ight thither of Edris, a
descendant of Mahomet, in 768. He was received
as king; and his son Edris II. built the city of
Fez.
About this time the Saracenic governor of Car
thage formed that territory into an independent
state, of which Tunis was the capital. The house
of Edris continued to reign in Fez till Mahadi
Abdallah, the descendant of Fatima, raised his
standard on the African coast, conquered the

whole country, and established the dynasty of the


Fatimite sovereigns in Barbary, A.D. 908. Mo'z,
a. descendant of Mahadi, subsequently subdued
Egypt; and for two hundred years the Fatimites
reigned over the whole of Northern Africa. After
the conquest of Egypt, the government of Barbary
was conded to Joseph, or Yusuf, Belkin,' son of
Zeiri; and the Zeirides ruled over the north

western provinces till 1056, when they were driven

to Tunis by the prophet Abdallah, who raised


the standard of revolt. Military adventurers,when

united by religious enthusiasm, are almost always


successful ; and the followers of this prophet,

calling themselves Morabeths, or Men of Fait ,


took arms under Abu-bekr, son of Omar, and

put an end to the dynasty of the Fatimites, in

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

265;

Western Barbary, in 1176. Yusuf Ben" Tessn_


succeeded Abu-bekr; and having discovered some
fountains of ne water in the desert, founded
there the city of Morocco, to which he transferred

the seat of empire.

The kingdom of Fez was

joined to that of Morocco by this prince.


The reputation acquired by Joseph Ben Tess
n was so great, that, in 1097, the Mahometan

kings of Spain offered him the supreme sove

reignty~ of their states.

Joseph accepted the

offer; and passing into Andalusia, appeared before


them on his thickly-mailed camel, conquered
Seville and its environs, and sent the Great Emir
of that town a prisoner across the Straits; where

the unfortunate Motamed was supported by his


daughter, who by her skill in embroidery procured
the captive prince the necessaries of life. Some
of the poetry which Motamed composed in his
aliction is still extant.

It was about this period that the famous Cid so


eminently distinguished himself against the Moors.
He fought under Alphonso VI. king of Castile,
who alone seemed able to offer any resistance to
the formidable Joseph Ben Tessn. This Moorish
prince, on his return from Spain, proclaimed the
Gazia, or war of reiigiona kind of Mahometan
crusade ; and died at Morocco in 1110, possessor

not only of his African empire, but also of Anda


lusia, Murcia, and Granada.
The dynasty of the Morabeths continued, with
some triing changes, to rule over Western Bar-.
bary, and part of Spain, till Mahadi Mohammed,

son of Abdallah, rose in arms to check some


abuses in religion, and, with the assistance of

266

ervIL msromr

Abd-el-Mumen, a powerful leader of Tlemsan,


founded the confederation of the Mowaheddins,

or "worshippers of the true God.

Their aid

was rst solicited by the Zeirides of Tunis, who,

in the course of their long dominion in Africa,


had alternately gained and lost possession of the

island of Sici y; and whose king, Roger, at last


threatened them with invasion, but was driven
back by the arms of the Mowaheddins. This
victory encouraged Abd-el-Mumen to lay siege
to Morocco, which he took, after losing a hun

dred thousand men in the effort. The Mowa


heddins then successively attacked and subdued
all the minor states, till they extended their domi-s
nions from Egypt to the shores of the Atlantic.
One of the most celebrated descendants of
Abdsel-Mumen, was Abu-Jacob, surnamed Al
mansor, who was proclaimed emperor, in 1184,
and soon recovered the dominions, both in Africa
and Spain, of which his predecessors had been

deprived. That monarch published a new Gazia,


or Crusade, of the Moslems; and marched {into

Europe with a large army, avowedly to extend


the empire of the Crescent.

After a series of

brilliant victories in Spain, he returned to Africa


in 1197 ; and having executed a marabout, whom

he had promised to pardon, he is said to have


left his throne, and set out on a private pilgrimage
to Mecca, in expiation of his crime; though it is
probable that he was secretly put to death by the
friends of the marabout.

Almansor's son, Mahomet Ben Nasser, suc


ceeded him in 1210; and lost the greater part of

the Moorish dominion: in Spain, being defeated by

or NORTIIERN AFRICA.

267

Alphonso IX., 16th July, 1212, Mahomts em


pire was thrown into the most deplorable anarchy
by his death; and, after some shortlived sove

reigns, it at last submitted to Abdallah, the rst


of the race of the Benemerins. Ben Joseph
came after Abdallah; and under him Morocco

was separated from Spain. Several monarchs


followed, of whom very little is known, save that
they made occasional unsuccessful efforts to re
cover their dominions in Spain. Abdallah, the
last of the Benemerins, was slain by an inhabitant
of Fez, who being himself a sherif, or descendant

of Mahomet, was proclaimed king.

The ambi

tious sherif did not long retain his power, but was
deposed by Muley Shaih, the rst of the Merini,
a branch of the Benemerins. But the family of
the Merini were unable to maintain their autho

rity; and the whole of Western Barbary was again


in a state of insubordination.
It was about this time (1414) that Don John,
king of Portugal, advanced into Western Barbary,

and took the fortress of Ceuta: his successor


however, having lost a battle near Tangiers,
agreed to return the fortress, if permission were
granted him to retreat; and left his son, a young

prince, as hostage for his fullment of the con


tract, which, strange to say, was never perform=

ed; for the youth was suffered to remain in the


hands of the Indels till his death, which did
not happen till many years afterwards. The
Abuhadae, who had obtained possession of
Tunis, having molested some navigators on the
Mediterranean sea, Louis IX., on his return from

the unsuccessful expedition into_Egypt, invaded

268"

crvrr. HISTORY

Barbary, and laid siege to Tunis; but he died. of


disease before its walls, and acquired the title of
Saint as a reward for what he had intended to
achieve.

This was the most brilliant era of the Moorish


history.

Literature ourished at Fez; and on

the anniversary of the birth-day of the Prophet,


poets annually contended for the prize of song:
8. eet horse, a beautiful slave, or an embroidered
robe, being the rewards bestowed. The land was
well cultivated; the cities full of wealthy inha
bitants, and adorned with magnicent palaces;
and the ports crowded with ships.
This pro
sperity doubtless arose from the sudden inux of
the polished Moors of Spain, who, in I492, were

driven from their last stronghold in the kingdom


of Granada by Ferdinand and Isabella.

Seven

hundred and seventy-seven years had elapsed


since the Moorish Saracens rst established them
selves in Spain; and the remains which still

exist attest the magnicence of their sway.


They introduced arts and sciences; their example
promoted a taste for the elegant luxuries of life ;

and they gave birth to that romantic spirit of

chivalry, mingled with profound devotion to the .


fair sex, which so long distinguished Spain from
all the other nations of Europe.

The expulsion

of the Jews from Spain followed that of the Moors,


and these also ed to Barbary, carrying with them
their immense riches, their fondness for commerce,
and their habits of industry ; the Spanish mo
narchs, from their bigotry, thus losing at one blow
many thousands of their most valuable and pro
ductive subjects.

269
or NORTHERN mmlr.
T At the beginning of the sixteenth century, a
Moor of the province of Daran, in Mount Atlas,
named Mahomet Ben Achmet, and calling himself
a descendant of the Prophet, endeavoured to ob
tain the throne. For this purpose he sent his three
sons on a pilgrimage to Mecca, in 1508; and on
their return, taking advantage of the reputation
they had gained for sanctity, got the eldest,
Achmet, proclaimed king. One of his succes
sors was dispossessed of his dominions by his
uncle, Muley Moloch; and nding himself unable

to recover them without foreign aid, he applied to


Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, who, in spite of
the advice of all his friends, embarked with a ne
army for Africa, in 1577.

The fate of this un

fortunate monarch is well known: he was killed

in battle; though, as his body was never found,


his subjects long cherished the hope of his re
turn. Muley Achmet, brother to Moloch, suc
ceeded him; and was the last descendant of the

sherifs. Muley Sidan began to reign in 1603,


and his family continued to sway the sceptre
till 1647; when Muley Achmet Shah was put

to death by the Berbers of Mount Atlas, who


placed one of their own body, Crom El Hadgy,
on the throne._ The Moors of Talet, however,
made a pilgrimage to Mecca in the reign of his
successor, and brought thence a sherif, named

Muley Ali (a native of Medina), whose descend


ants are still sovereigns of Morocco. The mo
narchs of this dynasty have been mostly bigoted
and ferocious; but Sidi Mahomet, who reigned
in 1757, showed more enlightened feelings, and

concluded treaties with several European king

270

doms.

crvrr. HISTORY

He promoted commerce, and established

merchants at the principal ports in his kingdom.


He died in 1790; and was succeeded by his son,
Muley Ze_zid, now the reigning monarch.

The present city of Algiers was built about the


time of the nal expulsion of the Moors from
Spain.

Its rst sovereigns were Saracens; but

Entemi, king of Algiers at the beginning of the

sixteenth century, was so alarmed at the progress


of the Spanish army, which, under the administra
tion of Cardinal Ximenes, bad seized some im

portant places in Africa, that he called to his


assistance the two pirates, Horne and Hayraddin,
already celebrated for their victories against the

Christians. Horne came to Algiers at the head


of ve thousand mendesperadoes from all na.
tions, who had been compelled to y from their
native countries to avoid the punishment due to
their crimes. This band assassinated Entemi,
established themselves in his stead, drove the
Spaniards from Barbary, and for some time set
the united forces of Christendom at deance.
The Spaniards, however, returned, and uniting
their troops with those of some of the expelled
Saracen princes, attacked and defeated Horne,

who was slain. He was succeeded by his bro

ther Hayraddin, who, under the name of Bar


barossa, became the terror of all the surrounding
states.

Tunis had continued, after the death of Louis


IX., to ourish under its independent sovereigns

unmolested by any foreign power ; but was now


invaded by Barbarossa, who, partly by force and
partly by treachery, gained possession of the whole

or NORTHERN AFRICA.

971

territory. Charles V., Em eror of German , was

at this time in the zenith o his might; and uley


Hassan,the exiled King ofTunis,applied to him for
assistance against the invader. This aid was readily
anted; for the piracies and atrocious cruelty of

garbarossa towards his prisoners had already ren


dered him so dangerous a neighbour to the coasts
of Spain and Italy, that the emperor was ghting
in his own cause as well as that of the fugitive

prince. The army of Charleslseized the Goletta, '


a strong fortress on an island in the bay, and
then turned its cannon against the town. Bar
barossa was defeated in a pitched battle; and ten

thousand Christian slaves conned in Tunis, hav


ing knocked off their fetters, and made themselves
masters of the citadel, he was obliged to surrender

and restore the sceptre to Muley Hassan, who


agreed to acknowledge himself a vassal of Spain,

and delivered all the fortied seaports in his king


dom into the emperors hands. After making this
treaty, Charles returned to Europe, having deli.
vered twenty thousand Christian slaves from bond
age. Tripoli was given by him to the Knights of
Rhodes, on their expulsion from their own island
by the Turks, in 15522.
When driven from Tunis, Barbarossa ed to
Bona, where he employed himself in recruiting
his. scattered forces; but fearing that he should
be unable, alone, to contend with the armies of
Christendom, he put his dominions under the
Turkish emperor Solyman; who, delighted to have
an opportunity of obtaining the whole empire
of the ancient Saracen caliphs, treated Barbarossa

with the most attering distinction, and gave him

979

CIVIL HISTORY

the command of the Ottoman eet.

While Bar

barossa was thus engaged, Algiers was governed


by his deputy, Hassan, by whose piracies the
.commerce of the Mediterranean was destroyed:

and watch-towers were obliged to be erected on


the coast of Spain to protect the inhabitants from
his depredations. At length, the indignation of
the Christian powers was roused; and Charles

once more prepared to visit the coast of Bar


bary. This was the most unsuccessful expedi
tion of his life; for he had no sooner landed
near Algiers, than a tremendous hurricane dis

persed his ships; and his land-forces being ex


posed, without support, to the attacks of the bar
barians, he was obliged to retire, having lost an
enormous number of his troops, without accom

plishing any thing worthy of mention.


Barbarossa died at Constantinople shortly after
this event; and his power in the Mediterranean
was seized by Dragoot Rais, a Turkish corsair,
who drove the Knights of Rhodes from Tripoli,

and made that state the resort of all the pirates


that ravaged the neighbouring coasts under
Turkish colours. From this time the Porte con

tinued to send governors to Algiers, Tunis, and


Tripoli, all three having gradually fallen into the
power of the Corsairs. These governors were
called Pashas when they were receivers of the
revenue, and Beys when they were military com

manders : the three establishments bearing the ap


pellation of Regencies, from being originally only
deputed governments, dependant on the Sublime
Porte. By degrees, the Moors began to choose

their own pashas, though the castle was still

or nonrnnnn AFRICA.

273

garrisoned by Turkish troops, changed at pleasure


by the Porte. At length, in 1714, Hamet, a pasha
_of Tripoli, massacred the garrison in that city,
and, taking the sway into his own hands, esta
blished the present Moorish dominion. He also
subdued the Sultan of Fezzan, and made him

tributary to Tripoli. Notwithstanding the manner


in which pashas of Tripoli thus threw off the au
thority of the Porte, they still nominally recog
nised its power, by paying a small tribute, in re
turn for which they obtained the sanction of an
imperial rman. The son and grandson of Hamet
succeeded him; but in the reign of the latter, Sidi

Yusuf (one of his sons) rebelled against him,


and contrived, in 1795, to possess himself of the
cit .
The government of Tunis has been for the last
two centuries administered by beys, who have
followed each other almost in hereditary order.
Hamooda Pasha Bey, who succeeded his father

Ali Bey in 1782, is represented by Blaquiere, and


other travellers, as an excellent prince. The
present bey, Sidi Hassan, ascended the throne in
1824.

Pananti calls the government of Algiers a


species of military republic, with a despot at its
head. It is composed of the dey, who is elected

by the soldiers, the Turkish janisaries, and the


divan; but who generally acts without consult

ing the others: his power is absolute while it


lastswhich is not long ; for a dey of seven years
standing is considered a kind of miracle. Captain
Smyth, in a clever article upon Algiers, in the
United Service Journal for July, 1830, says, that
'1

274

crvrr. msronv

he never heard of more than one bey who died in


his bed, and he had the plague!
It would take too long to give even a slight
sketch of the numerous deys who have ruled Al
giers; but as the late expedition of the French
has given an interest to the previous ones against
it, we will just briey enumerate the leading
events of those which have been most celebrated.
We have already stated, that when Charles V.

attacked the city in the time of Barbarossa, he .


was obliged to retire with loss and disgrace.
Louis XIV. was not more successful in bombard
ing it, although at the height of his power. The
reigning dey is said to have exclaimed, when told
how many millions Algiers had cost the Grand
Monarque, If he had given me half the sum,

I would have razed the city to the ground. In


1775, the Spanish government sent out a power
ful armament against it, under General Count

OReilly; but owing to the ignorance and_dis


union of the officers it completely failed. The
piracies of the Algerines after this became worse
than ever, and their cruelty to Christian slaves
was so great, as to rouse the indignation of the
European powers; so that in 1816, the British

government tted out a eet upder Lord Exmouth,


to bring the dey to terms. Alarmed at the appear
ance of so large an armament, he consented to
put an end to his piracies, and to release one thou

sand seven hundred and ninety-two Christian pri


soners from their chains.

The British ships, how

ever, had no sooner withdrawn, than he forgot his


engagements, and cruelly massacred a number of
defenceless Christians who had come from the

or NORTIIERN AFRICA.

opposite coast of Europe.

2'75

These persons being

considered under the protection of Great Britain,

the English government sent out another eet,


also under Lord Exmouth, to call the dey to an
account for his conduct. He refused to comply
with the terms proposed to him; and the con
sequence was, the bombardment of the place.
The Algerines fought very well for ve hours;

but nding their city and navy both in ames,


they surrendered, and the dey made every con

cession that was required of him. The principal


conditions of the treaty were, the liberty of all
the Christian slaves in his dominions, and the

abolition of Christian slavery. The dey with


whom this treaty was concluded was named
Omar Pasha. The present dey, Hussan Pasha,
is the third since Omar was assassinated.
The late French expedition arose out of an
affair of a merel commercial nature. In the
reign of Louis XV . it appears, that two Algerines,
merchants, residing at Marseilles, entered into a
speculation to supply the French government
with corn, in which transaction the reigning dey
had privately an interest. Disputes arose as to
the quality of the corn; and payment was delayed

till the matter could be investigated. In the


mean time the French Revolution broke out, and
all business was suspended. The Algerines, how
ever, were not satised; and as soon as the power

of Napoleon was established, brought forward


their claims.

He would not listen to them ; and

the dispute continued unsettled till the restoration


of the Bourbons, when the cause was legally tried
in a French court of jurisprudence, and it was
'1 2

276

crvrn nrsrorw or NORTHERN AFRICA.

decided that the Algerines were entitled to about

fourteen millions of francs, half of which belonged


to the merchants, and the other half to the dey.
The share of the former was instantly paid; but

that due to the dey was postponed till certain


rights were conceded to the French government.
He did not approve of this delay; and in a con
ference with the French consul upon the subject,
is said to have so far forgotten himself as to strike
the latter with the large feather fan which he
carried in his hand. Such an insult could not
be forgiven; and the result was a war. The French
expedition, provided with every thing that could
ensure success, sailed 14th June, l830,under the

Count de Bourmont; and their troops rst occupied


the peninsula of Sidi al Furruch. They then at
tacked and made themselves masters of the Fort
of the Emperor, which commanded the town,

and prepared to bombard it on the land side,


whilst the eet assailed it from the sea. The dey
was thunderstruck at these operations; for he and
his subjects had supposed the fort to be impreg
nable, and when they saw it taken, were unable
to resist any longer. The regency was abolished;
and the dey, reduced to the rank of a private
citizen, embarked with his personal riches, which
were spared, on board a French ship, to take

refuge in Italyat the very moment when the


power which had overthrown him, was itself

overthrown in France.Sic transit gloria mundi!

CHAPTER XVIII.
.

INLAND AND MARITIME DISCOVERIES IN AFRICA.

So little is known of the internal changes of


Central and Southern Africa, that a short sketch

of the early voyages and discoveries of its coast


may be said to comprise its entire history. The
rst expedition reported to have been undertaken
towards its southern quarter, is that mentioned

by Herodotus, of the Phoenicians sent by Nechos.


The whole story seems rather apocryphal, and rests
chiey on the tales narrated by the navigators, of
the altered position of the sun and stars a. fact
which they could have had no means of discover
ing, however, had they not actually made the

voyage.

If they really did perform it, they were

the rst that ever passed the equator; for till that

period mankind had believed the world to be a


at surface, terminating at the Pillars of Hercules
which were so named, because that hero was

supposed to have reached them, and thus touched


the extreme limits of the habitable globe. The
second voyage round Africa was made by Sataspes,
a Persian nobleman, who, being sentenced by

Xerxes to be crucied, had his punishment com

278

DISCOVERIES

muted to sailing round Africa.

He failed, and

was executed on his return.


The next endeavour was in the time of Ptolemy
Evergetes II. by Eudoxus, who traded with
some nations on the eastern coast.

After this,

no adventurer attempted the expedition till


Hanno, a Carthaginian, sailed, 1s.c. -570: he is
imagined to have reached Sierra Leone. Polybius
also tried to examine the western coast, but
doesinot
seem to have found out any new re

gion. No other voyage to Africa is upon record,


till the beginning of the thirteenth century, when
the Spaniards discovered the Canaries. This
excited .the emulation of the Portuguese; though
nothing effectual was done by them till 1412,
when John I. sent some vessels to explore the
Western coast of Africa; which proceeded to
Cape Bojador, but were unable to pass that for
midable promontory. Prince Henry of Portugal,
however, roused his countrymen to more success..
ful exertions. An expedition which he sent to
try to get beyond the dreadful cape, descried
the island of Madeira; and Prince Henry nding
that the climate was suitable to the cultivation of
the vine and the sugar-cane, had both planted
there; so that to him we owe our excellent Ma

deira wines. The success of this voyage stimulated

the Portuguese to fresh efforts, and in 1433 they


succeeded in passing Cape Bojador; and a few
years afterwards discovered the river Senegal,

and the whole coast extending from Cape Blanco


to Cape de Verde. The Cape de Verde islands
and the Azores were the next step: these were

found in the years 1449 and 1450.

It was not,

IN Avalon.

279

however, till 1471 that the navigators crossed the


equinoctial line.

They now began to think of turning their dis


coveries to some account; and seeing the quan
tities of gold, ivory, and other valuable products,
which abound on the coast of Senegambia, they
determined to endeavour to eect a settlement
there; but Nunez de Tristao being murdered by

the natives, in attempting to ascend a. branch of


the Gambia to select a spot, the Portuguese xed
on an insular situation, as being more secure, and
established their rst colony in the isle of Arguin.
Soon after, Bermoy, a native prince of the J aloofs,
arrived at Arguin, to supplicate the aid of the

Portuguese against some rival sovereign.

Such

applications usually end in the destruction of


the suppliant; and the fate of the unfortunate
Bermoy was no exception to the general rule.

The Portuguese, delighted to gain a footing in the


interior, promised him assistance, and sent him
to Lisbon, that he might see what potent
auxiliaries he had obtained.

He was, of course,

astonished at all he heard and saw; and gave in

his turn splendid accounts of Timbuctoo and


the cities in the interior of Africa. Amongst
other things he mentioned a powerful nation of
Christians, headed by a chief whom he called
Prester, or Priest, John, and who seems to have

united the civil and ecclesiastical authority in


his own person. This mysterious individual con..
tinued for many years the grand magnet that
attracted the attention of the Portuguese towards
Africa; and, like chemists searching for the phi

losophers stone, though they did not nd exactly

280.

mscovmunh

what they sought, they made many far more


valuable discoveries in the pursuit.
'
After baptizing Bermoy, with almost ridiculous
pomp and ceremony, and investing him with the
dignity of a Portuguese nobleman, in 1489 an ex
pedition sailed to reinstate him in his rights; but

unfortunately some misunderstanding taking place


between Pero Vaz the Portuguese commander,
and Bermoy, the former stabbed the latter to the
heart.

The pestilential inuence of the climate,

which had already commenced its ravages on the


European constitution, aided the effect produced
by this melancholy event ; and the fort that
the Portuguese.had begun to build on the banks
of the Senegal was abandoned.

The armament,

however, continued in the river, and embassies


were sent to all the neighbouring sovereigns;
amongst whom were a king of Timbuctoo, a
Mandingo chief, and a king of the Foullahs,
with each of whom a commercial intercourse was
. established.

In the mean time another body of the Portu


guese had erected the fort of Elmina on the Gold
Coast; and the king of Portugal, John II., in vir

tue of this possession, added the epithet Lord


of Guinea to his other titles. Diego Cam was
soon after despatched to examine the southern
line of coast, with directions to raise a pillar
of stone, bearing the royal arms in an escutcheon
surmounted by a cross, wherever he should land.
The order was obeyed; and Diego entered the
mouth of the river Zaire, when he hazarded a

most extraordinary expedient.for improving the


acquaintance between the Portuguese and the

fl? AFRICA.

natives.

281

He sent a number of his countrymen

ashore to explore the interior ; and then inviting


several of the principal inhabitants on board, he

set sail, making signs that he would return again,


and that he left his comrades as hostages. Strange
to say, this adventure was followed by no unplea

sant results. The Portuguese were well treated by


the natives of Congo; and the Negroes came back
in safety, delighted with thewonders they had seen.
The consequence was, the conversion of nearly
the whole nation to Christianity; and in April
1490, the foundation of a Christian church was

laid in the capital of Congo; the people con


tinuing for more than two hundred years after
wards to profess at least a nominal adherence to
the doctrines of Catholicism. The labours of the
missionaries during this period throw a consider
able light on the neighbouring country; but the
good fathers seem to have been bent rather upon
inculcating the subtleties of their faith, than its
broad and general principles; and their minds
appear to have been so contracted by the ab
sorbing nature of their religious opinions, that
they were unable to take full advantage of the
opportunities afforded them. They had eyes, but
they did not see, or at least they did not clearly
relate what they saw; and of course they added

but little to the progress of science, or the ad


vancement of useful knowledge.
Soon after the conversion of the Negroes at
Congo, Fernando Po discovered the island which
bears his name. This navigator seems to have
been endued withthat happy spirit which makes
every thing appear in its brightest colours; for,

282

prscovanrss

judging by the names he bestowed, all that he


saw was attractive in his eyes. He called the
island, with the river and the town of Benin, Al

Formosa (beautiful), and built a church and


factory upon the coast.
These repeated successes encouraged the Por
tuguese monarch to prosecute further inquiries
towards the south; and the conduct of an ex

pedition was intrusted to Bartholomew DiaZ

the rst European mariner who reached the


Cape.

The geography of Ptolemy had pre

viously given an idea, that the continent of


Africa spread out southward, like the base of a
vast pyramid; hence the Portuguese sailors were

much astonished to nd it slope inwards, or like

the apex of a pyramid: they followed theline of


coast, however; and in process of time reached the

bold promontory which forms the southern ex__


tremity of the peninsula. To this Diaz gave

the name of the Stormy Cape, because tremendous


winds rendered it impossible for him to pass it;

but the King of Portugal, who trusted that it

would prove to be the long-sought and much


desired route to India, called it the Cape of Good

Hope.
The progress of discovery in Africa was about
this time checked by the voyages of Columbus,
which led the bent of men's thoughts into another
channel. In 1497, however, Vasco de Gama was

sent with a small squadron to search along the


coast; and he succeeded, with innite difficulty,

in doubling the Cape.

He then directed his

course to the north-east, and explored nearly the

whole of the Eastern coast of Africa.

He gives a

rn AFRICA.

283

long account of the ourishing city of Melinda,


where he says he found several vessels from India:
and under the conduct of a Mahometan pilot, he
at length reached Calicut, in May, 1498.

The English having made several successful


voyages to Barbary, became tired of being ex
cluded from the coast of Guinea: the London
merchants, therefore, in deance of the Portu
guese, sent two vessels thither in 1553 ; and though
the rst voyage was unfavourable, many prosperous
ones were afterwards undertaken. Some French

ships from Dieppe" also visited the African coasts;


but from the dreadful ideas entertained of the
diiculty of passing the Cape, no other nation
ventured beyond Guinea, till Sir Francis Drake,
in his celebrated voyage round the world in 1580,
performed this hazardous navigation with perfect
ease. In the mean time, reports had been circu
lated of the existence of an African El Dorado at
Tinibuctoo; and George Thompson, a Barbary
merchant, rst commenced those inquiries after
that celebrated cit , which have since been at

tended with such isastrous consequences. He


ascended the Gambia as far as Tenda, where
he was killed in an affray with his own people.
Captain Jobson, in 1620, also reached the same
point.

In 1723 the Royal African Company (which


had been originally established by a patent of
Queen Elizabeth), attempted to revive the spirit
of African discovery; and the then president, the

Duke of Chandos, despatched Captain Bartholo


mew Stibbs with orders to sail up the Gambia:
but he also was unable to pass Tenda, where in

~ -n_

284

mscovrnnzs

deed the shallows and sandbanks have been such


as to oppose all further advance. The.Afri.:an
Association was formed in 1788, solely for the pur

pose of exploring the unknown regions in the in


terior; but, notwithstanding all its efforts, and

the unquestionable ability of those it has sent out,


it has been attended with no benecial results.
Africa, indeed, appears destined to be- the grave y

of Europeans; and the intricate navigation of her


rivers presents an insuperable bar to the progress
of discovery. The prejudice, also (which has been
before alluded to) of the nativeswho imagine
that the English are come to take their posses
sions from them, and that if they could discover
[

the sources of the rivers, they would soon make

the sea overow its bounds and inundate all their


countryoperates very much against the suc
cess of any expedition; whilst the tales told by
the people to obtain money (often quite false,
though related as facts by those who have bought
them), throw a shade of doubt even on the reports
which have reached us. Too many travellers con
found what they have seen with what they have
heard; and, as savages have sagacity enough
readily to see what stories will be most agreeable,
they shape their inventions accordingly ; and this
may explain the very strange and contradictory
statements gravely made by men of unquestion
able veracity.
An enumeration of the names of late travellers
would resemble an obituary, recalling the most
painful recollections; for what can be more
distressing than the thought that so many highly
gifted and estimable men have lost their lives

IN AFRICA.

285

in an unrewarded pursuit of knowledge? Mungo


Park, Ledyard, Major Laing, Major Denham,

Captain Clapperton, and Dr. Oudney ; the


unfortunate members of the expedition to the
Congo, under Captain Tuckey; Burckhardt,
Bowdich, and many others, have fallen victims.

Yet such is the scientic ardour of the present


day, that new aspirants are continually rising
up: but whether their efforts will ultimately be
crowned with victory, or the interior of Africa

remain for ever shrouded by the cloud that hangs


over it, is a problem, the solution of which is
hidden under the veil of time. This age is,however,
so gifted with talent, energy, and wealth; and cu

riosity has lately been so strongly excited by the


melancholy terminations of all former expeditions
that we think we may safely venture to predict,
if great discoveries are not now effected, they are
never likely to be; and that it is probable the
present generation may live to see all the per
plexing diiculties of African geography, which

have so long puzzled their forefathers, completely


cleared away.

5286

EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS

CHAPTER XIX.
.
EUKOPEAN snrrnnmznrs IN AFRICA.

Tm: attention of the English was not directed


to Africa till a comparatively late period; as
John II. of Portugal, an ally of England, had
assumed the title of Lord of Guinea, and
remonstrated with Edward IV. for his allowing
his subjects to invade a territory already in the
possession of another. The establishment of a
trade with India, also, soon after turned the

thoughts of the English into a different channel ;


and many years passed without our merchants
entertaining an idea of disputing African com
merce with the Portuguese, being content to pur
chase the rich products of Africa from them.
The rst notion of establishing a settlement at
Sierra Leone seems to have been that of making
a free Negro colony. The Portuguese had pre
viously discovered the river,'and given it the
name it still retains; but the settlements they
had formed were of minor importance; and the
English had a small factory on Bance Island,
for the purpose of supplying them with the slaves
purchased for the cultivation of their West Indian

islands.

These slaves were frequently brought

IN AFRICA.

287

to England ; and as, according to the celebrated


decision of Lord Manseld, in 1772, in the case
of the Negro Somerset, no man can be held in
a state of slavery upon the English soil, great
numbers of Negroes came to England with their
masters, and were here turned adrift. These poor
wretches, not having learnt any trade, and being
unentitled to parochial relief, applied in their
distress to an eminent philanthropist of that day,
Mr. Granville Sharp; and, as they at one time
amounted to above four hundred, that gentleman

was induced to adopt a plan which had been


previously suggested by a Mr. Smeathman, and
strongly advocated by the Rev. Mr. Ramsay, for
establishing these liberated Africans at Sierra
Leone. His wishes on the subject were submitted
to the British government,which entered fully into
the measure; and thus (as Wadstrop says, in his
Essay on Colonisation) the rst English settle
ments in Africa were inspired by a desire of pro
moting the interests of humanity, rather than

those of commerce. The death of Mr. Smeath


man threw some obstacles in the way of this pro
ject; but government interposed, and the colo

nists sailed in April, 1787. The season for the


establishment of the settlement seems, however,
to have been inj udiciously chosen; for great num

bers of both Negroes and Europeans died on their


rst landing: the remainder contrived to build a.
small town, which, though not very ourishing,
continued to exist for several years, notwithstand

ing that repeated migrations of portions of its in


habitants seemed to threaten its extinction.

A conrmation of the original grant of land

288

EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS

from the king of the neighbouring districts, and


the arrival of an English ship with a supply
of necessaries, revived the spirits of the colonists;
and the settlement was rapidly advancing, when,
towards the end of the year 1789, they re
ceived formal notice from the great council
of a neighbouring chief, stating that he had re
solved upon burning their town, in revenge for a
similar injury done to his city by the crew of an
English ship; and that he allowed them three days
to remove their goods. The settlers ed in
dismay, and left the infant colony to its fate:
but on this disaster becoming known in England,
a new company was formed (called the St.
Georges Bay Company) to re-establish the
fugitives; and his majesty having granted it
a royal charter of incorporation, the companys
agent, Mr. Falconbridge, set sail with a commis

sion to examine into the exact state of the Sierra

Leone affairs.
Mr. Falconbridge arrived about twelve months
after the dispersion of the settlers; and collect

ing as many of them as he could, established


them at Foorra Bay, about two miles from their
former town. This new settlement received the
name of Granville Town; and though the num
ber of its inhabitants amounted only to sixty
four, it soon began to wear a promising aspect.
The colony was shortly afterwards joined by
some Negroes from America, who had freed
themselves from slavery by enlisting in the British
. army during the war Ill that country, and at
the peace had been sent to Nova Scotia, with

a promise of obtaining there regular allotments

IN AFRICA.

289

of land, but had found the climate insupportable.


These new colonists (to the amount of about
twelve hundred) gave considerable importance to
the Sierra Leone settlement; and a vessel Qwas

sent out by the company, in 1792,carrying with it


above a hundred Europeans. Free Town was
commenced ; but before it was suiciently nish

ed to afford even a temporary shelter, the rainy


season set in, and nearly half the colonists pe
rished. As soon as the weather became more staid,
portions of land were marked out for the settlers,

and the colony now exhibited symptoms of im


provement. A botanical garden was established,
under the care of the celebrated Dr..Afzelius ; and

two plantations begun by the company, as an


example to the settlers, both of which were worked

by free labourers. The site of Free Town was


doubtless the best in that vicinity : but there still
existed much discontent among the colonists; and

in 1792, two delegates from their body presented


a petition to the directors of the company against
the governor, who had been appointed by the
directors. Their complaints were not attended
to; and in a little while after their return, an in

surrection broke out, which menaced the total


annihilation of the colony.
Order was scarcely restored, by the execution
of the ringleaders of this commotion, when a still

more overwhelming calamity befell the settle


ment. This was the destruction of Free Town by
the French, in 1794 ; they having been allured
thither by.the hope of meeting with immense
plunder.

Sierra Leone, however, seemed. des

tined, like Antaeus, to rise with fresh vigour after


U

290

EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS

every effort made to crush it; and, early iii


1795, a slave factory was built on the Rio Par
gos, for the advantage of the company. Fre
Town, in 1798, contained about three hundred

houses and several public buildings, with a po


pulation of nearly twelve hundred souls; and,
in 1799, the directors applied to the British go
vernment for a charter to increase the powers
of the governor and council, who had till then
been unarmed with any legal authority. A char

ter was accordingly granted in 1800, declaring


the settlement a free and independent colony,
and placing the criminal jurisdiction in the hands
of the governor: however, ere it was received,
a rebellion had burst out; and the greater part

of the colonists would have been massacred,


but for the opportune arrival of an English ship,
having on board about ve hundred Maroons,
with a detachment of forty-ve soldiers, under

two officers of his Maj estys 24th regiment. The


rising was now speedily suppressed; and lots
of land were chalked out for the Maroon settlers
near Granville Town, where they built some neat
houses; the English government also advancing
them ve thousand pounds towards erecting a
fort. But, in 1801, a fresh insurrection took place,
headed by some native chiefs and discontented
colonists, which was not nally quelled till the
following year; when, some additional troops
having come from Goree, peace was again ob
tained, and a truce concluded with the natives.
Alarmed at this disturbance, the directors were

induced to present another memorial to the Bri


tish legislature, irnploring more efcient protec-

hr Ariuoa.

29l

tion; but before it arrived, notwithstanding their


truce, the natives a third time attacked the settle

ment; and though they were driven back with se


vere loss, the spirits of the colonists were so much
depressed, that they began to talk seriously
of abandoning the place. About this time the
oicers of the company had become so embar
rassed, that the annual grants made by govern
ment were suspended, and a parliamentary in

quiry instituted in 1803. The report of the com-'


mittee made in 1804, determined the government
to take the settlement into its own hands; and

after a number of delays, a bill passed for trans


ferring the colony to the British crown in 1807,

when the company accordingly resigned it in the


subsequent year. _

From that period the population increased


rapidly, till, from about eighteen hundred, it reck
oned twenty thousand souls; and sixteen towns
were erected, besides Free Town. Notwithstand

ing this apparently ourishing state, the inha


bitants of Sierra Leone were far from being either
contented or prosperous: and this may in some
measure be accounted for, when we recollect that
they were a mingled mass, loosely held together
by the tie of residence, without any of the feelings
of kindred, or love of country, to attach them to
the spot and to each other. They were, besides,
surrounded by enemies, amongst whom were the
native chiefs, who had always looked upon this
colony with a jealous eye ; as well as by the
French and Portuguese slave-dealers,who fancied

its establishment would be likely to injure their


trade.

_
U2

292

rsonornsu SETTLEMENTS

. For almost ten years after the cession of Sierra


Leone to the British government, the colony
continued gradually improving and gaining
strength; but, unfortunately for its lasting pro
sperity, its governors were not regular in their
schemes for its amelioration; and what one did,
was undone by his successor. Macauley ob
serves, that this want of unity was chiey shown
in the treatment of the liberated Africans ; some

of the governors employing them on the public


works, or apprenticing them; while others left
them to take their chance, according to their
own inclinations. Sir Charles MCarthy acted on
the plan of forming them into villages, giving
them religious and civil instruction, and endea
vouring to make them good mechanics and in
dustrious citizens; but his efforts on their behalf
were cut short by the disastrous war which ended
in his death.
This war arose out of the custom adopted by
the African Company, of giving notes for the rents
which were to be paid by the colonists to the na
tive chiefs for the land.
On the conquest of
Fantee, by the King of Ashantee, some of these
notes came into his possession, and the rent was
paid him for a time: quarrels, however, ensued,

and the English having interfered to protect the


Fantees, the Ashantees blockaded Cape Coast
Castle, in 1816, but were at last induced, by

presents, to retire.
In 1817, when Mr. John
Hope Smith was governor of Coast Castle,
it was determined to send an embassy to the
king of the Ashantees; and a Mr. Jones, with

Messrs. Bowdich, Hutchinson, and Tedlie,_were

IN Arnicx.

293

chosen to conduct it. Mr. Bowdich concluded a


treaty with the Ashantees ; but, shortly after, the

king complained that its conditions were not ful


lled. In the mean time Mr. Dupuis, who had
been appointed English consul at Coomassey,
arrived in Africa, and found the king busily

employed in making preparations for war with


Dinkera, king of Ganem.

Whilst the Ashantees

were engaged in this contest, reports were current


in the settlement that the king had been defeated
and killed, and that the victorious Dinkera was ad

vancing against Coomassey. This rumour reached


the ear of the king of the Ashantees, who was
also very much displeased that two Ashantees,
who had been insulted at Commenda, were unable
to obtain redress. He therefore sent a message,
saying, that he was sorry the natives of Coast

Castle were not disposed to be his friends, and


that they talked as if they wanted him to come
amongst them.

It is said that he added, he

would come in forty days and punish them.


Mr. Smith

returned

for

answer, That he

might come in forty or in twenty days if he


thought proper. It appears by the account of
Mr. Dupuis (who, however, it must be allowed,
seems violently prejudiced), that this decisive
step was taken without at all considering the
immense power of the king; who had been, indeed,
for some time, rapidly extending his conquests on
every side, till he had united all the petty nations
of the Mandingoes into one mighty state.
Several palavers were held, and the king de
manded a heavy ne, which the British govern
ment refused to pay. Dupuis then proceeded on

994

nunornau SETTLEMENTS

his mission, which was to coneiliate the Asham


tees, and endeavour to arrange a treaty of peace
and commerce 1

this

last he concluded, the

king previously relinquishing his claim to the


money he had asked. But unhappily the go
vernment at Cape Coast Castle refused to ratify
the treaty; and, having obtained the promise of

Sir George Collier to back their resistance, they


denied the right of the King of Ashantee to the
notes which they had given to the sovereign of
Fantee; Cape Coast having been in the do.
minions of the latter monarch before his defeat
by the Ashantees. The king of this nation after
wards sent ambassadors, who wished to be taken

to England, but this Sir George Collier refused ;


and enraged at the double insult, he declared
War against the English.

At rst, hostilities

went on slowly; and this apparent inactivity on


the part of the Ashantees, encouraged the British
government to despise their proceedings. The
fact was, however, that they were reluctant to

put an end to all hopes of peace,till they were quite


certain that they had no chance of receiving the
sum they had demanded. About this time Sir

Charles MCarthy was appointed governor of all


the English settlements on the coast of Africa,
from the Gambia to the River Volta ; and he left

England with the idea that the Ashantees were


an insignicant people, not able to command an
army of above ten or twenty thousand men.
Sir Charles landed at Cape Coast Castle early
in the year 1822, and found the settlement

closely blockaded by the enemy, all communica


tion with the interior being entirely cut o', His

IN Arnrca.

295

rst objects were to organize the native towns

adjoining the settlements, and to obtain trea


ties of alliance with all the native chieftains in
the vicinity. In the mean time, the Ashanbees
remained perfectly quiet; but, as they continued
the blockade, Sir Charles at length became im
patient, and in November, 1823, he took the

resolution of marching into the interior, and at


tacking the king of the Ashantees in his own

territories. It was not, however, till the following


year, 1824, that the struggle really commenced ;
but, as "report had unluckily underrated the num
ber of the enemy, Sir Charles divided his troops

into four bodies, and proceeded into the heart of


the country. The consequence was, that his
small force was defeated, and himself killed.
Peace was soon after concluded ; and the colony

has remained in nearly its previous state ever since.


A plan has lately been suggested of removing it to

the island of Fernando Po, in the hope that the


climate there may be less fatal than on the
coast.

At a short distance from Sierra Leone, on the


Windward Coast, an American colony has been
formed, composed principally of liberated Afri
cans, and called Liberia. Monrovia is the chief
town, and contains about a thousand inhabitants ;

several nations along the coast have been added


to this settlement; and its whole appearance is
extremely ourishing, particularly considering its
very recent establishment, which was only a few
years ago.
The rst settlement at the Cape of Good Hope
was by the Dutch, in 1652. Foraconsiderable time

296

EUROPEAN SET"iL'EMENTS

they acted honestly towards the natives, paying


them for their cattle, in beads, tobacco, and bran
dy._ But as the colonists increased,the Hottentots

gradually ebbed away ; and the strangers steadily


advancing, xed their stone houses wherever they
penetrated, and drove the natives into the woods;
Some of the latter, indeed, were taken for serv
ants, but this was only of short duration ; since a

very little while elapsed before the quarrels be


tween the two races disturbed the peace of the
settlement. Each party complained of the bad
propensities of the other, and perhaps with equal
justice; but, as usual in such cases, the weakest
was the sufferer: and, in the year 1774, the whole

tribe of Bushmen or Hottentots who had not sur


rendered, were ordered by the government to be

extirpated. Three military bands, called comman


does were in consequence raised, and sent against
this unfortunate people. Dr. Philip says, they
were to be armed, and to scour the neighbouring
country, to nd out the abodes of the Bushmen;

and when they discovered a kraal, they were to sur


prise it if possible, and, singling out the men, to
shoot them. The suiviving women and children
were then to be divided and shared by the mem
bers of the expedition, or distributed among
the neighbouring farmers. The rst commando
succeeded in shooting, in the space of eight
days, ninety-six Bushmen ; others which fol
lowed were still more sanguinary, and the horri

ble cruelties practised for a series of years upon


this helpless race, would be shocking to relate.
The custom indeed seems to have been, whenever '

the government thought proper to grant a tract of

IN AFRICA.

297

land to fresh colonists, to send out a commando


to clear the ground of its previous inhabitants,
just in the same manner as a troop of pioneers

go on a-head to level the trees in a forest. Barrow


relates a story of a boor, who being asked, on his
arrival at the secretarys oice, if he had found

the savages numerous and troublesome on his


road, replied coolly, Not very; I only shot
four!
In a paper by Dr. Leslie, in the Edinburgh New
Philosophical Journal for April, 1828, it is said,
that the Bushmen had no fear of death, and

never ed from the attacks of the boors. If this


be the case,_ it makes the cruelty of destroying
them by commandoes still more brutal; as the

courage which is of no avail in such cowardly

warfare, might, if properly directed, become the


parent of a thousand virtues. The change pro
duced, indeed, by even the partial relief of per
mitting the Bushmen to be saved and sold as
prisoners, was astonishing.

Nothing could be more dreadful than the con


dition of the neighbourhood of the Cape when the
English obtained possession of that settlement, in
1795. The free villages of the natives were all

destroyed, and the Hottentots and Bushmen them


selves had been either murdered or carried into
captivity. They were treated as brutes by the
boors ; and Dr. Philip mentions a notice a-ixed to
one of the Dutch churches, stating, that dogs

and Hottentots were forbidden to enter it.


The nations at alittle distance from the colony
were in a state of open warfare; hunted as wild

animals one day, and the next turning upon their

298

EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS

pursuers with all the fury of beasts of prey,


When the Batavian republic broke through their
alliance with Great Britain, the latter ordered
an attack to be made on the Cape, in common

with the other colonies belonging to their late al


lies; and Sir George Elphinstone and General
Craig took Simons Town; though their further
success was doubtful until fresh troops arrived,

The Dutch then behaved with pusillanimity, and


the governor of Cape Town capitulatcd, Great
expectations were firmed that the condition of the
Hottentots would be instantly ameliorated; for,
as it had been the excuse of the Dutch that
they were compelled to act harshly towards the
boors, from their want of means to contend with

them in any other way; it was natural to Suppose


that a more powerful government (the mere narne
of which was suicient to keep them in check),

would endeavour to civilize them.


These hopes, however, proved fallacious ; partly
from the short time the colony remained in the

possession of the English, and partly from the


intractable nature of the Dutch boo_rs,w_ho were too

obstinately bigoted to thir own ideas to allow of


any innovation, even though they could not but
" acknowledge it an improvement. The rst decided
alteration in the character and circumstances of the
Hottentots was effected by the establishment of

the Moravians ; and their labours were seconded


in 1799, by missionaries sent to the Cape by the
London Missionary Society, who were favourably
received, by Governor Dundas, the then English

governor, and whose instructions and example


produced a rapid and extraordinary change in

rw Araleni

$99

the habits of the people, At the peace of Aipiens


the Cape of Good Hope was restored, to the
Dutch; _.and on the arrival Of Governor Janssens,
Dr, Philip tells us, the frontier boors proposed
that all the Hottentots should, be Seized; that
every individual alfkng them should have achaip

put upon his legs, and that they should, be dis


tributed among the farmers as slaves. The na
tives, however,were now become too Enlightened to
submit to such arbitrary measures; and the Dutch

b0ors, enraged at the opposition shown to their


tyrannical wishes, attributed it to the e'orts of

the _rnissio_na__ries, and represented strongly to their


rulers the dangers which must accrue from
the missionary endeavours to convert the Hotten
tots. Governor Janssens appears at rst not to
have listened to their clamours; but they at length
became so irnportunate, that he was oolllpelled to
notice them; and in 1805 the missionaries were
sunimoned to Cape Town, to answer some calam
nioiis charges brought against them by the Dutch
boors, or farmers; and were detained there nearly
nine months, the government refusing either to
put them on their trial or to permit them to re

turn to $11.8 interior,

Whilst they remained in

this state of suspense, a British eet arrived in

Table Bay, in 1806, with an expedition on board


consisting of ve thousand men, under Sir David
Baird and Sir Home Popham. The Dutch forces
were unable to make any efcient resistance, and
in less than three weeks the Cape of Good Hope
was ceded to the English: it was denitively recog

nised as a British colony at the peace of Paris,


gr; the restoration of the Bourbons in France.

300

EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS

The present inhabitants of the colony at the


Cape consist of a mixture of very different na
tions. The descendants of the Polish, Prussian,
Hanoverian, Flemish, and French refugees, who

took shelter in South Africa after the revocation


of the Edict of Nantes, are now become wealthy
and respectable citizens, whose riches afford the
most effectual security against their adopting the
wild and rebellious habits of their ancestors ;the

Dutch boors are beginning to change their stand


ard of perfection from the recollected prejudices
of home, or Vaderland, to ideas more
consonant with modern improvements, and the
capabilities of their present situation ;and the
Hottentots are rapidly advancing in the march of
intellect, from the well-directed and unceasing
labours of the missionaries.
The 'territory of the Cape is divided into two
provinces, and these are subdivided into thirteen

districts, six of which (the Cape, Stellenbosch,


Caledon, Zwellendam, Tulbogh, and Clanwilliam)
are in the western province; and the other seven,

viz., Graaif Reynet, Beaufort, Somerset, Albany,


Ultenhage, George, and Fredericksburg, compose
the eastern. The missionary establishments are
chiey to the eastward, and Grahams Town,
Bethelsdorp, Theopolis, and Port Elizabeth, in
Algoa Bay, are particularly ourishing. The
Zwart-kops and Sunday Rivers fall into Algoa
Bay; but are, like all African rivers, often
obstructed in "their course by sandbanks. The
Keurboom River, the Cnysn, and the Camtoos
River, are navigable, and discharge themselves
into the sea on the southern coast; and there are

4:

rn AFRICA.

301

several ne bays. The Great Fish River takes


its rise in the Snowy Mountains; on the banks

of this stream is the latest settlement of the colony.


Cape Town is the capital ; it is the seat of govern
ment, and is large and ourishing.
There is an English settlement at Disgrove,
on the Gold Coast, near Cape Three Points.
The town at the fort has about twelve hundred
native inhabitants, who are said to worship the
crocodile.

The Portuguese commenced their explorations


early in the fteenth century; and after dis
covering Madeira, Cape de Verde, and other
islands, determined to try to effect a passage to
India; when, in 1497, Vasco de Gama succeeded
in doubling the Cape. Their settlements on the
western coast once extended from 5 north lati
tude, to 15 south; Benin, Congo, and Angola,

being at one time all subject to their sway. It


has been remarked, that the stations in the inte
rior are much more healthy than those upon the
coast. The Portuguese settlements on the east
are very little known. They lie chiey at Sofala,
Melinda, and Mozambique.

The principal settlements of the Dutch are on


the Gold Coast. Fort St. Antony was originally
built by the Portuguese: the name of the ad
joining kingdom is Axim. The Dutch had for

merly many others in Guinea, but they have


been successively abandoned. There were once
English and Dutch settlements at Succondee
and Commenda, both of which are now given
up.

The head-quarters of the Dutch are, how

ever, at Elmina.

This fort contains about eight

302

EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS

thousand inhabitants, and the streets are paved.


The castle of St.George delMina was built by the
Portuguese, who settled here in 1481. The Dutch
made an easy conquest of the place in 1637;
and to strengthen themselves built a smaller

fort, which they called St. Jago, a dependency


of Mozambique.
In the last number of a work, entitled The
South African Quarterly Journal (published at the
Cape, in April 1830, and which did not reach
this country till the dpreceding sheets had gone
to press), is a detaile account of the Portuguese
settlement, or capitancy of Rios del Senna, on
the eastern coast: a few extracts from which will
give a general idea of the present state of the
Portuguese settlements in Africa. The popu
lation of Rios del Senna is composed of three
classes of people: rst, the whites and free
mulattoes, who pay taxes; secondly, the slaves
of both sexes and all ages; and thirdly, of free

Negroes and cultivators of the land, who are


called colonists. The free population is stated
scarcely to exceed ve hundred, whilst the terri

tory contains three thousand six hundred square


leagues; thus averaging one free person to about
seven square leagues. The slaves, however, are
exceedingly numerous, some of the settlers pos
sessing seven or eight hundred each: in all, they
amount to above twenty thousand; and this im

mense population of labourers would naturally


lead an observer to conclude that their proprietors
employ them in agricultural pursuits; bu.t, on the
contrary, it appears that not one-half of them

are engaged in labour, the remainder living"

nr AFRICA.

303

in perfect idleness, or being merely employed in


providing for their own subsistence, which, hows

ever, requires but little labour in this part of


Africa. The indifference thus manifested to the
cultivation of the land may in some degree arise
from the original grants being made to indivi
duals at Mozambique; so that the occupiers at
Rios del Senna have no real interest in raising
their agricultural exports to any great import

ance.

The principal produce of the ground,

indeed, is rice, which grows spontaneously; but

they export gold, ivory, and slaves.

The mer-'

cantile transactions are all carried on by slaves,

who go forth every year, attended by others as


carriers of goods proper for the trade, and in
due time return with their exchange in gold,
ivory, and slaves; whilst the indolent and in

active lord (senhor), whose business requires


neither speculation, nor even a combination of
ideas, passes his days in drinking, smoking, or

sipping tea.
The revenue arising from import and export du
ties paid at Mozambique, and in nes and tenths
upon crown lands, amounts to two millions nine
hundred thousand crusadoes; and they have about

two hundred and sixty regular troops employed in


garrisoning Tette, Senna, Quillimone, Zambo, and
Monica, and regiments of ill-appointed militia es
tablished upon the same plan as those raised in the
mother country. The towns arc governed by capi
tanos mores, and commandants, who are account
able to the governor of Mozambique. The corre
spondent of the Journal concludes by stating,

that The capitancy of Rios del Senna may be

304

nunornxn SETTLEMENTS

come a most useful and benecial settlement;

but if this desirable end is to be obtained, it is


necessary that the industry of the inhabitants
should be directed to the cultivation of a.gricul
tural productions, which have been hitherto totally
neglected; and every possible means ought to be
taken to augment the population; as without a
great increase nothing can be undertaken: in
deed, the rst is dependent on the latter; for when
the numbers shall be so enlarged that the inter
nal commerce cannot satisfy all the wants of the
settlers, necessity will lead them to become hus
bandmen, from whose labours more solid wealth
will be derived than from their present very
hazardous and precarious traic with the interior,

great part of which is drawn from mines, now


nearly exhausted, and which have always been a
government monopoly.

Of the insular settlements of the Portuguese,


the nearest to Europe are the Azores: in 1466
they were given by the King of Portugal to his
sister the Duchess of Burgundy, and peopled by
emigrations of Flemings, from whom the present
intelligent inhabitants are principally descended.
Their subsequent history is for some time wrapped
in obscurity; and, indeed, from the mystery ob
served by the Portuguese government, little was
suffered to transpire respecting her colonies.
The Azores have always acknowledged the
King of Portugal, and remain in his possession
to this day. Much attention has been lately
drawn to these islands by the determined stand

made by Terceira in favour of Donna Maria da


Gloria.

IN xrnrcs.

305

In Madeira (discovered by Gonzalves Jago),


the farmer holds his lands by annual tenure,
and reaps but four-tenths of the produce; ano

ther four-tenths are set aside for the landlord;


one-tenth is paid to the king; and one-tenth to

the clergy.

The governor is chief of the civil

and military departments of Madeira, Puerto


Santo, the Salvages, and the Ilhas Disertas. A

corregidor, generally sent from Portugal, is at


the head of the law, to whom appeals are made
from the inferior courts. The merchants elect
their own judge or providor, who collects the
king's revenue, a hundred and twenty thousand
pounds sterling, arising from one-tenth of the
produce; a tax of eleven per cent. on exports,
and ten per cent. on imports (except provisions),
the greater proportion of which is applied to the
civil and military establishments of the islands.
The English consul receives a duty upon every
pipe of wine exported to any part of the British
dominions; which is employed in charitable pur
poses among the English inhabitants, and for
supporting a Protestant chapel and clergyman.
The population exceeds a hundred thousand
souls, who make use of a large quantity of Bri
tish manufactures.

Madeira is now, by permis

sion of Portugal, garrisoned by English troops.


Antonio Nolli, a Genoese in the service of
Portugal, in 1460 discovered the Cape de Verde
islands; another voyage was immediately under
taken to settle them; when a company was
formed for monopolizing the trade and tyranniz
ing over the inhabitants, by selling their goods
at exorbitant prices: it is, however, now abo

~|
306

sunorrnu arrrpnmnurs

lished, The descendants of the Portugu" a co


lonists are so changed that they almost re emble
Negroes. The Cape de Verde isles, in the lands
of an active nation, might ourish; their c me is

very favourable to the culture of coffee and,


though mere deserts originally, they now pm iduce
many valuable articles of trade; amongst vhich

the dressed hides, oil, &c., exist in such t enty,

that several ships are employed in carrying them


to the Brazils; and they supply the West ndies
with cattle. These isles would form a valuable
acquisition to the English. San Vincent con
tains a harbour large enough for a great eet of
ships, and is safe all the year round. Strong
spirits are manufactured here; there are sugar
mills worked by oxen; and the governor, Joachim
Salene Lobo, projected a plan for Whaleshing
in South Africa, but which was not carried into

effect.
The Portuguese rst settled in St. Thomas in

1467, and soon raised a ourishing colony.


This island is so cornmodiously situated for trading
with the neighbouring coasts, that the Dutch,

seeing its advantages, twice captured it; but it


was retaken by the Portuguese, who soon re
paired the damage done by their enemies. Its
chief products are sugar and ginger; of the for
mer, one hundred thousand roves, each weighing
thirty-two Portuguese pounds, are sent annually
to Portugal; also dierent kinds of cottons and

stus, proper for the trade on the coast, which


are manufactured here.

The Portuguese carry

to St. Thomas, linens, camlets, brandy, wine,


olives, &c., hatchets, bills, and other tools,

IN 4rnrcA.

307

pitch, tar, and cordage, and many English hard-.


wares. Of Princes Island, Fernando Po, Ass
cension, and Annabona, they make so little use,
as scarcely to claim exclusive property in them;
and ships of all nations touch at them for wood
and water.

The Portuguese had the advantage of establish


ing themselves in Africa at an earlier period than_
any other European nation, especially in contis
nental Africa; and though they have lost a great
part of their former possessions, they still retain

a large territory, and have brought more nations


into the track of European civilization than all
the rest of Christendom together.

Ascension and

Fernando Po are now under the English ag.


In fact, their possessions, during the sixteenth
and beginning of the seventeenth century, were
immense: they had all the west, and a great

portion of the eastern coast of Africa; the whole


of the south coast of Asia, and as many islands as
they chose to settle in, from the Gulf of Persia.
to China and Japan. Such, indeed, was the

magnicent extent of the Portuguese empire in


this quarter of the globe, that but for the decline

of their power in Europe, it must have led to the


greatest results in the civilization of Africa:and
to the British, who, with their vast eets, can

carry their own goods to the different parts of


this extensive region (which the Portuguese were
unable to do), a prospect is still open, little infe~4
rior to that formerly presented to the Portuguese.
The Spanish possessions in Africa most wor
thy of mention are the Canaries; on settling

in which the Spaniards adopted the prudent


x 2

'

308

nonorenr SETTLEMENTS

policy of granting equal privileges to natives and


settlers; by which means the two races have be

come so amalgamated that they form at present


but one people (there being scarcely any trace left
of the ancient inhabitants) ; and Spain has thus
been enabled to raise more good soldiers and
sailors from these islands than from any other of

her colonies. A bishop resides at Grand Canary,


with an income equal to six thousand pounds
per annum; and (as if to counterbalance other
good regulations) an inquisition is established in
each island. Pope Clement VI., after preaching
a sermon proving that he had the exclusive right
of creating kingsand granting kingdoms, made
Louis de la Cerda (a branch of the royal family
of Castile) king of the Fortunate Isles (supposed
to be the Canaries); but Louis was unable to
nd out at that time in what part of the globe
his new dominions were situated. The rst
modern discovery of these islands was made by
some adventurers from the coast of Biscay.; and
Henry III., of Castile, granted them to John de
Bethencourt, a Norman baron, who had suc

.ceeded in subjugating some of them: they


continued some time in the hands of his family,

as a ef of Spain. Pope Eugenius IV. renewed


the grant to John II. ; and in 1483, the remain
ing islands were conquered by Ferdinand and
Isabella, to whom undisputed occupation was
permitted by the Portuguese, on the cession

of some insignicant continental possessions to


them; and the islands have ever since remained

one of the most valuable properties of Spain";


the net income derived by the court of Madrid

IN AFRICA.

309'

from them, after all expenses are paid, exceed


ing seventy thousand pounds per annuma sum
which, as Wadstrop, with deceptive reasoning,
says, exceeds the net revenue that ever came into

the treasury of Great Britain from all her West


Indian colonies, in the innite ratio of something
to nothing.
"
_
The two nest settlements of the French in
Africa were the Isles of Bourbon and France.

M. de Flacourt, governor of Fort Dauphin and


the other French settlements in Madagascar, took
possession of the Isle of Bourbon for his master
in 1654; but no considerable settlement was

made upon it till 1672, when this and the ad


jacent Isle of France were fortied as stations of
refreshment for French East India ships. The
most valuable production of Bourbon was its

cotton, which Malte-Brun says was often spun at


Manchester as far as to three hundred hanks
(each of eight hundred and forty yards) in the
pound, whilst common Surat cotton was only
brought to twenty hanks ; in fact, Bourbon cot
ton has been as high as nine shillings per pound,
whilst that of Surat was selling at nine pence:
but the growth of the cotton-plant has of late
been nearly discontinued, from a disease appear
ing among the plantations, which, though it did
not injure the vigour of the shrub, prevented the

development of the seed.

Before the last war

" the French had brought their colony in the Isle


of France (sometimes called the Mauritius) to
great perfection; it contained above sixteen thou
sand \Vhites and Creoles, and above sixty thousand

Negroes; and although it was only in 1734,

310

nunormn SETTLEMENTS.

under M. de la Bourdonnaye, that any great at


tention was bestowed upon it, its revenue, at the
time of its conquest by the English in 1811, was
estimated at 700,000 francs, and its inhabitants

rivalled Europeans in Civilization. This island is


now one of the most valuable possessions of Great
Britain; and the Mauritius, with the Cape of Good.
Hope, form almost our only trophies of the late
struggle.
At Madagascar the French established a set-.
tlement in 1622, at the southernmost point of the

east side of the island, where the principal place of


strength was Fort Dauphine. The seat of goe
vernment, however, was removed, in 1654, to the
Isles of France and Bourbon; in 1667 another
colony was attempted, which failed; and in 17 72

an expedition was undertaken under Count Ben


yowski. The other French settlements in Africa.
are on the river Senegal, of which stream they were

long masters, as high as the cataracts of Feloo.


The fort on the island of St. Louis is small and

badly planned; but sixty leagues higher up the


river is Fort Podor, which is built on the large

and fertile island of Morl. The staple commo


dity of this place is gum, of which great quanti
ties are brought from the desert of the Zahara,
from which the fort is only seven leagues distant:
extensive forests of the acacia or mimosa, which

produces the gum, are found in the southern ex


tremity of the Zahara. The trees are generally
from eighteen to twenty feet high, and about
three feet in circumference; but of a stunted and

disagreeable appearance.
Besides Forts St. Louis and Podor, the French

IN AFRICA.

311

had once the forts of St. Joseph and St. Pierre


in the interior of Galan, the Island of Goree

near Cape de Verde, Albreda and Joal on the


Gambia, Bintam on the Celebes River, and the
Island of Bissoas. These, however, are now all
abandoned, and their trade in Africa is principally
conned to the gums before alluded to.
After this brief enumeration of the European
Settlements in Africa, it seems merely necessary
to add, that the extreme unhealthiness of those on
the Eastern coast will probably prevent them from
ever being very serviceable to Europeans; but those
on the West are as yet only partially known, and

appear to open a wide eld to enterprise. Indeed,


when we consider the numerous rich products and
other endowments of Africa, it must be a matter

of astonishment, that the peninsula should be of


comparatively so little value in a commercial point
of view.

THE END.

C. Whiting, Beaufort House.

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