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Mrs* Euth MaLry King 




7_ •._..!_. 




it£7*prwtd iHfSkHHnlL, Bury Sir* BUH^mtbf. 






fiULmtxa anti Custontss 





VOL. 11. 

BciBi ftOly pmttded that ht vho to in the coBtUBt partoit of UT oWect, 
acqairctJrom tb«BC« the ability to attain bis aim. DIN019 . 








y. ^ 




A Part of Abyssinia^ MozAMBiaus, 

South Africa^ BsNGUEtA, Angola^ Comgo^ 

Cacongo^ Loanga^ Benin, Dahomt, 





In pursuance of my plan, I now offer to the 
Public a continuation of The Tour of Africa ; and 
I here repeat my former affirmation, that, though 
the Traveller be imaginary, all he relates is strictly 
true, as far as the most accredited Authors can be 
relied on. 

After the publication of the First Volume, I was 
advised by a friend to placie my authorities in the 
margin of the succeeding ones. I replied, " I 
cannot do so without destroying the illusion I 
have been* endeavouring to create : I wish the 
Reader to think my Traveller a real personage 
while the page is under his eye, which he cannot 
do, if he see real names in the margin.** My friend 
made no answer ; but, as I have the greatest de- 
ference, for his opinion, I attempted to follow his 
advice. I wrote ** Barrow" opposite to one pa- 
ragraph, •* Lichtenstein". opposite another, and 
"Campbell** opposite a third j and I rang the 
changes upon Barrow, and Lichtenstein, and 
Campbell again and again; but I found it ex- 
tremely troublesome, if not impracticable, and J 
gave up the task. 


The same opinion as that of my friend has since 
appeared in a very respectable periodical publi- 
cation *, for which I have a great deference also. 
But I can assure my friends and critics that, in 
those countries where there have been different 
travellers, one paragraph is ofteft ejctracted from 
several, and sometimes one sentence from two; 
and that the authors are so mingled, in order to 
form a regular whole, that, like the tub of feathers 
prepared by the fairy, it would be almost impossi- 
ble for any bird to find his own. I must therefore 
content myself with a general list of my Autliori- 
ties, which will be found €it the end of the Volume. 

I have extracted little from the Travels of 
Vaillant, though, vanity excepted, he appears to 
me an author of veracity; and I have wholly 
omitted his journey to the north of the Orange 
river from respect to the public opinion. 

There is in Vaillant an air of romance that inva- 
lidates his testimony relating to facts ; a desire to 
be thought a hero that lessens his real exploits. 
Had he assumed less, credit would have been given 
him for more. One moment he is at a distance 
from civilized society, and glorying in his emanci- 
pation from the restraints it imposes ; the next, 
he is entering, or passing, a farm-house. In the 
first instance he speaks his feelings on present 
appearances ; in the other he speaks from facts ; 
a man who had formed a design to impose upon 

* Monthly ReTiew. 


his readers would probably have steered clear of 
such palpable contradictions. 

With regard to Vaillant*s expedition to tlie north 
of the Orange river, iSabert, the son of his friend, 
is said to have asserted that he returned before 
this journey couM possibly have been performed ; 
and Mrs. Vaader Westhuysen is said to have 
affirmed that he was only ten days absent from her 
house, and that he passed these ten days in ex- 
ploring the Kamies mountains. Vaillant is gone 
to that " undiscovered countrj^" from whence he 
can send no answer to these charges j but, on the 
. other side of the question it may be said, that his 
narrative bears strong internal marks of authentic 
city. I am not aware thatit contains any eventwbich 
might not have happened, or describes any object 
which might not have appeared, in such a journey, 
unless the puiF-paste of the desert be one. Hie 
imaginary appearance of fleeting villages, wag- 
gons and flocks, is not one ; for such a deception 
of vision was experienced, as has already been 
related, by the British army in the Desert of 
Egypt. The Kaminouquas of Vaillant are cer- 
tainly a tribe of Namaquas or Koranas ; his Kabo- 
biquas are assuredly Cafllers, though he did not 
know that Caffers existed in this part of the 
country ; and, what is yet more remarkable, his 
favourite Houzuanas are, in every point, Bosjes- 
mans, a people whom he did not know, and whom, 
from the report of the colonists, he detested. If 


Vaillant really went this journey, I apprehend it 
was upon ground since untrodden by any Eu- 
ropean ; and if any European follow his steps, the 
desert and the mountains will be found; but the 
inhabitants of the country wiU probably have 
changed their names and their places. 

* As I have inserted in the present Volume the 
questions proposed by the Secretary of State to 
Mr. Matra, and the answers by Mr. Jackson, it 
may be necessary to say how this document came 
into my possession. 

When I read Adamses Narrative, I entertained 
strong doubts of its authenticity. I had, before* 
this, read Jackson*s Account of Marocco, and had 
remarked in the author a spirit of enquiry, and a 
careful examination of facts, together with great 
opportunities of acquiring information. This gave 
me a full reliance on his judgment and veracity ; 
and fearing to trust my own opinion respecting 
Adams, I ventured to ask that of Mr. Jackson, 
though a perfect stranger to every thing relating 
to this gentleman, except his book. His answer 
did not remove my doubts, but^it led the way to a 
friendly correspondence between him and myself, 
in the course of which he transmitted to me the 
questions and answers respecting Timbuctoo and 



Bays of Howakil and Amphila. Second Visit to Tigre 1 

Eastern Africa ..»„ 12 



Caipe Town, and General View of the Colony 31 

Cape Town to the Great Fish River t 42 

, CHAP. .V. 
Country of tbeCaffers .-. si 

Tambookies and Hambonas 72 

HottentoU '.. «... 82 



From the Cspe to Gruff Reynet. .., 9* 

CHAP. IX. . 

Sneuwberg. Bosjesroaos •••.»•.•...••••..•••• 109 


Ofsnge River. Bmyntjees Hoogte. GraafF Reynet, 
to Zwaarte Kop'sBay ^ ...., c ....125 

Graaff Reynetto the Great, or Orange River ..13^4 


Oraoge River ta Lattakoo. Account of the 
Botcbuanas...*^.. ^ 149 

Return to tbe Orange River and the Cape ......173 


From the Cape co tbe Kamiesberg ; and the Mouth 
of the Orange River. Return to the Cape 199 



Benguelav Angola. Congo . .• 215 


£iaboniaia to Soondy N'Sanga..^ „ 236 



Mannen of Congo, andRetorn 2f4 

CacoDga Loango „ ............ ....274 

Rirer Gabon. Benin..... - 302 

Whydah *, ^ 322 

Origin and History of Dahomy 335 

Journey to Abomey w 350 

Court and Customs of Dahomy 364 


Aquapim. Accra. Annamaboe. Journey to Coo- 
massie. Reception there 392 * 

King and Customs of Ashantee......! 407 

Manners of Ashantee... • 423 



Aeeount of Roads. Timbuctoo. Hoiissa. Retarn 
to lb*e Coast 441 

Cape Coast Castle to Sierra Leone 464 

Sierra Leone .....^.^ »«>.. 489 

Sierra Leone to Teembo, and Return to Sierra 



JlxAVING recovered from the fatisjue of mv 
journey through the Great Desert of Nubia, I left 
Assouan, and sailed down the Nile to Keneh. 
Here I took leave for ever of Egypt, the country 
whose ancient architecture I had viewed with so 
much admiration ; and of the Nile, whose course 
I had traced with such enthusiasm. 

My intention was to pursue the Tour of Africa, 
beginning at the part of its eastern coast, next to 
that I had already visited ; and, for this purpose, 
I again crossed the desert from Keneh to Cossier. 
Gjreat and small are relative terms. The desert, 
which on my first crossing it appeared of some 
magnitude, now shrunk to a trifle, on a comparison 
with that I had lately traversed : its marble moun- 
tains, however, continued to excite my admiration. 

At Copier I embarked on the Red Sea. I aijri 
no sailor, nor do I attempt to write yoyages ; I 
shall therefore not trouble my reader with nauti- 
cal terms ; but merely inform him, that, sailing 
as near the Afrio^n coast as was consistent with 
prudence, and not running upon rocks for the 
sake of trying whether I could get off them, I 
passed by Suakem and Dahalac, aad anchored in 
Howakil Bay. 



Howakil Bay is in 15^ 1' north latitude* Here 
I lauded on the island of the same name, and, 
with my attendants, I walked two miles over a 
flat plain, towards the village of Howakil. Our 
approach seemed to occasion great alarm among 
the inhabitants ; but as I had one of their people 
with me, I dispatched him to the rest, to assure 
them we were friends. On hearing this, they 
stopped, and drew up in a line, with an old man 
in the centre. After the usual salutation of Salam 
Alicuin^ to which we returned Alicum Salam, we 
touched the hand of every man in company, each 
man kissing his own hand on withdrawing it. I 
J)ad with me one of the Somauli, a tribe which 
inhabits the whole coast, from the straits of Bab el 
Mandeb to Cape Gardafui, and who are the mer- 
chants that convey the ivory, gold, and slaves to 
Arabia, and the manufactures of India to the inte- 
rior of Africa. The Chief of Howakil now ad- 
dressed himself to my Somauli, while both com- 
panies remained silent^ opposite each other. 
^' How do you do ?" was the first question ; the 
answer was, "Well." The chief then said, 
<' Thanks be to God. Is all well r the answer 
was, ** Yes, all well.'* The chief then proceeded 
to ask, ** Where are you from ?" The Somauli 
said, " from Cbsseir." " What news 7' *' Good 
news." " God be praised," said the chief. After 
this followed a series of questions respecting Cos- 
seir, wliich my Somauli answered in order and in 
detail, not forgetting the present price of every 
article of merchandize* 

Silence at length prevailing, the Somauli asked 
the chief if he had done, and on being answered 
in the affirmative, he proposed in his turn the same 

nO^AKlL BAT. 3 

String of questions, beginning with *' How do you 
do ?*' and ending with, " How does butter sell at 
MasCtafa, Dahalac, and Ar^na ?'' After these 
enquiries had been answered in form, the people 
again offered us their hands, and, turning about, 
led the way to their village. 

A very neat hut was prepared for me ; a kid 
was killed ; a large quantity of fresh taiilk was 
brought in straw baskets; a new mat was spread 
upon my couch ; and a piece of Arabian silk was 
laid by die Sheik, with his own hands, to serve me 
for a pillow* 

At day-break the next morning I ascended the 
dirst ridge of hills which bounded the plain. The 
plain sloped gradually to the sea, and was spotted 
with acacia trees, under which hundreds of the 
iinest milch goats were wandering with their kids. 
In the centre of the plain stood the village, con- 
sisting of about forty circular huts, neatly covered 
^ith mats. The appearance of plenty which met 
my eye is, however, of short duration ; for soon 
after the rains have ceased, the ground becomes 
parched, and the supply of water exhaus^ted. To 
the north of this view lay the Bay of HowakiL 

Ar^na lie» in a recess at the bottom of the bay. 
On gtnng ashore, I found a party of Somauli 
traders, who had established a small factory at this 
pkce for the purchase of slaves, horses, cattle, 
goats, and butten The Somaulies have woolly 
hair, which they draw out in points in every di- 
rection ; but their noses are not flat. They have 
fine limbs, a very dark skin, and beautifully white 
teeth ; and tlie expression of ttieir countenance is 
not unpleasing. 


• In Howakil Bay the thermometer was from 75 
to 78^ 

From Howakil I sailed to Araphila Bay, in la- 
titude 14^ 45' north, and longitude 41° east. This 
bay extends sixteen miles along the coast, and 
contains thirteen islands, which are not inhabited, 
l)ut are sometimes visited by the natives of the 
main land. In an excursion which I made on the 
island of Anto Sukkeer I saw a party composed of 
three men and two women, assembled round a 
fire, and eating — not broiled fowls and oyster 
sauce, but something not totally different — abou4; 
a dozen half grown eagles, and two bushels of 
shell-fish ; while the parent birds were hovering 
and screaming over the broiled bodies of their 
young ones, and the heads of their devourers. 
. At the bottom of the Bay of Amphila,. on tlie 
main land, lie the two villages of Madir and 
Duroro. I visited the Chief of Madir, who came 
out to meet me, attended by about twenty men, 
dancing, and shaking their lances to do me honour. 
I was conducted to the largest of the huts of which 
this miserable village was composed. The Chief 
employed himself in sewing a garment, and at 
parting presented me with an ox. The supply of 
water in this ner^bourhoodis obtained from wells, 
and many of these are, in the dry season, so salt 
as to be unfit for use. A number of troughs made 
of clay, are placed near the wells, for watering the 
camels. The inhabitants are of the tribe of 
Dumhoeta. * 

The country around Amphila Bay is part of an 
extensive tract formerly called the kingdom of 
Dancali ; the inhabitants of which are now di- 


v4ded iato a number of petty tribes, each ruled by 
a separate chief. All the tribes sp^k the same 
langnage. They profess the reh'gion of Moham- 
ed, of which, however, they know little more 
than the name^ having neither mosques nor priests 
in their country. They lead a wandering life, 
shifting their station as occasiou requires, for pas- 
ture for their cattle* Though each tribe be per- 
fecUy independent, all areready^ at a short warn- 
ing, to unite for the common cause ; and, being 
daring, resolute, and active, they would be very 
formidable, were not their poverty so great that 
scarcely one in ten possesses any weapon of of- 
fence* Their united forces are said to amount to 
full 6^0 men. 

The women of the coast have pleasing features ; 
and whenever we entered their huts they offered 
us seat!? and water; which was, in general, all 
the huts afforded. The hair of the men was friz- 
zed out, covered with grease, and powdered with 
bcoiwn dust ; that of the women was plaited in 
small tresses, and their arms and legs were adorned 
with rings of ivory and silver. Bothxnen and 
women were extravagantly fond o£ tobacco, which 
they, chewed, smoked^ and took as snuff. 

TbQ huts were eaclx .divided into two or three 
apartmontSy and were covered with mats made of 
the leavesof the doom palm. Their furniture con- 
sisted, of ja fetw^coudies, some culinary utensils, 
and a large jar to hold water. Bouza is not un- 
known to them. At a marriage it is supplied by 
the friends $« and the foot of a kid is cut off, and 
huag! up in the house of the chief, to mark the 
event. I accidentally discovered one of their 
btirying-grounds in a secluded spot, between two 


tolerably pure to the depth of three feet ; but in 
general not more than two, when it is mixed with 
the soil, and unfit for use. From this plain the 
whole country of Abyssinia is supplied with salt. 

On the fourth day we proceeded over steep and 
rugged passes in the mountains, to the village of 
Dafo, which is situated in an extensive and ver- 
dant plain, inhabited by a tribe called Hurtoo. 
These people were subdued at an early period by 
the Abyssiniansy and have ever since been subject 
to the governor of Tigre. Here the influence of 
Ali Manda ceased ; but, as friends of the Ras,' we 
continued to be treated with hospitality. 

On the fifth day wp arrived at the foot of the 
mountain Senafi^, another Taranta, full as high, 
but not so difficult as the former. These seem to 
be the giants which guard the kingdom of Abys* 
sinia on the east, and almost forbid the ^proach 
to it. The country between Dafo and the foot of 
this mountain was exceedingly beautiful. At the 
latter station resides an oflficer of the Ras, who col- 
lects the duties on the^salft imported*irtto*Tigre. 
A camel t:arryingtwQ'Uuo(]^4dpi|(^fp4^ ; 

an\]2le, whos^ e^gl^^r^n^^nine ; and a 
loaded ass six* M^n* whotcairy salt are permitted 
to p9s»f]ree. ' - 

On the sixth day we ascepc^ed Senafi§, and^ex- 
perienced, as before, 'on the ^uwmit; of^**faie6e 
mountains, a complete changelx)!* seasons.^ '^Hwe 
we stopped at a village, to refresh bur^lvies, ' and 
then, proceeding through f a* rich -and fertile 
country, in three hours we arrived at a large town 
called Hammee. On the seventh day we reached 
Dirb^, and on the eighth Chelicut. 

The Ras whom I had known at Gondar was 


dead, and the chief residence of the present Ras 
was Antdio, the capital of the province of En- 
derta. Chelicut, which is nearly ten miles distant, 
on account of the road winding half round the 
base of a mountain, might be considered as his 
country residence. The church here is rich. Its 
store-room contains, among other articles, eleven 
mitres of pure silver, inlaid with gold, two habits 
of black velvet, studded with silver, a Venetian 
cloth, handsomely embroidered, and a large silver 
drum hooped with gold. 

At Chelicut I witnessed the arrival of a caravan 
from the Salt-plain. It consisted of several hun- 
dred mules and asses laden with salt, escorted by 
a nephew of the Ras, at the head of two hundred 
men^ who had gone down to the plain for this 
purpose. As they descended into the valley of 
Chelicut, thie inhabitants of the village went out to 
meet them, and greeted them with the same ac- 
clamations as if they had returned from battle. 
The service of: escorting these caravans is, indeed, 
little less ha2itrdoui^^» S6Mhe neighbourhood of the 
SaIt-plain'jSi1i!»|fe^»i'»y%^race of Galla, who lie in 
wait for the^^n*tl^%M0i^'^ in cutting the salt ; 
and it is said tlilft ^liffee^men, in the absence of 
the officer and his party, lie flat on the surface, to 
escape observation,' and, on the approach of a 
strange^, flee fO the mountains. ' The soldiers have 
frequently skirmishes with the Galla, in which 
howevfet these savage borderers are generally the 
sufierers. Six of them had been killed in this ex- 
pedition, which was reckoned a number unusually 

Chelicut is in latitude 13^ 21' 34" north, and in 
longitude 40« 37' 17" east. 




J ROM Amphila Bay I continued my course 
southward till I came to an anchor off the village 
of Ayth. This village, which consists of about 
forty huts only, is the capital of a district. I did 
not not go on shore ; but our supercargo, who 
knew the place and the people, said that the tribe 
consisted of about two hundred persons, including 
men, women and children ; that they were stout 
and well-featured, but miserably poor, no grain 
being cultivated in their country, and little im- 
ported* The present Sheik was said to be a hun- 
dred years old, and a man of mild and friendly 

From passing the Straits of Bab el Mandeb till I 
reached the Portuguese settlement of Mosambique, 
I must confess: to my reader that I am obliged* to 
give him an account of my wishes, rather than of 
my expeditions ; of what I desired to see, rather 
than what I actually saw j winds, currents, igno- 
rance of the coast, and various other causes, pro* 
hibiting further research. 

The first place I wished to see was the town of 
Zeyla ; but I saw it not ; the second was the town 
of Berbera ; but I could not see it ; nor do I 
know of any European who has visited either. It 
is said that a regular commerce is now carried on 
through Berbera, between Arabia and the former 


southern provinces of Abyssinia, Hurrur and Efat. 
These provinces were long the objects of conten- 
tion between the Abyssinians and the Moors of 
Adel ; they are now independent kingdoms, 
under the government of their respective sove- 
reigns. The capital of the former is called Hur- 
rur' j that of the latter Ankober. 

About five miles from Somauli point I went on 
shore, but I met with little worthy of observation. 
The herbage was scanty, the soil sandy, and im- 
pregnated with salt. A salt-lake reached nearly 
from the coast, to a considerable distance on the 
plain, the other part& of which appeared to be co< 
vered with trees. Numbers of aquatic birds were 
on the lake, and on its borders stood the ibis of 
the ancient Egyptians. « At some distance from 
the spot where I landed w«ere a few huts, and I 
saw some people engaged in fishing ; but evening 
approaching, I could not attempt any intercourse 
with them. 

We now passed a coast of which I can say no- 
thing, except that it is inhabited by different tribes 
of Somauli. To the southward of this I saw tlie 
land between Mugdasho and Berawa, and the 
latter of these towns, which makes a respectable 
appearance towards the sea. On one of the small 
islands in front of it stands a light-house of a tole- 
rable height. Berawa is in 1° 12" north latitude, 
and 44* 10" east longitude. 

Having crossed the equator, my next wish was 
to see the Island of Zanzebar; the winds, how- 
ever, were not obedient to my wishes, and I was 
obliged to be content with the following account 
of it from the Captain of an English ship, who had 
visited its coast. 

14 M08AMBIQU£. 

The Island of Zanzebar is about forty-ihre miles 
in length, and fifteen in breadth. The eastern 
shore is bold and woody ; the climate is tolerably 
healthy; the island is well supplied with water, 
and abounds with excellent pasturage. The inha- 
bitants are Mohamedans, of Arab extraction, and 
carry on an extensive trade in slaves, gums, ivory, 
antimony, blue vitriol, and senna, with the Isles of 
France and Madagascar, and the Arabian Gulph. 
The Sheik of Zanzebar, who is subject to the 
Iman of Muscat, has under his command about a 
hundred native soldiers, who are chiefly employed 
in preserving peace at home. The only kinds of 
grain cultivated are juwarry and rice. An ox sells 
for five dollars, a sheep for half a dollar, fowls are 
very reasonable, fruit is excellent, and of various 
BortSf and there is a constant supply of fish in the 

The island of Pemba is low, and about forty-two 
miles long. It is said to be still more fertile than 
that of Zanzebar. The Island of Monfia is at pre- 
sent unknown, though it is said to resemble the 
others in fertility. All three are situated in the same 
deep bay, as it may be justly called, and chiefly 
between the fifth and sixth degrees of south la- 

I now anchored in the harbour of Mosambique, 
where I saw a fort with six bastions, and twelve 
Portuguese vessels riding in the port. The town 
occupies the central part of an island of the same 
name, which stretches across the mouth of a very 
deep bay. This island is about two miles and a 
half long, and a quarter of a mile broad ; it is in 
the form of a crescent, with the hollow part facing 
the sea. The first view of tjie town comprehends 


a strange mixture of Indian, Arabian^ and Euro- 
pean costume. I was conducted to the govern- 
ment-houses which was a very conspicuous object ; 
and was graciously received by the governor, who 
invited me to dine with him. After dinner we 
retired into another room, where tea and coffee 
:were set out in a splendid service of puire gold, of 
excellent workmanship. The gold was brought 
from 3ena, a Portuguese settlement in the interior, 
and wrought by the Banians resident on the Island 
of Mosambique. On days of ceremony the go- 
vernor has two or three black slaves in attendance, 
who are almost overwhelmed with the load of 
golden ornaments with which they are incum- 
bered i remnants of the splendor once attendant 
on these Viceroys of Eastern Africa. 

On my expressing a desire to see the fort, an 
officer accompanied me thither* It contained 
about eighty pieces of cann<m. And a few cen- 
tries, some imprisoned felons, and two or three old 
women with cakes to sell, constituted the whole 
of the garrison. 

On the following day I attended the governor 
in his state barge to'Mesuril, his country resi- 
dence, which is situated nearly at the bottom of 
the bay, and about nine miles from tlic town. The 
house consisted of one range of apartments only ; 
but the country around was beautiful. In front 
was a grove of orange, lemon, citron, and papaw 
trees ; behind was a thick wood of cocoa-nut, 
mango, cashew, and other lofty trees. 
. The village of Mesuril has been the favourite 
spot for building among the Portuguese settlers, 
and .contains many good houses ; but the situation 
must necessarily be unhealthy i as thick woods 


remain, with all the luxuriance of primitive vege- 
tation. Three other villages, on a smaller scale, 
are ijn the vicinity of Mosambique. ' 

After breakfast we set out on a shooting excur- 
sion. How different from hunting the elephant on 
foot ! I am ashamed to tell that, in the vigour bf 
youth and health, I lay stretched at full length on 
a mattrass, and was carried by poles on the shoul- 
ders of four men weaker than myself, I would be 
understood to mean that they had less muscular 
strei^h ; but as they exerted this in my service, 
while I remained inactive, I am afraid I must con- 
sider the bearers as better men than he who sub- 
mitted to be carried. These native men of bur- 
then, when they are weary, transfer the load from 
one shoulder to the other without stopping, and 
without the load sustaining the slightest addi- 
tional motion. They run, for a short distance, at 
the rate of five miles an hour. 

For about a mile, the road ran through a con- 
tinued plantation of cocoa-nut trees, interspersed 
with the huts of the inhabitants. On leaving the 
road, the view opened on a country planted with 
manioca, and divided into squares by rows of 
cashew and mango trees. 

After having been carried about three miles, we 
came to abuilding in an inclose darea, which proved 
to be a manufactory of manioca * belonging to a 
Portuguese, who was said to employ here two hun- 
dred slaves. The roots of this plant are cleaned, 
scraped, and dried in the sun to a proper con- 

* Manioca^ cassada, or cassava is sold in our shops under the 
name of tapioca. It is said to be the least nutritious of all sub- 
stitutes for bread. The Portuguese call it iarinha de pao^ or 
meal of wood. 


sistency. They are then ground, and the pulp is 
put into bags, wliieh are afterwards pressed with 
heavy weights, to exti'act the remainder of the 
juice, which, it is said, is poisonous. The mass is 
then broken to pieces with tlie hands, and dried 
on stoves, which reduces it to a farina; this, 
mixed with water, is almost the sole food of the 

At IViesuril I heard mass in the Governor's 
chapel. Tlie governor, the bishop, a lady at- 
tended by two black female slaves, a detachment 
of native troops, and myself, composed the congre- 
gation. The bishop, who had just returned from 
a shooting excursion, wore half boots and scarlet 
steckings. Tlie badge of his profession was a 
splendid diamond cross, which hung sparkling in 
the folds of his waistcoast. . 

In the afternoon we walked to the house of one 
of the planters about a mile distant, to see some 
native traders from the interior, who had come 
down with a cafila of slaves, gold, and elephant's 
teeth for sale. These people were of a nation 
called Monjou. They were Negroes of the ugli- 
est description, with high cheek bones, thick lips, 
and small knots of woolly hair, like peppercorns. 
Their skips were a deep shining black. Their 
arms were bows and arrows, and shdrt lances with 
iron shafts ; and each man carried two pieces of 
wood, like those used at Sennaar, for the purpose of 

Some of the Monjou said that they had been 
three months on their journey ; but that it might 
have been performed in half the time. Others 
said they had been upwards of two months ; but 
that the journey might be accomplished in forty- 

VQJL. 11. C 


five days. Forty-five days of actual travelling at 
fifteen miles a day would give a distance of 675 
miles ; but this could not be performed without 
some days of rest. 

In the evening the planter took me to a kind of 
fair, held for bartering salt, shells, beads, tdbacco, 
coloured handkerchiefs, and Surat cloths, for the . 
slaves, gold, and ivory of the simple Mojou traders. 
The people of the interior are so desirous to dis- 
pose of their fellow creatures, that the PortugQese 
traders who visit their country [procure a man for 
the value of two dollars in the above articles of 
exchange: the black traders who frequent the 
settlement are not only more experienced, but 
they must be repaid their travelling expences; 
they therefore set a higher price upon their mer- 
chandize, disposingof men, women, and children, 
at the rate of from three to four pounds sterling 
each, and able-bodied men at five pounds. 

I saw at Mosambique, slaves /^ermiY^e^^ to dance, 
as a horse, with whip and spur, is sometimes 77^- 
mitted to galley, that standing too long in the 
stable may not injure his health. And I saw five 
hundred of these unfortunate creatures shipped 
at once on board the Portuguese vessels at Mo- 

I shall now* proceed to detail such particulars 
of this country and its inhabitants as I was able to 
obtain at Mosambique. 

The Makooa are a people consisting of many 
powerful tribes, extending to the westward of this 
settlement, and northward as far as Melinda, in 
latitude S^ south, and southward to the mouth of 
the river Zambezi, in latitude about 14^ They 
are a strong, athletic race of Negroes, inveterate 


enemies of the Portuguese ; and not without rea- 
son, from the scandalous practices of the traders 
of that nation, who have gone among them to pur^ 
chase slaves. They are armed with spears, darts, 
and poisoned arrows, and also possess a consider- 
able number of muskets, which they purchase oif 
the Arabs to the northward. The Makooa are in 
the constant habit of making incursions in the 
Portuguese territory on this coast. In the last 
of these, they destroyed the plantations, burnt 
the slave huts, and carried off the people ; and 
having penetrated as far as Mesuril, they plun- 
dered the governor's house, knocked down the 
image of St. John, and converted the sacerdotal 
garments of the priest into a habit of ceremony 
for their chief. 

The principal force the Portuguese have to op- 
pose to these invaders consists of some native 
tribes in alliance with them, who were themselves 
originally Makooa, but who were conquered by 
the Portuguese soon after the settlement of the 
colony. Their chiefs, who are styled Sheiks, are 
appointed by the Governor of Mosambique. The 
most formidable are the Sheiks of Quintangone, 
St. Cul, and Sereima. The first of these, whose dis- 
trict lies north of Mosambique, is said to com- 
mand four or five thousand men capable of bearing 
arms. The district of St. CAl is to the south of 
Mosambique, and is said to Supply about three 
thousand men. The sovereign of Sereima was at 
this time a woman, who could bring about fifteen ' 
hundred men into the field. But the united force 
of HI these chiefs, and^ as they may be termed, 
vassals of the Portuguese, arescarely sufficient to 
resist the ftiriaus attacks of the Makooa. 



The Makooa tattoo their skins, and in so rude 
a manner that they sometimes raise the marks the 
eighth of an: inch above the surface. The fashion- 
able manner of disposing these embellishments on 
the human face is in an indented stripe, which 
runs down the middle of the forehead, along the 
nose, and so on to the end of the chin ; and ano- 
ther such stripe which crosses it at right angles^ 
and runs from ear to ear ; giving the face the ap- 
pearance of having been formed in four quarters 
by nature, and having been sewed together by 
art. The mode of dressing the hair admits of 
greater variety. Some shave only one side of the 
head, leaving the other in its natural state ; others 
shave both sides, leaving a crest in the middle, 
which extends from the forehead to the nape of 
neck ; while a few leave only a simple tuft at the 
top of the forehead. ^ They bore the gristle of the 
nose, and suspend from it ornaments of copper or 
of bone. They file their teeth to a point ; so that 
the set resembles a coarse saw; this operation, 
however, does not injure the colour of the teeth, 
or subject them to decay. The upper lip pro- 
trudes greatly, but not sufficiently to satisfy 
Makooa ideas of female beauty ; the women 
therefore take especial care to lengthen it, by in- 
troducing in the centre a small circular piece of 
ivory, wood, or iron. 

All these circumstances taken into considera- 
tion ; and add to these the bending of the back, 
and the projection of the p4rt below ; and it is 
scarcely possible to find an object further removed 
from our ideas of female beauty than a Makooa 
woman who has past the middle age. 

Wild as the Makooa are in they* native state, 


they are docile and useful when they become 
slaves ; and such as are partially admitted to 
freedom, by being enrolled as soldiers, improve 
quickly, and their fidelity may be relied upon. 

The river Zambezi leads to the gold marts of 
the interior, and the Portuguese had early settle- 
ments on this river, which they still hold, and 
which form a line of communication to the west- 
ward. These are SenJt, Tdte, and Zumbo. 

From the Island of Mosambique, a vessel may 
sail southward to Quilimanci, at the mouth of the 
river Zambezi, in three or four days. 

From Quilimanci to Sen^ is about 247 English 
miles, which may be accomplished in twelve days. 

From Sen^ to Tfete is one hundred and eighty 

From T^te to Zumbo takes nearly a month. 

At Quilimanci the vessels transfer their cargoes 
to pinnaces and boats, which sail up the river. At 
the distance of fifteen miles the water becomes 
fresh, and the current rapid. At the distance of 
ninety miles from its mouth, the river widens con- 
siderably, a branch called Luabo, which is little 
frequented here, striking off to the southward. 
The left bank of the river is in the possession of 
the Portuguese ; the right is inhabited by inde- 
pendent native tribes. 

Senk is a considerable town on the southern 
bank of the river, containing about two thousand 
inhabitants, and protected by a fort. The go- 
vernor commands all the lesser establishments on 
the Zambezi, but is himself subordinate to the 
Governor of Mosambique. About twenty days 
journey south-west of Sen^ is Manica, a great mart 
for gold, where an annual fair is held^ to which 


the Portuguese traders resort with their merchan* 
dise. The first part of their journey lies through 
a country under the influence of the Portuguese ; 
the second part belongs to native tribes, who re- 
ceive presents for leave to pass through their seve- 
ral districts. 

A sovereign, who has been called the Emperor 
of Monomotapa, but whose real title is that of 
Quit^ve, and whose country is probably Motapa, 
also demands a tribute for permission to carry on 
this trade ; and a deputation is sent annually from 
Sen^ to Zimbaoa, his capital, where the tribute is 
laid with great ceremony at the feet of this mo- 
narch while he is sitting in full state. Zimbaoa is 
reported to be about forty days' journey from 
Sen^, and about fifteen to the west of Sofala. 

The country around Manica is extremely fer- 
tile, abounding with provisions and cattle. It is 
very mountainous, subject to frequent storms of 
thunder and lightning, and, at times, to a degree 
of cold unusual in such a latitude. 

The navigation of the river is much more dan- 
gerous and tedious from Senk to THe than from 
Quilimanci to Sen^. About half way between 
Sen^and'TSte is the pass of Lupata, formed by 
two impending mountains of black rock, which 
confine the water in so small a space that a child 
might throw a stone across it. A rock also rises 
in tlie middle of the stream, on which many boats 
are lost, owing to the rapidity of the current. 
The country north of the river is subject to the 
natives. The Portuguese continue to boast their 
dominion over the southern bank ; though they 
confess that, a little to the eastward of Lupata, lies 
a kingdom called Jambarra, governed by a pow- 


erful sovereign Who despises their authority, and 
that, west of this, there are two other districts 
equally independent. 

T^te is a village, with a fort, on the southern 
bank. Here merchandise is deposited, and here 
the Governor of Senk generally resides. At T6te 
the Portuguese territory extends to both sides of 
the river. 

From Tfite to Zumbo the first fifteen days are 
employed in travelling by laijd, on account of 
falls which interrupt the navigation of the river. 
This brings the trader to a place called Chicova, 
where he again embarks on the river, but in small 
shallow boats, in which he proceeds to Zumbo. 

At Zumbo, which is another mart for gold, the 
Portuguese have established a small factory by 
permission of the natives-, of the country beyond 
Zumbo no information could be obtained. It is 
said, however, that the Portuguese have a direct 
communication across the continent, from Mo- 
sambique to their settlements of Congo, Loango, 
and Benguela, on the western coast, by means of 
negro merchants who are established in ^lifferent 
parts of the country. 

I returned from Mesuril to Mosambique along 
the northern shore of the bay, and I observed 
several trees of the kind called malumpava. I 
measured one of these, ' growing in a remote 
thicket, the trunk of which was seventy feet in 
ciit^umference ; but this tree seems to expend its 
powers of vegetation in the -trunk, as the leaves 
and branches are few in proportion. 

In the height of their power, the settlements of 
the Portuguese extended^from Socatra, in latitude 
IS* north, to the Cape de Y Agoa, in 26*^ south ; 

2* DE L'aGOA bay. 

they still reach from Cape Delgado, in about 10^ 
north, to Cape Corientes, in about 23® south. 

It is said that the number of slaves annually 
exported from Mosambique is upwards of 4,000 ; 
and it is said that not more than seven in a hundred 
of European soldiers survive five years service at 
Mosambique, and that the mortality is nearly the 
same among all other classes of Europeans. Thus 
does a righteous Providence ordain that the cli- 
mate shall avenge the wrongs of the natives upon 
their tyrants. 

Mosambique is in latitude 15® 10' south, and in 
longitude 41® east. The height of the thermome- 
ter during my stay was from 86 to 89 degrees. 

I now sailed to the southward, and anchored in 
de I'Agoa Bay, which is nearly thirty miles in 
depth from east to west, dnd about sixty in breadth 
from north to south. It is much frequented by 
South-sea whalers, but is little known to other 
voyagers. Several large rivers empty themselves 
into it, of which the river Mafumo, where we an- 
chored is the southernmost. The entrance of this 
river is, four miles wide. The river is said to be 
navigable by vessels drawing twelve feet water, for 
thirty or forty miles, and by large boats for some 

The inhabitants of this part of the coast are 
Caffers, tall, stout, strong, and well made. The 
men were nearly naked ; the women wore a piece 
of cloth suspended from a girdle, with two t)r 
more pieces of leather, ornamented with beads, 
hanging down behind^ . The men shaved the 
head, leaving only one large tuft on the crown, 
which was raised in the form of a cone by small 
sticks placed within, and sewed together at the 


top* Some» instead of this fabric, left a large tuft 
of hair on each side, which they drew through a 
brass ring* The women left hair in the shape of 
a crescent on the crown of the head. Both sexes 
shaved the eyebrows, leaving two small tufts in 
the middle. These various operations were per- 
formed by a sort of* chisel made of a large nail, 
and without the assistance of water. . 

Men and women of rank wore heavy brass rings 
round the neck. I have seen some worn by 
women that were three inches in circumference, 
and weighed four or five pounds ; those of the 
men were sniialler, but several were worn together, 
and also on both arms, from the wrist to the elbow. 
These ornaments were certainly painful ; but they 
were a mark of distinction, and descended to 
these people from their fathers. Both sexes wore 
rings on their fingers and toes, and the women 
large glass-beads round the neck. The poorer 
sort had few ornaments. All were tattoed.on the 
face and breast, and rubbed with a composition of 
oil and red ochre. 

The huts were neatly made, circular, about 
fifteen feet in diameter, and had a space in front 
inclosed with stumps of trees about four feet high. 
In the centre of the hut was a fire-place, with a 
small hollow running round it for putting the 
heels in, when the inhabitants sit round the fire. 
Some used the back-bone of the whale as a seat ; 
some slept in a bed-place neatly plastered, and 
raised at the head as a pillow; and the better 
sort had a bed raised about two feet from the 
ground on four sticks. 

Their common food is fish and Indian corn ; 
but they would eat even the entrails of a goat or 

96 DB l'aooa bat. 

bullock, only squeezing out the contents of the 
boweld, and putting them on the lire to warm. 
Dead whales that came on shore were equally 
welcome. The slaves^ who had been taken in 
battle, looked miserably; and when I enquired 
how they were fed, one of the natives replied, 
^* Same as bullock/' and added, that in times of 
great scarcity.they were themselves obliged to eat 

These people have most unhappily acquired 
from the English, fishing on their coast, a passion 
for strong liquors. I saw many of them drink, 
several tumblers of brandy, in which these mis- 
creants, who were now in the bay, had put a 
quantity of red pepper, and in a few minutes they 
asked for more. All who could procure tobacco 
were continually smoking it in long pipes made 
of iron. 

I met with great civility from the inhabitants 
of the villages, who gave me milk and water, and 
dressed for me the game I shot. It is true that, 
if I permitted them, they would cut the buttons 
from my coat j but upon my shewing the least 
dissatisfaction they always desisted. The men 
were generally sitting in circles round afire, while 
the women were beating rice, or Indian corn, or 
employed in some other laborious occupation. I 
saw women labouring in the fields, and cutting 
down wood, while the men were attending them 
armed ; and I saw women with heavy burthens on 
their heads, and a child in a goat's skin on their 
backs, travelling, for miljes, along the shore. A 
man, however, would work a whole day on board 
one of the English vessels for a handful of sugar. 
They were good-humoured, and laughed on the 

D£ l'aOOA bat. 27 

slightest occasions.; and I did not meet with an 
instance of their taking any thing that was not 
given or sold, though temptation lay in their way 
in a variety of forms. I imagine that all the 
wives were virtuous ; for it was a sufficient proof 
of a woman's chastity to say she was a wife. 

The Portuguese fort, which was situated on the 
north side of the river, has been destroyed by the 
French ; but the Portuguese still carry on some 
trade here, and a ship comes here every year from 
Mosambique. We purchased a bullock weighing 
4D0lb. for a piece of coarse blue linen-cloth ten or 
twelve yards long, and five good fowls for ten old 

Several of the natives spoke English tolerably 
well, from their intercourse with the whalers j but 
they could not pronounce the th. 

The people have boats, which are nearly in the 
form of a fishing coble, and are sewed together 
with the bark of trees, and the seams payed with 
cow-dung. These have a mast and a mat-sail, and 
will carry from twelve to twenty persons, but 
they are rowed only by two. 

On going on shore one day, on the north side of 
the river, I was surrounded by more than a hun- 
dred and fifty of the natives^ about forty of whom 
were young men who had lately been circumcised, 
and were habited in the war dress. This consists 
of reeds hung round the neck and waist, and a 
high cap made of rushes, and ornamented with 
red and white be^ds, with holes left for the eyes, 
nose, and mouth ; this is drawn over the face in 
time of battle. These young people entertained 
me with a dance and chorus, in which the move- 
ments kept exact time to the sounds. They were 

28 D£ l'aooa bay. 

first drawn up in two lines, then formed a column, 
and lastly a circle, in which they danced some 
time with great exertion. Then, stopping sud- 
denly, and sounding the whistles they all wore 
hanging from the neck, they screamed, shouted, 
and dispersed. 

Cappelleh was the name of the sovereign on the 
south side of the river, and it was said that his do- 
minions extended ten days journey up the coun- 
try, ahd five along the coast. Mafumo was the 
most powerful chief on the north side, and was 
the ally of the Portuguese ; but since their de- 
parture, Wambo had expelled him, and taken pos- 
session of his territories. I was visited by two 
of Wambo's officers, who were dressed in long red 
gowns, and appeared to despise the people on the 
southern side of the river. 

I saw Capelleh several times, and had the plea- 
sure of adding to his wardrobe a scarlet waistcoast 
laced with gold. He was a tall thin man, about 
sixty years of age ; and was always accompanied 
by two or three of his wives, and attended by a 
guard of thirty men, armed with spears and battle- 
axes, made from old spike-nails, and carrying 
shields made of the rhinoceros' hide. 

On taking leave of Capelleh, one of his guard 
approached him, bowed, and knelt down three 
times, and then performed a curious dance, in 
which he tumbled, rolled on the ground, and 
sounded his antelope's horn in a variety of tones, 
much to the satisfaction of his master and his fol- 
lowers, who shouted and laughed immoderately. 
The king then rose, and I attended him to his 
hut, where I was regaled with Indian corn and 
sugar boiled in milk. After this, I was given to 


understand that he was going to perform some ex- 
traordinary feat. A hassagay was brought him 
by one of his attendants, and he pointed out a 
small bush, at the distance of about a hundred 
yards, as the mark he intended to hit : he then, 
after poising the weapon for some minutes, threw 
it with great strength and exactness into the bush. 
This having received all the applause due to the 
performance of a sovereign, I took leave of king 

After leaving the Bay of De T Agoa, my last wish 
regarding this coast was to see the Portuguese 
settlement at Sofala ; but a ship cannot approach 
this part of the coast without danger ; I therefore 
set out in search of this place in a boat. We 
landed on a point which formed the northern ex- 
tremity of a bay j the ground was covered with 
brushwood and small trees, and we saw the tracks 
of elephants, not of men. On advancing, we met 
with a deserted shed, near which were the remains 
of afire, and the fragments offish and cashew-nuts. 
To the south-west we fancied we could distinguish 
buildings, and we saw a volume of smoke arising 
behind them. We directed our steps towards the 
spot ; but buildings and smoke had vanished toge- 
ther, and not a trace of town, fort, or inhabitants, 
was to be seen. 

We again got into the boat, and entering the 
mouth of a wide river, the shores of which were 
flat, and covered with wood, we saw, on the north- 
ern bank, two canoes hauled up on shore. On 
approaching them, a man quite naked, unless I 
may except a thick coat of mud, started from the 
beach with a spear in his hand, and running away, 
in great alarm, soon disappeared among the trees. 


The place had the appearance of a village ; the 
trees were apparently planted with regularity, and 
we thought we could distinguish huts and people 
among them. We called out in Arabic, and in 
Portuguese, but received no answer ; we placed 
a knife and some biscuit in one of the canoes, as 
an inticement, and we hoisted a white handker- 
chief over them, as a token of amity ; but there 
our presents and our token were suffered to re- 
main. Why we did not go on shore, I confess I 
cannot tell ; but we did exactly ^the contrary j for 
we sailed back again. 

A few miles from this spot, while we were sail- 
ing out of the bay, we fell in with three canoes 
filled with natives. We advanced boldly towards 
them ; but before we could reach them they 
jumped out, and drew their canoes on shore. The 
man whom I supposed to be the chief, from his 
wearing a covering on his head, and a blue cloth 
over his shoulders, walked leisurely up the beach ; 
the others took up their bundles, brandished their 
arrows to the head, and tore the branches from 
the trees. I asked them repeatedly where lay 
Sofala. Their answer was unintelligible ; their 
signs were unequivocal ; for they plainly bade us 
begone. We had no alternative. Hoping, how- 
ever, to frighten the savages before we left them, 
we gave three cheers, and fired a pistol in the air. 
In this too we were unsuccessful ; Tor the savages 
were not frightened. They shouted in return, 
jumped and skip|pd along the beach, and shot 
their arrows at a mark to shew their skill ; while 
we returned to our ship. 

It afterwards appeared -that the bay we had 
visited was actually that of Sofala. Having, how- 


ever, been so unlucky in nyr voyage of discovery, 
it was some consolation to me to be informed that 
Sofala itself was a miserable village, not worth see- 
ing ; though the country around it was said to be 
extremely fertile, supplying the inhabitants of 
Mosambique with large quantities of rice, oranges, 
and many delicious fruits. 

Nothing now occurred till we arrived, at the 
Cape of Good Hope, and cast anchor in Table 



XaBLE bay is in latitude 33^ 55' south, lon- 
gitude 18® SO' east. Cape Town is situated at the 
foot of the mountain, and at the head of the bay, 
and forms .an ampitheatre which extends to the 
borders of the sea. The town consists of about 
eleven hundred houses, which are built with regu- 
larity, kept in neat order, disposed into straight 
and parallel streets, with others intersecting them 
at right angles. Many of the streets are open 
and airy, with canals of water running through 
them, that are walled on each side and planted 
with oaks ; others are narrow and ill paved. The 
entrance to the town, by the square of the fort, 
presents a noble view, many of the finest edifices 


having been erected here. Besides this, thiere are 
two other squares ; in one the market is held ; and 
the other is the resort of the farmers, who come, 
with their waggons, from the remote districts of 
the colony. 

The population of Cape Town is estimated at 
six thousand whites, and t\yelve thousand slaves. 
Instances of longevity are rare, few persons ex- 
ceeding the age of sixty years. 

In winter the thermometer in the town is from 
50^ at sun-rise to 60® it noon ; in the middle of 
summer from 70® to 90® ; but the genera! tempe- 
rature is 83 or 84. It has been known to exceed 
a hundred. .The heat of summer is seldom op- 
pressive ; the mornings are sometimes sultry, but 
the nights are always cool. The south-east wind 
prevails from January to April, and blows at times 
with such violence that in twenty-four hours the 
best stocked gardens appear as if they had been 
dug over and swept. To preserve the plants, 
it is necessary to surround all the beds'with close 
pallisades of young elms. The ordinary duration 
of this storm is three days. 

Fuel is so scarce that a small cart-load of wood 
sells in the town at from twenty to twenty-eight 
shillings. In most families a slave is kept for the 
express purpose of collecting wood. He goes out 
in the morning, climbs the steep mountains at the 
back of the peninsula,, and returns at night with 
two small bundles of faggots swinging at the ends 
of a bamboo cane, which he carries across his 
shoulders. Some families have two, and some 
three of^these slaves. 

The difference in the appearance and manners 
of the sons and daughters of the same family is 


Very striking^ and I have observed something like 
it in the trading towns in England. The young 
men at the Cape are often clumsy in their shape, 
awkward in their carriage, and . unsociStl in, their 
disposition. The young women are of a smalU de- 
licate form> easy in their manners^ well dressed, 
and fond of social intercourse. They are under 
no restraint. It is not unusual for eight or ten 
unmarried ladies, and the same number of gentle* 
men, to mount their horses at break of day, and 
ride six or seven miles, to breakfast at one of the 
country houses ; then mount again, and ride on to 
dine at another, and conclude the evening with a 
dance. It is with great pleasure I add that the 
ladies dp not abuse the liberty allowed them. I 
have always been of opinion that restraint is un- 
favourable to the morals of females, and that the 
" padlock should be clapped on the mind,'* rather 
than the person. 

Before the company sits down to dinner^ a glass 
of brandy, or of white wine, in which WOlmwood 
or aloes has been infused, is presented to each per- 
son. Brandy is still presented on such an occasion 
in the north of Yorkshire, where it is called a 

Torture was practised at the Cape before it was 
in the possession of the English, and breaking on 
the wheel was a capital punishment. ^When the 
British government had abolished these horrid 
customs, capital crimes decreased so much, that 
one executioner made application for a pension, 
and another hanged himself to keep him from 

The Table, the Devil, and the Lion mountains 
.jise from the same base, and divide the seasons at 


the Cape during the prevalence of the nof therly 
winds. He who should then pursue his route on 
the eastern side of these mountains would carry 
his uinbrdl]a to shelter him from the rain ; while 
he who passed on the western would take his to 
defend him from the sun. The front of the Table 
mountain, facing the towoi is a horizontal line of 
about two miles in length. The best access to 
the summit is through a deep chasm^ about thsee 
quarters of a mile long. The perp^dicular walls 
at the foot of this ravine are above a thousand feet 
high ; and about eighty yards distant from each 
other ; but they approach within a few feet, at the 
top. The ascent is very steep ; the chasm is bold 
and romantic ; the summit is a dreary plain, and 
the view from it almost unbounded. The ther- 
mometer is about fifteen d^rees lower here than 
in the town. The Lion mountain rises about 
S,600 feet above the level of the sea ; it is there- 
fore about the height of Snowdon. 

Before 1 enter on my travels through the Qo* 
lony of the Cape of Good Hope, I shall give a 
general account of the country and its original in- 

The colony extends from 520 to 580 miles from 
west to east, and from 160 to 315 from north to 
south. The first of these limits cannot be ex- 
tended, as they are formed by the Atlantic and 
Indian oceans ; the latter are probably advancing 
while I write ; for the natives present a feeble 
barrier to the cupidity and enterprize of Eu- 

Two great chains of mountains run parallel with 
the western coast, having between them and the sea 
a sandy plain. From the innermost of these chains 


branch off three others, which run from west to ea&t, 
and form three terraces, each higher than the last, 
as We advance to' the northward. * The two south- 
ernmost of thesis chains form the vast ridges called 
the Zwaartbergen, or Black mountains, which 
run like a steep wall, and are broken only by the 
streams that pour through them. The southern- 
most ridge terminates at the western point of 
Krbmme river bay ; the northern at the western 
point of Zwaart Kops, or Algoa bay ; the Lange 
Kloof, or Long pass*, runs between them. 

The level country between the southern ridge 
of mountains and the coast decreases in breadth 
as it runs to the eastward, till it ends at Kromme 
river bay. AU the inlets on the southern coast 
resemble each other in figure. They have gene- 
rally, on the western side, a projecting rock which 
is the termination of a range of hills ; and these 
ranges, running in parallel directions, cut the 
coast into many pointed angles. Some of the 
creeks advance within a mile of the foot of the 
mountains. The easternmost part of this tract 
contains the vast forests of Sitsikamma, which 
man has hitherto left in the possession of its na- 
tive elephants, rhinoceroses, and 'buffaloes, and 
pursues his- journey to the eastward over the first 
range of mountains, and through the Lange Kloof. 

beyond the Zwaartbergen, and within the 
third range of mountains, are arid lands,, known 
both to natives and colonists by the name of 
Karroo. In these are large spaces which are per- 
fect plains, and others from which rise hills of 
slate. The soil throughout is a sand mixed witli 
clay, or argillaceous earth, and contains every- 
where, in greater or smaller quantity, particles of 



iron. A foot below the surface lies a hard and 
impenetrable stone. Some succulent plants whose 
bulbs, like those of the liliaceous tribe, nature has 
fortified with a tenfold net of fibres under the 
upper rind^ to enable them to resist the hardened 
clay ; such alone contend with the destructive qua- 
lity of the soil. When the rains penetrate this 
hard coat of earth, the fibres imbibe the moisture, 
and push aside the clay. The germ begins to 
shoot ; the plants appear above the ground ; and 
in a few days the arid waste is covered with a 
beautiful green clothing. The surface is soon 
Enamelled with flowers ; the young green is almost 
hidden, and the desert becomes a garden, exhaling 
the most fragrant odours. 

The farmer now leaves his residence in moun-^ 
tains covered with snow, and forms a temporary 
habitation in the plain. His flocks and herds find 
a plentiful supply of food, which they share with 
the antelopes and ostriches, that, like them, are 
driven from the heights. But soon is the Karroo 
deprived of its glory ; for, as the days lengthen, 
the power of the sun checks the vegetation : the 
flowers fall, the leaves die, and the hard coat of 
earth locks up the germs, till the rainy season re- 
turn. The succulent plants, however, still furnish 
'food for the cattle, till continued drought compel 
the farmer to return to his elevated home. By 
the end of September the Karroo is deserted^ 
The hardened clay bursts into a thousand cracks, 
every trace of verdure has vanished, and the red 
soil is covered with a brown dust, formed by the 
' kkhes of the withered plants. These ashes are the 
matiufre tliat is to cherish the succeeding Crop, and 
'infOng 'theih lie the seeds that are to produce it. 


The third range of mountains that crosses 
Southern Africa is composed of the Hantam, the 
Roggeveldt, . or Ryefield, the Niuewveldt, or 
Newfield, the Sneuwberg, or Snow-mountain, and 
the Bamhosberg, or Bambos mountain. These 
form the third step ; and beyond these is a still 
higher range called the Karree mountains. 

The whole of Southern Africa has a regular de- 
clension from west to east, as well as from north 
to south. To the westward the country is sandy, 
barren, and thinly inhabited ; to the eastward it 
iiicreases in beauty and fertility. 

When the Dutch planted this colony in 1650, 
they purchased of the Hottentots their stock of 
cattle, and a part of their country, with brandy, 
tobacco, iron, and a few paltry tnnkets. A ^ask 
of brandy was the price of a whole* district, and 
nine inches in length of an iron hoop that of a fat 
ox. What more they wanted they took by force. 

The government granted lands on lease to the 
settlers, at the annual rent of something less than 
five pounds for each farm. The nearest distance 
from house to house was to be three miles > so 
that each farm consisted of more than five thou- 
sand acres of land* Thus the Dutch spread them- 
selves over the country- As they advanced, the 
natives retired j those who remained among the 
colonists being soon under the necessity of be- 
coming their servants. 

The name of Hottentot may shortly be pro- 
nounce4 only in relation to the past; and the 
decay of these people will excite in the breast of 
future generations the same indignation against 
the Dutch, as the extermination of the natives 
of JSt. Domingo has done against the Spaniards. 

OS coLomr of ths cape. 

f'BfttM^ is not' an .imtance of cruelty said to 
iiMFO M))een practised upon the slaves in the 
West Indies that could not find a parallel among 
the Dutch fanners, at a distance from the 
Mat of government, to their servants. Instant 
death frequently follows punishment inflicted in 
a passion. In cold blood, the monsters are 
4:ontent with whipping and cutting, with tough 
and heavy thongs of leather, and flogging, not by 
number of lashes, but by time ; and as the &rmer 
has neither watch nor dock to measure time, it is 
marked by his smoking as many pipes as he may 
ihink the fault deserves. 

Though the Hottentots receive wages, they are 
little better than the slaves of the farmer. An ox, 
a ofiuDple of cows* or a dozen sheep, are the usual 
wages of a \^Iiole year. If an ox or a sheep be 
missing, the Hottentot must replace it} and if 
|io. such accident occur, it frequently happens that 
a bill for tobacco or brandy is brought against him 
to the full amount. If he marry, he builds his 
straw hut near the farm-house ; his children are 
enqpuraged by the fanner to ask for food ; and if 
they receive a morsel of bread, they are his slaves 
till they are twenty-five. A Hottentot seldom 
knows when he is twentyrfive ; and, if he chance 
to know it, he is turned adrift at that age, and at 
thirty he begins to grow old. Those who marry 
in this state of depression have seldom more than 
two or three children, and many of the women 
have none, 

Such of the Hottentots as i:etain most of their 
original character are a mild and timid race; 
harmlelto, honest, and faithful; kind and afiec- 
tionate to ei^ch other, and capable of forming 


Strong attachments. Though naturally fterftiU 
they will face danger if led on by their superiorly 
and they suffer pain with patience. They are not 
deficient in tident» but they want exertion. My 
Hottentots would frequently pass the day without 
food» rather than walk half a mile for a sheep. 

Hottentots are gluttonous while provisions are 
plentiful, and content with little when these are 
scarce. A Hottentot is capable of eating ten or 
twelve pounds of meat in one day ; but, on press- 
ing occasions, a few locusts, a piece of honeycomb, 
or a piece of the leather of his sandals, will suffice 
him. I never could make these people compre- 
hend that it was prudent to reserve a little food 
for the morrow. They not only eat as much as 
they can, but they distribute what is left to whom- 
soever they meet } and their answer to my rempa^ 
strances respecting the future was, <^ We will 
hunt,'* or, " We will sleep.** And it is very ex- 
traordinary that they often can command sleep. 
When this refuses to come at their bidding, they 
have another experiment not less remarkable*; they 
confine their stomachs with a leathern bandage, 
to appease their hunger. 

When they have taken a large steak from an ox, 
they cut it spirally till they come to the centre, 
when it becomes a string two or three yards in 
length. The string then, still coiled round, is 
laid upon the ashes, and as soon as it is warmed 
through, the Hottentot, grasping it with both 
hands. Implies one end of it to his mouth, and soon 
devours a yard of beef. 

•When the Hottentots drink from^a stream^ttliey 
take up the water in their hand, and \hww'it 


into their mouth witli a quick motion, seldom 
bringing the hand nearer the mouth than twelve 

The Hottentots are clean limbed, and well 
proportioned; their hands and feet are small; 
and they have no apparent muscle that indicates 
strength. Their cheek-bones are high, their chin 
is pointed, the nose is different in different tribes, 
in some fiat, in others considerably raised* Their 
colour is a yellowish brown ; their teeth are beau- 
tifully white i their hair grows in small tufts at a 
distance from each other ; when kept short it has 
the appearance of a hard brush ; when su&red to 
grow, it hangs on the neck in twisted tassels like 
fringe. Some of the young women might serve as 
models of perfection in the female figure. 

The men wear a belt of skin, with a piece of 
leather before and behind. The thongs of dried 
skin whioh formerly encircled the legs of the 
women, and preserved them from injury, have now 
given place to beads, which aoe a useless oma^ 
ment and soon destroyed. :Fashion is a despot 
which seldom regards convenience, and women 
are more its slaves than men. : . • 

The neck, arms, and legs of a female Hotten- 
tot are loaded with beads ; but the most splendid 
of these are reserved to embroider a small apron, 
which reaches from the waist to the.middle of the 
thigh. A sheep sl^n cloak and a pap of skin com- 
plete the dress. 

The Hottentots possess the faculty of sight 
in an exquisite degree. They will watch a bee 
to its nest; and, upon the hardest ground, on 
which the elephant leaves no traces perceptible tq 


a common eye, amidst withered leaves, seHttcttd 
and driven by the wind, the Hottentot catt^diftin^ 
guish the print of this animal's foot, and saQS^tfae 
path it has taken. The manner in which a brabch 
is broken is to him a certain indication. 

The Hottentots have no other mode of mea- 
suring time than by lunar months and days ; and 
if a Hottentot be asked the distance to ascertain 
place, he either makes no answer, or points to a 
particular spot in the heavens, and says, ** The 
sun will be there when you get to it.'* 

Hottentots use means to defend themselves 
from the powerful rays of the sun ; but it appears 
to them of no consequence to be sheltered from 
the rain. 

Hottentot is a word that has no place in the 
language of the original inhabitants of this coun- 
try, and they take it to themselves imder the 
idea of its being a Dutch word. When they were 
spread over Southern Africa, each tribe had its 
particular name ; but that by which *the whole 
people was, and is still, distinguished is, Quaiqua. 

The issue of a white man and a Hottentot 
.woman is called a Bastaard. These people are. a 
different race from that of their mother. The men 
are six feet high, and stout in proportion ; the 
women well made and active^ 

The number of white inhabitants in the colony, 
exclusive of those in Cape Town, is about 15,000, 
and the Hottentots remaining in the whole colony 
^lay amount to the same number. 




1 H£ mode of travelliog in the colony of the 
Cape of Good Hope is with Waggons drawn by 
oxen ; Bastards are the drivers, and Hottentots 
lead the foremost pair in the team. The speed of 
the oxen, where the country is level and the sur- 
fsLce hard, is full three miles an hour, at which rate 
they will go three or four hours without halting. 
The day's journey is from five to fifteen hours. 

I left Cape Town with two waggons, having ten 
oxen in each, and proceeded to the eastward. I 
visited the farm of Constantia, so celebrated for its 
wine. It is remarkable that an exact line may be 
drawn, beyond which this precious beverage can- 
not be produced ; and it is said that it would be 
to the advantage of the proprietor to take down 
his hou^e and domestic buildings, which stand 
within the line of demarcation, and plant the space . 
with vines. At the distance of thirty-six miles I 
arrived at Hottentot's Holland's Kloof, a pass in 
the longitudinal range of mountains which opens 
into a fine country inclosed between the southern 
range of the Zwaartberg and the sea. 

Looking back from the portal of the Kloof, we 
had a grand view of the Cape peninsula, the sweep* 
ing shores of Table and False bays, and the in* 
termediate sand, enlivened by a few neat farm- 
houses scattered at the foot of the mounuins. 

In Zoete Melk valley, we halted at a place called. 


Bavian's or Baboon's Kloof, where there is an 
establishment of Moravian missionaries. We found 
the brethren men of middle age, plain and decent 
in their dress, cleanly in their persons, of modest 
manners, and meek deportment ; and, though zea- 
lous in the catise of their mission, free from 
bigotry and enthusiasm. According to the rules 
of their society, each had learned some useful oc- 
cupation ; one was a smith, another a tailor, aao^ 
ther a shpe-maker. 

The missionaries had brought together upwards 
of a thousand Hottentots. Two hundred huts 
and houses, built in regular rows, with each a 
garden annexed to it, gave the place the appear* 
ance of an* European village. Those Hottentots 
who chose to learn the respective trades of the 
missionaries, were paid for dieir labour as soon as 
they could earn wages ; others hired themselves 
as labourers to the Dutch farmers, made mats and 
brooms, bred poultry, or subsisted by means of 
their cattle, sheep, and horses. 

I attended the church^service of the missiona- 
ries. About half the congregation were clothed 
in coarse printed cottons, the others in their an- 
cient sheep-skins ; the behaviour of all was devout. 
The discourse of the preacher was short, but par 
thetic, replete with good sense, and well suited to 
the occasion. Tears flowed abundantly from the 
eyes. of those to whom it was particularly ad-f 
dressed. May priestly pride and thirst of power, 
in whatever church or sect they may be found, 
]earn primitive Christianity from the brethren of 
the Zoete Melk valley. 

The district of Zwellendam comprises the coun-? 
try between the first range of mountains and the 
tea, and extends ta the eastward as far as the 


Camtoos river. It contained between five and six 
hundred families, consisting of about 3,000 white 
people. The number of Hottentots did not ex- 
ceed two to a family, and the number of negroes 
was about five. 

The village of the Drosdy of Zwellendam is 
composed of about twenty houses. It is situated 
in a fertile valley, through which runs a perpetual 
stream of water. The habitation of the landdrost 
stands at the head of the valley^ and is surrounded 
by plantations of oaks. 

In the year 1773» a Dutch farmer was living a 
little to the westward of Zwellendam, who remem- 
bered the time when the Hottentots were nume- 
rous, and the Christian settlers few ; when it was 
dangerous for the latter to venture eastward, even 
so far as this place. Elephants at this time 
abounded so much near the Cape, that in his 
journeys from his habitation thither the farmer had 
frequently shot four or five in a day, and some- 
times twelve or thirteen. A good sportsman takes 
his aim so as that the ball shall pass through 
the elephant's lungs, and kills him at one shot. 
The ball is one third tin, and weighs a quarter of 
a pound. 

Butter, is here churned in a vessel that will con- 
tain between one and two hogsheads ; and the 
churn-staff is raised and wrought by two, and 
sometimes four people, in the same way as the 
handle of a pump. Those farmers who have a to^ 
lerable share of ground, make from 1,800 to 3,500 
pounds of butter in a year. This is carried in one 
or two journeys to the Cape, where it is sold to 
dealers, who afterwards sell a great part of it to 
the ships that anchor there. The buttermilk is 
thrown away, and flows in rivulets. 


We now crossed the Gauritz' river, the western 
limit of Muscle bay. This river may be called the 
sink df the colony. All the waters that have their 
origin within u hundred and fifty miles to the east* 
ward ; within the same distance to the westward ; 
upon the Great Karroo, and in the intermediate 
mountains to the northward ; meet in one immense 
chasm of the mountains here, and form the Gau* 
ritz river. The sudilen and violent inundations 
of this river are almost beyond credibility. Tha 
ruins of a house which was destroyed by it are still 
to be seen, situated nearly a hnndred feet above 
its channel. 

Muscle Bay lies in latitude 84*^ 10' south, and 
longitude 22^ l8' east, and is about S40 miles 
from the Cape. It affords excellent fish, particu- 
larly muscles and oysters. The place abounds 
with wood and water, and the scenery is majestic. 
The ground is good for either corn or pasture ; it 
affords clay for making bricks, and the shore 
affords lime for cementing them. Under the 
British government a drosdy had been established 

In the year 1772, a farmer dwelt in the Aute- 
niquas land which we now entered, who had' fifty 
Hottentots in his service, and buffaloes were shot 
by one of these in such numbers as to supply 
the whole family with meat. Every time he went 
to hunt, the balls were counted out to him, and 
he was obliged to furnish the same number of dead 

Froni hence we crossed the Cayman's or Cro- 
todile*s river, which was most diflicult for wag- 
gons, the bdhks, on either side, being several Ivtm- 
dred feet high, and steep and rocky^ and arrived 
at Plcttenberg's bay. Here ^conimcnceiif the ntn- 


penetrable forest of Sitsikamma. Plettenberg's 
bay lies in latitude 34^ 6' south, and longitude 23^ 
48' east. Tlie distance from Cape Point is SSO 
English miles. 

In 1804 one of the farmers of Lange Kloof 
hunting in Sitsikamma, killed a male elephant 
fourteen feet high. The tusks weighed nearly a 
hundred and a half, and sold at Cape Town for 
20U dollars. The farmer disserted, that, some 
years before, elephants had been taken here that 
were eighteen feet in height ; and I was after- 
wards assured by experienced hunters beyond.the 
country of the Caffers, that this was not an exag- 
geration. A farmer of the Lange Kloof spoke 
highly of the affection of the elephant for its 
young, and affirmed that he had himself seen a 
female elephant take up her wounded calf between 
her teeth, and carry it away. 

From Plettenberg's bay to the DuyviPs Kop, or 
Devil's Head, over which lies the road into the 
Lange Kloof, the whole country is beyond compa- 
rison the grandest and most beautiful part of the 
colony. The farm-houses are in a better style than 
is usual at such a distance from the capital ; they 
are white-washed, and to almost every one is at- 
tached a small inclosure, with ornamented walls, as 
a burying-place for the family. The Dutch have 
no service, or ceremony, at the interment of the 

At six o'clock in the morning we entered a 
wood of a most venerable appearance. I conti- 
nued for some time admiring the immense size of 
this and that tree, when an object presented itself 
that engrossed all my attention. This was a long, 
icky, and steep ascent. The first waggon, 

ough 26 oxen were yoked to it, was two hours 


before it reached the summit ; and the second, with 
the same oxen, was three. 

On arriving at the top of this rocky ascent we 
felt like people at sea after weathering a storm ( 
but our task was not yet finished ; for, after tra- 
velling on high ground, we came to the base of a 
mountain whose top, was hidden in the clouds, 
over which it seemed we were to pass. We halted 
to prepare the oxen for the toilsome undertakings 

At three in the afternoon we began to ascend 
the mountain, and at five we reached the bottom 
of aipng and steep declivity. We had now a still 
higher mountain to get over, and, to lessen the 
labour of the following day, we scrambled about a 
quarter of a milp up its side, and then halted for 
the night. 

On the following morning, after three hours 
and a half of hard labour, we reached the summit 
of the Duyvil's Kop. The remains of two wag- 
gons were seen at the bottom of a precipice. The 
prospect behind us was highly interesting ; but 
neither man nor beast appeared to enliven it The 
peak; was not more than fifteen yards wide, and 
the descent at first was by a flight of rocky stairs. 
At the bottom we entered Lange Kloof, and halted 
for the night in a spot where the hills on each side 
nearly met. 

Lange Kloof is a narrow valley, in few places 
exceeding a mile in breadth, between the high, 
unbroken, southern range of the Zwaartberg, and 
a parallel range of green hills belonging to the 
Zwaartberg on the north. It stretches nearly east 
and West, and well deserves the epithet Long ; 
for it is about a hundred and fifty miles in length* 
It abounds with streams of water and good pas^ 


turage. The soil is rich, and most of the habu 
tations have gardens, vineyards, and orcharcb. 
Being considerably elevated above the level of the 
sea, and situated in the midst of mountains, snow 
frequently falls here in the winter months, and lies 
upon the ground some time. Between the two 
extremities of Lange Kloof there is only one pas- 
sage for waggons over the southern chain of 
mountains, the formidable passage of the Duyvii's 

In the morning of the second day of our travel- 
ling through Lange Kloof, I sent one of my Hotten* 
tots back in search of an ox that had fallen behind 
in the night. He did not return till nine o'clock 
in the evening, when he brought with him the 
strayed animal. This would have afforded a sub- 
ject for conversation among English rustics ; but 
my Hottentot, though he had walked about twen- 
ty.four miles, and had tasted nothing but water, 
sat down carelessly by the fire, and had no tale to 
tell. Nor did the other Hottentots ask him one 
question ; they knew that the ox was found, and 
that John was there, and with this they were sa- 

On the following day a neighbouring farmer 
made me a visit, and sent me some grapes and 
some milk. He offered me a cheese, and asked 
for a bottle of wine. He sent his own bottle for 
the latter, and it was well for him he did so ; for 
it contained twice as much as mine. 

In the Lange Kloof flows a river called, and 
justly called, the Kromme, or Crooked river. It 
formed so many turns and windings that we found 
it continually in our way, and we crossed it ten 
times. It increased considerably as we descended. 


the two chains of mountains approached so near 
as to leave only a marshy hollow ; and, at the far- 
ther end, a long, steep, and rocky descent, brought 
us into a country of a beaqtiful appearance. 

We crossed several rivers, one of which was the 
Camtoos, which is wide and deep, and travellers 
are sometimes detained a week by its rise. We 
halted on a charming plain, only a few hundred 
yards in circumference, surrounded by hills and 
shrubbery. A female Hottentot, with her two 
children here joined my company. When I asked 
this woman the age of her children, she seemed as 
much surprised as if I had asked the number of 
hairs on their heads. I then enquired how many 
times the sun had come near since the birth of the 
eldest. She believed three times, which was con- 
firmed by the appearance of the child. 

At six o*clock in the evening we had a view of 
the ocean. At seven we came to a descent so steep 
that the hinder wheels of the waggons were fre- 
quently raised from the ground. The following 
day we arrived at Algoa, or Zwaart Kops bay. 

Zwaart Kops bay lies in latitude 33® 5& south, 
and longitude S6® 63' east. The distance from 
the Cape in a direct line is 500 miles. The 
breadth of the bay is about twenty miles ; the . 
rivers that fall. into it are the Zwaart Kops, the 
Kooka, and the Sondag. 

The neighbourhood abounds with the finest 
forest, and the coast is covered with brushwood 
to the water's edge ; yet the dwellings of the 
farmers are miserable hovels. Four low mud 
waUs with two square holes to admit the light, a 
roof of crooked poles thatched with rushes^ and a 
door of wicker work, form the habitation of many 



a grazier who owns, several thousand sheep, arid 
several hundred head of cattle. The fanners here 
reap from twenty-five to forty grains of wheat for 
one, without manuring the land. There are places 
near every house, fenced round with dead thorns, 
in which the cattle are kept at night to secure 
them from beasts of prey ; and in these I have 
seen their dung lying twelve feet deep, it being 
less trouble to leave it where it falls than to lay it 
on the cultivated ground. The .Dutch call these 
inclosures kraals. This word signifies a necklace 
of beads, and was probably applied by the Dutch 
to the villages of the Hottentots, from the form of 
the huts, and the circular manner in which they 
were placed. As the inner part of this circle was 
the nightly inclosure for the cattle, the name 
was transferred to other inclosures for the same 

The vale through which the Zwaart Kops river 
Tims is about twenty miles in length, and two in 
breadth, and is wholly occupied by four families. 

From Zvvaait Kops bay I proceeded to the east- 
ward, and having crossed the Sondag or Sunday 
river, I passed over a wild, uninhabited part qf the 
country, covered with shrubs, through which was 
cut a road just wide enough to admit a waggon. 
Near the Hassagay bosch river stood the second 
habitation we had seen from Zwaart Kops bay, and 
I was told there was no other to the eastward. 
This district is called the Zuure Veldt (Sour Field). 

Having crossed the Hassagay bosch river, we 
approached some stations of Caffers, and I pitched 
n)y tent among some hundreds of them, who came 
swarming out of the thicket that skirted the river. 
A party of women advanced, laughing and dancing 


round the waggons, and coaxing us to give them 
brass buttons and tobacco. They were mostly of 
a low stature and strong limbed ; their counte- 
nances animated and good humoured ; and their 
manners sportive, but modest. 

The men were the finest figures I ever beheld, 
tall, robust, and muscular. One of them, a young 
man about twenty years of age, might have served 
for a model of Hercules. They had a firmness of 
carriage, an openness of manner, and a look of good 
humour, that pronounced them equally free from 
fear, suspicion, and cruelty. 

Towards the setting of the sun, a kind of 
whistle from the CafFers brought in vast herds of 
cattle from every quarter. At another whistle 
the cows separated themselves from the rest, and 
came forward to be milked ; and in the morning a 
third signal sent them all out to graze. 

In the morning I was visited by a Caffer chief, 
a strong muscular man above six feet high. This 
chief was followed by three others ; and I under- 
stood that they had pissed the Great Fhh river, the 
boundary between their country and the colony, 
without the permission of their king. When they 
found that I intended to visit this sovereign, they 
intreated me to intercede for tliem, and promised 
that, on a messenger of peace being sent to them, 
they would return. Such ti messenger is known 
by his laying his hassagay on the ground, at the 
distance of two hundred paces from those to whom 
he is sent, and advancing with extended arms. 

The chiefs were distinguished by a slender 
brass chain, suspended from tlie left side of a 
wreath of smaU polished copper beads, that en- 
circled the head.' The rest of their dress was the 



same as that of the other Cafiers who were dressed 
at all ; a long cloak of calves-skin, well dressed, 
and pliant, broad rings of ivory, cut out of the 
solid tusks of the elephant, above the elbow, 
rings of copper and iron on the wrists and ancles, 
and glass beads round the neck« 

The huts of these people were temporary 
abodes, formed of living twigs in the thicket, bent 
and interwoven with each other, and covered with 
branches and long grass. Not one was visible till 
we entered the shrubbery. 

On the following day we skirted the banks of 
the Kareeko towards the sea-shore, passing multi- 
tudes of Caffers and their herds. I believe we did 
not see fewer this day than 5,000 head of cattle. 
Among these were oxen of remarkable size and 
strength, and cows of great beauty. The horns 
of the oxen were twisted into a variety of forms. 
The points of some met under the neck ; those of 
others projected horizontally on each side of the 
head ; some had one horn raised up perpendicu- 
larly, and the other pointing to the earth; and 
others were turned toward* the. tail. Some oxen 
had large circular pieces cut out of the dewlap j 
others had i4?cut into strings. 

The love of ornament produces strange vaga- 
ries. In many countries man punctures his skin ;. 
in some woman perforates her nose \ and in our*s 
her ears. Man has formerly added the hair of 
other men to his own ; .has loaded them both with 
the flour that should have made his pancakes, and 
the lard that should have fried them, has tied the 
mass so as to imitate the tail of a quadruped, and 
suflTered it to hang down his back. Can we then 
wonder that he should desire to improve his oxen ? 

€AFFfiR8. £S 

The inverted horns, and fringed and scalloped 
dewlaps of these animals, gave me some uneasi- 
ness, as I imagined that these iioprovements 
could not have been made without inflicting pain ; 
but a little reflection convinced me that it was 
friendship on the part of the Caffers ; and that if 
they had not regarded the oxen with kindness, 
they would not have taken the trouble to orna- 
ment their persons. 

I had quitted the common track at the Hassa- 
gay bosch river, for the purpose of seeing the Gaf- 
fers, and I had travelled over the grassy plains of 
the Zuure Veldt with little difficulty ; but we had 
now to cross the river Kowie, and ^to descend to it 
by & steep precipice, strewn over with fragments 
of rock, and in some places covered with brush- 
wood through which we had to cut our way. 
Waggons are bad travellers on such a road ; but 
in two hours, with the assistance of care and pa- 
tience, we left it behind us, and passed along a 
narrow defile, sometimes hemmed in by woods 
which crept up the sides of the mountains, at 
others, by walls of naked rock. . The sufferings of 
my oxen had been great in the descent : I spare 
myself the recital of those they endured in mount* 
ing the opposite hill, and the means that were em- 
ployed to* compel them to perform that labour. 

Being now only five days' journey from the resi- 
dence of the Caffer king, I sent to ask his permis- 
sion to pay my respects toitim. 

On the following day, observing near the coast 
a long train of fires, and supposing them to pro- 
ceed from a party of Cafiers, we turned out of our 
way, and made towards them. The smoke ad- 
vanced ; the wind increased ; and we found ohr- 


selves in. a bla^e of burning grass. The smoke 
was suffocating ; the flames rose up on each side 
of the waggons ; the feet of the oxen were biu'nt, 
and th^y became unmanageable, and galloped off. 
Either by sagacity or chance> however^ they had 
set their heads against the wind, and they soon 
got through the danger. The flames ran along 
the dry grass with incredible celerity, and the 
face of the country, for several miles, was a sheet 
of fire. We passed over a considerable extent of 
ground among black ashes, and soon after reached 
the mouth of the Great Fish river. The banks 
descended with a fine smooth slope from the ele- 
vated plains on either side, and were covered with 
grass to the water's edge. ' 

The mouth of the Great Fish river is in latitude 
.38» 25^ south, and in longitude 2?° 37' east. The 
distance from the Cape is about six hundred 

Numbers of hippopotami appeared with their 
heads above the water ; and being desirous of 
having a nearer view of this animal, 1 set out the 
next morning to hunt. We soon discovered the 
recent track of a hippopotamus, and followed it 
to the place where it had entered the water. It 
quickly appeared, but it had reached the opposite 
shore. Two of ^ly Jlottentots swam, over, to 
force it nearer to us ; but it plunged so oflen and 
so quickly, that it was never in the spot we ex- 
pected it, and we fired thirty shots without touch- 
ing it. At length a shot was so well directed that 
the hippopotamus received it. It immediately 
dived, and soon after appeared with the greater 
part of its body, which was agitated by a convul- 
sive motion, out of the water. I fired, and lodged 


my ball in its breast It plunged again, and did 
not appear till the expiration of twenty-seven mi- 
nutes, when it floated, dead, on the surface of the 
\rater. Some of my Hottentots then swam to it, 
and pushed it to the bank. 

I do not love to be the minister of death wan- 
tonly ; and with regard to myself, as I was excited 
by curiosity, not by hunger^ I think the hippopo- 
tamus had as good a right to live as I. With my 
Hottentots the case was different ; to them the 
hippopotamus was a feast. I saw them broil 
steaks two or three feet in length, and a foot in 
l>readth. They melted the fat, and drank it from 
basons as if it had been broth ; and having satiated 
their appetites, they rubbed it on their skins, till 
they looked as if they had been varnished. 

From the muzzle to the root of the tail, the hip- 
popotamus was ten feet seven inches, and the body 
was eight feet eleven inches in circumference. It 
was a female, and its teeth were only five inches 
long, and one inch in diameter in.the thickest part. 

1 found here three differenc kinds of the bird 
called indicator, on account of its indicating where 
honey may be found. Having discovered a nest, 
it attracts the notice of some individual by a par- 
ticular cry^ which the Hottentots well understand, 
and then hopping from branch to branch, or from 
ant-hill to ant-hill, it. leads the way to the prize. 
When the bird arrives at the honey, it stops, and 
the cry ceases ; the treasure is plundered, and the 
discoverer feasts upon the remains. The skin of 
this bird is so thick that it can scarcely be^ pene- 
trated by a pin ; a shield given it by providence 
to protect it from the weapons of the insects on the 
produce of whose industry it subsists. 


All the chasms that intersect this part of the 
country, all the sides of the knolls and banks of 
the rivers, are covered with wood. Among this 
was the euphorbia, throwing out a number of 
naked arms from ^ straight trunk thirty or forty 
feet high ; the CaflTer's bean tree, with large clus? 
ters of red flowers resembKng branches of red co-r 
ral ; the Hottentot s bean, with bunches of scar- 
let flowers intermingled with its dark green folir 
8ge. Touracoes, perroquets, and other beautiful 
birds were fluttering about the trees, and the plains 
were besprinkled with elegant flowers. The tou*- 
raco is the finest of all birds. Its colour is ^ 
bright grass green ; its head is crowned with a 
tuft of the same colour bordered with white ; its 
wings are of a most beautiful purple ; its form and 
its motions are elegant. 

Having skirted the banks of the Great Fish 
river,, we came to the first ford. The following 
day we passed the river, though not without diffi^ 
culty, the banks being high and steep^ the stream 
riq[)id, the water deep, and the bottom rocky. We 
poyr entered the country of the Caffers. 




1 HOUGH no part of the colony that I had seen 
could be compared with that I passed through 
during the two first days I travelled in Caflferland, 
which is comprehended between the Great Fish 
river and the river Keiskamma ; though we passed 
several villages composed of neat huts, we saw 
not a human being. At this river I met the mes- 
senger I had sent to the king, accompanied by a 
chief who was dispatched to invite and attend me 
to his residence. 

The Keiskamma is a large river ; and leaving 
my waggons behind me, I crossed it, and pro- 
ceeded on horseback. The village where the king 
now resided was only fifteen miles distant ; but 
the hills were covered with thick underwood, and 
on the plains were so many scattered acacia treejs, 
just distant enough for their thorny branches to 
meet and annoy the traveller, that we were conti- 
nually obliged to quit the road, which was never 
more than a foot path. We passed a number of 
villages, containing from ten to thirty huts each ; 
some deserted ; others very populous. A crowd 
of people, men and women, flocked down on every 
side and followed us. 

On arriving at the king's residence, we found 
that, not expecting us so soon, he had gone to his 
gazing village, ten or twelve miles to the north- 


ward. It was not long, however, before he made 
his appearance, riding on an ox in full gallop, and 
attended by five or six of his people. 

Gaika, king of the Caffer^, was a young m^n, 
five feet ten inclies high. His form was elegant, 
his eyes animated, his teeth beautiful, his counte- 
nance open, and his deportment graceful and manly- 
He seemed to possess a clear head and a solid un- 
derstanding. To every question I asked relating to 
the manners and customs of his people his answers 
were unequivocal and unreserved. Like the chiefs 
I had seen in the colony, Gaika wore a brass chain 
suspended from a wreath of copper. He had on 
his arm five large rings cut out of the solid tusk 
of the elephant, and his cloak was faced with the 
skins of leopards ; but he threw his dress aside, 
and, like his people, appeared intirely naked. 

Gaika had but one wife, a very pretty Cafier 
girl of fifteen, who had brought him a daughter. 
His mother was a well-looking woman ; and both 
were lively and good humoured. 

The mother of Gaika was a princess of Tamboo- 
kie, and she had procured for her son the sove- 
reignty of that kingdom in addition to his former 
dominions. The government was now adminis- 
tered by a viceroy appointed by him. Gaika 
always treated his mother with the most profound 
respect^ and even now she exercised a kind of 
authority over him. An injury had been done to 
a woms^n of distinction, but she was not able to 
point out the offender, and a number of persons 
were summoned to appear before the king. As 
soon as th^ queen mother heard the nature of the 
complaint, she commanded her son to stand forth 
in the midst ol' the circle, as he, with the othersi 


Was upon the spot where the affair happened ; and 
seating herself in his place, she required him to 
take an oath that he was innocent. She then re- 
signed his place to him, and permitted him to pro- 
ceed with the investigation. Gaika highly com- 
mended the wisdom displayed by his mother. 

I informed the king that the emigrant chiefs had 
manifested a desire to return to their country. He 
said that thety were chiefs, as well as himself, and 
independent of him, though his ancestors had 
always held the first rank ; that all the chiefs 
and people who had at any time chosen to place 
themselves under the protection of his family, had 
been kindly received, and those who chose to re- 
main independent had been permitted to do so, 
without being considered as enemies. He' also 
said that the people of the seceding chiefs had 
committed great depredations on the cattle of his 
subjects ; and that when he sent, in a civil man- 
ner, to enquire if any, by chance, had strayed into 
their territories, he found, to his great surprise, 
thp^t they had quitted the country. He added 
that he had more than once sent them proffers of 
friendship ; but that they had detained, and, as 
he supposed, put to death his messengers; and 
still, that he might afford them jio pretence for 
commencing hostilities, he had strictly forbidden 
any of his subjects to pass the Keiskamma. 

Who would have sought for justice and modera- 
tion at a king of the Caffers ? yet, among all the 
potentates of the civilized world, with whom could 
they have been found in greater perfection ! The 
respective merits of the Caffers anjl the Dutch 
farmers will appear from the following facts. 

^ vessel was wrecked on the coast between the 


Bosjesman and the Sondag rivers. The farmers 
from Lange Kloof to the Great Fish River, flocked 
to the wreck for plunder ; and the only man who 
was anxious to secure some property for the cap- 
tain and officers had his brains dashed out, with 
an iron bolt, by one of his neighbours. 

A ship was stranded on the coast of Cafferland, 
between the mouths of the Keiskamma and the 
fieeka. The crew got on shore, and were imme- 
diately surrounded by CafFers. Instead of being 
eaten by the savages, as they might probably have 
expected, an ox was given them to eat. Their 
metal buttons only were detained ;' their persons, 
and the rest of their property, were conveyed to 
the nearest habitations of the colony ; where ^the 
sum of nineteen shillings and sixpence for the cap- 
tain, and the same sum for the whole crew, con- 
sisting of aBout sixty persons, was demanded by 
the Caffers for their trouble. 

My present to the Caffer king consisted of brass 
wire, sheets of copper, knives, glass beads, and 
looking-glasses ; and I presented articles of the 
same kind to his mother. I was sorry I had not 
substituted buttons for looking-glasses ; believing 
that a woman, and even a man, might take a 
greater pleasure in displaying finery to others, 
than in surveying it on her, or his, own person. 

The village at which the king now lived was a 
temporary residence, consisting of about forty or 
fifty huts. 

The Coffers, as they are called, are taller, 
stronger, and have limbs better proportioned than 
the other natives of Africa. They have the high 
forehead and prominent nose of Europeans, the 
thick lips of Negroes, and the high cheek bones of 
Hottentots. Their colour is brown ; but they rub 


themsdves with grease, mixed with some mineral 
substance, such as iron ochre, iron rust, or mica, 
which gives it the appearance of bronze. Their 
beards are black, and much fuller than those of 
the Hottentots. But Caffer is a word not one of 
these people could pronounce. It is the Arabic 
term for infidel, or unbeliever, and was probably 
given them by the Arabs. They call themselves 
Koussie. Their language is full-toned, soft, and 
harmonious; their pronunciation slow and distinct* 
A few persons of both sexes are tattoed on the 
breast, back, and arms. The men wear a strip of 
white leather,* orjiamented )vith beads or thin 
plates of copper, round the head, with a knot of 
zebra's, or jackal's hair standing upright. The 
head-dress of the women is a piece of fine thin 
leather about two ells long, and in the middle 
half an ell wide, the ends finishing in a point* 
This is either wrapped round the head like a tur- 
ban, or sewed to a cap, from which the ends hang 
down on each side. In the centre is always placed 
a tufl of beads, or of strips of leather ornamented 
with small bits of copper. Necklaces, of beads, 
little red stones, muscle-shells, small chains of 
metal, and even bits of wood, are worn both hy 
men and women, and hang down to the breast. 
The fashionable beads at present were a small sort, 
procured from the Hambonaas, who probably got 
them from the Portuguese on the eastern coast. 
'fh^e were so highly esteemed that a cow and 
calf were given for two strings. The Koussas be* 
lieve that these beads spring out of the earth like 
worms, and are caught by the Hambonaas. 
Stringi^ of beads, five or six inches in length, are 
also worn in the ear, as are buttons and rings of 


Bracelets of solid ivory, cut out of the tusk of 
the elephant, are worn by the men on the upper 
part of the left arm, sometimes to the number of 
ten.. These are the gift of the king, and are a 
token of favour. Copper and iron bracelets are 
worn below the elbow. A leathern girdle is worn 
round the waist ; but it is so covered with plates 
of copper or iron that the leather cannot be seen. 
Females wear from their birth an apron of leather; 
and sometimes several of these aprons, of different 
sizes, are worn one over another, the outermost of 
which is richly ornamented with buttons and 
beads. Rings of copper and iron wire are'^wdrn 
on the fingers, and even on the great, toe. The 
men generally fasten to one knee a large bunch of 
the lion*s mane or tail, or the hair of a quaka, 
which hangs down nearly to the ancle. Their 
calves'-skin cloaks are long ; the skins are neatly 
dressed, and sewed together with a bodkin of po- 
lished iron, and a thread made of the tendons of 
animals. A gijl must earn her first mantle by 
going out on a hunting party, when she receives 
from her brothers the skin of an antelope. 

A Koussa is never seen to sneeze, yawn, cough, 
or hawk. 

The huts of the Koussas are in the form of a 
Jiemisphere, from eight to nine feet in diameter, 
and are seldom sufficiently lofty to allow a man to 
stand upright in them. The skeleton is composed 
of slender poles, stuck into the ground in a circle, 
at the distance of about a foot from each other, 
and united together in the centre. The spaces 
between the poles are filled up with faggots, and 
plastered with clay and cow-dung ; the upper part 
is thatched with rushes. The floor of the hut is a 


kind of plaster made of the white ant heaps, beaten 
very smooth and hard. It is kept exceedingly 
clean, and is often renewed. The Caffers inha- 
biting the interior of the country, who do not so 
often change their habitations, build their huts' 
stronger, and have frequently two, connected by 
a low passage. They sleep on rush mats, and are 
covered with their mantles. To express a married 
man they often say, " He lies under two mantles/ 
The Caffers sleep stietched out at full length ; the 
Hottentots draw themselves up like a ball. 

Young women are the property of their parents, 
^4^re always disposed of by sale; the consent of 
the animal bartered fojlows of course. . Polygamy 
is allowed ; but, as wives are an article of pur- 
chase, few men, except the chiefs, can afford more 
than one. From the Tambookies, a Caffer nation 
to the east, the Koussas procure iron and young 
women, in exchange for cattle : of the former 
they make ornaments and hassagays ; of the latter 
wives J but as Tambookie wives are> a dearer arti- 
cle than those of their own nation, few, except the 
chiefs, can attain them. 

When a young man wishes to marry, he brings 
a certain number of cows to the parents of the 
young woman of his choice j and if they are not 
satisfied^ be brings another and another cow till 
they are so. The number seldom exceeds ten, 
unless the suitor be extremely rich, or the lady 
uncommonly handsome. When the cattle are ac- 
cepted, a feast is made, which lasts four days. On 
the fourth of these, the bride, being new dyed and 
ornamented by her companions, is led by two of 
them before the chief, who declares his formal 
assent to the marriage. The woman gives her so- 
lemn assurance that she will be a faithful and in- 

64 S0UTH£lt2i AFRICA. 

dustrious wife, and that her husband shall never 
have any cause to complain of her. When she 
retires, the bridegroom appears, and gives equal 
assurance that he will be hospitable in the enter^ 
tainment of his guests, and punctual in the pay* 
ment of his tribute to the king, and his represen- 
tative, the chief In the man's part of the con- 
tract, no notice seems to be taken of the bride ; 
he merely takes an oath of allegiance in his new 
character of the master of a family. The bride- 
groom then returns to the company, and his rela- 
tions present a basket of milk to the bride, re- 
minding her that it is from the cows of the bride- 
groom, or ^is family. Of this milk she is not to 
taste till now ; and, having drank it, the union is 
indissoluble, all the people dancing, and unani- 
mously shouting, " she drinks the milk !" " she has 
drank the milk !" 

Till the birth of the first child, the parents of 
the wife must not make use of the milk from the 
cows they received as her price; and if she die 
without children, the cows must be returned. 

Children crawl about, naked, as soon as they are 
able to crawl, and at six or seven months old they 
can run. A cripple, or a deformed person, is ne- 
ver seen. The Dutch imagine that all imperfect 
children are strangled immediately after their 
birth ; but Gaika's mother heard the suggestion 
with horror, and assured me that a woman who 
could suffer such a crime to be committed would 
bft driven from the society of the rest. 

When there is .more than one wife, each has 
generally a separate habitation. There are, how- 
ever, many instances where a man has no more 
than two wives, of their all living together in the 


titiHost harmony, the wives sharing equally the 
household work, and, in case of sickness, nursing 
each other. If any misunderstanding should arise 
between them, the second wife must leave the 
house, and build a separate hut for herself; the 
husbtmd would live in peace with both, and reside 
with 6ach occasionally. 

A husband may, without disgrace, contract an 
intimacy with either an. unmarried woman or a 
widow ; but if a wife be detected in the breach of 
her marriage vow, he may put the seducer to death 
upon the spot, lliis, however, he seldom does, 
considering it more advantageous to bring the 
sSkir before the chief, and share with him the fine 
imposed upon the offender. A young woman who 
violates her chastity has not much shame to appre- 
hend. If she cannot be married to her seducer, 
he pays a fine of cattle to her parents, and the cir- 
cumstance is no obstacle to her marriage with ano- 
ther. Notwithstanding this, the Koussa women 
are modest and decent. Their clothing covers 
the whole person, except the face, arms, and 
feet ; they carefully avoid every unnecessary ex- 
posure in suckling their children, and in wading 
through rivers, and they never appear before 
strangers with their heads uncovered. Women 
do not mix in public business; but they have 
almost the sole direction of domestic afiairs ; and 
even in disposing of their common property, the 
husband frequently recedes from a bargain because 
his wife refuses to consent. A man never minglea 
in the quarrels of his wife while they are confined 
to words; if blows ensue, he steps forwards imme- 
diately as her protector and defender. 

When a fiither is unable, on account of age, to 



conduct his own affairs, he gives up the whole of 
his property to his sons, and experiences the great- 
est care and kindness from them during the re- 
mainder of his life«. There have been instances 
in which a want of filial duty has been punished 
with infamy and banishment. All persons ad- 
vanced in years have particular respect paid them; 
and if they become sick, or helpless, every one is 
eager to afford them assistance. 

When a sick man draws near his end, he is car- 
ried to some solitary spot, under the shade of a 
tree, and attended only by his nearest relations. 
When it is evident that he must die, he is lefl by 
all but his wife ; or, if the dying person be a wo- 
man, she is left by all but her husband. The 
relations stand at a distance, and the remaining 
attendant shouts, from time to time, the state of 
the dying person, and at last announces the death ; 
they then return home and purify themselves^ 
The wife leaves the body to become a prey to the 
hyena, and taking a firebrand from the fire that 
bad been kindled near the dying man, she gpes to 
some other solitary place, where she makes a fire. 
In the night she goes secretly to the hut in which 
she had lived with her husband, and burns it.* 
She then returns to her solitude, where she re-- 
mains alone, living upon roots and berries. When 
the month of her uncleanness is expired, she 
throws away her garments, washes herself, scratches 
her breast, arms, and thighs with sharp stones^ 
girds h£r body round with rushes twisted together^ 
and at sun-set returns to the village. At her de- 
sire, a firebrand is brought to the place lately occu-^ 
pied by her hut, where she makes a fire. At the 
'same time she is served with fresh milk to rince 

CAFF£RS. 67 

her tnoutb, and, having rinced it^ she becomes 
clean. But* the unfortunate cow that furnished 
this purifying liquid becomes, in consequence, 
unclean : she is milked no more, is neglected, and 
dies. The day after this purification an ox is 
killed by the relations of the widow, who eat the 
flesh with her, and give her the skin to make her 
a new mantle. With the assistance of her sisters 
and sisters-in-law she builds herself a new hut, 
and enters again into social life. 

A widower observes nearly the same ceremo- 
nies, except that his seclusion lasts only half the 
time. A mother who has lost her child is unclean 
for two days. All persons attending at the death 
of another, all persons returning from battle, are 
unclean ; and every person in this state is prohi* 
bited from any intercourse with another. At the 
end of the appointed time, he is washed, fresh 
dyed, and his mouth rinced with milk ; and he is 
then clean. 

If death seize an adult so suddenly that he can< 
not be removed, the whole village becomes impure, 
and is abandoned by its inhabitants, the corpse 
being left undisturbed in the hut. If a child die 
suddenly, the hut alone becomes impure, and it is 
closed up and forsaken. 

The chiefs and their wives, only, are buried, 
and they are deposited in their cattle-folds. The 
widow of a deceased chief bums all the household 
utensils that she and her husband had used toge- 
ther; the place is abandoned by all its inhabitants^, 
and never built on more. < 

If a lion appear in the neighbourhood of a vil- 
lage, he is surrounded, and inclosed within a nar- 
row circle, where he is harrassed by jiassagays till 



he spring out of his covert» and attack one of the 
hunters. The man falls on the groufid, covering 
himself with his shield, when the rest attack the 
lion, and dispatch hini with their spears. This is 
not always achieved without some of them being 
wounded, or even killed. The first who receives 
a ^HTOund is regarded as a hero* He is carried to 
the village on the shields of his companions, and 
held up to the view of the people. One of the 
hunters steps forward^ with Strange gestures, and 
makes a speech in praise of the wounded man ; 
the others remain a little behind, singing a sort of 
hymn, and striking their shields with their keeries. 
During this time a small hut is raised, at some 
distance from thje other dwellings, in which the 
hero is shut up for four days. He is then purified 
from blood in the manner above-mentioned, 
brought into the village with great solemnity, and 
his companions eat with him, as a proqf that he is 

If an elephant be killed after a chase, the Kous- 
sas endeavour to exculpate themselves towards 
the dead animal by declaring to him that his death 
happened by accident, not by design. The trunk 
is cut ofi^, and solemnly interred, by way of atone* 
ment, the assistants saying repeatedly, ^* the ele- 
phant is a great lord, and the trunk is his hand.*' 

Premeditated murder is punished with instant 
death. If a man kill another in a quarrel, or by 
accident, he makes a compensation to the rela*^ 
tions of the deceased. A chief has no power over 
the lives of his people : were he to put one of them 
to death, he would run the hazard of being expelled 
by the rest. 

The Koussa Caflers are very fond of their cat*- 


tie. They perfectiy know every one of these ani- 
mals, its disposition and qualities ; and it is not 
without reluctance that they either kill them, or 
part with them. They make butter by shaking 
the milk in leathern pouches; but they use it only 
for smearing their persons. 

No one possesses landed property; but each 
sows his com wherever be can find a convenient 
spot. The millet is deposited in pits in the cattler 
ibldy which are carefully coyered. When one of 
these stores is opened, the owper must give eadh 
of his neighbours and friends a little basket full of 
the grain, and to the chief of the village a larger 
portion. The millet }s eaten with milk, or made 
into a sort of bread baked on the embers. A fer* 
mented liquor is also made from it. Cattle are 
only killed on gre^t occasionsi one of which is the 
entertainment of strangers; and one of the duties 
of hospitality to a stranger is to ofierhim a female 
companion for the night. 

Tlie Koussas have no knowledge of smelting 
iron from the pre, but when it comes into their 
hands in a maljeable state, they shape it to their 
purpose with'wonderful dexterity. Every man is 
his own artizan, and, with one piece of stone for 
an anvil, and another for a hammer, he will finish 
a lapce, a chain, or a bead, that wo^ld not disgrace 
the ingenious manufacturers of the town of Bir- 

In their wars with each other, all the vassal 
chiefs are summoned to assemble, with their fol- 
lowers, at the habitation of the king. When the 
army is collectedi a number of oxen are killed, that 
the warriors may become strong, by eating their 
I9esh. The Mng presents the most valiant of the 


chiefs with plumes of feathers from the wings of 
a sort of crane : these are worn on the head as en^ 
signs of authority; and if one of these commanders 
were not seen at the head of his division, or if one 
of his followers deserted his leader, during the 
fight, his life would be forfeited. 

The army is now in motion, taking with it as 
many oxen as may be deemed necessary for its 
support* When it approaches the habitation of 
the enemy, notice is given of the intended attack ; 
and if the enemy declare that he has not yet coU 
lected his people, and therefore is qot prepared to 
fight, the attacking army waits till notice is re- ' 
ceived that he is ready. The two armie§ then, 
raising a loud war*cry, approach each other, and 
the battle begins. 

In these fights among the Koussas the nuniber 
of slain is not so great as might be imagined. 
The wound of the hassagay i9 seldom mortal. An^ 
unarmed enemy is never put to death, and women 
and children are invariably spared. 

If it were not for my prejudice in favour of the 
stratagems of war as practised by European na- 
tions, I might prefer chivalroifs generosity to cir- 
cumvention and deceit. It is, however, probable 
that the Koussa Gaffers either have adopted, or 
will adopt, this established practice of polished 
people, in their warfare with the colonists *. 

* " In the latter end of April 1819, the Caffers, headed by some 
English Serjeants who had deserted, attacked Graham's town at 
Algoa baj^ with a force of 7>CkX) men, and were repulsed with 
great slaughter. Each man carried seven hassagays, but none 
threw one till he was sure of his aim> when he would hit a man at 
the distance of sixty yards. When they were about to retreat, 
they threw them sdl, and then ran. It was said they ran so 

CAFFERS. • 71 

The Koussas believe there is an invisible being 
{bat sometimes brings good, and sometimes evil ; 
that causes men to die suddenly, or before they 
come to maturity; that, raises the wind, and makes 
the thunder and lightning; that leads the sun 
across the world in the day, and the moon in the 
night ; and that made every thing they cannot un- 
derstand or imitate. This, though expressed in 
Other words, is not far distant from our <' Almighty 
Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and all that 
in them is." 

Male children are circumcised; but the Koussas 
give no other reason for this practice than, " it 
was the custom of our fathers.** 

On the evening that I quitted the residence of 
the king, about a thousand persons were assembled 
to see me. On so great an occasion a feast must 
be made ; and the^ king ordered four oxen to be 
killed and distributed among the people. To me 
he gave one ox, which had been selected from his 
own herd^ and with his own hand. 

swiftly that a Gape horse could nut overtake them. They were 
uncominoiily handsome and well-nude^ and of such a stature that, 
compared with them, the English were dwarfs/' — Letter from a - 
BtUuH Officer at the Cape. 

In 16% a treaty was concluded between t1ie governor of the 
colony and Gaika, by i^hich the latter ceded to the English all the 
territory between the Great Fish River and the Keiskaoima. 




£1 A VING taken leave of Craikat I bent my course 
southwards, towards the sea, intending to examine 
the mouth of the Keiskamma ; and in the evening 
I pitched my tent in a country so beautifully di- 
versified by woods ^nd meadows, rising gronqds,^ 
and scattered trees, that it had the appearance of 
an English park. By the side of the river stood a 
number of small villages and detached huts which . 
no longer contained any inhabitants. Stalks of 
millet were still standing in regular rows, the grain 
haying been eaten by the birds ; and large water- 
melons had risen from the seeds of others that had 
gone to decay. Keeries, which are sticks with 
each a knob at the end, and which serve for the 
purposes of agriculture and war, and small wooden 
spades were lying in the gardens. 

The mouth of the Keiskamma, which we reached 
the following day, is in 33^ IS' south latitude, and 
28^ 6' east longitude. The river, near the mouth, 
was about the breadth of the Thames at WooU 
wich, and, apparently, very deep. 

From the mouth of the Keiskamma I pursued 
my way to the north-east, at no great distance 
from the coast, and found myself in the territory 
of a Gafier chief called Sambee. I sent two of my 
people to this chief to ask permission to trave) 
through his pountry, and to beg that he would 


supply me with guides and interpreters. My mes- 
sengers returned with a very polite answer from 
Samb^se, who expressed his sorrow that he was 
not able to come himself on account of indisposi- 
tion. He wished me a good journey; but informed 
me, that the country through which I was going 
was dangerous and difficult to pass. Above all, 
he recommended it to me to be upon my guard 
against Jaccaa, another Caffer chief, and his peo- 
ple, with whom he was at war, and whom he had 
twice beaten. Two guides accompanied this 

.Having crossed the river Keysana on the third 
day from quitting the Keiskamma,* we arrived at 
the foot of a mountain, and were five hours in as- 
cending it. To eflfect our passage we were obbged 
to cut our way through a large wood ; and it was 
not till the following evening that we reached the 
bottom 9 

On the fifth day, having forded a branch of the 
Nutkay or Black river, we arrived at the land of 
the Bosjesmans. Here, in the cavitiesof the rocks, 
we found very natural resemblances of wild beasts, 
drawn by these people, and among them the figure 
of a soldier with a grenadier's cap. We this day 
travelled ten hours, and saw two lions. 

On the sixth day we travelled eight hours, 
which brought us to the banks of a large river 
called the Kamsitkay, or White river, which is 
the largest river in the land of the Cafiers. In the 
course of the day we saw three Bosjfesmans who 
were hunting: and, pursuing them, my people 
laid hold of one, and brought him to the camp. I 
gave hiin first beads, and then tobacco, and then 


his liberty ; he promised to return, and guide us 
through his country ; but we saw him no more. 

Having crossed the White river, we csuae into 
a fine plain, interspersed with thorny bushes, and 
abounding with game. Here we saw three leo- 
pards, and shot three eelands and a bufiklo. 

On the twelfth day from the Keiskamma we 
came to the river Somoe, and having crossed it,, 
and travelled five hours over a beautiful country, 
we came into the territory of the Tambookies. 
Here we shot an elephant, which was a great ac- 
quisition to us all; the flesh regaling my Hotten- 
tots, — ^the Incited fat being used in their cookery, 
and applied to their persons, supplying my lamp, 
and greasing the traces of my waggons. 

On the sixteenth day we saw a lion and lioness, 
which had killed a buffalo ; and one of my people 
shot the lioness. 

On the following day we travelled only three 
hours, being obliged to halt by heavy rain. It 
fell abundantly during the night, and extiqguished 
our fires. A stormy night in the wilds of Africa is 
a scene of terror. The rain penetrates the tents 
and mats : the flashes of lightning bestow a mo- 
mentary illumination on the most profound obscu- 
rity ; the bursts of thunder are re-echoed by the. 
hills or mountains, and the beasts of prey prowl 
without being heard. Here we were visited by 
several of the Tambookies, among whom was a 
great chief called Joobie, and another, subordinate 
to him, named Louve. I gave them presents, and 
procured from them three Tambookies as guides. 

On the twentieth day we passed a river called 
Nabagana, and in the course of the journey we 


saw a lion, the largest that my most experienced 
hunters had ever seen. They pursued it ; but it 
escaped among the bushes, and we saw it no more. 

On the twenty-first day of our journey from the 
Keiskamma, having ascended a high hill, we saw 
before us, at about the distance of six miles, a 
laige river called Bosjie ; but it was impossible to 
approach it from hence, on account of the steep- 
ness of the descent. I remained in this place 
the whole of the following day, while I sent some 
of my people to discover the best way to the 
river. The best was bad, and far about, over 
rocky hills, and through nn(ferwood ; and we did 
not reach the river till the second evening, having 
travelled five hours each day. 

On the twenty-fifth day we forded the river, 
and on the next we passed over a very steep moun- 
ain. In seven hours from this we came to a river 
called Nooga, from the banks of which we saw the 
sea at the distance of about six miles. Here w,e 
met with a horse that had escaped, seven years 
before, from a party that had travelled this way. 
He was wild, and on our approach gallopped into 
a herd of eelands ; but we pursued him, and at 
length caught him, and the next day he was dq- 
cile, and suffered himself to be mounted. 

On the twenty-ninth day we arrived at the 
river Tuthaa, where we were visited by two of the 
Tambookies. Their appearance was unexpected ; 
as during the last eleven days we' had not met 
with a human being, Gagabee Camboesa, the fa-t 
ther of iS^mbee, having depopulated this tract of 
country by driving the inhabitants and their ca^t- 
tle into his own. The few remaining people had 


hidden themselves in woods and caves, and lived 
chiefly by hunting. 

On the thirty.first day we arrived at the banks 
of the river Taana, and thence, pursuing our 
way through the woods, we came on the third day 
to the top of an eminence, from which we saw 
several villages of the Hambonas. These are a 
different people from the Caffers, having a yellow* 
ish complexion, and long coarse hair, which is 
frizzed in the form of a turban* I dispatched four 
of my people with a present, consisting of beads 
and a sheet o£ copper, to the chief; and five of 
the Hambonas returned with my messengers. 
These people said, that subject to their chief was 
a village of bastard Christians, who were descended 
from people formerly shipwrecked on their coast, 
' and that three old white women, who had been the 
wives o£ a Hambona chief, were still living. 

On the following day we reached the village, 
and found its inhabitants composed of the descend-^ 
ants of the Whites and Hambonas, people of a 
mixed colour ; we also saw the three old women, 
who said that they were sisters, and that they had 
been shipwrecked on this coast ; but they were then 
too young to know to what nation they belonged. 
I offered to take them and their children with me 
to the Cape, V)n my return, which afforded them 
great satisfaction. This village is situated on the 
banks of the Little Mogasie river, and has large 
gardens planted with millet, maize, sugar-canes, 
poj;atoes, and many other vegetables. The people 
had also some cattle. Beyond the village we crossed 
the Great Mogasie river, near which is the resi<r 
dence of Camboesa^ a great Hambona chief, 


On the next day, the thirty-seventh, from the 
Keiskamma, we arrived at the banks of the Sea 
Cow river, which we forded with difficulty. Here 
the natives brought some gold and silver to ex- 
change for red beads, ancl copper articles, of which 
they seemed excessively fond. 

The second river from hence was the Tanwoeta, 
which was so high that we were obliged to wait a 
whole day before we could pass it. In three hours 
after we had passed, we arrived at a wood through 
which we had to cut our way ; and in two hours 
more at another. 

On the forty-fifth day we crossed a' river called 
Bogasie, at the mouth of which We shot two hip- 
popotami. Here the natives brought us potatoes, 
sugar-canes^ com, and beans, gold and silver, in 
exchange for beads. 

We now came to a rocky hill, that we could not 
pass without great danger and difficulty. Here I 
left the waggons, and ascended on horseback ; 
then dismounting) I led my horse down the preci- 
pice, and through as river, the bed of which was 
full of holes and rocks. iFrom this rfver I pro- 
ceeded about six miles, which brought me to the 
coast ; and in this space I passed seven rivers /or 
which I had no name. 

At this place, I understood from the natives, 
that the bay of de PAgoa which I had visited be- 
fore, was only^four days* journey, or from 120 to 
1^0 miles to the northward. This is a space 
easily travelled over in imagination. It may also 
be said that such a space was a trifle to me, who 
bad already accomplished a journey so much 
longer. But that was the precise reason that I 
was not able to undertake thi«. There is a point 


at which every man must stop, and having done 
his utmost, he can do no more. Several of my 
draught oxen had died, and many of those that 
remained were in a sickly condition ; I had tra- 
velled 197 hours from the Keiskamma, and I had 
to return to it j I therefore rode back to my 

From the place where my waggons had halted I 
proceeded twelve hours on horseback, and at 
night joined them at the river Bogasie, in which 
we found some oysters, and caught some delicious 
fish. On .the evening of the fourth day my sen- 
tinels gave the alarm of being watched by the 
natives, and to shew their bravery they fired their 
pieces in the air. That same day more than two 
hundred of the natives had been with us, barter- 
ing gold and silver for beads and copper ; and I 
should have laughed at the fears of my brave de- 
fenders, if I had not been exasperated at their 

On the ninth day we re-passed the Great and 
Little Mogasie rivers, and came to the village of 
the three white women. I repeated my offer of 
taking them and their families with me to the 
Cape. They appeared extremely desirous to live 
among Christians, but unwilling to abandon their 
growing crops ; they therefore begged me to wait 
till after the harvest, when they, with their de- 
scendants, to the amount of four hundred, vv'ould 
be ready to attend me. It was not convenient for 
me to wait the ripening and gathering in of the 
grain ; so I left the three old women to prepare 
for another harvest, and their descendants to be- 
come, in time, Hambonas. 

On the eleventh day, my people caught a young 


elephant, and tied it to one of the waggons ; but 
they were soon obliged to give the animal its 
liberty ; as its cries brought about us 'such a num- 
ber of elephants, that we were afraid of being 
trodden to death. A very large herd passed by 
us in the night. 

Hitherto we had shot elephants, and .my Hot- 
tentots had fed upon them, with impunity. . On 
the fourteenth day of our return, a large male ele- 
phant came up to the waggons. He was instantly 
pursued and attacked, and after he had received 
several shots, and had twice fallen, he crept into 
a very thick underwood. Thinking he was past 
resistance, three of my hunters followed him on 
horseback to the edge of the thicket ; when he 
rushed QUt furiously, and seizing one of them with 
his trunk, he dragged him from his horse, tram- 
pled him to death, and driving one of his tusks 
through the body, threw it into the air, to the 
distance of thirty feet. The other two men, j)er- 
ceiving it was in vain to fly, dismounted, and hid 
themselves in the thicket. 

. The elephant having nothing now in view but 
the horse. whose rider he had killed, followed him 
for some time ; but coming to the spot where the 
dead body lay, he stopped and looked at it. At 
that instant we all renewed the attack, and after 
the animal had received several more shots, he 
again took refuge in the thicket. 

We began to dig a grave for the unfortunate 
hunter, when the elephant again rushed out, 
drove us all, and placing himself near the object 
of his victory, claimed it as his own. We now 
made a third attack upon him ; and having re- 
ceived several more bullets, he staggered, fell, and 


my Hottentots dispatched him as he lay upon the 
ground. The rage of this animal is indescribable. 
Those among my people who -were accustomed to 
elephant hunting declared, that it wai^ the fleetest 
and roost furious they had ever beheld. 

On the seventeenth day we arrived, not without 
great difliculty, at the river Bosjie ; the oxen 
being so reduced in numbers and strength, that I 
was obliged to harness my horses to the waggons. 
We passed this river in a boat that had been car- 
ried in one of the waggons. 

My oxen were now continually failing and 
^y^^S 9 I therefore dispatched a messenger to 
Joobie, the Tambookie chief, to endeavour to pur- 
chase a supply.* The following day the man re- 
turned with three, which, though totally unaccus-. 
tomed to the yoke, we were obliged t6 harness 
immediately. From hence we proceeded by a 
different road from that we had travelled before. 
It was about nine miles farther from the sea^ 
shorter, much more even, and in every respect 
better; and after a journey of eight hours, we 
crossed the river Nabagana. 

On the twenty-fiflh day we proceeded only three 
hours, though we had thrown away a great part of 
our baggage ; and finding my oxen still incapable 
of drawing the waggons, I dispatched two Hotten- 
tots on horseback, with orders to make all possible 
speed to the Bosjesmans' river, and procure a num- 
ber of fresh ones from the Dutch farmers^ We 
remained here two days, shooting and eating . 
eelands and hippopotami ; and on the third we 
proceeded slowly on our journey, and passed tin . 
Kamsitkay, or White river. 

On one of the days of halting, I sent out three 


of my best hunters before dawn, and they did not 
return till evening. A Hottentot never delivers 
the whole of his information at once. If any 
thing remarkable have happened,hewill avoid men- 
tioning it for some days ; when he does speak of 
it, it is indirectly, arid ^often so late that the only 
effect it can produce is vexation that it has not 
been told in time. I asked my hunters several 
times if they had shot any .thing. At length they 
answered, " To be sure game is very scarce in 
this country.** By pursuing my enquiries, I 
learned by degrees, that they had shot two rhino- 
ceroses, and that they, had each been killed with 
a single shot. The hide of these animals was 
about half an inch thick. 

One of my Hottentots, who had been ordered to 
join me the next morning at the body qf a rhinoce- 
ros, chose rather to stay by that of an §eland, and he 
arrived a few hours too* late. For this act of dis- 
obedience he might have expected reproof; yet 
he made hfs appearance quite unconcerned, hold- 
ing some pieces of honey-comb in his hand. " The 
honing wyzer" (honey-guide), said hq, " enticed 
me quite away from the place where the rhinoce- 
ros lay, to the place where the honey lay ;. but I 
have brought you a great deal of honey to besmear 
your mouth with/* I must own that the honey 
. sweetened not only my mouth, but the words that 
proceeded from it. 

On the .thirty-third day we crossed the Caffer 

mountain, and^ entered the country of Sambee. 

Here I had the satisfaction of meeting my Hot- 

"tehtots, witH a sufficient number of draught-oxen ; 

and the next day we re-passed the Keiskamma. 

In going from the Keiskamma I passed forty;- 

VOL. H. •• 


two days in travelling, and six in repose ; in re- 
turning, I passed twenty-nve days in travelling, 
and ten in repose. The time spent in actual tra- 
velling in going, was 197 hours ; that in returning 
was 174« The medium of this is 186, and per- 
haps, if the difficulty of the way be considered, not 
more than two miles can be allowed for the hour, 
which would make the distance from the Keiskam- 
ma SJi miles, and fron^ the Cape about 1050. 



oOON after I had passed the Great Fish river 
on my mturn to the Cape,* I received a visit that 
induces me to go back to the Hottentots. And 
here I cannot help noticing the pains taken by one 
traveller to invalidate the testimony of another. 
It is my opinion that travellers speak only truth, 
either as it really is, or as it appears to theqi ; but 
as man is liable to misinformation and misconcep- 
tion, his falling into error is unavoidable. 

One circumstance I think has not been suffi- 
ciently attended to in the case of the. Hottentots, 
who are rapidly sinking under the yoke of a. set of 
tyrants ; I mean the variations produced by time. 
Thus it has been said that the Hottentots wore 
the intestines of animals, and that when they be- 
came putrid they ate them. This was afterwards 
contradicted by a traveller, who affirmed that the 
Hottentots only wore rings of leather, and that 

• HOTTENTOT*. • 83^ 


they only ate them in cases of necessity. It is 
now known that the Hottentots wear only glass 
beads, and that they do not eat them at all. The 
traveller who sees the beads has as much right to 
accuse the traveller who saw the leather, as the 
man of leather had to accuse the mamof tripes. 
It seems to me extremely probable that the Hot- 
tentots did wear the guts of oxen, as I saw the 
Galla do in 'Abyssinia, and that they might eat 
them, as they certainly did the leather, when other 
provisions failed. 

The indignation of travellers has been greatly 
excited by an' assertion of a resident at the Cape 
in the year I710. This was, that the several ce- 
remonies of admitting a youth into the society of 
men, of marriage, of acknowledging a man a hero, 
of investing hitn with the* property of a deceased 
relation, were performed by the priest sprinkling 
the expectant with a stream supposed to be more 
. salt than sweiet. Not only has the sprinkling been 
denied, but the existence of the priest ; that is to 
aay, seventy years after, when the Hottentots cer- 
tainly had no priest, and almost no governor of * 
their own nation *. 

Admitting then that the author of 1710 told 
some truths, and believing it possible to separate 
them from some mistakes, I shall extract from his 
tirork a few particulars, which, when compared 
with those of later periods, may form a history of 
the Hottentots. 

The Hottentots were so swift that they would 

* Since the above wa» written the Editor of these Travels has 
had the satisfaction to find, that the opinion of the Dutch Go- 
vernor of the Colony in 1805, respecting the veracity of Kolben, 
agreed with her own. ' • 

6 2 ^ 


frequently outstrip a horse. They would throw a 
stone, and hit a mark no larger than a halfpenny 
at the distance of a hundred yards. With bows 
and arrows they were scarely less unerring. 

A Hottentot ate when humour or appetite 
called, without regard to time ; in fine weather in 
the open air, in bad weather in his hut. 

A Hottentot would sing, dance, and convepse 
with all imaginable gaiety, for twenty hours toge- 
ther> with milk and water ofaly. I am sorry to 
observe that an Englishman's gaiety requires the 
support of stronger' liquors. 

The leaves of a sweet-scented spireea called 
bucha, dried in the sun and beaten to . powder, 
for^ned one of the ornaments of the Hottentots. 
The men powdered their hair with this, which is 
of a gold colour, in addition to the coat of soot 
and grease, which looked like a cap of black mor- 
tar. The women, whose hair was hidden under 
their caps, powdered their skins ; and after their 
persons were well greased and powdered, to 
heighten their beauty they painted their faces with 
Ted ochre. A mark of distinction was a leathern 
fringe round the cloak, and the chiefs were distin- 
guished by cloaks of the skins of leopards or pan- 
thers. If a Hottentot, singly, killed a lion, a leo- 
pard, or a panther, he was regarded as a hero, and 
he wore the blown bladder of the animal in hi^ 
hair as a proof of his victory. 

Girls had their legs,, from the ancle to the knee, 
bound with rushes. At twelve years of age, these 
were taken off, and rings of skin substituted in 
their place, which were increased from time to 
time, till some of the women had aboye a hundred 
of them, placed one above another, on each leg. 


The rings were nicely fitted to the leg, • and to 
eaeh other, and in time became as hard as wood, 
and had the appearance of pne piece, neatly 

One or two of the wisest men in each village 
practised medicine and surgery gratuitously. If 
the patient died, they asserted that their remedies 
were rendered ineffectual by witchcraft, and they 
were !tlways believed. At the age of eighteen a 
youth was introduced into the society of men. A 
man might marry as many wives as he could 
maintain. A man might be divorced from his 
wife, or a woman from her husband, on shewing 
such cause as was satisfactory to the village, which 
assembled and determined on the occasion. The 
man might marry again immediately ; the woman 
not while' her former husband were living. In 
every country I have visited, I find some evidence 
that man, not woman, was the maker of the laws. 

The eldest son claimed the riches of a de- 
ceased Hottentot, and the daughters and younger 
sons were his servants till they married. No man 
had a hut of his own till his marriage, when he and 
his bride jointly built one. 

A rich Hottentot killed an ox, and treated the 
village, on the death of a relation whom he held 
dear ; a poor one sh?ived his head in regular fiy- 
rows, the shaven lines and those of hair being each 
an inch in breadth. A woman, for every marriage 
after the first,' lost the joint of a finger, beginning 
with one of the little fingers. 

The Hottentots believed that God made all 
things, and never did harm to any, and that he 
lived far above the moon. They also believed 
that there was an evil being, the author of all 
mischief, and they wheedled and coaxed him that 


he might do them no injury. They had a great 
veneration for a particular insect, which they ima^ 
gined brought a blessing on the village it appeared 
in ; and they believed that the destruction of their 
cattle would ensue if they were to kill it. 

A village consisted of not fewer than twenty 
hutS) and generally contained from three, to 
four hundred persons. The huts were shaped like 
the tilt of a waggon, and were about fotirteen, 
feet long, and ten wide, though rarely high 
enough for a Ynan to stand upright in the middle. 
They were made of a frame of sticks, covered with 
mats, manufactured by the women : those of the 
^ wealthy had an additional covering of skins, and 
were then impervious to the rain. The dwelling 
received no light but from the entrance, which 
was in the form of an arch, and about *three feet 
high, and two wide. This was closed occasionally 
by a skin which was fastened at the top, and let 
down, like a curtain, and if the wind blew long 
from that quarter, the skin was kept down and a 
temporary entrance was opened at the back of the* 
hut. The smoak could escape only at the en- 
trance. It was insupportable to a European, buj; 
did not disturb a Hottentot. 

A family in such a hut generally consisted of 
te(i or twelve persons. Along the sides were dug 
a number of holes, each forming the bed of a 
single inhabitant, who lay on one of the cloaks 
worn in the day, and was covered with another. 
In the day both men and women squatted on their 
hams. The huts of the wealthy were often hung 
with beautiful cloaks, and a variety of trinkets ; 
and narrow, dark, and filthy, as all of them were, 
a continual harmony reigned in most of them. 
^Vhen a quarrel happened between a Hottentot 


and his wife, all the neighbours ran to the sup- 
pression of strife, as we should do to the extin- 
guishing of fire, and had no rest till the difference 
were amicably adjusted* 

When a Hottentot died, the corpse was wrapped 
in the cloak worn by the deceased, and carried out 
of the side of the hut, which was opened for that 
purpose. All the men of the village, in one com- 
pany, and all the women in another, attended it to 
the grave, with lamentable howling and extraordi- 
nary gesticulations. 

On the death of an inhabitant, or a scarcity of 
pasturage, the Hottentots broke, up the yillage ; 
loaded the oxen with tlie materials and furniture 
of their huts, and such infants and aged persons 
as were not able to walk; and when they had 
fixed upon a place of residence, the village ap- 
peared again in a few hours. 

Every family made its own pots. These were 
formed of ant-hills, the eggs of ants being a strong 
cement. They were moulded by the hand into 
the shape of the urns in which the Romans pre- 
served the ashes of the dead ; and when worked 
perfectly smooth, they were first dried in the sun, 
and then baked. They were very firm, and of a 
jet black. 

The huts of the village were ranged close in a 
circle, with only one entrance, and that a narrow 
one. In the evening the sheep and cattle were 
driven from their pastures ; the sheep and calves 
placed in the circle, and the cattle tied without it, 
with their heads close, to the back of the huts. If 
a wild beast approached, the men were soon in- 
formed of it by the lowing and uneasiness of the 
cattle, and rushed out to their deliverance. 


Every village was provided with at least half a 
dozen oxen which were trained to guard the rest 
of the herd. They, fed on the outside, when in 
the pasture, and ^would not suffer a stranger to 
approach them. These oxen were employed in 
their wars, and, forcing their way through the 
enemy, they made terrible slaughter. 

There was hardly a hut that hadnot one or two 
dogs belonging to it, brave, honest, faithful crea- 
tures, which shared their masters' toils and good 
will in the day^ and guarded his cattle by night. 
With a thousand good qualities, the form of this 
animal was such that any but a Hottentot might 
have been ashamed of him. 

Truth obliges me to confess, that the author of 
1710 says, ** helpless age is thrust out of society, 
.^nd left to perish alone, and female infants who 
cannot be provided for are deserted." He adds, 
that the Hottentots justify both these customs on 
the principle of humanity, and that they are in- 
deed a humane, generous, and hospitable people. 
In the state, of society in which we live, no neces- 
sity can be pleaded in defence of murder ; but 
there are situations in a wandering uncivilized life 
where the care of others is impossible. In such 
situations I have no. doubt that the Hottentots 
abandoned those they could not save; and the 
reason that modern travellers find no such custom 
is, that there exists no such necessity. 

In the year 1772 it was said that the way to the 
abodes of the Hottentots was long, their societies 
were small, their way of life was much altered, and 
their whole nation under great restraint ; their 
children, however, were numerous. The cere- 
mony of constituting a youth a man was not 


wholly laid aside, and it was actually performed 
by besprinkling him with urine. No man was 
permitted to eat of game that had been hunted 
and killed till he were invested with this dignity. 
Men never drank milk that had been drawn by 
women. Milk was kept in leathern sacks, blad* 
ders of animals, and baskets neatly and closely 
woven. The fresh milk was added to. the remains 
of the old, perhaps for three months together, and 
it was always coagulated. They detested salt, 
and loved grease in the same proportion. 

Hottentot chiefs wore cloaks of leopard skins ; 
and such Hottentots as had killed leopards or 
panthers- were entitled to wear their skins. Many 
carried in their hand a fox's tail, with which they 
wiped the sweat from their brow. Leathern rings 
were still W9rn on the legs. They were beaten 
till the slip of hide became round like a cord, and . 
till the joining of the two ends could not be per- 

To mount a tree, the Hottentots took. a rope 
made of bark, *and having tied a noose round the 
tree, they set one foot upon it. They then tied a 
second noose, higher up ; and, when mounted on * 
that, they untied the first, and so proceeded, car- 
rying the rope up with them. 

A small grey species of grasshopper was called 
by the colonists the Hottentot's god. It was cer- 
tainly held in some degree of esteem by the Hot- 
tentots ; so that they would not willingly hurt it, 
and they deemed that person fortunate on whom 
it settled. 

In the year 1782 a traveller in the spot where I 
now was, received a visit from the chief of a tribe 
of Hottentots called Gon^quas, followed by about ^^^ 


tweuty of his people. They were all Shining with 
grease, the women were powdered with buchu, 
and had their faces painted in various ways. Each 
brought some present ; the chief a plume of os* 
trich feathers ; the others, ostrich's eggs, a lamb, 
or a beautiful basket filled with milk. This com* 
munity, which was the most considerable of the 
Gonaquas, consisted of about four hundred per- 
sons, of both sexes and all ages. When a father 
h^d six children it was accounted a phenomenon. 

The traveller returned the visit of the Hotten- 
tots. Every man of the village, the chief at their 
head, came out to meet him; the women and 
children remained in the huts. He entered seve- 
ral of these habitations, and saw the brown females ' 
motionless, and fixed to the wall in the back part 
of the hut, like so many portraits in shade. By 
degrees, however, they became familiar, and he 
was soon surrounded by them. They were all 
dressed in their richest attire, their persons fresh 
greased and powdered, and their faces painted in 
a hundred different ways. 

The traveller entered the habitation of the 
' chief, and displayed a number of beads before his 
wife, bidding her take those she liked best. With- 
out hesitation she laid her hands upon some strings 
of red and white, which she said would look bet- 
ter than any others^ as they were most different 
from the colour of her skin. He added some brass 
wire for bracelets, and the other women lifted up 
their hands, and with a loud voice declared that 
the wife of Haabas was the happiest of all women. 

When the traveller had distributed beads among 
the women, and tobacco and knives among the 
men, he was told by the chief that some old in- 


firm men, who were not able to go abroad, re- 
quested to see him. He visited them in their 
huts, and found they .were all attended by chil- 
dren of eight or ten years of age, who gave them 
•food, and rendered them the other services their 
debility required. It was said that when a Hot- 
tentot woman had brought twins,' and was not able 
•to nourish both, one had sometimes been sacrificed; 
but this was a. subject they spoke of with horror. 

Young women were marriageable at the age of 
twelve or tfcirteeri. The form of marriage con- 
sisted only in a promise of living together. A 
few sheep, and sometimes an ox, were killed to ce- 
lebrate the festival ; the parents gave a few cattle 
to the young couple ; the latter constructed a hut 
for their dwelling. A Hottentot took as many 
wives as he chose, which was seldom more than one. 

When an infant was born, it was placed on the 
back of its mother, and supported by two aprons ; 
nothing was seen but its head. Whether the mo- 
ther worked or danced, she never quitted her 
child, and the child never cried, except when im- 
pelled by hunger. In that case the mother drew 
it to one side, gave it the breast, either under the 
arm, or over the shoulder ; and then resumed her 
laboilr or her dance. When the mother judged 
that the infant was able to crawl, she laid it on 
the ground before the hut, and let it shift for it- 
self. From creeping, it tried to stand, and from 
standing, it soon learned to run alone. 

The Hottentots could sing a whole night upon 
one subject, by repeating the same words a thou- 
sand times. In dancing they formed a circle, men 
and women, going round, separating at intervals. 


and clapping their hands ; then' following' each 
other with an air of melancholy, and suddenly 
breaking out into the most extravagant mirth ; 
then concluding in a sort of confusion, each exhi- 
biting all his strength and agility. 

The art and taste of the women were displayed 
in the decoration of the apron. The design off the 
pattern, and the colours of the ornaments were, 
particularly attended to, and the more their appa- 
rel was loaded with beads, the better. Their caps 
were, if possible, made of the skin of the Zebra» 
because the white, intersedted by brown or black 
stripes, added, according to their own expression, 
something to their beauty. They painted with 
red and black; some only their cheeks, but in 
general they painted the body in different com- 
partments, which was a work of no small labour. 
Men, in every climate, less fond of finery than 
women^ painted no part of the face but the upper 
lip to the nose : they were, however, proud of 
wearing ivory, and still more of wearing brass, 
rings on tbeir arms and legs. 

When a Hottentot died, he was wrapped in his 
cloak, and the body was deposited in a pit dug at 
some distance from the village, where it was first 
covered with earth, then with stones, if any eould 
be found, and then dug up by the jackal or hyena* 
The body of a chief was covered with a greater 
heap of stones. 

The chief was elected, but his poWer was 
limited. He enjoyed no privilege but that of 
being exempted from going in his turn to attend 
the flocks. In councils his advice was taken, if it 
were judged to be good j otherwise no regard was 


paid to it. In war, each man attacked and de- 
fended after his own manner, and the most intre- 
pid led the way. 

The village of the Gonaquas consisted of about 
forty circular huts, eight or nine feet in diameter, 
covered with skins or mats. • They occupied a 
space of about six hundred feet square ; were 
connected together by small inclosures ; and the 
whole formed several crescents. In these small 
inclosures the calves and lambs were shut up in 
the day, as they were only allowed to suck morn- 
ing and evening ; and besides these, there were 
three large inclosures, well fenced, wh^ch confined 
the cattle and sheep of the whole tribe during the 

The entrance of the huts was low and narrow ; 
and while it was the only admittance for the light, 
it was the only out-let for the smoke. The thick 
vapour that these kennels retained, added to their 
villainous odour, would have rendered them unte* 
nable to a European. Indeed the Hottentots 
themselves, in general, occupied them only in the 
night ;. when, laid on mats covered with sheep- 
skins, and attended by lice and other insects, 
which all their care could not extirpate, they slept 
as soundly as if their beds had been of down.' 

When an ox designed for burden was young, a 
piece of stick, eight or ten inches in length, and 
nearly one in diameter, was thrust through the 
cartilege of the nose, and a leathern tliong fas- 
tened .at each end. This curb, which acted as a 
bridle, and was sufiicient to restrain the animal, 
remained during its life. WHen the ox had 
nearly attained its full growth, it was bound with 
a leathern girth, which was drawn tighter by 


degrees i light burdens were then placed on it» 
back, and these were gradually increased, till it car«> 
ried, without inconvenience, three hundred pounds 
weight. The girths were often more than tweiity 
yards in length, and passed many times over the 
load, and under the body of the ox. Horses had 
now been introduced among the Hottentots ; but 
such as had not horses still rode upon their oxen. 

I now received a visit from the chief of the 
Gonaquas, whose tribe was reduced to about a 
dozen persons, and while I write I believe they 
are extinct. 

From the Great Fish river I returned by the 
way I came, and thus finished my first journey 
from the Cape. 



On my second journey from the Cape, I directed 
my course to the north of east, and having tra- 
velled twenty-seven miles, the plain was termi- 
nated to the eastward by two mountains, between 
which the road led into a valley welt watered and 
well cultivated. The houses of the farmers were 
neatly thatched with rye-straw, and surrounded 
with plantations of oaks, from ten to fifteen feet 
in circumference, and from twenty to thirty feet 
without a branch, f * 

The mountains that bound the eastern end of 
this valley are eminently grand, but towards their 


summits quite bare. They are a part of the great 
chain which stretches northward from False Bay, 
and shuts out from the Cape all the countries to 
the eastward of it* There are three .kloofs, or 
clefts, in this range, the only passes commonly 
attempted by wheels ; Hottentot's Holland's kloof, 
which I passed in my former journey, Roode Sand, 
or Red Sand kloof, opposite to Saldanha bay, 
which I was going to pass, and Eland's kloof, fur- 
ther north, which opens intb a Wild and almost 
uninhabited part of the country. 

In the valley I crossed the Berg, or Mountain 
riven Here, two farmers, rather than pay four 
shillings for the toll of their two waggons at the 
ferry, forded the river a little lower down, and 
passed it with the loss only of two sl}eep. Sugar- 
canes here, and in other parts of the .colony, grow 
wild in great abundance j and a farmer who com- 
plained that they over-ran his garden, being asked 
why he did not turn them to advantage, replied, 
that he should not be the first to try the experi- 
ment, while he could buy sugar at the Cape at three 
shillings a pound.. 

The road beyond the ferry was excellent, being 
a level bed of hard clay ; but the country was 
thinly inhabited, and the wolf and the jackal fol- 
lowed us in the night. It was midnight before we 
arrived at a solitary habitation, in a bleak, open 
country, on the borders of a lake called Vogel 
* valley or Bird lake. The word valley in the co- 
lony signifies either lake or swamp ; in the present 
instance it was the latter ; but it abounded with 
ducks, geese, and teal, the great white pelican, 
and the rose-colouredidamingo. The wings of the 
latter are used as fans to drive away the multitude 


of flies which infest the farm-houses, for want of 
• a proper attention to cleanliness ; and the pelican 
is shot for the sake of the fine soft down which lies 
under its plumage* 

A few miles beyond this swamp brought us to 
the Roode Sand kloof, or pass in the mountains, 
which is about seventy miles irom Cape Town. 
The ascent was rugged, but not steep, and from 
the top there was no descent to the lands called * 
Roode Sand. THis is a plain about thirty miles in 
length, and four or five hundred feet higher than 
the vale we had passed. It is well watered by 
small streams falling from the mountains that in- 
close it, and produces abundance of corn, some 
wine, and many fruits. A new Drosdy, that of 
Tulbagh, had been established here, and tlie vil* 
lage of that name, the residence of the landrost, 
was placed a little higher up the valley. The 
plain is bounded on the eastern side by a branch 
of the same chain, much higher than* that we had 
passed, yet accessible by waggons* The summits 
of the mountains were buried in snow, and. the 
thermometer stood, at simrise, on the plain, at the 
freezing point- 
After quitting this division, Ihe country became 
wild, and almost uninhabited. Bogs, swamps; 
morasses covered with rushes and sour plants, 
tracts of hard, naked clay, (leep sandy roads, 
pools of stagnant water, and hillocks of ants, 
were the chief objects that met the eye. On the 
left was the vast chain of mountains we were 
shortly to pass, the second branch of the northern 
chain. They consisted of immense columnar 
masses of naked stone, with jagged tops, like the 
battlements of towers, which leaned from their 


bases, and seemed to owe their support to each 

Within these hills we came to a valley about 
three miles in length and two in width, with a sur- 
face as level as a bowling-green, and a stream of 
clear hot smoking water. The temperature ap* 
peared to be nearly that of boiling; yet the family 
living near it employed it for all sorts of culinary 

From hence we crossed the Breede, or Broad 
river, and entered the Hex river's kloof, the pass 
on the northern side of the plain. This pass is 
about four miles* in length ; the ascent is much 
less than that of the Roode Sand kloof. The 
mountains on each side were J>are) the kloof 
itself abounded with plants; and, basking in the 
sun, was a troop of four or five hundred large black 
baboons, which quitted their place with reluctance, 
and howled as they scrambled up the sides of the 
naked rocks. 

The head of the pass opened into a valley about 
fifteen miles in length and two in width, to which 
there was no descent. The mountains that guarded 
the northern side were covered with snow half 
way down from their tops ; yet the orange trees at 
their feet were loaded with fine ripe fruit. Four 
families, the only inhabitants of the Hex river 
valley, formed a world of their own ; and their 
wants might be bounded by their horizon, for the 
fertility of the ground supplied them with almost 
every necessary of life. 

I had now travelled nine days from the Cape, 
and at the bead of this deep and narrow valley I 
was to take leave of every human habitation for 
the sixteen following, that time being required to 



cross obliquely the great karroo or desert that lay 
between me and the village of Graaff Reynet. 
The loss I sustained in leaving the habitations of 
the D«tch farmers, however, was not great ; for 
few of them, behind the Ifirst range of mountains 
from the Cape, have any sort of convenience or 

The Dutch boor, as he calls himself, placed in a 
country where every luxury might be procured by 
industry, has scarcely the enjoyment of any. His 
cattle are numerous, yet he uses very little milk 
and butter. In a soil and climate favourable for 
the cultivation of the vine, he has no wine. He 
has few, or no vegetables, or roots. Three times 
a day his table is loaded with masses of mutton, 
swimming in the fat of the sheep's tail. His house 
is either open to the roof, or covered with rough 
poles and turf, affording shelter for scorpions and 
spiders. His earthen floors are covered with' dust 
and dirty and swarm with ants and other insects. 
His principal pieces of furniture are, a great chest 
that contains all his moveables, and two smaller 
ones fitted to his waggon. The bottoms* of his 
chairs are of thongs cut from a bullock's bide. 
His windows are without glass ; or, if there be any 
remains of this article, it is so patched and dirtied 
as almost to exclude the light it was intended to 

The boor, however, is not without his enjoy- 
ments. He is the lord of a domain several miles 
in extent, and he is the tyrant of some slaves and 
Hottentots. He smokes all dfty, .except during the 
intervals of eating, drinking, and his afternoon's 
nap. Unwilling to work, unable to think, he in- 
dulges his appetite> grows to an unwieldy size, and 


the first inflammatory disease that attacks him car*' 
ries him off. The men are in general very tall and 
stout) but ill-made, and loosely put together. 

The mistress of the family parses a life of listless 
inactivity. Born in the wilds of Africa, educated 
among slaves and Hottentots, she sits, with her 
coflfee-pot constantly boiling before her on a small 
table, and is fixed to her chair like a piece of the 
furniture* I saw, in the Roode Sand, a farmer^s 
wife, who weighed 364 lbs. or twenty-six stone, 
and another very little less. The women are, how- 
ever, very prolific; six or seven children being 
reckoned a small number, and from twelve to 
twenty a common one. The young girls sit nvith 
their hands before them as listless as their mothers. 

The only amusement of the sons forms also the 
whole of their education. As soon as a boy can 
dimb to the driver's seat in the front of the waggon, 
he places himself on it, with a whip in his band 
proportionate to his size, commands the oxen, 
which he supposes to be present, calls them by 
their names, strikes the place of any one that is 
supposed to be disobedient, and drives the team in 
imagination. The boy and the whip increase in 
size together, till the man can wield a whip fif- 
teen or sixteen feet in length, with a thong at the 
end still longer, and can strike a pebble or a piece 
of money that lies on the ground at the distance 
ef twenty-five feet, or bring down a partridge that 
is flying in the air. 

The dangerous roads of the colony, and the pe- 
riloiis fords of liie rivers, are little heeded by the 
iarpiers. Each gets over the difliculty as well as 
he can, and thinks of it no more till it occur 
iigais. Haifa day is consumed in passing a wag- 

H 2 


gon and its lading over a river thirty or forty yards 
in breadth, when a few plaUks, properly put toge- 
ther, would carry cattle, carriage, and goods, to 
the other side in five minutes. The farmers are 
scrupulously exact in their attendance at church, 
though the performance of this duty costs many of 
them a journey of several days. Those who are 
two or three weeks* journey from the nearest 
church, generally go once a year, taking their 
families with them. 

Every journey taken for pleasure by a farmer is 
called ** a little ride.** By this is understood a visit 
to a friend ; and though the friend may live at the 
distance of from fifty to seventy miles, and the 
visit may last a week, still it is a little ride. Every 
member of the family, wife and daughters in- 
eluded, has a separate horse for riding ; and when 
one meets one of these cavalcades, one knows not 
which to admire most, the boldness of the riders, 
or the swiftness and sure-footedness of the horses*, 
over steep declivities and rocky roads. . In the 
more wealthy part of the colony they have light 
waggons, drawn by six or eight spirited, horses, 
for these family parties. 

The Dutch farmers excel in that virtue of unci- 
vilized nations, hospitality. A foreigner, a coun- 
tryman, a friend, a relation, are equally welcome 
to what the house affords. A traveller alights 
from his horse, enters the dwelling, shakes hands 
with the men, kisses the women, and sits down 
without further ceremony. When the table is 
served, he takes his place without waiting for an 
invitation. If there be a bed in the house, it is 
given to the stranger; if none, which is frequently 
the case among the graziers in the district of 
Graaff Reynet, he takes his, chance with the rest of 


the family for a bench, or a heap of sheep-skitis. 
In the morning, after a solid breakfast, and a glas& 
of brandy, he quits as he entered, shaking hands 
with the men, and saluting the women ; he wishes 
his hosts health, — they wish him a good journey. 

A Dutch farmer never passes a house on th^ 
foad without alighting, unless it be that of his next 
neighbour, with whom it is ten to one he is at va- 
riance ; and if two farmers meet on the road, whe« 
ther strangers or friends, they dismount to shake 
bands. When a youth can drive a team of oxen, 
and shoot well, he shakes hands with the men, sa- 
lutes the women, smokes tobacco, and ranks as a 

I remained t^o days in the Hex river valley, 
laying in provisions for crossing the Karroo, and 
was here joined by two graziers of GraafF Reynet, 
with their waggons, families, and Hottentots. It 
is usual to cross this desert well armed, and in par- 
ties, from the f^ar that is entertained of the Bos- 
jesmans, or Bushmen, who are said to hivk in 
thickets,. and shoot their poisoned arrows against 
the unwary traveller. . It appeared to me, how- 
ever, that the Bosjesmans had as least as much 
reason to fear the Dutch farmers ; for I heard one 
of them say at the Cap^ that he had killed only 
four Bosjesmans in his last journey, and another 
that he had, in the whole, killed near three hun- 

From the Hex river valley we proceeded to the 
northi-east, and in four hours .we gained the sum- 
mit of the lowest part of the mountains that inclose 
it. ITie ascent was from terrace to terrace, and 
might be about 1,. 500 feet in the distance of six 
miles. From the top, towards the east, there was 


little or no descent. Here the country wore a new 
aspect ; the great chains of mountains retreated 
behind us ; and a rugged surface of hill and dale 
appeared on every side. Not a tree, or a tall 
shrub, broke tbe uniformity of the view ; not a 
bird or a beast enlivened the dreary waste. 

Our second day's journey was about twenty-fivd 
miles, which brought us to a place where a Bas- 
taard had been tempted, by a small spring of wa* 
ter, to build a hut, and plant a few trees* The 
spring had been found insufficient, and the place 
hjadbeen abandoned; but two spreading oaks were 
remaining, and the water at this time was excel-* 

On the third day we travelled only twelve miles^ 
The road was in some places rocky and uneven, in 
others a deep sand, and our oxen were beginning 
to droop for want of pasturage. Not a blade of 
grass had been seen since we entered the desert, 
and shrubs were thinly scattered, except in the 
neighbourhood of the springs. At one of these, 
called Mentjie's hoek, where there was a solitary 
oak, smd the remains of. a hut, we rested for 
the night. " 

A butcher here passed our encampment, with 
about five hundred head of cattle, and fivefthousand 
sheep, which he had been purchasing of the 
farmers of the Sneuwberg. The average weight 
of a bullock was about 400 lbs. and the price about 
forty-eight shillings ; but, after a journey of forty 
OF fifty days, these animals generally arrive ^t the 
Cape in a maimed and miserable condition. The 
sheep weigh from sixty to seventy pounds, when 
they are taken from their pasture, and are sold to 
the butchers, who collect* th^m for six or eight 


sbiliings each. The tail is short, broad, and ftat, 
and commonly weighs five or six pounds, though 
it sometimes exceeds twelve. The fat melts to 
the consistence of oil, and is frequently used in- 
stead of butter. The clothing of the animal is 
little better than frizzled hair* 

On the fourth day, from the exhausted state of 
our oxen, three of which we were obliged to 
leave behind, we made a stage of ten or twelve 
miles only, to the Riet fonteyn, or Red spring, 
which rises from a cone-sh^ed hill, and runs with 
a feeble stream to the southward. 

On the fifth day we crossed the bed of the Buf- 
falo river, which was at least fifly yards in width, 
but the water was scarcely sufficient to form a cur- 
rent. Its deep shelving banks, and the wreck of 
roots and shrubs,^ were evidences of the power 
with which, at certain seasons, it had formed a 
grand chasm through the Zwaart bergen or Black 
mountains, to the southward,, in its way to the 
eastern ocean. The part of the desert that suc- 
ceeded was more sterile than any we had met with. 
About ten miles beyond the Buffiilo river we en- 
camped for the night on the banks of a small run- 
ning brook called Geelbeck. 

Among the hills that surround the plain of 
Geelbeck, we saw a small herd of zebras, and a 
great number of another animal of the same* spe- 
cies called by the Hottentots qua-ka. Its stripea 
are fainter than those of the zebra, and are marked 
on the fore-quarters only ; but it is well-shaped, 
strong limbed, and more tractable. It is said that 
the zebra is untameable; perhaps because .patience 
and mild treatment have not been tried. On 
many parts of the desert we saw ostriches scower- 


ing the plains, and waving their black and white 
plumes in the wind. 

On the sixth day we proceeded about twenty- 
four miles, over a rising country marked by hill and 
dale, but producing nothing, except patches of the 
fig'-marigold and the ice-plant. The Black moun- 
tains, which were about fifteen mile's to the south- 
ward, had lost their characteristic, and were be- 
come white, for they were covered with snow. At 
night, the thermometer was at the freezing point, 
and in the morning two degrees below it. Our 
horses had been sick ever since we entered the 
desert, and two of them sunk here under the seve- 
rity of the weather ; several of our oxen also pe- 
rished for want of food. 

Man is a hard master to such of the brute cre- 
ation as he has trained for his service. The more 
he is civilized, the greater are his wants, the more 
he requires from these servants, and the less he is 
sensible of their sufferings. They are, indeed, ** the 
beasts that perish,*' from the ox that draws the 
African waggon, to the horse that draws the Eng- 
glish stage-coach, or the one that carries the I^ute 
his owner a hundred miles in twelve hours foi'a 

On the seventh day we crossed the Dwyka, or 
Rhinoceros river, and encamped on its banks. Its 
bed was more than a hundred yards in breadth, 
but the water would scarcely have turned a mill. 
Though the surrounding country was destitute of 
vegetation, the banks were covered with a thick 
forest of the mimosa. 

On the eighth day we rested on the banks of the 
Ghamka, or Lion's river, having travelled about 
twenty miles of the finest road imaginable. The 


surface was as level as a bowling-green, and had 
neither . stone^ sand, nor impression of a wheel. 
A wide*spreading plain, barren as its southern 
boundary the Black mountains, presented an even 
line to the horizon, on each side and before us. 
On approaching the Ghamka, the face of the 
country improved. Large mimosas,^ and a species 
of willow, skirted its banks; and hares, par- 
^idges, wild ducks, and mountain-geese, were 
seen in abundance. 

As we crossed the Karroo from west to east, a 
little inclining to the north, we were now only 
twelve miles distant from a chasm in the Zwaart 
berg, in which was said to be a farm-house ; and 
as we were in want of draught oxen, and other 
necessaries, we quitted ^the great road on the fol- 
lowing day, and proceeded towards it. We found 
oranges and cauliflowers, wine, the produce of the 
place, peach and almond-trees in full bloom, at 
the foot of mountains whose summits were covered 
with snow. 

From this place I saw to the northward across 
the'plains of the Karroo, the Nieuwveld moun- 
tains, which form a part of the third step, or ter- 
race. To estimate the height of these with preci- 
sion, is impossible ; but on comparing those I had 
passed with what I saw before me, perhaps, I might 
not greatly err if I conjectured that they were not 
less than 10,000 feet above the level of the sea. 
Snow falls upon them to the depth of five or six 
feet, and lies upon them for as many months. 

The mistress of the farm-house was the mother 
of sixteen children, and, at the age of sixty, she 
was a tall, straight, well-looking, active woman. 
All the people who made their appearance from 


different houses in the Black mountains, behind 
that of our host, were of a stature much exceeding 
the common size of man. 

Having completed our stock of provisions^ and 
procured some stout oxen from the inhabitants of 
the Zwaart berg, we again entered the Karroo, 
and proceeded near thirty miles, to a spring called 
Sleutel fonteyn. 

On the eleventh day of actual travelling since 
Hex river valley, we encamped on the banks of 
the Traka, or Maiden river. The little water re- 
maining in it was both muddy and salt, and the 
sand on its banks was covered with a thin crust of 
nitre. At sun-rise the thermometer was five de«- 
grees below the freezing point. 

On the twelfth day of travelling in the Karroo, 
we skirted the banks of the Traka about ten miles, 
passed the Ghowka, or Boor's river, which was 
perfectly dried up, and in the evening arrived at 
the Great Loory fonteyn. We filled our casks 
with its water, which was muddy, salt« bitter, 
and standing in pools, and went on, though in the 
dark. In the middle of the night we arrived at a 
spot where once had flowed a rill of water, and 
where still were growing clumps of acacias, and 
patches of saline and succulent plants. Our oxen 
devoured the plants, and our horses made a hearty 
meal of the thorny acacia, at the expence of bleed- 
ing mouths. The acrid juices of the succulent 
plants, and sour herbage of some parts of the co- 
lony, oblige the cattle to seek correctives, and in 
the choice of these they are not very delicate ; for 
old rags, pieces of leather, dried wood, bones, 
and even sand and small pebbles, are greedily de- 
voured by them. Horses very commonly eat their 


own dung, and numbers have died from eating 
flinty sand. 

On the thirteenth day we advanced nearly thirty 
miles over a bed of solid clay, and encamped at 
night in the midst of a meadow, knee-deep in her- 
bage. A transition so sudden, from perfect{sterility 
to luxuriant vegetation, appeared morelike enchant- 
ment than reality. It had, however, no such ap- 
pearance to the hungry cattle, who, not doubting 
that the feast was solid, made no small havock in 
freeing themselves from their yokes and traces. 
The name of the place is Beer valley. It is a 
plain of several miles in breadth, stretching along 
the feet of the Zwaart bergen, and seeming to be 
the reservoir of a number of periodical rivers, 
whose sources are in the different mountains of 
Nieuwveld, Winterberg, and Camdeba One of 
these, which was now running, was as salt as the 
water of the English Channel, — another was quite 
fresh ; all were skirted with mimosas. The valley 
was covered with coarse rushy grass, and the 
swamps with reeds. 

On the following day we travelled twenty miles, 
and encamped on the banks of Hottentot's river, 
in the deep and narrow channel of which were 
only a few pools of stagnant water.. 

The next day we arrived at the Poort, so called 
from its being a narrow passage through a rai\ge 
of hills that branch out from the mountains of 
Camdebo, and run across the desert. Though the 
Poort may be considered as the entrance into 
Camdebo, the country is as barren as the Karroo. 
The first habitation was twelve miles beyond the 
Poort, and the second ten miles beyond the first ^ 
tbf third house was fifteen or sixteen miles beyond 


the second, and we saw no other between that and 
Graaff Reynet, which is ten miles farther, and 
where we arrived late in the evening of the six- 
teenth day from entering the desert. Our jour- 
ney from the Cape had occupied thirty days, 
twenty-five of which had been passed in travel- 
ling, and five in repose. 

The division of Graaff Reynet, properly so 
called, extends about ten miles on every side of 
the village. On the north and east it is terminated 
by the Sneuw bergen, or Snow mountains ; on the 
south and west by a branch of the Camdebo^ The 
village, which is called the Drosdy, from its being 
the residence of the landrost, and the seat of his 
government, is situated in a plain of not more 
than two square miles, surrounded by mountains 
2,000 feet in height. These lofty walls of rock 
render the heat of summer intense; and the winds 
of winter, rushing through a chasm, not only 
make the cold intolerable, but raise eddies of red 
earth and sand that confine the inhabitants to their 
houses. The Sondag, or Sunday river, in its pas- 
sage from the Sneuwberg, enters through this 
chasm in the mountains, winds round the plain, 
and furnishes the village with a copious supply of 
water. The division contained only twenty-six 
families ; twelve inhabiting the village, and four- 
teen scattered over a country little better than the 

The houses of the village were constructed with 
mud, and placed in two lines, so as to form a street. 
The house of the governor was also of mud, and 
stood at the upper end. The walls of all the build- 
ings were excavated, and the floors undermined, by 
a species of white ant ; and the bats, which lodged 


in the thatch, came forth at night in such numbers 
as to extinguish the candles. No milk, no butter^ 
no cheese, no vegetables, no wine, no beer, could 
be had, on any terms, at Graaff Reynet. 

The village of Graaff Reynet is in latitude S8* 
11' south, and longitude 26<> east. The distance 
from the Cape'is 500 mil^. In summer the ther- 
mometer is from 80 to 84 in the middle of the day. 



From Graaff *Reynet I travelled to the north- 
ward, in search of the Bosjesmans, who dw^ll 
among, and behind, the Snow mountains. These 
people neither cultivate the ground, nor breed 
cattle ; but subsist on the natural produce of tlie 
country, and on what they can seize from others 
more provident than themselves. In its eagerness 
to. subdue this people, the Dutch government gave 
the colonists power to attack them at whatever 
times, and in whatever manner they pleased, and 
decreed that his should be the spoil who took it. 
The spoil belonging to the Bosjesmans was their 
persons, for goods or possessions they had none ; 
therefore every party that hunted the Bosjesmans, 
and took them alive, divided them among them- 
selves as slaves. Such as have been taken very 
young, and well treated, have turned out most ex- 
.cellent servants, and have shewn great capacity, ac- 
tivity, and fidelity : but it has been observed that 
the servants of the Dutch farmers are not always 


well treated. The Hottentot bears brutality with 
patience, or sinks under it; the Bosjesman escapes 
to his countrymen, and, if he can^ carries with 
him a musquet, powder, and ball; he excites them 
to revenge the cruel usage he has received, and 
points out the way. 

Armed with musquets and poisoned arrows^ a 
party of these people had the boldness to approach 
within four or five miles of the Drosdy, a few days 
before my arrival, and carry off seyeral hundred 
sheep. • They were followed into one of the re* 
cesses of the Sneuwberg, where they laughed at 
their pursuers, and invited then) to taste their own 
mutton; and a musquet ball grazing the hat of one 
of the farmers, the whole body made a precipitate 

At the distance of ten miles, in a north-westerly 
direction, we reached the foot of the mountains, 
from whence a narrow defile of five miles in length, 
and a steep ascent of three, brought us out on the 
extensive plains, and among the scattered moun- 
tains that compose the Sneuwberg. 

The haunts of the Bosjesmans were easily dis- 
coverable, but not easy of access. Torrents of 
water, rushing down the steep sides of the chasms, 
frequently leave a succession of caverns : of these 
the Bosjesman chooses the highest, as the most 
remote from danger, and giving him the most ex** 
tensive view of the countxy. 

In one of these caverns we saw recent traces of 
the Bosjesmans. Their fires were scarcely extin- 
guished, and the grass on which they had slept 
was not withered. On the smooth sides of the ca- 
vern were drawings of zebras, qua-kas, baboons, 
ostriches, and different kinds of antelopes, made 


Mrith charcoal, pipe-clay, and ochre. For correct- 
ness, worse drawings have passed through the 
hands of the engraver. Some of these were 
known to be new ; but many of them have been 
remembered from the first settlement of this part 
of the colony. 

At the house of the commandant of the Sneuw- 
hergj I saw one of these wild men, who, with his 
two wives and a little child, had fallen to the lot 
of this officer, out of forty that had been taken. 
The man was only four feet five inches high ; one 
of the women four feet three, and the other four 
feet two. * Tliis man represented the condition of 
his countrymen as deplorable. He said that for 
several months in the year, when the frost and 
snow prevented them from making their inroads 
upon the farmers, they f^quently saw their wives 
and children perishing with hunger, without being 
able to afford them any relief} that the good sea- 
son brought its misery, as they knew that every 
nation around them was planning their destruc- 
tion, and not a leaf stirred, or a bird screamed, 
that did not announce to them the approach of an 
enemy. Hunted like wild beasts in their own 
country, and ill-treated in the service of the far- 
mers, he said they were driven to desperation, and 
the burden of their song was vengeance against 
the Dutch. 

On the following evening we encamped at the 
foot of the Compass berg, which is about 6,500 
feet above the level of the sea. It is separated 
from the surrounding mountains on four sides, by 
as many large level meadows. On the south-east 
is the source of the Sondag ; and on all the others 
are springs, which, uniting at no great distance. 


fldw 4iTeet\y to the north, and form the Sea^^cow 
river. The country on the northern side of the 
mountain m at least 1,500 feet above the source of 
the Sondag. 

The rills of water that ran through the mea- 
dows were covered with reeds, and* tiiese were 
frequented by vast flocks of birds, particularly by 
the grenadier, which in spring and summer is of a 
bright crimson, with a breast of glossy black, and 
in winter wears the garb of the female, which is 
at all times of a greyish brown. An<ither remark- 
able bird Was the long-^tailed finch, whose body is 
five, and whose tail is fifteen inches in length, and 
whose long feathers last no longer than the grey 
plumage of the other. The nests of the long*tailed 
findi are composed of grass, neatly plaited into a 
round ball, and knotted fast between the stems of 
two reeds. The entrance is a tube, whose orifice 
is next to the water. 

The termination of the Sneuwberg is about 
twelve miles to tlie north-eastward of the Compass 
berg, where a pass opens to a level plain, extend- 
ing to the northward farther than the eye can 

The elevated parts of the Snow mountains pro- 
du;eed tufts of a long grass, mingled with small 
heathy shrubs ; the plains were beautifully adorned 
with fiowers j but the whole country was destitute 
of wood. Tlie fuel used by the inhabitants was 
the dung of their cattle, and there were many 'erf 
^hem who had never seen a tree. 

The l^rmers of the Sneuwberg can neither plough 
nor sow without their arms, lest they should be 
surprised by the Bosjesmans. If a man go into 
his garden to gather a few greens, he takes his 


musket in his hand. To recompence such a life 
of terror, his sheep are the best in the colony, and 
he seldom has fewer than three or four thousand 
sheep, with tails from twelve to twenty pounds 
weight. » His butter is the best in the colony ; it 
is salted, pat into casks, and sent to the Cape ; 
and fifty cows will yield one hundred pounds of 
bufter a week, besides rearing their calves. The 
draught oxen are large and stout; the horses, 
though small, are capable of enduring, and there- 
fore must endure, hard service. 

In the Sneuwberg the flocks are guarded from 
hyenas and leopards by dogs. The kind most in 
request is a large Danish dog, three of which are 
a match for a leopard. At many farms, three or 
four dogs will go out together unbidden, to kill 
game for their master ; and when they have killed 
an antelope, one of them comes home alone, and 
intices some person 4:o follow him. He conducts 
him to the animal, while the others remain to 
guard it, that it may not be carried off by wild 
beasts. I witnessed an occurrence of this kind, 
when, with the master, I followed the dog, and at 
the distance of three quarters of an hour, we found 
two others lying by a slain antelope, and licking 
the blood that flowed from a wound in its throat. 
The spotted hyena is here called a wolf. 

The inhabitants of the Sneuwberg are an orderly, 
brave, and hardy people. The danger to which 
they are constantly exposed has called forth the 
active powers of the women as well as those of the . 
men. The wife of a farmer who accompanied me 
in this excursion, having, in the absence of her 
husband, received intelligence that the Bosjes- 

VOL. n. I 


mans had carried off a flock of their sheep, 
mounted her horse, took a muslcet in her hand, 
and, attended by a single Hottentot, engaged the 
plunderers, put them to flight, and recovered the 
sheep that had been taken. 

The next day we proceeded about twenty-six 
miles to the northward, which brought us to the 
Sea-cow river. The northern rivers geneijllly 
consist of a chain of deep pools, connected by 
narrow channels, which, for the greater part of 
the year, are dry. Some of the pools of the Sea- 
cow river were five or six miles in length, and 
deep enough to have floated a line-of-battle ship. 

On the following day we passed over plains that 
swarmed with gnoos, qua-kas, hartebeests, and 
springboks ; and, in pursuing some antelopes, we 
killed a large tiger-wolf^ and two cobra capella. 
One of these was five, and the other nearly six 
feet long ; they were both of a golden yellow, were 
very fierce, and made several attempts to spring at 
the horses. 

Twenty miles farther to the northward we ar- 
rived at that part of the river where Governor 
Van Plettenberg ended his travels, and where he 
set up a baaken, or stone, as the boundary of the 
colony. The Bosjesmans, whose opinion had not 
been asked on thus taking possession of their 
country, had thrown down the baaken, and broken 
it in pieces. 

The limits of the colony were then formed by a 
line drawn from this laqdmark to the mouth of 
the Great Fish river, on the east ; and from the 
same landmark, by a line sweeping inwards, to the 
mouth of the Koussie river, on the westj but 
these limits are continually extending. The 


Orange rrver itself is no barrier to the zeal of 
missionaries, and the avarice of adventurers. 

On the opposite side of the river was a clump 
of bushes, loaded with nests, so large, that we 
thought they belonged either to the vultures that 
were hovering over them, or the blue cranes that 
sat by the side of the river. On approaching the 
bushes, a number of birds of the thrush kind flew 
out of them. These are calledthe locust-eaters ; they 
appear only with the destructive insects on which 
they feed ; and though their numbers are said to 
be no less astonishing than those of the locusts, they 
had here pitched upon a place where they were 
not likely to want provisions ; for the breadth of 
ten miles on each side the Sea-cow river, and the 
length of eighty or ninety miles, was literally co- 
vered with locusts in their incomplete state. The 
river was scarcely visible on account of the locusts 
that had been drowned, it attempting to reach the 
reeds. ; and they had devoured every green herb 
and blade of grasst On examination, we found 
the nest of the locust-eater consisted of many cells, 
and that each cell was the habitation of a separate 
family, and had a tube on the side for its entrance. 

The gnoo is the swiftest beast that ranges the 
plains of Africa. The shoulders, body, thighs, and 
mane, are like those of a horse ; the head is that 
of an ox ; and the tail is between one and the 
other ;■ the legs and feet are like those of a stag ; 
the colour is that of a mouse ; the horns curve 
backwards. The length of the animal, from the 
tip of the nose to the root of the tail, is nearly 
six feet. The gnoo possesses strength, swiftness, 
a quick sight, and a nice nose. It has not yet 



not yet been tamed. The flesh is not to be dlstin- 
guished from beef. 

The heavy, lumpish figure of the eeland forms 
a contrast with the elegant figure of the gnoo. 
The gnoo, when wounded, turns upon his pur- 
suers ; the eeland is mild and patient, and so 
easily taken that he will soon be extirpated. He 
is the largest and most awkward of all antelopes ; 
in shape, size, gait, and habit, he resembles an 
ox. A male eeland that we shot was ten feet and 
a half in lepgth, and six feet and a half in height. 

On the plains of the Sea-cow river were count- 
less troops of the common sorts of antelopes; 
hares were so numerous that they were continually 
about the horses' feet ; and partridges and grouse 
were so little aware that man was their enemy, 
that they suffered themselves to be knocked down 
with sticks. 

Lions are said to be numerous, large, and fierce, 
in the neighbourhood of the Sea-cow river. Here 
are tow sorts of leopards, or,' as the people call 
them^ tigers. We procured a young one of one of 
these sorts, which instantly grew tame, and was as 
playful as a domestic kitten. It is said that the 
fierce lion or tiger, if taken young, is sooner re- 
conciled to a state of domestication than the timid 

I was extremely desirous of forming an acquaint- 
ance^iththeBosjesmans, which couldoiilybe efffect- 
edby coming upon them unawares; I therefore sent 
some of my Hottentots to reconnoitre the country. 
One of these returned and said that, from the top 
of a high hill, he had seen some fires at the bottom 
of a defile. We marched in silence till we arrived 


at the defile, when we galloped up it at full speed, 
and found ourselves in the midst of a Bosjesmans' 
village. Our ears were stunned with a horrid 
scream, and arrows fell near us. 1 saw the Bos- 
jesmans on the heights, and to shew my peaceable 
intention, I laid down my arms, ordered my peo- 
ple to do the same, and we turned our horsed out 
to graze. 

In a short time some little children came down 
to us. I gave them biscuits and other trifles, and 
they returned to their parents. Presently, thirty 
or forty women and girls came, though not with- 
out strong symptoms of fear. I treated these in 
the same manner, and desired one of my Hotten- 
tots, who understood their language, to tell them 
to send their husbands for a present of tobacco. 
The men, however, had less confidence than the 
women ; they hovered long on the summit of the 
hill ; and the women had gone and returned at 
least a dozen times before they could prevail upon 
one man to come down ; and when, at last, one 
did venture, he approached us trembling, half 
laughing and half crying, like a frighted chifd. A 
large piece of tobacco was immediately given him, 
and I sent him back to tell his companions thit I 
had a present for each of them. Only three others 
had the resolution to come down. 

. When we left the village these three men ac- 
companied us to the waggons, and remained with 
us several days. I enquired whether they had a 
chief, but they said every man was master of his 
own family, and at liberty to remain with, or quit 
j^the others, as he pleased. I, gave each a large pre- 
sent of tobacco, knives, beads, flints, and sCisels, 
and they returned to their village highly delighted. 


Well might they be so, for never had they before 
received kindness at the hands of a Christian. 
Unfortunate, proscribed creatures, bearing the 
curse of Cain .upon their foreheads ; every man^s 
hand against them ! It was so natural to kill a 
Bosjesman^thslt my companions, the Dutch farmers, 
had some difficulty to refrain from it : I hope that 
under the government of my country the Bosjes- 
mans will be considered as men. 

The village of the Bosjesmans consisted of 
twenty-iive huts, each made of a grass mat, bent 
into a semicircle, and fastened down between two 
sticks, open before, but closed behind with ano^ 
tber mat. The huts were about three feet high» 
and four feet wide, and the ground in the centre 
was dug out like the nest of an ostrich. A little 
grass, strewed in this hollow, served for the bed 
of the family, in which they must have lain coiled 
round. The inhabitants of the village were about 
a hundred and fifty. 

The men were entirely naked, and most of the 
women nearly so ; yet neither were without a 
taste for finery. A few of the women wore caps 
of skin, not unlike helmets ; and shells, beads, 
or bits of copper, were suspended from their little, 
curling tufts of hair. All the men had a piece of 
wood, or a. porcupine's quill, run through the car- 
tilege of the nose. 

It did not appear that these Bosjesmans greased 
their skins, any further than by wiping their greasy 
hands upon their persons. The hair and face of 
many had been rubbed with red ochre, and a few 
had the face painted, with black. 

The tallest of the men measured only four feet 
nine inches, and four feet six was the middle size : 


the tallest of the women measured four feet four 
inches, and four feet was the middle size ; but we 
saw a woman, the mother of several children, who 
measured only three feet nine. The colour of the 
Bosjesmans is the sanje as that of the Hottentots. 
Their cheek bones are high ; their eyes keen, and 
always in motion ; their nose is flat, their chin 
prominent, their visage hollow. On the whole, 
their appearance is between that of the Hottentot 
and the ape j being less handsome that the one, 
and not quite so ugly as the other. Their bodies 
are uncommonly protuberant before, and as much 
the reverse behind. The. curvature of the spine 
inwards, and the projection of the part below, in a 
female Bosjesman is so great, that a section of the 
body forms the letter S. It has been pleasantly, 
though somewhat coarsely, said, that the fat of the 
sheep and the Bosjesman women lie in the same 
part. The limbs of the Bosjesmans are in general 
well turned and well proportioned. The klip- 
springing antelope can scarcely exceed them in 
leaping from rock to rock, or the horse keep pace 
with them when running. 

The Bosjesmans are undoubtedly a Hottentot 
race ; and may they not be the descendants of 
those Hottentots who left their fertile pastures to 
the Dutch, and retired to mountains and deserts, 
whither the invaders could scarcely follow them ? 
May not necessity have given the mild and patient 
Hottentot activity and talents, while penury has 
diminished his stature ? aqd may he not be making 
reprisals on a robber, when he drives off the cattle 
of a Dutch farmer ? 

The country of the Bosjesmans extends from 
the third chain of mountains that runs across 


Africn to the Orange river, and it is a country 
more barren and inhospitable than even the Kar- 
roo. The hardships attendant upon satisfying 
hunger preclude the possibility of forming large 
associations : even a family is sometimes .obliged 
to separate, as the same spot cannot alwiys i afford 
sustenance for all the individuals that compose it. 
Bodily strength alone procures distinction among 
the Bosjesmans; and this gives such an ascen- 
dancy that the weaker is sometimes obliged to re- 
sign to the stronger his weapons, his wife, and his 
children, if he would preserve his life. 

The common objects, of their pursuit are ser- 
pents, lizards, ants, and grasshoppers ; their lux- 
uries are the larger animals. They chew the suc- 
culent plants with which their barren soil supplies 
them, and they feed on a bulbous root, about the 
size of a crocus, which, whfen roasted, tastes like a 
roasted, chesnut : by them it is palled ok; by the 
Hottentots ow. They employ the day in seeking 
iheit food ; and at night thfey commonly repose 
iti caverns, in holes made in the ground, or under 
the branches of trees. The man who, wifh five of 
his fellows, will devour a fat sheep in an hour, can 
fast three or four days successively, or will live for 
months upon bulbs, and not quit the spot till all are 
consumed. Perseverance distinguishes the Bos- 
jesman. He will pass the whole day in scratching up 
the' ground in search of water ; and, if once con- 
vinced that is to be found, he will scrape to the 
depth of six feet to reach it ; he then takes a 
single draught, and each man drinks in his turn. 

The courage and dexterity of the Bosjesmans in 
catching serpents are astonishing. No sooner do 
they see one of these formidable reptiles on the 


level ground, than they set their feet apon its 
neck, press the jaws fast together with Aeir 
f ngers, and separate the head from the body with 
a knife, or, for want of a knife, with their teeth. 
All this is the work of a moment. They take the 
bag of poison out of the head, and reserve it for 
their arrows ; the body of the serpent they gree- 
dily devour. When in pursuit of game, they strew 
their bodies over with dust, and crawl along tb^ 
earth on their bellies, never moving if the animal 
be looking towards them. They will remain in this 
situation for hours, so that their prey seldom escapes 
them when once the pursuit of It is undertaken. 

The bow of the JSosjesmans is about five feet in 
length, the string is made of the intestines of ani- 
mals twisted together, and the whole is a very 
rough and simple piece of workmanship. The 
arrow is a strong reed, about three feet and a half 
long, with. a feather fixed to it. At the upper end 
is fastened a hard, hollow piece of bone, sharpened 
to a point, or a small triangular plate of iron ; in 
either case it is strongly rubbed over with poison, 
of a brown colour, and a glutinous quality. When 
fresh, it is of the consistence of wax, but it soon 
dries, and becomes hard. It is composed of several 
substances, the principal of which is always the 
poison of serpents ; but as this is, of itself, too 
thin, it is mixed with the poisonous sap of the 
larger species of euphorbia, called wolfs milk, 
or with a poison extracted from bulbs^ or with a 
poi8(Mious substance that adheres to caverns in tke 
rocks. Though these people know that their poi- 
sons are only noxious when taken into the blood, 
yet they carefully av6id touching them with tlie 
hand* They are mixed with a stick, in a hollow 


frtone that has been previously heated, and with a 
stick the composition is rubbed on the arrow. The 
quivers are made of the hollow stem of a large sort 
of aloe, called from thence the quiver tree ; the 
bottom and the cover are of leather. This is slung 
over the shoulder by a leathern thong, soi that the 
arrows can be drawn out under the left arm ; and 
by this means a man can shoot five or six times m 
a minute. All the boys who came to us at the vil- 
lage carried small bows and quivers of arrows. 

It is customary for an elderly man to have two 
wives ; that is to say, when the wife of his youth 
no longer bears children, he takes a young one to 
continue his family. 

The constitutions of the Bosgesmans are much 
stronger than those of the Hottentots of the co- 
lony, and their lives are of longer duration. In 
every sickness they take off the first joint of a 
finger, beginning with the little finger of the lefl 
hand,* as being the least useful. This is practised 
for the same reason that a vein is opened, or 
leeches applied, in England. 

The Bosjesmans bliry the dead, and cover the 
graves with heaps of stones. Some of the heaps 
were so large that, on the plains, where scarcely a 
stone is to be found, it must have been a work of 
great labour to form them. 

The language of the Bosjesmans is of the same 
nature as that of the Hottentots, though they do 
not understand each other. The clapping of the 
tongue is the same, but it occurs less frequently. 
Several of the Sneuwbergers speak this language 
fluently, having learned it in their .infancy from 
Bosjesman nurses. 

The Bosjesmans have a very intelligent method 


of conveying their meaning to each other by signs 
andgesticulations, and they have great dexterity in 
managing signals. In the night, by means of fires 
on the summits of the mountains, they will indi- 
cate to their comrades the number of a herd or 
flock th^y mean to plunder, and the means of de- 
fence employed* to guard it. Their sight is so 
2icute, that they perceive objects at a distance 
which no Eurdpean can see without glasses. 

Within memory, the Bosjesmans frequented the 
colony openly, begged, stole, and were trouble- 
some ; but never attempted the life of any one. 
Since that time, expeditions have been made into 
their country ; they, and their wives and children, 
have been dragged into slavery, and inhumanly 
treated ; and, in retaliation, if they seize a Hot- 
tentot while guarding his master's cattle they put 
him to death with every means of torture they can 
devise. Even the animals they steal are kept 
without food or water till they are wanted for use, 
or till they drop down with hunger. The latter, 
indeed, may not be the effect of barbarity ; for 
either their country may produce no grass, or 
they may be afraid to trust stolen cattle on the 

When a party of Bosjesmans is surprised by the 
farmers, and they see no chance of escaping, they 
fight furiously, to the last man among them ; and 
it frequently happens that they will rush upon cer»- 
tain destruction, by throwing themselves in the 
midst of the colonists, to give their wives and 
children an opportunity of escapin^,s and their 
concealed countrymen of wounding iheir enemies 
with their poisoned arrows. If they are pursued^ 
in carrying off their plunder, ftiey divide ; one 


party driving away the cattle, the other harassing 
their pursuers ; and if' the latter are vanquished, 
the former stab and maim the cattle. 

When one Bosjesman in a community feasts, 
they all partake ; when one fasts, they all suffer. 
When they bring in a herd of cattle, they slay 
' such numbers, that the village becomes a heap of 
putrefaction. The three who accompanied us to 
our waggons had a sheep given them about live 
o'clock in the evening, and it was wholly consumed 
before noon the next* day. They ate, without 
sleep, and without intermission, till they had 
finished the animal, by which time their lank bodies 
were so distended that they looked less like human 
creatures than before. Their beverage was more 
disgusting than their gluttony ; for, having cut 
the throat of the sheep, they opened the body and 
•let the blood run among the entrails ; then, cut- 
ting these with a knife, they poured in a quantity 
of water, stirred all together, and drank the abo- 
minable composition with great relish. 

If the Bosjesman endure many hardships, his 
persecutor is not without a share. In the pursuit 
of these people the farmers sustain hunger and 
thirst, heat and cdd^ fatigue, and wounds from 
!the poisoned arrows. These are not mortal j but, 
by injudicious^ treatment, they frequently bring on 
complaints which terminate in death. Some 
ftnMws are prudent enough to carry with them 
<3upping vesseb, to draw out the poison, sweet oil, 
to wash the wounds, and vinegar to drink. The 
Hottentots jwash their poisoned wounds with a 
mixture of Urine and gunpowder ; and it is ob- 
served that thev seldom die^ unless they are 
wounded very severely. » 




JriAVING joined our waggons on the banks of 
the Sea-cow river, we proceeded to the first poort, 
which is an opening in a cluster of hills througH 
which the river passes. From the north side of 
the Sneuwberg to these hills, we had travelled over 
a flat country ; here it began to be broken, and 
blue mountains appeared in the hodzon to, the 
northward. The following day we* reached the 
second poort, or pass of the river, into which wag- 
gons cannot enter, the hills being now lengthened 
out into a chain. 

The next day we proceeded on horseback 
through the chasm, which was about fifteen miles 
in length, and so narrow, and the river so serpen- 
tine, passing from side to side, and winding round 
rocky points, that we crossed it a hundred times. 
At length we fell into a large beaten track of the 
hippopotami, which carried us, throi^ reeds and 
shrubs, and shallow parts of the river, to the end 
of the pass. Here also was the end of the Sea- 
cow river ; its tranquil waters forming a coeflti- 
ence with those of another river, which rolled ra- 
pidly to the north-westward over a rocky bed^ aad 
which, though it had lately subsided twelve or 
thirteen feet, was now about four hundred yards 
broad, and very deep. Alf the rivers of the co- 
lony, collectively, could not equal its bulk of 


water. Th^e can be no doubt that this was the 
Great, or Orange river, which runs into the sea 
on the western coast, and we were not less than 
five hundred miles from its mouth. 

We traced the Great river to the eastward du- 
ring four days. Its breadth was from two to five 
hundred yards. . In several places the inundations 
had extended more than a mile from the river ; 
and in others there were marks of its having risen 
forty feet above its ordinary level. 

In the level parts of the country the river glided 
over the most beautiful pebbles ; striped, spotted, 
figured opals, cornelians, chalcedonies, and agates, 
rounded, and smoothly polished by the current. 
In whatever part we approached the river, hippo- 
potami were snorting and playing in vast num- 
bers. In several places we saw baskets very inge- 
niously contrived for taking fish, and other fishing 
tackle of the Bosjesmans, who had doubtless been 
disturbed by our coming. Deep holes were also 
made, and covered over in the paths of the hippopo- 
tami, which made it dangerous to ride along them. 

We now left the river, and turned to the south- 
ward, travelling over* a flat country, with fine 
grass, little water, and no wood ; and the follow- 
ing day, after marching ten hours, we arrived at 
a part of the chain of mountains to the east of the 
Sneuwberg and the Compassberg. The moun- 
tain here wa« called the Zuureberg, or Sour moun- 
tain. The waters here also take opposite direc- 
tions ; those on the north join the Orange river ; 
those on the south the Great Fish river, thus flow- 
ing to the Atlantic and Indian oceans. 

I had frequently been informed that, among the 
animals pourtrayed by the Bosjesmans, was the 


unicorn ; and one, in particular, was said to be in 
a kloof of the Zuureburg ; I therefore made an 
excursion across this mountain. Drawings we 
found in several places, but not of the unicorn. 
At the foot of this mountain we killed a wild hog, 
one of the most vicious, cunning, and ugly ani- 
mals in the creation. Long ivory fangs project 
from its mouth, and bend upwards ; and fleshy 
bags, hanging from each cheek, look like an addi- 
tional pair of ears. 

The next day we directed our course to the 
eastward, and pitched our tents in a plain abound- 
ing with eelands and springboks. The springbok 
does not reside in the mountains, where he might be 
easily caught, but in open ground, where he leaps, 
frequei^tly above six feet high, and several yards in 
length, and the instant he touches the ground after 
one spring he rises for another. These antelopes 
sometimes emigrate in such numbers as scarcely to 
leave any herbage on the ground over which they 
pass. Nothing intimidates or obstructs them on 
their march. If the farmers Are among them, they 
pursue their rout ; and lions, and other beasts of 
prey follow the herd, and make great havock 
an^ong them, without obliging them to alter their 
course. Five thousand of these travellers form a 
moderate groupe ; ten, twelve, or fifteen thousand 
being often assembled together. 

Continuing our journey to the eastw^urd, we en- 
tered the deserted division of Tarka, under a lofty 
mountain of the Nieuwveld range, called Bambos 
berg : we then turned to the southw^d. In one 
of the mountains we saw a cavern filled with draw- 
ings of elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippopotami, 


with one camelopardalis, an animal that is only 
found to the northward of the Orange river. 

At some of the deserted farms in the Tarka, we 
found vineyards loaded with grapes, peach, al- 
mond, apple, and pear trees, full of fruit, and ve- 
getables of various kinds thriving .without any 
attention. We saw here a flight of the locust- 
eating thrush that continued to pass over our 
heads, like a cloud, for fifteen minutes. 

We made along excursion into the Tarka moun- 
tains for the purpose of what might be termed 
hunting the unicorn. Under a projecting ridge of 
rock were several sketches of animals and satirical 
delineations of the colonists in ridiculous situations 
and attitudes; but the grand object of our research 
was wanting. We continued to explore th^ kloofs 
of the mountains ; the country people being as 
anxious to prove the truth of their assertion, as I 
to discover the similitude of an animal of such un- 
certain existence; till, at the bottom of a deep 
eave covered with drawings, we did find the repre- 
sentation of a horse s head and neck with a single 
horn. The body and legs were hidden by the 
figure of an elephant that stood before him. 

As all the other animals delineated by the Bosjes- 
mans are known to exist, it is a presumptive proof 
that this' exists also. The Bosjesmans have no idea 
that the existence of the unicorn is doubted ; and 
the farmers take it for granted that it is to be 
found beyond the colony. Ignorance believes too 
much, learning may believe too little ; the unlet- 
tered swallow falsehood, the man of science may 
reject truth. 

Having passed over a rough, mountainous coun- 


tiy, in which fine mimosas were in full bloom, and 
honey was hanging in clusters from almost every 
rock, we came to the Bavian's or Baboon's river. 

From this river I once more entered KaiTerland, 
and ascended the Kaka, which is a continuation 
of the most southerly range of the Nieuveld. The 
summit commanded a view of the sea-coast on the 
south, and beyond the residence of the king on 
the south-east ; the level plains of the Kat and 
Kaapna rivers lay at our feet. Some of the trunks 
of the yew-trees were from twenty to thirty feet 
in circumference, and from sixty to seventy feet 
in height. On entering one of ihe narrow vallies 
we seemed on a sudden to be in the midst of a 
shower of snow, which, upon examination, we 
found to be myriads t)f white ants upon the wing. 

The sparrow, the swallow, and the titmouse, 
which, in Europe, where there are no serpents or 
monkies to fear, make open nests, in Africa form 
them with tubes, or fence them with thorns. If 
the name of reason be denied to this faculty, some 
other must be given it that has nearly the same 

From the Bavian's river one day's journey 
brought us to the fertile division of Bruintjes 
Hoogte. The district of Agter Bruintjes Hoogte 
is bounded on the east by a considerable mountain 
called the Bosch berg, or Bush mountain, from its 
being overgrown with wood. In the midst of this 
rises a high ridge, which is properly the Bruintjes 
Hoogte, or Height of the little Browns, a name 
that was given it by a Hottentot chief established 
here, in derision of the first Dutch settlers. As 
this district was colonized from Gamdeboo, the 
farms on the western side of the piountain are 



called Foar^ or Fore Bruintjes Hoogte, and those 
on the eastern Agte^\ or After Bruintjes Hoogte. 
This place is notorious for the turbulent spirit of 
its inhabitants, who, at this distance from the seat 
of government, have acted independently of its 
authority. They ^e strong, robust, and resolute. 
The deliberate coolness of the women knows nei- 
ther obstacle nor fear. They are equally skilful 
with their husbands in the management of horses 
and fire-arms, and they never retreat on the ap- 
pearance of danger. I saw among the colonists in 
this division a woman, healthy, unmarried, and 
under forty years of age, who had not been able 
to move from her bed for twelve years, on account 
of excessive corpulence. Her arm, above the 
elbow, measured two feet, within a quarter of an 
inch, in circumference. 

From Bruintjes Hoogte we descended to the 
arid and extensive plains of Camdeboo, which, 
toward the west, are lost in the great Karroo, and 
have all the characteristics of that country ; but, 
naked as these plains appeared, antelopes were 
plentiful. Here are also found a great variety of 
those small quadrupeds which burrow in the 
ground, and are called by the colonists meer- 
cats : of this sort are the giusk-cat, and the tiger- 
cat. Here is likewise a beautiful little ground 
squirrel, about eight inches in length, of a dark 
chesnut colour, with a white stripe on each side, 
from the shoulder to the flank. 

The plains of Camdeboo extend from Bruintjes 
Hoogte to GraafF Reynet, which is a journey of 
three days. They are intersected by the Bly, the 
Vogel, the Plftfte, and the Milk rivers, in their 
passage from the Sneuwberg to the Sondag. The 


Balearic crane was seen near the Milk river, and 
guinea-fowls near all. Bee-eaters, with their 
beautiful plumage, — creepers, still more brilliant^ 
— king-fishers, and wood-peckers, were seen flutr 
tering among the mimosas of the river Sondag. 

All the species of swallows in the colony are 
birds of passage. One of these, with a red spotted 
breast, builds its nest in the habitations of man ; 
and in many of the farm-houses small shelves are 
nailed against the beams for that purpose. It is 
commonly asserted, and, from what I have ob- 
served in my own country, I have no doubt of its 
being true, that the same birds return to their 
places, and generally on the same day. 

From the plains of Camdeboo I arrived again at 
the Drosdy of GraafF Reynet. 

It is difficult for an European to form an idea of 
the hardships to be encountered in travelling over 
such plains in the hottest season of the year. Not 
9 blade of grass, not a green leaf is to be seen, and 
the stiff soil reflects the heat of the sun with such 
force that a man may congratulate himself upon 
his horse raising him some feet above the surface. 

The African horses, though they have less 
strength than those of Europe, travel a long time 
in this intense heat, without either food or water. 
It is, however, customary for th^ riders to dis- 
mount at intervals; when the saddles are taken 
off, and the animals are suffered to roll upon the 
ground, and stretch their limbs. This they do 
with evident delight; and after they have risen 
and shaken themselves, they go for a time much 

My next excursion from Graaff Reynet was to the 
S9Uth. passing still through the division of Camde- 

K 2 


boo. On the first day we passed two farm-housefr, 
on the second .two, on the third two. In these 
three days we crossed the Sondag river nine times, 
and every time in danger of overturning the wag- 
gons; we now quitted it altogether, and encamped 
on an arid plain without water. This part of the 
district is called the Zwaart ruggens, or Black 
ridges. Except in the plain of our encampment, 
we had scarcely a hundred yards of level ground 
in the space of forty miles j and the road over the 
ridges was constantly ascending, or descending, 
over large fragments of loose stone, or ledges of 
firm rock. 

On the fourth day we passed through a narrow 
opening between two long ranges of hills running 
east and west. We reached this path by a wind- 
ing road of smooth yellowish sand without a stone, 
bordered on either side by the tallest and choicest 
African plants. . Among these were many species 
of the aloe, some throwing out their clusters of, 
flowers across the road, and others rising in spikes 
of blood-red blossoms fifteen feet in height. The 
Riet berg, or Reed mountain, in the back ground, 
was covered to the summit with a wood of aloes, 
with spikes of pink flowers. 

Having passed the chasm, we crossed a plain six 
or seven miles in breadth, and encamped at the 
Wolga fonteyn. For three days' journey from 
this place the road lay through a country diversi- 
fied with bold hills, gradual swells, and plains, en- 
tirely covered with a forest of shrubs. Sometimes, 
for the distance of ten or twelve miles, there was 
not an opening in which we could turn a yard to 
the right or the left. Nothing could be more 
beautiful ; but, when night came on, its beauty 

. 20UT PAN. ISH 

vanished, and its inconvenience was felt. There 
was no space proper for the tent and the waggons; 
no space proper to make fast the oxen; and, worst 
of all, there was no water. Our cattle tasted wa- 
ter only once in the three days ; though the ther- 
mometer was from 75 to 80 degrees in the shade. 
We had a nightly concert, composed of the roar- 
ing of lions, the howling of wolves, the bellowing 
of buffaloes, the yelping of jackals, and the lowing 
of our frightened oxen. * 

On the evening of the seventh day, we en- 
camped on the verdant bank of a lake, about thf ee 
miles in circumference, and six from the sea. The 
water was perfectly clear, and as. salt as brine. 
The bottom was, for the greatest part, a solid mass 
of salt as hard as a rock. This is one of the lakes 
known by the name of zout, or salt, pans ; to 
which the colonists resort for the purpose of pro- 
curing this valuable article. 

On the borders of the zout pan we found en- 
camped a farmer and his whole family, consisting 
of sons and daughter?, grand -children, oxen, 
cows, sheep, goats, and dogs. He was removing 
to a new habitation, and the rest of his moveables 
were stowed in two waggons. He advised us to 
make our oxen fast to the waggons at night, as two 
of his horses had been devoured by lions the night 
preceding. This royal beast, like many other 
royal personages, does not merit all the praises 
that have been bestowed upon him. He does 
not always attack his prey openly, but frequently 
lies in ambush ; nor does he spare a sleeping crea- 
ture, but takes his prey as he can find it. 

On the evening of the eighth day, we arrived at 
Zwaart Kops bay, from whence I returned again 
to GraafT Reynet. 




xIaVING made the several excursions from 
Graaff Reynet of which I have already given an 
account, I quitted it for the last time, on the 11th 
of May, determined to reach the Great river by 
the shortest way, and proceed beyond it as far as 
I should find it practicable. 

After crossing an extensive plain, surrounded 
by hills, we ascended the' Sneuwberg, and as I 
now travelled in a family waggon, drawn by horses, 
belonging to one of the farmers, I dined at a farm- 
house about twenty miles north-west of Graaff 
Reynet, and passed the nigh't at a farm-house 
about the same distance from the former. On the 
second day of the journey we reached Magis foun- 
tain; on the third, after travelling aliDUg the banks 
of the Buffalo river, we arrived at another house ; 
and on the fourth day, in less ,than- three hours, 
we reached a place called Three fountains, the ha- 
bitation of the next farmer. 

In the morning I walked to the top of some hills, 
and, except a small portion of cultivated land 
near the house, the surrounding country produced 
only heath and bushes. In the afternoon we left 
Three fountains, and, being drawn by eight excel- 
lent horses, we travelled at the rate of seven miles 
an hour, and in two hours arrived at the dwelling 
of the next farmer, where we remained the whole 
of the following day. 


On the seventh day we came to a house, which, 
though not at the boundary of the colony, was the 
last habitation of white men. I saw here a female 
Bosjesman sixty years of age, and only three feet 
nine inches in height ; and I saw some Bosjesman 
prisoners, who had been pursued, after having 
stolen a yoke of oxen, and who were taken while 
devouring one of them. Among these was a man 
who had long been the terror of the neighbour- 
hood, and who, though often taken, had always 
found means to escape. He was known among 
the colonists by the name of the Beardman, he 
being the only one of his countrymen ever seen 
here with that appendage to the face. When he 
was asked ^why he was so addicted to theft, he 
pointed to his body, which hung together in folds, 
and taking a part of it in his hand, he drew it out 
to its utmost extent, to indicate how much it would 
hold : then, without waiting for an answer to this 
demonstrable reason for his depredations, he asked 
for something to eat ! 

Behind the house was a small hut composed of 
reeds, the habitation of an old blind Bo^esman. 
I found him asleep, lying on a sheep-skin, which 
served him for mattrass and apparel, and consti- 
tuted the whole furniture of his hut. I asked my- 
self a question which I did not propose to him, — 
** Could life have any charms for such a being ?** 
Without internal resources, and apparently de- 
prived of every external means of enjoyment, he 
was probably yet attached to life by some cord un- 
known to me. I told him, by a Hottentot girl, my 
interpreter, that T hoped the condition of his coun- 
trymen would be improved under the British go- 
vernment ; but he intimated in a very significant 


manner that, coming from a white man, he would 
not believe it till it took place- 
After halting some time, we proceeded on our 
journey, and left behind us the habitations of civi- 
lized men. At night we halted among low hills, 
in a place that the farmers who accompanied me 
said abounded with lions. Here we remained the 
whole of the following day. Among many adven- 
tures between the colonists and these tremendous 
animals, I shall select two. 

Two brothers, Tjaard and John Vander Wolf, 
farmers in the Sneuwberg, followed the track of ii 
large lion, and found him in a ravine overgrown 
with brushwood. They stationed themselves on 
each side the entrance of the ravine, ^d sent in 
their dogs to hunt him out. The lion rushed to- 
wards John, crouched to make a spring at him, 
and was, at the same instant, shot by him. Unfor- 
tunately, the shot only grazed the ear, and one 
side of the breast ; and the animal, after having 
been stunned for some seconds, recovered, and 
rushed towards his enemy, who had barely time to 
leap on his horse and endeavour to fly. The lion 
was instantly after him, and sprung upon the 
back of the horse, which, overpowered by the bur- 
den, was unable to move. The enraged animal 
tore the man's garment •with his teeth, and stuck 
his claws into his thigh. The man clung with all 
his force to the horse, that he might not be torn 
off, and, at the same moment, hearing his brother 
galloping after him, he bade him fire, not regard- 
ing whom or what he might hit. Tjaard instantly 
dismounted, and taking aim coolly, shot the lion 
through the head, the ball lodged in the saddle, 
without hurting either the horse or the rider. 


The other encounter I shall relate as nearly as 
possible in the words of the man to whom it hap- 
pened, a farmer of the name of Van Wyk, who 
lived near the extremity of the colony. " It is 
now more than two years ago/' said he to me, 
". that my wife was sitting within the house, near 
the door, and the children playing around her, 
and I was without, doing something at a waggon ; 
when suddenly, though it was mid-day, an enor- 
mous lion came up, and laid himself quietly down 
in the shade, on the very threshold of the door. 
My wife, frozen with fear, remained motionless in 
her place ; my children took refuge in her lap. 
The cry they uttered attracted my attention, and 
I hastened, unarmed as I was, towards the door. 
The animal had not seen me, and, scarcely know- 
ing* what I meant to do, I stole softly to the back 
of the house, and reached the window of my 
chamber, where I khevf my loaded gun was stand- 
ing. By a most happy chance I had placed it 
within my reach, for you may observe that the 
aperture of the window would not have admitted 
me. From this window, the chamber door being 
open, I had a full view of the groupe at the outer 
door. The lion was beginning, to move ; I had no 
time to think ; and, telling the mother, in a low 
voice, not to be alarmed, and calling upon the 
name of the Lord, I fired my piece. . The ball 
passed immediately over the hair of my boy's head, 
and lodged in the forehead of the lion, just above 
the eyes, which seemed to shoot forth sparks of 
fire : it stretched him on the ground, and he never 
stirred more." 

On the ninth day we proceeded on our journey, 
having now no road ; and, as our track would be 


long visible, we endeavoured, for the convenience 
of those who might come after us, to travel in the 
most level and direct way in our power. We 
passed the night at Buck's fountain. 

On the tenth day from Graaff Reynet the far- 
mers took leave of me, and returned home, while 
I, with my own waggons and my own people, en- 
tered the country of the Bosjesmans. We tra- 
velled across a plain from the time of an early 
dinner to the setting of the sun, when we came to 
water that had been collected in holes in the rocks* 
during some late rain. Some of my stragglers 
brought me here three young Bosjesmans whom 
they had met with. Their countenances were 
more lively and interesting than those of the Hot- 
tentots, and one of them said he should like to see ' 
the country, and would accompany me to the 
Great river, if I would leave him in his own coun- 
try on my return. I gave the other two some 
food* for their father, who, they said, was lodging 
in a hole among the rocks at a little distance, and 
they left me, carrying with them pieces of lighted 
wood, to keep off the lions. The frost waS so se- 
vere during the night, that the water in the bot- 
tom of a large dish was completely frozen. 

The next morning I was visited by the Bosjes- 
man f^ily, which consisted of the father, the two 
other Sons, and the wife and child of the one that 
was with us. The mother of the young men re- 
mained in the cave where they had passed the 
night. These strangers sat during the whole time 
they were in my camp, without once rising, being 
employed in cooking and eating meat ; and when 
the waggons set off, the one who had engaged to 
accompany us rose up, and took his place in one of 


tbem, without bidding his fnends farewell. Each 
had a quiver of poisoined arrows, and a jackal's 
tail at the end of a stick to wipe the sweat from 
the face. 

Had not th6 young Bosjesman been with us, it 
is probable that we should have found neither wa- 
ter, grass, nor wood for fuel/ We saw not a blade 
of grass during this day's journey, but a little after 
sun-set this young man led us up a narrow pass 
between two hills on our right, to a small valley, 
where we met with all the three. We called the 
spring Hardcastle fountain. 

On the third day from entering the desert, we 
proceeded through a pass nearly north, having the 
Kombuis mountain in full view, at the distance of 
seven or eight miles. Towards evening, attended 
by three armed Hottentots and my Bosjesman, I 
walked forwards in search of water. The Bosjes- 
man said that there was no fountaiil in this part of 
the country, but that, in consequence of the late 
rains, water would probably be found in cavities at 
the foot of the hills. Water Was found, but no 
grassr j grass, indeed, forms no part of the con- 
cern of a Bosjesman^ as he has no cattle. 

Soon after our fire was lighted, my three horse- 
men arrived with a qua-ka which they had shot. 
They cut it up immediately ; I tasted the flesh, 
but not being a Hottentot, I could not^eat it. 
While they were in pursuit of a herd of eelands, 
they saw five lions in company, and the lions fol- 
lowed the example of the eelands in running away. 
I did not hear of the men pursuing them, so I ima- 
gine they were running away from each other. 

On the fourth day of travelling in the desert 
there was still no grass ; yet there was abundance 


of the bulbous root on which the Bosjesmans feed* 
During the last three days we had been gradually 
ascending ; we appeared now to have reached the 
summit^ for a most extensive view opened before 
us, and I thought it probable that we should con- 
tinue to descend to the Orange river. 

To the westward are some groupes of mountains 
called the Karree mountains. I have not seen 
them ; they are said to be in the forms of tables, 
towers, and cones, with barren and intricate val- 
lies between, that have not been trodden by a hu- 
man foot, except it be the foot of a Bosjesman. 
They form a Sort of mountainous ocean, without 
rocks or woods, bushes or blades of grass, extend- 
ing, from east to west, as it is said, six days' jour- 
ney. The summit of the Romberg is only on a 
level with the vallies of the Karree mountains. 

My Bosjesman was generally eating or sleeping; 
but he was now running with remarkable speed 
after the advanced party that was in search of wa- 
ter, and at three a'clock in the afternoon we saw 
a smoke arise before us, which was a signal that it 
was found. At four we arrived at the spot, and 
were gratified with the sight of water and grass. 
1 had felt much for the oxen, which had fasted 
nearly two days. Observing four lions a little to 
the eastward, I sent eleven men to drive them 
away, and we saw them no more. Excepting 
these, we saw neither beasts nor birds during the 

At night I sent for my Bosjesman into my tent, 
and, with the aid of a Hottentot interpreter, the 
following conversation passed between us. I 
asked what he thought was the worst thing a man 
coiild do. It was some time before he could be 


tnade to understand the meaning of the terms bad 
and worst ; for he had never heard that one thing 
was worse than another, and, like a child, he 
found it difficult to compare their different merits. 
When he appeared to have some idea of this, 1 
enquired if he had ever witnessed any quarrels. 
He said that his people often quarrelled ; and when 
their quarrels ended in killing each other, it was 
♦* fine, good sport, shewed courage." He said 
that all their quarrels were about their wives ; one 
was for having the wife of another ; but he did 
not think this was bad. Being asked whether he 
would think it bad for another to take his wife 
while he was with us, he exclaimed, " Bad ! bad !" 
and added that it was fine to take the wives of 
others, but not to take his wife. 

I then asked my Bosjesman what was the best 
thing a man could do. He replied, ^* All my life 
I have seen bad and not good, and therefore I can- 
not tell.** Here the man, who would almost have 
run a race with an ostrich, without fatigue, was 
weary of mental exertion j he reverted to his cap, 
and said that was bad. I asked whether his father 
had given him any advice before he quitted him to 
attend me. He answered, " My father said I was 
going with strange people, and must be obedient, 
and perhaps I might gain something ; and, while 
I was with them, he would take care of my wife 
and child, and when I had got education, and re- 
turned, I should be able to teach them." 

Another evening I asked my Bosjesman the 
following questions. 

" What do you think the most wonderful thing 
you have ever seen." 


•* I do not think one thing more wonderful 
than another ? all the beasts are fine.'* 

" If you could have any thing you wished for, 
what would you desire ?" 

** I would have plenty of knives, beads, tinder- 
boxes, cattle and sheep/' 

" What people besides yourselves have you ever 
heard of?" 

" I have heard of the Caffers, the Dutch, and 
the English, but I have not seen any English. The 
Dutch came and attacked us, I know not why, 
and killed ten men, women and children/' 

" What kind of food would you like to have 
every day ?V 

** Bread, and sheep's flesh." 
' Probably my Bosjesman had never seen bread 
before he came to my encampment ; he was re- 
markably fond of it ; but this did not alter his 
appetite for worse provisions.' One of my hunters 
having wounded a qua-ka so as to lame it, the Bos-- 
jesman leaped from the waggon, threw off his 
sheep-skin, and ran towards it. With all his force 
he threw a stone, which sunk into the forehead of 
the animal ; he then drew out his knife, and 
stabbed it. When dead, he cut a large slice from 
the loin, with the skin upon it, and deposited it in 
the waggon, where I permitted him to sleep the 
whole day. This poor young man was in the 
habit of smoking wild hemp, which stupifies and 
disposes to sleep. 

On. the fifth day of our march we qame to 
an extensive plain, abounding with game. This 
*was our larder, and among the provisions it con- 
tained for our table were two eelands, one of 
which weighed seven, and the other five hundred 


pounds. The qua-kas came among our cattle as 
they were grazing, and fed quietly with them ; a 
proof that they were seldom pursued. 

The horses of the colonists, when well trained 
for hunting, are no sooner put in pursuit of one 
particular object, than they follow that, and that 
alcHie, with a constant, steady gallop, which, by 
degrees, wearies out the animal. When they are 
got within a proper distance, a signal from the 
mouth of the rider is sufficient to make them stop 
while he takes his aim. If that shot fail, the horse 
waits patiently till the piece be loaded again, and 
then resumes the chase with the same steady per- 
severance. If the rider dismount to take aim, the 
horse stands perfectly still ; the rider may even 
rest his gun on his back or neck, and be assured 
that he will not move. 

We continued to travel among low bushes, in 
search of grass and water, without finding either, 
till seven in the evening, when the weary oxen lay 
down to sle^p. 

On* the sixth day we had not advanced more 
than a few hundred yards, when, to our great sur* 
prise and joy, we reached the Brakke river. It 
now consisted only of a chain of pools, but the 
water was good. We were proceeding by its side, 
when we saw a smoke on one of the hills on the 
left, which my Hottentots said was a signal that 
my hunters had shot an eeland, and wanted assist- 
ance to carry it off: accordingly we ascended, with 
the waggons, towards the place from whence the 
smoke arose. Unfortunately, my Bosjesman mis- 
took our purpose j for, either supposing we meant 
to attack a community of his friends, or were 


going to introduce him to his enemies, he left us, 
unobserved, and we saw him no more. 

On the seventh day we proceeded to a plain, 
which, viewed in every direction, was fatiguing to 
the eye, as nothing was visible but short bushes of 
a dull black hue, We traced the bed of the Brakke 
river, in a north-west direction, till, evening. 

During the eighth day the waggons several times 
narrowly escaped falling into pits made by the 
Bosjesmans for taking wild animals. These are 
five or six feet deep, with a poisoned stake placed 
upright at the bottom, and the mouth is concealed 
by a slight covering of branches strewn over with 
grass. At the place where we arrived at sun-set, 
the Brakke river ceased to have a bed ; the ground 
being flat, the river must, in the rainy season, 
spread over it, and become a lake. ^ 

On the ninth day we found water left by 
rain that had fallen two days before, and at 
night we again discovered the Brakke river; 
but its water was now thicker than the thickest 

On the tenth day in the morning, ice, about the 
thickness of a dollar, was on the pools. No more 
water that could be drank was between us and the 
Orange river, which was more than forty miles 
distant, and we halted at night near water as salt 
as that of the sea. 

On the eleventh day we resumed our journey 
before sun-rise, and travelled among tall grass, 
which, together with the sand, rendered it very 
fatiguing. At nine o'clock the plain over which 
we had been marching for several days, became 
contracted, the ground rising on either side. At 

tftft GREAT ttlVERi 145" 

tell the bushes became larger, and loW tfees ap-» 
peared at a little distance. We passed some Bosh 
jesmans' huts formed of branches of trees^ but 
they were without any inhabitant. We left the 
Brakke river, the water of which still cojatinued 
salt, and travelled due north \ at two o'clock^ 
at the summit of a long ascent, we had a view 
of the Great river- We all admired its grand 
and majestic appearance ; but we found it at a 
greater distance than our wishes had led us to ima- 
gine; for it was not till three that we reached 
its banks,, and eagerly drank of its pure waters. 
Neither the steepness of its banks, nor the thick^ 
ets with which they were covered, prevented. the 
cattle from approaching them ; and when ttieir 
thirst was satisfied, they had thousands of acres of 
long grass before them. The river was deep aaid 
rapid, and as broad as the Thames at London^ 

We had been twenty-one days in travtelling from 
GraafF Reynet, twelve of which had been occupied 
in passing the desert country of the Bosjesmans ; 
and from the day we entered this, when we met 
with the family of the young man who attended 
me, we had not met with one human being. 

On the following day, as we were preparing to 
march up the river to reach the ford, we were 
joined by a converted Bosjesman chief, with nine 
of his people, mounted on oxen, and others on 
foot. This gentleman had once been, a resident 
of the missionary settlement on the northern side' 
of the river j but he had quitted it for the conve- 
nience of having two wives. At sun-set we ar-' 
rived at the ford called English ford. . 

To ford the river here was now impractica-^ 



^IfV .^^m4 I waited three days in hopes its waters 
f^ht faU< On the last of these, some of my Hot** 
tfiBt& crossed to try its deptli ; but they e&cted 
the passage with great difficulty on account of the 
current. - Having learned that there was a ford a 
few days higher up the river, I proceeded towards 
it the next day, and travelled three hours. We 
stopped at the village of the Bosjesman chief, as 
it lay in our way, and I visited several of the hutp. 
Scarcely anything was to be seen in them but a 
fire; yet the inhabitants seemed cheerful and 
contented. We attach many of our ideas of con* 
tent to the word home, and the home of a Bosjes* 
man seems little calculated to afford it ; but the 
whole country is his home, and his habitation is 
only his place of eating and repose^ In one of the 
huts five or six young people were scrambling 
among the ashes for roasted bulbous roots, and de* 
vouring them as they were found. 

The next day, my friend the Bosjesman chief 
drove thirty oxen from the other side of the river 
to assist me in crossing. The stream carywd them 
down with great rapidity, the distance <^a quar* 
ter of a mile ; but all succeeded in getting overf 
except one, which returned, and could not be 
made to enter the water again. Two men followed 
the oxen on what the Griquas, or people of the 
settlement, call a wooden horse, which is a thick 
branch of a tree, with a long pin driven into it. 
On this log they lie flat, and force themselves for- 
ward with their feet, as in swimming. A third 
man croiaed the xiver on a red horse i but, for a 
coofliderable time nothing was seen above the 
water, except the heads of the horse and his 

On the foilowing day we proceeded on the bank 
of the riven On our way, we obserred thfe redcnt 
foot-8t^s of an uncommonly large lion \ sudh, 
however^ I was informed, were very common here; 
We were much annoyed by a bush very si^fi* 
cantly named» Stop a while. Its biHnches are 
full of thorns in the form of a fishing-bdok, and H 
they take hold of the traveller's garment^ he must 
stop a while, and sometimes a long while^ be* 
fore he can proceed. In clearing one amu the 
other is caught, and, withoiit the assistance of a 
second person, there is no escaping from it but by 
main force. At night we arrived at the fcnid) 
which is called Read*s ford. 
. Morning arrived, and with it the time for crbss- 
ing the Great river. One of the Hottentots en-i 
t^ed it on horseback, to ascertain its depth, and 
passed it without much flifficulty^ I then entered 
it in my waggon, with three mounted Griquas on 
each side the oxen, to prevent them from turning 
out of the way. My people and cattle followed^ 
and all arrived safely in Griqua land, the territory 
of the settlement of Anderson, an English mis- 
sionary. Immediately on our quitting the river, 
its waters began to rise, and it soon became im« 

We pitched our tents on the northern bank of 
the river, and remained there during the following 
day, when I was visited by two Bojesmans. I gave 
them first tobacco, and then meat, and while they 
were smoking and eating, I amused myself with 
observing their persons and actions. 

I have allowed the validity of a Bosjesman's 
claim to the honour of the human figure ; but I 
must confess that one of these, who appeared to 


be about fifty years of age, who had grey hair 
and a bristly beard, whose face was covered with 
black grease, except a semicircle below the eyes, 
•where the tears occasioned by smoking had 
washed the skin ; this man had the true physiog- 
nomy of the small CafFerland ape. What added 
to the resemblance was, the vivacity of his eyes, 
and the flexibility of his eyebrows, which moved 
iip and down with every change of countenance. 
Even his nostrils, the corners of his mouth, and 
his ears, moved involuntarily on his sudden tran- 
sitions from eager desire to watchful distrust. 
When a piece of meat was offered him, he snatched 
it hastily, and stuck it into the fire, peeping round 
with his little keen eyes, as if he were afraid it 
should be taken from hjm. He soon took it from 
the embers, and tore out large morsels with his 
teeth. When he came to the sinews, he had re- 
course to a knife that was hanging round his neck, 
and holding a piece of meat between his teeth, he 
cut it off close to the mouth ; a feat of dexterity 
that a person with an European countenaiice could 
hardly have performed. Of the bone, when du 
vested of its marrow, he made a tobacco pipe, the 
smoke of which he inhaled with great satisfaction, 
aAd then gave it to his companion. They both 
seemed much amused at my viewing them with 
audh attention^ 




1 HE next day we quitted the Orange river, and 
arrived at Griqua towp, which is a long day's 
journey to the northward* 
v • The Griquas are chiefly of the mixed rage called 

Bastards ; but since they have assembled as a 
Christian community* finding that the majority of 
them were descended from a person of the name 
of Griqua, they have assumed that name, and 
given it to the district they inhabit- The number 
of people in the town, and the out-posts connectec) 
with it, amounted to 1266 } and the number of 
the original inhabitants of the country, the Ko^ 
rana Hottentots, under their protection, and occa^ 
sionally attending for instruction, was 1341 • 

I pai3 a visit to Anderson the founder of this 
Cbristian^establishment. His habitation was a hut, 
but larger than the usual size, and perfectly neat 
and clean. In the centre was a table, and round 
about were some chests and coffers that served for 
seats ; some English prints were hanging from the 
roof. The bed was shut up by a curtain drawn 
across the room. The features of the missionary 
were fine, and his eye beamed with a spirit of piety 
and resignation, that gave him the aspect of a 

Anderson said that his great object was to keep 
the institution fixed, and for this purpose he was 


eiideavouring to excite a taste for agriculture* 
Shares of from five to six acres of fertile land 
were allotted to those who had industry enough to 
cultivate them. One Griqua had a neat house 
built with wood and bricks ; many had gardens } 
but tobacco held a distinguished place in them all, 
3ut many of the Hottentots found it more conve^ 
nient to acknowledge their sins, and express their 
hopes of mercy, than to labour for their subsist-^ 
ence, Anderson, himself, said that the most lazy 
and worthless among them were those wha talked 
the most about religion. 

The behaviour of the Griquas was modest and 
respectful, their linen was white and clean, and. 
several of them were dressed like the common 
people in England* 

It was my intention to prodeed to the people 
till lately known to the colonists by the name of 
Briquas, but who, since they have been visited by 
my countrymen, are comprehended under the 
general name of Botchuanas. The missionaries 
had already penetrated into their country, and, 
with great difficulty, I prevailed dpon one of them, 
John Matthias Kok, who had lived four years i^ 
it, to became my guide. 

On the 15th of June I quitted Griqua town. A 
little before sun^set we saw four lions to the right 
of our path. On approaching them they turned 
and looked towards us ; but as they seeftied willing 
to let us pass unmolested, we did not molest them. 
In the evening we halted at Ongeluk's fountain^ 
one of the out-posts of the Griquas. 

On the second day we travelled along a valley 
bounded by two ranges of hills about ten or twelve 
miles distant from each othen The soil was red 

JOHN bmom's fountain. 151 

earth, now covered with tall withered grass, th^ . 
prickly seeds of which worked their way through 
our clothes to our skin, and occasioned much, 
pain. We passed the night by the side of some 
tall thorny trees ; but the place afforded no water. 
On the third day at sun-rise the thermometer 
was at S4S and at noon 70^ After travelling 
three hours, we reached John Bloom's fountain, so 
called from a colonist who had lived there, and 
whose memory was execrated both by Christian 
and Heathen. Here my missionary expected to 
meet, on their return from the Botchuanas, two 
Hottento4s, who had long followed him'; but, to our 
great sorrow, we found only thdr wives and chil- 
dren, who were lamenting the d^ath^ their hus^ 
bands and fathers. On enquiry, it appeared, that 
on the third day of their journey, they had been 
joined l^ a party of Bosjesmansj, who begged the 
ofiais of the game they had killed. For some 
time these intruders behaved peaceably; but a 
herd of sixty oxen was a temptation they coul4 
not withstand ; they watched an opportunity, 
stabbed one of tke owners with a hassagay, shot 
the other with, poisoned arrows, and with shouts 
drove away the herd. I gave the mqumers some 
provisions, and sent them, qnder a guard, to the 
out'-post we had quitted. 

We- passed the night with some uneasiness on 
account of the Bo^esmans ; for, soon aflef sun- 
set, a dog, which we knew to be a Bosjesman*s 
dog, was discovered in our camp. When any 
person approached him, he ran away, but, attracted 
by the scent of our cookery, he soon returned, and 
if a piece were thrown to him, he swallowed it 
with incredible voracity. These dogs have a 


striking resemblance to the black-backed fox of 
the country, or, as he is commonly called, tho 
jackal, and are probably descended from him« 
They never bark ; but whether this be natural, or 
they be trained to silence is not known. At thQ 
return of day it was discovered that five or six 
Bosjesmans bad been lurking in the vicinity of our 
camp, and that, in some places, they had been 
lying flat on the grass within a few paces of thQ 

. John Bloom's fountain is in latitude 2^^ 9^' 

In the morning we arrived at the foot of a cor 
xiical hill called Blinklip, or glittering rock« The 
base consists of an iron clay, sometimes of a rose 
colour, at others of a brownish yellow, mingled 
abundantly with crystals of mica. This substance 
makes a shining powder for the hair of the Bot- 
chuanas, and for this purpose great quantities of it 
are taken by them from this spot. On the ieastern 
side of Blinklip is a cavern, which we entered 
with lighted torches. We proceeded to a spa- 
pious, lofty, arched room, sparkling with chrystals, 
and from this issued six or eight other caverns. 
In exploring. one of these we found the fresh dung 
of a lion, and we did not think proper to intrude 
further into his apartment. 

Travelling from hence along a plain, one of my 
Hottentots directed my attentiop to two tali swaut 
i^ecked camelppardalises that stood almost directly 
before us. My transport was indescribable ; th$ 
gigantic creatures did not perceive us, and I had 
time to examine them. One was smaller, and of 
a paler colour than the other, and was pronounced 
tp be its offspring. We separated, and prep^^redL 


Ibr the chase. I had got nearly within shot tof 
jthem, .when they observed me and fled«^ I foU 
lowed ; but their figure, their motion, was soeix- 
traordinary, that, in my astonishment, I foi^t 
my purpose^ and recollection was lost in observa- 
tion. I soon» however^ put my horse into a gal* 
lop, and sprang towards the largest of these won- 
derful figures ; while he, who probably had never 
before been interrupted by a human being, stopped^ 
and viewed me with an eye of curiosity. My 
hunter had by this time got before them and fired ; 
the old one fled, and ihe young one felL 

As night was coming on, we all united in cut- 
ting up our prize ; the skin add the skeleton of 
which we carried away, together with some pieces 
of 'the flesh : the rest we very reluctantly left to the 
jBosjesmans, whose fires were already seen on the 
neighbouring hills. At a place called Tamanay 
fountain we passed the night, under the shade of 
some camelopardalis mimosas, which protected 
us from the sleet that fell, but melted upon the 

We remained here half the following day, the 
fifth from Griqua town, that we might arrange our 
booty. The skin of the camelopardalis, when 
cleaned and rubbed with spices, was spread over the 
tilt of one of the waggons j the long neck reaching 
to the middle of the shaft, and the feet almost 
touching the ground. The height of this young 
animal from the toe to the tip of the horn was 
thirteen feet four inches ; the neck was more than 
five feet in length ; the leg, from the toe to the 
top of the shoulder-blade, was nearly eight feet ; 
the hind leg six feet and a half; the length of the 
Jwdy to the beginning of the tail seven feet Each* 


Step of the camelopardalis clears from twelve to 
sixteen feet yhnt its gaflop is heavy and unwieldy. 
We dined on the flesh > which was tender, white^ 
and well flavoured. 

On continuing our journey, a chain of hills 
running north and south was to the eastward of 
us. ' We passed the night at the Great Kosie foun^ 
tain in a small wood of the camelopardalis mimosa^ 
in many places of which the branches were bent 
to the ground, and fastened with small pins; 
broken arrows were also scattered about ; proofs 
that the place had been recently inhabited by the 

On themorning'of the sixth day the ground was 
covered with a hoar frosty and the ice was half an 
inch thick* As we proceeded, some of my hunters 
rode forward ; and towards evening they rejoined 
us with the intelligence that they had killed a very 
large male camelopardalis, entirely of a dark 
brown colour. Kok assured me that he had never 
seen a larger or a handsomet, and he thought it 
could not be less than twenty feet in height. 
They had covered the animal over with bushes, 
and suspended a handkerchief from a staff, to keep 
off the wild beasts ; but alas ! this was only a sig- 
nal for wild men ; for, on arriving at the spot, we 
found nothing but the entrails. We could trace 
the footsteps but of four men ; yet they had car- 
ried off a camelopardalis that must have weighed 
at least a thousand pounds ! How gladly would I 
have given them the flesh if they would have left 
me the skin ! 

At midnight we reached the foot of the hills 
that form the boundary of the Botchuana conn* 
try OB the south-west, and early the next morning 


the seventh of our departure from Griqua town, 
yre saw the promised land stretched before us^ 
which filled my heart with joy and expectation. 

From the fountain at which we halted I walked 
to the source of the Krooman river, which was 
only three miles distant It was the most abun- 
dant spring of water I ever had an opportunity of 
ezaminiiig. I measured it at the distance of a yard 
from the rock out of which it flowed, and found it 
nine feet wide, and from fourteen to eighteen 
inches deep* After a course of fifty or sixty miles 
it loses itself in the sand. I entered the cave 
from whence it proceeds, which is at first narrow ; 
but it soon opens to a central, room, with a roof 
like a dome : from this, four passages branch out 
in different directions, with streams of water in 
them all* In the afternoon we pursued our: jour* 
ney in a north-west. direction, and in the evening 
two Matchappee Botchuanas joined us, and sat by 
our fire at night« They were tall, welUshaped, and 
of a dark copper colour. 

On th6 eighth day, after travelling among long 
(Iry grass, sometimes as high as the backs of the 
oxerii we'came to a fountain of excellent water 
situated in an immense plain. Here, on tlie 
shortest day of the year, we saw the sun set about 
a quarter before five o'clock. Our days resembled 
. fine summer days in England, and our nights those 
of winter. In the day we had almost constant 
sunshine, in the night almost constant moon or 
8tar light. The paths were narrow ; the inhabi- 
tants of the country walkiqg, as wild geese fly, 
one behind the other. 

We had, during three days, been travelling on a 
plam without any apparent termination; but at 


three o'clock on the ninth day of our joarney from 
Griqua town, a distant hill appeared before us, 
due north, at the foot of which was said to stand 
the city of Lattakoo. In the evening we halted 
near a fountain of excellent water. 

The next day, at twelve o'clock, we entered 
upon the last stage to Lattakoo. At one we met 
four young men, about sixteen years of age, who 
had lately been circumcised. Their faces were 
painted with regular streaks of white, their bodies 
wholly with red, and their hair was powdered with 
the shining powder. They carried hassagays on 
their shoulders, and wore brown cloaks made of 
skins, with a rouqd cat-skin sewed between the 
shoulders, which gave them the appearance of 
soldiers with knapsacks. .At two we came to in- 
closed iieldsr In Imlf an hour we ascended a 
rising ground ; many foot-paths were seen, all 
running to the north-east, which indicated our ap- 
proach to the city. At three we arrived at the 
summit of a hill, and saw at once Lattakoo 
stretched before us, lying in a valley between 
hills, and extending from three to four miles. 

Such was the situation of the capital of the 
Botchuanas, but if any of my readers should be 
disposed to follow my steps, he may possibly not 
find it there; for it had already occupied two 
other situations since it was first visited by Euro* 
peans, each nearer to the Orange river than the 
present. When the riches of a people. consists of 
tlieir cattle, they must dwell in a country that af- 
fords pasture, and remove as this decays. 

Of the ten days we bad spent between Griqua, 
town and Lattakoo, fifty-six hours had been passed 
in actual travelling. 


On descending the hill towards this African 
city not a person was to be seen, except two or 
three troys ; and when my waggon arrived at the 
entrance of the principal street or lane, no inhabi- 
tant appeared, except one man, who made signs for 
me to follow him. As we proceeded amidst the 
houses, it seemed as if the town was deserted, till 
we were conducted into a square inclosure, occu- 
pied by the king's officers and guards, and weris 
followed by hundreds of men, women, and chil- 
dren. All greeted Kok in the most friendly man- 
ner, till, to free himself from their importanitiesj 
he enquired for the king. On this they made 
way, and pointed to the spot where Moolihawang 
was advancing slowly and solemnly towards us. 

A tali man, about sixty years of age, with fea- 
tures strongly marked, now approached us, fol- 
lowed by four others about the same age; who, we 
afterwards understood, were his counsellors. They 
were all clothed in large mantles, and wore rough, 
high-pointed caps. While I was considering what 
might be the proper mode of saluting a king of 
the Botchuanas, he held out his right hand in si- 
lence, and toudied mine ; then turning to Kok, 
whom he greeted as an old friend, he took both 
his hands, and pressed them eagerly. 

I conducted Moolihawang to my tent, and told 
him by Kok, my interpreter, that my intention in 
coming hither was to pay my respects to him, to 
offer him a few presents, and to see his country. 
He answered, with some dignity, that he had no 
objection to strangers visiting his country, if they 
came with pacific intentions, and that any one 
would be particularly welcome who was brought 
by his friend Kok, whose return, he said, was a 
proof of his " white heart.** To my great joy I 


discovered that, owing to my diligence by the way^ 
I comprehended the general sense of what was 
spoken by the king, and the whole of what was 
spoken by Kok, my instructor. During this con* 
versation, the former threw open his mantle^ and 
displayed a profusion of ivory rings upon his arms» 
both above -and below the elbow; he had also 
necklaces, from which were suspended amulets of 
bones and other materials. 

The king was attended by two of his sons, one 
of whom, who was heir to the throne, appeared 
flbout thirty years of age, and had a very pleasing 
aind intelligent countenance. All the men wore 
a sort of petticoat of shining tanned leather, 
which reached from the waist to the middle of the 
thigh, with sandals of thick leather, and leathern 
thongs twisted round the legs ; but the knees, and 
the- body, except when covered with the cloaks 
were naked. 

I presented pipes of lobacco to the king and the 
princes, who squatted down and began to smoke ; 
each, when he had taken in a few long draughts, 
handed the pipe over his shoulder to one of his 
attendants, who, in his turn, gave it to another* 
When the king retired, he mentioned to Kok who 
attended him, his desire that any delicacies of food 
I might present him with should be given him in 
private ; since, if his people knew of his possess- 
ing them, .he must share with them the smallest 

While my interpreter il^as absent, I summoned 
up all my knowledge of the language to answer 
the crowd that remained. They repeated, with 
astonishment, a hundred times ** Moonto si booa 
BotohuanaT — the man speaks Botcbuana! — 


then began talkii^ to me with such rapidity and 
vivacity that I was obliged to be silent lest I should 
betray my ignorance. I remarked that no women 
were of the party, and was told that they were at 
home* and must work. 

The next, morning we waited upon the king. 
We passed through a tolerably wide street, formed 
partly by houses, and partly by hedges that in- 
closed the folds for cattle. The houses were of a 
circular form, with conical roofs; the circle of 
posts that composed them being united towards 
the bottom by a thin wall c^ loam, and left open 
towards the roof for the admission of light and air« 
As both the houses, and the inclosures between 
them were placed in all situations with regard to 
€ach other, the streets had no regularity either in 
their width or their direction. At the doors sat 
many women and children, who looked quietly at 
us as we passed. 

The king received us in a large quadrangular 
space, fenced round, and pointed to a great treot 
as his seat of authority. I delivered my presents^ 
which consisted of brass wire, glass beads, large 
atoel buttons, some knives, and some tobacca 
Some wheaten bread and European pulse I had 
sent the night before« I asked the king whe* 
ther he was satisfied with the missionaries who 
had visited his country. He said that he knew 
very little of them ; he believed they were good 
people, and he had no objection to their return- 
ing ; but, above all things, he wished Kok to re- 
main with him^ as he was well acquainted with hus* 
bandry, and had already given his people some 
useful instruction. After this, ' Moolihawang lis- 
tened with little attention, and I found it was 

l60 80UTH£ltN APAlCA. 

time to depart, which I did, after having askedi 
and obtained, permission to walk in the town. 

We were conducted through a labyrinth of liftle 
alleys, large squares » and broad streets, till we 
came to the qual*ter in which stood the principal 
houses. These have a smaller circle partitioned 
oft' within, from the centre to the back of the 
house, which is appropriated to the use of the 
master, while the outer part is occupied by the 
family. The posts that formed the outer circle 
were about nine feet in height, and the circle was 
firom sixteen to twenty feet in diameter. A sort 
of pantry, or store-house, five or six feet high, was 
often added at the back of the house. Every 
house was inclosed by palisades, and in the space 
between these and the dwelling were placed 
earthen jars, containing the store of grain and 
pulse. Each jar was about five feet high, and 
capable of holding two hundred gallons; each 
stood upon a stool with three feet, made also of 
baked clay ; and each had over it a circular roof 
of thatch, supported by poles, at a sufficient height 
to admit of an opening at the top of the jar. 

Tlie city of Lattakoo was divided into a great 
number of quarters, separated from each other, 
each having a headman, and an inclosed square 
for public resort. I visited more than twenty of 
these, and did not see half of them. In one, some 
persons were employed in stretching skins upon 
the ground, and fastening them down with pins j 
others in rubbing the insides with rough bones, a 
process which gives them the appearance of woollen 
cloth. Some skins were extended, and cotlired 
with cow-dung, to tan them. Four men were 
inaking cloaks, which they 3id by sewing skins 


t(^ether with an awl, something in the way prac- 
tised by shoemakers in England. In other squares 
men were employed in making knives, hassagays, 
«iX€S, adzes, and bodkins from iron ; or rings for 
the legs, arms, ears, and fingers from copper. 
Every headman, soon after I entered his square, 
took me to his house^ and presented me with 
boiled wheat, or with thick milk porridge made 
with ground wheat. 

At the dwelling of one of these chiefs his two 
young wives were sitting together in front of the 
house, within the inclosure. One of the ladies had 
at her side a wooden bowl containing red chalk 
mixed with grease, which she spread on the palms 
, of her hands, and then rubbed carefully over her 
skin : the other was rubbing the shining ointment 
on her hair. The husband> though also painted 
red, had a noble appearance. H^is figure and 
countenance were dignified^ and his fur* robe was 
elegant. The house was neat and clean. No filth, 
of any * kind, is seen about the houses, or in the 

When a family wishes to sleep in the day time, 
which is often the cas£, two flat stones are placed 
on the outside of the door, as a signal for none to 

There appeared to be about 1,500 houses in 
Lattakoo. Allowing five persons to each, which 
is perhaps too small a number, it must have con- 
tained 7,500 inhabitants^ It was said that there 
were also belonging to this tribe of Botchuanas 
more than a thousand out-posts, where men and 
cattle were stationed. Kok, who had travelled 
northwards from hence, and visited the tribes of 
Mooroohlong and Matsaraqua, assured me, that 

. VOL. II. M 


their principal towns were so extensive that tkey 
could scarcely be included in one view. 

The Lattakoo ffrst visited by Europeans was in 
latitude 26^30' south, and longitude 2?^ east ; the 
present city was about three days* journey to the 
northward, and about 900 miles from the Cape* 

The next day I gave a dinner to the king and 
the princes. To amuse them I shewed them se- 
veral European works of art, among which they 
were particularly pleased with a burning glass. 
As some paper was set on fire by it, the king 
eagerly exclaimed, " Muteelo leetsbaati P' — fire 
from the sun ! At dinner I gave him a wooden 
<;hest as a seat, and j^aced myself by his side. 
He now and then handed something from his own 
plate to those who stood near him, or sent it to 
those at a distance by his valet, who was waiting 
at his side. He remarked among the crowd Mo- 
lala, his fourth son, a beautiful youth of sixteen, 
and called him to come and eat with him. 

The king took great pains to learn the use of 
the knife and fork, and soon managed them tolera- 
bly well ; but the princes took out their own 
icnives, and, putting the nfeat between the teeth, 
cut off the morsel close to the lip. The king 
drank three glasses of wine ; but when a fourth 
was offered him, he declined it with thanks, adding 
that he was not accustomed to such liquqrs, and 
was afraid of being intoxicated. 

I inquired after the monarches wives, and re- 
marked that I had not seen any of them. He said 
they would be Very glad to visit me, aiid ask me 
for presents. He then enquired whether, like 
Kok, I had only one wife. I answered that, as 
yeti I had not any ; but that, by the laws of my 
country, I could not at any time have more than 

LAlTAltptf* 163 

t>iie. He said it was incomprehensible to him 
how a whole nation could voluntia*ily submit to 
inch an extraordinary law. He had five wives, 
and children by them all ; his relation Masjouw, 
king of the tribe of Muruhlong, had ten wives 
eight years ago, and, by this time, it was probable 
he had several more. When the king rose from 
table, he sought out a retired spot, where he laid 
himself down on the ground and slept, his coun* 
sellors sitting in a circle round him, and his valet 
waving a long bunch of ostriph feathers to keep 
off the flies. 

I now displayed different articles of European 
merchandize, and entered jnto trade. Necklaces, 
rings, ear-rings, and hassagays, were eagerly ex^ 
changed for tobacco ; oxen could only be bad for 
iron, silk, or linen cloth. Great offers were made 
for a file and a saw ; but these could not be parted 
with. I offered beads, nails, and cloth for a cloak 
very neatly made; but I was told that such a cloak 
was never sold except for live cattle ; I therefore 
commissioned one of my Hottentots to purchase 
two oxen, and with these I bought the cloak. I 
have seen a cloak composed of forty cat*skins. 

Numbers of women were among the crowd ; the 
first ladies of the city offered their arm-rings and 
ear-rings for tobacco ; and children of ei^ht or 
nine years of age made most significant intima- 
tions that they wanted snuff. The women be- 
haved with the same freedom as the men, but with 
great modesty j and Kok assured me that the only 
way to gain their esteem was to treat them with 

When the king returned, he brought with him 
two of his wives, and leaving them with us, he re- 



tired. Makaitscoah, one of these ladies, was his 
third wife; she was about twenty-two years of 
age, had a fine form, and regular features. The 
other, who was named Marani, was the last wife j 
'and scarcely fifteen ; her eyes were animated, but 
her coutitenance had a little of the negro cast. 
Their high rank might be. inferred from their 
dress. Their cloaks were composed of alternate 
stripes of the skin of the jerboa and the genet cat; 
round the body was a piece of leather finely 
tanned, which was fastened with straps over the 
shoulders ; from thehips to the knee, before and 
behind, hung leathern aprons; the legs were 
wound round with leather, and on the feet were 
Bandals. They wore a profusion of necklaces of 
glass beads, cut bones, and small plates of copper, 
and the lower part of the arm was ornamented 
with a number of rings, made of brass wire with 
the hair of the camelopardalis twisted round it. 
Makaitschoah had on her left arm no fewer than 
seventy-two of these rings, and she was exceed- 
ingly pleased with my taking notice of, and count- 
ing them. She had also a bunch of grey cat's tails 
fastened on the left shoulder, and hanging very 
ornamentally over the cloak before and behind. 
Her hair was divided into small locks, which were 
rubbed with the shining ointment, and hung down 
from the crown of the head like silver cord. The 
king had taken Makaitschoah from a low station 
on account of her beauty and understanding; Ma- 
rani was the daughter of the prince of a neigh- 
bouring tribe. 

I had tea prepared in my tent, but this beverage 
was not to the taste of my visitors ; they were, 
however, delighted with wine. Our conversation 


turned upon the situation of the female sex in £ii* 
rope» and Makaitschoah shewed much quickness of 
apprehension and^ good sense. She often under- 
stood Kok, my interpreter, before he had done 
speaking. Among other things she observed that 
our law, which admitted of only one wife, would 
not suit the Botchuanas, because the women were 
so much more numerous than the*men, the latter 
being killed in the wars. One of the ladies 
asked me for some snufF. I told her that I did 
not take snuff. " Then," said she, ** you have, 
the more to give away." Qn seeing European 
works of art, both ladies evinced their delight by 
repeated bursts of laughter. When about to take 
leave, they gave me a hint thatl must make them 
some presents. I abundantly satisfied them in 
this particular, and in return they gave me some 
of their necklaces and arm-rings. 

The next day I visited the king, and found him 
at dinner .in a comer of the inclosure. The dis* 
tinction of royalty seemed to consist in being 
seated next to the pot, and in the possession of a 
spoon with which his majesty helped his friends to 
the boiled beans it contained. One of his daugh- 
ters was employed in cutting to pieces a dried 
paunch, and putting it into another pot ; and another 
daughter was adding to it some morsels of meat* 
It would have required a good appetite in an Eng- 
lishman to dine with the king of the Matchapee 
Botchuanas. These people eat with relish the 
flesh of elephants, lions, leopards, and qua-kas. 

We next visited MakaitscholLh^ who was sur- 
rounded by four children, the two eldest of whom 
had the head, the ridge of the nose, and a circle . 
round the eyes, dyed with yellow ochre. In this, 


and some other transient visits that I made where 
there were children, I could but remark the atten« 
lion to cleanliness, and the trouble it cost the mo- 
ther, where the sole covering was leather. 

We then visited an old man who had travelled 
to most of the other Botchuaiia trities, and who 
gave me the population of each compared with 
that of Matchslpee ; but when he came to the 
Macquini, the most remote of all, he tbok up a 
handful of sand, and letting it run slowly through 
his fingers, he repeated frequently, " Itzintzi," •— 
much. • 

On my return to my encampment, a man brought 
me two boys of eight and ten years old for sale. 
They had been taken by him in war some years 
before, and were his absolute property, he pos- 
sessing even the power of putting them to death. 
He demanded a live sheep for each, and said he 
was very desirous to sell them as he had nothing 
for them to eat. These imfortunate children I 
was obliged to leave to their fate ; but a woman, 
whose husband. had deserted her, and her two 
children, a boy and a girl, who were all three pe** 
rishing with hunger, I had the satisfaction to take 
with me and establish at Griqua town. The boy 
was called ^^ Senehai," — no home; the girl, " Se- 
rebaal," — child forsaken. 

I now began to prepare for my return, Moolu 
hawang was sorry that we were going to leave 
him, and said it was mortifying that I should de* 
part before he had time to form a friendship with 
me. I partook of his mortification, but much of 
the tdur of Africa still remained, and I could not 
devote to friendship^the time I had determined to 
pass in travelling. 


The Botchuanas are Caffers, and that they have 
the same origin as the Koussa Caifers appears from 
their language ; for if a Koussa and a Botchuana 
were to meet, I imagine they would understand 
each odier ultimately, though perhaps slowly. 
The experiment is not likely to be tried, since 
neither nation knows any thing of the other. The 
Botchuanas are in general less tall and robust, and 
Jess daring and determined, but more civilized 
and ingenious. Under the names of Botchuana, 
Sitshuana, and Mutshuana, are to be included the 
different tribes of these people, who inhabit the 
country to thirty or forty days' journey north* 
wards* To the west the same latitude is inhabited 
by tribes of Hottentots. 

There are nine principal tribes of the Botchua- 
jias : all speak the same language, and have nearly 
the same manners and modes of life. Of these 
tribes, the most distant to the north-east, and the 
most numerous, is that of the Macquini, from 
whom the other Caffer tribes receive their metals. 
The Macquini are equally known to the Koussas 
and the Botchuanas : both call them by the same 
name, and their country is the most remote known 
to either. They both procure from it hassagays, 
knives, needles, ear-rings and arm-rings, in ex- 
change for cattle 4 but this traffic passes through 
four or five intermediate hands. The metals are 
«aid to be dug out of a vast mountain, one side of 
which affords iron, the other copper. 

Till John Bloom's appearance, it was the gene- 
ral opinion that the existence of white men, the 
rumours of which had reached the Botchuanas 
through the Macquini, was a fable. Makrakki, 
the king of a neighbouring tribe^ who often bad 


expressed a wish to see a white man, and was ri- 
diculed for his credulity, triumphed when Bloom 
appeared. Even now, some of the common peo- 
ple took an opportunity of washing my white ser- 
vant at a fountain, beheving that they should find 
him of the same colour with themselves. 

These people are so rich in cattle, that one man 
is sometimes in possession of eight or ten consi- 
derable herds, each herd of a different colour. 
They have goats which furnish the fine skins for 
their aprons and under garments, but they have 
no sheep, an animal which is but lately known to 
them. Fish is held in utter abhorrence by them. 
They drink water unwillingly, preferring the juice 
of the water melon and other fruits. They are un- 
acquainted with the practice of producing a fer- 
mented liquor from their corn ; but they are fond 
of wine and brandy when given to them. 

There are two propensities in mankind which I 
would gladly believe acquired* rather than inhe- 
rent ; but they are so general that I fear I must 
not indulge that opinion, I mean the love- of in- 
toxicating substances, and the love of fighting. 
The first of these propensities is, as far as I know, 
peculiar to man ; the second he has in common 
with the animal creation. 

I believe that the desire for fermented liquors, 
tobacco, opium, and hemp, does not proceed so 
much from a wish to gratify the palate, as a wish 
to forget real troubles, and supply their place with 
agreeable sensations. But this indulgence once 
practised, habit becomes necessity, and the real 
state both of the mind and the stomach are insup- 

With regard to the disposition to attack our 


neighbours, I have seen it in men and horses^ 
dogs and cattle, cats, and cocks. I have seen 
blck)dy battles between doves, and mortal contests 
between red-breasts. 1 can only say it is painful 
to see it. 

The Matchappee \vomen cultivate the ground, 
and the wives of the king are not exempt from a 
share in this labour. The instrument they use in 
digging is a kind of pick-axe : they sing while at 
work, and strike the ground with their axes ac- 
cording to time. Women build the houses, and 
six women can build a house of a common size in 
a week. 

The water with which the towm is supplied is 
brought from some springs about a mile to the 
westward, by the usual carriers of this element, 
women ; from fifty to a hundred of whom are to 
be found there from morning to evening. 

All the servants of the rich are prisoners that 
have been taken in war ; and the greater number 
of men a person has killed, the higher his charac- 
ter rises in the estimation of his countrymen. 
Death is the ^never-failing punishment of those 
who have betrayed their country in war ; and this 
is in inflicted by the hand of the sovereign, who 
runs the criminal through with a hassagay as he 
lies upon the ground. The king is the executioner 
of his other sentences, and instances have been 
known of his almost scourging people to death 
for robbery. During our stay at Lattakoo not 
one article was stolen, except two buttons, for 
which theft, the culprit was driven from the public 

The king has no outward mark of distinction ; 
but the people have a certain veneration for his 


person and every thing about him. He receives 
the breast and tongue of .every ox that is killed, 
and of every animal taken in the chase. He has 
also that other prerogative of royalty^ a right to 
the teeth of elephants, and the skins of lions and 
leopards. He chooses his cpunsellors from among 
the most distinguished of his people, and com*- 
monly takes their advice on the subject of peace 
or war, though he has power to determine it by 
his sole will. One of my people overheard the 
king say of myself, '' This man was bom before 
us. — He knows more than we — he makes us 

After a successful war, every man who has slain 
an adversary is conducted at night by the priest, 
into an inclosed place with a large tire in the 
centre; the other men and the women remain 
without. ^ Each of the warriors brings with him a 
piece of ^he flesh and skin of the person he has 
killed, having the navel in it; each thrusts his 
morsel into the glowing embers, and, when it is 
roasted, eats it. This custom does not arise from 
any taste for human flesh ; on the contrary,^ these 
people abhor it, but it proceeds from a belief that 
it renders them courageous and invincible. After 
this horrid repast, the priest makes a cut down 
the thigh of each warrior, from the hip to the 
knee, with a sharp hassagay, and the cicatrice re* 
mains as an indelible proof of his victory. The 
ceremony concludes with a dance, which lasts till 
sun-rise. One of the king's counsellors had eleven 
of these marks of honour, and I saw several per* 
sons with five or six. 

A Matchapee general, named Mateere, went, 
with a party, to the north-west, on a plundering 


expeditioiii and traversed extensive desertSi desti* 
tute of water ; but water-melons, which were 
found in abundance, supplied its place and afforded * 
food. After a journey of five months, they reached 
a people called Mampoor, who resided near a 
great water, across which they could see no land, 
and on which they observed the sun to set. They 
saw the people go on the water in bowls, which 
they pushed forward with pieces of wood that they 
put into the water. Mate6re, who himself related 
to me the stbry, said the Mampoors were a peaces- 
able and unsuspecting people ; that he murdered 
many of them ; and that the rest fled, and left 
him to carry off* their cattle without molestation. 
Glory and interest combined were irresistible; 
and several other expeditions, equally glorious and 
advantageous, had since been made by the Mat- 
* chappees against this unoffending peoplf. 

The Botch uanas believe there is a gfeat Being 
that is the cause of all the appearances in nature, 
and the origin of all the good and evil that hap- 
pens to themselves ; but they say they do not 
know him, having never seen him. For the good, 
he receives their thanks, and for the evil they are 
not sparing of their abuse \ but the missionaries 
had not yet been able to persuade them that any 
kind of worship was acceptable to him. The 
name of tliis being approximates nearly to that of 
their king, thq former being called MurimOj the 
latter Murina. With regard to the origin of man- 
kind, they say that two men came out of the* 
water, the one rich, having abundance of cattle ; 
the other poor, having only dogs : the former 
lived by his cattle ; the latter by hunting. I 
asked a Botchuana for what purppse man was 


made. His answer was, *' To go on plundering 
expeditions." If the purpose be agreeable to the 
* universal practice, he was not much mistaken. 

The Wantketzens are the next tribe to the 
northward, and through them the Matchappees 
obtain their copper. The Matchappee Botchua- 
nas make elastic rings of brass wire, which is 
beaten flat till it is of a thinness almost incredible ^ 
this is a work of infinite labour. The poorer sort 
wear heavy copper rings, and those who cannot 
afford even these, wear rings of leather, cut from 
the skin of the rhinoceros or hippopotamus. 

It is not uncommon to wear the caul of a fresh 
killed ox round the neck, and let it remain till it 
drop off. This custom is probably for mourning, 
and has been mentioned by a former writer as 
practised by the Hottentots; but this writer has 
been charged with asserting falsehoods, because ' 
succeeding travellers found this and some other 
customs fallen into disuse. 



Having tak^n leave of the King of the Mat- 
chappee Botchuanas, at noon, on the 7th- of July, 
my waggons began to move from Lattakoo, sur- 
rounded by a gazing multitude. The two princes, 
who had dined with me, accompanied me a short 
distance in one of the waggons, as they wished, 
they said, to go in such a house. They then took 
a most cordial leave of us, reminding Kok that he 
was expected to return speedily and remain in the 
country. I looked back towards the city as long 
as it was. visible, and did not leave without regret 
the most civilized and ingenious people I had seen 
in Southern Africa. Eight Botchuanas accompa- 
nied us as guides. 

We passed three different places where many 
rcattle were feeding among high grass, and herds- 
men were attending them, and we halted for the 
night by the side of a wood. Our course had been 
first east, and then north-cast ; our road had been 
on a gentle ascent, with a hilly country on the 
north and south ; the country before us had the ap- 
pearance of a corn-field, bounded by the horizon* 

In the morning we killed a female buffalo and 
her calf, and roasting and devouring the flesh 
found employment for. my Botchuanas. While 
sitting by the fire, they were cooking with one 
hand, and feeding themselves with the other ; and 


whsa tbcy had left the fire, they were picking a 
farge bone as they walked. 

On the third day from Lattakoo, our way lay 
among> tall grass and bushes. Having been con^ 
tinually ascending, we were now on high ground. 
We passed the night at a village of Botchuana 
Bosjesmans, called Marabay, from a fountain of 
excellent water near which it is situated. The 
village consisted of ten huts in the form of inverted 

On the fourth day we travelled along the Ma- 
rabay stream, on flat rocks resembling pavement, 
till it joined a river coming from the south-west, 
by which junction was formed a considerable 

On the fifth day, crossing the plain in a soutli- 
east direction, we found a hundred people gather* 
ing roots for food. They had quitted the city 
aftef us, and had arrived before us, having come 
a nearer way over the hills. Both parties were 
glad to meet. About a mile farther we came to 
the entrance of a. pass between hills that divides 
the country of the Botchbanas from that of the 
Koranas. A small village of a mongrel race be- 
tween the Matchappees and Bosjesmans was 
situated at the mouth of the pass. The dwellings 
were of the form of half an egg, with the open 
part exposed to the weather, and so low that they 
'were scarcely seen among the bushes. The ap- 
pearance of the inhabitants indicated extreme 
wretchedness; their bodies were covered with 
dirt ornamented with spots of red paint. The pass 
ran three miles in a north-west direction, and 
opened into a romantic square, inclosed by hills 

makoon's kraal. 175 

with patches of wood. At the east side of the 
square lay the town of Malapeetzee^ containing 
fifty-six huts, and about three hundred people. 
The river Makkaral ran near. 

The inhabitants of Malapeetzee, who areKo- 
ranas, gazed upon us with a mixture of fear and 
astonishment, and stood in grotxpes at a distance 
soon after our arrival. They possess two thou'- 
sand cows here, and as many at two other stations; 
tiiey live almost intirely upon milk. In stature 
they are shorter. than the Botchuanas ; in colour 
^ lighter. They appear from their countenances to 
be people of talent; but from their riches in 
cattle they have few wants, and are therefore in- 
dolent. They procure their hassagays and skin 
cloaks from the Matchapees. Our guides now 
took leave of us, and I obtained seven Korana 
guides in their place. 

I had heard of the river Malalareen, and was 
persuaded that it would lead me to the Orange 
river ; I therefore requested my Koranas to con- 
duct me to the Malalareen. We set out towards^ 
the south ; the country was open, but rough and 
rocky, with low hills to the east and west. We 
passed the night near the deep rocky bed of a 
river, in which there was na water. 

At sun-rise on the seventh day we ascended a 
hill, and on reaching the summit, one of the most 
beautiful countries I had seen in Africa opened to 
my view. The hills were ornamented with trees, 
the valleys resembled the finest parks in England, 
and forests appeared in the distance ; but what was 
most essential to thirsty travellers Was, that the Ma- 
lalareen river was winding at the foot of the hills. 


We looked at each other as if a new world \^ere 
before us. 

• We descended the hill, and at nine o'clock w6 
reached an establishment of Bosjesmans. The 
men, supposing we were enemies, hastily turned 
out and faced us, prepared for battle : the chief 
held up his bow, and jumped into the air with a 
view to intimidate us. I made signs that we were 
friends, and they laid aside their weapons. 

After conversing a short time with the chief, 
whose name was Makoon, I stepped to his hut, 
and, stooping down, looked into it. I never shall 
forget the terror depicted on the countenances of 
his two wives ; had I be^n a lion, they could not 
have expressed greater alarm. * I took out my 
watch, opened it, and held it towards them : it 
was evident they took it for sortie dangerous crea- 
ture, for they almost overturtied the hut in es- 
caping from it. I then carried my watch to 
Makoon, who shrunk back on my holding it near 
his ear ; but recollecting himself, he would not 
betray a want of courage before his people, and he 
ventured to listen. On observing that the chief 
was not injured, others listened, and all admfred. 
I then presented them with some tobacco. This 
brought the ladies out of the huts, and both they 
and the men sat down to smoke. Makoon*s two 
wives were about four feet in height, and each had 
a very small infant tied to her back. 

I asked Makoon whether he would choose to 
receive missionaries to instruct him. He replied, 
" I shall be very glad if any person will come to 
my country to teach me aud my people ^vhat we 
do not know. I have many people there,' (point- 

makoon's kraal. 177 

log to the eastward). Makoon had probably heard 
of the depredations of some of his countrymen, 
and, desirous to efface from my mind any suspi<* 
cions I might entertain of him, he added, " We 
are peaceable men ; so were my father and his 
father; they never stole any tking from their 
neighbours ; we have plenty of game and water." 
Makoon was a man of good understanding, 
and here, in my opinion, he gave the history of 
the Bosjesmans. — We are not naturally ferocious, 
or addicted to plunder. While we were suffered 
to enjoy our game and water, we were peaceable 
and honest ; but when we were driven to deserts 
incapable of supporting us, lee stole the cattle of 
our invaders for our sustenance; and when we 
were hunted like wild beasts, we endeavoured to 
destroy those who murdered us and made slaves 
of our children. Makoon, the peaceable Bosjes- 
man chief, seemed to possess nothing but his bow 
and arrows, and the skin cloak that covered him. 

At half-past two we took leave of Makoon, and 
crossed the Malalareen. We proceeded south, 
and south-west, and at night halted on the banks 
of the river, where we were visited by a Bosjesman 

On the following day. we shot a gnoo about the 
size of an ordinary cow. I gave a part of it to 
my seven Korana guides, and then dismissed 
them. ' These men had all very significant names, 
one of which was Kaeen-de haree, Lively sunshine ; 
anothier Mookha, Sharp-sight. The country on 
the opposite, or eastern side of the Malalareen^ 
was beautifully covered with trees, and, the pros- 
pect was bounded by low and distant hills. The 
thermometer at sun-riaeivfas at 2?^ at noon 76**. 



The next day we crossed the river twice, and 
did not reach it again till ten o'clock at night, 
when we encamped on its banks. : 

On the following day, the tenth from Lattakoo,. 
we crossed to t)xe eastern side of the Malalareen, 
and entered a beautiful level plain. Here we shot 
a gnoo> and when it was being cut up two Bosjea« 
mans approached with great timidity. I gave 
them a large piece, for which they were very 
grateful, but, not fully assured of their safety, they 
held their bows and poisohed arrows while they 
were cutting it. Our course to-day was south* 
west, and in the evening we again fell in with, and 
crossed the river. 

On the eleventh day, at noon, we arrived at the 
Yellow river, at the spot where it receives the. 
Malalareen. The Yellow river was here consider- 
ably larger than thb Thames above the tide, and 
the spot was one of the tnost charming in the 
world. Our course had continued south-west. 
Here we rested the following day. 

On the thirteenth day we {proceeded on our 
journey, and the Yellow river taking a turn many 
miles to the southward we quitted it, and passed 
the day without water. Morning discovered that 
we had taken up our lodging in the midst of a 
forest, with mountains in every direction : the cat- 
tle had found water in a corner among the hills. 
Some Bosjesmans came and informed us where we 
should next find it. Elevert camelopardalises were 
seen, but none were taken. At noon we halted 
mear a fountain of excellent water, and then pur- 
sued our way through a forest : our course south- 

On the fifteenth day we arrived at the Missionary 


village of Campbelldorp, where we were kindly 
receired, and supplied with milk, which we had 
not tasted since the day we left Lattakoo. Two 
miles farther we came to the Missionary village 
called Great fountain, containing about diirty in* 
habitants, who seemed to live as one family, for a 
large pot was on a fire in the open air, containing 
as much flesh of the quaka as would dine all the 
people. Five languages were spoken in this little 
community — the Dutch, Korana, JBotcbuana, 
Hottentot, and Bosjesman. The Bosjesmans were 
to assist in cultivating the ground, and to receive 
a part of its produce. 
' On the day but one following I rode down to the 
river, tod kept close to its bank. The day was 
fine ; the broad stream glided silently along, the 
banks were ornamented witB trees, and small par* 
ties of caittle, sheep, and goats, were visiting its 
waters to allay their thirst. « In an hour we came 
unexpectedly upon a Korana village, situated in a 
beautiful hollow, close by the river, and contain- 
ing from sixty to seventy persons. In another 
hour I arrived at the confiuence of the Yellow and 
Alexander rivers : both were large, but the former 
had the pre-emin'^nce. I had a view up the latter 
for about two miles, and its rising banks, covered 
with trees, had an degant appearance. The 
scenery was sd beautiful that I left it with reluct* 
ante ;. but there was yet another river to see, and 
I reached it before night. The scenery of this was 
still more beautiful, and the river, the Cradock, 
w^ still larger than the Alexander. Both these 
rivers flow from the south-east ; the Yellow and 
the Malalareta from the north-east ; and the four 
join to compose the Qreat, or Orange river. 



On the nineteenth day from our leaving Lat- 
takoo we arrived at Griqua town, after an absence 
of six weeks. The time passed in actual travel- 
ling from Lattakoo to this place was about a hun- 
dred hours. 

We left Griqua town on the 9th of August, ac- 
companied by a number of Griquas, and proceed- 
ing to the westward, on the evening of the seccHid 
day we arrived at the Missionary village of Hard- 
castle, eighteen miles north of the Orange river. 
Morning discovered the beauty of the situation, in 
a valley not more than three miles in circumfer- 
ence, surrounded by asbestos mountains of diver* 
sified foj(;^s! I ascended the rocks, and found be- 
tween their strata asbestos of Prussian blue, gold 
colour, green, brown, and white. The blue, by 
being beaten, becomes of a soft texture like cot- 
ton. Thirteen Koranas, mounted on oxen, ar- 
rived at Hardcastle to attend divine service oa 

The Bosjesmans, throughout the country^ lay 
claim to the honey, and mark the nests as the 
farmers mark their sheep ; and if they find, in 
their regular visits to their store, that a nest has 
been robbed, they carry off the first cow or sheep 
they meet with. They say that the Koranas, the 
Matchappees, and Morolongs, have cattle and 
sheep which live upon the grass of the land ; and 
that they, who have not, have a right to theivbees 
which live upon the flowers. This right is not 
invaded, because all find it their interest to let the 
Bosjesmans take the honey, and to purchase it 
of them. 

From Hardcastle we travelled in a nbrthem 
direction, and on the second day arrived at the 


Missionary village of Rowland Hill dorp. On 
leaving this, we travelled due north for two hoursj 
and then westward, over a desert of sand, till after 
midnight. When day-light appeared we found, to 
our great mortification, that the fountain from 
whidi we expected water was dried up. We were 
two days' journey from the Orange river, which 
was the nearest water ; but it was necessary to 
travel two days* journey in one. * 

At noon, with the thermometer at 80^, we began 
to cross the Vansittart mountains, which fprm the 
western boundary of Grriqualand. On cluing 
them we entered - a desert of sand, which, 
commencing at the Orange river on^the south, 
runs northward to an unknown extent. Many a 
meUnciuAy groan proceeded from the thirsty 
oxen^ while dragging the waggons through the 
deep sand of the desert, and many aii anxious eye 
was directed towards the quarter in which we ex- 
pected to find the Great river. All was dry sand, 
scantily interspersed with small tufts of withered 
grass. At midnight the cry of River ! River ! 
made us forget our toils* We had been ten days 
in coming from Griqua town, forty-three hours of 
which had been passed in actual travelling. 

Exactly opposite the spot where we halted, the 
river was divided into fqur channels by three 
islands. This is considered as a good place for 
crossing, and we began our preparations in the 
morning. The bank we had to descend was forty 
or fifty feet in height, and neady perpendicular, 
and we employed ourselves in cutting a road for 
the waggons. By two o'clock all was in readiness, 
and the waggons were got down without any acci- 
dent. The first channel of the river was com- 


pletely dry, and we travelled with ease to the 
western point of the first island, which was about 
the distance of a quarter of a mile. We then 
came to the stream, which was about SOO yards 
wide, and the current very strong. Two men on 
horseback first entered the water ; then an ox 
carrying on his back the materials of a house, and 
above these a little naked boy ; then the loose 
oxen, sheep, and goats ; then the waggons ; then 
eight or ten Griqua women, most of whom had 
children on their backs, riding on oxen ; then se* 
veral men mounted on oxen, and holding women 
by the hand> to assist them against the current. I 
observed one little boy holding fast by the tiul of 
an ox the whole way across the river, and scream- 
ing violently where the curretit was strong. 

We now walked to the western point of the se* 
cond island, and crossed the next arm of the river, 
which was about 200 yards over. We then came 
to a third island, and having walked across this 
we entered the last channel of the river, and landed 
safely on the southern shore* Here the greatest 
difficulty seemed to remain, for we landed in a 
thicket on a level with the river, which appeared 
impenetrable for waggons. After much exami- 
nation we found an opening, and ^fter surmount- 
ing many obstacles, we reached the extremity of 
the wood. We encamped in a hollow surrounded 
by trees, within hearing, though not in sight, of 
the Orange river. The ravages of time afforded 
us abundance of fuel. On seeing generations of 
trees piled upon each other, I reflected on the 
passing generations of mankind. 

One of my Hottentots, who, with two of his 
companions went in tiearch of some strayed oxen. 


bad nearly perished with thirst He felt as if fire, 
were on his back, and was saved by frequently 
thrusting his head into the middle of a bush to in- 
hale the moisture, while those who were with him 
dug up cold sand which they laid on his back. 

We now began our journey down the Great 
river, and passed a party of Koranas, who had 
just .arrived at the spot» and the women were 
employed in raising the huts. I observed one 
very aged woman, who was blind, and whose skin 
did not appear* to be united to the flesh, but rather 
resembled a loose sheet wrapped round her. The 
country was interesting from the variety of the 
hills within view, and the windings of the Great 
river, but all was either sand, gravel, or covered 
with stones, and the heat was oppressive. We 
crossed the dry beds of several rivers^ the steep 
sides of which were very troublesome, and we 
passed the second night under the thick spreading 
boughs of what is called the white-hole tree. The 
natives frequently sleep on the top of this tree to 
avoid the lions. On such an occasion a Hotten- 
tot, while asleep, fell from the tree, and happened 
to fall upon a lion that was sleeping at its foot-: 
happily the lion was frightened, and ran away, 
and the man regained his former situation. The 
air was so drying here that the ink in my pen, and 
the colours in my pencil, were almost dried up be- 
fore they could touch the paper. 

On the third day we were obliged to quit the 
river to get round some hills which we could not 
get oves* The way was uneven, with stones and 
pieces of marble scattered about, and we bad to 
cross six times the bed of a river with steep sides. 
About sun-set we approached a Kdrana village 


called Flip Kraal, containing about 150 inhabi- 
tants; near this we passed the night. Th^se 
people neither sow nor plant, but they possess nu< 
merous herds and flocks. They brought us plenty 
of milk to barter. A brown plain, without any vi- 
sible termination, appeared on the opposite side 
of the river. 

On the two following days, during which we 
travelled only five hours ; the way was as rugged 
as before, While sitting at dinner on the last of 
these, a whirlwind carried my tent up in the air, 
and covered my food with sand. The next day, 
the sixth of our journey . down the course of the 
river, having travelled four hours over stones and 
through red sandf we turned the range of hills, 
and again reached the river. The plain on the 
north of it still continued. We passed several 
spots where tobacco had been planted, but we saw 
no inhabitants to gather it. 

On the eighth day we arrived at a village of 
six houses, in a small square surrounded by trees. 
The inhabitants were about forty in number, and 
the chief was a Bastard Hottentot ; they were rich 
in cattle, and supplied us with abundance of milk. 

On the ninth day I walked by the side of the 
river, while the waggons were obliged to make a 
circuit round some hills. In the evening we went 
one of the worst stages of the whole journey. 
Sometimes the wheels sunk to the axes in the 
sand ; at others the ground was so covered with 
large stones, that we paused to consider what was 
to be done ; but, after looking round in every di« 
rection, we found there was no choice of road. 
Providentially we arrived at pur resting place 
without any material injury. 


We were now within one stage of Kok^s Kraal, 
and as the waggon way was very circuitous, I rode 
on an ox by the river side. * This way was atmogt 
impassable even to oxen, being over hills, and co- 
vered with rocks; however, in two hours I arrived 
at the village, which was situated in an extensive 
plain, scattered over with tufts of grass, and 
bounded on every side by low hills. The majority 
of the people were Orlams, thougli some were se« 
ceders from Griqualand, who had retired here for 
the sake of having a plurality of wives. This vil- 
lage, including thirty Bosjesmans, contained 425 

Kok related that he had been up the country to 
the north of the riv^r five or six days' journey, 
without finding water, and that be and the party 
that was with him had lived on the water-melons, 
which were every where scattered over the ground, 
and which, after being roasted, yielded good water. 
These people knew df no inhabitants to the north'^ 
ward of their own settlement, and they said the 
country was so arid, that it was impossible for in* 
habitants to exist in it. To the southward, between 
them and the colony, they knew only of a few 
Bosjesmans. Immediately behind the village were 
rocks of crystal and marble, the surrounding hills 
were interspersed with trees and bushes ; but the 
hills beyond the river were of bright i-ed sand. 
There had been no rain for six months. 

The koker tree grew on the tops of the hills. 
Many of these are ten or twelve feet in circumr 
ference at the bottom ; but they soon diminish in 
size. The branches commence ^t seven or eight 
feet from the ground, and the cluster of these re- 
sembles in shape that of an inverted bason. The 


bark is white intenntxed with a light yeUow, stad 
shining like satin ; the leaf is like that of the aloe; 
the whole seldom exceeds sixteen feet in height. 

Having rested one day at Kok's Kraal^ and pro- 
cured fourteen strong oxen, I again proceeded to 
the westward. The next halting place, though 
only ten miles distant on the rocky bank of the 
river, was thirty by the route round the hills that 
we were obliged to take. The following day we 
reached the river through deep sand; the country 
around was level, sandy, and full of marble rocks 
that shewed their white heads above the ground. 

Having heard of a cataract on the river, I took 
a guide, and walked to visit it. We soon reached 
what might be called the metropolis of rocks. 
They were scattered on the surface of the ground 
for many miles, some piled upon each other, and 
one half a mile in length, and 500 feet in he^ht. 
The bed of the river was solid rock, cut into deep 
chasms by the force of the waters; the si^es were 
perpendicular rock, and a* stone thrown down was 
some time before it reached the river. In the 
rainy season, when every dry bed of a river I had 
now passed becomes a torrent : when such -a mass 
of water rolls rapidly among the huge rocks, the 
soene must be grand and terrific ! . But probably 
no human eye has seen it. Several natives whom 
I met with had seen the mist arising from it ; but 
all had been so terrified by the sound that none 
dared to approach it. This cataract is in about 20^ 
east longitude. 

On the fourteenth day from that on which we 
crossed the river« we halted at midnight in a place 
that affi>rded neither graj^s, nor wood, nor water ; 
for, in consequence of ridges of rocks running £it>m 


the edge of the river, we had heen obliged to tra- 
vel conaiderably to the south of it. The thermo- 
meter at noon was at SG"* ; the night was as cold as 
a December night in England. 

On the fifteenth day we proceeded westward, at 
the distance of about ten miles from the river, a 
chain of hills, thirty miles*in extent, lying between 
it and us. Hs^ing travelled seven hours, we dug 
for water in the dry bed of a river, and found it at 
the depth of five feet. Hundreds of lizards and 
field-mice were almost constantly in sight ; and 
so little conscious were they that man was the 
enemy of other animals, that they played about 
the waggons. Nine lions were seen in the vicinity 
of our encampment, in the course of the afternoon. 
One of my Hottentots came upon three of them 
unawares, among the bushes, and they stood 
looking at each other for some time. It is said 
that a lion will •not attack a man while he looks 
him steadfastly in the face. When the Hottentot 
turned to make a signal to one of his companions 
to come to his assistance, the lions advanced ; but 
on turning his e^es again towards them, they 
halted, and when the other came up with his gun 
they walked away. 

The bu^-louse, as it is, called, was here very 
troublesome. It is black, and about the size of a 
large bug. It adheres so closely to the skin that 
it is scarcely possible to get rid of it without cutting 
it m pieces ; but, like a leech, when it.has filled it- 
self with blood, it dropsofil The cattle are sometimes 
covered with these blood-suckers, when the crows 
perch on their backs, and dine at their leisure. 
The cows are so pleased with their visitors, that 
they give them no molestation till they have 
finished theur repast. 


We remained at our encampment two whole 
days, and on the second day after we resumed our 
journey, we met with a missionary who was settled 
among the Namaquas, and who informed us that 
some Bosjesmans had followed us from the cata- 
ract, watching for an opportunity to plunder us. 
He said these poor men *had been so ill-treated by 
the farmers from the colony that they were now 
endeavouring to destroy every roan who wore a 
hat, considering a hat as the distinguishing mark 
of a colonist This day we travelled westward over 
a plain of deep sand, with a hill on each side, and 
were obliged to proceed, without halting, till we 
came to water. At half past ten at night, after a 
march of twelve hours and a half, we arrived at 
Kabas fountain. Though this fountain afforded 
water, there was not to be seen a blade of grass ; 
we therefore hastened away in the morning, and 
an six hours arrived at Fella, the missionary station 
among the Namaquas. We had been twenty days 
following the course of the Great river, as hear 
its southern bank as possible, and ninety-three 
hours and a half of this time had been spent in 
actual traveling. 

A more barren looking spot than Fella it is not 
easy to conceive. It i^ white sand, interspersed 
with a few bushes, and bounded on the north 
and east by black rugged mountains. Water 
is the only temptation that Christians have to 
remain at Fella. The love of fame is a power- 
ful incentive to painful undertakings ; the love of 
power is another; but these, united, do not appear 
a sufficient motive for the renunciation of mental 
intercourse with civilized beings, and the comforts 
and enjoyments of civilized life. Religion, if not 
enthusiasm, must enter into the account. A mis- 


sionary among the sands and rocks of Africa must 
believe that he is serving his Creator, and must 
look for the reward of his services in another 
world. Pella is in about 28^ 46' south latitude, 
and 18^' 8' east longitude. The Orange river is 
only four miles distant, but its banks are so co- 
vered with rocks that they are not habitable* 

The Namaquas live in low circular huts like 
those of the Koranas, They are constructed with 
branches^ of trees bent like a bow, and stuck into 
the ground at both ends, and are then covered 
with mats. The ground within is lowered from 
twelve to eighteen inches, to keep the inhabitants, 
as they say, from the wind. Observing two fami- 
lies removing their huts to about the distance of 
fifty yards, J inquired the reason, and was told 
that they were removing to escape from fleas. 

When a man at Pella kills a sheep, his family 
can only obtain a share of it ; as the neighbours 
repair to the house^ and the whole is eaten befcyre 
they leave it. 

The Namaquas are an honest and timid people, 
_ generally slender, and few of th6m tall. Their 
cattle supply them with food ; and, having few 
wants, and little occupation, they pass the greater 
part of their time in conversing together in small 
groupes. Both Namaquas and Bosjesmans affirm 
that, after persons have gone through a certain 
process, they cannot be injured by poisonous ani- 
mals* They allow scorpions to sting, and two dif- 
ferent kinds of serpents to bite them, after which 
they swallow some of the poison, which they say 
counteracts the e£fect of that taken into the blood. 
It is very common for a Hottentot to catch a ser- 
pent, squeeze. out the poisoi;! from his teeth, and 


drink it. They saj that it occasions only a slight 
giddiness, and that it preserves them ever after 
from the bite of these poisonoas reptiles. 

The following intelligence respecting the Greater 
Namaquas and the Damaras, I obtained from two 
Namaqua chiefs. 

The country of the Great Namaquas extends 
northward from the Orange river about twenty-five 
days' journey, or nearly 600 miles in travelling ; 
and from the coast to the eastward about ten days' 
journey ; it is, in general, hUly and stoney. . Tlie 
people manufacture hassagays, ringSy knives, and 
axes of iron, and vessels and bowls of wood ; they 
dress hides, and dig wells ; they abound in cattle, 
goats, and sheep; they dance to flutes and drums. 
Some of the Great Namaquas had travelled as fiir 
as Cape Town, and had wondered at what they 
saw there ; but none had ever attempted to imi- 
tate any thing he saw. 

The country of the Damaras lies north of' that 
of the Great Namaquas, and reaches to the ocean. 
The country has few hills, few trees, fewer bushes, 
but much grass. The soil is sandy. There are 
gardens inclosed by hedges, in which are raised 
pumpkins and other vegetables. I could hear of 
only two rivers, the Noeyop and the Nossop. 

In the estimation of the Namaquas, the Damaras 
^re a numerous people. They are divided into 
rich and poor. The rich possess cattle ; the poor 
live near the sea, and frequently engage them- 
selves as servants to the Namaquas. The poor eo- 
ver themselves with grass and cow-dung ; the rich 
wear the skins of their cattle. The Damaras ma- 
nufacture hassagays, knives, rings, and vessels, of 
iron. ^ There is a mine of copper in their country. 


from which they manufacture rings for the ears, 
arms, and legs, and with these they carry on a 
trade with their neighbours. Their houses resem- 
ble those of the Hottentots. 

The Damaras keep a wife till they are tired of 
her, or quarrel with her, or see another they like 
better. On the death of a rich man the horns and 
bones of the cattle he killed, while living, are* 
piled over his grave, and the number is the proof 
of his former wealth. If strangers visit the Da- 
maras peaceably, liiey are kindly treated. 

From PelU I rode through the kloof, or defile, 
that led to the Orange river. We found the river 
bounded on both sides by high and barren moun. 
tains, which scarcely allowed it room to flow. 
T^e lively green of the trees on its border formed 
a striking contrast with the death-like mountains 
that rose behind. We rode down the southern 
bank of the river five or six miles, when we turned 
to the left up a chasm between the mountains, two 
miles of which resembled a giant's stair-case. We 
ascended on horseback, step after step, and some 
of the steps were two feet in height. The pass, in 
most places, was only a few yards in width, though 
the sides were many hundred feet in perpendicu- 
lar height. The sun wfls neariy down before we 
reached the summit, and we then rode two hours, 
at a quick rate, before we came within sight of the 
lights of Pella. 

Having traced the Great river from the junction 
of the Yellow and the Malalareen to this place, I 
determined to return to the Cape. The missiona- 
ries knew of three ways, but each had its difficul- 
ties. In the eastern, no water was to be met with 
for three Idiig days' journeys ; in the middle, no 


water for three days, and at this season the foun* 
tain would be dry ; the western lay down the river 
for several days ; it was rocky and exposed to 
BosjesmanS) and on leaving the river, there were 
two long days journeys to. the Kamies mountains* 
The first of these evils ajq^eared the least. 

On the £2d of September I left Pella, and tra- 
velled iive hours and a half on ray return to the 
Cape. Owing to the length of the bushes and the 
unevenness of the ground, we could not reach 
Raison fountain, near which we hoped to have 
passed the night. The next morning we arrived 
at it, and. left it, with the melancholy certainty 
that the oxen had taken their last draught of water 
till they should have accomplished three days* 
journey over a desert of sand. We continued tra- 
velling through the night, on a south-west course, 
and at two o'clock in the morning we had to en- 
counter a hill of sand that was a formidable ob« 
struction to our progress. In ascending it the 
wheels sunk nearly to the axes, and every rnaii 
aided the oxen with all his might. At seven 
o'clock we halted, after having marched fifteen 
successive hours. Wherever we turned our eyes, 
the hills were of a browh burnt colour, and the 
plain was deep sand, strewed with tufts of withered 
grass. Adam Kok, a captain of the Griquas, in 
crossing this desert lost two horses that he rode ; 
and must have died himself, if the people who 
were with him had not persevered in thrbwing 
cold sand on his breast. 

While I was sitting alooe under a rock, a pretty 
little solitary bu*d hopped within a yard of me, un-^ 
suspecting any . danger from man ; and 'I did not 

DESERT^ 193 

injure the character of the human species in its es- 
timation. ^ 

At noon we proceeded through the^desert. The 
lowing of the oxen and the howling of the dogs 
were painful to hear; but it was still more painful 
to reflect on the time and labour yet to come be- 
fore their thirst could be relieved. In such a case 
the Hottentots say, •• "Shut your eyes and ears, . 
and press forward/' At nine at night we passed 
some Bosjesroans who were sitting round a fire 
at the foot of a hill. At midnight the cold was 
piercing, and the sand deep< A little before sun- . 
rise the loose oxen ran off at full speed towards a re- 
cess among some hills. They had certainly scented 
water, though there was none above ground, and 
they were disappointed. They stood snuffing the 
air in every direction for about a minute, when 
they again galloped off^ and led the way to the 
welcome spring, which is called Quick fountain^ 
and consists of two pools. Now sheep, dogs, and 
oxen, rushed into the pools, and such as could not 
gain admission pushed between their fellows to. 
obtain a space for their mouths. None had tasted 
water during thirty-eight hours, thirty-two of 
which the oxen had been dragging waggons 
through deep sand. In this time we had advanced 
about ninety miles^ in the direction of south-west 
by west. 

The next day we left Quick fountain, which 
a£K>rded no grass, and travelled westward among 
low hills, till we came to grass where there was no 
water. At ten o'clock at night we arrived at Sil- 
ver fountain, the residence of Cornelius Kok. 

On the 1st of October we pursued our journey 
in a south-west direction ; and on the 0d, the ele- 

VOL. 11. o 


venth day from leaving Pella^ and the seveath of 
actual travelling, we reached the first farm-house 
in the colony. Neither the farmer nor his wife 
were more than forty years of age, yet they had 
ten daughters, all married. The house contained 
a low table^ and three things that had once been 
chairs, but the chief articles visible were skins. In 
a comer was a space inclosed by a mud wall, about 
eighteen inches high, the floor of which was co- 
vered with s](ins* This was the dormitory of the 
family* and in it was now lying, gazing at the 
strangers, the son, a stout young man of eighteen. 
The lady sat with a long stick in her hand, com- 
manding in the tone of a general officer, and her 
orders were instantly obeyed by a set of wretched 
Hottentot servants, dressed in tattered sheep- 
skins, and covered with dirt. The next day we 
came in view of the western ocean, .and halted at 
the house of a farmer named Westhuysen. 

The house of my entertainer consisted of a 
single room about twenty feet long, and ten wide. 
Its only window was stopped with the head of an 
old cask, but the light which was denied entrance 
by this aperture found admittance by the cracks 
of the wall, and the holes of the roof. The fire 
was made in a corner near the door; chimney 
there was none, and the smoke had to choose whe- 
ther it would make its exit through the crevices or 
the door. In the opposite comer was heaped up 
the grain of the last harvest, covered by a few 
mats. Under the window was fixed a rough hewn 
table* which supported a kettle of boiling water 
and some broken basons. Three trunks served for 
seats as well as closets, j^ut, as a party of friends 
were assembled to dinner, planks were placed over 


them to answer the purpose of benches. In a 
third corner was the bed of the farmer and his wife» 
a bullock's skin, nailed to four stakes driven into 
the ground, and on this bed were thrown the beds 
of the rest of the family, that is to say, a number of 
greasy sheep skins, which at night were spread on 
the ground. Lastly, against the wall opposite to 
the window was a hand«*mill for grinding corn^ 

The two sons and two daughters of the farmer 
began to grind the corn necessary for the party. 
This required four stout labourers, and the com- 
pany joined occasionally in the employment The 
fire crackled on the hearth, in expectation of a 
whole sheep, which it had to prepare for the din- 
ner of the groupe; and the sheep, just flayed, hung 
bleeding against the wall. The men drew their 
pipes from their pockets, and began to smoke, 
and one of the guests, who had just returned from 
the Cape, supplied the whole company plentifully 
with brandy. 

From my childhood I never liked the noise of 
a mill, the sight pf slaughtered animals, or the va« 
pours of tobacco. I could not bear the v^ious 
evils th^ assailed my senses ; I ptole away to the 
still and pure air of my tent, and I had the satis- 
faction to hear the next morning that my absence 
had not been observed by the happy party. 

We now travelled south-east, for six days, on a 
desert of sand between the mountains and the sea, 
the thermometer on four of these was at noon from 
94f''to lOC^, and at sun*rise and sun-^set^C^ There 
was neither rock nor bush large enough to aflbrd 
a shade, and though it blew a gale of wind, the 
air felt as if it were mingled with fire. The common 
flies, attfacted by the perspiration, were walking 



over ray whole face, particularly about the eyes ; 
to drive them away was only to make room for 
their. successors. In this time we met with four 
fountains of brackish water, and once we obtained 
good by digging in the sand. On the sixth day, 
on reaching the summit of anasqent, a prospect of 
considerable extent appeared before us, bounded 
by a range of stupendous mountains that ran like 
a wall from east to west, for perhaps more than 
thirty miles. 

At ten o'clock at night an ox, that had done alt 
he could to serve me, lay down on the road to die. 
I gave him a little water that I had for my own 
drinking, and he revived and rose. He looked 
for food, but looked in vain, for not a blade of 
grass was to be seen. We were obliged to push 
forward for water, and with great pity and regret I 
looked back to him as long as he could be seen. 
At midnight we arrived at the long-wished for 
Elephant river, ^nd halted on its banks. 

We found the Elephant river a considerable 
stream, though much inferior to the Orange ; it 
is one of the few rivers in the colony that are never 
dry. The mouth is contracted and rocky ; within, 
it is navigable nearly thirty miles up the country, 
but that country is almost uninhabited. Its banks 
here were beautifully covered with trees ; but it 
is scarcely possible to conceive a more barren 
prospect than the ground immediately beyond 
them. It was distressing to see the oxen looking 
like spectres for want of food, and to be unable to 
supply them. Understanding from a farmer, who 
lay at the ford, that we might obtain grass about 
four hours higher up the river, we crossed it, and 
proceeded to the farm-house, where we lodged. 


Thenext morning, at seven o'clock, the farmer 
gave me coffee ; at eight, a breakfast of tea, vrith 
.plenty of milk ; at eleven we sat down to dinner. 
J thought our meals followed hastily ; but such 
was the custom of the house. The farmer's wife 
was absent on a journey to the Cape ; the farmer, 
with. his broad-brimmed hat on, placed himself -at 
the head of the table ; a girl, clad in little more 
than her own skin, stood at the bottom, holding 
in her hand a long stick, at the end of which was 
a fan . of ostrich feathers, with which she drove 
away the flies. The two sons of the farmer, one oY 
eighteen, the other of fourteen years of age, sat at 
a side-table, and were not considered as belong- 
ing to the company. . My host described with 
much sipirit his various encounters with lions and 

We had yet seven days travelling through deep 
sands. At the end of the second we halted at 
Great fountain, where we found good grass a^d 
water ; but the oxen were so worn down with fa- 
tigue that they preferred rest to either. Four of 
the nights we halted on^ the road, and three we 
reached farm-houses. • 

On the eighth day we arrived at a farm-house 
that was nearly surrounded by the Piquet-berg. 
The road was now tolerably good. We saw the 
habitions of several farmers at the foot of distant 
hills to the left, and two or three at the foot of the 
Piquet-berg on the right. At midnight, after a 
march of nine hours, the oxen were unable to pro- 
ceed any farther, and we halted by the side of the 
road. The next day we arrived at the Berg, or 
mountain river. The country around us was in 
a state of nature, except a few scattered farms, 
which appeared like specks in the landscape. 


HEving crossed the river, I left my oiien, and 
proceeded to Rpode-zand Kloof, and from thence 
to Tulbagh, the residence of the new landrost. 
Here I remained a week, rewarding my fellow? 
travellers, and sending each to hjs respective 
home, and on the Slst of October I again returned 
to Cape Town. My journey from Pella, near the 
(kange river, had occupied thirty-three days, ex- 
iclusive of the week I piissed at Tulbagh. Of this 
time about SI 2 hours had been spent in actual 

This whole journey I performed in my waggoDt 
exeept when I chose to relieve my oxen, which 
WM not seldom, by walking on foot. They suf- 
fered lamentably and irremediably by great exer* 
tions and the want of food and water : I contit 
nued to enjoy perfect health. 




1 AM afraid my Reader, even if he be a " Courte- 
ous Reader/' or a " Gentle Reader/* as all readers 
were termed of old, when books were not so nu- 
merous, is, by this time, weary of dry deserts and 
exhausted oxen : I will therefore not dwell long 
upon such barren subjects,. though, consistent with 
my plan, I cannot, yet ^discontinue them. To 
complete the Tour of the Southern part of Africa, 
there yet remained to visit the Kamies mountains, 
the western coast, and the mouth of the Orange 
river ; and < for this purpose I left Cape Town on 
a third journey. , 

On the second day I arrived at Groene, or Green 
Kloof, which is a division of the Cape district, 
consisting of several clusters of small hills that 
cross the stripe of sand extending along the 
western coast. The dales that lie within these 
hills contain copious springs of good water, and 
excellent pasturage for cattle. In these two days, 
I travelled about thirty-four miles. ; 

From the Tea fonteyn, the next stage, I 
crossed the country to Saldanha bay, which, as 
a spacious, secure, and commodious sheet of in« 
land sea-water, can perhaps, scarcely be equalled. 
It lies in latitude 33^ 10" south, and longitude IS"* 

200* • COLONY or THE CAPE. 

The country ;n general, from Saldanha bay to 
the Berg, or Mountain river, is flat and sandy, but 
very fertile. Wheat yields from fifteen to twenty 
fold, barley from thirty to forty, and it is curious 
to see melons, pumpkins, cauliflowers, and other 
vegetables, growing luxuriantly in sheer sand. At 
i^e place the people were rooting out sugar-canes 
to plant tobacco. 

The bay of St. Helena is about fifteen miles tp 
the northward of the bay of Saldanha. The Berg 
river, which here discharges itself into the sea, 
though an immense mass of water, is so choaked 
with sand at the mouth, that boats can enter it 
only at high water. 

i passed the Berg river in a boat, about fifteen 
miles from its mouth, and floated my waggon 
over with a cask. The road on the northern side 
was heavy, and the country was so thinly inha- 
bited, that night overtook us before we could 
arrive at the dwelling where >ve purposed to lodge. 
The driver lost his way on the uniform sur- 
face of sand and bushes, and we were three hours 
driving backwards and forwards, close to the 
house, before it was discovered. It was a wretched 
hovel of rushes in the midst of a sandy plain ; the 
night was cold, and there was neither food nor 
shelter for my horse, nor water for the cattle. The 
drifts of sand had choaked up the briny spring, 
and the inhabitants were obliged to fetch their 
water from the Berg river, which was twelve 
miles distant. At the hazard, therefore, of losing 
our way a second time, I determined to proceed 
to the next habitation, which was said to be four 
niiles farther. We arrived there at midnight, and 
found it little better than the other j a cow or 


two, a few sheep and goats, and a little corn, con- 
stituting the whole riches^ of the inhabitants. 

At the eastern extremity of the sandy plain, I 
passed the northern point of the Piquet-berg, a 
cluster of mountains to the west of the great chain. 
Grain, fruit, tobacco, and. cattle are the produce 
of the farms at the foot of these mountains. 

The deep sandy plains were succeeded by still 
deeper sandy hills, over which the wheels of the 
waggons were continually sinking to their axes. 
These mountains of sand extended nearly thirty 
miles beyond the point of the Piquet-berg, before 
they reached their greatest elevation, when a grand 
spectacle presented itself to our view. Along the 
summit, which was several miles in width, and in 
length' from north to south, was only bounded by 
the horizon, rose, a multitude of pyramidal co- 
lumns, some of them a hundred feet high, and as 
many in diameter. The cavernous appearance of 
these columns proclaimed their antiquity, and the 
fragments around them demonstrated that they 

. had once been united, and had formed a connected 
range. The wreck of mountains is one of the 
wonders of nature that does not often meet the 

,eye of the traveller. 

It was three long days' journey before the hills 
of sand were left behind ; when a new country, 

. though still a sandy one, appeared on the banks of 

. the Elephant's river. Where we now crossed it, its 
banks afforded several excellent farms. 

With fresh oxen in my waggons, I undertook 
to cross the great chain of mountains, at a place 
which had not for many years been attempted by 
wheels ; the usual pass in this part of the country 

• beting Eeland's Kloof. The mountains were ex- 

302 COLONY or TBB CAP£. 

ceedingly grand and lofty} the road wound 
through passes between high points^ and was 
dreadfully steep and rocky* On approaching the 
summit^ we found the same kind of pyrmnidal re- 
mains as before ; but some of them a thoosand 
feet high, and of such vast bulk, that each might 
be considered as a separate mountain. These 
form the highest summit of the great chain ; the 
solid summit, which lies at their base, is at least 
live miles in breadth. The grotesque manner in 
which the resisting fragments grew out of this 
surface, the various chambers, arches, and colo- 
.nades, formed by those that had rolled from the 
Hop, struck the mind with wonder. Reflecting 
on the tim^ that must have elapsed in making. 
ruins of solid mountains, and the devastation to 
be made by future ages, I felt an inexpressible 
kind of awe, and was lost in my own contempla'- 
tions. One thing, however, appeared probable,. 
that the sandy shores of Western Africa, which 
reach to a distance yet untravelled, are formed by 
the decomposition of the range of sand-stone 
mountains that run in the same direction. 

It took me eight hours to go over the mountain^ 
The descent to the eastern plain was several hun- 
dred feet less than the ascent had been from the 
western. The country was rough and stoney, and 
bounded by a wall of rock from five hundred to a 
thousand feet ii^ height. A partial elevation, still 
higher, which we were to get over, is called the 
Bokveldt mountain ; in appearance and produce 
it resembles the Sneuwberg. In ascending thi* 
mountain, a change of wind produced incessa&t 
peals of thunder and heavy rain, during the whole 
day, with hailstones more thto half an inch in 


diameter. In a few days after, the Bdkveldt be- 
came one verdant carpet of herbaceous plants, em- 
broidered with flowers ; and hares, bustards, and 
partridges, were seen by thousands. Among the 
few shrubs, I found the fly-bush, the leaves of 
which are covered with fine hairs, and a tough 
glutinous substance, to which the smaller insects 
adhere. It is frequently placed in the houses for 
the purpose of catching flies. 

At one of the farms I saw a tame qua-ka feeding 
with the horses. He suffered himself to be stroked 
and caressed, but no attempts had been made to 
ride him. 

Having procured a Hottentot for my guide, I 
set forward early in the morning, that I might ac- 
complish the descent of the Bokveldt before it was 
dark. From the edge of the precipice, which in 
many parts is not less than S,000 feet in depth, the 
Karroo plains beneath appeared like a vast sea, 
and their hills like so many islands. We reached 
the bottom in safety while day-light remained, and 
yoking fresh oxen to the waggon, we launched 
into the desert. The rain on the Bokveldt had 
not reached the Karroo, which was dry and dusty, 
and its few plants were shrivelled. 

The following day we proceeded along the de- 
sert, in a'cloud of dust raised by the waggon and 
the oxen ; and, excepting one OBtrich, we saw not 
a living creature. When we had travelled eight, 
boars, my guide pointed to a small cluster oi' . 
naked hills, under which, he said, water frequently 
lodged in the cavities of the rocks ; and there, 
after a long search, we found it, and replemsbe^ 
our vessels. On the sand we saw impressions 0( 
human hands, and a thousand impresstons iff the 


feet of antelopes, qua-kas, and zebras ; but none 
of lions, though the place is called the Lion's 

The next day we entered a narrow pass between 
the hills. The ground continued to be broken 
into hill and dale ; but both were destitute of 
plants, except that some aloes grew on the sides 
of the hills. Two mountain geese directed us by 
their flight to a spring about twenty miles beyond 
the Lion's den ; and ten miles farther brought us 
to the bed of the Hartebeest river, in which there 
was not a drop of water. On digging about five 
feet deep in its channel, we found a stream that 
was clear and fresh. 

Near the river we found a village of Namaqua 
Hottentots. Their flocks, which they brought in 
at night, consisted of a few cattle, some goats, 
and about 3,000 sheep. No sheep were found by 
the Dutch when they settled in this country ; and 
it is remarkable that the common sheep of Europe 
became the broad-tailed sheep of the colony ; and 
that the broad-tailed sheep, when transported to 
the country of the Namaquas have, at the third 
generation, the slender tail of their European pro- 

Our next encampment was at the house, or 
hovel, of a Dutch farmer, a tall thin old man, 
whose black hair covered his forehead, and black 
beard his cheeks and chin. His housekeeper was 
a Hpttentot woman, over whose head had passed 
at least a century, and whose face had a covering 
of soot that made it as black as that of her master. 
The. other inmate, who completed the establish- 
ment, yielded to neither in point of complexion, 
for she was a negro slave. 


The old gentleman had long resided in this se- 
questered spot, with no society but that of his two 
servants, within doors, and a tribe of Hottentots, 
in straw huts, without. He possessed immense 
flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and had large 
sums of money placed out at interest. A fire was 
presently lighted on the hearth ; a quarter of a 
sheep was laid on it to broil ; and the repast was 
served on the lid of an old chest, covered with a. 
remnant of the slave s petticoat. 

On the following day I crossed a chain of moun- 
tains to the west, and proceeding to the north- 
ward, between this, and another much higher, I 
came, at night, to the head of the defile, where it 
was impracticable for waggons to advance any 
farther. These mountains are called in the Na- 
maqua language the Kamies, or Cluster. That 
where the defiles terminated as in a centre, w^ a 
•^eak not less than 4,000 feet above the plain on 
the western side. The Kamies mountains contain 
abundance of copper, and are the commencement 
of what are called the Copper mountains, from 
copper-ore being every where found on their sur- 

When the snow begins to fall on the Kamies- 
berg, the inhabitants quit their elevated situations, 
and pass the winter on the plains. These moun- 
tains are only fifteen miles from the sea» 

The Lesser Namaquas, or those to the south- 
ward of the Orange river, are in general taller and 
less robiist than the eastern Hottentots. Some of 
the women are elegant figures, and are lively and 
active. The most ornamented part of their dress 
is the little leathern apron. To this, in addition 
to the common border of shells or beads, are hung 


six or eight chains, the ends of which drag on the 
ground. The upper part of the chains is copper, 
the lower polished iron. These are mattfifitetordit 
by the Damaras. 

The huts of the Namaquas are perfect hc^* 
fflispheres, composed of a frame of sticks covered 
with matting. They are from ten to twelve feet 
in diameter, and so commodious that many of the 
.farmers of the Kamiesberg have adopted them. 

A traveller who visited these people in the year 
1784, found the huts of the Namaquas chiefly co- 
vered with skins. Fashion was then so capricious 
that some persons wore six ear-rings in one ear, 
and none in the other ; some had bracelets from * 
the wrist to the elbow on one arm, while the other 
was without any ; and some had one side of the 
face painted with various colours, while on the 
other side the colours and figures were different. 
Strings of copper and ^ass beads almost covered 
their garments ; they were fastened on their 
cloaks as well as aprons, and hung from the lat- 
ter to their feet. They were also worn in their 
hair, which was pl^ered with grease, and fre- 
quently incrusted wuh a red powder resembling 

The oxen and goats were handsomer, stronger, 
and more vigorous than those of Eastern Africa. 
The goats were spotted like a leopard, and gave 
nearly as much milk as a cow. The saddle*oxen 
would support fatigue better than a horse, and 
yielded to him in nothing but swiftness. Some of 
the oxen were still trained for war, and for this 
purpose the fiercest were selected* Being driven 
against the enemy, they became furious, rushed 
upon the men, trampled them under their feet, 


gored them with their horas, and pursued them in 
their flight as long as they had life. These oxen 
were also employed in the defence of the flocks 
and herds, and a number of them would make 
head against a lion. 

This traveller met with many establishments of 
the Lesser Namaquas, some of whom danced 
round his tent the whole of the ni^t, relieving 
each other every two hours. The largest of their 
villages consisted of between flfly and ssity huts:, 
separated into three divisions. 

Now, the numerous settlements of the Nama- 
quas had dwindled into lour, and those small ones, 
and the people were in a great .measure subservi- 
ent to the Dutch farmers. who lived among them. 
The farmers having sei;;ed the finest parts of the 
coontiy, permitted the former possessors to erect 
their huts near their houses, on <;ondition of their 
furnishing a certain number of people to protect 
their cattle from the Bosjesmans and beasts of 
prey. Hottentots will not long exist under such 
circumstances ; they will first sink into absolute 
servitude, and then become ^tinct. 

In the Namaqua country, which lies between 
the Kamiesberg and the Orange river, there is no 
water, except in the periodical streams that flow 
from the mountains under beds of sand. In these 
the natives^ when such existed, dug deep wells, 
and covered them over to prevent evaporation; 
The plains are now desolate and uninhabited. • 

In the Kamiesberg I found a lilly, the stem of 
which was seven feet high, and bore more than 
fifty flowers, with foot-stalks eighteen inches long. 
The bulb of this gigantic flower was as large as 

!9|S* COLONY or THK CAP£. 

Uifttbunian, hea4.« The country' people said that. 
t^M jUMQi pf -^i^b^ Jbulb was a strong poison y that 
the leaves occM9)2^ sadden death to the catde 
t&at^wtubi^tn i fttid that if small birds perched on 
thbiAower^s they instantly roiled lifeless to the 
gTMind. Country people have ^mething marvel* 
loHBtprekkte on ;^ny extraordinary production of 
r)9Alire ; but it has generally truth for its founda- 
tion.. Another species of lilly, the opposite leaves 
of w high form the shape of a fan, has been ascer* 
taiaejdtto be a most virulent poison ; and it is said 
th^tthQ juice of the bulb, mixed with the mangled 
boi^y, of a certain kmd^of spider, furnishes one 
of "the most deadly poisons for the arrows of the 
Bof^mans. . . 

:Tl»is ppider has a black and hairy body, which, 
toother with its short legs, is three inches in 
br^dth. It lives under ground, and constructs 
over its hole a cover composed of its own fila-. 
ments, and earthier dung^ and turning on a joint, 
like the lid of a snuff-box. When the spider is 
watchiipg for its prey, it sits with the lid half open, 
re^y to ^ally out of its hole ; on the appearance closes the cover, and, after some time^ 
opens it cautiously to see if thp danger be past 

On the Kamiesberg I found a mixed horde of 
Bastards and Namaquas,* possessed of horses, cat- 
tle, she^p, and large gardens stocked with pump- 
kina^ onions, and tobaqco. The chief had been in 
his youth a great lover of thechace, and his 
matted hut displayed witliin the skins of various 
animals that he had killed. He boasted that, in 
one expedition^ ke had killed seven cameloparda* 
Uses, and three white rhinoceroses. Game, ef 


every sort, is now scarce in this country. Where- 
ever Europeans appear, man and beast eitlief n^ 
treat before them, or are extirpated. 

At this village I found one of the DaouuM. I 
took him for a Caffisr, and he was unquestionably 
of that race. He represented his people as a very 
poor tribe ; said that their cbuntry near the sea 
produced nothing for the support of cattle ; and 
that their existence dq)ended on the exchange of 
their copper articles with the Botch uanas on the 
east, and the Namaquas on the south. His ac- 
count of the process of smelting the ore was sim- 
ple and satisfactory; and when the pure metal 
was obtained, it was manufactured into chains, 
rings, beads, and bracelets, by means of one piece 
of stone for an anvil, and another for a hammer. 
The workmanship would not disgrace an artificer 
furnished with much better tools, but the rings 
.and the links of the chains were not closed. 
• The people of the country endeavoured to dis- 
-suade me from* visiting the mouth of the Orange 
river, and said I should have to pass a desert un- 
inhabited by man or beast. I, who had passed 
some such deserts before, was not to be deterred 
by the mention of this ; but I found it very diffi- 
cult to procure a' guide. At length, with much 
persuasion, and great offers, I prevailed upon a 
Hottentot to conduct me. 

From the western extremity of the Kamiesberg^ 
I had a view of the Atlantic ocean. We descended 
the mountain with much difficulty, and, directing 
our coufse to the northward, we travelled four 
days through a sandy country, in which we found 
two springs of brackish water, and one of good. 
The fourth day brought us to the Cpussie or Sand 



-river, which forms the boundary of the colon j. 
*We were here about ten miles from the sea. As 
this place afforded excellent pasture, I remained 
her6 two days to refresh my oxen, and in that 
time I made some excursions along the shore. 
'The rocks were beautiful ; some being as white as 
snow, and others having veins of different colours. 
I saw several deserted huts, formed of the ribs of 
whales, or the bones of elephants. 

From the Coussie we pursued a northern course 
ov'er a sandy plain. Leaving my Waggon, I pro- 
ceeded northward along the shore, which was at 
first low and rocky, and afterwards much elevated. 
We found petrifactions of shells in the highest 
rocks, lome of which were a hundred and fifty 
tmt above the sea. We also met with several de- 
^rted huts, with heaps of shells lying near them. 
•At nine o'clock in the evening of , the fifth day 
from the Coussie river, I overtook my waggoa, 
and found my Hottentots debating whether we* 
ishould or should- not return, as there was no pros- 
pect of finding water. Before the consult^ion was 
«nded one of their companions arrived with the 
glad tidings that he had found an excellent spring 
about six miles to the northward. My Hotten- 
tots now recollected that, as the oxen had already 
passed two days without water and without grass, 
they would probably have had to endure the same 
privation in returning over the same grouird. 
' The next morning we reached the spring, and 
found not only good water but good pasturage £>r 
the cattle. They remained here the Allowing 
day ; and I rode to the sea, which was about nine 
miles distant. Here I saw mimosa trees that had 
been thrown on the Mnd by the waves ; and from 


ifaence I concluded that we were not far from the 
mdVith of the Orange river. 

The next day, with great fatigue and difficulty^ 
weadvanced about ten miles through the sand; and^ 
on the day after, still proceeding northward, we 
passed the two hills called the Brothers, which had 
been in view during the two preceding days^ 
About three miles to the northward of theses we 
found a large valley in which we |>a8sed the nights 
It aflforded no water. My guide here informed me 
that we were about eight miles distant from the 
rivet. Early in the morning I. left the waggon, 
and rode forward, and I reached the river about 
ten o'clock. On the way we saw zebras, quakas, 
and eelandst and found an ostrich s nest fcontoin** 
ing thirty-four eggs. To us, who had passed nine 
days from the river Coussie, in crossing an arid 
desert, in which no animal had been seen, and in 
which our cattle had tasted water only twice, the 
vicinity of the Orange river .appeared a new 

On the f<dlowing day I visited the mouth of the 
river. It is about half a mile in breadth, butin^ 
closed by a ridge of rocks, which prevent it from 
being navigable. It is in latitude 88* 33", and the 
longitude is about half a degree west of the Cape< 

The object of tliis joumey.being accomptishjed, 
I returned, by the way I had come, to the Ka^ 

SVom the Kamiesberg I made the best pf my 
way to the Bokveld. At the edge of the desert 
leading tositt I was visited by a number of Lessee 
Namaqua women, whose sons and husbands were 
in the 99ni|c9 of the Dutch farmers. One of these 
appeara4 i« hf the oldest woman I. had ever be^ 



held : tnafiy mbre than a hundred years bad cer- 
tainly passed over her head. She pointed outlier 
eldest dd^ughter, who stood at the head of five ge- 
neratiotis. I ask^d the poor old woman if she 
could i^member the tii^e whe^ the Christians first 
came among her people. " .Yes," she replied, *^li 
have reasdn to remember it ; for, before that time 
I nerar wanted a bellyful, and now I can scarcely 
get a mouthful.** 

' I now quitted my former road, and proceeded 
inland, to the eastward ; and passing over a rough, 
stony country, I reached in two days the foot of 
the Hantam. I encircled this mountain in four 
days* Parm-houses are scattere dround its foQt« 
The ftce of the country is similar to that of the 
Sneuwberg ; the sheep and cattle are equally good, 
and the horses better, A disease among the latter 
frequently rages at the bottom of the mountain^ 
whil6 the flat summit is exempt from it ; this part 
of the mountain is therefore appropriated to the 
general u$e of the farmers, who have each the pri* 
vilege of sending thither eight horses during the 
sickly season. 

From the Hantam I proceeded south-easterly, 
and ascended the heights of the Roggeveld, or 
Ryefield, so called from a species of rye that grows 
wild here in abundance. It is separated from the 
Hantam only by a narrow chasm. In some places 
the Roggeveld presents to the terrace next below 
it, which is the Bokveld and the Karroo plains, 
perpendicular faces of rock from two to four thou* 
sand feet in height; yet on the eastern .side the 
descent is scarcely perceptible. The Great Fish 
river, which rises on the very Mp of this ffiountain, 
and takes an easterly course, has scarcely any 


current; but is n succession of deep holes con- 
nected by periodical streams. 

The great inequality of the summitof the^Rog- 
geveld gives it the appearance of a chain of moun- 
tains: rising out of the geifl&ral summit of a moun- 
tain. Of these, the Korn, or Cup mountain, 
which is five thousand feet above the Karroo 
plaiiis, is the highest. For several tftonths inthe 
year the Roggeveld is entirely under snow ; the 
inhabitants then descend to the Karroo, with ail 
their cattle, andlive in temporary huts of rushes or 
straw till the spring. 

On the Roggeveld I broke the wing of a con* 
dor that measured ten feet one inch £h>m -wing to 
wing. This birdt before it was dispatched, kept 
three dogs at bay, till having torn a piece of flesh 
out of the thigh of one 'of them with its claws, 
. they all retreated. 

' I travelled twelve days along the summit of the 
Roggeveld, when I fell into the track of my jour- 
ney from the Cape to GraafF Reynet : I then de- 
scended into the Karroo plains, which, in this 
*^place, I crossed in three days. 

Bordering on these arid plains on the west, are 
several clusters of high mountains, that s^re called 
the Little and the Cold Bokveld. These are 
ramifications of the great chain, and ificiose mea- 
dows and valleys with springs and swamps, which 
produce good grass and good harvests. 

I crossed the great chain of mountains that runs 
north and south, through the ravine called Eeland's 
Kloof, which was much the best of the four passes 
by which I had now crossed them. On the west 
of the chain lies the division of the Four-and- 
twenty rivers, which, with Zwaartland, fonn^ a 


^ide extended plain, fertile in coro, grass, and 
fruits, well watered and well inhabited. Th^ 
water in Zwaartland is so strongly impregnated 
with salt, that it can scarcely be drank by a 
stranger. The inhabitants think fresh water in^ 
sipid, and say it does not quench their thirst. 

Crossing the Berg river, I entered Zwaartland, 
and from thence taking my route across the Tiger 
Berg, I arrived at the Cape ; thus boncluding my 
third and last journey from that place. 

I ha4 now traversed the greater part of the Cot 
lony of the Cape of Good Hope, and it appeared 
to me remarkable, not that an industrious HoU 
lander should have becotpe indolent ip Africa, 
but thftt a nation of traders should have become 
exclusively' agriculturists. Except Cape Town 
there is not one town in the territory ; the capitals 
of the other districts being villages, of which SteU 
lenboseh, the largest, and only twenty-six miles 
from the Cape, does not contain more than about 
seventy houses, lliere is no market for the pro- 
duce of the land but Cape Town ; and, except at 
C^pe Town, there is not, I believe^ a merchant or 
a trader in the colon^f 






1* NOW bade adieu to Caffers, Hottentots, Bosj<^!^ 
mans, and Dutcb farmers, and prepared to visit ;a 
people who are considered as the revenue of their 
sovereigns/and* the riches of* their traders j \frho 
are regularly bartered and sliipped off to every 
part of the civilized world in which their labour is 
required ; I naean the Negroes. Having hired a 
sloop at the Cape, I engaged 'five European at^ 
tendants, and purchased a negro, a native of 
Congo,, whom, after he had discharged the office 
of my interpreter, I designed to restore to Ki^ 
family. I then went on board the vessel, and di- 
rected my course to the northward 

The Portuguese have settlements in Benguel^ 
and Angola ; but as I could not understand tha6 
any modern traveller had visited these countries, 
or would be suffered to penetrate into them if he 
were to make the attempt, I passed them. I shall 
however give such an account of them, as I have 
been able to collect from ancient authors. 

The bay of Benguela is in about 12^ 45' south 
latitude, and about 13* 30' east longitude. On the 
northern side of the bay stands the^ fort of Ben*- 
guela, built in a square form, with trepches and* 
palisades, and surrounded by houses, shaded by 
banana, orange, lemon, pomegranate and ba^coven 
trees./ There are seven villages in the neigh-* 
boutbocd of Benguelai which pay a tribute to the 


Portuguese, coDristii^ of a tepth of all*they pos- 
sess; The largest of these, which is called Mani 
Kimsomba, can bring into the field 3,000 men. 
Formerly this village contained some Portuguese, 
bdt they were driven from hence by the negroes. 

The air of Benguela is exceedingly unhealthy, 
tl^ Portuguese who reside tb^re looking more like 
spectres than men. In. 1666:, the town was said to 
contain about 200 white inhabitants, and a great 
number of bhtcki.' ^i K 

Angola is so stalled by the Portuguese from the 
title of its sovereign;! the. original name of the 
country being Donga. . It .lie^ between the river 
Dandax)n.the: north, and the^ river Coanza, which from the country of Benguela, on the 
south. Tile, city of Loanda.San^ Pap]Q> the capital 
of tbe.PortuguBse^ is situated near the ^sea, on the 
side of a hiD, in about latitude 9"" south, aud nearly 
the same longitude as.dBenguela. It-was built in 
1578 by Paul Dias d^ Nevaiz, who was the first 
Pbrtuguese govemorof the country, and was pro- 
bacy the saint from ^^ whom the town took its 
name. It occupies a great extent of ground, and 
contains many good houses, churches, and mo- 
nasteries. The houses of the Portuguese are built 
with stone and lime, iind covered with tiles ; those 
of the negroes are. of mud and straw. Loando 
contains about 3,000 white inhabitants, and a pro- 
digious number of UadE, who are slaves to the 
otliars i some of whomiiave fifty, some a hundred, 
and even to three thousand slaves. The fraternity 
of the Jesuits have twelve thousand. Slaves, both 
male and finnale, kneel when they speak to their 
iiipstenB.^ Whttk a Portuguese appeains in the street, 
ht/vB attinled by a negro, who carries an umbrella 


over his headi and is followed by two tithenfTsfi- 
lying his hainiAock of net. The ladies seldoiaa|^ 
from home. Wheti they d«s they are cnsveatiM- 
tended by fewer than twelve slaves ; two mn, 
who carry the lady in the net ; .k\eo, who cany 
each an umbrella ; four women, who each held a 
corner of a carpet that is thrown ov«r their aris- 
^ress ; and four w^k before to reader ;any<sey9i|ae 
which may be requisite. ' « /..... ..^:c 

The white women of Loanda osmrp a degreeof 
authority over their husbands, that assuredlf.did 
not take its rise from the general iiiaQness:t>f 
Africa. If they do not behave according/ tontheir 
wishes, they either drive them from: home, occtiuU 
not suffer them to go out. Some of theteJadks 
carry this prerogative so far as to detaia their: Jms- 
band's cloaths, on pretence that they are thetpvo- 
perty of his family. The fortune of the mother 
descends to the daughters. . 

The mulattoes are very numerous at Loatfda. 
They hate the negroes mortally, even the mothers 
who bore them, and endeavour to put tftemselviisd 
' upon an equality with the ^hite people, though 
^they are not allowed to sit in their presence. Wjien 
they travel, they exact the services and provistpns 
bfthe negroes, without making any compensAtion. 
' ^uch of them as are Pombeiros, have frequeatly 
children by the women of the interior part oCthe 
country ; and, returning to the same place a^pie 
years after, they carry back their own offiipriiig 
for sale. u/iv 

. The negroes of Loanda frequently ejoefaaage 
wives for a limited *time.. The. wmien ^buji^and 
sdl,. while their husbands sit at hoase^ spkmiag) or 
weaving cottdn. When a considtvdide petaon 


dies, the corpse is carried to the grave in a direct 
line, and if any wall or house cross it,, it is taken 
down* The way is strewn with leaves and 
branches. Living slaves are intombed with the 
great man £l688], notwithstanding all the vigi- 
lance of iiie monks. The bodies of the better 
sortof people are sewed in cotton cloths; those 
of the poorer sort are wrapped in mats. Some 
have a horn, others an earthen vesiiel, placed over 
fliem : some persons raise a mound of earth over 
the grave, and others form an arbour. 

The, country near Loanda is very fertile and 
well cultivated, producing manioca, millet, great 
and small, oranges, lemons, pomegranates, grapes, 
malaguetta or guinea pepper, potatoes, and various 
European vegetables. The domestic animals are 
sheep, goats, and hogs. Lions, leopards, and buf^ 
faloes, inhabit the woods y and scorpions, mille- 
peds, and serpents, the houses. 

The language is a dialect of that of Congo. 
The currency consists of pieces of red wood 
about a foot in length, cloths, and shells. The 
latter are sent to Congo on the heads of negroes, 
in sacks made of straw ; every sack, when filled, 
weighing two arrobas, or sixty-four pounds. I 
cannot help quoting hefe an observation of the 
author who mentions this fact, and who wrote 
in the year 1700. " It will seem strange," he says, 
** to Europeans that the people of Angola and 
Congo should use pieces of wood, bits of cloth, 
and shells, instead of money ; but, at Massa, 
pieces l>f iron is the coin ; at Melinda, little balls, 
reiletiibling glass ; in Ethiopia, cakes of salt ; and 
in Cathay, we are told a sort of stamped paper 
pass0sjbr money ^^ 


It is affirmed that,^ whfen the Spaniards were 
masters of Portugal, they transported annually, 
from Angola to America and the West Indies, 
15,000 slaves : the Portuguese still transport a very 
great number* These are brought from the inte- 
rior by servants called Pombeiros, who are dis* 
patched by the Portuguese for this purpose ; 
they are in general negroes ; for no white man 
could encounter the perils, and support the fa* 
tigue of the journey. The Pombeiros are attended 
by a hundred to a hundred and ^y slaves, who 
carry on their heads the merchandize necessary to 
purchase others. Sometimes they are absent a 
year, and return with four, five, or six hundred 
new slaves ; sometimes a trusty Pombeiro remains 
in the country, and transmits to his master the 
slaves he may collect, a part of whom return with 
the articles.for payment. 

During the journey to the coast, the slaves are 
ill fed ; and when they arrive at Loanda they are 
weak and exhausted. Before they are shipped ofi^ 
they are lodged in a large building, erected foj: 
that purpose, where they are plentifully. supplied 
with food, and with palm oil tO anoint themselves. 
On board the ships, great care is taken to preserve 
their health ; and those that are sick are sepa- 
rated from the rest, and provided with warm diet. 
Every ten or twelve days every slave has a new 
mat. ** Yet," says an honest missionary, ^* it is 
pitiful to see hol¥ they crowd these poor wretchesj 
six hundred and fifty, or seven hundred, in a ship} 
the men standing in the hold, tied to stakes, the 
women between decks, and those that are with 
phild, in the great cabin, and the children in tho 


Steerage, squeezed like herrings in a barrel, which, 
in that climate, occasions an intolerable stench/^ 

The King of Angola, or, more correctly speak- 
ing, the Angola of Donga, resides a little above 
the city Massingan, his capital, on a rocky moun- 
tain^ seven leagues in circumference, containing 
rich fields and pasture sufficient for the supply of his 
family and retinue. This mountain, like the Jew^s 
rock in Abyssinia, is accessible only by one narrow 
entrance. The sovereign keeps a number of pea- 
cocks, which bird belongs so exclusively to royalty, 
that if a subject were to keep but a feather, he 
would either be put to death, or, with his whole 
family, be sold to slavery. Massingan is situated 
on the river Coanza, and is about a hundred miles 
distant from its mouth. 

Tlie negroes of Souassen, one of the districts of 
Angola, are obliged to appoint bearers for the 
Portuguese when they travel from Loanda to Mas^ 
singan. When the traveller arrives at a village in 
which he designs to pass the night, he sends to the 
sova, or chief, to inform him that be shall have oc- 
casion for such a number of bearers on the follow- 
ing morning. These are dismissed when -the la- 
bour of the day is over, and a fresh set is provided 
for the next. Every division has its respective 
sova, whose people kneel and clap their hands 
when they address him. The villages are inclosed 
with thick hedges, leaving only a narrow entrance; 
and the habitations are huts made with straw! 
Every village has a Christian priest. 
' Having passed the kingdoms of Benguela and 
Angola, I entered the River of Congo. Cape 
Padron is the southern point of this entrance, and 
Boolambemba, or Fathomless Point, the northern. 


Both the breadth and depth of the mouth of the 
river have been exaggerated* The tnie mouth 
was not three miles broad ; the mean depth might 
be about forty fathoms, and the velocity of the 
current about four miles and a half an hour ; but 
I must observe that this was in the dry season, the 
banning of July. 

' We anchored off Shark Point, which is within 
Cape Padron, and were visited by the mafook, or 
c^cer of revenue and trade of Sonio, with half 4 
dozen of his attendants. This gentleman con- 
ceived himself entitled to great respect, and in? 
sisted upon having a qhair, with a cushion, placed 
for him to sit on. His appearance, when thus 
seated, was not a little grotesque. He had a most 
tattered pelisse of red velvet, edged with gold 
lace, on his otherwise naked body ; and held in 
one hand a green silk umbrella which was spread 
over his head, and in the other his stick of office, 
headed with silver. I gave this officer a breakfast; 
but he smelt so offensively that I could not bring 
myself to partake of it. 

The town of Sonio is said to be about fifteen 
miles from the aouthern. side of the river. The 
petty sovereign of this place was. baptized by one 
of the Portuguese fathers in 1641. ' Whc^nev^r he 
went to church, he was adorned with gold chains 
and strings of fine coral, preceded. by musicians, 
attended by guards armed with musquets, and fol- 
lowed by a great crowd of people* 

In about the year.1700, a Frenph^lave-trader 
sailed four le^ues up the creek tl^at lead^ towards 
Sonio, and then walked six miles, whichbrougKt 
him to the town. He found the. king seated on <u 

€22 . . CONGO. 

great chair, his head bare, and newly shaven. He 
woi;e a short cloak of black cloth on bis shoulders, 
and a piece of the same stuff round his waist i his 
legs were not covered, but he had slippers on his 
feet. He made a sign to the slave-merchant to 
sit down opposite to him, and entered into dis- 
course witfi him concerning trade. It appeared 
that, though he had no objection to any evils the 
bodies of his people might sufier in a state c( 
slavery, he had a due regard for their souls ; and, 
fearing lest the Frenchman should make Turks or 
heretics of them, h6 would sell no slaves without 
the consent of the Padre. The king then ordered 
a large vessel of palm wine to be brought, and 
having drank some of it himself, in a largd silver 
cup, he caused the remainder to be presented to 
the trader. 

The Frenchman now waited upon the &ther, 
who, feeling the same scruples as the king respect- 
ing the salvation of the captives, business went on 
slowly, and the merchant quitted the place for 
another market. 

The apartments of the prince were divided from 
each other by boards, some of which were painted 
with various colours and figures. The house of 
the father was much larger and better than that 
of the sovereign, and had attached to it an excel«^ 
knt garden. Elephants had been numerous here, 
and of an extraordinary size, some of their teeth 
weighing more than two hundred pounds each f 
but in 1700, owing to the infinite numbers that 
had been destroyed, they were beginning to grow 
more scarce. 

Several of the Sonio men who came on board 
my vessel were Christians after the Portuguese 


ikthion $ and one teas a priest, black, and bare- 
footed,, ordained, as his diploma shewed, by the 
monks at Loanda. He could read the Romish 
liturgy in Latin, and write his own name and that 
of St. Antonio ; but his morality partook of his an- 
cient religion, for he assured me he had five wives. 
Christians, or idolaters, all these people had figures 
raised on the skin, and the two upper teeth filed 
away on the sides next to each other, so as to form 
an op^ng to admit a tobacco pipe. These two 
operations were submitted to for the sake of oma^ 
ment, and it was said that a man was reckoned 
handsome by the women in proportion to the 
width of this cavity. I fou^d my Sonio visitors 
sullen, dirty, swarming with lice,, and covered 
with eruptions ; strong symptoms of their havii^ 
been civilized by the Portuguese* These pec^le, 
however, had no establishment in Sonio. 

At Shark Point some people brought in canoes^ 
a few pigs, goats, fowls, and eggs, for sale, but die 
price they demanded was exorbitant* The me- 
thod of dosing-a bargain is by the buyer and seller 
breaking between them a leaf, or a blade of grass. 
Till this ceremony is performed, no bargain i$ 
legally concluded, though the parties be in posses- 
sion of each other*s goods. This we learned by ex* 
perience ; for having bought and paid for a couple 
of fowls, they were killed immediately ; ^iien the 
seller, taking advantage of the omivion of this 
ratification of the contract, insisted upoQ having 
another glass of brandy. I gave it, but I profited 
by the lesson. 

Near Shark Point, we saw a number of hunnn 
bones. A smaller proof than this might have 
oonvicted the ntives of being cannibals; but we 

!S2i CONGO. 

were informed by those on board that they ifrere 
the r^nains of criminah who had been executed 
ibr murder by poisoning. 

At Shark Pmnt I quitted the vesseU and pro- 
ceeded up the river in a boat, determined to ad« 
vance as &r as, by this,, or any other means in my 
power, it should be found practicable. This river 
has been called the Congo, the Zaire, and the Bar* 
bda; the natives of €ongo call it the " Moienzi 
JEnzaddi,**— the Great River, or the river that ab- 
sorbs ail other rivers. If we do not admit their 
appellation, it appears to me that we should dis- 
tinguish the river by that of their country ; I may 
therefore be pardoned if I call it the river of Congo. 

An alluvial tract, overgrown with tliemangrove,\ 
and intersected by numerous creeks, extends on 
both shores about^ seven or eight miles up the 
river, where the elevated and primitive soil be- 
gins. This mangrove tract is impenetrable, most 
of the trees growing in the water. The mangrove 
sends foirth shoots at the jcrint of each branch, 
which, hanging down, and reaching the mud, take . 
root, and each becomes a tree scarcely to be dis- 
tinguished from the parent. 

We passed several trading canoes with from ten to 
twenty men in each, who stopped alongside our boat 
to satisfy their curiosity. The canoes are hollowed 
oiit of the trunk of a palm tree, and are commonly 
about twenty«four ftet in length, and eighteen or 
twenty inches in width. They are pushed forwacd 
with long paddles, the men standing upright. The 
cargoes of those which passed us were generally 
salt and palm nuts; in one there were^lso a boy 
and an elephant^s tooth for sale. 

On the SSd of July we reached a point on ithe 


fictathem side pf :the .rivii^' 0l&«d .ScoiMMii^9:he{id. 
This j^Yjdnmgf^ ml m»^9tti(i^9i\y pleasaotr;^ the 
lofty mangroves overhanging the.beat, and pdm 
trees vihi^atisg^in the breesiie*. Immeoae flocka of 
parrots alone brdce tbe sileifeee pf the wood% to- 
.wards sua-jaet; and we Jearnt that these buds cross 
tiie river, from the northern side in the monaing, 
to feed on rthe plantations of Indian comim the 
sputhero, and return to thc&r: habitations in the 
evening. . :^ , . -.:. ,..: ... .:• ..,.:.•.•.■• 

Having passed ajiumber of low islands coveted 
with aquatic birds* on: the SSd we bst the man- 
grove tract, and the river was bordered by low 
perpendicular banks of stiff day. Hordes of ne- 
groes came down tp the bank as we sailed along. 
Canoes w^ie continually passing up and down, the 
river, carrying n0groesi>for fishings or fm drawing 
wine from the palm trees^.i. The palms as we pro- 
ceeded incresMd in number* firsfc forming groupes, 
and then forests, and the natives were seen on the 
shore, walking in the>gFass between the thickets. 
I went on 8hore;on: the tnorthem side <^the river^ 
and saw, at a shost distance; a.vtUage composed of 
huts made with neat mate.. .Calabashes were 
hanging on the trees toijeceive the^pahn wine, and 
traces of buffidoes were seen on the ground. 

On the 35th I visited: tbf^ Fetish rock, which 
runs into the river ouvthe southern side, and rises 
per{iendicu)arly£rom:44ie plain behind it. Fetish is 
a; very compreh^sive. word, and not very easily 
ey|4ained. It is derived from the Portuguese 
^'feitifo/' and signifies a charm; ..These charms 
sire attached to the persons and dwellings of the 
negroes under a variety of forms ; some are pre- 
servatives. ffom poisQU^ others from the eflEects of 

VOL. II. * Q 

2S6 C0K60* 

thunder and lightning, others from ferociot» or 
noxidkis animals ; and so Qrm ia the faith of the 
negro in his fetish that, if the very evil befal him 
from which it was designed to protect him, he he* 
Iteves it is owing to his having offended it. 
There is also some kind of divinity imputed to the 
fetish ; for, if a man be about to commit an action 
that his conscience reproves him for, he covers his 
fetish that it may not witness the deed. The Fe» 
tish rock is considered as the abode of Scembi, the 
spirit that presides over the river, and it is oma* 
mented with rude figures of men and animals. 
On the summit of one of the hills on the c^posite 
side is a natural block of loose granite, with ano* 
ther block on the top, which is also held in great 
veneration. It is called Taddi enxaz^, or the 
lightning stone^ and has some resemblatice o£ an 
artificial building. 

I now learned that my black servant was a man 
of quality, of no less a family than that of the 
chenoo or chief of Embomma. His father had 
confided him, when a boy, to the care of a liver- 
pool captain, to be educated, or, according to his 
own expression, to *^ learn to make book,'' in 
England. This trader in human beings had found 
it less troublesome, and more advantageous, to teach 
him to make sugar in the West Indies, where he 
accordingly sold him ; and from hence he had been 
transferred to the Cape, where I bought him. 
When we arrived at Lombee, the father and bro- 
ther of my negra came on board, and met him 
with transport. They conducted him to the vil- 
lage, which, throughout the njght, resounded with 
the beating of the drum, and the songs of re* 

EMBOiOlA. 2S7 

Tiie next day my negro paid me a visit in full 
dress, his father having given him a silk coat em- 
broidered with silver, which he wore over his own 
dirty banian and trowsers. He had a ship's cutlass 
suspended from a silk sash, and a black glazed hat 
with an enormous feather. He was carried to the 
boat in a hammock on the shoulders of two slaves, 
an umbrella was held over his head, and be was 
preceded by his father and other members of his 
family, and* attended by twenty men armed with 

The village of Lombee is situated on the north- 
ern side of the river, and consists of about a hun- 
dred huts. It is the port and market of Embom-^ 
ma ; no trade whatever being carried on at the 
latter place, which is the residence of the chenoo. 
From one%o three hundred persons are said to as* 
semble at the market of Lombee ; but we found it 
miserably supplied* We were only able to procure 
a few fowls, a dozen eggs, and some plantains, 
and they cost more than they would have done ih 
a London markets The staple article of trade 
seemed to be salt ; the wholesale dealers selling it 
to the retail by the basket, and these selling it to 
the consumer by the handful, at the rate of two 
handfiils for a money mat. The flesh of the hip- 
popotamus is sometimes exposed for sale in this 
market. In the evenmg we anchored before the 
creek of the banza, or head, as the word signifies, 
of £mbomma. 

On the 27thl proceeded on a ceremonious visit to 
the cheooo, who had sent a hammodk for me. It was 
exceedingly dirty ; but had it been otherwise, I 
should have declined laying that burden upon the 
shoulders of negroes that nature intended I should 

Q 2 

9e& CONGO. 

carry myself. After having walked an hour, first 
over a grassy plain, with a few plantations of In- 
dian corn, and then over a hill, I reached Em-^ 
bomma, the residence of this petty sovereign. At 
the entrance of the village, I got into the ham** 
mock, and was set down under a great tree where 
all public business is transacted, the ground having 
been clean swept. Here the first objects that en- 
gaged my attentionr were four human skulls that 
were suspended from the tree. I was told that 
these were the heads of the enemy's chiefs, who 
had been taken in battle* 

- After having waited half an hour under the 
tree, I was conducted to the habitation of the che- 
hoo. I entered a court fenced with mats made 
of reedsi and crowded with the chenoo's gentle- 
men. A seat was formed of three or four, old 
chests, and covered with a red velvet pall ; and a 
velvet paU, and an English carpet, were spread on 
the ground before it. I seated myself, and, in 
about five minutes, the chenoo advanced from be- 
hind a screen made of mats. He was dressed in 
a crimson plush jacket, with enormous gilt but- 
tons ; the cloth round his waist was of red velvet; 
his legs were wrapped in pink sarsnet, and the 
lower part cased in red morocco half boots. 
Round his neck hung a long string of ivory beads, 
and a large piece of coral. On his head was a 
prodigious high crowned hat, rendered still higher 
by a coronet of artificial flowers. I could have 
smiled at the ridiculous appearance of this little 
potentate, if I had not been checked by reflecting 
that his finery was the price of the liberty of his 
fellow creatures. The chenoo seated himself on 
niy right band. His master of the ceremonies 


who bore a long staff, inquired of the prince my 
interpreter, the rank of my several attendants, afid 
seated them accordingly ; and the native gentlcf- 
men squatted on bullock's hides. 

I was now asked what I came for. I replied, 
** To see the country and the river." This was a 
motive the people could not comprehend, there 
being, in their opinion, only two objects that could 
induce a man to go far from home, — ^^to make war, 
and to purchase slaves: they therefore repeated for 
two hours together, ** Are you come to trade? 
Are you come to fight ?** At length they seemed 
convinced I had come for neither of these pur- 
poses. When I said any thing that pleased them, 
and particularly when I shook hands with their 
chief, one of the principal men started up, atid 
made motions with his arms, and at the end of 
every motion all the assembly struck their breasts* 
This ceremony is called a ** sakilla/* 

A keg of rum, which was a part of my present, 
was now produced, and an Engtish white wash- 
hand bason filled with it. The chenoo retired to 
order dinner, saying he drank only wine. The 
moment he disappeared, his people began to scram- 
ble for the rum; and one of them very ingeniously 
dropped his dirty cap into the bason, and sucked 
it with great satisfaction. 

While we were seated in the court of audience, 
the chenoo^s women, of whom he had fifty, were 
peeping out of one of the squares ; and before he 
retired, he veiy politely offered me any one of his 
daughters. The courtiers as civilly offered their 
wives ; and I was given to understand that the 
condescension of the ladies to strangers, when it 
had received the sanction of their fathers and husr 

230 CONGO. 

'brands, was not inferior to that of the men. The 
faces of oiany of the women were prepossessing, 
and their forms elegant. 

While dinner was preparing, we walked through 
the banza, or head village of Embomma, which is 
aituated on a small plain on the summit of a hiS, 
and contains about sixty habitations, each consists 
ingof two or three huts, within a square inclosure 
of reeds woven into mats. The huts are composed 
of the same materials, and are formed with two 
side and two end pieces, which they call walls, 
and two others which make a sloping rpof. The 
entrance is by a square opening in one of the sides, 
just large enough to creep in at ; and, opposite to 
this is a window. Both are closed at night with 
shutters of the same fabric as the walls. A house, 
ready to pat t<>gether, may be purchased for the 
price of four fowls, and it may be made ready for 
occupation in five minutes* 

The chenoo*s habitation was surrounded by a 
double fence, forming an inner and an outer court. 
The latter contained one large apartment, rather 
better lighted and aired than the rest, with a num- 
ber of huts on each side. In every comer was 
seen, a fetish of sculptured figures, one of which 
was exactly that of Bacchus astride on a barrei, 
with the addition of a pipe in his mouth, and a 
spear on his shoulder. These representations of 
the human figure were rather less correct than 
those usually cut by children out of paper. 

Our repast consisted of a soup of plantains and 
goat's flesh, a fowl cut in pieces and broiled, and 
roasted plantains instead of bread. It was served 
in the grand apartment, where some chests covered 
with carpets answered the purposes of table and 


ehatirs. A few plbtes and mugs of ^arthehware» a 
few Venetian gilt glasses, and a few spoons avd 
forks of silver, with a large silver tankard, were 
probft of the commerce that subsisted between 
Uiis petty sovereign and Europeans. Sweet pakn 
wine in the tankard, and a part of the rum I had 
brought in a bottle, were placed on the tablei &r 
our beverage. 

When. we had dined, I was sent for by the che- 
noo, and again questioned respecting my motive 
for coming into the country. At length an old 
man, who w^'the chenoo's uncle, started up, and 
plucking a leaf from a tree, held it towards me and 
said, *' If you come to trade, ^wear by your God^ 
and break the leaf On m}^ refusing to do so, he 
said, ^< Then swear by your God you do not come 
to make war, and break the leaf/' On my doing 
this, the whole company performed a grand sa^ 
killa ; the assembly broke up ; and the chenoo 
retired to one of his huts, whither my present yis 
carried to him. 

The following day the chenoo retun^ed my visit, 
attended by half a dozen of his sons and gentle* 
men. He expressed himself perfectly satisfied 
with my present, which I own I was not ; he be- 
lieving a tankard and a gdblet, that formed a part 
of it, to be silver, and I knowing them to be only 
plated. I beg my reader to be assured that it was 
not in my power to substitute real plate for the 
semblance of it, or I would most gladly have done 
to. The rest of my present consisted of a piece 
of furniture cotton, a silk umbrella, and some 
beads. The further wishes of this negro prince 
were very modest ; as he only requested that, on 
my rtitnm down the river, I would build him an 

2S2 . CONGO* 

English house, leave him a boat, and give him a 
musket. The latter request I complied with im-r 
mediately, and he was satisfied. 

91ie next morning I visited the chenoo without. 
ceremcuiy» and found him seated on a mat in one 
of the courts of his habitation, distributing palm 
wine to his children and relations, consisting of 
about forty men and boys. A seat being placed 
for me^ a palaver of half an hour ensued, in which 
I was obliged to repeat my assmrances that I waa 
not come to prevent the slave-trade, pr to make 
war. The chenoo then led the way to an inclo- 
sure, in which were six fine cow8» a young bull, 
and a calf, and selected one of the largest and 
fattest cows as a present to me. I fouiid that this 
animal had been introduced by tl^ f'prtuguese, 

and, though much neglected, it JiadmuI^iP^^^d 
considerably. ,-*-. 

The banza of Embomma is supppse4 to contain 
about five hundred inhabitants, aiid is the only 
town in its district where several families have 
sufficient land in cultivation to enable them toiive 
together. The land is -cultivated by patches only, 
and the labPur is performed by the women, whom 
WN& frequently saw in the fields, with their children, 
and baskets of provisions; the chenoo*a daughters 
among the rest. Tbe only plants we saw culti- 
vated wer« cassava and maize, tobacco, and beans 
of two sorts. The cotton shrub was growing wild 
on the plains. 

The other habitations of a district are called 
gentlemen's towns, each being the residence of a 
single, independent individual, with his wives, 
children, and slaves. The native appellation for 
pne of these gentlemefi is foomoQ* The chenq^ 


of Embomma musters about a thousand muskets 
in time of war. 

The small money in use is little n^ats, about 
eighteen inches square, made of the leaf of the 
bamboo, twenty of which would purchase a fowl; 

It was now the winter of the country; the 
thermometer seldom rising above 76° in the day ; 
and at night, during the heavy dews, we occasion-* 
ally experienced, it fell to 60^. Fruits were scarce ; 
the only sorts we saw at this time being long 
plantains, small bitter oranges, limes, and pump- 

The domestic animals, besides the cattle, which 
are scarcely established, are sheep, goats, swine of 
a small breed, a few dogs, and cats. The wild 
animals are elephants, in small numbers, buffiiloes, 
which are said to be abuqdant, antelopes, and 
monkeys. The skins of leopards and tiger-ci&ts 
were seen on the natives. Hippopotami and cro^ 
codiles appeared to be numerous.. 

The people of Embomma were, with very few 
exceptions, dressed in European clothing. The 
men manufacture caps and shawls of grass. Both 
men and women shave their heads in ornamental 
figuresf Brides are always close shaven before 
they are presented to their husbands. Pendant 
breasts seem to be considered as beautiful ; the 
young girls pressing their breasts downwards With 
a bandage. The women sometimes file the tWo 
front teeth, and raise cicatrices on the skins as 
well as the men. 

Both men and women rise at daylight, and, after 
washing their skins, the better sort rub their bo« 
dies, down to the waist, with palm oil. 

The mode of salutation is by gently clapping 

ii&i CONGO. 

the bands ; and an inferior, at the same timet 
kneels and kisses the anclet on the leg of the 

The persons of the women are entirely at the 
disposal of their fathers and husbands, and may be 
transferred by them how and when they please. 
But if the transfer take place unknown to the hus* 
band, he is at liberty to impose a fine upon the 
adulterer, to sell him for a slave, or to murder 
him, accordiitg to bis inclination. During my stay 
at Embomma, a man who bad been detected in 
adultery was. offered to a slave* trader for sale; 
but, being rejected, he was bound hands and feet, 
and thrown into the river. 

Excepting one knife, which was stolen by a boy, 
we met with no instance of theft ; and on one of 
the great men being informed of the loss, the 
persons who had been present were assembled 
under the great tree, and asked, individually, if 
they had taken it ; when the boy confessed, and 
produced it 

Dififerent kinds of food are abstained from by 
particular persons who, having constituted a fowl, 
or any other thing, their fetish, that is, their 
guardian, out of respect will not eat it. • Men 
wUl not eat of fowl, eggs, or pumpkins, till a 
woman have tasted it to take oflPthe fetish. When 
we killed our cow, the chenoo sent one of his 
men to take the fetish piece for the gangam^ or 
priest ; and I could not but observe that the 
fetish piece was one of the best. 

On the Sd of August I shook hands with the 
chenoo of Embomma, giving him, as a parting 
token of friendship, two yards of scarlet cloth, 
two jars of rum, an amber necklace, and some 


piirtite and dishes* In return, he gave me two 
pilots, and three of his sons as guides. 

In returning from this visit, we passed a hut in 
which was lying the corpse of a woman, drest as 
when living. Within the hut, four women were 
howling; and without, two men were leaning 
their faces against the wall, and joining in the 
funeral yell. We were told that these lamenta- 
tions were repeated for four successive days after 
the death of a friend, and that they continued an 
hour each day. The natjves shewed some reluct- 
ance to let us*see the'burying^ground; but, after 
a little, persuasion, two or three of them led us to. 
it. We found it about two hundred yards from 
the village, among a few rugged trees and bushes. 
Two graves were now preparing for gentlemen. 
They were nine feet long and five broad, and at 
this time nine feet deep ; but I was told that they 
would be dug in depth equal to the height of the 
tallest palm-tree. One of the old graves had an 
elephant's tooth at each end ; all had broken jars, 
mugs, glass bottles, and other vessels stuck upon 
them. Young trees had been planted round some 
of them ; but all were dead, except one^ 

My interpreter requested a piece of cloth to en- 
velope the body of his aunt, who had been dead 
seven years, and was to be buried in two months, 
bdng now arrived at a proper size to be interred 
according to her rank. The corpse is preserved 
for so long a time only by the successive pieces of 
cloth that are wrapped round it, as they can be 
procured by the relations of the deceased. In the 
case of a rich man the bulk is only limited by the 
power of conveying it to the grave ; and the first 
but in which the body is preserved becoming too 


AmM, it is removjed into a second/ a third, and 
even to a sixths according to its increasing dir 

These people keep their account of time by 
moons^ and their knowledge of any event seldom 
extends heyond half a dozen. 



L^EAVING the village of Embomma, I went on 
shore opposite to the island of that name, where I 
found one of the trees called baobab that measured 
forty-two feet in girth near the ground, and re- 
tained nearly the same circumference to the height 
of thirty feet. 

On the 6th of August we proceeded up the 
river, which ran between two high ridges of rocky 
hills. Several small valleys appeared between the 
hills^ and in these were some plantations of corn 
and manioca, and many palm trees. On the 
northern shore was a hanging precipice, which 
might not unaptly be termed the Lover's Leap; 
the wives of the chenoo who are convicted of 
adultery, together with their seducers, being pre« 
cipitated from the summit into the river^ 

On the 7th the greatest rise of the water was 
observed, from the mark left on the rocks« to have 
been 9^ feet. This day we crossed over to the 
southern side of the river, near the village of 

KOKi. 237 

Sooka Congo. On the summit of one of the hills, 
under which we passed close, were upwards of 
twenty moitkeys, which, from their stature and 
their black faces, we should certainly have taken 
for negroes, had we not seen their tails. 

On the 8th several persons came on board from 
the banza of Noki, which is situated on the south 
of the river ; and on the 10th I visited the chenoo 
of this district To reach the residence of this 
chief, we had a most fatiguing march of two 
hours ; sometimes scrambling up the sides of 
almost perpendicular jiiUs ; sometimes proceeding 
on their summits, thinly scattered over with brush- 
wood; and sometimes descending . into valleys 
covered with luxuriant vegetation. In two of 
these valleys we found villages, differing in no 
respect from that of Embomma, except that the 
roofs of the huts were circular. The village of 
Noki is situated on the level summit of the high- 
est hill, amidst palm trees, and plantations of ve- 
getables, among which we saw young cabbages in 
great perfection. 

In a few minutes we were ushered into the pre- 
sence of the chenoo, whom we found seated with 
two great officers, with much more savage magni- 
ficence, and less of European manner, than the 
chief of Embomma. The seats were covered with 
the skins of lions and leopards, as was also the 
ground before them. To tread upon these is a 
crime punished with slavery, even if the delinquent 
be of the highest rank ; and the care with which 
the courtiers stepped clear of them was a proof 
that they had not forgotten the penalty. 
, The chenoo, in addition to a red cloak laced 
with gold, wore an extraordinary high cap of the 

-iSB otftrao. 

white feathers of the heron. One of the grezt 
men had on an old hat, and the other a coronet, 
with a large button of coloured glass, the refuse of 
a European theatre. Contemptible, as well as 
degrading ! How much inferior to the* spoils of 
the native lion and leopard, even if the means that 
procured them were the same. In my own coun- 
try I have seen a solemn, sober, little ass attired 
in the huge bead-piece and winkers of a coach« 
horse, plodding quietly along, unconscious of tJie 
ridicule he excited. 

The assembly was composed of about fifty per* 
sons, who squatted on the sand. My interpreter 
having explained the motive of my journey, the 
chenoo granted me two guides, as far as the cata« 
racj; of Yellala, beyond which, he said, the country 
was unknown to him and his people. The palaver 
being over, the chenoo apologized for having no 
meat dressed, and directed a small pig to be car- 
ried to the boat. During this audience, boys, of 
all ages, down to four or five years old, composed 
a part of the assembly ; and the young urchins paid 
the utmost attention to the discourse of the men, 
and expressed their approbation by clapping their 

On our return from the town of Noki, we were 
conducted by a slave merchant along the summits 
of hills that were very fertile, and in great part 
cultivated^ till we arrived at his town; that is, the 
residence of himself and bis family. Here we were 
agreeably surprised to find a repast prepared, con* 
sisting of a stewed fowl, and stewed beans, both 
highly seasoned, and cassava bread. The back 
ground of the court was filled with women and 
girls, who were separated by an open space from 

NOKL* 289 

the men and bojrs. As we approached the river, ^ 
we had to ascend itnd descend such a succession 
of steep and barren hills and rocks, that it almost 
required the legs of flies to crawl over them« The 
tomtk of Noki is not more than three miles distant 
from the river, in a direct line ; but it is seven or 
eight by the circuitous way we took. 

The n^ct day I received a visit from a princess 
and two of the chenoo's daughters, who brought 
with them for sale, a fowl, half a dozen egg$» and 
a small basket of beans. In consideration of the 
rank of these ladies^ and also of the scarcity of 
provisions, I purchased the articles at twice their 
value. * We understood that one of these princesses 
has the right of choosing her husband, and change 
ing him as often as she pleases ; while he is obliged 
to have no othej wife,* under the penalty, if he be 
a private person, of being sold for a slave. 

It appearing that one of the guides sent me by 
the chenoo was totally ignorant of the country, I 
sent him back. A slave was then brought to me» 
bound neck and heels with small cords. This man 
came from an interior province, and said that he 
had been taken by a slave-catchert while walking 
near his father's house. As he had some know* 
ledge of the language of Congo, I purchased him, 
giving him instantly his liberty, and causing him 
to be told, that I considered him only as my ser- 
vant. Probably he could not make the distinction 
between slavery and servitude with a white man 
for his master ; for be expressed no satis&ction 
when his cords were taken off. 

In concluding this bargain I had a specimen of 
tlie tedious manner of transacting business among 


the n^o traders ; the intervjention of tiie mafockf 
or officer of revenue, the mambook, or war-mwi^ 
ster^ and a broker, each of whom expected a piece 
of cloth, and as much brandy as he could drink, 
being necessary between me and the owner of the 
slave. To this may be added the indecision of the 
seller, who, if he be the possessor of a single fowlf 
examines the articles offered* him fifty times, giving 
them back, taking them again, exchanging them 
for others ; and, after putting patience to the.test 
for an hour, often taking up his prcqperty, and 
going away, because he cannot obtain twice as 
much for it as he asked at first* 

On the following day we passed several wiiirl<* 
pools. The most distant hill in view, we were 
told, was that of Yellala ; but the only informati<m 
I could obtain respecting Yellala was, that it was 
the residence of the evil spirit, and that whoever 
saw it once would never see it again. 

On the ISth we came to Casan Yellala, Yellala'e 
wife, a ledge of rocks stretching from the northern 
shore, about two thirds across the river ; the 
whole breadth of which here did not exceed a 
mile. From hence I set out by land the follow* 
ing morning, on the northern side of the river, 
taking with me some of my people and four days' 
provisions. Our route lay at first along narrow foot« 
paths, which led over difiicult hills, and afterwards 
oyer level fertile lands. In four hours we reached 
the town of Codoo, from whence I had been in- 
formed I should see the cataract of Yellala. At 
the farther end of the town we saw the fall, and, 
most unexpectedly, found it almost under our feet ; 
but instead of the foaming cataract held in such 


honm by the natives, we saw only the water bub- 
bling over its rocky bed. I did not, however, for- 
get that I saw it in the dry season. 

I went to examine the fall more closely ; and I 
found, that although the road did not extend a 
nUe from the town, what it wanted in distance it 
abundantly made up in difficulty, descending an 
enormous bill, and running up a smaller, to the 
precipice which overhung the river. The fall was 
about SO feet perpendicular, in a slope of 300 
yards. The water rises here twelve feet in the 
rainy season. The river, both above and below 
the fall, was obstructed by rocks as far as the eye 

Disappointed in my expectation of seeing a 
grand cataract^ and equally disl^Jpointed to find it 
sufficient to stop the progress of my boat, I climbed 
back to the town, exhausted with fatigue. 

As soon as I was a little recovered, I waited on 
the chenoo of Cooloo, and found less pomp and 
noise, and more civility and hospitality than from 
tlie chiefs of Embomma and Noki. This chenoo 
made ifie a prissent of six fowls, witliout ask- 
ing for any return j but though this was the 
largest banza, or head town I liad seen, it contain- 
ing about a hundred huts, and from five to six 
hundred inhabitants, I could not procure either a 
afaeq>, a goat, or a pig. ^ 

The next day I engaged a guide to conduct me 
^bove the &lls by a circuitous route ; the hills 
close to the river being impassable by any thing 
but a goat. Afler four hours most fatiguing 
march, I again got sight of the river ; but I found 
that these four hours had brought me only four 

VOL. lu R 

aA2 co^fGO. 

miles above Yellala. The river was still obstructed 
by rocks, whicb^ in some places, ran quite across. 
In this day's jjourney we had crossed three deep 
ravines, the beds of torrents in the rainy season, 
but now quite dry. The setting sun obliged us to 
halt, and we passed the night near a fine ^ring of 

The next morning, after passing a village, I 
ascended the highest of* the hills that skirt the 
northern side of this part of the river of Congo, and 
from the summit I had a view of the water for 
about five miles downwards. It was still filled 
with rocks, over which the current foamed with 
violence. Judging by the eye, the river was here 
not more than a quarter of a mile broad; and I 
estimated the distance from Yellala at twelve or 
fourteen miles. 

I now returned to the town of Cooloo, which I 
did not reach till eight o'clock in the evening. It < 
was with great difficulty that I could prevail upon 
the guide to go on. after sun-set, through his fears 
of wild beasts and of the darkness. Every five 
minutes he sounded a whistle, which had been 
fetished by the gangam, and of course both beasts 
and spirits fled at the sound. The only traces of 
animals we saw this day were those of bufialoes. 

In tliis excursion I found palm wine exceedingly 
refreshing; but, owing to thet long drought, it was 
now so scarce, that though every banssa and gen^ 
man's town was surrounded by from twenty to two 
hundred palm trees, I sofnetimes could, not pro- 
cure it, even in exchange for brandy. The rainy 
season had, for the two preceding years, been very 
moderate, and the lighter rains, which usually 

CONOO. fi^4S 

happen in June, had been entirely wanting ; bi^t 
it was expected that, on this account, the ensuing 
rains would be proportionabiy violent, and the 
people were now preparing for them by fresh co- 
vering their huts. 

The higher we proceeded, the fewer European 
articles were possessed by the natives. The 
country grasa-cloth now formed the clothing of 
the common people ; and gourds were the substi- 
tutes for glass-bottles and earthem mugs. The 
sole dress of the women was an apron before and 
another behind, leaving the hips uncovered. From 
every town which I passed, they flocked to look 
at the white men. They shook hands with me, 
without any timidity ; but they had by no means 
the freedom of manners of the women near the 

On the 2«d of August I left Cooloo, with the 
intention of proceeding on foot as far as possible on 
the northern side of the river of Congo. At noon 
we reached the village of Manzy, about nine 
miles north of Codloo, where I purchased, at an 
extravagant price, a pig of fifteen pounds weight. 
At four o*cIock we came to a deep ravine, about 
120 feet in breadth, the bed of a vast torrent, 
which still retained a quantity of excellent water. 
The sides of the ravine were thinly clothed with 
wood, among which were trees, perfectly straight, 
from 80 to 100 feet high, and 18 inches in diame- 
ter. The country we had passed over might be 
from eight to twelve miles distant from the river, 
and was more hilly and barren than any we had 
passed before. In this ravine we halted, for the 
night ; and the refl'ection of our fires on the trees 

244 CONGO. 

an^ rocks, with the black men, each cooking his 
supper, might have furnished an interesting sub- 
ject for a painter. 

At day-light we were roused by the chattering 
of monkeys and parrots, joined with the scream of 
.^he crested toucan, and the cry of a species of 
goat-sucker. We then found that the shade and 
humidity of the ravine had rendered it the head- 
quarters of an army of musquitoes, and that my 
t^nt had been pitched over a colony of ants. Both, 
however, had the forbearance to let us escape un- 
touched. At seven o'clock in the morning we 
pursued our journey over a difficult tract of hills 
intersected by ravines, and at eleven we fouad 
ourselves on the brink of the river, whose channel 
was filled with rocks. At noon we reached the 
banza of Inga, which is situated on the flat sum- 
mit of a hill, and surrounded by palm trees and 

The chenoo of Inga was blind ; but a palaver 
was immediately held to enquire the reason of the 
white men coming. Being satisfied with my ex- 
planation, it was determined to supply me in- 
stantly with a guide to conduct me to the plabe 
' where the river again became navigable for canoes, 
which was said to be only half a day's journey dis- 
tant : bijt this was* granted only pn condition of 
' ihy paying ajar of brandy, and dressing four offi- 
cers in two yards of cloth each. When all was 
' concluded, I was informed that I could not have 
"the guide till the nej^t morning. Eager to proceed 
'^on' my journey, and irritated by disappointment 
' abd atixiety, I drew up my armed followers, and 
^'* threatened to proceed by force. I wa» soon made 

INGA, 245 

sMsible of my imprudence : the palaver broke up ; 
the women and children, who bad flocked to see 
the white men^ disappeared ; the people I had 
br0i]^ht with me from Cooloo vanished ; and I 
was left in possession of the town. 

Finding this would not facilitate my progress, I 
dispatched my interpreter to the macaya, or civil 
magistrate, who is always the eldest of the che- 
noo's brothers, with a conciliating message ; and 
in about an hour the great officers appeared again, 
attended by about fifty men, fourteen of whom 
were armed with muskets. The mambouk, op 
wal*-mini6ter, who is always a relation of the che- 
noo, rose, and made a long speech, appealing now 
and then to the common people, who all answered 
with a kind of howl. During this oration, he held 
in hia hand the war-kissey, which was composed 
of buffido's hair and dirty rags, and which, as we 
afterwards understood, he occasionally invoked to 
break the locks, and wet the powder, of our' 

Aa I had no intention of going to war with the 
men of Xnga, I advanced, and seating myself by 
the macaya, I shook him by the hand, and ex-* 
pressed my desire to be at peacq, provided I were 
assured of having a guide by day-light the nej(t 
morning. This was promised ; but on condition 
of the great officers receiving double the quantity 
of cloth. 

Inga is about i 80 miles miles* above Cape Pa^ 
droQ, and contained about 70 huts, and 300 inha» 
bitants. The chenoo could command. about two 
hundred fighting men, on^ hundred of whom he 
could arm with muskets ; and, with this force, he 
conceived himself to be the terror of bis enemies. 


^y people of Inga had never before seen a white 
insLU. The only European artioles we saw here 
were a small jug, and some rags of clothing* 
^ Day appeared, and no guide ; I therefore se- 
cretly promised one of the great men a piece of 
cloth for his good oflSces. He immediately ofiered 
himkelf as a guide, and five of his boys to carry 
our provisions ; and at eleven o'clock we left 
Inga. In passing through the town, we saw a 
blacksmith fitting a hoe into a handle ; his bellows 
were composed of two sheep-skins, and his anvil 
was a large stone. 

' Ou'r i^oute lay chiefly along the winding bottom 
bf a fertile valley, in which we found two towns, 
liurrdunded by plantations of manioca that grew up 
almost to the height of trees. A flock of between 
twenty and thirty goats was an ovel sight ; bat, as 
the owner was absent, I could not purchase any. 
The women sold us some manioca, and gave us a 
jar of water. At tte upper end of the valley we 
found a complete village of ant-hills. They were 
each in the shape of a mushroom, and very large ; 
but some had double or treble domes, the upper 
one evidently intended to carry off the rain. At 
fbut o'clock we arrived at the river, at Mavoonda 
Boaiya, where we found it lined with rocks, and 
vast heaps of sand; but free .from all obstruc- 
tibn in the middle, for the space of from two to 
ihtet hundred yards in breadth. The narrows had 
ciofltinned about forty miles, the river being gene- 
rally from 900 to 500 yards in breadth, and bristled 
wkb ^ocks« 

'^^In a«£^ holirs Iwas visited by the macaya of 
Mlivdittdil, who treated me with great civility. I 
here received very distinct information respecting 


tbe course of the river. A day's journey^ .Qr^^i^f^t 
ten miles, above Mavoonda, it was said, tp be^p]^- 
structed by another fall ; being crossed.hy %i?j^8}^ 
of slate rocks called a sangalla. Beypi^^d tl;u3r|vas 
another sangalla. After ten day's sailing,. ]ii^.^ 
canoe was a large sandy island, which ni^c^Q; tr^sf 
channels j one to the north-west, and the ptherlp 
the north-east. In the latter channel \i^as ^ ff^ 
but canoes were easily got above it. Ai\d,in 
twenty days above the island the river issued^ . by 
many small streams, from a great marshy oj: l^e 
of mud. , . . ..,. 

Here then, it appears to me, is the termi^/^on 
of the conjecture that the Niger and the riycir ^ 
Congo are the same. I am a traveller^ JX9%.,^ 
geographer; and, with all humility I spea.!;^ i%yj. 
should as soon have looked for the Niger i^ji;]^^ 
Ganges*. x -. m. : . /i 

From Mavoonda I made an excufsjqn to.,t^ 
first sangalla. It was sun-set when we reached4t^ 
and in returning I perceived that my guide h^4 
lost his way. • We scrambled over rocks^ witb^n,- 
finite fatigue, for an hour, and then peq^cat.^^ 
through a close wood, the first we had s^en, till iX 
was quite dark. Seeing a fire on the side of a 4) j]^ 
and hearing human voices, we halloed to jtlie mq^j^ 
and at length one of them came down, ^n4 9PJPr 
ducted us .through thick underwoodf w^^,e,,)i^ 
were almost obliged to crawl, and through ^^9 
twiqe our own height, to a clear spot.oii-t^i^^ 

* It is said that a Frenchman bl the name of p*£idcd^iife^ 
having cured a dangerous wound of the Mani Coiigo7%lt«iLtldff 
htm on K&6X|)ed]Kioni>f ofnvtlmikfiiar.hvi^^ iw^Ql ialthe 

iQCeri<rt Wi^UiaV*» U^t44hi^floug«M«f^.TJw ?££fKfi;VJHMt 

saw the bkesjt forp^Jn i^^^^^^^ ,^^^,^ j^^,^.^^^^ ^^^^ 

2iS^ coNoa. . 

of n hill. Here a little wateri brought us by tfad^ 
wives of these BushmeD, for they had no httt, waa 
our supper, and the broken granite fttooe» our bed* 
III the iBorning we returned to Mavooada. 

The people of Mavoonda were gteatly astonished 
on seeing the movements of a watch and a poekel^ 
compass, particularly at the needle always podnfting 
to the same spot on the riven On the first of 
September it was observed that the river had be- 
gun to rise. 

On the 2d of September I quitted Mavoonda» 
and proceeded up the river by land. My baggage 
was carried by black men ; and I found these the 
most provoking animals of burden I ever employed. 
At one o'clock we dined near a stream of water^ 
the only one we had seeti large enough to turn a 
mill. At six I pitched my tent ; but in the mid- 
dle of the night I was driven out of it by a legion 
of ants,, and was obh'ged to take refuge^ from the 
torment they occasioned, on the grass^ though it 
was now wet with showers. 

The next day, on the summit of one of the hills, 
we met a cafilah of slaves on their way to Embomma* 
The traders, who were eight in number, carried 
muskets ; and the slaves, twenty-two in number, 
were loaded with casava and ground nuts, some of 
which were kindly given to us. One man and 
four boys were from the Soonda country, and all 
said they had been taken in the bushes. One of 
the boys uttered the most violent screams on see- 
ing the white men, and even the children of seven 
or eight years old, held fast by the hand of their 
ow^iers while we were present. At three o'clock 
we arrived at the bank of the river a little above 
the upper sangalla^ which is a ledge of rocjcs run- 


Bing ^Uite across it, and forming a eMdtv^Vl^gbi^' 
than that of Yellala. About a mile bdjond lAAt^ 
the river greatly expanded, and the iMd Oti'>«adk ' 
side became lower, though it was stfil iMnMn MAhdl^ 
destitute of wood. In a creek called Coildo ¥ot>ga 
we passed the night in the hearing of tb^ cdntiitild<> 
grunting of hippopotami. j 

On the third day from Inga, witii sMsdi difir^' 
culty, I procured two canoes, to ferry u^^vef ti|e' 
creek } for which service I paid eight yards io£' 
cloth and six strings of beads. As soon as the 
baggage was placed in the canoes, my poitersde*' 
sired to return ; but, as they had engaged to fp3^' 
to fiamba Yonga, the fear of losing their waf^es at 
length induced them to proceed. They had not 
walked more than a mile on the other side of the 
creek, when they laid down their loads, and refused 
to go any farther. In this manner they harassed 
me till noon ; laying down their loads when they 
had walked ten minutes ; walking back ^y or 
sixty yards as if they were going to leave me { 
then returning, and after a palaver of half an hour, 
taking up their loads. Wearied with these re^ 
peated delays^, I halted for the night on l^e emi- 
nence that bounded the river, about eight' miles 
above the last night's station. 

The river here expanded to three m'iles-itt 
breadth, and the country was more populOM^tbati 
before : the gentlemen's towns forming a< conti- 
nued chain of buildings frcmi our having crossed 
the creek. Provisions also seemed more plenti- 
ful; several goats, pigs, and fowls having been 
brought for sale. Among the crowd that* sur- 
rounded my tent, only two or thretr of 4he' foo^ 
moos, or gentlemen, had any Eurc^an clothing. 


On the fourth day^ finding it imponible to get 
oanoes without the intervention of the chenoo of 
Yonga, I sent forward my guide of Inga, with a 
piece of chintz^ to be divided among his great 
men. Having given to my prince interpreter and 
my other Embomma man a dress of chintz each, 
they amused me by performing a war-dance, a 
hunting-dance, a love^dance^ and a pantomime. In 
the war-dance, the performer looks about from 
side to side, as if expecting an enemy ; and flou- 
rishes a sword, which he holds in his hand, half a 
dozen times towards the quarter in which the ene- 
my is supposed to appear. He advances, his eyes 
glowing with fire, and returns triumphant ; while 
the spectators alternately clap their hands and 
strike their breasts. 

Crocodiles are numerous here, It is said that 
they frequently carrryofi^ the women who go down 
to the river for water, and that one of the party is 
usually employed in throwing large stones into the 
water, while the others are filling their calabashes. 
Only one was killed by my people : its length 
was nine feet three inches, its circumference at 
the shoulders three feet seven. 

A foomoo waited on me with a present of a 
goat, for which I gave him four yards of chintz, 
and a necklace. This gentleman promised to pro- 
cure me two canoes. 

On the fifth day of my journey from Inga, with 
much difficulty, I hired two canoes, which would 
barely carry eight men each ; and as these could 
not contain all my people, I walked along the 
shore with the others. We came to a bay in 
which were ten hippopotami, and, as the canoes 
could not venture among these huge animals, we 


fytd volleys at them from the shore^ which, toge- 
ther with the exwcism o£ our old guide, drove 
them away. The river now, for the first time had 
a majestic appearance.* llie land on each side 
was moderately elevated ; but still it was almost 
destitute of wood. At six o'clock in the evening 
we andiored in a fine bay named Covinda. The 
night presented a beautifiil picture of repose. 
The scenery was fine, the water was still, and the 
moon shed her tranquil light around us. 

On the sixth day the morning set in with light 
rain, and the river had risen three inches in the 
night. I bought a goat at Covinda, and found 
the people very civil. At eight o^clock we pur- 
sued our course, and opened upon beautiful- 
scenery ; fine grassy coves, and rocks resemUing 
ruined castles. Having passed many marble pro* 
montories, at one o'clock we stopped to dine. 
Here a boxing-match took place between two of 
the canoe-men about a little salti They both used 
their fists with much science ; and after each had 
received a hearty drubbing, the afiair was amicably 
adjusted by the interference of their companions, 
and the two combatants performed a dance. At 
fom we reached a rocky promontory ; and here, 
crossing the river, and discharging the canoes, I 
encamped in a fine grassy cove on the southern 
side. Both ends of the reach being shut in by the 
land, the river presented the appearance of a 
beautiful mountain-lake. 

On the seventh day of our journey from Inga, 
I procured six men to carry my baggage thai day 
and the next; and after. palavering from eight 
o^clock till eleven, we set out. At noon we 
reached Masodndy, where my porters lived, and 


thejT/Set down ibeir loadsp and mardied cff to duie# 
Ift was two hours before I could assemble them 

We now passed over a very hilly country^ with 
SQQse £artfle spots on the sides and summits of the 
hills, and in the vaUeys ; but there was a total 
want of trees, except in the ravines, and around 
the great towns> which were here very nnmerous» 
At half past three we came to the riv», at about 
ten miles distance from our last night's encamp* 
ment The reach formed a fine expanse of water 
firom four to five miles in breadth, and free from 
ooeks. The northern shore was edged by a fine 
sandy beacln. behind which was a line of trees, 
and beyond this the shore rose gradually till it ter* 
minated in bare hills: the southern shore was steep 
and rocky. The natives all agreed that they knew 
of no impediment to navigation farther up the riven 

On the eighth day, after some rain, we pro- 
ceeded through a. country more fertile, and with 
more kmd prepared for cultivation than any we 
had seen. After the long reedy grass has shed its 
seed, it is cut down and placed in small heaps» 
which are covered with a layer of mouldy and set 
on fire* In the spots of ashes thus formed are 
planted the peas and the Indian corn^ and in the 
spaces between them the manioca. The next 
rains bring again a csop of grass firom the seeds 
deposited by the former. 

After travelling* two hours, we reached the gen- 
tteman's town of VTookey-filou^ where my porters 
had a long palaver for palm wine, which I was 
obliged to purchase at a high rate heforie they 
would. move a step farther. Unfortunately I spilt 
some of it at the foot of my gentleaow guide} 


Upon which he left me in a most vicAent ngt, 
taking all his men with him. I now learned that; 
next to pointing a musket at a gentleman, the 
grossest insult that could be offered him was the 
spilling of palm wine. After making an afw- 
lagf for my want of politeness^ and making him 
a present of three bunches of beads, it was fuU 
two hours before my guide would shake hands 
with me, and call back his men. 

The houses here were laiger than below. 
At two o'clock in the afternoon we arrived^U: the 
head of a deep reach called Soondy N'Sanga, 
where we halted to dine. After our repast was 
ended, my porters refused to proceed any farther, 
asserting that they had already walked two days ; 
and finding all my persuasions unavailing, I pitched 
my tent at this place. 

Here I was about a hundred miles above Inga, 
and two hundred and eighty from Cape Padron ; 
and here I was obliged to return. ^< What !"* says 
one of the readers of these Travels, *^ when the 
river was no longer obstructed by rocks i and the 
country more fertile and better inhabited !" I can 
assure this reader, whoever. he may be, that he 
cannot more ardently wish me to have traced the 
river of Congo in the unknown countries through 
which it flows, than I did myself; but I hope he 
will agree with me that this was impracticable. 

I had walked over steep and rocky hills, and in-^ 
haled the atmosphere of an African river ; whic)}« 
though its banks were destitute of the luxuriant 
vegetation attendant upon some others, might yet, 
and* I believe did, produce an exhalation injurious 
to life. While anxious to advance on my journey, 
I had ea^erienced delays and impediments from 

254 06N0O. 

every indiiriduBl who could retard my progress. 
My health was giving way before these accumu- 
lated evils. I had no beasts of burden. I had 
employed men to carry my baggage, till they 
would proceed no farther ; I had hired canoes, till 
I was obliged to give them up ; I had hired men, 
who refused to advance another step. If these 
reasons prove unsatisfactory, I have one other ; I 
had now little baggage to carry. Chenoos and 
their officers had been so rapacious for presents ; 
and the demands of the common people for provi* 
sions and labour had been so exorbitant, that I 
had scarcely cloth enough left to carry me to the 



I HE features of the natives of Congo are of the 
negro cast; but are not so strongly marked as 
those of negroes in general, nor is their skin so 
black. Both sexes paint themselves with red 
ochre, and before a bride is conducted to her hus- 
band she is besmeared with it from head to foot. 
The men also mark their arms and forehead with 
both red and white clay. The chenoos sometimes 
wear bracelets of lion's teeth. 

Boys are taken from their mothers as soon as 
they can walk, and the father sits with them upon 
a mat the whole day. Girls are left under' the 
care of the mother. If a man get a few beads of 
different colours, he sita at home, stringing them, 


aad. placing them according to his fftncy ; while, 
his wife is abroad^ gathering fuel, or tiling the 

Fleas and bu^s swarm in all the huts. 

The people of Congo eat wild honey whenever 
they can find it ; but they do not take the trouble 
to search for it. They will live for a day on a lit^ 
tie raw manioca and water, and a pipe of tobacco; 
but they devoured all the meat I would give them. 
They broil fowls with the feathers on, and pieces 
of goat with the skin and hair. When a sheep 
was flayed, the captive I purchased near Noki prt* 
vately conveyed away the skin, with the wool upon 
it ; this he had thrown upon a smoky fire till just 
warmed through, and, when discovered, he had 
nearly eaten the whole. A kind of. reed, called 
Sangala woo, is always kept fresh in the houses^ it 
is chewed, but not swallowed. 

Three or four people usually had, or pretended 
to have, a share in a goat ; and even a fowl, when 
brought to us, had generally two owners. If there 
happened to be an odd bead, this created a dia^ 

They have no arms, but knives and a few mus- 
quets } no shot, but small rounded stones. They 
make their wooden spoons, and the hafts and 
sheaths of their knives, with great neatness. The 
calabashes are of all sizes, iM^d the small ones, 
which are used for holding the dust of dried to- 
bacco leaves, or snufi; are generally ornamented 
with rude figures of men and animals, cut in high 
or low relief. The larger, which are sometimes a 
yard in diameter, are used for washing*tubs and 
all sorts of domestic purposes. The canoes are 
made far up in the country ; and it is said that the 


oiaidngof a canoe will occupy one man for three 

The people of Congo have ao immoderate fond- 
ness for dancingi especially on moonlight nights. 
They have songs on love^ war, palm wine, and va- 
rious other subjects. 

The mafooks, or officers who collect the reve- 
nues arising from trade* had from ten to twenty 
wives each. 

. The houses of the chenoos have several posts 
along the sides and ends, and are lined with palm 
leaves, and covered externally with the ribs of 
palm leaves, bound together with a creeping plant, 
in regular zig-zag figures. A mat of grass, thrown 
over palm leaves, is their bed. 

When a chenoo appears abroad, one of his offi- 
cers carries before him hisstaff of authority, which 
is a small stick of black wood^ about a foot in 
length, inlaid with lead or copper in die form of 
the worm of a screw, with another such worhi 
crossing it. The office of the chenoo is heredi- 
tary; but, on every demise, the viceroy sends a cap 
to the successor, as the investiture of his dignity. 
The chenoo, in his turn, appoints his officers by 
sending them caps. 

In their warlike, expeditions, the elders of the 
chenoo's family remain behind to take care of tke 
tdwn, while his sons and brothers usually command 
the forces under him. All the women are sent 
away before the war commences ; all the men un- 
der the government of the chenoo are obliged to 
fight. They fire into the houses of their enemies 
at night ; cut off the heads of the prisoners if 
they are chiefs, avd bum the bodies. Some foo- 
moo at length makes peace between the contend- 


ing parties^ when each keeps the trophies, and 
puts up with the losses. 

The ficus religiosa is planted in every market- 
place, and is considered here, as in the east, a 
sacred tree. My people having piled their mus- 
kets against one of these, and the points of some 
bayonets sticking in the bark, a great clamour was 
raised till they were removed. 

The negroes of Congo believe in a good and an 
evil principle, which are both supposed to reside 
in the sky. The former sends rain, the latter 
withholds it ; but they do not seem to consider 
either of them as possessing any other influence 
over human affairs. AAer death they all take 
their place in the sky, and enjoy a happy exist- 
ence, without any regard being paid to their good 
or bad actions, while here below. 

Each town has a grand hissey^ or presiding divi- 
nity. It is the figure of a man, the body stuck 
with feathers, rags, and bits of iron, and resem- 
bles nothing so much as one of our scarecrows. 
The chenoo of Cooloo had a kissey. so redoubtable 
that if any person attempted to shoot at it, he 
would fall down dead, and the flint would drop 
out of the musket. This powerful divinity was 
the figure of a roan, about two feet high, rudely 
carved in wood, and covered with rags. One of 
my people, by means of a handsome present, pre- 
vailed upon the chenoo to let him encounter the 
|(issey ; and the time was fixed for the following 
morning. But in the evening a palaver was held 
in the town, the result of which was, that, in. the 
morning, the chenoo came, attended by nearly all 
the inhabitants, to solicit my interference to pre- 

VOt. II. s 


vent the battle. He said, with great anxiety ia 
his countenance, that, if the kissey were hit, all 
the neighbouring chenoos would make war upon 
him immediately. 

Each house has also its particular divinities, 
which are invoked on all occasions, and are in- 
cluded in the term fetish, mentioned before. 
When a man applies to a gangam, or priest, for 
a domestic fetish, he is told from what sorts of food 
he must abstain. Children are forbidden to eat 
the food that is fetished to their fathers. Women 
are not to eat meat the day that it is killed. 

A gangam passed through the town of Cooloo, 
attended by his drum-beater, with the instruments 
of his profession, — a large drum, a number of ca- 
labashes filled with small stones, and a dozen 
fetishes. This personage was on his way to a 
neighbouring village, from whence he had been 
sent for, to discover the cause of the death of one 
of the inhabitants. On the following day he re^ 
turned, and we learned that he had denounced 
three men of another village as the poisoners of 
the deceased ; and that they were immediately to 
undergo the ordeal of chewing poisonous bark, 
which, if they were guilty, would remain on their 
stomachs, and occasion their deaths, and, if inno- 
cent, they would vomit up instantly. Thegangams 
diiil not appear to be numerous, the one I saw here 
having come from a considerable distance. Each 
has usually a novice with him, whom he initiates 
into the mysteries of his profession, and who suc- 
ceeds him after his death. Their pay consists of 
money mats, of which this man had received a 
large bundle. 

Poisoning is the only kind of murder committed 


in secret. If a man poison an equals be is decapi- 
tated, and the body is burnt ; if a superior, the 
limbs are amputated while the culprit relttaans 
alive, and are sent severally to the principal towns; 
and all hk male relations, even infants at the breast, 
are put to death. The frequent occurrence of this 
crime has established the invariable custom of the 
person who presents food to the master first tasting 
it himself; and the master performs the same Cere- 
mony to his visitor. This the negroes 'who ^eak 
English call taking off the fetish. - 

If a theft be discovered, all the persons impli- 
cated are brought before the priest. After throw- 
ing himself into violent contortions, which are sup- 
posed to proceed from the inspirations of the kis- 
sey, he points out the thief, who is immediately 
taken to be sentenced by a palaver. If the mar^ 
prove his innocence, the kissey has deceived the 

The best information to be obtained respecting 
the hi&tory of the present time is, that Lindy, or 
Blindy, or Blandy Congo is the paramount sove- 
reign of the country, and resides at Banza Cpngo, 
six days' journey on the south of the river ; that 
the government on the opposite sides of the river 
is committed to two viceroys, Sandy Congo, or 
Benzy Congo, on the north, and Cercula Congo 
on the south, both of whom reside in the interior. ' 
The chenoo of Inga receives his cap from Benzy 
Congo, who is said to reside'ten days' journey to 
the north-west of that town. Perhaps it may not 
be uninteresting to trace some particulars respect- 
ing this people from the accounts of Europeans. 

In 1480 the Portuguese discovered the river of 
Congo, ' 


260 CONGO. 

In 1490 Ruy de Sousa, ambassador from the 
king of Portugal, proceeded to the resideHce of 
the king of Congo, which was then called Avtf 
bassi. When the Portuguese were on the road 
from the coast to the capital, which was situated 
about 150 miles from the sea, so great was the 
number of people who flocked to see them, that 
the whole country seemed covered With spectators. 
All the road was swept clean, and every obstruc- 
tion removed, and the Portuguese were abundantly 
supplied with provisions and necessaries by the 
way. When they had travelled three days, they 
were met by a number of otScers belonging to the 
court, who were sent to meet them by the king ; 
and when they arrived within three miles of the 
city, the whole court came to welcome them. De- 
luded king, and mistaken courtiers! they knew 
not that the Portuguese would buy and sell the 
people ! So great was the multitude assembled in 
the town, that every tree and every eminence was 
filled. The ambassadors and the priests were re- 
ceived with transport ; the king and his courtieis 
were baptized ; and the city received the name of 
Saint Salvador, from a church that was built and 
dedicated to our Saviour. 

While nothing more than baptism was required, 
people were eager to embrace the Christian refli- 
cgton. But when the monks insisted that a Chris- 
tion should marry one wife, and put away the rest, 
it became another IBair. The. wives of the negro 
are I\is servants in the house, and his labourers in 
4Lhc field ; and he who had been accustomed to 
possess the labour of a hundred, fifly, or even two, 
of these, was not likely to be content with one. 
This accordingly occasioned great opposition, in 


which the ladies took apart; for it is said that 
those who were separated from their husbands, 
*^ blasphemed and cursed the new religion at an 
extravagant rate.** 

A bishop was afterwards sent to visit the Con- 
ghese ; and the road to the capital w*as not only 
swept, but mats were laid in every village in which 
he might alight ; especial orders having been sent 
to ^ the chiefs not to suffer the foot of the preUte 
to be set upon the bare ground. 

A Portuguese who arrived at Congo in the year 
1573, and resided many years at St. Salvador, 
gives the following account of that city and its in- 

Banza signifies the town in which a king or gdr 
vernor resides. Banza Congo, or St. Salvador, is 
situated on the summit of a high rocky mountain^ 
above the river Lelunde, about 150 miles from the 
sea. On the top of the mountain is a large plain, 
in the south-east angle of which is the Portuguese 
town, surrounded by a wall. The palace of the 
king is also inclosed by a wall, which, as well as 
that of the Portuguese town, is about a mile in 
circumference. Between the two is a large open 
space, which is the market-place, on one side of 
which is the principal church ; the habitations of 
the great «en open upon this square. Beyond 
these buildings the aummii; of the mountain is full 
of villages, and the habitations of great men, 
each of which is itself a village. The whole plain 
is fertile and well cultivated. The air is wholes- 
some, and water is plentiful, but the best is 
fetched from below. The plain is about ten miles 
in circumfereimp, and is inhabited by not fewer 

26e COKGQ. 

than 100,000 persons. The winding ascent of the 
mountain, by the great road, is five miles. 

The houses are constructed with wood, and co- 
vere/i with straw, only one story high, but divided 
into several apartments, which are lined with beau- 
tiful mats. They are built within inclosures formed 
with branches of trees, and covered with mats. 

The Conghese wove curious cloths of the fibres 
of the palm leaf, some with a nap, like velvet, 
others with a pattern, like damask. In ancient 
times these cloths formed the apparel of the sove- 
reign and his courtiers. They were covered from 
the waist downwards with a cloth of palm leaf, 
which was fastened with a girdle of the same ma* 
terials curiously wrought Over this was an apron 
of the skin of the tiger-cat, or some other animal. 
On the shoulders they wore a cape, and on the 
body a round garment reaching to the knees, 
woven like a net, with palm leaf fibres, with a 
number of small tassels of the same thread rouad 
the bottom. This was turned up on the right side, 
and fastened to the shoulder, to leave the right arm 
at liberty, and from that shoulder hung the tail of 
a zebra. On their heads they wore very small 
caps of red and yellow, and on their feet shoes 
made of palm tree wood. The common people 
wore a garment, from the waist downwards, like 
that of the great, but of coarser materials ; the 
rest of the body was naked. 

Women of the better sort wore three difierent 
garments below the girdle; the first reaching to the 
ieet, the second shorter, and the upper one shorter 
still, and edged with fringes. These were all 
hound round the waist and wrapped over before. 


Tli6 body was covered with a waistcoat, and the 
shoulders with a sort of cloak. The cap resem- 
bled that of the men. Every thing was manufac- 
tured with the thread of palm leaf. Servants, and 
women of the lowest class, were only clothed from 
the girdle downwards. 

After the establishment of the Portuguese at St. 
Sak:ador, the negro king and his courtiers wore 
wide Jackets, cloaks, and tabai*ts, of cloth or silk ; 
hats or caps, slippers of velvet or leather, and long 
swords ; and their wives wore veils, black velvet 
caps adorned with jewels, and chains of gold 
about the neck. All others retained the dress of 
the country. 

The sovereign of Congo adopted, in some in- 
stances the manners, as well as the habit of the Por- 
tuguese. When he dined in public, he had a table, 
which was placed on a raised platform covered with 
Indian tapestry ; his chair was covered with crim- 
son velvet, with nails and ornaments of gold ; his 
sideboard was covered with gold and silver plate« 
He ate alone; the princes standing about him, 
with their heads covered. 

He seldom, continues the Portuguese traveller of 
1578, goes out of his palace ; and before he goes, 
his guards sound their instruments, which may be 
beard at the distance of five or six miles, to signify 
that the king is going abroad. On such occasions 
he is attended by his courtiers, and by the Portu-^ 
guese, in whom he places great confidence. Twice 
a week he gives public audience, but no m^n ever 
speaks to him except through his ministers. There 
are few disputes in Congo, as all power and all 
property is derived < immediately from the king. 
In criminal ca^^es a man is rarely condemned to 

Q6rh COKGO. 

death. The king generally confines him to some 
desert island ; for he considers this a greater pu* 
nishment than to end life at a stroke. If it hap* 
pen that the criminal survive ten or twelve years, 
thd king commonly pardons him ; and, if he be of 
any consideration, employs him in the seivice of 
the ^tate, as a person well disciplined, and enured 
to hardship. 

Before the introduction of Christianity, the 
coihmon people were distinguished by the names 
of birds, beasts, plants, and stones. The chiefs 
had the title of mani, or lord, prefixed to the name 
of the place which they governed ; the king him- 
self being called Mani Congo, Lord of Congo. 
The people called themselves Makiconghi.: 

In 1642 some Dutch ambassadors were sent to 
the King of Congo. They had their audience at 
night, and were conducted through a passage 200 
yards in length, between two rows of men holding 
lighted wax candles. The king was seated on a 
chair covered with velvet, under a canopy of white 
satin bordered with a deep gold fringe. His dress 
was of cloth of gold, over which he wore a long 
mantle of velvet. On his head was a fine white 
cap. On his right hand stood an officer, who 
gently fanned the air with a handkerchief; on his 
lefi^tood another, holding a bow and sceptre — 
alas ! of tin ! Before him, on the carpet, kndt his 

Tieere^are six provinces in the kingdom of 
Congo r^niov Sundi, Pango, Bamba, Batta, and 
PeAiba;- 'dn th^ryear 1666 two Capuchin friars set 
ootff9<n)D'^ati^ a. place on the frontiers of An- 
gol0l£«thertd the Portuguese had a fi>fft, for Bamba, 
thD^^pital of one 'of these provinces. Bamba was 


in the way to St. Salvador. The roads were only 
paths, along which the travellers proceeded in file- 
First marched negroes, carrying burdens ; then a 
missionary borne in a hammock of net, and fol* 
lowed by other negroes. " Then," says the father 
who relates the story, "came I, carried in my 
net, which seemed to me an easy sort of carriage.** 
Negroes, who were to relieve the porters, closed 
the procession. 

At every libatte, or village, fresh negroes were 
provided, and at every libatte the good fathers 
performed the offices of their function, baptizing 
children and saying mass. The first of these vil^ 
lages, which is said to be a pretty large one, con* 
sisted of about a hundred huts, disposed without 
any regularity. These were rather the dormito- 
ries than the habitations of the people ; the men 
being abroad all day, conversing, or pursuing dif- 
ferent amusements, and the women tilling the 
ground, frequently with a child at their back, an0 
one or two others under their care. Each village was 
surrounded by a thorny hedge as high as a pike. 

On the journey the missionaries saw a boa con- 
strictor, 25 feet in length, advancing towards them 
on the path. They turned aside to a rising ground, 
from whence they saw it pass, and observed that 
its motion shook the herbage as much as the pass* 
ing of twenty men. 

One evening, instead of a village, there were 
only two huts at the station of the travellers. 
These had no fence ; but there were four trees^ 
with small huts on the tops of them, in which ihe 
negroes kept watch during the night, while the 
missionaries slept on straw in one of the-habito- 
tions below. In the night a lion and a« leopard 


advanced so near the hut, that they plainly distin- 
guished them through the crevices, by the Ught of 
the moon. The negroes kindled a fire, and the 
unwelcome visitors retreated. 

At another time, the inhabitants of the country 
before them having set fire to the grass, the flames 
drove aH the animals towards the travellers. The 
negroes, aware of the danger, told the missionaries 
that they must all climb the trees. This was no 
part of their nnssion j but happily they were pro- 
vided with a ladder of ropes which assisted them. 
From the tree they saw a troop of animals pass by, 
among whick were lions, leopards, wolves, and 
rhinooeroses,. in such numbers that the whole 
party would scared}' have afforded them one good 

After this, the travellers met a wounded lion^ 
which left a track of blood behind him. He ad* 
vaExred towards them with great fury ; the bearers 
set down the first missionary, who had some diffi- 
culty to get out of his net ; the negroes took up their 
bows, and shouted ; one of them, at the same time, 
set fire to the grass, which was very tali and dry, it 
being in the month of March, and the lion tmned 

An hour before night they arrived'at a village 
which w^ not, like the others, surronnded by 
thorns^ When they entered the market-place» 
they found a great number of people assembled, 
and w^to^ told that their chief had been fighting a 
liom ^ The crowd made way for the ^thei', who, 
having* sainted the chief, reproved him for having 
nO'jfeiice rouilS his village. " Father,'^ said the 
cbr<#, ^f while I live there will be no need of a fence ; 
itfliMi I am* dead, they may do as they please." On 


enquiry being made respecting the particulars of 
the combat, the chief gave the following account: 
" I was standing here, talking with my people, 
when a hungry lion came upon us so unexpect- 
edly, not roaring, as is usual, that they, who were 
unarmed, van away. I, who^am not used to run 
away, put one knee and one hand upon the ground, 
and holding my knife with the other hand, I struck 
him, with all my force, in the belly. Finding 
himself wounded, he rushed upon me so furiously, 
that he wounded himself again in the throat ; at 
the same time tearing with his daw, a piece of 
skin off my side. My people then returning with 
their weapons, and the lion being wounded in two 
places, he ran away, losing much blood/' 

Besides the inhabitants of the villages, there 
were many whp, lived under trees in the open 
country ; though not without great danger from, 
wild beasts* Afler travelling through a- country 
in which these were so- numerous tliat they were 
frequently obliged to burn the grass before they 
dared to pass through it, they arrived at Bamba, 
where the Capuchins had a convent of mud 
thatched with straw. 

Bamba is said to be seventy leagues from (he 
sea, and in the road from Loanda to SU Salvador, 
which was only fifty. This is a difficulty Lcannot 
overcome. Bamba was a great town, the capital 
of a province ; and its sovereign, though subject 
to, and appointed by, the king of Congo, appeared 
in great state. He wore a coat down to bit knees 
of cloth of palm leaves, dyed blacky a olo^k* .df 
blue cloth, and a red cap trimmed witli gold. 
When he went abroad, the son of one great man 
carried his hat, the son of another his sword, and 
another his arrows. Fifty men ]yent before him 

266 CONGO. 

playing on difTerent instruments ; and twenty-five 
officers and a hundred men followed him. 

When a young man intended to marry, he made 
a suitable present to the father of a young woman» 
and took hi^r home to live with him. If he conti- 
nued to like her person ; if he found her obedient, 
and diligent in her daily labour ; he retained her 
as his wife. If she proved disagreeable, refractory 
or lazy, he returned her to her parents ;. but his 
rejection was no obstacle to her entering upon a 
state of probation with another man. The woman 
was also at liberty to quit the man, if, on acquaint- 
ance, ^be disapproved of him ; and it frequently 
happened that, the man was desirous to retain the 
woman, when she would not consent, to stay with 
him. The Capuchins combated this state of trial 
with all their might, and obliged their converts to 
marry according to the rules of the church. Such 
as did 8O9 the father observes, lived so Christian-^ 
like and lovingly together, that the wife would 
sooner suffi^r herself to be cut to pieces, than prove 
unfaithful to her husbands 

When harvest, which came twice in the year, 
was over, the kidney-beans were placed in one 
heap, the. Indian corn in another, and the same 
with regard to such other plants as the people 
cultivated. A portion of each wa3 then set apart 
for>the chief, and a sufficient quantity for sowing ; 
the f emainder was /divided among the inhabitants, 
Meordmg to the number of persons in each hut ; 
aad the women assembled to till the ground for a 
itew^iharvest ; the earth being fruitful and black 
M(2 the people. : * 

In tlie eveqing, when the women returned from 
fr^m the fields, a fire was lighted in the centre of 
tl^e hut, and the family sat around it and made 


their repast : after which they talked^ till deep 
laid them prostrate on the ground. 

At Bamba the good missionary was attacked by 
a fever, and, hopeless of recovery there, he was 
carried to Loanda, a journey which occupied 
twenty-five days. His support by the way was 
St. Antony of Padua, whom, at times, he verily 
believed he saw walking before him. It was the 
opinion at that time in Africa, that in order to fit 
a European constitution for the climate, all the 
European blood should be taken away, and tl>e 
veins filled with African. In consequence of this 
method of practice, the father was bled ninety- 
seven times. Nature kindly assisted art ; fer the 
blood ran out of the father*s nose, mouth, and ears, 
sometimes at the rate of three or four p«unds in a 
day ; so that he concludes, and well he might con- 
clude, it was prodigious. 

Another missionary, twenty years after^ say s» 
that the man is obliged to procure the habitation^ 
to. clothe his wife, to prune the trees, to clear the 
field, and to bring home the palm wine^ the 
woman is to provide food for her husband and 
children. At noon she returns from her labour in 
the field, prepares the dinner, and places it before 
her husband ; and when he has done eating, she 
and her children share what is left. 

On St. James's day every chief brings his contri- 
bution towards the maintenance of the governor 
and his famil3s for the ensuing year. If he be to 
pay in fish, he carries two fi^es at the end of faift 
spear ; if in oil, he shews the nut that produces it ; 
if in meat, he carries the horn of theaidmal. CMB- 
cers who have ill executed their employtaenta rare 
now removed^ and their posts given to ctkvtrs^'^thi 

270 cawGO. 

this occasion the prince or governor is seated under 
the great tree in the market-place. 

The ordinary habit of the prince was a vest of 
straw cloth, of peculiar workmanship, worn only 
by himself and by pei^sons to whom he granted the 
privilege of wearing it. This was girded round 
the waist, and reached to the ground j over it 
w^ worn a long cloak of black baize, and on his 
head a little cap of stitched silk. His house was 
built of boards, and the front painted. When he 
went to church, a velvet chair with a cushion, was 
carried before him, and he was preceded by a musi- 
cian carrying small bells hung on a rod, and chant- 
ing to their music the glory and grandeur of his lord. 
The prince was carried in a hammock of net, by 
two men, one of whom bore a staff of silver, the 
other of ebony tipped with silver. There were 
generally two umbrellas of peacock's feathers, and 
two of straw carried before him on long poles, and 
two horses' tails to driue away the flies. The per- 
sons employed in' these offices were his favourites 
or relations. When the prince left the church, he 
knelt, and all the people gave themselves what the 
missionary terms, <' several good cufis on the ear,*' 
in token of their attachment to their sovereign. 

About the year 1686 this missionary visited the 
King of Congo at Lemba, which was now his resi- 
deujce, St. Salvador having, by frequent wars, been 
deserted, and become a den of thieves. What 
these wars were the monk does not say ; but I 
violently suspect that the Portuguese had a hand 
in them ; because the crown was in their posses- 
sion at Loanda, and the king was very desirous to 
have it restored, and to make St« Salvador again 
the royal residence. 

CONGO. 271 

When the Capuchin arrived within half a mile 
of the city of Lemba, he received orders to proceed 
no farther, till he had permission from the king» 
and he was left with only his interpreter. At 
length several persons came with an order to con- 
duct him to court. When he approadied the city, 
he was again stopped, to wait the arrival of the*se- 
cretary. This officer conducted him into the 
market-place, where he found an innumerable 
multitude of people, who were arranged on each 
side, singing the rosary in the Conghese language. 
At the upper end sat the king, who received the 
missionary with great devotion. 

The king was very desirous to retain the holy 
man at Lemba ; but his mission was at Sonio, and 
after a stay of twenty days, he returned. During 
his stay at Lemba he visited the queen-mother. 
It was evening, and on his entrance he was met 
by two servants with torches. In the second room 
were two other servants With, and four without, 
torches ; and in the third were two more with 
torches, and a greater number of attendants. 
These introduced him into the presence of the 
queen, who was sitting on a carpet with her 
daughter, wrapped in a long cloak, which was 
brought under her arm. This lady, rising, and 
placing her hands on her sides, declared, that, 
tiow they had the father, she should not suffer 
him to leave the court. She was afterwards 
convinced by his reasons, and permitted him to 

The people of Congo owe at least one improve- 
ment of their condition to the zeal and activity 6i 
the catholic missionaries. On the death of the 
monarch, young ladies were accustomed to fight 

272 CONGO^ 

and kill each other, for the honour of being 
buried ative with the dead body; and the victors 
leaped into the grave in their best apparel, to be 
ready to wait upon the. king in the world to come. 
The Congbese are now content to honour their 
deceased sovereign bj eating and drinking immo- 
d^hitely during eight days. 

The missionaries say, that the flesh of captives 
taken in war. was puhiickly sold in the market of 
,St. Salvador. Now it is certain that the Portu- 
j^ese chose rather to buy and sdl captives than to 
eat them ; and this might be considered an ame- 
lioration of their condition ; but this I am inclined 
to doubt. If no more captives were- sold than 
were formerly devoured j and if years of suffering 
were preferable to instant death, then would this 
be an improvement. But where are now the 
countless multitudes that flocked to gaze at the 
ambassador on his way to St. Salvador, and the 
monks on their way to Bamba ? I am afraid this 
is a quastiwi to be answered in the West Indies. 
And if Great Britain, and every, other state ivt 
Europe, were to make laws against the slave trade, 
still would the Portuguese, these long-practised 
traders in human beings, deal in their feUow- 

The domestic slaves in Congo- are never sold, 
except on account of misbehaviour, when a pala- 
ver is held to decide on their conduct. They are 
sometimes pawned for debt; but they are re- 
deemed as soon as possible. The marketable slaves 
are those purchased of the itinerant black tradeirs, 
and are such as have been takaa in w»r, con- 
demned for crime, or, as the negroes who speak 
Englibh express it, caught in the bush. The danger 

CONGO. 273 

of being caughtt and sold for a slai^, represses 
every desire of the people of one town to go'fiur* 
ther than the next Every man I conversed with 
acknowledged that the practice of catching would 
no longer existt if white men did not come for 
slaves ; and that nine~ or ten of their wars were 
the result of this abominable traffic. The great 
men> who derive a large portion of their revenue 
from the presents it produces, alone desire its 
coi^tinuance, \^ 

On the 10th of September I set out from Soondy 
N'Sanga on my return to the mouth of the river of 
Congo. On the 12th I crossed the creek of Coiido 
Yonga, in a canoe ; other creeks, which were dry 
in our way upwards, were now filled with water, 
land we were obliged to go high up, and pass them 
on fallen trees. On the ISth I reached Inga, so 
weak and ill, that I was unable to secure my 
effects ; and my silver spoons, great coat, and a 
number of other articles weite stolen. On the 14th 
I arrived at Cooloo, and procured from the che^- 
noo a goat, some fowls, and some eggs. The 
people received us with great hospitality ; all ran 
cheerfully to assist us j brought us water, wood 
for our fire, and grass for our beds. 

On the 15th we reached the river^ and I hired 
a canoe ; and on the 18th I arrived at the vessel, 
and found it crowded with goats, fowls, pigeons, 
pumpkins, plantains, and flaskets of palm wine. 
Here I soon recovered my health. 

At Tatt-trees, the b^^inning of the mangroves, 
the river had risen seven feet; but its velocity 
was not increased* 

vol. ir. 




AfT£R quitting the river of Congo, we anchored 
off Afolemba Point, and were surprised by a visit 
from the mafook of Malemba, the port of the 
kingdom of Cacongo. This great man arrived in 
a European four-oared boat, with a number of 
attendants in two canoes. Qne of these addressed 
me in English, telling me that he was a gentle- 
man, and his name was Tom Liverpool. The 
mafook asked me if I wanted slaves, and was 
much disappointed on my answering in the nega- 
tive ;. saying, he was overloaded with them, and 
would sell them at half their value. His conva*- 
sation was partly in broken £ngli^, and partly in 
somewhat better French. 

The dress of these gentry was European above 
the waist ; below, it was the garment of the ooun* 
try, a piece of checked, or. other cotton cloth, and 
over this an apron made of the skin of some ani^. 
mal ; the apron is only worn by gentlemen. -The 
caps of office were neatly embroidered, and of 
tnirious workmanship ; the others w£re of red or 
striped worsted, and not the. manufacture of the 
country. The gentlemen wore rings. of ircm and 
copper on the ancles and wrists, welded so as not 
to be taken off; many of the copper had raised 
figures. Beads, and hairs of the ele^baM'a tail» 
iwisted into cords, were worn round the neck. 
These seemed to ^be Anltiplied in proportion, to 


the puppyism of the wearer ; the graver and older 
men having only one or two, while some of the 
younger had so many that they could not move 
the head without difficulty. All were loaded with 
fetishes of the most heterogeneous kinds ; homs» 
stones, rags, wood, and bits of shells, but the most 
esteemed seemed to be a ^monkey's bone. The 
prmcipal fetish of the mafook was a piece of sculp- 
ture representing two men with high £»reheads 
and aquiline noses, surrounded wirii various kinds 
of rubbish, and slung over the shoulder by a belt 
made of the skin of a snake. 

My Malemba guests were cheerful, clean, 
dressed even to foppery, and had the manners of 
the French, the people with whom they have the 
greatest intercourse. Tammee Gomma, the ma- 
fook, was a man of middle age, tall, and well 
made, with a noble and interesting countenance, 
which resembled more that of an Arab than a 
negro. At dinner he carved the meat, and he 
and his officers drank my health ; but I must con- 
less that they paid their devotions to my brandy 
bottle till I thought it right to dismiss them. 

I dki not go on shore at Cacongo ; but an ex- 
tract from the relation of some French missiona- 
ries who arrived at Malemba in the year I768, will 
give the reader of these travels an idea of the 
country and its inhabitants. 

From Malemba one of the Others repaired to 
KingMli, the capital, and the usual residence of 
the king. This city was an assemblage of thou- 
sands of hous9s, made of rushes and pahn leaves. 
It was situated in a pleasant open plain ; the air 
waS' pure ; and the inhabitants were not incom- 
moded by flies, which are generally so trouble^ 

T 2 


some in hot countries. The environs were planted 
with palm and. other trees. 

The missionary met 'with a £si¥oaFable reception 
from . the king of Cacongo z and the Mangova, 
his first minister, gave orders that a house should 
be erected for him ; but the poor missionajry was 
seised with the fever. * In the midst of his saflfer- 
ings he dreaded nothing so much as going into 
the Jiext world attended by the superstitions of 
the negroes f and he intreated the mangova, who 
came to visit him, that, in case of his death, he 
might be buried without any ceremony, in the 
cassock he then wore. The minister assured him 
that the king had too great an affection for. him to 
suffer it. ** No," continued he, ^* I hope the 
king's ganga will restore you to health ; but if 
you die, your funeral will be celebrated Jike those 
of the great men of the kingdom. Your body 
will be wrapped in a great number of stuifi ; ex- 
posed in a house during nine or ten months, an4 
the servants of the king will go every night .W 
dance and sing round if The discussion of the 
funeral of the missionary was rendered useless, by 
the recovery of his health. 

The missionary was joined by his fi^low la* 
bourer. The king of Cacongo gave them all, and 
more than all they asked ; made them travel in 
his own hammock, and offered to put to death any 
one who should ndolest.them. This bon roi, as he 
is called, is said to have been 126 years of age : 
how his age could be ascertained among a people 
who keep no account of time, belonged to the 
missionaries to explain. 

The minister speared to be less disinterested 
than his master ; and the holy men obse£yed^ that 


be favoured their cause more or less» according to 
the presents they made him. By a present judi- 
ciously given, they accelerated the construction of 
a chapel, which they ornamented to the best of 
their power with gilt paper : and by the time they 
had been a year in the country:, they were suffi- 
dently acquainted with the language to begin 
their public instructions. The king made one of 
the congpegation at their first service, sitting cross- 
li^ged on a carpet; his officers and great men 
were seated round him .at a distance ; the rest of 
the hearers placed jthe^selves promiscuously, and 
the pr,eacher was provided with a bench. 

Haying bee;n thus successful in the capital, one 
of t^e nUssionaries endeavoured to spread the 
gospel in the country. His first essay was at tlie 
house of a great man, who had married one of the 
princesses, and who lived about eighteen miles 
from Kinguel^. Nothing could exceed the kind- 
ness of his reception, or the fervent desire of this 
gentleman to become a Christian ; but the jniSf 
sionary chose to continue his travels, and visited 
successively Malemha and Ka!a. He met with no 
opposition from any of the great men, except a 
few of those who ^ere in habits of intercourse with 
the Europeans on the coast. 

The health of the missionaries again failed 
them ; and it is scarcely to be wond^ed at5 for^ 
added to the insalubrity of th^ jclimate to £u^ 
ropean constitutions, they lived chiefly upon s^ted 
meat and wine, brought from France. Having 
^vith difficulty obtained leave of the king, and his 
minister, the mangova^ they quitted the promised 
harvest of souls, and, in 1770, returned to their 
own country* 


In the year 1773 other French missionaries ar- 
rived at Cacongo, and had landd, assigned them "by 
the king, on an* eminence, in a beautiful pliainy 
not far from Malemba. But before they could tiB 
the ground he had given them they wanted food j 
and when salted provisions had been given tbeto 
by their countrymen on the coast, they wanted 

These missionaries met with no traces of 
Cliristianity left by their predecessors ; but they 
were informed that a colony of Christians of Sonio 
had crossed the river of Congo some time before^ 
and, with permission of the king of Cacongo, had 
founded a small, distinct province in his kingdom. 
One of these Christians had come from Man-* 
guenza, the capital, to sell the flour of Turkey 
wheat at Kilonga, a village bordering on the Mis- 
sionary settlement, and was oveijoyed to discover 
that priests had arrived in the country. On his 
return he was dispatched to the missionaries by 
Don Juap^ the governor of the colony, to conduct 
them to Manguenza. 

Two of the missionaries set out, and, as 
KihgueM lay in their way, they presented them- 
selves at the audience of the king, and acquainted 
him with the motive of their journey. The king 
approved of the undertaking ; but the missiona- 
ries soon found they had committed an error in 
not addressing ' themselves to the mangova, 
through whom the application should have been 
made ; for the monarch revoked his permission, 
and the missionaries were told that they must 
proceed no farther. AH remonstrances to the 
mangova were vain, and they returned to Kilonga. 

Pedro, the meal-merchant, proceeded to Man- 


guenza wjth the unwelcome tidings ; and Don 
Juan^ who was a relation of the minister, sent him 
back to Kinguel6 to soh'cit his consent for the mis- 
sionaries to pass. The request was accompanied 
by a present which added to its weight ; the mi- 
nister told the envoy that he could refuse nothing 
to his relation ; and the missionaries set out for 
Manguenza a second time. 

They passed the first night in the open air, and 
the next day they arrived at Kinguel^ and ws^ited 
upon the mangova. He said it would be proper for 
them to see the king, and he sent an officer to 
conduct them to him, and to request his permis* 
sion for them to proceed to Manguenza. It was 
now his majesty's turn to refuse, and he declared 
that he never would consent to the journey. Poor 
Pedro was in despair at this second disappoint- 
ment } but the missionaries sagaciously concluded, 
that if the minister had power to detain them 
when they had the king*s leave to depart, he 
might be able to expedite their journey when the 
king forbade it. And so it proved ; for when they 
reported the affitir to the mangova, he took upon 
himself the office of speaking to the sovereign^ 
and ordered them to continue their journey the 
next morning. 

From Kinguel^ the missionaries travelled east- 
ward ; and having passed a Christian village called 
Guenga, belonging to the colony, they arrived in 
the evening at Manguenza. This town was about 
thirty-six miles distant from Kinguel^, and nearly 
the same from the river of Congo. The mis- 
sionaries were received with transport by the 
black Don Juan, and his sable Portuguese 
Christians. They were conducted in procession 


to tiie! church, an edifice not diflering from tlie 
ismritte habitationB) but it cbataiiied a kind of 
^dbir^ covered with a mat, and a crucifix fns 
placed upon it; Canticles were chanted on one 
aide, and baptisms pnnaded for ob the other, be^ 
fore the groveling necessities of eatiiig and drink* 
ing were thought of by either. 

In the course of eight days that the misaiQiia^ 
ties remained at Manguenza, they baptized 945 
children, besides performing the other <^cea of 
their function. It does not appear that marriage 
was of the number ; and the French .misaionaricab 
perhaps more conciliating than the Portugtieaei are 
silent on the subject of polygamy* 

They estimate the inhabitants of the Christian 
colony at four thousand. 

. Don Juan having vainly endeavoured to retain 
the priests in his little territory, gave them two 
goats as a parting present, a rich present, they ob- 
serve, for so poor a country. He advised them, 
however, to give one of them to the king of 
Cacongo, as a means to preserve his favour. At 
Kinguel^ they went to return thanks to the man- 
gova, and intended aflerwards to present them- 
selves before the king, and offer him the goat.; 
but the minister thought it sufficient to send it by 
Pedrp, as coming from Don Juan, and. did not 
choose that the journey of the missionaries should 
be mentioned; doubtless because he had not men- 
tioned it himself. From Kinguel^ the missiona^ 
rles returned to their brethren on the plain of 
Kilonga. . 

Though the Christian teachers were in general 
received with rapture, and their doctrines with 
little less, it does not appear that they made any 


fdagam in their pious worlc. Tbey: smtaed to 
be ins want jj£ patronage; almost in want of Aod, 
Mid incapable of providing it for tbemselve^^ and 
they called ihe climate ^^ murderous fira* French- 
men," • In their last accounts they were on the 
point of beUeving; that they were not the chosen 
instruments for the conversion of the pbople of 

From the missionaries we learn the following 
particulars respecting the inhabitants of Cacongo. 
^ By a custom of which the people know neither 
tiie origin nor the intention, but which they regard 
as esaential to the existence of their monarchy, 
the kings of Cacongo may not possess, or even 
toucfat any European articles of >fbod or clothing. 
Neither white men, nor black, are admitted into 
their palace, clad in European stuffs. The kiug 
•eats in one room, and drinks in another. .He eats 
in priv&te^ and drinks in public; Th^ apartment 
in which he drinks is closed on three sidesj and 
rti^en on the fourth, and the drinking of the king 
is the time that his officers assemble to pay their 
court : not, however, to witness his drinking.; for, 
when the cup is presented to the: monarch, a 
.ganga, who is at once his physician, coiigiirer, and 
butler, rings a bell, and cries with all his might, 
'^ prostrate yourselves^ or hasten away!" • The 
assembly then prostrate themselves with their faces 
to the ground ; and it is believed that the king 
would die, if any one of his subjects were to sefe 
him drink. When the sovereign has drank, the 
cry and l:he bell cease, and the people are allowed 
to look him in the face. 

By a custom equally singular, the king of Ca- 
congo is obliged to drink a cup of palm wine for 


every^ cause that be judges, and he sometimes 
decides fifty at a sitting. If he did not drink/ 
Im sentence would be illegal. The same cere- 
mony is observed upon these occasions as \7hen 
he drinks after eating. He holds his audience 
every day from sun-rise, till he have decided all 
the ca«lses brought before him y and it is seldom 
that he has finished before eleven or twelve o'clock 
in the day* 

When the king falls sick, it is prodaimed 
throughout the kingdom, and everyone is obliged 
to kill a cock, though none know why. The most 
sensible among them told the missionaries th^ 
the cock did them more good than the king, be- 
cause they ate it. On the death of the king, no 
person .may cultivate the land during several 
months ; and a missionary heard one man say to 
another^ <* Because the king has died with sick- 
ness, must we expose ourselves to perish with 

Markets are held in the public square of the 
towns, and the large villages, under the shade of 
trees. Here are sold smoked fish, manioca, and 
other roots, salt, palm-nuts, sugar-canes, bananas, 
and various kinds of fruit. A mother may send a 
child of six years old to one of these markets, as- 
sured that it will not be deceived. Every sort of 
merchandize is divided into small portions, and 
each portion is worth a money-mat. 
' The king of Congo claims Cacongo as one of 
his provinces ; and, in return the king of Cacongo 
styles himself Macongo, that is^ King, or Lord, of 
Congo, instead of Macocongo, which is his proper 
title. When he goes to war, the makaka, who is 
the war*minister and the general, sends orders 


to all the princes and governors to levy troops. 
These all appear on a certain day, when, if the 
maikaka think they do not cover a sufficient space 
of girotind, he has only to speak the word in the 
name of the^ king, and, in a few days, the army is 
as strong as he wishes it. Before they set out on 
an expedition, they paint the whole of their body 
red, in the confidence that this colour will render 
them invulnerable to fire arms; and they wear 
large plumes, of rich colours, to strike terror into 
the enemy. Each man takes with him victuals for 
some days, and such arms ^s he can procure, for 
none are provided ; some have muskets, others 
sabres, and some have only knives. They march 
without order or discipline, and the chiefs who 
command them seem rather like the drivers of a 
flock of sheep than the conductors of an army. 
When they encounter the enemy, each man rushes 
upon the man before him ; the battle begins in 
confusion, and soon ends in flight. If a few sol- 
diers fall at the feet of their' comrades, the army is 
disbanded, and the victors have only to follow, 
and take prisoners, whom tliey sell to the Euro- 
peans. But it is very seldom that two armies 
come to ^n engagement. The general mode of 
warfare is to fall upon the enemy's towns and vil- 
lages, plunder and burn them, and carry off the 

A war is frequent[y terminated in a week. 
When' the soldiers have eaten the provisions they 
carried with them; and And none in the enemy's 
country, or when they want powder and lead, no- 
thing is capable of retaining them. They take 
the path that leads to their country ; and if their 


king be not satisfied with the expeditidn, it rests 
with.hitn to order another. 

Though the natives of Cacongo display Ho Va^ 
lour in the field, they are extremely desirous to be 
thought courageous. The greatest af&oht tiiafc 
can be ofiered a man is to call him a coward, and 
he tanhot be flattered mbre than by telling him he 
looks like a brave man. A handsome face is con«» 
sidered as a defect, and he who is much marked 
with the small-pox is envied. To shew their reso- 
lution, they make incisiona on their faces, shoul- 
ders, and legs. A ntissionary asked a man who 
was bleeding profusely under this operation, why 
he gave himself so much pain, he answered, ** Pcnr 
honour, that peqple may say I am a man of dott- 
rage.'* ♦ 

The inhabitants of Cacongo believe in a Supreme 
Being, the Creator of all that is good and beautiful, 
just» and a lover of justice, and severely punisfedng 
fraud and perjury. They call him Zambi. They 
also believe in another being, whom they cdl 
2^mbi-a<-n'bi, the god of wickedness, the author 
af crimes and misfortunes, ^nd the destroyer of 
the good things created by the other. They 
think the good being requires no propitiation^ and 
they endeavour to appease tbe wrath of the evil 
by offering him some banana trees, which they 
leave to perish, with the fruit untouched. 

Their secondary divinities are imitations of die 
human figure, rudely carved in wood, and placed 
in houses like their own« or in woods or unfre- 
quented places. If any thing considerable be 
stolen, one of these is brought into the m^rfcet- 
place, with much ceremony, to discover the thief; 


mnd so much are thieves afVaid of the peDetration 
of these wooden deities, that they frequenUy re* 
store in private the thing taken^ rather than expose 
themselves to the risk of being detected in poblie. 

The third rank of divinities are bones of mon- 
keys, teeth of fishes, and feathers of birds, which 
are worn to preserve their owners firom particulas 
accidents and misfortunes. To keep sterility from 
their fields, they stick into the ground broken pots, 
and the branches of certain trees* If tliey are to 
be long absent from home, they place the same 
centinels before the door of their house, and the 
most determined thief would not dare to pass the 
threshold, if it were guarded by these mysterious 

The gangas are as ignorant as the rest of the 
people, but. greater knaves. No one doubts their 
commerce with the god of evil, or their knowledge . 
of the means to avert his vengeance. They are 
supposed to be capable of obtaining rain or fair 
weather, of rendering themselves invisible, and 
gliding through the thickest doors. . At the birth 
of an infant, it is forbidden by the ganga to eat 
certain kinds of meat, such as the ganga may fix 
upon at the moment, during its life, and the prohi*^ 
bition is religiously observed. , Partridge is forbid*- 
den to all*; and if they are asked why they do not 
eat a bird so good, they reply, that, perhaps what 
is good for one country may not be so for another; 
and they know that if they were to eat of partridge,, 
their fingers would drop from their hands.* 

When a sick man has drawn his last breath, the 
gangas and musicians,' by whom he was attended, 
retire, and the nearest relations place tlie body on 
a scaffold, under which they make a fire emitting 

286 eAcoNGo. 

a thick smoke. When the corpse is sufficiently 
smoked, it is exposed to the air for some days^^ 
with a person by its aide to keep off the flies. It 
is then wrapped in a prodigious quantity of stofis ; 
the riches of the heirs being estimated tiy the 
quality of the envelope, and their regard for the 
deceased by its size. It is then exposed in public^ 
at least several months* and often a year» accord** 
ing to the rank of the deceased. During this 
time the friends, the relations, and above all, the 
wives of the dead, who erect their houses near that 
in which the corpse is placed, assemble every 
evening to weep, sing, and dance around it. 

On the eve of the day appointed for the funeral 
the corpse is shut up in a coffin in the form of a 
cask, and the next day it is put on a sort of car, 
and drawn by men to the place of interment. The • 
roads are levelled for the occasion ; or, if the de<* 
ceased were a prince, new ones are made, thirty or 
forty feet wide. The attendants make the greatest 
noise possible, dancing, singing, and playing on 
instruments ; and it is not unusual for the same 
person to dance, sing^ and weep, at the same time. 
When they reach the place of interment, which is 
often at a great distance from the town or village, 
the coffin is deposited in a hole, resembling a well» 
about fifteen feet in depth, and with it are iii« 
terred the most valued effects of the deceased. 

It cannot b^ doubted that the multitude of gar- 
ments are intended for the wardrobe of the de- 
parted friend in the other world, his effects either 
for his use or ornament, and the provisions, which 
are frequently added, for his refreshment by the 
way. The missionaries deny human sacrifices in 
Cacongo ; but it must be remembered, first, that 

BOOALI. 487 

they 4lid not witness the funeral of a king ; and, 
second, that wherever Europeans are established, 
the negroes are very desirous to conceal such sa* 
crifices from them. 

After sailing to the northward from Malemba, 
I anchored in the road of Loanga, and going on 
shore, I reached the capital of the kingdom, called 
hy the natives Booali, the same evening. The 
roads *are narrow paths. At a distance the city 
resembles a forest, as it has within it and around 
it a number of plantations of palm trees and ba- 
nanas. I walked through the town, from one end 
to the other. It is of vast extent, and divided 
into as many inclosures as there are families, each 
family having a portion of ground for cultivation 
annexed to the inclosure. The streets, or rather 
paths, are multiplied to infinity ; bpt they are so - 
narrow that two persons cannot walk abreast, and 
the grass upon them grew so high that in some 
places I could not see the houses. Booali is si- 
tuated in latitude 4^ 45^ liorth* 

As I made no stay in Loanga, it may not be 
amiss to say what this country and its inhabitants 
were at the end of the seventeenth century, and 
what in the year I766, when they were visited by 
the French missionaries. 

Towards the end of the seventeeth century the 
metropolis of Loanga was said to occupy as much 
ground as the city of York, but to be far less 
closely built. The streets were wide, straight, and 
neatly kept, and trees were interspersed among 
the houses. In the centre of the city was a large 
market-place, on one side of which was the resi- 
dence of the king, containing a vast number of 
distinct buifdings. The houses were constructed 

288 LOANGO. 

with two gable ends, and a sloping roof, whicl) 
rested on thick posts four or five yards in height, 
and was covered. with matomba leaves. A house 
generally contained two or three separate apart- 
ments. Besides the capital, there were said to be 
ten large towns^ and many smaller ones in Loango« 

The men wore long garments that rei^ched to 
the feet, but left the upper part of the body unco- 
vered. I he cloths, were of different qualities. 
The first were very, fine, of curious patterns and 
various cplonrs, and were worn only by the kiqg, 
and those on whom he bestowed them as a mark 
of distinction. The secoqd were of the same kind, 
but inferior both in size and workmanship. The 
tliird were plain^ and were worn by the cooimon 
people. The cloths of the women were of the 
€ame sorts, but they reached only a little below 
the knee. Copper and iron rings were worn #n 
the legs an.d arms of both sexes. 
. Of. the bitter and astringent root of a certain 
tree, the gangas, or priests, made an infusion, 
called bond^ .drink, which was used as a test to 
discover the. author of any misphief. If a man 
were killed by a beast of prey, the destroyer was 
accounted a sorcerer, who by his mokUies^ or 
charms, had assumed that form. If a house were 
burnt, or drought prevailed when rain was lex- 
pected, bond^ drink was used to discover the au- 
thor of the misfortune. If murder or theft were 
committed, bond^ water was administered to the 
person suspected. In all these trials sickness was 
theprpof of guilt ; and if the party remained in 
health, he was considered as innocent. 

While the husband was eating, the wife sat at a 
distance; when he had done eating, she made 


her meal o» what he left. The wife never spoke 
to her husband but upon her knees, and never ap- 
proached liim without creeping upon her hands ; I 
am \Hlling to give uncivilized man credit for ex- 
acting a slavish submission from the creature who 
in happier countries is called his helpmate, but I 
could scarcely have imagined he degraded her so 
low as this, except on particular occasions* 

The king of Loango was never seen to eat or 
drink, his servants retiring when they had brought 
in the dishes ; and his cup-bearer hiding his face 
in the sand, when he had presented the cup. 
Chance, however, had twice* broken into this regu- 
lation. At one time, a favourite dog, that had 
not been properly watched, opened the door of the 
apartment with his nose ; and, at another, the 
child of a nobleman had fallen sleep, and had in- 
advertently been left by his father. Both saw the 
king eat, and e^ch was instantly put to death. 
The food of which the king had tasted was buried 
in the earth. 

The throne of the king of Loango was about six 
feet in length, two feet in breadth, and eighteen 
inches in height, with small pillars of white and 
black palmetto branches interwoven in wicker 
work. The only. times at which this sovereign 
was^een in public were, when he received a fo- 
reign ambassador, when a leopard was taken, when 
his chiefs paid their tribute, and when his wives 
tilled the land. On these occasions he appeared 
on a large plain which was before his palace, and 
in the midst of the city, seated on an elevated 
stool formed of black and white basket-work. Be- 
hind him was a shield suspended from a pole, co- 

VOL.^'II. V 

290 LOANGO. 

vered with European stufis, and be^re his seat 
was spread a large carpet, made of leaves quilted 
together, on which no person was allowed to tread, 
but those of his own family. Beyond this carpet 
were seated a number of those monsters of the hu- 
man species, dwarfs and white negroes. 

In Loango the queen-dowager was chosen by 
the king, who adopted some matron as his mother, 
and respected her more than his real mother. 
The title of this lady was Makonda, and she had 
great prerogatives at court. 

The people of Loango made cloths of the fibres 
of the matomb^ leaf, which were used instead of 
money at the Portuguese settlement of Loanda, 
and were the standard by which all commodities 
were valued ; a pound of ivory was there >vorth 
five pieces of cloth. The Europeans exported 
from this country elephants' tails, the hairs of 
which were sold at Loanda at the rate of six shil- 
lings the hundred. These hairs the negroes 
braided very finely, and wore about the neck. 
Such as were sufficiently long to be woven into 
girdles were of double the value. For permission 
to trad^ in Loango, the Europeans gave presents 
to the king, to the queen-mother, and to two offi- 
cers called manikes and raanikipga, who superin- 
tended the factory. 

Theft was punished by public exposure in the 
m^^rket-place, after restitution had been made 
either by the culprit or his friends. 

The fetish derived from the Portuguese here re- 
tained its native appellation of mokisie. Some of 
these were villainous representations of the human 
figure, ornamented with feathers and tassels; others 
were feathers and small horns placed on cords. 


ani worn round the arm, neck, x>r waist ; others 
were round earthern pots, filled with red and white 
earth, kneaded into a paste with water. All these 
mokisies were supposed to possess the power of 
securing the people from evil, or subjecting them 
to it. A man was also restricted by the ganga 
from eating particular sorts of food, and made to 
believe that disobedience would draw upon him 
the vengeance of his mokisie. 

According to the custom of these people, the 
son of the king's sister was his successor. In his 
infancy he resided at Kina, and was forbidden to 
eat hog's flesh ; when past his infancy, he resided 
at Moanza, and was not to eat of the fruit called 
kola ; when he was near man's estate, he was to 
eat no fowls, except such as he killed and dressed 
himself; as he advanced towards the regal dignity 
he submitted to other privations ;' till, being ar- 
rived at it, he became, himself, fhe grand mokisie 
of Loango. 

When the Trench missionaries arrived at Loango 
in 1766, a great man offered them a residence at 
his village. They passed through Booali the ca- 
pital, in their way, and then crossed a desert plain,' 
ten or twelve miles in breadth, bounded by a hill, 
on the side of which were several villages. Having 
passed one of these, they were stopped by a marsh 
covered with water, and so large as to resemble a 
sea. While they were looking on all sides, to dis- 
cover their road, their conductors took off their 
garments, plunged in, and made signs for them to 
follow. The missionaries, who saw their guides 
up to the breast in water, thought the affair wore 
a serious aspect,' and remained motionless and irre- 

V 2 

292 LOANGO. 

solute ; but the guides laughed at their timidity, 
and they ventured to follow them. They were 
nearly an hour in crossing the marsh ; and in se- 
veral places the water reached up to the chin. 
After this, they liad several rivers and rivulets to 
pass, in the same manner ; and at night, exhausted 
with fatigue, they arrived at the village in which 
they were to establish themselves. 

While the good priests were here, endeavouring 
to make Christians of Pagans, one of them died, 
and another became so ill that he was removed to 
one of the French factories on the coast, The re- 
maining one had the satisfaction of interring his 
brother according to the rites of the church, and, 
of preventing the negroes from singing and 
dancing round his body ; but this did not secure 
himself from the malady, and both the survivors 
returned to France. They did not, however, quit 
the country without acquiring a knowledge of the 
language, and collecting some valuable informa- 
tion respecting the inhabitants, of which the fol- 
lowing is the substance. 

The respect of the people for the king ap- 
proaches to adoration. They say that their lives 
and all they possess belong to him, and it is his to 
take them when he pleases. But they do not limit 
his power to their lives and fortunes ; they ima- 
gine it extends to the seasons, and, when the 
rains fail, they implore him to send them upon his 
kingdom. This office he delegates to one of his 
ministers, who watches w^hen a cloud rises, and 
then promises the wished-for rain. 

The principal officers of state are the mani govo, 
or prime minister; Uie manipootoo, the makaka, or 
warminister/wliocommandsthcarmy; themafooka. 


who has the care of commerce ; and the makinba, 
who is the inspector of hunting and fishing, and 
through whose hands game and fish are paid to the 
king. The chief of every village is the receiver for 
his sovereign, and is not unmindful of himself. If a 
man have four goats, that he may not be obliged 
to give three, or even all, to the king, he gives the 
best to the governor, who is then content with tlie 
second for his master. These governments are 
often sold to the highest bidder; and the infa^- 
tuated people go singing and dancing to meet a 
man who has just purchased the right to pillage 
them by the king's authority. ^' 

There are no nobles in Loango but the princes; 
and this nobility is communicated by the women. 
The children of a princess are princes and prin- 
cesses, though their father be a plebeian : the 
children of a prince, and even of the king, descend 
to the common rank. 

The king of Loango dispenses justice, seated on 
a carpet laid on the ground, in what may be 
termed the hall of audience, which is, in general, 
crowded. When a crime cannot be proved, the 
accused is made to drink water in which the wood 
called cassa has been infused. This is real poison, 
if the stomach have not sufficient force to reject 
it immediately. . If the innocence of the accused 
be not established by this proof, a different potion 
is given him, which excites vomiting, and saves 
his life ; but he is then considered guilty, and is 
subject to the penalty of the law. If his stomach, 
unaided, do reject the cassa water, his accuser is 
sentenced as a calumniator. 

A king of Loango is not interred for some 
years after his death j and during this interval the 

294 LOANGO. 

kingdom is governed by a regent named by him- 
self, while living. The electors of the new king* 
are the princes, the ministers, and the regent, and 
the death of the sovereign is generally the signalfor 
a civil war. 

Grass grows in the streets of the towns of Lor- 
ango, which are only narrow paths. A great city 
is a labyrinth from which a stranger could not exr 
tricate himself without a guide. The houses are 
formed of rushes, or branches of trees, interwoven ; 
and the covering is worthy of the edifice, for it is 
only leaves, generally palm leaves, which will last 
several years: The man who wants a house, goes 
to market, with his wife and children, buys the 
one that suits him, each takes a piece according to 
his strength, and they set it up, fastening it to 
strong pegs, stuck in the ground. When finished, 
it has the appearance of a huge basket, turned up- 
side down.. The houses of the great are, howr 
ever, woven with much art, and lined with mats 
of different colours, the tapestry of the country, 
• The people of Loango wear but one garment, 
which reaches from the waist to the middle of the 
leg, and is fastened with a broad girdle. This is 
worn night and day, and never washed. Men 
shave the head, and wear caps ; women have the 
head uncovered, and women of rank cut the hair 
into intricate alleys and patterns, like the walks 
and parterres of an old-fashioned garden. 

The men are mostly unemployed, but not inca- 
pable of employment. In knowledge, as in the 
wants of life, they confine themselves to what is 
necessary. Ask them respecting the history of 
their country, and they reply, " Why should we 
wish to know what was done by the dead ? It is 


tE^Dough that the living do well." Ask them their 
age, they answer, " To know how long we have 
lived would be useless, since it would neither pre- 
vent us from dying, nor tell us when we should 
Both men and women are fond of talking and 
singing. While the women cultivate the earth, 
the plain resounds with their songs ; and the men, 
sitting cross-legged in a circle, under the thick 
shade of a tree, with a pipe in their mouths, and 
palm wine, if they have it, by their side, pass the 
day in telling news, or in frivolous conversation. 
He who begins the discourse sometimes speaks for 
a quarter of an hour, every one listens in silence. 
Another begins, and receives the same attention. 
No one is interrupted, and each speaks in his turn. 
From the warmth of their declamation, a stranger 
would imagine that the subject was of great im* 
portance, when, perhaps, it is a feather, or an 
earthen pot. They indicate numbers by gestures ; 
and all the hearers, on seeing the gesture, repeat 
the number aloud. 

Whoever is successful in hunting or fishing, 
shares his prize with his friends and neighbours. 
They are flattered by being thought generous, 
and they call the Europeans '• close-handed," be- 
cause they give nothing for nothing. A traveller 
who arrives at a village at the time of their repast, 
enters the first house, and is welcomed by its mas- 
ter. If the stranger does not eat with a good appe- 
tite, his host singles out the best morsel in the dish, 
bites a piece of it, and presents him with the re- 
mainder, saying, " Eat this upon my word." If 
it be only maniocjt, they make no apology, for the 


Stranger knows that if they had possessed better 
food, it would have been set before him. 

Manioca is the bread of (he poor ; banana that 
of the rich. The banana is the produce of a yikxkt 
rather than a tree } though it grpws to the height 
of twelve or fifteen feet, and its trunk is eight of 
ten inches in diameter. The fruit grows in a clus* 
ter from the top of the trunk, each cluster con- 
taining from one to a hundred bananas, and each 
banana being eight or ten inches in length, and 
about an inch in diameter ; so that a good bunch 
is a load for a man. The tree bears only one, 
and dies when it is taken away ; it is, therefore, 
usually pulled down to gather the fruit ; but from 
every piece of it, a foot in length, several other 
trees spring up, so that the banana requires no 
cultivation after' the first year. The bark is made 
into cords, and the leaves, which are seven or 
eight feet long, and eighteen or twenty inches 
broad, and almost of the consistence of parch? 
ment, serve as covers for pots. The fruit is hard 
and farinaceous. 

If a wife be unfaithful to her husband, she ac- 
knowledges her fault to him, under the impression 
that the greatest misfortunes will befal her if she 
conceal it ; and there are some other transgres- 
sions which she believes herself equally bound to 
confess. The husband is kind enough to pardon 
his wife these acknowledged errors ; but in the 
first case her accomplice becomes his sls^ve, unless 
he be rich enough to redeem himself. 

A princess chooses her husband, and he must 
have no other wife ; if he already have one, he 
must put her away. A man may not refuse this 


honour ; though he is seldom ambitious to obtain 
it, for the first day oif his marriage is the last of his 
liberty. He is not allowed to look at any other 
woman. He never goes out without numerous at- 
tendants, whose business it is to clear the way of 
all females ; and if one should chance to remain, 
notwithstanding their precautions, and the unfor- 
tunate husband should cast his eyes upon her, 
there are, ^among them, spies, who report it to 
his princess, who can, and commonly does, order 
him to be beheaded. The husband of a princess 
has but one hope ; that his wife may grow weaiy 
of him, and exchange him for another. 

What an object of compassion is such a hus- 
band ! But we derive some comfort from know- 
ing, that all other husbands in Loango revenge his 

Women of all other ranks never speak to their 
husbands but upon their knees. If two wives 
quarrel, the affair is brought before the husband, 
who is the supreme judge. He sits, cross-legged, 
on a mat, while they kneel before him, and each 
pleads her cause. They receive his sentence in 
silence, and then retire to their separate houses. 
When a man has several wives, he distributes 
equally among them, in proportion to the number 
of their children, his game, or his fish. If he have 
sufficient for one only, it is gi^en to lier who is to 
dress his dinner. 

Children inherit from their mothers, not their 
fathers. A man's property goes, after his death, 
to his eldest brother, by the same mother ; in de- 
fault of a brother, to the son of his eldest sister by 
the same mother, and, in default of such nephew, 
to the eldest son of his nearest maternal relation. 

298 LOANGO. 

The amusements of the people of Loango con- 
sist of a game resembling our game of draughts ; 
another game of striking each other's hands ; con- 
certs of music ; and, above all, dancing. They 
dance for sorrow and for rejoicing, at a wedding 
and a funeral, and they accompany their movements 
with songs of mirth or sadness. The missionaries, 
one day, saw a woman dancing for the death of 
her husband, s^nd lamenting her loss and that of 
her children. "Alas!" cried she, "the roof is 
fallen ; the building is exposed to the injuries of 
the weather, and its ruin is inevitable T Another 
time, as the missionaries were passing through 
a village, a woman was informed that her son 
was caught, and sold to the Europeans. The 
poor woman rushed out of her house, holding 
her daughter by the hand, and began to dance 
with her, chanting her misfortune in the most 
affecting manner. Sometimes she cursed the day 
that made her a. mother ; then called her son, exe- 
crating the wretches who had stolen him, and the 
Europeans who had bought him. Her tears and 
exclamations, even the irregularity of her dance, 
and the disorder of her movements, expressed so 
forcibly the anguish of her soul, that the good 
missionaries retired weeping. 

The women labour only three days together; 
the fourth is the market, and a day of rest, and 
on this they meet for recreation and dancing. 
The men, generally unemployed, except during 
harvest, are, on this day, more so than on the 
others: they walk, play, and frequent the mar- 

At night, the people light flambeaux made of an 
odoriferous gum, tha^ emits an agreeable scent. 


and they light fires to purify the air. In the dry 
season the fire is made in the middle of their 
court ; but they retire to their huts to sleep. 

The religion is the same as that of Cacongo, 
and the gangas, or priests, are also the physicians. 
Their remedies consist of outward applications, 
bandages, and breathing on the part affected; 
but if the patient can afford the expence, a num- 
ber of auxiliaries are called in, who make the 
greatest noise possible, with stringed instruments, 
trumpets, drums, tambours, and the voice. This 
sometimes continues incessantly for several days 
and nights, and as the case becomes more despe- 
rate, the clamour becomes more deafening. When 
the sick man expires, the musicians quit the house, 
and the relations console themselves by reflecting 
that they have done all in their power to frighten 
away death. 

The language of Loango is the same as that of 
Cacongo. It is a dialect of the Conghese ; but it 
differs materially from that language. The people 
of these countries regard as a prodigy the power 
possessed by the Europeans of communicating their 
ideas by characters ; and they cannot be persuaded 
that their own language is capable of being under- 
stood by this marvellous art. 

The missionaries who went from France to 
Cacongo in the year 1773, were set on shore at a 
port in the kingdom of Jomba, a country adjoin- 
ing that of Loango on the north. From hence 
they walked to the port of Loango, in their way 
to Malemba. They were ten days in performing 
the journey. On the second night they found no 
water ; but the following morning they break- 
fasted by the side of a large, rapid, and beautiful 


river. This rivet they could only pass at its 
mouth, where it was from three to four feet deep. 
The fourth night they passed at a village called 
Makanda, the first in the kingdom of Loango. At 
the approach of the fifth night, they found them- 
selves at the mouth df a large river, which was 
not fordable, and no person appeared to render 
them assistance. They passed the night oh its 
bank, and the next morning walked by its side, 
till nine o'clock, when they saw a man in a canoe^ 
who, for a handkerchief, carried them over, but 
on condition of taking no more than two at a 

The missionaries were now in want of provi- 
sions, and they removed farther from the coast to 
obtain a supply. Chance conducted them to a 
large town called Kilonga, where, for the only time 
in Africa, they were ill received ; the inhabitants 
refusing either to give or sell them food. They 
offered to God, as they say, this little trial, and, 
shaking thd dust from their feet, they trusted to 
him to provide their supper. They add, that their 
confidence was not vain ; for afterwards, in a de- 
serted cabin, they found palm-nuts, and manioca 
in abundance, old and new, dressed and undressed, 
with a fire ready lighted to their hands. It is pos- 
sible that the family, who fled at the approach of 
the missionaries, thought they had provided this 
store for. themselves ; but the missionaries thought 
otherwise ; for, after returning thanks to God for 
having spread their table in the wilderness, they 
not only satisfied their hunger and passed the 
night in the but, but loaded themselves the next 
morning with what provisions they wanted, without 
leaving any recompence for their former owner. 


» On the seventh day the travellers were again 
ferried over a large river, and they passed the 
night under a shed erected for the purpose of 
boiling salt. On the eighth day they were enter- 
tained by a great man, who had married a sister 
of the- King of Loango; and who, like all the 
other persons they met with, except the inhabi- 
tants of Kilonga, was very desirous to retain them^ 
and listen to their instructions. On the ninth day 
they arrived at the bank of a large and deep river, 
where a multitude of persons were waiting to take 
their passage. As soon as* the missionaries ap- 
peared, all drew back, saying that, as travellers 
and strangers, it belonged to them to gp over first. 
The next day they arrived at the French factories 
at Loango. 

The country they had passed consisted of vast 
forests, interspersed with fine plains, producing 
grass, the height of which announced the fertility 
of the soil. 

Two of the missionaries died at the French set- 
tlement of Loango, and the others having reco- 
vered from the fatigue of the journey, repaired to 
Booali^ the capital, where they had an audience of 
the King. In this, one of them explained to him 
the principal doctrines of the Christian religion. 
When he had ended, the king said " You tell us 
great things, and you must be convinced of their 
importance, or you would not have come so far to 
instruct us in them." One of the great men asked 
a question that would have been formidable to 
many Christian preachers ; but the missionary 
answered boldly, and I hope truly, in the affirma- 
tive — " Do you practice what you teach ?" The 


king of Loango offered the missionaries a settle- 
ment in his country ; but they preferred that of 
Cacongo, and had lands given them by the king^ 
near Malemba, as has been mentioned before. 



Jr ASSING Cape Lopez de Gonsalvo, the south- 
ern extremity of the Gulph of Guinea, I crossed 
the equator, and entered the river Gabon, which 
is more than two miles wide at the mouth. Its 
latitude is SO' north, and longitude 8° 42' east. I 
sailed about forty-five miles up this river, and 
landed at the town of Naango, which is frequented 
by European shipping. Naango is situated about 
two miles up a romantic creek, and consisted of 
one street, wide, regular, and clean. The houses 
were neatly constructed with bamboo, and the 
rooms, which were all on the ground-floor, were 
lofty. The inhabitants were about 500 in num- 
ber; they sleep on bedsteads, surrounded with 
musquito curtains of bamboo cloth. 

A man of consequence never drinks before his 
inferiors without hiding his face from them, be- 
lieving that, at this moment only, his enemies 
have the power of laying a spell upon him, in 
spite of the guardianship of his fetish. The 
whiskers of the men, and the side-locks of both 


nea and women, hang down in narrow braids, 
sometimes below the shoulders, and have small 
beads at the ends ; the front locks are braided to 
project like horns. The women wear a number of 
thick brass rings round their legs ; those of a 
woman of fashion reach from the ancle to the knee, 
and jingle when she walks or dances. • The female 
slaves carry heavy burdens on their backs, sup- 
ported by a broad band across the forehead. When 
a man diesj the door of his but is shut during seven 
days. These people manufacture nothing, but 
are supplied with. the comforts and conveniences 
they possess, by their more ingenious inland neigh- 
bours, on one side, and the European shipping on 
the other. 

This country is called Empoongwa. The heat 
is intense, and the moist exhalations ^itilt more 
oppressive. The orang-outang is found here. I 
saw one, two feet and a half in height, which was 
said to be growing ; it had the visage, action, and 
cry of a very old man, and was obedient to the 
voice of its master. 

Among the productions of the country is the 
kola-nut, which is round, and the size of an ' 
Orleans plumb, having a very hard shell. The 
kernel forms a principal part of the food of the 
common people, and afler it has been a few days 
exposed to the sun, it is sweeter than that of a 

At Naango I received from the inhabitants, and 
froni slaves from different parts of the interior, 
the following intelligence : 

A little above Naanga the river Gabon divides 
in two J the one branch coming from the north- 
east, the other, apparently from the south-south- 

so* RIVER 6AB0K. 

east. The eastern banks of the northern branch 
are inhabited .by a people called Sheekans^ who 
bury their dead in their houses, underneath their 

Two days farther, in a canoe, is the country of 
Kaylee, or Kalay. The houses are of bamboo, 
and cloth that has the stppearance of coarse brown 
Holland, is manufactured from the same. Their 
mats are very fine, and much varied in colour and 
pattern ; they also manufacture iron from the ore, 
which abounds in their country. These people 
not only eat their prisoners, but their dead, whose 
bodies are bid for as soon as the breath has ceased. 
A father has been frequently seen to eat his own 
child. 'Goats and fowls are plentiful, but are not 
eaten while human flesh can be had. The people 
of "tjabivi go to trade with the Kaylees, armed 
with muskets, and accompanied by a strong guard 

The idea of the existence of cannibals has pre- 
vailed in all ages, and in countries widely distant 
from each other, and has been too general to be 
wholly without foundation. But the imputation 
has commonly been fixed on people afar off *and 
little known ; here, however, it is brought near ; 
one nation only, and that a small one, intervening 
between the cannibals andthe inhabitants of Em- 
poongwa. It is possible that the Sheekans, if not 
the Empoongwas, may have been eaten by the 
Kalees, and may therefore go armed, and in a 
body, to trade with them ; but, dead bodies sold hy 
auction, and dead children devoured hy their fa^ 
thersy seem the offspring of the terror of those 
whose countrymen may have furnished a feast for 
the Kaylees. 

JAGA9* 305 

Ail the nations to the north pf the Kaylees were 
said to be cannibals, bat the Pjifimways the least 
voracious, because they cultivate a breed of large 
dogs for their own eating. 

There is a people in the interior, to the soudiof 
these, who have neither possessions nor indUftiry 
of their own, but who live by consuming those of 
others. They are called Jagas, or, as thePortu-' 
guese spell the word, Giagas. It has been said by 
ancient travellers, that these people fattened, 
roasted, . and ate their prisoners, or sold them to 
butchers who exposed their flesh to sale in the 
public markets ; that the father devoured the son, 
the son the father, and the brother the brother ; 
that all dead bodies were eaten, by what^i^r dis- 
ease death was occasioned ; and that i^arm'humaa 
blood was the favourite beverage. It was atso 
said that these people buried all their cUNdren 
alive, imediately after their birth,- that they might 
not be incumbered with them in their predatory 
excursions ; and rc^cruited their numbers by boys 
and girls of thirteen or fourteen years of age, 
taken in war, whom they trained to plunder and 

This is not true. It is not human nature. It 
carries one contradiction on the face of it. If all 
the children were buried'^as soon as they were bom, 
how could the father eat the son, or the son the 
father ! Horrible as the whole account is, and im- 
probable as a part, I gave it no place in my travels ; 
but I am now induced to add it, as a European 
has lately returned from fifteen months' captivity 
among the Jagas. His companions were eaten, 
and he must have shared the same fate, had he 

VOL. II. X ' . 

06 ' BENIN. 

not cured' a bfoken arm: of a. favourite woman be* 
longing to the chief of the horde. The Jagas do 
devour their prisoners ; human flesh is sold in the 
market ; warm blood, drawn from living victims 
ii their delicious beverage. Here the horrid story 

While we were sailing down this river, a single 

' elephant walked very gently for some time on its 
bank, taking the same course with ourselves. We 
.went on shore with an intention to shoot him, but 
he did not give us the opportunity ; for,, after we 
had pursued him an -hour, he retreated into a 
wood. I have since thought that he was very 
obliging to us, as well as considerate to himself. 
On our return to- the vessel we met five of these 
huge animals together. They suffered us q^uietly 
to pass, ^bd we, with grateful acknowledgement 
of the favour, regained our boat. 
* ,The next country I visited was the kingdom of 
Benin. Sailing up the river Formosa^ I found its 
banks low, fertile, full of woQds and musquitoes. 

.Each district is governed by its particular chief j 
but all are vassals of the king of Benin. The in- 
habitants are considered as slaves by their king, 
and are proud of being such : the title of king's 
slave is a distinguishing mark of honour. The 
towns are widely distant from each other, as well 
on the river as inland. There are three villages 
that trade with Europeans — Boededoe, which 
contains about fifty houses ; Arebo, which is much 
larger ; and Agatton, a considerable town^ which 
is the market of several small villages in the vici- 
nity. A day's journey from Agatton, inland, is 
the town of Benin, the residence of the king. 
Arebo is situated more than sixty miles above the 


nioutb of the nyer^ and the river i« navigable for 
ships beyond this place. 

The will of the king of Benin is a law which 
none of his subjects dare oppose j but the gotern- 
iment is principally vested in three great officers^ 
called the Onegwa, the Ossade, and the Arribon> 
who are always near the king's person, and through 
whom all business with the king is transacted. A 
fourth great officer is entrusted with the affairs 
relating to war. The king appoints the governors 
of districts and towns according to the recom- 
mendation of the three great civil officers. The 
badge of office is a string of beads resembling red, 
.speckled, polished marble, which is worn about 
the neck. It is presented by the king, and it is 
death to counterfeit it, or to wear it, unless con- 
ferred by him. Once placed round the neck, it is 
not to be taken off; as it is death to lose it, or 
even to have it stolen. There have been instances 
of five men having been put to death on account of 
<mp of these official necklaces ; the man to whom it 
.belonged, because he had suffered it to be stolen ; 
th/^ thief, who confessed he had stolen it; and 
three oth^er persons, who were privy to the theft, 
and did not discover it. If one of these be taken 
from the neck of the owner by irresistible force, 
he immediately exclaims, " I am a dead man !** 

An audience is seldom denied to a European 
who asks it through the medium of the three great 
jaen. 1 had the honour of being presented to this 
monarch, of whose court I shall now give a de- 

Across the front pf the king's habitationran an 
op)^ piazz.a, suppprted by fifly-eight strong pillar^ 


d08 • B£NIK. 

of wood, about twelve feet high, fashioned by the 
axe. Fusing through thid piazia, we came to a 
wail of day, with three gates ;. one at either ex* 
tremity, and one in the centre* On the top of the 
latter was placed a wooden turlret, about seventy 
feet high, and narrowing from the base ; and on 
the top of this was a large snake, cast in copper, 
with its head hanging down. Through one of 
the gates we entered a court about a quarter of a 
mile square, inclosed with a low wall. Along this 

* court, opposite to the entrance, ran a second 
piazza, like the former, except that it had no cen- 
tre gate, or turret ; having only a gate at each 
end. ^Passing through one- of these, we saw a 
third piazza, the supporters of which were figures, 
instead of columns ; but so wretchedly curved, 
that if the natives had not distinguished them by 
the different appellations of merchants, soldiers, 
and hunters, I should scarcely have known that 
they were intended for men. Behind a white 
carpet under this piazza, I was shewn eleven 
human heads, cast in copper, by as skilful an artist 
as thfe carver of the pillars. On each head was 

. plisu:ed an elephant's tooth ; and each head so 
adorned constituted one of his majesty's household 

Through a gate in this piafeza'we entered ano* 
liher large CQUrt, and across the upper end of this 
ran a^urth piazza, on which was placed a snake 
like the former. Beyond this was. the habitation 
of the king. Every separate building had a small 
turret of a pyramidal form, on some of which a]^ 
peared the figure of a bird' with extended wings, 
cast in cdfper. It is said (hat the whole of the 


royal residence occupies as much space as the city 
of Bourdeaux. It*is detached from the town. - 

The first apartment is the hall of audience, in 
which the king receives strangers. He was 
sitting on an ivory couch, under a canopy of 
Indian silk, and attended by his three great men. 
On his left hand, before a piece of fine tapestry, 
were seven other divinities, in the form* of ele- 
phant's teeth, well polished, and placed on pedes- 
tals of ivory. The king seemed a man of an 
afiable demeanour. I stood, according to cus- 
tom, at about thirty yards distance from him ; but, 
on my expressing a wish to approach nearer, he 
smiled, and beckoned me towards him, and I ad«- 
.vanced to within the distance of ten or twelve. 
No other person \tras in the room, except the three 
great men, and a fierce looking negro with a drawn 

No man ever presumes to speak to the king but 
these three officers. All communications are 
made to them ; they go and report them to the 
king, and bring back his answers ; how fisiithfuUy 
none but themselves can tell. I presented the 
king with a silk night-gown, which, I was after- 
wards toid he .was much pleased with ; but I had 
not the satisfaction of knowing it myself, as, ac- 
cording to the etiquette of the court of Benin, it 
was presented covered with mats, and not opened 
till I had left. «- 

The king'y mother resides in a*spacious habita- 
tion, without the city, where she has her own offi* 
cers and attendants. The king pays her great 
reverence, and frequently consults her by means 
of his ministers > but custom docs not permit him 
to see her. 

310 BENIN. 

The people say that their king has more than 
fifteen hundred wives, which is not an extraordi- 
nary number ;.as he not only inherits the wives of 
his predecessors, but of such of his subjects as die 
without children. These last he disposes 'of as he 
thinks proper, and if they are very handsome, he 
keeps them himself. 

On a (Certain day of the year the king appears 
abroad to shew himself to his people. He is then 
mounted on one of his best horses, and the best ^ 
are very indifferent, attended by several hundreds 
of his officers of state, and preceded and followed 
by musicians. At the head of this royal proces- 
sion are some tame leopards, led by dwarfs or 
mutes. This festival is concluded by the death of 
ten or twelve slaves, supplied by the people, and 
sacrificed in honour of the king. 

Another day is set apart for what is called the 
Coral feast. At this I was fortunately present. 
The king, magnificently dressed, appeared in the 
second court, and seated himself under a fine ca- 
nopy ; his wives and principal officers, clothed in 
their richest apparel, arranging themselves round 
him. The king then rose, and went\o offer sacri- 
fice to his gods, amidst the acclamations of his 
people ; his attendants forming a procession. 
When this was over,- he returned to his seat, where 
he remained while the people offered their obla- 
tions. The whole ceremony took up about two 
hours, when the monarch retired. The remainder 
of the day was spent in feasting; the king distri-^ 
buting abundance of provisions and palm wine ; 
the great following his example ; and nothing 
was bcen throughout the city but marks of re- 


joicing. When I enquired into the origin of -this 
fe^ival, the people replied, " We do not] know 
any thing of it/' 

The king of Benin has officers whose employ- 
ment it is on certain days to carry a large quantity 
of provisions, ready dressed, for the use of the 
poor. These officers march two a-breast, pre- 
ceded by a superior officer with a long whjte staff; 
and every person gives way to them, be his quality 
wh^t it may. . The great men and governors also 
contribute to the support of such as are unable to 
labour, and employ numbers at their different 
places of residence. Here are no beggars, nor 
many persons very poor. 

t When the king dies, his domestics solicit the 
honour of being buried alive with him ; but this 
is accorded only to a few of the greatest favourites. 
These are let down after the corpse, the grave 
being large at the bottom, and small at the top, 
where it is closed with a stone. On the following 
morning the stone is removed, and the people be- 
low are asked if they have found the king. This 
question is repeated every successive morning, 
till no answer is returned, when it is concluded 
that the king's slaves have joined their master in 
a. better world. Meat is then roasted on the stone, . 
and given to the populace ; who, having eaten and 
drunk plentifully, run about the city in the night, 
committing various outrages ; even murdering 
some of those they meet, and bringing the dead 
bodies to the grave of the king, to be thrown in as • 
a present to him. • ' , 

When the reigning sovereign finds himself near 
death, he sends for the^onegwa, and nominates Ixis 
successor ftom among his sons. When the king 

312 . BENIN* 

exyirQSr.thift minister takes into his own custody 
tb6jd&c;tsof the deceased) and receives the ho* 
mage of all the expectants* After some days he 
communicates the secret to the war-minister, and 
the pribce is sent for, and made to kneel, whil^ 
they declare to him the will of hisfathen The 
prince having thanked these officers for the faitbr 
ful discharge of their trust, rises, and is proclaimed 
king of Benin- 
It cannot be doubted that the nomination of the 
sovereign is really vested in the onegwa ; nor is 
it:;lfi86 evident, from the homage paid him> that 
Uu8 is the opinion of the princes* The alterna- 
tive is, indeed, a serious one ; a throne or a grave. 
The brothers of the new king, and even their ipns, 
are sacrificed to his safety i but as it is not per* 
mitted to shed royal blood, they have the satisfac- 
tion of remaining entire after death, being suffo- 
called by having their mouths, ears, and noses 
filled with cloth : they are also favoured with i^ 
pompcms funeral. 

The new king usually retires to a village near 
the capital, where he keeps his court ; while the 
queen-mother, the onegwa, and the war-minister, 
like the Iteghe and the Has in Abyssinia, take the 
troufaieof gt^verning the kingdom till he be of age 
to governhimself. • 

. The king of Benin celebrates an annual festival 
in honour of his predecessors ; and twenty-five 
men are slaughtered on the occasipn. These are 
malefactors, when such a number can* be found} 
but, if any be wanting, they are supplied by seizr 
ing any persons who are met at night in the streets, 
potdbat rying a light* 
. The metropolis of !3enin is situated in ft vast 


plain. It is inclosed on one side by a doiiblefeiM^ 
of the trunks of trees, about ten feet high, placed 
close together^ and &stened by pieces of timber 
laid transversely. The interstices are filled up mtk 
red earth, which gives the whole the appearanceof 
asmooth, thick wall. The other side of the csty^ 
is secured by thick thorny bushes,, beyond which 
is an impenetrable morass. The wall has several 
gates, ten feet in. height, and five in breadth^ 
^med of a single piece of wood. The city is at 
least four miles in length ; the streets are long 
and broad, and very neatly kept ; every woman 
sweeping the part before her own house. For- 
merly the place was overcharged with inhabitants, 
and^he houses were near each other ; but, in con- 
sequence of civil wars, they are now widely dis- 
tant. Markets are held, morning and afternoon 
each day, for cattle, cotton in wool and in yam, 
elephants' teeth, European goods, and, in a word, 
every article that is produced in the country, or 
Ifnds its way to it. The houses are one story high, 
built with clay, and thatched with reeds, straw, or 
palm leaves. They receive light only through the 
door. The best are very large, and are divided 
into a Qumber of smaller apartments. Each house 
has a piazza within, in which are placed benches, 
for seats and beds : and the large ones have also 
a piazza without, supported by pillars of hewn 
timber. The galleries and the insid^ walls are 
washed over with ared glossy substance. 

No man who is not a native is allowed to reside 
in the city, except slaves; none of these are 
natives* ^ ' . v 

The country is level and interspersed with beau^^ 

ol4f BENIK. 

tifut trees. It does not afford a single stone. 
Elephants are numerous. 

The people of Benin are civil and generous. 
The European traders s^y that when they make 
them presents, they endeavour to recompence 
them doubly ; and if they ask for any thing, they 
seldom refuse to part with it, though they want it 
themselves^ In return, they expect to be treated 
with courtesy, and do not bend to pride and arr<>- 
gance. They are said to be so tedious in their 
deaKngs, that to purchase a number of elephants' 
teeth is sometimes the work of eight or ten days ; 
but, at the same time, their manner is so conciliat- 
ing that it is impossible to be out of humour with 

No native of Benin is allowed to be sold ; and, 
of captives taken in war, the females only are sold. 
The payment to Europeans is chiefly made in 
cloths, the manufacture of the country ; the com- 
mon ones blue, the better ones four stripes of blue 
and white, and nearly two yards long. The cli- 
mate is so fatal to Europeans, and the modes of 
doing business of the Benin brokers (who alone 
are permitted to trade with them) so tardy, that 
their provisions being consumed, and their crews 
half dead or sickly, they are frequently obliged to 
leave the coast unpaid. If ever they return, the 
brokers never fail to discharge the debt with great 
civility. , 

Europeans are held in such estimation at Benin, 
that they are called Owiorua, the Children of 
God ; and in discoursing with them, the inhabi- 
tants often say, in broken Portuguese, ** Vos Sa 
Bio&/' You are gods. The traders much lament 


that the climate is so deleterious, as no people 
throughout Guinea are so courteous as those oC 

The better sort of men wear a white doth, 
aboiit a yard long, and half as broad, which serves 
them for drawers. Over this they have a finer 
cloth, from sixteen to twenty yards in length, or- 
namentally plaited in the middle, and festened on 
with a scarf, the end of which is adorned with 
fringe or lace. The upper part of the body is 
usually naked. In this habit they appear abroad; 
at home they wear only a large cloth called paan^ 
thrown over the shoulders, as a cloaks Soldiers 
wear only a cloth round the waist. The great 
officers wear a short frock of scarlet cloth, and a 
Vide cap, with a horse's tail hanging from it. Tlie 
natives of Benin are well skilled in the art c£ 
dying. They dye blue, yellow, red, green, and 
black; and they have good soap, which makes 
them neatly clad. They not only are cldthed in 
cofton of their own manufacture, but they export 
'annually thousands of cotton cloths. 

Wdmen of the highest rank wear fine cloths, 
chequered with various colours, wrapped round. 
' the waist, * and forming a petticoat. The upper 
part of the body is covered with a beautiful cloth, 
a yard, or more in length. Strings of coral are 
worn round the neck, copper or iron rings on the 
legs and arms, and copper rings on thfe fingers, 
placed ks closely together as possible. The hair is 
^ finely curled ; and some colour one half the hair 
red, and the other black. • 

Boys and girls are without clothing till they 
attain the age' of ten or eleven years ; arid when 
they are first permitted to wear it, they are exposed 

^16 S£NIK. 

to public view, seated on a mat, of a white cotton 
cloth, and receive the congratulations of a multi- 
tude of people. 

A great number of young men and women^ 
more than twenty years of age, are seen in the 
streets without any other clothing than a string of 
<;6ral, or jasper round the neck. These are such 
as have not obtained the king^s perinission to wear 
a habit. When a man or woman marries, this per- 
mission is no longer necessary; for it is reckoned 
infamous for a married person to be without 
clothing. If a man marry a young woman with- 
out apparelj he is not allowed to take her home till 
he can clothe her< 

No man may enter the king's apartment in his 
clothes without a special permission. His being 
naked before the king is a token that he is his 
slave. In Abyssinia, as I have before observed, a 
subject uncovers only to the waist ; in England he 
only uncovers his head. 

The wives of the great are shut up ; those of 
the meaner sort keep the daily markets, till f^ 
ground, ancl go wherever their af&irs, or their 
labour calls them. If a man receive a visit in his 
own house, and any of his wives chance to be with 
liim, they immediately retire ; but if the visitor be 
a Eur<^an, they remain by the husband^s com- 
mand i and if business call him away, he desires 
his wives to entertaih the stranger till his return. 

Among the common people, if the wifb be 
caught in adultery, a^ the effects of the guilty 
man become the instant property of the injiireid 
husband ; and the woman receives a hearty cud- 
gelling, and is expelled the house. Among the 
better sort» the relations prevent this disgrace by 


appeasing the husband's anger with mcmey ; and 
the transgressor is restored to his favour^ The 
great revenge themselves by the instant death of 
both parties. 

When an infant is seven days old, it is supposed 
to have passed its greatest danger from evilspirits> 
and a small feast is made : stiU it is coosidered 
necessary to propitiate them by strewing victuals 
in aU the paths near the dwelling. The male 
infants are presented to the king, as belonging of 
right to him : the females reside with the father 
till they are grown up^ when he disposes of them 
as he pleases. 

In all parts of Benin, except Arebo, twin births^ 
afford matter of public rejcHcing } but attbat town 
both mother and children are sacrificed to an inex- 
orable demon who resides in a neighbouring wood. 
Ifv however the wife be dear to her husband, he 
may sacrifice a female slave in her stead ; but no* 
thing can save the children, and there have been 
instances of a priest butchering his own. It some- 
times happens that, to prevent the possibility of 
this painful sacrifice, the husband sends his wife 
to a distant part of the country, when the time oT 
her delivery draws nigh. The priests keep^thi» 
haunt of the demon so sacred that no person is 
allowed to enter it ; and they persuade the pe^le 
that some severe calamity would fall upon the 
land, if the custom req>ecting the twin children 

were violated* 

If a native of the m^opolis die in a distant 
part of the kingdom,, tbe corpse is dried over a 
gentle fire, and conveyed to this city to be interred* 
When a woman of distinction dies, thirty or forty 
slaves are massacred on the day of her burial. One 

318 • HEMN. 

woman has. been known to, have had seven ty-eiglit 
saorificed, who were all her own property ; and to 
complete the .number of eighty, which she, while 
living, had ordered to be slain on this occasion, 
two young children, a boy and a girlj whom she 
had loved exceedingly, were murdered. The dead 
are commonly buried- in their best apparel, and a 
greater or lesser number of slaves, according to 
the quality of the deceased, are sacrificed to attend 
them. The funeral ceremonies usually continue 
seven or eight days, and consist of lamentations, 
songs, dancing, and hard drinking ; and after a 
corpse has been interred with all these formalities, 
it is sometimes taken up, and buried again with a 
repetition* of them, sacrifices included. 

The near relations mourn during several months; 
some with half the head shaved, others with the 
whole. One day in the year, the great celebrate 
the decease of thpir ancestors and relations by a 
very expensive feast. 

When a person of condition dies, the eldest son, 
who is the sole heir, presents a slave to the king, 
and another to the three* great men, with a peti- 
tion that he may succeed his father. This is 
granted. He bestows what he pleases on his 
yoynger brothers; allows his mother a credit- 
able maintenance ; and employs his father's other 
wives at his residence. 

, If a woman be left a widow, she cannot marry 
again without the consent of her son, if she have a 
son ; or if he be too young, the man who marries 
her. is obliged to give him a female slaye, to wait 
upon him, instead of his mother. 

The wealthy among the people of Benin eat 
beef, mutton, and fowls; and, instead of bread, 


yams, bailed, beaten fine, and made into cakes. 
They give great entertainments to their friends j 
the common people eat the jQesh of cats and dogs. 

Their arms are hassagays, pointed arrows, a 
sort of cutlass, and shields made of small bamboos. 
They are so cowardly that nothing but necessity 
can urge them to fight ; and when in the field, 
their conduct is so confused and disorderly, that 
they themselves are ashamed of it. If their flight 
be prevented, they turn upon the enemy, not to 
fight, but to surrender. 

AH negroes are dancers; but those of Benin 
are the best 

Theft is rare in Benin. When it is discovered, 
after restitution of the stolen goods, it is punished 
by a fine ; but if the thief be unable to pay the 
flne, he is beaten. 

Murder is still more rare than theft. It is 
punished with death by decapitation, and the body 
is quartered, and exposed to beasts and birds of 
prey. The latter are held in such estimation, that 
provisions are regularly laid for th.em in particular 
places. If the murderer be a considerable person, 
he is conducted by a strong guard to. the utmost 
confines^ of the kingdom, where he is left, and 
never heard of more* 

In a case of murder without premeditation, the 
offender may ransom his life by burying the dead 
creditjably, at his own expence ; paying a large 
jsum to the three great men ; and producing a slave 
to suffer in his place. In this case he kneels, and 
touches the slave with his forehead, as he is 
executed. . 

If an accusation be not clearly proved, the sus- 
pected person undergoes an ordeal, to prove his 


820 BBNIK. 

guilt or innocence. Of this there are four different 
sorts in common use. In the first, a cock'$ Ihn* 
ther is prepared by the priest, and pierced through 
the tongue of the accused. If it pass through 
easily, and be drawn out at the bottom, the man is 
innocent ; if it stick in the tongue he is guilty. 
In the second^ the priesttakes an oblong clod of 
eaith, into which, it being less sensible of pain 
than the tonguci* he sticks seven or nine q^iills of 
a cock. The suspected person draws these *ut 
successively ; and if they come out will) eas^, he 
is innocent ; if with difficulty, he is guilty* In the 
third, the priest squirts the juice of certain green 
herbs into the eyes of the accused. If it do ndt 
hurt him» he is innocent; if his eyes become 
inflamed, he is guilty. In the fourtbi the priest* 
passes a red hot copper arm-ring three Umes over 
the tongue of the supposed culprit; and fron^bis 
being hurt, or not hurt, by the operatidn, he is 
pronounced guilty or innocent 

In the different ordeals of cock s quills and that 
of the juice of herbs, something seems to be left to 
the management of the priest; but it appears to 
ma, that red hot copper must infallibly find a 
man guilty. • 

Of the fines, a part goes to the injured person ; . 
a part to the governor' of the town or province ; 
and the rest to the three great men for the king^ 
whom it never reaches. If the three great men 
be not satisfied with this share, they inform the 
governor that he has not done his duty, but must 
send them more ; and he knows then: authority 
too well to dispute their opinion. 

The people of Benin believe in an invisible 
deity, who created heaven and earth, and governs 

them with absolute power ; but they conceive it 
oeedlesis to worship him, because he is always 
doing good without their services. They also 
believe in a malignant deity ; to whom they sacri*- 
fice inen and animals, to satiate his thirst of blood, 
and prevent him from doing them mischief. But 
they Jbave innumerable objects of worship ;-— ele- 
phant's teeth, claws, bones, dead men*s heads, 
any trifle that chance throws in their way, to 
whfch they make daily offerings of a few .boiled 
yams^' mixed with palm oiL On great occasions 
thiey saorifice a cock, treating the divinity with 
the blood only, and reserving the flesh for them- 
sdves. Persons of high rank give an annual feast 
to their gods, at which multitudes of cattle are 
ofiered to the idols and eaten by the people. Each 
offers his own sacrifices, without giving the priests 
an^ iort of trouble. 

VOL. II*r ' * ' * 




About fifty mlles west of Benin lies what was 
formerly the kingdom of Whydah. No such king- 
dom now exists ; but I shall give some account of 
it from a Dutch slave-trader who visited this coast 
between the years 1692 and I7OO. This part of 
the country is called the Slave Coast. 

This gentleman begins by stating that slaves 
were so plentiful in the interior that two were 
sometimes sold for a handful of salt ; ^hd that he 
himself had laden three ships with this article of 
merchandize, at Whydah, in fourteen days. He 
says that the people delivered a thousand slaves a 
month, and that from fwenty-five to fifty ships 
were laden in a year. The territory did not ex- 
tend more than ten miles along the coast; but' it 
may be supposed to have been one of the principal 
marts for human beings *. . These creatures came 
from the inland cpuntries, where there were mar- 
kets for men, as in Europe for beasts. When a ' 
cargo of them arrived at Whydah, they were con- 
ducted to prison, from whence they were drawn out 
into a large open plain, where they were stripped, 

* Before the English attempted to abolish the slave trade, it 
ia said that 80,000 slaves were annually exported from Africa. I 
wish it were possible to know how much the number is now di- 


and carefully examined by European burgeons. 
Their mouths were looked into, like those of a 
horse^ to judge of their age^ and they were made 
to jump, and stretch out their arms swiftly, to 
shew whether they were sounds wind and limbi 
All above thirty-five years of age, all the sickly^ 
all the maimed, or blemished, if only by the loss 
of a tooth, were set aside* The young atid healthy 
were purchased at a fixed price, and paid for in 
cowries, and in goods; the women being worth 
one fourth, or one fifth, less than the men. 

^rhese animals were delivered to their pur- 
chasers, who branded them with a hot iron, that 
they might not be exchanged for others of less 
value. They were then returned to prison, and 
fed on bread and water, at the cost of their pre-^ 
seQt owner^, till they could be stowed on board a 
ship : but as flesh and blood, bone and skin, were 
the only articles of sale, the former owners re-^ 
tained the clothings and left the slaves naked ; and 
naked they generally remained to the end of the 
voyage* There were frequently six or seven hun* 
dred slaves on board one ship, which, the honest 
Dutchman says, '* is almost incredible ; but they 
lie as close together as it is possible for them to 
be crammed." It wa^ to be lamented that, notwith* 
standing this kind treatment, the negroes were so 
wilful as sometimes to starve or drown themselves, 
rather than make a voyage to Barbadoes, shackled 
two and two together. .When the cargo could not 
otherwise be completed, the king would sell three 
or four hundred of his wives ; but this affectionate 
husband sometimes repented, and sending for one 
lady back, substituted another in her place. 

324 trilWAH. 

Ih carrying burdens from the ship to the viP 
lage, which was three miles distant, the negro 
porters trotted so swiftly with a hundred pounds 
weight on their heads, that a Dutchman, with no- 
thing to carry, could not keep pace with them. 
They were more expert thieves than the pick- 
pockets of Paris, and would elude the vigilance of 
Argus, if his hundred were a thousand eyes.. If 
by chance they were detected, they would say, 
** Do you think we would work for such low 
wages, if we had not the privilege of stealing?" 
The warehouse of the trader was robbed ; the 
locks were entire, and he had safely kept the key. 
He discovered that a hole had been made in the 
roof, and that his goods had been drawn out by » 
hook fixed to the end of a long pole. On his first 
coming into the country, the king of Whydah had 
given him a caution. ** Be upon your guard; 
against my subjects," said he, " They will not 
poison yott, like tlie people of Ardra, or other 
neighbouring countries ; but? they will rob you 
whenever they can." The slave-trader afterwards 
found that the only way to be secure from robbery 
was to leave the country. 

It may be presumed that these adroit thieves 
were not in the practice of robbing, or their 
neighbours in that of poisoning, each other ; but 
that both considered the retaliation just against 
th^ trader who came to buy their persons. 

The men of Whydah we^e quick and accurate in 
mercantile accounts ; reckoning as justly and as 
readily, to the amount of thousands, with their 
heads alone, as the Europeans with the assistance 
of pen and ink. They were not acquainted with 
the value of gold and silver ; nor had they either. 


'Evpry thing in the kingdom, were it ever so 
meanj p^id a toll to the king ; and the collectors, 
•of whom there were above a thousand, stationed 
themselves in all the roads, that led to the market, 
to receivq it. The whole amounted to an incredi* 
ble sum ; but about three fourths of it was ab- 
sorbed by the collectors before it reached the king. 

TheldrUd was so well cultivated, that scarcely a 
foot-path was unplanted with grain; yet the coun- 
try was so populous, and so much grain was sold 
to the neighbouring nations, that it was often 
scarce before harvest. A barren year reduced free 
men to liberate their slaves, and sell themselves, 
for want of sustenance. Bread was boiled, not 
baked. Water was drawn out of deep and narrow 
•wells, and was too cold to be drank by a Dutch- 
man. Beer was brewed from millet. 
*' The king of Whydah was magni6cently clothed 
in gold and silver. He was never seen to eat; and 
no person .ever drank out of the cup or glass used 
by him. None of his subjects, whatever were 
their rank, dared to stand in his presence. When 
they went to salute him in a morning, they pros*^ 
trated themselves on the ground before the door 
of his house, kissing the earth three times, clap- 
ping their bands, and whispering some words in 
adoration of the king. They then crawled on all . 
fours into his presence, where they repeated the 
same reverence, and remained prostrate on the 
earth around till the monarch retired* 
. ITiere seem^'to be a general propensity in men 
to exalt one of their number above the rest, and 
not only to obey, but to worship him. The Afri- 
cans, particularly, endeavour to raise this idol 
above the common functions and wants of human 

896 WlITDAH* 

nature. In Abyssinia he is not heard to speak; in 
Loango and Whydah he js not seen to eat ; in Be- 
nin he is scarcely seen at all. The trader once 
asked a favourite where the king of Whydah slept, 
and he answered by another question, •* Where 
does God sleep ?'* adding, <* it is just as impossi- 
ble for us to know the king's bedchamber." 

The king was indebted to this merchant about 
a hundred pounds ; and, being about to leave the 
x:ountry for a time, he asked thie sovereign, who 
would pay him at his return, in case he should die ? 
The king answered, with a smile, that he need not 
give himself any trouble on that account ; for he 
should not die, but always live. The courtiers 
looked astonished at the question ; and the mer- 
c)iant, perceiving that he had made some blunder, 
took his leave ; but, being followed by some of the 
officers, he demanded the reason of their amaze- 
ment* They replied, that no person dared, on pain 
of death, to speak of death in the king's presence; 
much less to talk of his dying himself. 

The king of Whydah did, however, sometimes . 
die ; and with him died all order and honesty. 
*As soon as his death was publicly knbwn, every 
person began to steal his iteighbbur's property, 
openly, and without being liable to punishment ; 
and this system of plunder continued till the new 
king was seated on the throne, when he forbade 
it by proclamation, and was instantly obeyed. 

None were permitted to wear red but the royal 
ftmily. In Congo I observed it to be the colour 
of the chenoos and great men. 

The negroes of Whydah were so fond of gaming 
that they staked all they had in the world at play. 
When money and goods were wanting, they staked 


£rst their wives and children, and then their land9 
•and persons. 

No rich negro ever suffered any man to enter the 
houses in which his wives resided. If a man 
were criminal with the wife of such a person, it 
was not enough to cutoff the head of the ofiendefi 
his whole family was sold to slavery. 

The wives of the king were sometimes the exe** 
cqtioners of the sentences he pronounced against 
offenders ; three or four hundred of them being 
sent to the habitation of a malefactor, with orders 
to strip it, and level it with the ground. As all 
persons were forbidden, on pain of death, to touch 
the king's wives, they proceeded in their work 
without interruption. 

The slave-merchant had seen men who were the 
Others of more than two hundred children. He 
asked one of the captains, whose name, or, more 
probably, whose title, was Agoei, how many 
children he had. The officer sighed, and said, 
** Only seventy.** " But," rejoined the merchant, 
" you have lost some ?*' " Yes," replied the negro, 
** about as many as are living, but both together 
make a very small number.*' The king of Why- 
dah» who was present at this conversation, assured 
the trader, that one of his viceroys, with bis sons 
and grandsons, amounted to two thousand, with- 
out reckoning daughters, or sons that were dead. 

The people of Whydah believed in an Almighty 
and Omnipresent Creator of the universe ; but he 
was not an object of their worship, as they thought 
him too highly exalted above them to trouble 
himself about the afiairs of mankind. When they 
undertook any matter of importance, they com- 
mitted its success to the first object that appeared 


on tlieir going out of the house ; a dogy a cat, or 
aoy other animal ; and, in default of these^ ^tne, 
a kKme, a piece of wood. The newly^constitiited 
deity wad presented with an offering, accompanied 
wiik a solema vow, that, if he would prosper the 
usdeffakifig, he should be reverenced aa a god. 
If the affiiir plroved successful, the vow was fult 
iffied) and the divinity was presented with daily 
oflferings; if otherwise, he was rejected, and ije^, 
turned to his primitive estate, » 

The people ofWhydah had three public object? 
of devotion ; some lofty treea^ the sea, and a cer- 
tain sort of snake« The chief of these was the 
Siiak€ $ the trees and the sea not interfering with 
his government, but being subject to his ^uper* 
intendance and reproof. The snake was invoked 
in all excesses of the seasons, in all difficulties of 
^he state, in all dangers of the cattle, in all cir* 
cumstances not committed to the above-mentioned 
deities of chance. 

The priests of the snake had this year exacted 
90 many offerings from the king, in order to ,ob^ 
tain a good crop of grain, that his majesty's pa- 
tience yrsLS exhausted. Finding him one day in a 
passion, the trader ventured to ask him what had 
discomposed him. He replied, ^* I have sent 
much larger offerings to the snake-house this year 
than usual ; and now the priests threaten me with 
a barren seasop if I do not send more ! I will send 
no more ; and if the snake will not bestow a plien- 
tiful harvest) he may let it alone. I cannot be 
more injured than I am ; for the greatest part of 
my corn is rotten in the field already.'* 

The snake-fhouse was situated about two mites 
distant from the king's village, under the shade of 

8NAX£. 999 

a beautiful tree^ The deity that resided in it was 
the chief and the krgCist of all snakes : he was said 
to be as thick as a raan» and of an imnieasurable 
length : he must also have been one : of the oldest 
of snakes; for the priests reported that a great 
number of years before, being disgusted with the 
wickedness of man, he left his own country, and 
came to them. • He was welcomed by every ex- 
pressible sign of reverence, and carried on a 
siiken carpet to the snake-house, where; be had 
resided to the present time* 

It was affirmed thai the great snake went out to 
take the air at different times^ and at these times 
ev^ young woman he touched became distracted. 
It was certain that in every large village there was 
a house appropriated to the reception of these 
young maniacs, where they were boarded, lodged, 
and restored to reason by the priests, at a consi* 
derable e^pence to their fathers and husbands : 
and it was observable, that no women were touched 
by the snake whose friends could not afford this 
expenc^. An intelligent negro, the interpreter of 
the slave-merchant, whose wife had been touched 
by the snake, gave him the following account of 
this miracle. 

The priests kept their eye upon those young 
ladies who had not yet seen the snake; and having 
fls^d upon one for the present occasion, they gave 
U^r the necesssury instructions, and tempted her 
by promises, or obliged her by threats, to follow 
them* The woman then went into the street, and 
watching an opportunity when no person was in 
sight, cried, ^* The snake I the s»ake !" Before, 
any one. could come to her assistance, she had 
been touched, and the snake had vanishgd.. The 


lady was raving mad, and was conducted to the 
asylum for religious lunatics. When the cure was 
effected, she was set at liberty ; and present and 
everlasting vengeance denounced against her if 
she betrayed the secret. 

When the wife of the merchant's interpreter 
was touched by the snake, she began by breaking 
to pieces every qtensil in the house. The bus- 
band, who, fVom having lived a good deal with 
Enropeam, suspected from whence the malady, 
proceeded, led her gently by the hand, ^ as if he 
werex going to take her to tlie snake-house ; instead 
of which he took her to the residence of some Eu- 
ropeanslave-merchants, who were then at Whydah, 
purchasing slaves, intending to sell her. The 
lady, finding him in earnest, was instantly cured 
of her madness, fell on her knees, confessed the 
trick, and implored his forgiveness. This was a 
bold attempt ; and had the priests discovered it, 
the death of the husband would hav* been the 

• A negro from the Gold Coast, who was inter- 
preter to the English merchants, at Whydah, was 
less fortunate tKan the interpreter of the Dutch^ 
man ; for, having a wife seized with this frenzy, he 
put her in irops ; and when she was.^released, she 
privately informed the priests of the transaction. 
The man being a stranger, they did not choose 
openly to attack him ; but he was soon afler poi- 

While the Dutch slave-merchant was at Why- 
dah, one of the daughters of the king was touched 
by the snake ; but the confinement of the princess 
was short, and, instead of money being disbursed 
at her liberation, she sat, during four days, at her 


father's gate» receiving presents from all the prin- 
cipal persons in the kingdom. 

Besides the great snake, who had a house allotted 
him to reside in, and men and women servants, 
that is, priests and priestesses, appointed to attend 
him, his species was held in great veneration 
throughout the country. If a negro hurt one of 
these snakes, or even touched it with a stick, he 
was condemned to . the flames. An English cap- 
tain, having killed one of them in his house, 
shewed it to the natives, belicfving he had done 
them a service by destroying an enemy ; but the 
people were so incensed, that they murdered all 
the English, and burnt their house and goods. 
Since that time, no European had dared to destroy 
one of these snakes ; though, in hot weather^ they 
visited their dwellings, five or six at a time, creep- 
ing on the benches, chairs, tables and beds ; and, 
if they were not disturbed, would sometimes con- 
tinue upder the beds for seven or eight days^ and 
bring forth their young. 

The negroes would, at the request of the Euro- 
peans, gently carry their divinities out of the 
house; but when they stationed themselves among 
the timbers of the roof, they were obliged to let 
them remaiq. till they chose to descend. They 
were^ however, perfectly inoffensive. They were 
streaked with white, yellow, and brown ; and the 
largest seen by the merchant was two yards long, 
and as thick as a man's arm. They' were fond of 
rats. If a snake were in the roof, and a rat passed 
along the floor, the snake impatiently hissed, and 
used all possible diligence to disengage itself; 
'while the rat, conscious that the time this would 
ti^e was Kis security, looked undaunted on his 

332 WHYDAH. 

dreadful adversary, and escaped at his leisure. 
When caught, the snake was more than an hour in 
swallowing its prey j his throat being at first too 
narrow, and distending by degrees. 

From this circumstance it appears that the peo- 
ple of Whydah did not worship the snake, and 
jprotect him in their houses, without a motive ; for 
if snakes had not eaten rats, rats might have de- 
voured the harvest. In Popo, an adjoining terri- 
tory, the rats were in such incredible numbers 
that the trader counselled the inhabitants to attack 
them in time, lest they should drive them out of 
the country, and take possession of it themselves. 

The priests and priestesses shared the reverence 
of which the snake was the principal object. They 
were exempt from capital punishment ; and as an 
ordinary woman was the slave of her husband, so 
the husband of a priestess, was the slave of his wife^ 

A Capuchin friar said mass, before the king 
while the slave-merchant was at Whydah, and 
when he next saw him, he asked his majesty how 
he liked it. " Very well," replied the monarch ; 
"** it was very fine ; but 1 will keep to my fetish.** 

The merchant afterwards met with the monk at 
the house of one of the chief officers; and he told 
his entertainer in a menacing manner, that if the 
people of Whydah continued in their present 
course of life, they would unavoidably go to hell, 
and burn with the devil. ** Our fathers and grand- 
fathers,** said* the officer, " lived as we do, and 
worshipped the same gods that we do : we are not 
better than our ancestors ; and if they must burn, 
•we shall comfort ourselves with their society.** 

The king of Whydah could bring 200,000 men 
into the field j but they were so weak and powardlj? 


that 5,000 well armed- negroes of the Gold Coast 
would have put them to flight. Their fear of 
death was such that most of them began to retreat 
before the enemy appeared ; and it often happened 
that the general reached home before the. soldiers* 
They did, however, shew, rather more bravery in 
defending their own country than in attacking that 
of their neighbour. Their arms were musket«, 
bows and arrows, fine and well-made hangers, and 
strong and beautiful hassagays. The people of 
Whydah and Ardra had also a sort of club of very 
heavy wood, about a yard in length, and five or 
six inches in circumference, very round and even„ 
jexcept a knot at the bottom, about four inches in 
breadth. This was a deadly weapon, and every . 
man was provided with five or six of these, which 
he threw against hi3 oppcment. 

The king of Great Aidra, a country bordering 
upon Whydah, and &rther inland, was said, with 
his dependent governments, to have been twenty 
times stronger* than the king of Whydah; and 
farth'er still inland were yet more powerful m6- 
narchs. While the Dutchman was in this part of 
Africa, an ambassador came frpm one of these to^ 
the King of Great Ardra, informing him that 
many subjects of Ardra had been complaining to 
his master of the ill treatment they had suffered 
from their viceroys ; and counselling the king to 
order his viceroys to treat his poor subjects with 
greater lenity ; otherwise this powerful sovereign 
would be obliged, though very reluctantly, to 
come to the assistance of the men of Ardra, and 
take them under his own protection. 

The king of Ardra's answer to this remonstrance 
was the murder of the ambassadpr. 


The powerful king sent an army of cavali^, the 
Ardrese said a million of men, but possibly their 
account of millions might not be very exact, against 
the king of Ardra. They quickly subdued half 
the country; and such was the slaughter they 
made, that the men of Ardra expressed the num^ 
ber by the grains of corn in the field. Each in* 
vader carried home with him indubitable tokens of . 
the number of men he had slain; and no one 
dared to take with him a*prisoner, unless those he 
had killed amounted to a hundred. When the 
victorious army reached home, the sovereign or- 
dered the commander to be hanged ; not because 
he had not slain a sufficient number of innocent^ 
men, but because he had not destroyed the royal 
murderer of his ambassador. 

Here ends the Dutch merchant's account of 
Whydah. Whydah, once a flourishing and inde- 
pendent kingdom, is now a province of the empire- 
of Dahomy. The king of Hio was probably the 
powerful sovereign whose general had invaded Ar« 
dfa, and was hanged because he did not kilt the 

It is criminal in .the natives of Dahomy to con- 
verse upon politics; apd even the old soldier dares 
not shew his scars, or talk of his exploits; yet with 
great assiduity I have collected some facts relating 
to this country which will introduce the monarch to 
my reader before I visit hiip. 




1 HE Dahomahs were formerly called Foys, and 
they inhabited a small territory on the north-east 
part of their present kingdom. Early in* the 
seventeenth century, Tacoodonoo» their chiefs 
murdered a neighbouring prince who was with him 
on a friendly visits seized upon Calmina, his prin- 
cipal town, and soon after made himself master of 
hh kingdom. He then invaded a more powerful 
state, and laid, siege to Abomey, its capital ; and 
as he met with some resistance, he made a solemn 
vow, that if he proved successful he would sacrifice 
its prince to his fetish. The town was reduced ; 
the prince was captured, his* belly was ripped 
open, and the wall of a new palace for the con- 
queror was carried over his body. This palace, 
when finished, was called Dahomy, or Da's belly ; 
Da being the name of the prince, and homy^ in the 
language of these people, signifying the belly. 
Tacoodonoo fixed his residence here, and assumed 
the title of king of Dahomy, and his subjects 
changed the appellation of Foys for that of Daho- 
mans* This happened ^^bout the year 1625. 

About the year 1724, Guaja Trudo, the fourth 
king of Dahomy, conquered the kingdom of Ardra. 
Trudo had abundance of plate, wrought gold, and* 
other sumptuous articles ; but while he boasted of 
wealth and conquest, he was himself in fear 6f a 
sovereign still more powerful, the king of Hio, 


whose dominiona lie, as it is said, about a hundred 
and fifty, or two hundred leagues to the north-«ast 
of Abomey } and after the first invasion of the 
Hioes, Trudo thought proper to purchase their for- 
bearance by-considerable presents. 

In the year I727 Trudo conquered Whydah. 
A few weeks after, he was visited in his camp at 
Ardra by the captain of an English vessel, who 
gives the following account of his expedition. 

In travelling from Jaquin to Ardra, a diistance 
of about forty miles, the captain and his compa- 
nions found the roads good ; the country beauti- 
ful ; the towns and villages destroyed ; and the 
fields strewn with human bones. When they ar- 
rived within half a mile of the Dahoman camp, 
they were met by one of the principal ofiicers, 
attended by five hundred soldiers with 'muskets, 
drawn swords, shields, and banners. The com* 
mander and several of his officers, approached the 
travellers with eeremonies which they did not view 
wholly without apprehension ; flourishing their 
naked swords over the heads of the strangers, 
pointing them to their breasts, skipping and jump- 
ing round them with many extraordinary gestures. 
The officer then assumed a grave air ; and after 
he had drank their healths, and they had returned 
the compliment by drinking the health of the king, 
he conducted them to the camp. 

The camp was situated near the ruined town of 
Ardra, which was said to have been nine miles in 
circumference, including its gardens and shady 
walks. The soldiers were in huts like bee-hives, 
constructed with small boughs, and covered witli 
thatich, each large enough to contain ten or 
twelve men, who crept in at a hole on one side* 


Hie strangers had chairs that had been taken from 
the Whydahs, placed- for them under the shade of 
some trees. Multitudes of people flocked td see 
them ; but they were kept from intruding by the 

The travelliers dined on ham and fowls, which 
they had brought with them ; but they wtre so 
annoyed by flies that they could scarcely put a 
morsel into their mouths, without taking some of 
these troublesome insects with it. Had they 
known from whence they proceeded, horror would 
have taken place of disgust ; for, on their being 
conducted to the king, they passed two heaps of 
human heads, piled on two large stages, and co- 
vered with swarms of their late visitors. These, 
they were told, were the heads of four thousand of 
the Whydahs, who had been sacrificed to celebrate 
the late victory. 

The king's gate opened into a large court, in- 
closed with palisades. In this, Trudo was seen, 
sitting on a fine gilt chair, taken from the king of 
Whydah. Three large umbrellas were held over 
his head by as many women, and four women 
stood behind him, with muskets on their shoulders. 
All were richly dressed from the waist downwards; 
the upper part of the body being uncovered. Their 
arms were adorned with many large bracelets of 
gold ; and round their necks, and in their hair 
they wore abundance of beads *, of various co- 
lours, brought from a country far inland, where 
they were dug out of the earth. These were as 
highly valued by the negroes as diamonds are by * 
Europeans. The king wore a gown flowered with 

* Probably aggry beads. , 

VOL. !T. 2 


gold that reached to his ancles, a European em* 
broidered hat, and sandals on his feet. 

The visitors were placed within about ten yards 
of the chair of state, and ordered to stand still. 
The king bade them welcome ; they bowed low ; 
he ordered chairs for them, and drank their 
healths, which they returned by drinking his; 
after which he invited them to stay and see the 
customs of his country. 

A short time previous to this, the king had sent 
twelve of his wives from Ardra to Abomey, at- 
tended by a number of slaves carrying a valuable 
part of the spoil, and guarded by five hundred 
soldiers. These had been attacked on the road 
by a people called Tufibes,. who had defeated the 
guard, murdered the women, and seized the trea«> 
sure. A part of the Dahoman army had been 
sent to punish the offenders, and a detachment 
now returned, bringing with them eighteen hun- 
dred prisoners. The king selected some of these 
for sacrifice ; some he reserved for his own use, 
or for sale to the Europeans ; and upwards of two 
• hundred he distributed among his officers. Persons 
were in readiness to receive the captives from 
those soldiers who had taken them, and to pay 
them in cowries after the value of twenty shillings 
for each man, and ten for a woman or child. 
Those were next rewarded who had brought the 
heads of the slain, for each of whifch they received 
the value of five shillings. Some of the soldiers 
carried three or four heads in a string. The pay- 
ment of the troops chiefly depended, and still de- 
pends upon the success of their expeditions. 

During the whole of this ceremony, the great 
men, both of the court and army, were prostrate 


on the ground, none approaching nearer the king's 
chair than twenty feet. If they had any commu- 
nication to make> they first kissed the earth, and 
then whispered it in the ear of an old woman, 
who reported it to the sovereign^ and brought- 
back his answer. When any received a present of 
a slave, an officer proclaimed it aloud^ and it was 
immediately re-echoed by the crowd, which was 
assembled without, waiting for the victims. 

As the travellers passed through the gate, after 
quitting the king, they were surprised by the sight 
of forty stout men ranged on both sides of it, with 
muskets on their shoulders, broad swords in their 
hands, and numerous strings of human teeth 
round theur necks, hanging down to the waist 
both before and behind. These, they were told, 
were the king's worthies, or heroes, who, having 
slain many enemies in battle, were allowed to wear 
their teeth as trophies of their valour. It was death 
for one of these heroes to wear a tooth if he had not 
killed its former owner with his own hand. 

After they had dined, the travellers repaired to 
the place where the prisoners were to be sacrificed. • 
Four small stages were erected at about five feet 
from the ground, by the side of one of which the 
English captain took his station. The first victim 
was a comely old man, between fifty and sixty 
years of age, with a firm countenance and un- 
daunted mind. He was brought to the side of the 
stage with his hands tied behind him ; and, as he 
stood erect, the fetish-man or p'riest, laid his hand 
upon his head, and made a speech, which lasted 
about two minutes. This ended, he made a sign 
to the executioner, who was standing behind the 



prisoner, and who inimediately severed his head 
from his body with one stroke of a broad sword. 
The multitude gave a great shout ; the head was 
thrown upon the stage ; and the body, after hav- 
ing lain a short time, that the blood might drain 
from it, was carried away by slaves, and thrown 
on a spot near the camp. The same scene was 

. doubtless exhibiting at tiie other three stages, at 
the same time. The Englishman was informed 
that the blood belonged to the fetish, the head to 
the king, and the body to the common people ; 
by which last he understood that it was given 
them to be eaten. The king, it was said, intended 
to build a monument of his victory with these and 
other skulls. 

The English captain saw many other victims 
sacrificed in the same manner. The behaviour of 
the men was bold and daring : the cries of the 
women and children were lamentable. During 
this exhibition the Englishman entered into con- 
versation with some of the Dahoman officers^. One 
of them said, that after every victory a certain 

* number of captives, selected by the king himself, 
was oflfered to their god, and that, if this were 
omitted, no farther success would attend them in 
war. He added, that the victories they had 
already obtained were a proof that this custom 
was both necessary and useful. The Englishman 
observed that the Dahomans spared neither old 
nor young. The officer replied, that the old were 
too cunning to be spared, and of too little value 
to be sold ; and the young were designed to 
attend, in the other world, upon those Dahomans 
they had killed in this. 


The English captain ventured to ask what opi« 
Dion the Dahomans entertained of their god, and 
he found that they believed him to be subordinate 
to some other. " Perhaps/* added the officer^ 
*' this great God may be your*s ; the God who 
has communicated so many extraordinary things 
to white men ; but, as he has not been plefmed to 
make himself known to us, we must be satisfied 
with the one we worship." 

The travellers retired from the j^cene of blood ; 
and, walking out again in the evening, they passed 
two larjge heaps of headless bodies, the victims of 
the day, which, they were told, amounted to four 
hundred. The next morning all had vanished i 
and, as the interpreter said, all had been eaten by 
the Dahomans. 

The Europeans were admitted to another audi- 
ence of*Trudo, and found the commander of this 
bloody massacre, and the donor of this inhuman 
feast, both intelligent and polite. Their business 
was to regulate the duties on the slave trade, and 
the monarch observed that, though, as a con- 
querer he could establish what imposts he pleased, 
yet, as this was the first English captain with 
whom he had treated on affairs of commerce, he 
would indulge him like a young bride, who, at 
first, must be denied nothing. The conversation 
lasted till near nine o'clock in the evening, when 
they were told it was the king's washing time, 
and they retired. 

On the following day the visitors expected an 
audience of leave ; but it was the king's fetish 
day, on which he received no company. He sent 
them a polite message, accompanied with a present 

342 BAHOMY. 

of slaves, cattle, and provisions for themselves, 
and money and clothes for their servants. 

In the afternoon the remainder of the troops 
who had been sent against the Tuffoes returned 
from the expedition. They consisted of about 
8,000 men, armeld with muskets, swords, and 
shields. They marched in regular order, and 
were divided into companies, each having its pro-r 
per officers and colours. As they passed the king's 
gate, every soldier prostrated himself and kissed 
the ground, and then sprang up with surprising 
agility. They afterwards went through their ex- 
ercise in the area before the palace gate : it lasted 
two hours, during which time they fired twenty 
rounds of powder. This army was attended by at 
least 10,000 people, who carried baggage, provj* 
sions, dead men's heads, &c. Each soldier was 
allowed a boy to bear his shield ; the boy sftrving, 
at the same time, an apprenticeship to the trade 
of war, and, at a future time, recruiting the army. 

The following mornhig the travellers quitted 
the camp of Guadja Trudo, and returned to 

The present sovereign of Dahomy was called 
Bossa Ahadee. On his first assuming the regal 
dignity, he ordered his brother to be sewed up in 
a hammock, and carried to Whydah, where he 
was put into a canoe, taken about two leagues out 
to sea, thrown overboard, and drowned; royal 
blood being here, as in some other places, too 
sacred to be shed. The royal name was also 
sacred in the opinion of Bossa; for one of the 
first acts of his reign was to order every man in 
his dominions of that name to be put to death. 


The Mahee country, a republic composed of 
several small states, joins Dahomy on the west- 
ward. Bossa Ahidee insisted upon altering its 
form of government, and resolved that the people 
should have a l^ng. The Mahee states declined 
the honour proposed to them. Ali^dee, sur- 
rounded by persons who paid an implicit obedi- 
ence to his will, could not bear contradiction, and 
therefore told bis agaow, or commander of his 
forces, that fus house wanted thatch^ which is, the 
expression used in giving orders to go to war ; 
alluding to the custom of placing the heads of the 
enemy on the roofs of the guard-houses at the en- 
trances of the royal habitations. 

The war had been carried on fifteen years with 
various success, when the Mahees were compelled 
to retreat to a very high moutain called Boagry, 
where they had a supply of water, and space to 
sow corn. When the army of Dahomy had in- 
vested the mountain of the Mahees nearly a year, 
the king sent his general all the forces he could 
draw together, >vith orders to take the place, at 
whatever risk or loss. The general, who was now 
to conquer or die, assailed the mountain in every 
accessible part ; and after sustaining a prodigious 
loss, and making an immense slaughter of the 
Mahees, he brought the remnant of them to adorn 
with their heads the thatch of his master's house. 

The Mahees, though defeated, were not subju- 
gated. They fought the Dahomans twelve years 
longer, when they were again obliged to retreat to 
Boagry. The Dahoman general had again en- 
camped round the mountain about a year, when 
the king, impatient at the d^lay, accused him of 
cowardice, and sent another ' officer to take the 

544 DAHOMT. 

cooimandf The superseded general knew his 
master too well to appear in his presence, and re* 
tired to the Maliees, who protected him. The 
new general made an attack upon Boagry, was 
repulsed, and obliged to raise the ;iiege, and after 
eight years, more of war» Bossa Ahddee consented 
that the Mahees should remain without a king. 

Fear never enters the heart of a Dahoinan« 
When the people of Whydah endeavoured to re- 
gain their liberty, the caukaow, or general sta^ 
tioned in that province, marched against them 
with an inferior force. The two cofnmanders ipet 
fit the head of their troops, and held a dispassion* 
ate conversation, declaring their respective deter^^ 
minations, the one to conquer, the other to 
defend, the country. They drank together ; the 
caukaow drinking the health of his king, and * 
wishing that, if he were unsuccessful that day, he 
might not survive the disgrace i but perish like 
the glass which he held in his hand, and which, as 
he spoke, he dashed upon the ground. The battle 
then commenced, with ferocious courage, and rude 
skill on both sides ; and continued till the caukaow 
fell, after receiving and inflicting innumerable 
wounds. The first in rank were foremost in 
danger ; nearly all the chieftains of the Dahoman 
army were slain ; and the army, destitute of 
leaders, was totally routed. 

Whydah, however, still remained subject to the 
king of Dahomy ; and Tanga, the succeeding 
viceroy, formed a design to make himself king of 
this province. His design was discovered; and 
Bossa Ahddee sent some troops against him, who 
besieged him in his house, which he had fortified. 
His affairs becoming desperate, he harangued his 


adherents^ and distributed among them all his 
treasure, consisting of silks, coral, gold, &c« to 
animate them in his cause. His wives, amounting 
to some hundreds, joined their persuasions, and 
his people, wrought to a degree of heroism, re« 
fused to sacrifice him to their own safety, which 
they might have secured by delivering him up. 
They determined to force their way through the 
king's . troops, and conduct their master to tlie 
English fort, and there recommend him to the 
governoi-'s mercy and protection. 

lihis resolution being 'taken, the women put 
each other to death ; the elder first slaughtering 
the young ones, and then cutting their own throats. 
The house was set on fire, to destroy such of the 
effects as were not portable ; and Tanga and his 
adlierents sallied forth, with such treasure as they 
could carry. They made good their passage 
through the king's troops, and arrived at the 
English fort : the English fired upon them as they 
approached ; and Tanga, retreating, into the gar- 
den, received a shot which put. an end to his life 
and ambitious projects. His followers immedi- 
ately dispersed ; some eso^ed ; but the greater 
number were taken and suffered death. 

The history of every country abounds with vio- 
lent deaths ; but what history so much as that of 
Dahomy ? Is death the same object of terror to 
the minds of the Dahomans as to ours ? I believe 
it is not. Custom, that grand smoother of diffi- 
culties, together with a blind devotion to their 
sovereign, may have reconciled these people to a 
premature termination of their existence, and 
made them regard it with indifference. 

When the number of women called Tanga's 

346 dahomyT 

ivivos cut their throats, they were actuated by 
other motives than affection for his person. These 
women were a necessary appendage to his rank, 
the magazine out of which he generously sup- 
plied his servants with wives ; and they would not 
survive the death of their intended husbands, 
whose destruction they regarded as inevitable. 

Bossa Ahddee was the .universal heir of the 
wealth of his subjects ; but he frequently chose 
rather to possess their effects during their lives. 
The innocent inhabitants of whole villages, were 
often sold as slaves, to raise the necessary supplies. 
To serve him with fidelity, and become eminent 
by success, was to be the victim of his suspicion. 

An officer named Shampo was the darling of the 
soldiers, and every tongue was busy in his praise. 
This was a sufficient crime in the eyes of Ahddee, 
and he resolved to destroy him. In the king's 
house was a sister of Shampo, who by some means, 
got an intimation of this design. She could have 
no interview with her brother, for the king's women 
are not allowed to converse with any man ; but 
she was at liberty to send him provisions from the 
royal residence ; and she concealed a knife, and a 
cord with a noose at the end of it, among the 
victuals. Shampo was not at a loss to compre- 
hend the meaning of these significant tokens, and 
immediately withdrew to a neighbouring nation. 

The agaow who had taken Boagry and reco- 
vered Whydah once stood so high in the estima- 
tion of the king, that he actually gave him leave 
to build himself a house two stories high. In a 
country where no inhabitant dares sit upon a chair, 
except a few of the principal officers, who enjoy 
this privilege by especial favour j where none may 


presume, on pain of death, to have a door of boards 
to his house, or to white-wash it within ; in such a 
country the permission to build a house two stories 
high, was a mark of extraodinary distinction. The 
general modestly declined the honour. Some time 
after, he was seized and brought before the king, 
who accused him of an intention to quit the king- 
dom, and join his enemies. The general an- 
swered to the following effect : 

'« I have manifested my zeal for your service 
on various occasions, . and thought no march fa- 
tiguing, no battle hazardous, while executing your 
will. My actions have added affluence and ho- 
nour to your kingdom. What part of my conduct 
has exposed me to this accusation ? You have in 
your hands, as pledges for the fidelity of your 
slave, my aged mother, my wives, and my chil- 
dren. And where, or to whom should I go ? I 
have conducted your armies, and spread destruc- 
tion through all the nations around us ; is it pro- 
bable that I should throw myself into the hands of 
those who tremble at my name ? of those whose * 
country I have laid waste, and whose countrymen 
I have led captive to your gate i" 

This defence was lost upon Ahddee, who desired 
his general to acknowledge himself guilty, and 
trust to his royal clemency for a pardon. The 
brave agaow refused to pronounce a falsehood, 
and was immediately executed. His eldest son 
was afterwards one of the servants of an English 

The army of DahOmy was at one time so har- 
i^assed by fighting, famine, and pestilence, in an 
enemy's country, that the whole perished, except 
twenty-four persons. When these carried the 


dismal tidings \o their king, he ordered them to 
immediate execution, bidding them go to the world 
of spirits, to inform their comrades how much he 
disapproved of their conduct in the war. 

In the next engagement the Dahomans were 
also unsuccessful. Of thirty-two general officers, 
distinguished by having large umbrellas carried 
over them, thirty were killed upon the spot. The 
commander was one of the survivors, and escaped 
from the field ; but, overwhelmed with grief and 
shame, he sat down beneath a tree and shot him- 
self. The other officer conducted the shattered 
remains of the army back to their own country. 

The Dahomans are complaisant enough to ap- 
prove all the actions of their king. Indeed, the 
well known maxim. The king can do no wrongs 
seems carried to its fullest extent in this country. 
I asked a Dahoman, on the eve of a battle, if he 
were not afraid of finding the enemy too strong. 
'* I think of my king,'' said he, ** and then I dare 
engage five of tlje enemy myself.'' This man, 
whose name was Dakou, was in my service at the 
time, and I said, ** I am anxious/or your safety } 
I wish you may escape the dangers of the day." 
" It is of little consequence," replied Dakou ; 
" my head belongs to tlie king, not to myself. If 
he pleases to send for it I am ready to resign it ; 
or if it be shot through in battle it makes no dif- 
ference to me ; I am satisfied, so that it be in the 
service of my king." It happened aflerwards that 
Dakou incurred the king's displeasure, without any 
cause ; but, instead of demanding his head, his 
majesty was so merciful as to sell the whole person 
to a European slave*merchant. 
When a Dahoman commits, or, which is the 


same thing, is accused of, a crime, he is con- 
demned to death or slavery ; his effects are for- 
feited to the king ; all his relations, friends, and 
domestics are seized ; and when some have been 
sacrificed to the royal thirst of blood, the others 
are sold for the benefit of the royal treasury. 
There is not an individual in this sovereign's do- 
minions who has not lost some near relation by his 
orders ; ^et they all attribute such misfortunes to 
the indiscretion of the sufferers, and adhere to the 
maxim, that whatever the king does is right. 

There is, however, a people in this part of 
Africa who are of a different opinion. * To the 
north*east of Dahomy lies a fertile and extensive 
country, inhabited by the great and warlike nation, 
called Hioes. Here, when the conduct of the 
sovereign has given just offence to his people, they 
send a deputation, to represent to him that the 
burden of government has been so fatiguing, that 
it is time for- him to retire from its cares, and 
take a little repose. The monarch thanks his peo* 
pie for their attention to his ease ; retires to hia 
apartment, as if to sleep, and orders his women to 
strangle him. l^is ceremony being performed, his 
son quietly succeeds him, upon the same terms, of 
holding the government no longer than his con- 
duct shall meet the approbation of his subjects. 




I ANCHORED in the road of Whydah, and 
proceeded to the town of Griwhee, which is the 
capital of the prtovince, and the residence of the 
viceroy. It is situated about three miles from the 
sea, on .a sandy plain, and is a large straggling 
town, containing about 8,000 inhabitants. The 
English, French, and Portuguese, had each a fort 
here, with several commodious factories for car- 
rying on the slave trade J slaves being a sort of 
merchandise with which, as may have*been ob- 
served, the king of Dahomy's subjects supply him 
in abundance. 

As it was my purpose to pay my respects to 
Bossa Ahadee, I applied to the Yavoogah*, or 
Viceroy of Whydah, for the necessary attendants ; 
and was furnished by him with an interpreter, six 
hammock-men, ten porters, and a captain of the 
gang, who was responsible for the conduct of the 
others. My own servants, and a few others who 
attended upon the captain, made our nuihber 
thirty. We were all well armed. The porters 
having received their several loads, I got into my 
hammock, for in a hammock I now submitted to 
travel, and began my journey from Griwhee at six 
o'clock in the morning. 

- * Captain of white men 5 yavou, in the Dahoman Jan^iage, 
signit\ing white meo^ and gah, captain. 


The hammock is a sheet, commonly of cotton, 
but sometimes of silk, or broad cloth, about nine 
feet long, and six or seven broad. It is slung at 
each end with several small cords, which draw it 
up like a purse, and to each end is fastened a 
noose, in which is placed the pole. The traveller 
sits, or lies in the hammock, as he pleases, and the 
pole IS carried on the heads of two negroes, having 
a small roll of linen between the head and the 
hammock. A thin cloth is thrown over the pole, 
which serves as an awning to the traveller. 

On passing through the market-place of Gri- 
whee I found a great number of people collected 
there ; and observing some large umbrellas among 
them, I concluded that the viceroy and his officers 
were of the party. I understood that they were 
assembled to witness the execution of a female 
criminal; and the viceroy did me the. honour .to 
send me an invitation to be present at the spec- 

1 found the woman kneeling in the midst of the 
circle, with the stake on which her head was to 
be fixed lying by her. This she hail been com- 
pelled to carry hither from Abomey, the capital 
of the kingdom. 

While 1 was conversing with the viceroy, a lit- 
tle girl, ignorant of what was passing, and desirous 
to know, made her way through the crowd. In 
the criminal she found her mother; and not having 
seen her since her return from Abomey, she ran 
to her with joy. The woman embraced her 
daughter, and then said, *' Go, my child ; this is 
not a place for thee.** The girl was immediately 
conveyed away; and the viceroy proceeded to 
pass sentence on the mother, which my arrival had 

352 XAVIER. 

interrapted. She heard it with seeming indifief* 
etice, picking her teeth with a straw, which she 
took from the ground. The viceroy then gave a 
charge of submission and good behaviour to the 
spectators ; and, when the exhortation was ended, 
one of the executioners gave the delinquent a blow 
on the back of the head with a bludgeon, which 
felled her to the gtound; and another severed the 
head from the body with a cutlass. The head 
was fixed upon a pole, and set up in the market* 
place y and the body was carried without the town, 
and left to be devoured by beasts of prey. 

The woman was one of those who kept little 
shops in the market. Some trifling - article had 
been stolen from her ; and, according to the cus- 
tom of the country, she had taken a burning stick 
out of the fire, and waving it over her head, had 
exclaimed, *' Whoever has taken my property, if 
they do not return it, I wish tkey may iie, lind be 
extinguished like this stick." In performing tliis 
ceremony, a spark had fallen on the dry thatch of 
a neighbouring hut, which had taken fire, and set 
fire to the market-place. 

Afler witnessing this scene, I resumed my jour- 
ney, passing ov^r a level country, cultivated, and 
interspersed with clumps and groves of lofty and 
luxuriant trees. In an hour and a half we reached 
Xavier, the ancient capital of Whydah. The site 
of the house of the kings of Whydah is yet dis- 
cernible by the trench that surrounds it ; but the 
place is overgrown with lofty trees. Xavier is 
surrounded by plantations of yams and potatoes, 
which find a ready market at Griwhee. 

Previous to the conquest of Whydah by the Da- 
homans, in the year 1727, this country was ex- 


tremely fertile and full of inhabitants. The last 
king of Whydah gave to. an English captain, iil 
1722, fifty six pounds weight of gold dust, for 
having destroyed an English pirate who infested 
the coast. This contradicts one half of the Dutch 
merchant's information respecting gold, and con- 
firms the other j they had gold, but they did not 
value it. 

We did not halt at Xavier ; the hammock^men 
choosing to trot on at their usual rate of five miles 
an hour, relieving each other occasionally. In two 
hours we reached Toree, where we istopped for 
re^t and refreshment. I intended to amuse my- 
self with strolling about the town alone ; but I 
found myself followed by my captain. On my 
telling him that I did not require his attendance, 
he said that the Torees were a strange people, and 
had bad customs ; and as he was to answer with 
his head foi my safety, he would not trust me 
alone among a people who m^de a practice of eat- 
ing men. I had some doubts of their being likely 
to eat me. 

Toree is a small town separated from the pro- 
vince of Why dah by a deep and rapid river, which 
we crossed on a bridge formed by piles driven in 
at proper distances, and covered with faggots and 
hurdles. The banks were clothed with stately 
trees and close underwood, which afibrded shelter 
to numerous elephants. When the invading Da- 
homans appeared on the northern bank of this 
river, the men of Whydah, instead of disputing 
their passage themselves, sent the snake to oppose 
them i and this, their deity, fieuling to accomplish 
the purpose, they deemed all resistance vain^ and 


d54 BAHOMT. 

fled before their conquerors. Their faith remained 
unshaken, and the remoant of them who escaped 
the sword of Trudo were very grateful for his 
allowing them to continue to worship the snake^ 

From Toree we proceeded to a small town called 
Azoway, where we arrived in two hpurs. The 
road was good ; but there were neither plantations 
nor dwellings between the two places; and 
the country being covered with thick woods, and 
overgrown with grass that grew higher than pur 
heads, the free circulation of the air was pre- 
vented, and the mid-day heat was insupportable. 
At Azoway I cheerfully consented to the proposal 
of my hammock bearers to have my hammock sus- 
pended under the shade of a spreading tree, while 
they bathed in an adjoining river. This refreshed 
them exceedingly, and we proceeded to Ardra, 
which we reached in two hours. 

Ardra is pleasantly situated on a gently-rising 
eminence of gravelly soil, and is environed by a 
prodigious number of palm trees. It is not the 
town of that name once the capital of a powerful 

At Ardra I was conducted to apartments in a 
house appropriated to the accommodation of white 
men on their journey between the coast and the 
capital, and was presented by the man who had 
the care of it with a jar of cool water, and a cup 
of the beer called pitto. Here my retinue, having 
deposited my baggage in my apartment, and sus- 
pended my hammock for my repose, left me, and 
went to the quarters provided for them. My re- 
tirement was not invaded by any of the inhabitants 
of the town ; and I passed the night in perfect se-. 
curity, without even a bolt upon the doon iMTy 

whVbow. 355 

sleep, however, was interrupted by the incessant 
howling of the jackals, which, as if they had been 
its regular police, continued prowling through the 
town during the whole night, uttering their abomi- 
nable cries. 

Early the next morning we continued our jour- 
ney, and after travelling over a very agreeable 
country, in which we passed through two villages, 
we stopped to breakfast at an inconsiderable town 
called Havee. We then proceeded to Whybow, 
where we arrived about ten o'clock. Here I was 
hospitably received by the governor of the town,' 
who had been an officer in the guards. Jabrakou, 
for that was his name, provided an excellent din- 
ner for n^e, and liberally entertained my whole re- 

Jabrakou was a keen sportsman. He shewed 
me his larder, which was well stored with buffalo, 
wild hog, and venison of different sorts. Of all 
these he pressed me to take a quantity sufficie^nt 
for the remainder of my journey ; and though I 
declined this favour, as I carried with me provi- 
sions of my own ; he insisted upon my taking the 
couple of guinea fowls he had intended for my 
supper, if I had passed the night at his house. I 
could not prevail upon the governor to accept the 
smallest present for my entertainment, till I had 
promised to pass a few days with him, and join his 
hunting party on my return. 

I left Whybow in the evening, and after travel* 
ling an hour and a half I reached Appoy, where I 
was lodged in a house provided, by the king's or- 
der, for the accommodation of white people. I 
was now to enter the Grreat Wood, through whicli 


356 DAHOMY. 

the path was so narrow, crooked, and bad, that it 
was impossible to be carried in a hammock. 

At three o^clock in the morning on the third 
day of our journey from Griwhee, we entered the 
wood, with the advantages of a bright moon, and 
a serene sky. The captain placed some of bis men 
in the front, and others in the rear, with loaded 
muskets, to defend us from the attacks of wild 
beasts, with which this dreary wood abounds : and 
two of .the hammock bearers carried lanthorns 
with lighted candles. The whole party continued 
Singing, shouting, and bellowing to terrify these 
animals; and this, with the sound of trumpets, the 
firing of muskets, the chattering of monkies, the 
squalling of parrots, the roaring of lions, and the 
rustling and crashing of elephants among the un- 
derwood, made the most extraordinary clamour 
that can be conceived. 

After a fatiguing march of five hours, we ar- 
rived at Agrimee, a small town at the opposite 
extremity of the wood, where we stopped to break- 
fast. From hence we proceeded to Calmina, a 
large town, cQUtaining about 15^0 inhabitants, 
which we reached in two hours* The king fre- 
quently resides here. . The several buildings that 
compose his residence are inclosed within a high 
mud wall which forms a square. I measured one 
side of this, and found it nearly 1,700 paces, or 
about a mile in length. In the centre is a gate- 
way and large guaiii-house, on the roof of which 
was exposed to view a great number of the skulls 
of prisoners taken in war. 

The title of the second minister of the king of 
Dahomy is Mayhou. He is master of the ceremo- 
nies ; he superintends the public festivals at court, 



has the care of all strangers who visit the king, is 
a judge in criminal cases, and reports every cir- 
cumstance that passes to his master. At Calmina 
Z was conducted to apartments in the house of 
this officer; and a messenger was sent by him 
with compliments of congratulation on my safe 
arrival at that place ; and desiring to be informed 
when I purposed to enter Abomey, and whether I 
would choose to be received in state by the great 
officers of the court. On enquiry, I found this 
reception consisted of the following ceremonial*. 
The prime minister and other great men come out 
of the town on horseback, with numerous armed 
attendants, and meet the stranger at the distance 
of about half a mile, when the soldiers perform 
their military exercise, and fire a few rounds of 
musquetry. The great men then alight, and receive 
the strangor under the shade of large umbrellas ; 
present him first with a tumbler of cool water, and 
afterwards wjth a small glass of spirits which is 
draifk to the king's health ; they, then proceed on 
foot to accompany him into the town. I declined 
this honour on account of being fatigued ; an old 
lady belonging to the mayhou's house provided an 
excellent dinner for me, which was very accepta- 
ble, as my porters did not arrive till late, owing to 
their fatigue in crossing the wood. 

When a new governor arrives at one of the Eu- 
ropean forts, the king dispatches one of his half- 
heads, messengers so called from having one half 
of their heads shaven, carrying his gold-headed 
cane, which indicates that he is sent by his order. 
The messenger is introduced to the governor, in 
great state,- by the yavoog^h, who receives from 
him the cane of his master, and draws it from its 

36i OAHOMY. 

case* At sight of the royal cane all the black 
inen present fall flat upon their faces, and cover 
their heads with dust. The yavoogah then pre* 
seats the cane to the European governor, and de- 
livers the message, which usually consists of the 
lung's compliments, and wishes to see the gover- 
nor as soon as possible. The same ceremony takes 
place annually at the approach of the customs. 

When the governor arrives within six or eight 
miles of the capital, he is met by a company of 
thirty or forty dwarfs, from three feet to three feet 
and a half high, covered with the skins of large 
monkeys, with enormous tails hanging down be- 
hind. The captain of this extraordinary troop, 
who is of the same height, and clad in the same 
manner, advances with them, all gamboling and 
performing tricks of real monkeys, till he reaches 
the governor, when, having pi'eseirted the complin 
ments of the king, and a glass of wine or brandy 
to be drunk to his health, the pretended monkeys 
gambol back, and the governor proceeds on his 

In about half an hour the stranger is met by a 
troop of eunuchs dressed like women, with a cap- 
tain at their head, who accosts him with as much 
gravity and humility as the monkey corps had 
shewn of gaiety ; and other compliments are de- 
livered from the king, and another glass of wine 
or brandy is drank to his health. 

Arrived near the town, the governor is met by a 
third company, more numerous than the others, 
composed of the king's guards. These keep guard 
without the wall of the palace, and are fine, tall, 
robust men, with caps of elephant's skin, from 
which the tail of the elephant, with all its hairs, 


hangs down behind ; the cases for their charges of 
powder are made of fourteen or fifteen strings of 
human teeth set close together. The ceremony of 
drinking the king's health* is again repeated ; and 
having made the tour of the palace walls in his 
hammock, amidst singing, shouting, and firing of 
muskets, the governor is conducted by the may- 
bou to the house prepared for him. 

Each governor, whenever he visits the king of 
Dahomy, carries with him a present, consisting of 
a piece of rich silk for a dress, and a variety of 
other articles, amounting in the whole to the value 
of more than fifty pounds : but the monarch takes 
especial care to make these gentlemen understand 
that he has no interested motive for requesting 
their attendance, and he returns more than an 
equivalent. He defrays the expence of their jbur- 
ney, entertains them liberally, and presents each 
with a young female slave, under the denomina- 
tion of a washerwoman, and at least one fine cot- 
ton cloth for a counterpane. 

I left Calmina at five o clock in the evening, 
and arrived at "Abomey at seven. The road be- 
tween these two places is very fine ; the country is 
cleared of trees, and in a high state of cultivation. 
The whole distance from Griwhee, which I had 
travelled in three days, may be about ninety miles. 

On my arrival at the gate of Abomey I was sa- 
luted with fifteen guns, and conducted to the 
apartments in the mayhou's house that were appro- 
priated to the use of white men. This officer's 
steward waited upon me with his master's compli- 
ments, accompanied by a jar of cool water, some 
pitto, and some fowls; and the mayhou himself 
appeared soon after with the king's compliments. 


which were followed by some sheep^ some fowls, 
two baskets of flour, two jaxs^f pitto, a calabash 
of palm oil, another of salt, and a flask of brandy. 

I must here do the kiog of Dahomy the justice 
to acknowledge that, however he may -gratify his 
fancy by cutting ofl^ the heads of his subjects, or 
replenish his treasury by the sale of their persons, 
he has always treated Europeans with becoming 
kindness and respect. How far their forts may 
have contributed to the complaisance of this mo- 
narch, I will not take upon me to decide. 

The court of Dahomy w^as now engaged in the 
celebration of a grand festival, which continues 
several weeks, and is csdled the ''annual customs." 
During this time, the king " waters the graves of 
his ancestors with blood." All the governora of 
provinces and towns ; all the great men of the 
kingdom ; and, indeed, all men, unless prevented 
by sickness, attend upon this occasion, and each 
brings a present to the king according to his cir- 
cumstances. Every one endeavours to make his 
present as acceptable as he ca^n ; for, if it were 
thought deficient, he would be reprimanded, if not 
punished. The young men who want wives bring 
the savings of their industry, if they amount to 
20,000 cowries, the value of 5^.2. 10*., which 
. they lay at the king's gate ; and, prostrating 
themselves in the dust, they humbly supplicate Jiis 
majesty to grant them wives. For, it must be ob- 
served that this sovereign retains within the inclo- 
sure of his house a great number of women for the 
purpose of exchanging them for the cowries of his 
subjects* Each must take the female assigned him, 
be she old or young, hai^dsome or disgusting; and 
it4ia6 happened that the king's wives, who are th^ 


agentd in this a£Kiir, have, in malicious sport, given 
a man his own mother. In this case he is obliged 
to take her home and maintain her, and wait till 
he have amassed a sufficient number of cowries to 
purchase again. 

In Dahomy all children belong to the king. 
They are taken from their mothers at an early 
age, and distributed in villages remote from the 
places of their nativity, where they remain at the 
disposal of the king, with little chance of their 
being seen, or at least recognised by their parents 
afterwards. Hence each individual is detached 
frotii his family, and knows but one principle, 
which is obedience to his sovereign. 

«There are few instances of personal violence in 
this country ; for, as all are slaves of the king, 
every one is cautious not to hurt his fellow slave, 
lest he should incur the displeasure of their com- 
mon master. In quarrels they rarely proceed to 
blows ; the meanest of the king's slaves having ac- 
cess to him at the annual customs, and an oppor- 
tunity of applying in private for the redress of 

Though in the king's presence the first minister 
crawls on the ground like the lowest subject, be- 
yond the precincts of the palace the ministers 
^oy great privileges. It is true they may not 
wear sandals, and some other ornaments which are 
peculiar to royalty ; but they sit on high stools, 
ride on horseback, are carried in hammocks, wear 
silk, have umbrellas, flags, drums, and trumpets;, 
maintain a numerous retinue, and are saluted 
with bended knees and clapping of hands. On 
thdr entrance at the king's gate, the garment of 
silk is exchanged for a tunic and a pair of drawers 


•f cfean cotton ; the necessary ceremonies rendering 
this garb unfit to be worn a second time till it be 
washed. The neck is adorned with a valuable string 
•f coral, the wrists with broad silver bracelets j at 
the side hangs a silver-hilted sword, and the hand 
grasps an ivory club. Thus equipped, one of the 
ministers is always in waiting at the giate of the 
palace, and in this dress only may he enter, though 
not till the permission of the monarch be signified 
hy one of his women. 

The only privilege ministers enjoy in public is 
to lie prostrate nearest to the king*s person, and 
to be the medium of communication between him 
and his inferior subjects. The king's sons have 
so rank. They salute the ministers with kneeling 
and clapping of hands ^ the ministers, however, 
hasten to take them by the hand, and raise them 
Irom so humble an attitude. 

The king of Dahomy has a nominal mother^ 
who is called his big mother. High rank and great 
respect 9xe annexed to this title. 

If the king honour a subject so far as to present 
him with brandy, or other strong liquor, with his 
own hand, the man so distinguished lies on his 
back, and receives the honour and the liquor from 
a bottle which the sovereign holds to his mouth. 
In. this, attitude he must drink, and drink till the 
king withdraw his hand, which, if he be inclined 
to make sport, does not happen till the bottle be 

Within the walls of the different royal palaces 
are not fewer than between three and four thou* 
sand women, several hundreds of whom are 
trained to arms, under a female general and sub- 
ordinate officers, appointed by the* king. These 

ABOMEY. 368 

warriors perforin the military evolutions with as 
much regularity and dexterity as the male soldiers, 
and have their large umbrellas, flags, and musical 

Abomeymay contain about 24,000 inhabitants. 
It is built without any regularity. A number of 
small huts for the women, and one or two sheds, 
or piazzas, for the master, inclosed within a high 
mud wall, form the accommodations for each fa- 
mily. The town is supplied with water from a 
rivulet nearly two miles distant, and a number of 
women are employed in fetching it in earthen pots, 
and carrying it round the town for sale. 

Abomey is surrounded by a wide and deep 
ditch, but has no wall or breast-work. Over the. 
ditch are four wooden bridges, with a guard- 
house, in which soldiers are stationed, at each. 
The king has two houses within the town, and 
. one without the gates. They are about the same 
dimensions as that at Calmina, and, like that, are 
surrounded by a mud wall about twenty feet high. 
In passing the guard-house of one of these the 
day after my arrival at Abomey, I observed a great 
number of human skulls, fixed on small stakes on 
the roof. On each side of the door was a pile of 
at least fifty humati heads, and opposite to the 
dopr was a small stage, on which lay about two 
dozen more. 

On my return I received a message from the 
king, desiring to see me the next morning. I 
sent my presents, which were^ a chamber organ, 
and a sedan chair covered with red morocco lea« 
ther, and lined with white silk, early in the morn- 
ing, and at ten o'clock, attended by my interpre- 
ter, I proceeded to the habitation of the king. 




1 WAS received by Mayhou at the door of the 
king of Dahomy's house. On each side of it 
was a human head, recently cut off, 'yi^g with 
the face downwards, and the bloody end of the 
neck towards the entrance. In the guard-house 
were about forty women ; each armed with a mus- 
ket and a cutlass ; and about twenty eunuchs, 
holding in their hands bright rods of iron. One 
of these last went to announce ray arrival. 
Mayhou, walking cautiously forward, conducted 
me through a court, to an opposite door, near to 
which lay two more heads. Here he prostrated 
himself and kissed the ground. The door was 
opened by a female, and we entered a second 
court, in which we were met by the first minister, 
who is styled Tamegah, and whose head is the 
only one in his master's dominions that he may 
not take off at his pleasure. Tamegah was accom- 
panied by the next officer in rank to Mayhou ; and 
these three officers frequently knelt down and kissed 
the ground, pronouncing aloud some of the king's 
titles, as we crossed the second court: in this 
were ranged six hnman heads. 

The courts were of the common soil of the 
country. In each court was a shed, or piazza, 
running along one or two of the sides, formed by 
rafters of bamboo laid on the wall, which was 
about twenty feet high, and sloping down to the 


height of eight or ten feet, next to the court 
The front of the shed was left open, and supported 
by posts ; the breadth was about twelve or four- 
teen feet ; the roof was^covered with thatch ; the 
ground was elevated a few inches by a bed of hard 
clayey mortar; and the wall was in some places 
plastered with a sort of pipe-clay. 

From the second court we passed through a 
door into a third, where the king was seated on a 
chaif covered with crimson velvet, ornamented 
with gold fringe, and placed under the shade of a 
piazza which occupied one side of the court. He 
wore a gold-laced hat, with a plume of ostrich 
feathers} ^a crimson silk damask robe, wrapped 
loosely about him ; yellow slippers, and no stock- 
ings. He was smoking tobacco, whilst one wo- 
man, on her knees, presented a gold cup for him 
to spit in, and several others were employed in 
fanning him, and in chasing away the flies with 

When the door which led into this court was 
opened, Tamegah and his two companions fell 
down, kissed the ground repeatedly, rubbed their 
foreheads in the dust, and approached the king 
crawling on their hands and knees, frequently 
throwing duSt upon their heads with both hands: 
and had the dust been made mud by preceding 
rain, the ceremony would have been the same. 

Having bowed to the king, I was directed to a 
chair at a few yards distance from him ; and after 
we had drank each other's health in a small g^ass 
of brandy, he enquired after the health of his 
brother, king George of England. We conversed 
by means of Mayhou and my interpreter ; the 
former always kissing the ground before he pre- 

366 DAUOMY. 

samed to repeat the king'3 words to my servant* 
This custom is observed in every part of the Coun* 
try, as well as in the royal presence, when any 
person has occasion to repeat the words of the 

The king was much pleased with the tunes of 
the organ, but delighted beyond measure with the 
sedan chair. At his desire I went into it, and l¥as 
carried about the court by his hammock bearers 
till they^ were tolerably expert chairmen. His ma- 
jesty then seated himself in it, and was carried, 
amidst the acclamations of his ministers and his 
women, till, at length, in the exultation of his 
heart, he sent for some eunuchs, and was carried 
by them to his private apartments, to display his 
acquisition to the rest of his ladies. 

The next day I received an invitation to be a 
spectator of some diversions at the king^s gate* 
Qn my arrival I found the tamegah, mayhou, 
yavoogah^ agaow, and jahou, seated on their stools 
of office, which were placed on leopard's skins. 
The diversions consisted of the comic distortion^ 
and antic dances of a multitude of people, first 
men, and then women. If a man by chance get 
a fall in one of these dances, it is considered as a 
bad omen, and he is immediately conveyed from 
the crowd, and his head is struck off; the dance 
going on as if nothing had happened. Seven men, 
and seven horses, fastened to tall posts, were in 
view of the dancers, and the former seemed to en- 
joy the spectacle, though their own heads, and 
those of their horses, were to be cut off for the 
amusement of the next day but one. 

When I quitted this scene, I had not proceeded 
far before I was annoyed by an intolerable stench; 


andf on looking round, I perceived the heads of 
thirty-six men and thirty-two h<H'ses, which had 
been cut off on the two preceding days of rejoicing, 
in token of the grandeur of the king, and^igree- 
able to custom immemoriaL 

I hope that, by this time, the reader of my 
travels is reconciled to the custom of cutting off 
heads, and views it with calm indifference. And 
I am* the more encouraged in this hope by Kavii^ 
heard my father say that human heads were 
formerly placed on Temple Bar, and that the peo- 
plie in London passed under them, and in view of 
them, without any concern. 

The next morning I went to the gate of the 
king's house, to see a {Ht)cession of his women» 
seven hundred of whom came' out of the gat^ 
neatly dressed, and danced on the parade before 
the guard-bouse ; a number of men being drawa 
up at a distance to prevent the intrusion of the 
populace. On the women retiring, the com* 
mander of the forces advanced with about 5,000 
soldiers, who went through the various evolutions 
of their exercise, and concluded with a general 
dance and their war song. 

The following morning I received a message 
from the^ king, desiring me to attend him. I 
found him .sitting under one of the sheds; and I 
was placed in a chair in the open court, where 
some slaves held a large umbrella over me. At a 
little distance sat twelve Moorish merchants^ who 
travel to the court of Dahomy every year, it is 
said from the north of Africa. They are much 
respectejl, and an elephant is annually killed to 
feast them. 

Soon after I was seated, the music began to 

368 DAHOMT. 

play. This consisted of trumpets^ flutes, he]ls, 
and a multitude of drums of different sizes. 
Crowds succeeded each other in dancing till they 
were tired. A table was spread for me, at which 
I dined. The dinner was dressed by cooks trained 
at the European forts ; the plates and dishes were 
of pewter or earthenware. Adahoonzoo, the king's 
eldest son, squatted behind me, and condescended 
to receive a roasted fowl from my hand, ^he 
Moors dirled at another table. The king never 
eats in public. It would be criminal to suppose 
that he ever eats, or that he is so much like other 
mortals as to n^ed the refreshment of sleep. 

When the repast was over, the music was re- 
newed, and the king went out on the parade before 
his house, followed by a guard of twenty-four 
women, armed with blunderbuses. His majesty 
danced some time, to convince his subjects of his 
health and activity ; and they welcomed this con- 
viction with inexpressible joy, which they endea- 
voured to manifest by shouts and acclamations. 
Three hundred of the king's wives then entered, 
bearing cowries in brass pans, which they distri- 
buted among the musicians. 

The great men have from one to four hundred 
wives each, and those in humble station^ from six 
to twenty ; but it must be understood that these 
are not all wives, in our acceptation of the word ; 
the greater number might be termed servants, 
and even labourers. The king^s women have se- 
parate huts within the palace walls. 

On the ensuing morning, when I arrived at the 
king's gate, I found each side of it graced with 
three human heads, which had been cut off the 
night before to do honour to this day's spectacle. 


In the centre of the parade was placed a tent 
about fifty feet high, and forty in diameter, and 
shaped like a sugar-loaf. This did not reach the 
ground ; but was surrounded by a circular range 
of small iron rails, through which the king could 
have a view of what was passing around him. The 
monarch seated himself in this tent, and after a 
dance by a droll sort of harlequin, a grand proces- 
sion began. 

First marched, two abreast, a hundred and 
twenty of the king's guards carrying blunder- 
busses : next, fifteen of the king's daughters, fine 
handsome young women, attended by fifty female 
slaves. After these came, one by one, seven hun- 
dred and thirty of the king's wives, bearing provi- 
sions and liquors for a royal banquet, which was 
to be spread in the market-place. These were 
followed by a guard of ninety women,. under arms, 
with drums beating. Six troops then advanced, 
consisting of seventy >vomen each, with each a 
distinguished favourite, marching under a large 
umbrella, at their head. The leader of the first 
troop was too sacred to be seen ; for, in addition 
to the umbrella, she was encompassed by long tar- 
gets covered with red and blue taffeta^ and was 
' cqmpletely hidden. In the last troop were two 
umbrellas and four favourites, very beautiful 
women, who were said to rank higher in the king's 
esteem than any, except the invisible lady above 
mentioned. All these women entertained the 
king with songs and dances as they passed ; and 
the favourites went into the tent, and received 
considerable presents of cowries from him. These 
wom^n were succeeded by ten bands of his younger 

VOL. n. B B 

370 DAHOMY. 

children, from about seven to fifteen years of age 5 
each band containing fifteen, and consisting of 
such as were nearly of the same size. Seven troops, 
of fifty women each, and each troop preceded by 
two British flags, closed the procession. 

No monarch I had ever seen before exhibited at 
one time 1,500 wives, and 165 children. 

While the ladies were preparing the entertain- 
ment in the market-place, the eunuchs amused 
their master by enumerating his titles, and pro- 
claiming his great actions and magnificence ; and 
when all was understood to be ready, the king 
disappeared, and a second procession took place. 
First went two coaches, each drawn by twelve 
men ; then the sedan chair ; then three hammocks, 
screened from the sun by large sumptuous um- 
brellas, of gold and silver, tissue, and covered with 
canopies of the same. Each of these was sur- 
rounded by a very strong guard, and the king was 
in one of them ; but whether in coach, chair, or 
hammock, it would have been presumptuous, and 
even criminal to guess. My hammock followed, 
and then the hammocks of the five great officers of 
state, the tamegah, mayhou, yavoogah, agaow, 
and jahou, accompanied by an immense crowd of 
attendants and spectators. We entered the market- • 
place under five gibbets, each having a man, who 
had been murdered the night before for the occa- 
sion, hanging by the ancles. 

A large space was inclosed by cloth extended 
upon rails, with a raised inclosure of finer cloth at 
one end for the king. No persons were admitted 
within the railing but the five great officers with 
their attendants, and myself and my servants. I 


dined alone at a table which would have served 
a hundred persons ; and wh<^n I had dined, the 
tamegah, mayhou, yavougah, agaow, and jahou, 
attacked the remainder of the viands. The 
crowd without was so well supplied with provi- 
sions and brandy, that every one was satisfied. 

On the next court festival, only four human 
heads ornamented the door of the royal habitation. 
The dances and procession were nearly the same 
as on the former occasion, but the dresses of the 
women were more gay and costly. The variety 
and abundance of rich sillcsj silver bracelets, and 
coral beads, surprised me. A troop of forty women 
appeared in silver helmets. The king's treasury 
was emptied, and its contents displayed to the 
public, on this occasion, almost every woman car- 
rying something: Some carried fine swords ; 
others guns, ornamented with silver ; others little 
silver saints, purchased no doubt of the Portu- 
guese ; others a lamp, or a candlestick ; above a 
hundred carried canes with gold or silver tops. 

In the evening, when I waited upon the king, 
a female dwarf danced before him. She seemed 
about thirty years of age, was only two feet seven 
inches in height, and was tolerably well shaped. 

During this day's amusement we were visited 
by an harmattan, some of the most striking phe- 
nomena of which I shall describe. 

The coast of Africa, from Cape Lopez in V 
jouth, to Cape Verd in 15^ north, is subject dur- 
ing the months of December, January, and Fe- 
bruary to a wind called the harmattan. ^ At Gabon 
it blows from the north-north-east, on the Gold 
Coast from the north-east, and at the Isles de Los, 

B B 2 

372 DAHOMT. 

a little to the northward of Sierra Leone, from the 
east-south-east. It generally continues one or two 
days ; sometimes five or six, and it has been known 
to last fifteen. There are frequent returns of it 
in the season. The harmattan is accompanied by a 
fog or haze, through which the sun appears for a 
few hours during the middle of the day, of a pale 
red colour; and divested of its beams. No dew is 
perceived during the continuance of this wind, 
and there is no appearance of moisture in the at- 

Salt of tartar, dissolved in water, so as to run 
upon a tile, becomes perfectly dry in a few hours, 
even in the night. The covers of books, though 
shut up in a trunk and lying among clothes, bend 
back as if they had been exposed to the fire. The 
pannels of doors and shutters split ; the joints of 
a well laid floor, of seasoned wood, open wide ; 
veneered work flies to pieces ; and if casks, con- 
taining wine or other liquors, be not frequently 
wetted on the outside, they generally lose their 

All tender plants are destroyed by the harmat- 
tan. The grass withers, and becomes dry like 
hay ; the branches of the orange, lemon, and lime 
trees droop ; the fruit grows yellow and dry before 
it h&s attained half its usual size ; the leaves are 
flaccid, and, if the wind last ten or twelve dAys, 
they may be rubbed to powder between the fingers. 

During the harmattan, the thermometer is 
commonly ten or twelve degrees below the uj^ual 
standard.^ The natives complain of cold, which, 
though it be grateful to a European, occasions 
chaps in the lips and nose. If the wind continue 


live or six days, the scarf skin peels from the hands 
and face, and, if it last a few days longer, from the 
rest of the body. 

The effects of this parching wind are more sa« 
lutary to the human species than to the vegetable 
creation : it stops the progress of epidemical dis- 
eases, and restores to health persons weakened by 
fevers, or violent evacuations. 

While I remained at Abomey, a part of one of 
the king's houses took fire. As soon as the confusion 
occasioned by this accident was over, I waited upon 
^he king as a mark of respect. Twenty heads, at 
least, lay scattered about ; and the king was much 
irritated against his women, who were accusing 
each other of carelessness. It probably was not 
easy to ascertain how the accident happened ; and, 
the king's anger subsiding, he contented himself 
with the punishments he had already inflicted, and 
with selling nineteen of those persons, Who might 
possibly have occasioned the fire, to a European 
slave merchant who happened to be at Abomey. 

Negro slavery has been defended by its advo- 
cates on the principle of lenity ; death or captivity 
being, as these gentlemen say, the only alterna- 
tive. But if this question were referred to a 
native of Dahomy, I imagine he had rather his 
head lay at the feet of the sovereign to whom he 
fancies it belongs, and by whose permission he lias 
hitherto worn it, than be transported to a distant 
land, and groan and smart under a life of labour. 

On the last day of the customs, the king appears 
upon a stage about a hundred feet long and forty 
broad, which is erected near the gate of his pa- 
lace : the wall of the palace forming the boundary 
behind, and the front and sides being fenced with 

374 daAom>y. 

railing. The flopr and rails are covered with car« 
pets and country cloths, and the rails are orna- 
mented with a multitude of flags and large um* 
brellas, some of which are of gold or silver tissue, 
A fence of thorns is placed at a little distance 
to keep off the populace. On this stage are piled 
heaps of cowries, strung in bunches of 2,000 each, 
rich silks, European, Indian, and Dahoman 
cloths, strings of coral, Brazil tobacco, pipes, bot- 
tles of liquor, and a variety of other articles. Each 
officer is allowed to choose a cloth ; the highest 
first, and every other following according to his 
rank : sometimes also a string of coral is presented 
to each. The king then throws a bunch of cowr 
ries among the crowd below ; all his officers and 
women follow his example ; and a general scram? 
ble ensues, to the great amusement of this royal 
personage. The people come prepared for thig 
sport, being intirely naktd, except a strong bag 
for the reception of the prizes, which is fastened 
round the waist, and hangs down before. A piece 
of cloth or silk is generally an object of competi- 
tion ; but as no weapons are allowed, the struggle 
is seldom fatal. Finally, are thrown over, a man, 
or sometimes ten or twelve men, tied neck and 
heels, in baskets, an alligator muzzled, and a pair 
of pigeons with their wings clipped. The heads 
of the victims are the grand prizes, and the pos- 
sessor of each is rewarded by a handsome present. 
It is said that the carcases of the human victims 
are almost wholly devoured by the assembled po-r 
pulace, each person striving to get a morsel. 

But, in the midst of these festivities, an event 
happened that possibly Bossa Ahddee had not 
thought of— he died. I saw him before his de^ith 


in his private apartment, a detached circular room, 
about eighteen feet in diameter, with mud walls, 
whitened within, and a thatched conical roof. 
The floor was of clay, and covered with a carpet. 
The furniture was of European manufacture, and 
consisted of a bedstead with checked curtains, a 
mattrass, a chest, a small table, and two or three 
chairs^ The bedchamber of Ahddee was separated 
from the court in which it stood by a wall between 
four and five feet high, ornamented at top with 
human jaw-bones ; and the little area within the 
wall was paved with the skulls of neighbouring 
kings and eminent persons, who had been taken 
prisoners in his various wars, to afford his majesty 
the [triumph of literally walking on the heads of 
his enemies. 

The moment the king expired, a horrid scene, 
customary on such an occasion, commenced in the 
palace. The wives of tTie deceased monarch be- 
gan by breaking and destroying the furniture, the 
gold and silver ornaments and utensils, in a word, 
every thing of value that belonged to themselves, 
or had belonged to him, and ended by murdering 
each other. 

The usual successor of the king of Dahomy is 
the first of his sons bom after his own accession 
to the royal dignity ; but the tamegah and the 
mayhou have a right to alter the succession in fa- 
vour of any other son whom they may think more 
deserving. In the present instance these officers 
named Adahoonzoo, the heir apparent ; and they 
lost no time in so doing, in order to end the car- 
nage in the palace, which always continues till the 
new king put a stop to it. 

Adalioonzoo being declared king, hastened to 


the palace gate, which he and his retinue broke 
down ; but, before he could enter, the women had 
destroyed a great part of the moveables and 285 
of their own number. The sedan-chair remained 
entire, and Ah^dee was interred in it. Those of 
his wives who had murdered each other were 
buried with him; and it was said that six who 
were living accompanied him in the grave. 

I was treated with great kindness by the new 
king ; ^but I had seen mpre than enough of the 
court of Dahomy, and I wished to proceed on my 
travels ; I therefore announced to him my inten-» 
tiori of returning to Griwhee. Previous to my de- 
parture his majesty graciously presented me with a 
fat sheep, a beautiful female slsLve^ a fine striped 
cotton cloth, manufactured by the Hioes, an anker 
of brandy, and 20,000 cowries, value 50 shillings. 

The language spoken in Dahomy is that called 
by the Portuguese, langua geral, or general lan- 
guage. It is also spoken by the Mahees, the Why- 
dahs, and other neighbouring people. 

The principal divinity of the Dahomans is an 
animal they call dabooay. It has nearly the form 
of a lizard, but is ten times as large, being about 
two feet in length ; it is gentle, and not afraid of 
man. One of these animals has a house near the 
European forts on the coast, where he is attended 
and fed by a number of women, under the super- 
intendance of a grand fetish-man, or high priest, 
who is supposed to possess the power of appeasing 
the anger of the god, and of obtaining from him 
whatever the suppliants may desire, and who, of 
course receives the offerings made to him. No 
man is permitted to touch this divinity, nor any 
woman, save the initiated, on pain of death. The 


"(vhite men are requested not to injure, or even to 
touch a dabooay, if one be seen in their house or 
their path, but to send for a fetish-woman to take 
charge of it. Frenchmen have, however, occa- 
sionally taken up a dabooay, and placed it* in the 
hands of one of these its female servants, without 
being reprimanded ; but no man should venture 
to kill one, unless he would be stoned to death. 

The household deities are rude mis-shapen 

images, stuck with feathers, besmeared with palm 

oil, tinged with blood, or bedaubed with -eggs. 

•The market day, which is every fourth day, is a 

day of recreation. 

There are singers by profession, who perform, 
for hours togetlier, before the king. The songs 
are mpstly extemporary, and have for their sub- 
ject»the praises and exploits of the monarch ; and 
Ahe performers are rewarded on the spot accofd- 
ing to the merit of their compositions. Besides 
these songs, the Dahoman bards, on solemn occa- 
sions, rehearse the whole history of their country, 
sitting at the king's gate. The recital occupies 
several days, during which they are attended by 
young men of the best memories, who learn their 
traditions, and are intended to transmit them to . 
the following generation. 

The common dress of the Dahomans consists of 
a pair of white or striped cotton drawers, and a 
square cotton cloth, about the size of a t^ommon 
counterpane. This is wrapped about the waist, 
and tied on the left side by two of the corners ; 
the others hanging down, and sometimes trailing 
on the ground. Sixteen or gighteen yards of silk, 
or velvet, are required to make a cloth for a chief; 
and one of these garments, composed of twenty- 

<37^ DAHOMT. 

five English ells of crimson velvet, has been sent 
as a present to one of the king^ upon the coast*. 
The head is usually covered with a beaver, or felt 
hat» according to the rank of the wearer ; the 
king, as well as some of his ministers, often wears 
a gold laced hat, with a feather. Th6 upper part 
of the body and the arms remain uncovered, un- 
less the person travel, or be employed, when the 
large cloth is laid aside, and the tunic without 
sleeves is worn. A club is usually carried in the 
hand : the ivory club of an officer of state is a very 
expensive ornament, on account of the great waste 
in making it ; a large elephant's tooth being de- 
stroyed in the fabrication of this badge of dignity. 
Inferior chiefs carry a sort of blunt sabre, with a 
broad blade and wooden handle, serving rather for 
ornament than for offence. 

Warriors wear what is called a grass-cloth, 
which is made of the skin of palm leaves, parted 
into small threads, and woven. They also wear a 
cartouch-box of their own manufacture, and a 
powder flask of calabash. Their many grotesque 
ornaments and amulets, with the uncouth devices 
painted on their faces and bqdies, give them some- 
what of a tiend-like appearance. Every Dahoman 
carries a pouch containing tobacco, a flint, a steel,; 
and tinder, and one or two tobacco-pipes in a neat 
wooden case. 

The dress of the women consists of a greater 
number of articles than that of the men ; Uiey 
make use of several cloths and handkerchiefs to 
cover different parts of the body. The neck, 
arms, and ancles, ai;e adorned witli beads and 
cowries;; and rings of silver, or baser metal, "en- 
circle the fingers. The ears arc pierced so as to 


admit the little finger, and a coral bead of that 
size is placed in the aperture, if the lady can 
afibrd it ; if not, she is content with a piece of red 
sealing-wax, or polished oyster*shelI. Young wo* 
men seldom cover the bosom, and girls wear only 
a string of beads or shells round the waist. 

The Dahomans make a perpendicular incision 
between the eyebrows j the Whydahs cut their 
cheeks and foreheads, so as to leave scars resem- 
bling those of the small-pox ; the Ardras make an 
incision on each cheek, and turning* up a part of 
the flesh towards the ears, suffer it to heal in that 
position ; the Mahees make three long oblique 
cuts on one qheek, and a cross on the other. Here 
I discovered a rational motive for what I had 
hitherto considered as a capricious ornament. The. 
Dahomans are not distinguished in battle by red 
coats, nor the Whydahs by blue, nor the Mahees ' 
by white ; these national marks therefore enable 
each to distinguish a friend from an enemy, and 
were probably introduced *in part, if not wholly, 
for that purpose. 

The cotton cloths of the Dahomans are held in 
great estimation among themselves ; and are oftfen 
purchased by the Europeans, for counterpanes, at 
a high price. Their grass-cloths, when not dyed, 
are the colour of nankeen, but something deeper ; 
they make neat mats of the same substance. They 
fabricate implements of husbandry, carpenter's 
tools, spears, cutlasses, and other weapons of iron ; 
and they have artificers in brass and silver, who 
niake handles for cutlasses, bracelets, rings, and 
other ornaments, melting the metals in crucibles 
of their own making. 

380 DAHOMT. 

The dishes of the Dahomans are few, but excel- 
lent ; the principal is the black soup. It is made 
of either meat or fish, with a variety of mucilagi- 
nous vegetables, well seasoned with pepper and 
salt) and enriched with palm oil, and the seeds of 
the wild tamarind, after they have been consoli- 
dated into a mass by fermentation. Their bread 
is of maize or millet, boiled or baked, either with, 
or without, leaven. They make a very light, white 
fermented bread of calavansejs, and a kind of 
flummery of 'fermented Indian com. 

A curious fruit is produced in Dahomy, resem- 
bling a small olive in every respect but the colour, 
which is of a dusky reddish hue, changing, at the 
end next the stalk to a pale yellow^ The pulp is 
.firm, and almost tasteless ; the stone is hard, like 
that of an olive. After having chewed one or 
more of these berries, a glass of vinegar will taste 
like sweet wine ; a lime will have the flavour of a 
very ripe China orange ; and the same change is 
produced on any other acids. Food, or liquor, 
not containing any acid, undergoes no change 
from the previous use of this berry. The natives 
describe it as the fruit of a large tree. A Euro- 
pean has planted some of the berries ; the plants 
grew to the height of six or seven inches, and, in 
that infant state, they resembled the olive ; but 
they died in their passage to the West Indies. 

1 left Abomey on my return to Griwhee, and 
reached Agrimee on the borders of the great wood, 
where I slept a few hours. I rose early, in order 
to get through the wood before the sun was high, 
and I did not halt till I arrived at the house of my 
friend Jabrakou at Whybgw. Here I passed the 


remainder of this day and a part of the next ; but 
I obtained leave to depart without staying for a 
great buffalo hunt, for which he was preparing. 

The following night I slept at Ardra, where my 
people received a visit from a leopard. My ham- 
mock tiras slung in an apartment adjoining the may- 
hou's house in that town, and the weather being 
very warm, my attendants chose to spread their 
mats under the long shed, and in the litde court be- 
fore it. All were asleep except the captain of the 
gang, who was smoking a pipe of tobacco ; when 
the animal leapt over , the wall, passed the men . 
who were sleeping in the court, and seizing my 
fat sheep, the present of the king, carried it off, 
though the wall was eight feet high. The captain 
saw the whole of the transaction, but had not time 
to get a shot at the thief. 

The next day I reached Griwhee, and the day 
following I went on board a ship in Whydah road. 

Whydah is in 6« 14' north latitude, and S9 13' 
east longitude. 

As some persons who may honour these my 
travels with a perusal may feel a degree of curi- 
osity respecting the successor of Bossa Ah^dee, I 
shall, before I quit the subject of Dahomy, recount 
such particulars of the reign of this monarch as 
have come to my knowledge. 

Adahoonzoo, on his .accession to the regal dig- 
nity, assumed the name of Ai-yaw-soo, or the Male 
Oyster ; for what reason is not known to Euro- 
peans ; certainly not because he possessed the 
inactivity of an oyster, for he soon found an oppor- 
tunity of going to war. The remnant of the Why- 
dahs who escaped from their country at the Daho- 
man conquest, established themseh es in a small 

383 DAHOMT. 

marshy territory between Whydah and Popo. 
There were now two competitors for this sove- 
reignty, one named Abavou, or the Swamp Dog, 
the other Eyee, or the Monkey. The people 
chose the Dog, and drove the other out of the 
country : this was a sufficient reason for Aiyawsoo 
to espouse the cause of the Monkey. His arms 
prevailed, and Abavou, seeing that resistance was 
unavailing, surrendered himself, to spare the blood 
of his countrymen. His head was sent to Aiyaw- 
soo, and his adherents submitted^ 

A sljort time after, the king of Dahomy sent a 
messenger to a British gentleman at Whydah to 
acquaint him that he wished to see him. On his 
arrival at the palace, the king asked him if he had 
ever seen Abavou ; and on his replying that he 
had not, " Then," said the king, " you shall see 
him now." The Englishman knew that Abavou 
had been dead a month, at least, and had no curi- 
osity to see his remains ; but he did not think it 
adviseable to oppose the will of the king. By his 
order, some of his women brought from an inner 
apartment, a wide, shallow, brass pan, containing 
a bundle much larger than a beehive, ornamented 
with two silk flags about the size of a pocket- 
handkerchief. The bundle was composed of se- 
veral folds of cloth, the upper one of cotton, the 
under ones of silk, and when these were removed, 
Abavou's head was seen lying in a china bason. 
It was in perfect preservation, as dry as an 
Egyptian mummy, and the hair was nicely dressed. 
" That? is the fellow,** said the king, " who gave 
me so much 'trouble.'* '*You have taken great 
care of him,'* said the gentleman. " Yes,'* said 
the king, " I am a warrior myself> and if I should 

ADAHOONZdO. * 383 

fall into the hancjs of my enemies, I should wish 
to he treated with that . decency of which I have 
set the example." 

Adahoonzoo afterwards ^defeated the Apees, and 
found in the houses of the king and chiefs many 
valuable European articles, such as silks, laqied 
hats, walking canes, and ornaments of gold and 
silver: but nothing pleased him so much as a 
green decanter, shaped like a common bottle, but 
flattened, and having two cavities for the finger 
and thumb : the outside was ornamented with 
about a dozen heads, raised like medallions. Ada* 
hoonzoo boasted of this prize as the most valuable 
he had ever taken, and said that no white man 
had brought him such a rarity, though he paid 
liberally for every thing curious. An English 
trader had sold him a chased silver cup and cover 
weighing 226 ounces. 

At the approaching customs, the white 'men 
from th^ coast found Adahoonzoo seated in his 
palace 9f Dahoray, amidst four hundred of his 
women, richly dressed. At a little distance were 
six women kneeling, with countenances in which- 
despair was painted. The king had them placed* 
before him, and, ordering a bundle to be brought,, 
he untied it with his own hands, and presenited its 
contents, which were five cutlasses, to five of his 
fat, .overgrown women. The Europeans were 
seized with horror at the sight, but this was not 
the place to express their feelings : the king pro- 
bably divined them, and condescended, in his own 
vindication, to relate the story of these unfortu- 
nate females. 

" These women,'* said Adahoonzoo, " were 
brought from Apee by my army. I took them 

384 DAHOMT. 

home, placed them in my family, treated them as 
my wives; but, not contented with this, they 
made their escape to their own country, where, 
however, they found nothing but the earth and 
trees, for every thiqg else had been destroyed 
by my troops. They afterwards surrendered 
themselves to the king of Ardraj but he was 
too just to keep them, and has sent them back 
to me, to receive the reward pf their ingrati* 
tude. This woman," continued he, putting his 
hand upon the head of one of them who had a 
child at her breast, " is a relation of the king of 
Ardra, but it is not that which saves her. No, 
her infant saves her for a while, but she must pass 
out at the same door as her companions.'' 

In few words let me tell the rest. The Apee 
women were led to the usual place of sacrifice j 
the unpractised executioners performed the work 
of decapitation tardily j and the kiqg, standing 
over, and instructing them said, " Not so — hold 
your cutlass thus — imagine you are chopping 
wood%" During this horrible exhibition, the air 
was rent with the strong names of the monarch, 
and the shouts of the multitude. 

In an expedition against Badagree Adahoonzoo 
was unsuccessful, and he woufd not suffer his sing- 
ing men to allude to it in their songs, saying that 
this subject was too strong for him. He called 
together his officers, and while he watered hjs 
mother's grave, he made a public oration which 
lasted three hours. In the course of tfiis he three 
times took up a portion of the earth, and as often 
swore by his mother that, if he did not make a 
conquest of the country, he were unworthy to be 
caHed her son, and the son of Ahiulee. 


Adahoonzoo performed his oath, and proved 
himself the worthy son of his father. Six thou- 
sand Badagree heads were sold to him by his sol- 
diers ; the king and his officers danced round the 
palace several successive days } a profusion of vic- 
tuals and brandy were consumed in feasting ; the 
heads of the vanquished enemies were exhibited to 
the admiring multitude ; the air resounded with 
the strong names of the Male Oyster ; and the 
bards were permitted to sing on the subject. 

The skulls of the Badagrees were applied to de- 
corate the walls of the palace, but the worknjan 
having placed them too near each other, found he 
had not a sufficient number to complete the work: 
he therefore requested permission to take them 
down, and begin his task again. The king refused 
to lessen the grandeur of his work, and was at no 
loss for materials to complete it ; he ordered IS^ 
heads, the number required, to be taken from his 
Badagree prisoners. 

Do we shudder at this barbarity ? We do. 
Then let us reflect upon our own. The kings of 
Dahomy have slain their thousands ; the sove- 
reigns of Europe their ten thousands. On one 
side, the wounded are killed, and their heads are 
carried home and displayed as tokens of victory ; 
on the other, where dead men's heads are of no 
value, numbers of wounded are left to groan and 
perish on the field. On one side, prisoners are sa- 
crificed with the strokes of a sabre j on the other, 
though humanity exert itself to save them, num- 
bers sicken and die in unwholesome confinement. 

After so much bloodshed, one commendable act 
may be recorded of Aiyawsoo. He ordered his 
subjects to clear all the paths, and gave to each 

VOL. II. c c 

386 DAHOMY. 

chief of a district a string measuring ten yards, 
which was to be the width of the roads. A spa- 
cious communication was thus opened between the 
towns and the capital, and between the capital and 
the beach. With incredible labour, a passage was 
cut through the wood between Agrimee and Ap- 
poy ; the gullies were filled up, and the bridges of 
hurdles, thrown over the .swamps, were widened. 
" Now,*' said the monarch, when all was com- 
pleted, " if any one be desirous of paying me a 
visit, he shall not have it to say that briars or 
thorns impede his way.*' 

The king of Dahomy, with all his conquests, 
continued to be tributary to the king of Hio ; and 
this formidable neighbour sent every year to Cal- 
mina to receive the stipulated sum, and frequently 
made additional demands. On a supposition that 
some coral had been withheld, he sent a messenger 
to Adahoonzoo, to remind him that he held his 
dominions no longer than while he regularly paid 
his tribute, and that, when he neglected to do so, 
Dahomy belonged to Hio. At another time, when 
Adahoonzoo meditated an attack upon Ardra, 
the king of Hio sent him word that Ardra was 
Hio's calabash, and nobody should eat out of it 
but himself. If a white man happen to be at Cal- 
mina when the ambassadors of the king of Hio 
come to demand the tribute, great care is taken 
that he shall not speak to them. The troops of 
Hio are chiefly cavalry: they are said, in the 
whole, to amount to 100,000 men. 

When the Hioes are going to war, the general 
spreads on the ground the thick tough hide of a 
buffalo ; the soldiers are n^ade to pass over it, and 
when their bare feet have worn it through, the 


army is judged to be sufficiently strong. The 
Hio^s take home no captives. The prisoners are 
tied to the tails of their horses, and they gallop 
with them till they are dead. What an idea must 
we form of the interior of Africa, when we are 
told that Hio is tributary to another state still more 
powerful ; and that the king of Hio assembled an 
army that trod through two buffaloes' hides, yet 
did not succeed in his endeavour to throw off the 
yoke ! Of this state nothing is known to Euro- 
peans but the name, which i^ said to be Tappah. 

About this time, the king of Hio was desired by 
his ministers to rest from his labours, atld take a 
little sleep; but this sovereign assumed a power his 
predecessors had not thought of. He assured his 
ministers that he stood in no ne^d of repose, and 
had no inclination to sleep; and he convinced 
them of it by defeating an army they brought 
against him. Whether future kings of Hio will 
have the complaisance to sleep when requested to 
do so, time must determinq^ 

I shall conclude the account of Dahomy with 
the abstract of a speech delivered by Adahoonzoo 
on the subject of the slave trade, and an anecdote 
on the same subject. The speech lasted two hours. 
The governor of the British fort at Whydah had 
read to him, in his native language, some of the 
pamphlets published in England for and against 
the slave trade ; the king had listened with great 
attention, and, when the governor had ended, 
spoke as follows. 

** I admire the reasoning of the white men ; but, 
with all their sense, it does not appear to me thai 
they have thoroughly studied the nature of the 
black. The same Great Being formed both ; and 

c c 2 

388 DAHOMY. 

since he has distinguished them by opposite com* 
plexions, it is fair to conclude that there may be 
a great difference in their minds. There is like- 
wise a great difference in the countries they inha- 
bit. You Englishmen, for instance, as I have 
been informed, are surrounded by the ocean, and, 
by this situation, seem intended to hold a commu- 
nication with the whole world, which you do by 
means of your ships. We Dahomans are placed 
in a country where we are hemmed in by a variety 
of nations, and we are obliged, by the sharpness 
of our swords, to defend ourselves from their at- 
tacks, and to punish them when they injure us. 
This produces continual wars ; and your country- 
men are mistaken when they say that we go to war 
for the purpose of selling them slaves. 

" In the name of my ancestors and myself, I 
aver, that no Dahoman ever made war merely for 
the sake of purchasing your merchandfze. I have 
killed thousands without thinking of your market, 
and I shall kill many thousands more. When po- 
licy or justice requires that men be put to death, 
neither silk, nor coral, nor brandy, nor cowries, 
can be accepted for blood. If white men choose 
to remain at home, will black men cease to make 
war ? I answer. No. :And if there be no ships 
to receive the captives, what will become of them? 
I answer, They will be put to death. Perhaps you 
may ask, how will black men be furnished with 
guns and powder ? I reply by another question. 
Had we not clubs, and bows and arrows, before 
we knew white men ? Did you not see me make 
custom for Weebaigah, the third king of Dahomy ? 
and did you not then observe that I carried a bow 
in my hand, and a quiver filled with arrows at my 


back? With such weapons my brave ancestor 
fought, and conquered all his neighbours. God 
made war for all the world, and every kingdom, 
large or small, has practised it. Did Weebaigah 
sell slaves? No; his prisoners were all killed. 
What else could he have done with them ? Was 
he to let them remain in his country to cut the 
throats of his subjects ? Had he done so, the Da- 
homan name would have been long ago extinct, 
instead of being, as it is now, the terror of sur- 
rounding nations. We do sell to white men a 
part of our prisoners, and we have a right to do 
so. Are not all prisoners at the disposal of their 
captors : and are we to blame if we send delin- 
quents to a far country ? I have been told you do 
the same. 

" If you want no more daves, or if the artists 
who made the fine things with which you purchased 
them have died without teaching others to make 
more, tell us plainly ; but do not frame laws for us, 
and dictate how we are to live. 

<* You have seen me kill many men at the cus- 
toms, and you have seen delinquents from the 
provinces bound and sent up to me. I kill them, 
but do I never want to be paid for them ? Some 
heads I order to be placed at my door, others to 
be strewed about the market-place, that people 
may stumble upon them when they little expect 
such a sight. This gives a grandeur to my cus- 
toms, far beyond the display of the fine things 
that I buy. This makes my enemies fear me, 
and gives me such a name in the bush. Besides, 
if I should neglect this duty, would my ancestors 
suflFer me to live ? would they not trouble me day 

390 DAHOMY. 

and nighty and say that I sent nobody to serve 
them? that I was only solicitoos about my own 
name, and forgetful of them i White men are 
not acquainted with these circumstances; but I 
now tell you that you Ynay hear, and know, and 
inform your countrymen, why customs are made, 
and will be made, as k>ng as black men continue 
to possess their own country/' 

This harangue is a curious specimen <>f negro 
eloquence ; but the situation of the speaker and 
that of the reporter must be considered. The 
one, a vender t)f slaves, very desirous of possessing* 
and very proud of displaying, the European arti- 
cles that are given in exchange for them. The 
other, a dealer in slaves, who lives by his occupa* 
tion ; who, while he calls Adahoonzoo a *^ hellish 
monster** for sacrificing his captives, is silent on 
the cruelties practised by those who purchase 
them } who calls Dahomy an ** unhappy country,'* 
while he acknowledges that the Dahomans triumph 
in the sanguinary exhibitions of their monarch ; 
and who never alludes to the happiness enjoyed 
by negroes in the West Indies, where, when one 
be worn out by forced labour, as is constantly the 
case, the master comforts himself by observing, 
*< He has lived a year, and paid his head ;** that is 
the price he cost. 

That wars would be undertaken if captives 
could not be sold, no person at all acquainted 
with the history of mankind can doubt ; for, as 
Adahoonzoo too truly says, ^* every kingdixn, 
large or small, has practised war i^ but if an A£ri* 
oatL monarch have now four incitements to war, 
that 18 to say, revenge, ambition, filial piety^ and 


the acquisition of Eurcqpean works of art ; it is 
fair to coDdude that one fourth of the wars would 
cease^ if the last motive no longer existed* 

The anecdote is as follows, and needs no com^ 

If a fetaiale slave have a child at her breast^ the 
captains of European slave ships do not like to 
purchase her, as the space allotted to a female in 
one of these vessels is not sufficient to allow of an 
infant without its dirtying and annoying others. 
A Frenchman at Whydah was looking at a num- 
ber of slaves on sale, and obseVved smong them a 
woman about twenty-two years of age, who seemed 
overwhelmed with sorrow. Her breasts were ra- 
ther pendant, yet full, which made him suspect 
that she had an infants He repeatedly asked the 
Dahoman merchant, hier owner^ who persisted in 
saying that she had not ; and the woman, if ques* 
tioned, durst not have returned an answer, on 
pain of death. Not convinced, the Frenchman 
pressed the end of her breast between his finger 
and thumb, and the milk that issued declared she 
was a nurse. The merchant now confessed that 
the woman had- a child; but added that tilts was 
no obstacle to the Frenchman's buying her, for 
that the child had been thrown to the wolves the 
night before. Shocked ^t such unheard-of bar- 
barity, the Frenchman told the Dahoman that he 
would purchase the mother, on condition that he 
might have the child also. The child was soon 
produced; the humane Frenchman placed it in the 
mother's arms; and the poor forlorn creature, who 
knew not how to express her gratitude, took up 
the dust of the earth with her hand, and threw it 
on her forehead. 


The Frenchman's feelings, as he returned to the 
forty wwe enviable; yet mingled with horror at 
the idea of the wolves; and when he reached 
it, he asked his interpreter, whether what he had 
heard were true. Not only did this man assure 
him it was a fact; but he said it was the ccmstant 
custom of the Dahoman merchants to throw suok- 
ing infants to the wolves. 

Some time alter, the Frenchman met with a si- 
milar adventure with another merchant, and he 
purchased both the mother and child, and kept 
them in the fort ; but he found the crime repeated 
so often that his fortune was inadequate to the 
calls ^ upon his humanity, and he abstained from 
seeing slaves on sale that he might not witness 
distress which he was unable to relieve. 



iLQUAPIM is an inland mountainous country, 
containing hills crowned with very large trees, and 
fertile vales abounding with the purest water. Its 
inhabitants are of the middle size, neat in their 
peiBons, firm in their opinions, and brave in the 
field. Their habitations are small and low, but 
remarkably clean. The country was the granary 
and garden of the neighbourhood, and contained 
seventeen towns and villages, sixteen of which 


were situated on the sammits of mountains ; when 
«n Ashantee army, commanded by Apokoo, in- 
vaded ihe territory, burnt the towns and villages, 
and spread devastation around them. 

The river Volta divides the Slavfe Coast from 
the Gold Coast, and above, it divides the coun- 
tries of A^uapim and Aquamboe. It received 
its name from the Portuguese on account of its 
rapidity, and the tremenddus breakers at its 
mouth. The Danes have a fort here, and an- 
other on the left bank, about six miles above. 

Passing the Volta, and about seventy miles of 
coast beyond it, I arrived at Accra. The town is 
situated in latitude. 5^ 31' n<Hth, and longitude 10' 
west, and has a picturesque appearance from the 
, sea. White buildings first present themselves, 
beyond these an extensive plain studded with 
clumps of ti^es, and beyond this, high lands rising 
gradually from the plain. The English and Dutch 
have their respective forts at Accra, and their 
towns, inhabited by the natives, though sepa- 
rately built, are connected together. The Danish 
castle, called Christiansberg, is about three miles 
to the eastward, and is the principal settlement of 
that people on the Gold Coast. Accra, which ex- 
tends about twenty-six miles in length, and from 
twelve to twenty in breadth, is the only countiy 
on this coast that has a fVee trade with the inte- 
rior. It is much resorted to by the Ashantees. 
The Accras, instead of saying, " good night," 
say, ** sleep till the lighting of the world.** When 
they speak of a man who has imposed up6n them, 
they say, *' He turned the back of our headi^itlt^ 
our mouths.** 

Accra was formerly a kingdom, but the Aquam- 

894 DAHOMY. 

boes, who lay behind it, made predatory excur- 
sions into this country, and at length drove the 
inhabitants from it, and took possession of it them- 
selves. The king of Aquamboe was so despotic^ 
that it was said, '^ There are only two sorts of men 
in Aquamboe ; the king and his. friends are one, 
and their slaves the other." It was also said that 
the king and his favourites possessed more gold 
and slaves, and furnished more to the Europeans, 
than all the neighbouring states taken together. 

Of the slave trade enough has been said to give 
the reader an idea of this inhuman traffic } of the 
gold, something remains to be said. 

In the year I7OO gold was brought to market 
in dust and in lumps. The dust was nearly as fine 
as flour, and freed from all extraneous substances) 
the lumps were of different weights, from that of a 
farthing to that of thirty guineas, thoygh few of 
the latter were seen. The negroes said that in 
the country were found pieces of the weight of (me 
and two hundred guineas. Great loss was sus* 
tained in melting the pieces of mountain gold, as 
they were intermixed with small stones. The ne* 
groes carefully concealed from the Europeans the* 
knowledge of the mountains that produced the 
gold. These people were continually at. war with 
each other; some states extending their domi- 
nions, and others being almost annihilated. In 
time of peace, when the passes were open, and 
merchants could travel in safety, they annually 
brought, to different parts of the Gold Coast, to 
the amount of about 230,000 pounds sterling of 
this fascinating metal ; when the negroes were at 
war with each other, scarcely half so much. 

Passing the several European settlements of 


Berracoe, Winnebah, Apam, Tantumquerryy and 
Gonnantine ; at the distance of idiout sevvntjF- 
three miles from Accra, I came to the British £ort 
at Annamaboe, tbe most compact, and most regu- 
larly builti in die country. Before the invasion of 
the Ashantees, the town, which joins the fort, and 
is inhabited by natives, was supposed to contain 
10,000 persons, some of whom were very opulent. 

In 1806, the king of Ashantee, it must be owned 
upon a very just provocation, marched through 
the Afisin country, to make war against the fVtn- 
tees ; and a division of his army penetrated to the 
coast* The general, in triumph at having arrived 
at the ocean, dipped his sword three times in its 
waters, and dispatched a portion of them to his 
master, who was then at Abrah, fifteen or twenty 
miles distant. The town of Annamaboe was at- 
tacked and destroyed; and the British officers, 
with great difficulty, repulsed the Ashantees from 
the fort* Of li5,000 souls, at that time assembled 
in the town, it was supposed that two thirds pe* 
rished. The king, with'bis great officers, and 
their separate retinues, afterwards arrived, and a 
^peace was concluded with the British governor. 

I now prepared to visit the king of Ashantee, a 
sovereign so powerful that he had depopulated the 
neighbouring countries, and so rich that he was 
said to possess a piece of gold heavier than four 
men Could carry. I had some difficulty in pro- 
curing porters and hammock men for so long a 
journey, and I was not surprised at it j for if the 
negroes had required me to carry them or their 
baggage thither, I should certainly have felt some 
reluctance. A native of Ashantee was my guide. 

Proceeding in a north-north-west direction, we 


advanced fifteen miles. The country was thinly 
inhabited, and sparingly cultivated, and th6 vil- 
lages were ruined by war. Our progress was slow 
from the inequalities of the ground, and the ob- 
structions we met with in the path. The village 
where we halted for the night was called Payn- 
tree's Croom, Payntree being the name of its 

I was conducted to a neat and comfortable 
dwelling, which consisted of four rooms, occu- 
pying the four sides of a small square, and all 
open towards the square. The village consisted of 
a very broad and well-cleaned street, formed by 
small huts framed with bamboo, and neatly 
thatched. I visited the chief, whom I found 
amusing himself with his children and his younger 
wives, while the elder wife was looking on with 
happy indifference. His habitation was a square 
of four apartments, which was entered by an 
outer one where a number of drums were kept. 
The angles were occupied by slaves. Within the 
chiefs own room was a small one adorned with 
muskets, blunderbusses, and cartouche belts. The 
latitude of Payntree^s Croom was 5^ 20' north, lon- 
gitude 1^ 47' west. 

On the second day of the journey, having passed 
two small romantic valleys, with a few huts in 
each, we entered a forest impervious to the sun. 
This is the natural state of the country before it 
has been touched by the hand of cultivation, and 
to this it soon returns when cultivation ceases. 
After a journey of twelve miles, we halted in the 
wood, and I passed the night, where nothing but 
the birds of the air could annoy me, in iny ham- 
mock slung to the trees. 

FOREST, 897 

On the third day we continued our march 
through the same dark solitude, and arrived at 
Mansue, the last town of the Fantee territory, 
where I dined under a tattered shed. Mansue 
had been the great Fantee market for slaves 
brought from the interior ; and its former conse- 
quence was evident from the extent of its site, 
over which a few sheds were now scattered. After 
a day's journey of eight miles, we halted in the 
wood. In the night we received a visit from a 
panther, und we found the earth damp, and swarm- 
ing with reptiles and vermin. 

The next day the path was a labyrinth of the 
most intricate windings. The roots of the cotton 
trees obstructed it continually, and we advanced 
by stepping and jumping up and down, rather 
than walking. Large trunks of fallen trees im- 
peded our progress, and we were frequently obliged 
to cut away the underwood. The trees were co- 
vered with climbing plants like small cables, which, 
having ascended the trunks, shot abruptly down- 
wards, crossed to the opposite trees, and formed 
an inextricable maze. The whole afforded a pic- 
ture of bold and luxuriant vegetation, unrestrained 
by the hand of man. Every day we passed some 
rivers, and this day we passed four. In the even- 
ing we rested at Fousou, the first town in the 
Assin country ; it was formerly a large town, but 
now, by the victorious arms of the Ashantees, it 
was reduced to a few sheds. Our day's journey 
was fourteen miles. 

During the. two following days the path was 
sometimes rugged and sometimes swampy; but 
the gloom of the forest was unvaried. Several 
human skulls were seen on the ground, and a 


strong odour was emitted by thre decaying plants. 
In these two days we advanced nineteen miles ; 
and on the third day, having passed two descdate 
villages, we arrived at the banks of the river 
Boosempra, or Chatnah. The bordering trees 
were beautiful ; the river was forty-three yards 
wide, and seven feet deep; and I crossed it in a 
canoe hollowed out of a single tree. 

The scene brightened from our crossing the 
Boosempra. Prasoo, the first town, consisted of a 
wide, clean street, formed by tolerably regular 
houses ; Kickiwherry, the second, where we 
passed the night, was still larger. Here we halted 
under the public tree, a banian, or Indian %• 
from whence we were conducted to a comfortable 
dwelling, forming a square, as usual, but with a 
bamboo curtain to let down at the open front; the 
floors were raised about eighteen inches from the 
ground, and daily washed with a red earth. This 
day's journey was seven miles. The thermometer 
at eight o'clock in the morning was 77^ J at one 
in the afternoon 91®. 

On the seventh day of our journey we passed 
four villages, with forests in the intervals between 
them ; and slept at a fifth, where we saw the first 
plot of com since leaving Payntree. On the 
eighth we reached Akrofroom, which was by far the 
largest town we had seen. Our two days' journey 
was twenty miles, and our course nearly north. 
Heavy rain during the night flooded our lodging, 
and rendered our path to the next town impassa- 
ble; we were therefore obliged to wait till the 
day following, when, after eleven miles march 
through the forest, we reached Moisee. This is 
the last town of Assin, and is situated at the foot 


of a range of hills, covered with wood, which 
divide that country from Ashantee. 

Our ninth day of travelling passed this boundary, 
and included a space of only six miles ; yet in this 
space were three towns. At the second <^ these, 
called Fohmannee, we were entertained with fruit 
and palm wine by a venerable old. man, whose life 
was a forfeit to the law on account of some super- 
stitious observance. He was now waiting the 
result of a petition he had sent to the king of 
Ashantee, praying that he might be spared the 
fatigue of the journey to Coomassie, the capital, 
and that, in compassion to his infirmities he might 
be executed at home. This respectable man 
conversed cheerfully, and congratulated himself 
upon having seen white men before he died. His 
petition was granted, and his head arrived at Coo- 
massie the day after myself. 

Doompassee, where we slept, was the most in- 
dustrious town on the path ; cloth, beads, and 
pottery were being manufactured in all directions, 
and the smith s forges wiere always at work. I 
dispatched a messenger from hence to the king, to 
inform him of my intended visit, and after resting 
some da3rs I proceeded to Dadawassee, a distance of 
seven miles, in which I passed three other towns. 
The path, that in Fantee and Assin, would seldom 
have admitted my hammock, if I had chosen to 
be carried in it, had here been cleared by the 
king s ord€r ; and the numerous paths that 
branched off from it shewed that the country was 
well inhabited. At Dadawassee I found a mes- 
senger from the king, inviting me to enter his 
capital, and bringing a present of a sheep, forty 
yams, and two ounces of gold. 


The next day we proceeded to Assiminiai a dis- 
tance of eight miles, in which we passed nine 
other towns. The path was frequently eight feet 
wide, and kept as neat as that of a garden. 

We remained at Assiminia one entire day, 
owing to a violent tornado which happened in the 
night, and increased the streams near the town 
from ancle deep to three feet. On the following 
day we advanced eleven miles. The towns^ which 
are seven in number, presented one wide central 
street, with trees at each end. At the last of 
these, called Sarrasou, which' is in latitude 6^ SO' 
north, and longitude S9 & west, we passed the 

The next day was to witness my entrance into 
Coomassie, from which I was now only seven 
miles distant ; I therefore put on my state habit, 
and dressed my attendants as handsomely as possi- 
ble. On proceeding, we found the soil a rich 
black mould, and saw continual and regular planta- 
tions of corn, yams, ground nuts, &c. enclosed by 
drains, and kept free from weeds. At six miles 
from Sarrasou we crossed a marsh that insulates 
Coomassie j it was here forty yards wide and 
one deep, and at two o'clock we entered the city, 
passing under a fetish, which was a dead sheep, 
wrapped in red silk, and suspended between two 
lofty poles. Our days of travelling from Anna- 
maboe had been thirteen, and the distance was, 
according to my computation, 145 miles. 

We were met by upwards of 5,000 people, most 
of whom were armed ; my ears were assailed by the 
sound of horns, drums, and gong-gongs, and the 
report of muskets and blunderbusses j while the 
cSptains were seen emerging from the smoke with 


the gestures and distortions of tnaniacs. Their 
dress was not less extraordinary. The war-cap 
was decorated with a pair of gilt ram's horns, 
* branching out in front, and two immense plumes 
of eagle's feathers from the sides ; it was fastened 
under the chin with bands of cowries. The vest 
was of red cloth, covered with charms, or scraps of 
writing, inclosed in gold and silver, and embroi- 
dered cases of every colour; small brass be]ls,. 
shells, knives, horns and tails of animals. Leo- 
pards' tails hung down their backs, over a $mali 
bow covered with charms. They wore loose cot- 
toh trowsers:; and prodigious boots, ornamented 
with bells, horses' tails, strings of amulets, and 
shreds of leather, reached half way up the thigh, 
and w^re fastened by small chains to the belt. A 
smairijuiver of poisoned arrows hung from the 
left wrist; in. the left hand was a small spear, 
covered with red cloth and silk tassels ; and be- 
tween the teeth was held an iron chain that hung 
down to the breast, from which was suspended a 
piece of Moorish writing that probably performed 
the oflBce of a shield. The black complexions, 
the strange attitudes, and the extravagatit dress of 
these warriors, produced a figure ^scarcely human. 
This e^Iiibition over, we proceeded, attended by 
the soldiers and the crowd. The several streets 
branching oflF to the right and left were crammed 
with people, and the large open porches of the 
houses were filled with the better sort of women 
and children^ We halted near the palace, while 
the bands, which were principally composed .of 
horn's and flutes, entertained, us with their wild 
melodies, and the large umbrellas, made, to ris^i 



and sink by their bearers, and the large fans of 
ostrich's feathers waving around, refreshed us 
with small currents of air. Our attention was 
diverted from the novelty of this spectacle^ by 
another, replete with horror-— a man led to aacri- 
fice, under torture that I shudder to think of, and 
shall not detail. 

Passing through a very wide street, we entered 
the )market-place» which was nearly a mile in cir* 
cumference. In the distance we saw the king, 
with his tributaries and officers, resplendent with 
ornaments of gold ; while a mass of armed men 
and attendants seemed to make our approach to 
him impracticable. More than a hundred bands 
of music burst out at once ; more than a hundred 
large umbrellas, or canopies, which could shelter 
thirty persons each, were raised up and let down 
by their bearers ; the state hammocks were resting 
on the heads of those appointed to carry them ; 
and innumerable small umbrellas, of various co- 
loured stripes, were crowded in the intervals. The 
large umbrellas were made of scarlet, yellow, or 
other shewy colours, of cloth or silk, and crowned 
on the top with crescents, pelicans, elephants, 
barrels, and swords of gold. The valances were 
scalloped and fringed ; in some, small looking- 
glasses were inserted, from others projected the 
proboscis and small teeth of elephants. A few of 
these umbrellas were roofed with the skins of leo- 
pards, and crowned with the skin of various ani<- 
mals, stuffed to look like nature. ' The cushions 
and pillows of the hammocks were covered with 
crimson ta%ta, and the richest cloths huDg over 
the sides. 



The king's messengers, who were distu^uiaked 
by gold breast-plates, made way for us, and as I 
was to take the hand of every governor and cap-, 
tain, as I passed him, I had time to observe their 
dress. They wore Ashantee cloths, of incredible 
size and weight, and extravagant price, as the most 
costly foreign silks had been unravelled to form 
them, in a great variety of colour and pattern. 
These were thrown over the shoulder like 'the 
Roman toga. A small silk fillet was worn round 
the temples ; and massive gold necklaces curiously 
wrought, round the neck. From the latter were 
suspended Moorish charms, inclosed in square, 
cases of gold, silver, and embroidery. Some wore 
necklaces of aggry beads, reaching below thp sto- 
mach. A band of gold and beads, from which 
hung several strings of the same, encircled the 
knee, and a band composed of casts of ammals, 
rings, and round flat pieces of gold, strung toge- 
ther, went round the ancle. Their sandals were of 
green, red, and delicate white, leather. Manillas 
and rude lumps of rock gold hung from their left 
wrists, of which some were so heavily loaded, that 
they were supported on the heads of handsome 
boys. Gold and silver pipes and canes appeared 
in every direction. Wolves and rams* heads, of 
the natural size, cast in gold, were suspended from 
gold<handled swords, the blades of which were 
rusted with blood ; the sheaths were of leopard's 
skin, or the shell of a fish resembling shagrfeen. 
The large drums were placed on the head of one 
man, and beaten by two others, and were bmeed 
around with the thigh bones of conquered ene^ 
mies, and ornamented with their skulls. The 


kettle-drums were covered with leopards' skins, 
and. the wrists of the drummers were hung with 
bells and pieces of iron, that gingled loudly as they 
were beating. The smaller ^ drums were suspended 
from the neck by scarves of red cloth. The 
hofa; were formed of the teeth of young ele- 
phants, and were ornamented with gold, and human 

The great officers were seated on chairs of 
black wood, inlaid with ivory, atid embossed with 
gold. Large fans of ostrich feathers played around 
them, and behind them stood their handsomest 
youths, arrayed in corslets of leopard skin, covered 
>vith. gold cockle-shells. These were stuck full of 
small knives, with handles of blue agate, and 
sheaths of gold or silver. Large gold-handled 
^words were, fixed behind the left shovilder ; and 
silk scarves, and horses' tails, generally white, 
streamed from the arms and the waist clodi. They 
were armed with Danish muskets, ornamented 
with gold and shells. Behind some of the chairs 
stood handsome girls, holding silver basons. Each 
of the great men had a stool, the badge of his 
plaice and rank, borne on the head of a favourite ; 
and crowds of little boys were seated around, 
flourishing^ elephants' tails, curiously mounted. 
The stools were carved with great labour, and 
had a large bell at each end. 

The soldiers were sitting on the ground. Their 
caps were of leopard's skin, with the tail hanging 
down behind. Their faces and arms were painted 
with long white streaks. On their hips and shoul- 
ders was a cluster of knives. Some, of [tb^ naost 
daring were distinguished by a xrhain and collar of 


iron, which I was afterwards informed they would 
not have exchanged for gold. 

We nowpassed seventeen Moors, arrayed in large 
cloaks of white satin, richly trimmed with spangled 
embroidery. Their shirts and trowsers were of 
silk, and their large muslin turbans were studded 
with a border of different coloured stones. * We 
then passed the great oflScers of the household; 
the chamberlain, the gold-horn-blower, the cap- 
tain of the messengers, the captain of the market, 
the keeper of the royal burying-ground, the mas- 
ter of the bands, who each sat surrounded by a 
retinue that announced the dignity of his^ office. 
The cook had a large quantity of silver plate dis- 
played before him, and a number of small services, 
covered with a leopard's skin, held behind him; 
The executioner, a man of uncommon size, wore 
a heavy gold hatchet on his breast, and before him 
was carried the execution stool, clotted wjith blood, 
and partly covered with a caul of fat. The four 
linguists were surrounded by persons whb carried 
gold canes, tied in bundles, like fasces. The 
keeper of the treasury, in addition to his private 
magnificence, had the blow-pan, boxes, scales and 
weights of his office, which were of gold. ^ 

We now approached the sovereign, the highest 
point of this astonishing display of magnificence, 
and I received his offered hand. He appeared to 
be about thirty-eight years of age, and inclined to 
corpulence. His countenance was benevolent, 
and his manners were majestic, yet courteous. 

A diadem was elegantly painted in white on the 
forehead of the king, a kind of epaulette on each 
shoulder^ and a large full-blown rose oh his breast. 
His fillet was of aggry beads, his necklace of gold* 

i06 ASHiUtTEE. 

cockipur sheUfly his bracelets were the richest mix* 
ture of beads and goldt his fingers were covered 
with rings ; his knee-bands were of aggry beads, his 
ancle-strings of small drums, swords, guns, stools, 
and birds of gold, clustered together, his sandals 
.of soft white leather, and his cloth of dark green 
silk. On bis finger and thumb he wore a pair 
of gold castanets, which he clapped to enforce 

The king was seated on a low chair richly oma^ 
mented with gold ; the elephants' tails that wared 
before him were spangled wi(h gold ; the belts of 
the guards who stood behind him were cased with 
gold, and covered with small jaw-bones of gold. 
The eunuch who presided oter the attendants had 
about his neck a massive piece of gold ; the royal 
stool was entirely cased with gold, and was held 
under a splendid umbrella, ornamented with vari- 
ous musical instruments covered with gold. In a 
word, gold was blazing in every direction ; and 
Peru, as it appeared at its first discovery, was 
present to my imagination. 

I was now seated under a tree to receive the 
visits of this magnificent assembly. The chiefs 
dismounted from their hammocks, as they ap- 
proached me, and advanced, under their umbrel- 
las, with a small number of their guards, their 
captains halloing in their ears their valourous 
deeds and strong names. These great men, like 
the king of Abyssinia, were too great to walk 
alone, and were supported round the waist by the 
hands of a favourite slave. Chiefs of five or six 
years of age, bending under their golden orna- 
ments, were carried under their canopies on the 
shoulders of a strong slave ; and did captains of a 


secondary rank were borne in the same maiiner. 
Some of my visitors danced as they passed me ; 
some took o£P their sandals ; all took my hand. 

At length the king advanced. He enquired my 
name a second time, and then wished me a good 
night. He was followed by his sisters, aunts, land 
others of his family, who wore rows of fine gold 
chains round their necks. Numerous chiefs suc- 
ceeded these, and it was late before we were at 
liberty to retire, when we were conducted to a 
range of spacious buildings that had been the 
habitation of a son of one of the former kings. I 
estimated the number of warriors present at my 
public reception at 30,000. 



X HE next day I was desired to attend the king 
at his own house and deliver my presents. Nothing 
could surpass his surprise and pleasure on seeing 
the different articles of European manu&cture 
that I had assembled ; particularly a camera ob- 
scura and telescope. He returned thanks in a 
dignified manner, and said, ** Englishmen know 
how to do every thing proper. Englishmen 
know more than Dutchmen or Danes } black men 
know nothing.*' . . 

I was afterwards present at a council hdd in 
the king's palace, which was an immense build- 
ing, containing a number of oblong courts* and 
squares. The squares had a large apartmeflt^^im 

408 ASHAVTK£. 

each side, open in front, and supported by two 
pillars, with cornices of very bold cane work. A • 
drop curtain of curious cane work was suspended 
from the top, and within were chairs and stools 
embossed with gold, and beds of silk. The most 
ornamental part was the residence of tlie women. 
The £ronts of the apartmen;ts were closed with 
open carved work, except two door-ways; The 
oblong courts had. arcades on one side, curiously 
wrought, with rooms over them, with small win- 
dows of carved wooden lattice, some of which 
were cased with gold. Within the innermost 
square was the council chamber. 

After waiting nearly an hour in the outer court, 
a ceremonial always observed, I was conducted to 
an inner one, where the king appeared at the 
head of two long files of his captains and counsel* 
lors, who were seated und^r rich umbrellas, with * 
their distinct retinues. The splepdour of the wholes 
exceeded that of my first reception. 

The king proposed the renewal of the war with 
the Fantees, who had given great cause of offence; 
when the captains rushed before hkn and Ex- 
claimed, ** King, this shames you too much ! you 
must let us go to-night, and kill all the Fantees !" 
They then presented themsielves successively, with 
their separate retinues and bands of music, and 
bowing before the king, received his foot upon 
their heads. Each then directed his sword to the 
king, and swore by the king's head that . he would 
go with the army that night, and bring him the 
heads of all the Fantees. The council broke up 
soon after ; but the king found means to appease 
the wrath of his captains, and the. Fantees were 
suffered to wear their heads some time longer. 


Another time I was sent for by the king to con- 
verse with him on the subject of medicine. I first 
shewed him «ome simple medicines, and described 
their uses. He was very desirous to possess them, 
and I gave him a quantity of each. I then produced 
. some botanical books, and at the sight of every 
coloured plant he held up his hand, and exclaimed 
" hah !" and then demanded the name. The 
sensitive plant he pointed out, and described him- 
self. During my exhibition, he whispered to one 
of his attendants, who went out, and returned with 
nine ackies of gold (value, each, 2/. 5s.) wrapped in 
small piece of cloth, which the king presented to 
me. He then shook hands with me, and retired 
into his house ; but soon returned, leading one of 
his sisters by the hand, with an air that would put 
to shame many fine gentlemen in Europe^ and 
saying toiler, '* This is the white doctor 1 told 
you of; tell him your complaint, and he will do 
you good.** Then turning to me he added, "Give 
me the gold I gave you ; the cloth is not clean ; I 
want to put it in a clean cloth for you.*' He 
wrapped it in a piece of rich silk, and when he 
gave it to me again said, " I like you ; I like the 
English very much ; they are a proper people, 
and I wish to drink health with you." He then 
went to his own apartment, and returned with a 
flask of Holland*s Geneva, and two servants with 
glasses, and a silver vase with water. He helped 
himself and me, and bowing said, •* SaY wishes 
you good health." I returned the bow, saying, 
" I.wish good health to the king, and hope he will / 
never want any of my medicines/' When this 
was explained to him, he held out his glas9^ and 
we touched and drank. 


In the evening I was desired to visit the king's 
sister, and told that I must dress^ and put on my 
hat and sword, as the lady had a stool and re- 
tinue of her own, being governess of a laige town. 
I found her in one of the apartments of her house ; 
but it was past niy skill to discover any real com- 
plaint. I thought it requiste, however, to give her 
a medicine, which she shared with her husband. 

The king went to Berraman^ a town about 
£ve miles to tbe north-east of Coomassie, and the 
chief linguist told me that he had orders to fur- 
nish me with some of tbe king's hammock men, 
if I chose to visit him. My choice could n^t be 
.doubted ; and crossing the marsh, which was here 
150 yards broad^ and two feet deep» we proceeded 
along the path leading to Sallagha, the capital of 
Znta. The path was wide, and so straight that vistas, 
varied by gentle risings, appeared before us. The 
country was beautiful, and we passed through 
seven neat villages, environed with extensive plan- 
tations. The king received me in the market- 
place, and after some conversation, we walked in 
the town, and conversed with the Moors, who were 
Inclining, or playing at draughts under tbe trees. 
At two o'clock dinner was announced, and I was 
conducted through a door of green reeds into the 
king^s garden, an area equal to one of the large 
8(iuares in London. In the centre, under four 
large umbrellas of scarlet cloth, was placed the 
dining table. His massive plate was well dis- 
posed, silver knives, forks, and spoons, were laid, 
and a large silver waiter in, the middle supported 
a roasting pig. Other dishes were stews, roasted 
duck^, fowls, peas-pudding, &c. On the ground, 
on one side, were placed K^arious soups and vege- 


tables; on the other, oranges, pines, and other 
fruits, sugar candy. Port, Madeira, spirits, Dutch 
cordials, and glasses. Before I sat down, the 
king said that^ as I had come out to see him, I 
must receive a present from his hands : he then 
gave me two ounces, four ackies pf gold (value 9/0 
and made presents to my attendants. 

I never saw a dinner more handsomely, served, 
nor ever ate a better ; and on my expressing this 
to the king, who sat at a distance, and visited me 
occasionally, he sent for his cooks, and gave them 
ten ackies of gold. After I retired, my attendants 
were called in, and took their places 'at the table ; 
and what remained was.given to them, even to the 
table-cloth and napkins. I took leave about five 
o'clock ; the king accompanying me to the end of 
the town, shaking hands with me, and wishing me 
good night at parting. I reached Coomassie at 
six, much pleased with this royal banquet. 

There are four great . men who compose the 
privy council, and check the power of the king. 
They decide upon the great question of peace or 
war, even in opposition to him : the domestic ad- 
ministration they influence by their opinion, but do 
not controul by authority. The king expressed a 
wish to visit me, because I told him so many 
things that black men had never heard of; but 
he added that his great men prevented it, by say- 
ing that it did not become him, as a gre|t king, to 
visit me; he should only* send his compliments 
and see me, and when he sent for me, make me 
wait a long time before I was admitted. 

I have already remarked the general propensity 
of men to set up one of their fellow men as an 
object of adoration ; but another remark follows. 


Idols are approached through their priests, who 
are the depositories of the offerings, and the real 
possessors of authority ; so the ministers of royalty 
s^ropriate the power and the emoluments to 
themselves, and leave the idol only outward splen- 
dour and empty homage. 

Sai is the family name of the kings of Ashantee. 
The monarchy is said to have been founded to- 
wards the end of the seventeeth century, by Sal 
Tootoo. He did not live to see all the streets of 
Coomassie completed j for war being declared 
against the Atoas, a people between Akim and 
Assin, he was shot in his hammock, as he was 
passing leisurely through the forest, with a guard 
of a few hundred men. This happened on a Sa-^ 
turday, and no enterprize has since commenced 
on that day of the week. 

In 1720 Sai Apokoo, brother of Sal Tootoo, was- 
placed on the regal stool. Had there been no* 
brother, a sister's son would have been the suc- 
cessor. This rule originates in a laudable desire 
to preserve some of the royal blood. If the king's 
wife were unfaithful, this precious fluid would be 
lost J the sister conveys it to her oflspring. Sa'f 
Apokoo -finished the building of Coomassie, ex- 
changed compliments with the king of Dahomy, 
and subdued many of the nations around him. 

In 1741 Sai Aquissi succeeded his brother, Sai 
Apokoo. ^he king of Akim desiring to go to 
war with one of his neighbours, was obliged to ask 
pemiission of the king of Ashantee, and to pro- 
mise him half the spoil. It happened that the 
spoil was trifling, and he did not send it j but he 
soon heard of Aquissi's intention to demand his 
head, and summoning his ministers, he tolci them 


he desired to sacrifice his life for the quiet of his 
people. His ministers insisted upon sharing his 
fete ; a barrel of powder was brought for each to 
sit upon ; and^ after drinking a quantity of rum, 
they lighted the powder with the fire from their 
pipes, and were blown to atoms. 

In 1753 Sai Cudjoy (Monday^ from the day of 

the week on which he was born) succeeded Sai 

; Aquissi. He subjected some countries, put an end to 

revolts in others, and was esteemed a great captain. 

In 1785 Sat Quamina (Saturday) succeeded Sal 
Cudjo. The Akims revolted soon after, and the 
Asfaantee general Quatchie Quofie, one of the four 
great men, by the treachery of his followers, ob- 
tained the head of their leader. He was so vain 
of this atchievement, that he had a figure of him 
made, with which he crowned his umbrella, and 
before which he danced and boasted on all public 
'occasions. These brave people have shaken oS 
their dependance at least eight times« 

One of the kings of Akim tyrannized so cruelly, 
that, at the end of six months, he was com;nanded 
by his people to kill himself. He could only ob- 
tain the respite of a week, which he passed in 
singing, thus celebrating his own custom. 

Sa'i Quamina invaded Banda, and the king, 
finding his situation hopeless, determined to kill 
himself: but, that his head might not be converted 
into a trophy for his enemies^ he ordered it to be 
cut off after his deatb, and sewed in the abdomen 
of a woman, who was to be sacrificed for that pur- 
pose, and then buried in a heap of the slain. The 
order was executed; the secret was betrayed^ 
and the king of Banda's skull was now at Coo- 


massie, and formed one of the ornaments of a 
great drum. 

In 179s Sal Quamina had remained twelve 
months on a visit at Dwabin, deaf to the remon- 
strances of his people^ and infatuated by the arts 
of his mistress, who was daughter to the king ; 
when it was announced to him that if he were not 
present at the ensuing Yam Custom, he would be 
deprived of the stool. The warning was neglected, 
and the threat was put in execution. Sal Qua- 
mina was desired to retire to the bush with a few 
of his women and slaves, and build a village for 
himself and them. He did not long survive his dis-^ 
grace, and the black Cleopatra died soon after 
her Antony. It is accounted despicable to survive 

In 1799 Sal Tootoo Quamina, the present king, 
succeeded his brother, Sal Apokoo. When I was 
atCoomassie, Sat Tootoo Quamina had sent to 
demand the royal stool of .Buhtooko, the capital 
of Gaman, which was thickly plated and embossed 
with gold. In the absence of the king's sister, 
who was the soul of the government, it was given 
up. On her return, she reproached her brother 
with cowardice, and ordered a stool of solid gold 
to be made in its place. This was also demanded. 
A man's seat, or stool, is in these countries his 
title to his possessions, whatever be his rank ; and, 
when not disturbed, it descends with them to his 
posterity. The sister returned for answer that she 
was more fit to be a king than her brother, and that 
she would fight to the last rather than part with 
the stool. The king of Ashantee sent word, that 
she was a strong woman, and proper for a king's 


sister, and be wauld allow her twelve months to 
prepare for war. Sal Tootoo was now preparing 
also ; though he seemed inclined to peace : but 
his four great men said that bis other tributaries 
would laugh at him, if he did not get the king of 
Gaman's head. 

Though the Asbantees were the most polished 
nation of negroes I had met with in Western Africa^ 
their prodigaUty of hiHnaa blood at funerals and 
festivals was such as to make my friend, the king 
of Dahoi^y^ appear a niggard. Apokoo, one of 
the four great men> being informed that his mo- 
ther's sister was dead, killed a slave, in honour of 
her, before his own house, and then proceeded to 
her's, to sacrifice others, as custom demanded ; but 
on opening her boxes, he found- them nearly 
empty, and he was informed that the old lady had 
thrown most of' her rock gold into the river, to 
prevent its coming into his possession, he there- 
fore revenged himself by sacrificing only one more 

One of the king's uncles begged permission to 
go and make custom for some relations he had lost: 
in the last Fantee war, whose qpirits, he feared, 
were beginning to trouble him. The king gave 
him four ounces of gold, two ankers of rum, one 
barrel of powder, and four human victims, towards 
the celebration of this custom* 

One of the king's sons, a boy about ten years of 
age, shot himself. His motlier had been criminal 
with a slave, and had been put to death, and the 
boy was banished the presence of the king. This 
morning he had stolen into the palace for the first 
time, and the king had desired he, might be re* 
moved, observing that he had, doubtless^ as bad a 

4l6 A9HANT££. 

head towards him as hfs mother. The boy replied, 
that if he might not be allowed to come and look 
af his father, he had better die ; and in half an 
hour he destroyed himself by directing a blunder- 
buss into his mouth, and discharging it with his 
foot. The funeral custom was celebrated in the 
afternoon with dancing, singing, revelry, arid 
firing of muskets, and two men and a girl were 
sacrificed. The ^unks and heads were left in th^ 
market-place till night. 

' The decease of a person of consequence is an- 
nounced by a discharge of musketry; and^in an 
instant slaves are seen bursting out of the house, 
and running towards the bush, in order to escape, 
if possible, the being sacrificed. The body is 
handsomely drest in silk and gold, and laid on the 
bed, with the richest cloths beside it. On,e or two 
slaves are then sacrificed at the door of the bouse. 

At the death of the mothe^ of QuatcHie Ouofie* 
one of the four great men, the king, Quatchie 
Quofie, and Odumata, another of the great men, 
each sacrificed a young girl the moment the lady 
breathed her last, that she might not be without 
attendants in the other world, till a proper num- 
ber could be dispatched to her. The king, and 
the adherents and retainers of the family, sent 
contributions of gold, gunpowder, rum, and cloth, 
for the custom. This custom was an economical 
one } yet the quantity of poVder ?imounted to 
nearly twelve barrels. 

1 set out to be a spectator of the ceremony, and 
passed two headless bodies, scarcely cold, with 
vultures hovering over them. Several troops of 
women, from fifty to a hundred in each, were 
dancing along, in a motion resembling skaiting. 


pnkmg^ and bewailing the deceased. Other 
troops carried on their heads bright brass psns^ 
with the rich cloths and silks of the deceased, 
twisted and stuffed into cones, crosses, globes, and 
other forms. The faces, arms, and breasts of 
these women were daubed with red eailh, to look 
tike blood. Now and then a bleeding victim was 
horried by ; the exulting countenances of his per- 
secutors forming a striking contrast with the 
apathy of his own. Quatchie Quofie passed me, 
plunging from side to side like a Bacchanal, and 
regarding the victims with a savage eye, bordering 
upon frenzy, while they looked at him with in- 

• I followed to the market-place of Assafoo, one 
of the suburbs of Coomassie, where the king and 
the chiefs, in their usual splendour, and attended 
by their various retinues, were seated : a semicir- 
Qplar ajrea of half a mile was lefl open. Thirteen 
victims, surrounded by their executioners, stood 
near the king ; rum and palm wine were flowing 
copiously ; horns and drums were sounding their 
loudest notes ; when, in an instant, there was a 
burst of musketry near the king, which spread 
round the circle, and continued, without ceasing, 
for an hour. The greater the chief, the greater 
the charge of powder he is allowed to fire. On 
the death of his sister, the king tired an ounce. 

The firing over, and the libations of palm wine- 
that followed^ the ladies of Quatchie's family came 
forward to dance* Many of them' were elegant 
figures, and very handsome j most of them were 
clad in yellow silk, and had a silver knife hanging 
from a chain round the neck. A few were dressed 

VOL. n. BE 


;||n(«jitica]ly as fetish women. The Al^fitee9 
4^^Q^ elegantly* a man and a woman tog^\J^^ 
^^n^^the figure and movements of the danc^ ap- 
proximate closely to the waltz. 
v.rl; MW the first victim sacrificed. His right 
h^Tid was lopped off, and his head was sev^^d 
from his body. The twelve other victims v^e 
d}rAgged forward ^ but the funeral customs of the 
j^shantees were not to my taste, and I made my 
^ay through the crowd, and retired to my quartera. 
Other sacrifices, principally of females, were made 
in the bush, where the body was buried. 
. It is usual to ** wet the grave" with the blood of 
a free man. The heads of the victims being placed 
at the bottom of the grave, several of the unsus- 
pecting lookers on are called upon, in haste, by the 
retainers of the family to assist in placing the 
coffin, or basket ; and just as it rests upon the 
heads, a slave from behind stuns one of these as- 
sistants with a violent blow, which is followed by 
a deep cut in the back of the neck. The unfor- 
tunate man is then rolled into the grave, and it is 
immediately filled up. 

Blood and gunpowder are lavished at a funeral 
in proportion to the T^/ik of the deceased, and the 
estimation in which he is held. On the death of 
a king, every funeral custom that has been made 
during his reign must be repeated, human sacHr 
.ficea included, to add to the solemnity of his own. 
^ The brothers, sons, and nephewi of the king, 
affegting a temporary insanity, rush forth with 
their muskets, and fire promiscuously among the 
p^ple. Few persons of rank quit their houses 
during ^be first two or t^ree days ; but they drive. 


oot tbiir slaves and' vassals, as a compd&it^ for 
their own absence. The king's favouPite %tei¥^ 
to the number of a hundred or more, andmai^'df 
his women, are murdered on his tomb. . xo; . 
• I was assiired that the custom for SaT Qaamina, 
the late king, was celebrated weekly' for three 
ittonths, and that two hundred slaves were sadri- 
flced, and twenty-five barrels of powder 'fired, 
each time. But the custom for the present kiifig^s 
mother, who was regent during his absence v^Ie 
in the Fantee war, was the most celebrated. The 
king himself devoted 3,000 victims, upwards of 
2,000 of whom were Fantee prisoners; fiveof the 
principal towns contributed one hundred slaves, 
and twenty barrels of powder, each ; and most of 
the smaller towns ten, and two barrels of powder. 

The kings, and the kings only, are buried in 
the cemetery at Bantama, a village in the vicinity 
of the capital j and their bones are afterwards de- , 
posited in an opposite building. To this is at- 
tached* a large brass pan, five feet in diameter, 
which receives the blood of the human vitftims, 
who are frequently sacrificed to " water the graves 
of the kings.'* This blood, mingled with a variety 
of animal and vegetable matter, fresh and putrid, 
produces invincible fetish.' 

On occasion of the contemplated war with the 
king of Gaman, SaT Tootoo, to propitiate the fe- 
tish, watered the bones of his mother and sister 
With blood. Their bones were taken from their 
coffins, bathed in rum and water, wiped with silk, 
rolled in gold dust^ and ornamented with rock gold 
and aggry. During two nights, every person who 
could be found In the street was dragged to the 

E E 2 


palace, and immolated to these royal bones ; the 
ivory horns of the king sounding, as is customary 
at an execution or public Sacrifice, ** wow, wow, 
wow! death, death, death!" and the bands, as 
each head was cut off, playing a particular strain. 
The bones, thus honoured, were deemed worthy 
of a place among bones that had once pressed the 
throne, and were accordingly interred with those 
of the kings. 

The bodies of chiefs who die at a distance from 
the capital are smoked over a slow fire, and kept 
till they can be conveyed thither for interment. 
Those persons who, from crimes, or other circum- 
stances, are deprived of the funeral custom, are 
said to be doomed to wander in the bush, and oc- 
casionally t6 haunt such of their family as have 
neglected to pay them this regard. The dead 
bodies of slaves demand no respect The trunks 
jof those that are sacrificed are carried to a small, 
grove called the Spirit-house, at the back of the 
large market-place. The bloody tracks, daily re- 
newed, marked the various quarters from whence 
they had been dragged ; and the multitude of vul- 
tures on the trees, and the nightly visits of the 
panthers, did not prevent the stench from being 

The last of the Ashantee customs I shall men- 
tion is the yam custom, which takes place annually 
before that root is. allowed to be eaten. The yam 
is a root abtjut two spans long, and the saffie in 
circumference. It is white within, and when 
rqiastad or boiled, it forms a principal part of the 
food of the negroes. The taste is something like 
that of our earlb-nuts, but not quite so sweety the 
subbtanee is more dry and firm. The yam shoots 


out a long green leaf with small prickles, and is 
propagated by planting the root. It is said thc^t 
before the arrival of the Portuguese, who intro- 
duced the millet, the natives subsisted chiefly on 
yams and potatoes. 

At the yam custom, all the tributaries, and ca- 
boceers, or governors of towns, repair toCoomassie.; 
and as no festival can be solemnized without 
blood, each of the principal of them sacrifices a 
slave at his entrance into the town. Neither theft 
nor assault is punishable during the yam custom, ' 
and all the barriers of continence are broken 

The assemblage in the market-place was such as 
on my first arrival, but with many additions. The 
skulls of all the kings and governors who had been 
conquered from the first foundation of the mo- 
narchy, and of the chiefs who had been slain* for 
revolting, were displayed by two bands of execu- 
tioners, each upwards of a hundred, with dances, 
grimaces, and frightful gestures, and clashing 
their knives against the skulls. Sprigs of thyme 
were placed where eyes and ears had been, to pre- 
vent the spirits from troubling the king. 

The next day a large quantity of rum was 
•poured, by the king's order, into brass pans in 
different parts of the town ; and the crowd pressed 
around, and drank like hogs. Freemen and slaves, 
women and children, striking, kicking, and tram- 
pling upon each other, pushed, head foremost into 
the pans, and wasted more than they drank. In 
less than an hour, excepting the principal meal, 
not a sober person was to be seen, Parties of noen 
were reeling and rolling under the weight of one 
" whpm they were affecting to garry home : strings 


of women, hand in band, were falling down like 
tows of cards : children were lying prostrate in a 
stite of insensibih'ty. All wore their best clothes, 
which they trailed after them in a drunken emula- 
tion of dirtiness. Toward$ evening the populace 
became sober, and a grand procession closed the 

About a hundred persons, mostly culprits, are 
sacrificed to adorn the yam custom. The royal 
ornaments of gold are melted down every year^ 
and assume new forms and patterns for the yam 
custom ; and when, it is ended, the royal house*- 
liold publicly eat new yam in the market-place- 
It is not without reason that this custom was in- 
stituted ; for yams are generally forbidden to be 
eaten till they are at full growth, being, before 
that time, unwholesome, if not dangerous. 

The day after the yam custom the king of 
Ashantee and his captains perform their annual 
ablutions in the river Dah at Sarrasoo ; and the 
succeeding day he washes in the marsh, at the 
south-east end of the town. He throws the water 
with hi^ own hand over his person, his chairs, 
stools, gold and silver plate, and the various arti- 
cles of furniture used particularly by himself; and 
about twenty sheep are dipped, that their blood 
may be hallowed to pour upon the stools and door- 
posts of the palace. The doors and windows are 
besmeared with a mixture of eggs and palm oil. 

The king rarely takes an oath ; when he does, 
it is in the presence of his women. I saw him 
swear that he would keep the peace with the Fan- 
tees. He was in the innermost square of his pa- 
lace, in which were seated about three hundred 
females, dressed in all the magnificence that silk 


ud gold could bestow. The deputies of the^ga- 
yeraors and captains having sworn, theking^wore 
deliberately, invoking God and his fetish to IgUl 
him, first, if he did not keep the treaty, if the other 
party had spoken true^ and secondly, if he. did 
not punish them, if they had spoken false. 



x\SHANT£E is supposed to contain about a 
million of inhabitants, 200,000 of whom are able 
to bear arms. The men are well made, and their 
countenances are often European. It is only 
among the higher orders of women, who are ex- 
empt from labour, that beauty can be found. 
Among these I have not only seen the iiqest figures 
imaginable, but regular Grecian features. 

Both men and women are particularly clean in 
their persons ; the latter washing themselves, apd 
the former being washed *by them, from head to 
foot, every morning, with warm water and Portji- 
guese soup, and using afterwards vegetable but- 
ter. Occasionally small delicate patterns, in gv^n 
or white paint, are traced on their cheeks aqd 
temples. The lower ranks of people are com- 
monly dirty. The heads of young women are 
shaved in patterns as intricate in appearance jmt 
those of a rich carpet. Upper cloths are gmfh 
rally worn. 

Coomassie is built on the side of a large qocky 


hill, surrounded by a marsh, the springs^of which 
supply the city with water, and beyond this it is 
encircled by a beautiful forest It occupies an 
obloDg nearly four iniles in circumfe/ence, with- 
out including the. suburbs of Assafoo and Bantar 
ma. Four of the principal streets. ar^ half a mile 
in length, and from fifty to a hundred yards in 
width. I observed a new one laid out, and a line 
was stretched on each side to make it. regular. 
The streets were all named, and a captain presided 
over each. The palace was situated in a long and 
wide street, running through the middle of the 
town, from which it was shut out by a wall. ' I 
reckoned twenty -seven streets. Several trees 
were scattered about the town for the recreation 
of the inhabitants. 

Fpur other large towns, that is to say, Soota, 
Marmpon, Becqua, and Kokofoo„ were built at 
the same time with Coomassie ; the governors of 
these are allowed, like the king, to wear their 
sandals studded with gold* 

The houses of Coomassie are shaped like an 
English barn, and join each other so as to form a 
regular street. The walls are constructed with two 
rows of stakes, the space between is filled with a 
gravelly clay, and the whole plastered on the out- 
side with the aame material. The roof is com- 
posed of a fraine-work of bamboo thatched with 
palm leaves, and the interlacing bamboos that ap- 
pear within are painted black and polished. The 
floors are of clay and stone, and are daily washed 
with an infusion of red ochre. The fronts of the 
bouses are ornamented with cane, laid in various 
patterns on the walls, while soft, and covered with 
ar tbin coating of plaster. Arcades and piazzas 


are common, and the houses of the captains have 
a gallery on the outside. 

The doors are made of an entire piece of wood, 
cut, with great labour, out of the cotton tree; and 
strips of wood, differently cut and painted, are af- 
terwards nailed across. The locks are from 
Houssa, and quite original. The windows are of 
open wood work, carved in fanciful and intricate 
patterns, and painted red. The frames are fre- 
quently cased with gold. When the house is two 
stories high, the under room is divided by a wall, 
to support the rafters for the upper. A house 
consists- of an indefinite number of areas, from fif- 
teen to thirty-six feet square, built on the four 
sides and connected by long courts. The rubbish 
and ofial of each house is burnt every morning at 
the back of the street, and the people are as 
cleanly in their dwellings as their persons. 

The piazza which runs along the interior of the 
wall that shuts out the king's palace from the 
street, is two hundred yards long, and inhabited by * 
his captains and other attendants. Piles of skulls, 
and drums ornamented with skulls, are frequent in 
this piazza : over it runs a small gallery. 

With all their tremendous exhibition of blood 
and bones, I am not certain that the Ashantees 
are a revengeful or a sanguinary people. The 
display of skulls proceeds, not from cruelty, but 
from the pride of conquest : and the streams of 
blood flow from good, though dreadfully mistaken 
motives ; the propitiating a divinity, and the ho- 
nouring departed friends. 

I saw the bed-room of Odumata, which uras 
only eight feet square, but, being hung round 
with a variety of gold and silver ornaments^ it had 


a rich appearance. The bed was about five feet 
bigb, and composed of pillows of the silk cotton, 
piled one upon another^ I was assured that the 
king of Gaman had steps of solid gold to ascend 
to his bed. 

Perhaps the average residents of Coomassie may 
not amount to more than from twelve to fifteen 
thousand; but the Ashantees persist in saying 
that the population, if collected, would be a hun- 
dred thousand ; many families having slaves^ and 
others^ children, residing in the villages and plan- 
tations near the city, employed in cultivating the 

The markets are held daily, from about eight 
o'clock in the morning till sun-set. Among the 
articles exposed for sale were beef and mutton, 
cut in small pieces for soup ; wild hog's, deer's, 
and monkey's flesh ; salt and dried fish fi*om the 
toast; yams, plantains, corn, sugar-cane, rice, 
encruma, a mucilaginous vegetable, something 
like asparagus, but richer; peppers, vegetable 
butter, orangesi papaws, pine-apples, bananas; 
large snails, smoke-dried and stuck on small 
sticks like herring-bone; eggs for fetfsh; pitto^ 
palm wine, rum ; pipes, beads, looking-glasses, 
sandals, silk aad cotton cloths, white and blue 
cottcm thread, small pillows, calabashes, and 
gunpowde . 

The currency of Ashantee is gold dust : eight 
takoos make an ackie; sixteen ackies make an 
ounce, and forty a pereguin* The ounce is va'* 
lued at ^.4 sterling. 

The better sort of people eat soup of beef, mut- 
ton, fowls, or dried fish, abstaining from the one 
of these that is sacred to tiieir fetish, and ground- 

tiuU strewed in blood; the poorer class make 
their soup of dried deer, monkey's flesh, and fre- 
quently of the pelts of skins. Yams, plantains^ 
and foofoos, are commonly eaten. Corn is roasti^d 
on the stalk. Eggs are forbidden by the. fetish; 
mid the Ashantees dannot V)e persuaded to taste 
milk. They drink palm wine, and pitto, which 
is made from dried com, and tastes like brisk 
small ale. 

The king has 3,333 wives, a mystical number, 
which is never exceeded, and which is made up oa 
every vacancy; but out of this number he pre-* 
sents wives to such of his subjects as have distin- 
guished themselves. About six of these ladies re- 
iside in the palace ; many of them occupy a part 
of the king's country residence ; many live in a 
comer of the marsh, and others in two streets ap- 
propriated exclusively to themselves. No person 
approaches them but their female relations, and 
the king's messengers ; and when they walk out, 
which is seldom, they are preceded and surrounded 
by little boys with whips, who lash every one that 
does not quit the path, or jump into the bush, 
with his hands before his eyes. 

The sisters of the king may marry, or intrigue, 
with whom they please, if the man be handsome 
and robust ; the Ashantees thus providing for the 
personal superiority of their future king. When 
the king's sister dies, unless the rank of her htis- 
banjl be originally elevated, he is expected to kill. 
himself; and if he hesitate, he is informed thai 
he is the slave of his children, and must attend 
them wherever they go. When a son is bom^ the 
father acknowledges himself its vassal. 

Wives are bought with gold, and their infidelity 


is paid for by the seducer in the same manner. 
The wife is pUt to death by her husband ; but if 
her family be so powerful that he dares not de- 
stroy her, he cuts off her nose, and makes her the 
wife of one of his slaves. It is forbidden to 
praise the beauty gf another man's wife, that be- 
ing esteemed adultery by implication. None but 
a captain can sell his wife ; and he only if her fa- 
mily canndt redeem her by repaying the price they 
received for her. 

An Ashantee does not compel his daughter to 
marry the man who bids' for her ; but on her refu- 
sal to do so, he withdraws his support and protec- 
tion, and would persecute her mother if she af- 
forded either. * Thus abandoned, the unfortunate 
young woman becomes a prostitute. 

If a wife report to her family her dislike to hqr 
husband, or his ill treatment of her, and they 
tender him, in consequence, the sum he paid, he 
is obliged to accept it. She returns to her family, 
but may not marry again. 

If a husband be not heard of by his wife during 
three years, she may marry again ; and if the first 
husband return afterwards, he has no claim to her. 

A wife who betrays a secret loses her upper lip; 
and one found listening to a private conversation 
of her husband loses one of her ears. Women so 
mutilated are to be met with in all parts of the 

Far from me be the wish to diminish the j^rivi- 
leges, or encroach on the prerogatives of my foir 
countrywomen, and farther still the thought of de- 
forming their lovely faces ; but I humbly conceive 
that a visible mark on the lip, and an additional 
puncture through the ear, might not be a« impro- 


p^T distinction on these occasions, even in tny ovh 

In conversation at the house of one of the great 
men^ I mentioned that an Englishman T^as not 
only restricted to one wife, but that a woman had 
frequently the privilege of choosing her husband. 
The ladies drew near, and rendered me trifling 
services ; the men stopped me, said they did not 
want to hear that palaver aiiy more, began to talk 
of war, and sent the women to their own apart^ 

The blood of the royal family cannot be shed : 
when any are guilty of a capital crime, they are 
drowned by a particular oflScer in the river Dah. 
The kings of Ashantee do not as yet secure the 
pretenders to the throne by murder, mutilation, or 

If a man swear on the king's head that another 
man must kill him, the oath is so sacred that the 
other must kill him. This frequently occurs ; for 
an Ashantee, in his ardour for revenge, does not 
regard sacrificing his own life to bring a pala- 
ver upon his murderer. The interference of any 
one of the great men may be purchased, and it is 
irresistible with the king ; but it is sold at an ex- 
travagant rate. 

The king is heir to all the gold dust of his sub- 
jects ; and all his subjects are desirous of hoarding 
gold, principally that they may be prepared for 
the purchase of muskets and gunpowder from the 
European settlements on the coast, in case of a 
war. They also purchase with eagerness the Por- 
tuguese tobacco, of which the DutcJh governor of 
Elmina has sometimes sold thera forty rolls a day, 
at the ijjpte of two ounces of gold the roll. At the 

480 ASaAKTB£« 

death of one of the officers, five jars, said to hold 
four gallons each, were found filled with gold 
dust ; and at the disgrace of another, three. 

Apokoo was the keeper of the royal treasury j 
and before the treasury bag could be unlocked by 
the weigher, even by the king's order, Apokoo 
must give his sanction by striking the bag with his 

After heavy rains, gold washes down into the mar- 
ket-place, where it is carefully covered with soil by 
the captain who has the charge of the place. This 
remains till some public emergency, when the soil 
is washed for the service of the state. It had 
been washed only twice during the present reign, 
and had produced about 800 ounces of gold each 
time. It is death to pick up gold in the market- 
place, though a man may accidentally have dropped 
it himself. 

The gold buried with the royal family at Ban- 
taima is sacred, and cannot be used, except in times 
of extreme national distress j and even then the 
king must not see it» if he would escape the fatal 
vengeance of the fetish. 

Aggry beads are said to be found in the coun- 
tries between Ashantee and the coast. The plain 
are blue, yellow, green, or a dull red ; the varie- 
gated of every shade and colour ; some resembling 
mosaic work, others exhibiting flowers and pat- 
terns so minute and delicate, that they equal the 
finest touches of the pencil. They are frequently 
valued at double their weight in gold ; but this is 
trifling in comparison of their value in human 
life. If an aggry bead be broken in a scuffle, it is 
rated as the life of an ordinary man, and sdven 
slaves are paid to the owner as an equivalent A 


basket of the boosee or gooroo nut» that is, the 
kaU, would purchase a slave. 

The good treatment of slaves is^n some degree 
provided for by the liberty they have of transfer* 
iDg themselves to any free man ; whom they'en- 
joip to make them his property by invoking his 
death if he does not* A slave, flying to the tem- 
ple, and devoting himself to the fetish, cannot be 
claimed by his master : but the master may close 
the door of the temple against all his slaves by 
paying four slieep, andtwo ounces of gold to the 

A man may kill his slave with impunity : if he 
kill the slave of another, he must pay the value. 
If a great man kill his equal, he is generally allowed 
to die by his own hand i if he kill an inferior^ 
seven slaves are generally paid to the family as ^ 

Trifling thefts are punished by exposing the 
culprit in various parts of the town, and publish* 
ing the offence. In cases of greater theft, the 
family of the thief make good the loss, and either 
punish him or not, as they please. If the crime 
be heinous, or faftbitual, they can even put him 
to death. 

The king has a troop of little boys who carry 
the fetish bows and arrows, and are licensed pluu- 
derers. They infest the market*place every morn* 
iDg, and whatever they can carry off is fair game : 
but if the loser can catch them before they reach 
the palace, he may have the satisfaction .of beating 
them as much as he pleases, short of mortal m^ 
jury. They are npt easily caught; and when 
l^aten, they bear the pain like young Spartans. 
The ijnxious watchfulness of the market » people. 

43? A&HANTEE. 

and the comic airchness of the boys, were very 
arousing. Our property was respected by them ; 
but they mimicked our words and actions with 
^reat dioJIery. 

The king had nearly a hundred negroes of dif- 
ferent shades of colour, from red to white. They 
were collected for state ; but were generally dis^ 
gutting, emaciated objects, whose eyes would not 
bear the light- 
When the king spits, the boys with the ele- 
phant's tails carefully wipe the place, or cover it 
with sand ; and when he sneezes, every person pre*- 
sent lays the two first fingers across the forehead 
and breast, as these people do when they ask a 
blessing. It is remarkable that a blessing is in* 
voked in England on such an occasion, and that it 
has even given rise to the vulgar saying, " It is 
good to be married, if it be only to have somebody 
to say, God bless you^ when you sneeze." 

No subject can sit in public with a cushion on 
his stool, unless it have been presented to him by 
the king, or one of the four great men. 

Person^ accused of witchcraft, or having a 
devil, are tortured to death. After a criminal is 
executed, both the body and head are carried out 
of the town by some of the king's slaves, to be 'de- 
voured by wild beasts ; but if the deceased were 
a man of any consequence, some of his relations 
post themselves near the place, and purchase the 
right of burial for about eight ackies of gold. 

A man may clear any part of the bush for 
making a plantation, or building a residence for 
himself, his family, and slavesi 

The tribute is paid in gold, slaves, cattle, sbefp 
and cloth. 


The government can prohibit commerce with 
any foreign power, but it cannofdirect the traders 
to any particular market. 

Interest of money is 3S^ per cent for every forty 
days ; and when the patience of the creditor is 
exhausted, he seizes the debtor, or any of his fa- 
mily as slaves, and they can only be redeemed by 
payment of the debt. 

The Ashantees are not mean proficients in the 
art of the goldsmith. Their weights are very neat 
brass casts of almost every animal, fruit, or vege- 
table known in the country. Their swords are 
generally perforated in patterns, like our fish 
knives : frequently they make two blades of fine 
workmanship springing from one handle. 

The Ashantees excel in pottery. The clay is 
very fine, and when baked, is polished by friction ; 
the grooves of the patterns are filled up with chalk. 
They tan, dress, and dye leather j and their carv- 
ing in wood is curious. 

The cloths are never more than, four inches 
broad ; but the variety, fineness, brilliance, and 
size, when worn, are astonishing. The white 
cloths are principally manufactured in Inta and 
Dagwumba. For mourning they are painted with 
a mixture of red dye and blood, for here blood is 
of little value. The painting is executed with a 
fowPs feather, the designs are not inelegant, and 
the cloths at a distance have the appearance of a 
qoarse print. The women frequently join the 
stripes, and ornament their handkerchiefs with ^ 
zig-zag pattern, worked with unravelled silks of 
cjjfferent colours. 

Ageneral is appointed to the commandof an army 

VOL. n. F F 


by receiving from the king's hand one of his gold- 
handled swords, which he swears to return incrusted 
with the blood of his conquered enemies. The 
secondary captains conduct the army, the general, 
with a few chosen individuals, being always in the 
rear, where they urge on the men with their heavy 
swords, and cut down any who retreat, till the 
case be hopeless. An Ashantee fires, and springs 
upon the throat of his enemy. To advance every 
time he fires is indispensable ; as, if he did not, he 
would be slain by his commander when thei)attle 
was over. In one of the most popular songs at 
Coomassie it is said, ^* If I fight, I die ; if I run 
away, I die j better I go on and die.'* The general 
sits under his umbreUa, and that he may appear to 
think lightly of his enemy, he is playing at some 
game; while the heads of persons of any rank in 
the hostile army, who slain, are brought 
to him, and put under his foot. When the result 
of an important action is expected^ and the mes- 
sengers are known to be near the capital, the 
king, to manifest the same indifference, is seated 
ia public with his gold worra board, playing with 
one of his dignitaries. It is remarkable that Mi- 
chael Suhul, Ras of Tigr^, on the other side of 
Africa* did the same. 

Several of the hearts of the enemies are cut out 
by the fetish men who follow the army ; and the 
blood and small pieces being mingled with conse- 
crated herbs, all those who have not killed an 
enemy before, eat a portion of it. It is believed 
that if they did not, their strength and courage 
would be secretly wasted by the spirit of the de- 
ceased. One man was pointed out to me as eat- 

ARMY. 435 

ing the heart of every enemy he killed ; probably 
from the belief that by so doing he added a por- 
tion of each man's strength and courage to his own. 

During the active part of a campaign, the army 
subsists upon meal^ which each man carries in .a 
small bag at his side^ and mixes in his hands with 
the first water he comes to. There is always a 
distinct body of recruits, who dispatch with their 
knives those whom the musket has wounded, and 
thus learn the trade of blood. 

Each commander has a particular flourish for 
his horns, which, as they imagine, speaks dis- 
tinct words. The king's flourish is, " 1 pass all 
kings in the world :" that of one great oflicer 
is, "While I live no harm can come:" that of 
another, " No one dares trouble me." 

Apokoo said that he had» himself, conquered 
five nations during the present and preceding 
reigns ; and he named twenty-one nations which 
now paid tribute to Ashantee ; but he added, that 
there were three nations, two to the eastward, and 
one to the north-west, that would not pay it. Each of 
those to the eastward had defeated the Ashantees ; 
and the one to the north-west, on the king's send- 
ing for. tribute, had. desired that he would come 
^nd take it ; and afterwards had entirely destroyed 
an Ashantee army. 

Seventeen hundred retainers were attached to 
the stool of Apokoo. This great man tried causes 
relating to the revenue, daily, at his own house ; 
where I saw him, on such occasions, reclining on 
a lofty bed composed of cushions, and covered 
with a rich cloth, or large piece of silk, and at- 
tended by two or three of his handsomest wives. 

F f2 


There are various ways of taking fetish f but 
taking doom is the infallible test where human 
wisdom cannot discover the truth. The parties 
sip a strong infusion of the bark of a tree, which 
operates instantaneously as a most violent emetic 
and cathartic. Those who sip first may recover ; 
the dregs are oflen left designedly for the most 
obnoxious of the parties. 

Once in his life it is usual for a man of conse- 
quence to make a public exhibition of his golden 
ornaments, and the exhibition of Apokoo took 
place while I was at Coomassie. They consisted 
of a girdle, two inches broad ; chains for the neck, 
arms, and legs ; manacles with keys, bells, chairs, 
and padlocks ; armlets and ornaments for his 
wives, children, and captains ; swords, and figures 
of beasts, birds, and fishes. They were of the 
finest goldy and weighed altogether upwards of 
100 ounces.' When Apokoo had displayed this 
magnificence in the streets, he came to the door 
of my house, and desired me to come out to him. 
I went, and found a Moorish carpet spread, on a 
comer of which I was desired to sit down, under 
an umbrella ; and when I was seated, the great 
man, with his wives, children, and captains, 
danced, by turns, before me. Some of the young 
wives were dressed with great taste> having on a 
cloth of rich silk, with a bag of fine fur, studded 
with gdi ornaments, slung over the right shoul- 
der. On the lef): shoulder they held a pistol, and 
in the right hand a silver bow and arrow. If 
Apokoo were pleased with any one during the 
dance, when it was ended he took the bow, and 
hung on it some of the ornaments ; to others he 


gave a little gold. He took several ornaments from 
the necks of the ladies, and placed them on my 
knees and on my left shoulder, which was consi- 
dered as the greatest mark of honour he could 
bestow upon me* 

Apokoo offered to lend me some books, and 
astonished me by producing two Friench volumes 
on geography, a Dutch Bible, a volume of the 
Spectator, and a Dissuasion from Popery. He was 
fond of scribbling, and frequently begged to know 
what he had written. The A^hantees could not 
comprehend how any character, or any thing, ex- 
cept a picture, could express an object. " My 
name,'' said the king, *^ is not like me." 

Apokoo said, that England was too fond of 
fighting; that her soldiers were the same as drop- 
ping a stone in a pond, they went farther and far- 
ther. I could not deny the charge ; but from an 
Ashantee who boasted that he had, himself^ con- 
quered five na[tions, I thought it rather extraordi- 
nary. One of the captains told me he had heard 
that the English were so constantly in palavers 
one with another, that their houses were made of 
wood, and set upon wheels, that when a man quar- 
relled Nirith. his neighbours, he might remove to 
another part of the bush. 

I received an invitation from Odumata to drink 
palm wine with him. He said that when he was 
upon the coast he had an idea of walking to Eng- 
land ; for he had been told that he should reach 
Santonee [Portugal] in thirty days, and that after 
this the path was very good. He expressed a de- 
sire to accompany me to England, provided I 
would engage to bring him back : but, having sold 
a prodigious number of captives to the English, he ^ 


expected some of them might know him Bgaiug 
and call out to the king of England to stop him. 

A captain said that monkeys could talk, as well 
as men, but they were not such fools ; for they 
knew, if they talked, men would make them work. 
The Moo|[s said that the monkeys sprang from 
those Israelites who disobeyed Moses. 

The wild music of the Ashantees is scarcely to 
be brought jvithin the regular rules of harmony } 
yet their airs have a great sweetness and animation. 
They declare that Ihey can converse by means of 
their flutes. The singing is mostly recitative, and 
in this the women take a j>art. The songs of the 
canoe men are peculiar to themselves, and resem- 
ble the chaunts in our cathedrals. The oldest air 
I met with was common to both Ashantees and 
Warsaws. I traced it through four generations ; 
but the answer to my farther enquiries was, " It 
was made when the country was made/ ' 

The following is a translation of a song, in sing- 
ing which the men sit in a line, with their musical 
instruments, and the women in a line opposite. 
Individuals rise and advance^ singing in their turn. 


My husband likes me too much. 

He is too good to me ; 

But 1 cazmot like him. 

So I must listen to my lover. 


My wife does not please me, 

I tire of her now ; 

So I will please myself with anotlier, 

Who«is very handsome. 


My Ipver tempts me with sweet words> 
But my husband always does me good i 

OPINIONS. • . 4fS9 

So I must like him vreU, 
And I iDust be true to him. 


Girl, you pass my wife handsome. 

But I cannot call you wife 3 

A wife pleases her husband only. 

But whep I leave you, you go to others. 

_ w 

The Ashantees say that, at the beginning of the 

world, God created three black men and three 

white, with the same number of womeff, and placed 

before them a large box, or calabash, and a sealed 

paper. The black men had the privilege of 

choosing, and they took the box, expecting it con« 

tained every thing : but when they opened it, they 

found only gold, iron, and other metals, of which 

they did not know the use. The white men opened 

the paper, and it told them every thing. This 

happened in Africa, where God left the black 

men in the bush. The white men he conducted 

to the water side, where he taught them to build 

a ship, which carried them to another country. 

From hence they returned, after long period, with 

various merchandise, to trade with the black men, 

who might have been the superior people if they 

had chosen right. 

The kings and governors are believed ta dwell 
with God after death, enjoying to eternity the 
luxuries and state they possessed on earth : the 
paradise of the poor affords only a cessation from 

There are two orders of men attached to the 
inferior deities called fetishes. The first class 
reside with the fetish, who has a small round house 
at some distance from the town, and deliver bis 

440 , ASHANTEE. 

oracular responses to those who desire ta question 
him. The inferior class pursue their several avo* 
cations in society, assist in customs. and supersti- 
tious ceremonies, and are what conjurors and for* 
tune-tellers are in Europe. The number of these 
is augmented by persons who declare that the 
fetish has seized them ; and after violent contor- 
tions, and great severities inflicted on themselves, 
they are acknowledged as belonging to the order. 
The dignity of the first class is hereditary. 

Hidf the offerings made to the fetish are pre- 
tended to be thrown into the river ; the other half 
belong to the priests. The king^s offering is com- 
monly ten ounces of gold^ and three or four slaves ; 
that of a poor man about four ackies. 

Every family has its domestic fetishes, to which 
they offer yams, &c. : some of these are wooden 
figures ; others are of fanciful forms, and different 

Different families solemnize different days of the 
week by wearing white cloths, and abstaining froni 
labour. The king's fetish day is Tuesday. Pro- 
priety, unaided by religion, dictates a holiday to* 
man. Some families never eat beef; others . 
never eat pork, these meats being sacred to« their 
fetish. ' Fowls and beef are the fetish of the king's 
family. This renunciation of the good things set 
before them by Providence, resembles that of the 
catholics, but proceeds/ from a different motive; 
the latter believe that mortifying their appetite is 
acceptable to God ; the former that fowls and 
beef are acceptable to the idol. 

When the Ashantees drink, they spill a little of 
the liquor upon the ground as an offering to the 

MOORS. 441 

fetiflh.; and when they rise irom^their chairs or 
stools, then: attendants hastily lay the seat on its 
side, to prevent the devil from slipping into their 
Blaster's place. This evil spirit is supposed to be 



1 HAVE hitherto said nothing of the Moprs 
settled at Coomassie, who occupy one street ex- 
clusively. These people looked upon me with a 
jealous eye, and when I sketched the buildings* 
they endeavoured to persuade the king that I 
could lay a spell upon them. This gave him at 
first some uneasiness, but he afterwards permitted 
me to draw his portrait, and desired to be drawn 

. It was not without reason that the Moors were 
jealous of an intruder ; for they exercise a most 
lucrative profession at Coomassie ; the manufac- 
turingy and selling of amulets or charms. The 
Ashantees believe that these avert every evil but 
sickness and death. For a charm of six lines, 
which the king presented to my interpreter, Baba, 
the chief Moor, received six ackies, or thirty shil- 
lings } and a sheet of paper would support an in- 
ferior Moor for a month. The charms attached 
to the war-coats of the principal officers cost the 
king from the value of nine to thirty slaves for 


each coat : but when it is considered that these 
charms render the wearers invulnerable, the price 
is not extravagant. The keeping in the rear of 
the army, as it has been observed these officers 
always do, may probably assist the charm. That 
the charm assists their valour there can be no 
doubt, as they rush fearless upon the most daring 
enterprizes, and several of them offered to let us 
fire at them. The Moors have persuaded the 
Ashantees that they hold converse with God, and 
can invigorate them, while they gradually consume 
the strength of their enemies. 

Having sent the Moors some muslin for turbans, 
I ventured to visit Baba, taking with me a present 
of pens, ink, paper, and pencils. The paper and 
pencils were highly acceptable ; but he preferred 
his reed and vegetable ink to my pens and ink. 
His pupils were writing on wooden boards. When 
any person came for a charm, one of the oldest 
boys wrote it ; the master added a sort of caba- 
listical mark, and gave the paper a mysterious 
fold ; and the negro snatched it eagerly, as it was 
held towards him, paid his gold for it, and 
hastened away to enclose it in the richest case h? 
could affi)rd. , 

I requested Baba to draw me a map oi^ht 
world ; he did so, encircling Qne large continiSnt 
with sea, and surrounding the sea with a border of 
rock. Baba possessed a great number of Arabic 

From the Moors and negroes residing at Coo- 
massie, and other Moors who visited it occasion- 
ally from distant parts, I learned the following 
particulars respecting the routes of the interior of 


Nine great paths lead from Coomassie; the 
Dwabin, the Akim, the Assin, the Warsaw, the 
Sauee, the Gaman, the Soko, the Daboia, and the 

Dwabin is to the eastward of Coomassie, and is 
only three quarters of a day's journey, or twelve 
miles and a half distant. Its king is tributary to 
Ashantee, and appears at the capital on public 

The Akim path divides in two, the eastern fif- 
teen, the other seventeen days' journey to Accra. 
The road is through Akim and Aquapim, and the 
distance from Coomassie to Accra may be esti- 
mated at 230 miles. 

The Assin path was my road to Ashantee. 

The Warsaw path leads to Elmina, which is ten 
days journey distant. This path passes through 
Dankara, a country said to be very productive 
of gold: 

Sauee lies eight da/s ioumey west-nprth-west 
from Ashantee. 

Buntookoo, the capital of Gaman, is eleven 
days' journey nprth-north-west of Coomassie. 
Yammee, the frontier town, is reached on the 
eighth day. The capital, though not so large, is 
allowed to be better built than Coomassie, and it 
is Incomparably richer in gold. 

S6ko is eleven days' journey from Coomassie. 

Sixteen days' journey north-north-east of Coo- 
massie is Boopree, the frontier town of Inta. On 
the way from thence to Daboia the inhabitants are 
80 afraid of being carried off as slaves by the Ash- 
antee traders, who travel that way in great num- 
bers, that they have no doors to their houses, but 


climb by a ladder, which they draw up after them> 
aad enter by the thatch. 

Sallagha» the grand market of the Inta kingdom, 
is seventeen days' journey north-eastward from 
Cpomassie. The country of Booroom lies between 
Ashantee and Inta. . Inta is more populous and 
more civilized than Ashantee. The Moorish in- 
fluence has been long established there, and most 
of its chiefs affect to profess the Mohammedan 
faith. There is a constant commercial intercourse 
between Dahomy and Inta,* the frontiers being 
only^ve days' journey apart. 

Seven days north-east from Sallagha is Yahndi, 
the capital of Dagwumba. Yahndi is said to be 
much larger than Coomassie, and the houses to be 
much better built and ornamented. The Ashantees 
who had been there told me that they frequently 
lost themselves in the streets. The markets were 
described as animated scenes of commerce, 
crowded with merchants fropi almost all the 
countries of the interior. The people were said to 
be better artificers in gold, better dressers and 
dyers of leather than those of Ashantee. Horses 
and cattle were numerous. Yet, with all theiri 
advantages the kingdoms of Inta and Dagwumba* 
are, in some degree, subservient to that of Ashan- 
tee. The reason is obvious ; they have no fire- 
arms. They are commercial, but not warlike na- 
tions. The Moors had settled at Yahndi in great 
numbers, and the king had embraced the Moham- 
medan religion. */; 

The general road from Coomassie to Jinnie is 
through Dagwumba, and is as follows : 


To Buntookoo .... 11 days* journey 

Kong 12 

Kaybee 9 

Kayree 3 

Garoo 5 

Kingdom of Doowajrroo 20 

Niger 5 


The mountains pf Kong are scattered, not an 
unbroken chain. ^ 

There is another route from Coomassie to Jin- 
nie, which lies to the westward, and passes through 
countries less civilized. 

The Niger y or Neel el^beed, or Nile of the 

The Neel el Abeed rises in Jabowa^ forty days* 
journey from Segoj as also another large river 
which runs to th^ westward. After leaving the 
lake Dibbir, the Neel el Abeed divides into two, 
the smaller stream running northward of east, 
near Timbuctoo, and dividing again soon after ; 
^one branch running northward by Yahoodee, a 
place of great trade, where the Moors bought their 
writing paper ; the other branch turning directly 
east, increasing considerably, and, under the name 
of Gambaroo, flowing to the lake Caudie. 

From the lake Dibber, the larger stream of the 
Neel el Abeed runs to Kabra, the port of Tim- 
buctoo ; ^d, proceeding to th,e southward of 
east, it passes by Uzzalin, .Googara, Koolmanna, 
Gauw, Tokogirri, Askefi, Zabirmi, and Cabi, to 
Yavorra, about twenty-five days* journey below 
Timbuctoo. Here is a ferry, passed in travelling 
from Ashantee to the countries north oi the river. 


From hence it passes Noofie, or Nyfi^ ; three days 
farther it passes Boussa [where Park is said to 
have lost his life] ; twelve days from thence it 
passes Atagara; thirty days farther it flows through 
the kingdom of QuoUaraba [possibly Dar Kulla]^ 
which is said to be a powerful kingdom ; six days 
beyond this it passes Mafeegoodoo ; and thirteen 
farther the lake Caudee. This lake is described as 
an immense water, like a small sea. The Moors 
called it the Babar el Noa, from a tradition that 
the waters of the deluge subsided there. It has 
been called Fittr6 in our maps. From this lake 
the Nile of the Blacks pursues its course to the 
southward of Bagarmie, Kalafarradoo; and Dar 
Fur, and, lastly, skirts Waddai, and joins the Nile 
of Abyssinia. 

That this account of what is called the Niger * 
contains some errors, I have no doubt \ but it sets 
at rest for ever the question concerning the termi* 
nation of this mysterious river. The acourdte au- 
thor of the Account of Marocco has been^laughed 
at for reporting the voyage of a party of negroes 
from Jinnie to Cairo ; and, if he be of a risible 
disposition, he may laugh in his turn at a cele- 
brated geographer who refused to let the Niger 
pass to the sea. All enquiries made at Coomassie 
ended ifi making the Nile the continuation of the 
Niger, as was before asserted by Mr. Jackson. 

We will now return to Yahndi, the capital of 
Dagwumba, and proceed northwards to Houssa. 

From Yahndi to Matc^aquaw- ^ 

die is 19 days' journey. 

Matchaquawdie to Goo- 
rooma ..... 6 

Carried over . . *. 25 

H0US8A. 447 

Brought over • • . 25 days* journey. 
From Goorooma to DeloaS, 

subject to Goorooma 10 
Deloe to the Neel el 

Abeed, which is here - 

two miles broad • . 5 
The northern bank of the 

river to Gamhadi • 2 
From Gamhadi there are 
three roads to Houssa, ^ 
the first of which is . . 15 


In this route the large river Gambaroo is crossed 
on the ninth day. The second route is to the 
eastward, and is circuitous. It goes to Katinnee, 
a city and state of the Mullowa kingdom, one 
month from the river. On this road the Gamba- 
roo is crossed on the tenth day. The third route 
is througt^the Fillani, or Fullan country, to the 
kingdom' of Kallaghee, fourteen days froip the 
river ; the Gambaroo is passed on the tenth 
day. If to the first of the routes to Houssa the 
twenty-four days between Coomassie and Yahndi 
be added, it will make the distance between the 
former city and Houssa eighty-one days' journey. 
From Timbuctoo to Houssa is twenty jourdeys. 

The people of Houssa were said to be more in- 
genious artificers than those of Coomassie. 

There^was also a route described from Dag- 
wumba to Bemoo. ^ 

ToGooroosie 2 days' journey. 

Zoogoo 4 

Kingdom of Barragoo . 10 

Carried over . . 16 

448 BORKOO. 

•Brought over • . . l6 days* journey. 

FromToombia 8 ^ 

Goodoobirree .... 3 

Kaiama 3 

Wauwaw 4 

Neel el Abeed .... 3 

Goobirree or Goobur. . 10 

Cashila, cross the Gam- 8 


Dawoora-. *•*•.. 6» 

' Kanoo 4 

Wangara ...... 9 

Bomoo 15 

. Bornoo was spoken of as the first empire in 
Africa ; Cashna, and tbe intermediate countries, 
with many others* being sulject to it. Timbuctoo 
was described as a large city, but inferior to 
Houssa, and not comparable with Bornoo. 

Wbat a spectacle ! Here we see the interior of 
this great continent, impervious to Europeans, 
traversed in every direction, and by known routes, 
by it natives ! Here we see the immense popula- 
tion that has for ages supplied the West Indies 
with alaves ! Here my intelligence from the 
south-west meets, that fi:om the north-east, and > 
both point out Bornoo as the grand emporiiim of 
Africa. Civilization ^vnd magnificence probably 
increase as we advaniae towards this centre. 

Timbuctoo is reckoned a great city, but not a 
great empire. A small ^aid almost to sur- 
round it, and to overflow* in. the rainy season, so 
as to oblige the inhabitants of the suburbs to take 
refuge on an eminence in the centre of the town, 
on which is the residence of the king. 


As I was not able to reach Timbuctoo myself, I 
shall^give the following particulars from Jackson's 
Account of Morocco, as the best account extant 
of that city. I am aware that it has been dis- 
puted, and that it has been termed *^ extravagant V* 
disputed as being derived from native Africans ; 
and called extravagant when opposed to another • 
account which is confessed to be ** inadequate." 
As no European has yet been at Timbuctoo, and 
returned to tell his tale, of whom should we seek 
information, or from whom could we possibly ob- 
tain it, except from sujch natives of Africa as have 
seen the place, and resided in it ? If I were an 
Asbantee, and desired a description of London, 
what better authority could I wish for than that 
of a London merchant, or of French and Dutch 
merchants whp had resided in London ? If the ac- 
counts derived from such sources be deemed extra- 
vagant, let us candidly wait till others arrive which 
are not inadequate. I think the profusion of golden 
ornaments I saw at Coomassie, and the torrents of 
human blood shed there, are extravagant; yet 
the facts cannot be questioned for that reason. 

The city of Timbuctoo is situated to the nortb- 
of the Neel el Abeed on a plain, surrounded by 
sandy hills. The town of Kabra, on the banks of 
the river, is its pbrtt The houses are spacious, 
and built on the four sides of a square area, to 
which all the apartments open. In general they 
have no upper story. They have no windows ; 
but as the doors are large and lofty; they admit 
sufficient light. The accommodation for travelers 
is very simple. Merchants, horses, camels and 
drivers, repair to a large building called a fon- 
daque, having an open space in the centre, sur- 

. VOL. II. G G 


rounded by small rooms, which open only into it, 
and are just sufficient to hold a bed and a ftble. 
Each merchant hires as many of these as are ne- 
cessary, till he can provide himself with a house, 
where he stows his goods, and barters them for the 
produce of the country. 

At Timbuctoo are found Irish and German, 
linens, Italian silks, Venetian beads, cambrics, 
fine woollen cloths, brass nails, refined sugar, hy-. 
son tea, cofiee, shawls and sashes of silk and gold 
from Fas, fine hayks, or upper cloths, from Tafilelt, 
spices from India, tobacco from Barbary, and salt 
from the Desert. The various costumes exhibited 
in the market-place^ and streets form an interest- 
ing picture, and indicate the extensive commer- 
cial intercourse of Timbuctoo with the central 
nations of Africa. The circulating medium at 
Timbuctoo is gold-dust. A piece of Irish linen of 
S5 yards sells for about «s^.l6. lOi. 

The mines of gold lie to the south of the river, 
and belong to the king. . The persons employed in 
working them are Bambareen negroes, who are 
extremely rich in gold ; all pieces weighing less 
th^n twelve mizans, or about two ounces, being 
theirs, as the reward of their labour. ^U above 
this weight are deposited in one or other of th» 
king's houses, for he has three at Timbuctoo, and 
these are said to contain an enormous quantity of 
gold. It is asserted that lumps of pure gold of 
several ounces weight are constantly found in the 
mines ; and that salt, tobacco, and manufactured 
brass, often sell at Timbuctoo for their weight in 
this precious metal. 

Many of the civil appointments are filled by 
Moors of Maroquin origin } the o^litary are b)i^. 


Tin} inhabitants possess much of the Arab hospita- 
Kty? and pride themselves on being attentive to 

The women are extremely handsome, and are 
guarded with jealous care by their husbands. 
They are kept in distinct apartments, and never 
seen by strangers. When they go abroad to visit 
their female relations, they disguise their persons, 
and throw their garment over their faces, leaving 
one eye uncovered to see their way. 

The toleration of Timbuctoo is universal. Every 
one is allowed to worship the great Author of his 
being according to the religion of his fathers, or his 
own belief. Robberies and house-breaking are 
scarcely known. The peaceable inhabitants of the 
city follow their respective avocations, and inter- 
fere with nothing that does not concern them. At 
eighteen all have wives or concubines ; it is dis- 
graceful not to many early. The Timbuctans 
who travel invariably return to their country, if 
insurmountable difficulties do not prevent them. 

The climate of Timbuctoo is salubrious. The 
soil is generally fertile. Coffee and indigo grow 
wild. Honey and wax are abundant ; the Timbtjc- 
tans eat the one, and make candles of the other. 
• The inhabitants of Jinnie are black. Tlicy make 
gold trinkets of such excellent workmanship that 
it would be difficult to imitate them in England 
or France ; and in these they inclose charms, which 
have given them the reputation of beihg expert 
sotcerers. On this account, no Arab or Moor dares; 
enter the town ; but all business between them and 
the inhabitants is transacted in the adjacent plains. 

The people of Houssa hav^ open and noble 
cotmtenances, prominent- noses, and expressive 

G G.2 


black eyes. A young girl of Housm^ ^exquiske 
beauty, was sold in Marocco for dS*78. 6$.Sd.; 
when the average price of a slave waa ahoufc one 
fourth of that sum. 

The people of Wangara are gross and rtupid, 
with large months, thick lips» brood flat noaes, 
and hea?iry eyes. The rings of Wangava are of 
pure gol4 twisted, with an opemsg to admit the 
middle cartilege of the nose. They are thrown 
upwards when the wearers eat, to prevent their 
coming in contact with the mouth. It is moire re- 
putable among them to appear in rags with a nose 
ring, than in fine clothes without one. 

There is a nation many days' jouraey to the 
south-east of Timbuctoo who are said to worship 
the sun, and to abstain from animal food» living 
wholly on milk and vegetables. One of these peo- 
ple was at Mogador some years aga, and c^mtinued 
his national customs, notwithstanding t6e flatter- 
ing invitations of the Mdiamedans to change his- 

About fifteen days' journey east of Timbuctoo 
is an immense' lake called £1 Bdiar Sudan, The 
Sea of Sudan, the borders of which are inhabited 
by a people said by the Arabs to resemble t^e 
English; to ride on saddles like the English; to 
wear rowelled spurs like the English, which no 
other nation in Africa doles; and to speak like the 
whistling of bi irds, as the Arabs say the English do. 
.On the sea of Sudan are vessek with decks. In 
of about th6 year 1793> these people brought such 
vessels to Timbuctoo, and transported goods fr<mi 
thence to Jinnie ; but as they were asoertamed to 
be *em^r Arabs, Moors, Negroes, Shdluhs^ nor 
Berebbers ; and as their boats performed the pa&- 


Mge in half the usual time ; the boatmen of Tim* 
buctoo, with a portion of wisdom that would have 
done honour to the enlightened boatmen of Eu- 
rope, represented to the Cadi .that their trade 
would be ruined, if these strangers were permitted 
to navigate the river. The magistrate, whose wis- 
dom equalled that of the boatmen, ordered the 
men of the Bafaar Sudan out of the country, or 
as others say, ordered them to be poisoned, and 
their vessels destroyed. Since this time no vessel 
of Bahar Sudan has been seen to the westward 
of its own lake. 

The boats are said to have been 70 feet long, 
and 14 wide, have carried 150 or 900 men, 
and 40 tons of goods. They were rowed by six- 
teen oars, and a hayk was occasionally spread as a 
sail, between two oars set upright. 

Wiser would the boatmen of Timbuctoo have 
been if tliey had learned of the strangers to con- 
struct such vessels ; and wiser the cadi, if he had 
encouraged a competition between them and bis 
own' people. v 

Tbere'is no doubt that a water communication 
existed between Timbuctoo and Cairo* The Afri- 
cans express their astonishment whenever the Eu- 
ropeans dispute th$ connection of the two Niles, 
and assert that it is a folly to dispute what the ex- 
perience of succeding s^s has proved to be true. 
But this communication with Egypt smd the inter- 
mediate countries is not cultivated -, because men 
imagine that the conveyance by camdis is cheaper, 
more commodious, and more certain ; tb^it i^^.Wke 
all other men, they are the slaves of habit. The dif- 
fifcuHies tiiat have been ofteit€urmouiite4jdiiaini|h 


in size, while those that are little known are mag- 

I shall conclude the subject of Timbuctoo with 
some questions respecting that city, and answers 
by the gentleman from whose Account of Ma- 
rocco the foregoing particulars are taken : only- 
adding my opinion, that, when Timbuctoo shall be 
fully known to Europeans,- his statement will be 
found generally correct* 

" Questions transmitted by the Secretary of State 
to James M, Matra, Esq. British Consul to the 
Empire of Marocco, and by him transmitted to 
James Grey Jackson, Merchant, and Agent 
for Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and America, 
at Santa Cruz, South Barbary. (March 1795.) 

1. What size is Timbuctoo, or Timkitoo? 
AnSf Twelve English miles in circumference. 

2. How are the houses bwlt ? 

Afis. Of stone, and cement of earth. 

3. Is the town walled in, and fortified? 

^ns. It is walled in, and has a dry ditch round 
it i but no farther fortification. f 

4. What manufactures are there ? .;« 
^ns. Cotton cloths, made of th^ cotton of th^ 

country, which is very fine, and dyed with indigo, 
which grows in the neighbourhood, and is equal 
to that of Guatimala^ These cloths are from two 
to twelve inches wide, and very strong. They are 
afterwards sewed together so neatly that they ap- 
pear all one piece, and are highly esteemed at Ma^ 
rpcco and at Fas, where the opulent use them as 
cpuntejypanes for their beds and couches. They 


are sometimes interwoven with silk, and with 
gold thread *. 

5. What is the state of its commerce? 

Ans* Very extensive with all the states on the 
Neel el Abeed, as far as Egypt, and with the ter- 
ritories to the south, the south-west, and south- 
east, with which countries they exchange the goods 
they receive from Europe through Tunis, Tripoli, 
Algiers, Fas, and Morocco, for gum Sudan, frank- 
incense of Sudan, ostrich feathers, gold trinkets 
and ornaments of Jinnie, gold*dust, elephant's 
teeth, senna, and a variety of drugs and articles 
for dying. 

6. What is the number of its inhabitants, their 
disposition, and are they negroes ? 

j4ns. The population of Timbuctoo is said to be 
twice that of Rabat, which contains 45,000 inha- 
bitants. The disposition of the natives is philan- 
thropic and hospitable ; the higher classes having 
a remarkable suavity, and polite courteous man- 
ner, not known north of the Desert. They are 
negroes, but king Woolo, who is also a negro, pre- 
fers Moors for law officers 5 and accordingly he 
nas chosen for cadi of the city Seed Abd Allah 
ben Ai&gar, an intelligent trader, with whom I 
have had considerable transactions when he resided 
at Mogador. 

7. How is it governed? 

Ans. By a bashaw, who is a native, and by a 
diwan of twelve men called El Alemma. 

* The Editor b«8 seen one of these in the British Museq^, 
which was presented by Mr. Jackson. It is blue and white> chec- 
quered like a draught-board, with a few threads of yellow silk> 
running thi'Odgh the centre of each checquer. In* tejMilB aUid' 
size it resembles a common English counterpane. 


8. WbateiUejitof territory depends upon it? 
jins. Three days* journey east ; 

One d? west; 

Seven 6? south ; 

One d^ north. 

9. Do they speak Arabic ? 

Jns. Arabic is spoken in all parts of Africa 
where there is any commerce ; and the Moors of 
Fas» who are an intelligent race of men, are to be 
found wherever there is any traffic ; and the trading 
people understand the Arabic, which is the gene* 
ral travelling language of this continent : the lan« 
guage of Timbuctoo, however, is Sudanic; but 
there are thirty-three distinct languages spoken in 
Sudan, some of which are altogether different 
from others. 

10. Do they read and write ? 

Am, They read and write in Arabic only : they 
have no other character throughout Sudan that I 
can discover. 

11. At what distance is^ it from the river ? 
Aw. Twelve miles. 

12. Horn wide and deep is the river there? 
Ans» Four to eight fathoms deep in the middle 

of the stream, which runs eastward, and very sbal* 
lofw at the sides. The width is about that of the 
Thames at London. 

. 13. Is the river navigable, and by what kind of 
cra^; ; -how are they constructed ; do they use 
sails or oars ? 

Am. By boats they navigate to Jinnie in forty 
days; but the same boats return ita seven days. 
Sioffie of the boats have sails, square, and carry i^ 
hWidc^ negroes* They use paddles, )>ut the 
bjir^^s. with sails use oars. 


14. What IB the general produce of the soil 
about Timkitoo ? 

Ans, Gkdd-dust, and pieces of gold from the 
mines, cotton, indigo, rice, millet, tobacco, wheat, 
near the river, and Indian corn, coffee, sugar, and 
spices, one of which resembles the Brazil nutmeg, 
and one is called guza saharaine. 

15. What is the distance from Timkitoo tb 
Houssa ? 

Ans. Some say twenty, some say twenty-fire, 
and some say thirty days' travelling. The Moors 
have no definite ideas of distances : some will tra- 
vel twenty, others thirty, and some forty miks a 
day; the distinction is made byx^alHng them long 
day's, or short day's journeys. 

16. What direction does Houssa lay in firom 
Timkitoo ? 

Ans. Easterly, or towards the rising son, as 
they express it. ^ 

17- Is the journey performed by land, or by 
water ? 

Ans. By both ; but if by land, widi loaded ca^ 
mels, carrying SOO lbs. weight each camel. 

19. What is the general face of the country? 

Ans. From Fas tP Taiilelt, over the Atlas, is a 
fine cultivated country. Hie plain fi'om the 
Atlas to Tafilelt, is an uncultivated and unproduc- 
tive level. From Tafilelt to Draha is a country 
abounding in dates, with indigo, and com, near 
the rivers. From Draha to Akka and Tatta is a 
fine productive country ; after which the traveller 
enters Sahara, or the Desert, which continues till 
he reaches Azewan, after which, twelve or lAir* 
teien Uburs journey, through a partially cultivated 
country, brings him to Timbuctoo. Thefiu:eof 


the country along the banks of the western Nile 
to Egypt, are highly cultivated, and very populous 
and productive. There are^ome extensive forests. 
The lands are irrigated by channels cut from the 

19. How do they behave to strangers? 

Ans. Very courteously, and with the greatest 

20. Have the people of Tirakitoo a trade with 

Ans. They carry on a considerable trade with 
Egypt and Abyssinia, and cross the Red Sea to 

21. Is it possible for one or more Christians to 
go with the caravans to one or all the territories of 
Sudan, and if so, what would be the best and safest 
mode of proceeding ? 

Ans^ It would not only be possible, but there 
would be no difficulty in sending one, or more 
Christians by the kaffila to Timbuctoo : their re* 
turn might also be secured by placing him or them 
under the protection of the Shiek of the Akabba 
of the Desert, and promising him a liberal reward^ 
provided he brought them back safe. If the 
Christians were first initiated in the language of 
the country, and the manners and customs, it 
would be safer still : but in the latter case they 
must perform the part of a Muselman, and pros- 
trate themselves to prayers. All this might be 
effected for a few thousand dollars in the most se- 
cure and .complete manner. 

82 to 29. Apply the seven first questions to 

SOi Apply the ninth question to Houssa, and 
also the tentli. 


Ans, Respecting Houssa I have made many en^ 
quiries ; but the answers are vague and contradic- 
tory ; I must therefore wait till I meet with some 
of the natives, who are very intelligent negroes, 
and far superior in intellect to the negroes of Su- 
dan in general. Alkaid L'hassen Ramy» the cap- 
tain of the guards at Mogador, is a Houssa negro, 
and a very shrewd, clever man ; I know him well, 
and he often drank tea with me at Mogadon 
When I see him, I will get all the information I 
can from him respecting his native country. He 
is a very honourable man, and bis word may be 
relied on. 

About six months ago I had two negro mer- 
chants of Houssa in my house here, who were on 
their journey to Fas with merchandize, viz. gold* 
dust, gum, and ostrich feathers. The gum and 
feathers I purchased of them, and the gold-dust 
they have sold to the Jews here, as the road to 
Fas was so infested with robbers, that it would 
have been unsafe to venture ; they therefore re- 
turned to Akka, where they will remain till the 
next akkaba shall depart for Timbuctoo, in Sep- 
tember next, or early in October. I am not cer- 
tain at jpresent whether Houssa is a town, a coun- 
try, or whether it is a term appropriated to the en- 
virons of a country : for I find that the countries 
of Diminet and Sheshawa, near Marocco, are 
called Housse Maroksh, and Kitiva and Howara 
are called Housse Terodant, because they are in 
the environs of those cities respectively. So 
Housse, or Houssa, may designate the environs of 
the Timbuctoo territory ; of this, however, lean 
say nothing positive ; but I will make every dili- 
gent enquiry, and procure the most accurate iafor* 



mation possible from the natives, mnd ascertain 
whether it be a country of itself, or the environs or 
neighbourhood of the territory of Timbuctoo, or 
of that of Cashna, which latter empire is called 
Beb Houssa, L e. the entrance or gate of Houssa. 
N. B. Since writing the above I have asertained 
that Houssa is a powerful empire between Cashna 
and Timbuctoo, and contains seven kingdoms and 

Afler this long excursion we will return towards 
Ashantee. Hio, whose king sometimes sleeps for 
ever at the request of his subjects, is seven days' 
journey from Dahomy. The military are despotic 
in Hio. They always intercept the new king in the 
way to bis palace, and, before they confirm him in 
his dignity, they insist upon his naming some neigh«- 
bouring country for them to invade and plunder* 
One of their kings having, at the end of three 
years, sent them on another expedition, without 
having fulfilled this engagement, they returned 
victorious, demanded his abdication, and, on his 
refusal to quit the throne, cut off his head. The 
country he had named was Dahomy. Conquest 
seems to advance from the interior, and lay down 
her arms upon the coast. Dahomy has swallowed 
up Whydah, and may, in its turn, be devoured by 
Hio ; Ashantee has annihilated Akim, Assin, and 
Fantee, and may one day fall a prey to some pow- 
erful nation behind it. I am grieved to relate 
that the Mayhees, who so bravely resisted die 
commands of Bossa Ahadee, have been entirely 
subdued by the king of Hio, and that upwards of 
90,000 of them were brought for sai6 to liagos. 

The king of Ashantee sent me a larg6 Hb 


sheep to look at It measured 4§ feet from the 
head to the insertion of the tail, which was two 
&et long« The height of the animal was three 
feet ; it was covered with coarse shaggy hair. 

The cattle I saw in Ashantee were as large as 
the English^ The horses were like half-bred gal* 
loways^ and not shod. Some of the Moors rode 
^ oxen with a ring through the nose. The 
sheep afe haixy in Ashantee, and woolly in Dag^ 

The gnobf which is found in the cdony of 
the Cape of Good Hope, is known in Inta^ and^ 
what is very extrordinary, by the same nama 
Where the beds in Ashantee are not an accumuldi* 
tion of cushions, they are formed of the skin of the 
gnoo, stretched on a wooden frame, supported by 
legs, like those of a bedstead. 

A fruit called bissey is constantly chewed by 
the Ashantees, especially when on a journey. It 
is slightly bitter^ aromatic, and astringent, and it 
is said to prevent Plunger and to strengthen the 

The miraculous red berry which gives to acids 
the flavour of sweets, and makes limes taste like 
honey, is common in Ashantee. 

Gold is fouiid in small pits in Soko, which,' with 
the washings there, is said to amount to from TOO 
to 2,000 ounces a month. There are daily washings 
throqghout Dankara, and the hills dividing Akim 
and Assim are very rich in gold. 
, Th^ thermometer at Coomassie, during my stay 
there, was from 60^ to S5^ i];^ the middle of the day. 

I now gave notice of my intended departure, ta 
which the king acceded with the same reluctance I 
h§A observed in other African sovereigns ^ but^ 


having once named the da}', I was determined not 
to postpone it, and San did not urge me to the for- 
feiture of my word. A strict observance of one's 
word is necessaiy to secure the respect of a black 
man, and I may add that of every white man whose 
esteem is worth possessing. May we ever guard 
this title to their respect ! 

It was night before the ceremony of taking 
leave was ended, and our exit was a brilliant 
scene. The king and his captains were seated in 
a deep and long line without the palace, and their 
glittering ornaments were reflected by the torches. 
The darkness of the forest was an aweful and in- 
stantaneous contrast, and our torches were extin- 
guished in crossing the marsh, which was now be- 
tween four and five feet deep. 

As we returned to Payntree by the way we 
came, it is unnecessary to detail the particulars of 
the journey; but there are circumstances in which 
a .black man is superior to a white ; and as one of 
these took place on our return, it is but justice to 
the black part of my species to relate it. 

On the fourth day of our journey we had a short, 
but most fatiguing march over the mountains 
which form the boundary between Ashantee and 
Assin, and we halted at Moisee, the first Assin 
town, where we were detained till four o'clock in 
the afternoon. The rainy season had now set in 
with great violence ; the path was almost a conti- 
nued bog; and the Ashantees who were appointed 
by the king to conduct and guard me, remonstrated 
against my travelling any farther that night* I 
determined to proceed, but I gave them permis- 
sion to return if they chose it : they had, how- 
ever, a powerful motive for not choosing it, for 


they declared they should lose their heads if they 
quitted me before my arrival at the coast. 

A violent tornado ushered in the night; we 
could not hear each other holla, and were soon se- 
parated ; I found I had one person left with me. 
This man, who was an Ashantee, tied his cloth 
tight round his middle, and giving me the other 
end of it, plunged through bogs and rivers, and 
pulled me after him. The thunder, the darkness, 
and the howling of the wild beasts were terrible, 
and a large tree fell near us, with a tremendous 
crash. The man dragged me after him till I 
judged it to be midnight ; when, quite exhausted, 
and the remnants of my garments scarcely hang- 
ing together, I let go his cloth, and fell a^eep on 
the ground before I could call to him. When I 
was awakened by my guide, I found myself seated 
on the trunk of a tree, with my head resting on 
his shoulder. He made me uj^derstand that to sit 
there was to die, and I again set forward, holding 
by his cloth. In an hour^we forded the last river, 
which had swollen up to our chins, and spread to 
a great width. This labour I considered as final ; 
my drowsiness became so fascinating that yielding 
to it was an exquisite pleasure. 

I believe I must have slept more than an hour, 
when, being awakened, I found I had been carried 
to a drier part of the forest, and saw my friend 
standing by me with a companion and a torch. He 
took me on his back, and in about three quarters 
of an hour we reached Akroofroom, where I was 
carried to a dry and clean apartment, had a brass 
pan of warm, water to wash in, some fruits and 
p^lm \vine to eat and drink, abundance of the 
country cloths to clqthe me, and au excellent bed 

4j64 cape coast castle. 

of mats and cushions to repose on. A profuse 
perspiration relieved me from the perils of the past 
night ; and all my people, under the conduct of 
jdttfferent Ashantee guides, arrived in the course of 
tite day. 

From Payntree I proceeded to Cape Coast Cas- 
tle, where I rewarded and dismissed my guides. 



f^AFB Coast Castle, the principal estabKshoieat 
of the British en this coast, is about ten miles from 
Annamaboe, and is in latitude 5^ 6' north, and 
longitude 1** 51' west. The usual degree of heat 
in the hottest months is from 85® to 90®- The caa- 
tle is built on a rock, and mounts about ninety 
pieces of cannon, from three to thirty-six pounders. 
The town is irregular and dirty, the houses are 
built with clay, and are mostly square. The po- 
pulation may be estimated at 8,000; but, in cases 
of emergency, 6,000 men might be assembled, by 
calling in those of the neighbouring villages. The 
government of the town is under the controul of 
the elders, or principal men ; but the people being 
chiefly Fantees, they are subject to the Fantee 
laws and customs. 

In all the discussions of the Fantees there is 
miieh ambiguity and circumlocution: they do not 
come to the matter of fact without a diqplay of 


great eloquence und natural talents. To behold a 
Fan tee to advantage, he must be seen pleading his 
cause; when his action is graceful, and suitable to 
his subject, and his attitudes, and energy of ex- 
pression, are highly interesting. 

The woolly hair of both men and women is cut, 
or shaved, with great care. Old men shave the 
whole, except a lock or two behind, to which they 
suspend a piece of gold. Some of the men allow 
their beard to grow ; others have only whiskers 
and mustachios. Both men and women have sca- 
rifications on the cheek-bones and on the back of 
the neck. They wash their .bodies twice a day. 

The dress of both sexes is nearly the same, and 
consists principally of a piece of cloth about four 
yards long and two wide. When they are unem- 
ployed, the men wrap it loosely about them ; when 
engaged in any occupation, part of it is folded 
round the waist, and the remainder hangs down, 
and tovers the lower part of the body. The 
women fasten the garment round the waist by a 
girdle ; and this is supported behind by folds of 
cloth, which form a protuberance proportioned to. 
the age and rank of the lady. In front, a woman 
of fkshion has a number of silver keys suspended 
from her girdle, the sound of which announces 
her approach at some distance. Bracelets are 
worn of gold and beads, and strings of bead^ are 
worn round the neck. 

Tlie principal food of the Fantees at C^pe Coast 
CaaCle is fish or poultry made into soup ; palm oil, 
salt, and eschalots, are added, and the whoie is 
highly seasoned with pepper. Into a bowl of this, 
eadi person dips either bread, which is made of 



m a^ e , and unleaven^, or pudding madie ^ yams 
or plantains. 

The first wife has the sole management of do- 
mestic affairs. Mothers have the disposal of tbeir 
daughters; and after a stipulated sum has been re-, 
ceived, the young lady is dressed in rich clothes, 
ornamented with valuable beads, and conducted 
by her female relations to the house of her hus- 
h^x^f where she is received with ceremony by his 
relations and friends. On the following day she 
has numerous visitors.* She must continue to wear 
her rich habiliments for a week, and m^st sbew 
herself in public, which denotes that she has a 
husband. The younger wives are watched with 
vig^nce by the first wife, who is well rewarded 
for any discovery she may make of their infidelity. 
.On such an occasion they are tried by the taking 
of doom ; and if their innocence be proved by the 
strength of their stomach, or the weakness -of the 
potion i their skin is covered with chalk, they are 
habited in white, and shew themselves in, public 
with these attestations of their chastity. 

The Fantees bury the dead in their bourses, and 
will not move from the spot if they can help it. 
The Hottentots and Caffers, as has been before re-* 
kted, think death contaminates a whole village, 
and they remove the corpse to a distance. If a 
Fantee die insolvent, the body cannot be buried 
till the debts are discharged. . 

Causes are tried and determined by the pynins, 
or elders of the people ; but if the loser be not sa- 
tisfied, he may appeal to the governor of the fort, 
or the elders of another town. No corporeal pu- 
liishn\ents are inflicted; the alternative, is a iin^. or 
slavery: but murder is scavcely beard of, and theft. 

ELMINA. 467 

among themselves, is rarely knowta. An article 
maj be left in a public road, safe from the depre^ 
dations of persons in the neighbourhood. 
^ The next place I visited was Elmina^ the head 
quarters of the Dutch settlements in this country, 
and the most respectable fortress on the Gold 
Coast. It is about eight or nine miles from Cape 
Coast Castle; is of a quadrangular form, and sirr- 
rounded with high walls, on which are mounted 
brass ordnance. 

I made few observations here. The town is 
large and dirty; the houses are connected in a 
confused manner, though some of them are built 
with stone. It is supposed to contain 5,000 men, 
and double this number of women and children ; 
the inhabitants, as might be expected in a town 
attached to a European establishmentj are negro- 
traders, trade boys, or brokers, fishermen and ser- 
vants. There are also some respectable mulattoes, 
who have masons, carpenters, and blacksmiths 
among the number of their slaves. 

I saw here eight leopards which had been 
brought up so tame that they were played with 
like dogs ; but it was observed in all of them, that 
their savage nature returned upon one occasion or 
other^ and that they were not to be trusted without 
great circumspection. 

About sixty-five miles from Elmina, passing by 
many smaller European settlements, I came to 
thatof Axim, a settlement of the Dutch, which 
stands on Cape Three Points, in the country of 
Ahanta. This country is bounded inland by the 
countries of Warsaw andDankara, and, like them, 
is said to be rich in gold ; but the mines are con- 

H H 2 

468 . GOfrP^COAST. 

ledged in the c^itfry,, b^ti tim ipoweis.ifi in the 
handd pf the .gre^ imiRv. Tb^ ipen of Ahanta 
are.ivel) idi8|pi9Mclt aa4 l^. women are in a conti- 
SA^al 8t^(e of fifliployment. . 

. Th^ peiOple of Al>anta were formerly op« 
pne^sed by an insatialile 4€|iboq^: w^o wa|& a giant, 
with one side <^his body soupd, and the other de- 
c^ye^j ^Qd they believed, that whomsQever lie 
touched with ttie bad side died immedjiately^ TheO^ 
plA0€4 ti*ougM, asd pots filled. wiKl» victuals in 
the. vfay of this b^ing, to keep him At avhol«some 
4i$^<;«^ firoQi the^r persoos. Whet^r their in* 
tercour^ . >9«t]i Europ^ftns may ,kave delivered 
them from the persecutiop of thegiant ; or i^he- 
tb^r thc^.may have found ipsat4able.of»pre5Q{>f:san 
these visitors, my^sb<Hrt stay did not permit, me to 

Whoever killed a leopard or. paDth^^ in? tjie 
country of Ahanta, wa^ privilegqd ti^Aff^S^^ 
the paJm wine that canie to «fkrHet dijiripg; e^t 
days, and to pass that time with the nc^groes, y^p 
crowded about him» in shooti^^ leaping^ ^a^fv^g, 
and publicinirth« , ^ .; ic. 

Tbe last settlement on tbe Gold Coast; iS'Jiiik^ 
ApoUonia, about thirty miles to the w^s()faf4ilf 
Axim, The fort is Englishj and is.sitaat|;4 ajbffflt 
a hundred y^rds from the sear ^ a spaeioqsf^^i^, 
which extends about.three;miteaiQlai)4*V. Atot^.fi 
eictr^fouty of this is a, fine lake^ about si^ mies 
in circumfefence, au4 very fJeepj op .jffbic^i.)iifj 
plliceda^ 409911 villagew Thehoq^^s ^7^ er^^^ 
pije^ and aTe (Ustinpt froip.ea<4^;fttli?jijaijrtitfe€ 
only ^pamuniQa^iQQ with the lan^rja .W^1^^9f^ 

AXrM>^AP€^Z.pNIA. 4€)d 

Ttorhdft US^di Ml, ai^ the in^mtJii»^ dliflf^Me 
a imdUpof of grcittttd'ttfl itt^bWdfer^ * »^f -V' 

Tfacf «e& breaksnirkh si£bh vidl^lfjee oH flife'dtf&%t 
of Apoll6ma» that {Tt^iifi^t^^pp^ With^t 
the utmost danger. Tte t^iMoefs Mte fbrni^d^^^ 
th^ tmnk ^ the l^ilk ^dtfon tre^. Thh w^ is 
eadily^vforicied trben'^^h, «ktfd U diUost asi lig'ht 
as'COfk w^eii dty. The dotintry, which is called 
Am^f^§»i ttiE^y e*Veni IbAjoM a hundred miles 
alohg thec^^a^t, land abotit tweiity inland. 

The tiativel;^ are in general tall and vrell made, 
aiirS>^ ilbl lHsf!filgGfi«h«d 1)y thick lips atid fikt 
nofe^^.^ 'I%^9^^re8s eotisiSIb of a doth, wra]!iped 
kfiS^y ^oftt^e 4^ody, aiid.another ftldex) khdvit 
the4otos.; ^l«%ddftion i\> the^, the v^omen Weaf 
braifel^^d,^'{dlr4ifiinief)t9 round the neck, and l:>r»^i 
^^^eheii'enn^^l^ Keel and foot. The hcmslefs 
are of bamboo, plastered with a strong loamy eky j 
the iitfo#arg'^iKb S&diiesore of day, iitrd ar^'re- 
mai*a*!yi]faWi^^^^;^^ and vittagetf ait gcfte- 

ratty s&i^tMi^ded %ith a strong fencie of 1bambt>b 
cane, as ^-ti&tui^ agaiiist feibbciobs animals; 

The lHi%,^ fif ]yec8d^V>frles and passes judgment 
on persons accused of crime ; but he is sometimes . 
aS8i8t<?*'ib^ft«^j^«feht* tt^ bittei* potion- 

Wheii>li^%»ilk9bMifipubfi6; tie ^ attend^ by ^a 
faB band'of li6rKs; MJruM^, and 4at(^^,'the miisic of 
whieh k ti6t iifbtn-nionious. The sfstetf's sbh is 
here heir to the tfifttne. v t/ .- • . 

In- the yeai* 1800, when the KJn^ of ApbHdiiiit 
diedj'bne or two lium^n bifngg "werfe sacrifit^fl 
e^eW Saturdaiy, tfllthegi*and'cererfi6tiy^6f^*Si| 
ciM/wk^t^ttk^ place, wftfeh wA^^tJt till sik -feoifft^^ 
^iei^4)$sXdedfease! On th^t'oHiiisSM'^C^imi'^ 
fifty persons were sacrificed, and two of the king*s 



youngest wives were put into the grave. ^ The lid 
of the coffin was covered with human bloodi gold- 
dust was sprinkled over it» and a number of rich 
cloths were deposited in the grave. Great cruelty 
is practised on the men and animals slain on these 

The general appearance of the Gold Coast from 
the sea is that of an immense forest, with high 
lands in different directions, crowned ^ith trees 
afnd covered with underwood* 

The negroes of the Gold Coast have a great 
turn for oratory, and on occasions where they dis-*^ 
play all their eloquence, they speak with mudi 
feeling and energy. They rigidly observe certasn 
days of the week so hx as regards a cessation from 
labour. Fishermen will not cast their nets on a 
Tuesday ; others will not work on a Friday ; and 
persons in easy circumstances observe the day of 
the week on which they were born. 

A piece of carved wood, besmeared with the 
yolk of an egg or palm oil, is held in as great vene^ 
ration in these countries, as the image of the Virgin 
Mary in the catholic countries of Europe. 

I shall close this account of the inhabitants of 
the Gold Coast with some particulars relatii^ ta 
them, as they stood at the end of the seventeenth 

There were five degrees of men : first, kings j 
sedond, caboceros, whose province it was to guard 
thi^ welfare of a particular town, and suppress any 
iumult; third, persons of property, acquired 
dther by -trade or inheritance; fourth, people 
efirtploy^ in agriculture or ikhing ; fifth, slaves^ 
jftfi^iittsed of taken in war. 
-'Tlftfflnrtttegro salutation was, *• How did you 


sleep ?y ^ The reply wis, " Very well ; how did 
you sleep ?" MThen a negro received a visit, he 
bade his friend welcome ; and as soon as the com- 
pliments were over, the wife, or a female slave, 
brought water to wash, and fat to grease^ the 

Negroes never begged. If they could not sub- 
sist, they bound themselves, for a certain sum of 
money, to work for a master, who provided them 
with necessaries, and exacted from them a reasozK 
able portion of labour. Negroes, in general, 
^were soldiers while a war continued ; that ended^ 
they returned to their respective occupations. If 
any were of so turbulent a disposittoil that they 
could not resty they served in one of the neigh* 
bouring wars. 

££(ch man married as many wives as he pleased, 
and could support ; the kings had often a thou- 
sand ; the general number was from three to ten $ 
that of the great seldom exceeded twenty. Those 
who were rich had two wives exempt from labour; 
the first married, who had the controul of house- 
hold affairs, and the command over the others ; 
and the second,, who was called Bossum, the nanle 
of their divinity, and was consecrated to him. The 
others tilled the ground, and provided in various 
ways for the husband by hard labour, while he 
passed his time in eating, drinking, and conversing 
with his neighbours. 

N^roes smoked tobacco in pipes about six feet 
long, made of reeds, to one end of which was fixed 
an earthen, or a stone boWl, which rested on the 
ground. Into this they put two or three handsfbl 
of tobacco, and they smoked till aU. was consumed. 
Both, men and women were so attached to. this 

47* G«^D COAST.. -: i 

custom that they wQ^Mmaa9(tiMi^tit^^ 

bo vithout it, jwd^pend liskiavtfrifiBy inltobacco, 

ratber than-j^eead^r. j- -••h-ny !ijt 2*1 'v;-''-^ •^•,-- 

Hie babitj^iif: tiffivrifiherbtiegttn. an ndi^-Gbold 
Coast WAS a pMii» or jslotb^ £niit orcfiim'srasril in 
lenglbi of velvet, silk^ or dbtb, istktvwiktifOJitdAt 
bodys and rolled up, ao-aa^to teacfa:&om the waist 
half I way ' down the ktgs* On: tbeirraroiaitbay jwqw 
rniiga of ivory, gold, or silver ; rouotd 'their jbadka> 
chains or strings of gold and corals .Som^ of tlfosa 
^triagi iifwe valued at ^iH>0.sieriiiigir G«ddamu« 
hrto weiovworii: in tbe::bair. .The..Q»bQC«ro8» ot 
^dsfs^ wem:pIi^y.h«Adti6d,';«eariiig only a good 
paao, ctr dQer««kin.K^p, andastriog cf coral round 
^ihaad The/cpmmon people^ wore^ an eU oi^.tm 
of meaner stuff. • 

Ladies dreased artfully, iiKtermmag 
it.^fnth coral and amulets of gold ; and they: wore 
SQiiMiA/.strtilgs of gold, coral, and other onMu 
0M9Btal substances^ that^ from the neck to t the 
HFftist kbejr needed no other covering. A profusion 
oC/theae were also worn on the arms and legs, inter* 
mixixl with rings of gold, silver, and ivory;. .The 
paan .was adorned with gold or silver lace,, and was 
fhe^Uftttly three times as long as that of the bmu. 
Iti(W$ts;^Koand'roand the waist, and fastened by a 
girdle dbwLt half an ell broad and two ells Jong, 
tbe two ^ids of which hung down over the paan, 
or .petticoat. Over the shoulders was thrown a 
manUevOf stifci* or sooate other fine stuS* A Uack 
bflMBty-i^tie jarrayed, must have been a 'most die- 
gant apd interesting object. . 

iAassfldtirasranm&nt auras bom^; the. fe^hafon, 
or. priest, w gayy A stringi^ i>f ^oagaU lor atber aiate- 
rials, round its body, limbs, and head. These 


wew iupposed to poieess the power of ucmmg it 
from MdknesB andiiccidMts ; and die childfhiitt no 
other clothing till it were seven or eight yei^'of 
age, when a small oovering was added« ^^^'T 

The common* ibod of the negroes o€'i^ €kdd 
Coast was millet boiled to the consisteildi^^^ 
bread, or yams, or potatoes ^ which^ wwe MP 
sooed with palm oil and boiied herb«, bnd^^s^ifi 
with fish. Oxen, sheep, and pofdtry wens' tftSIMl 
0& great occasions. { * ifr?x: 

* Distant relations assemUedfrem^allriptarCefVtll 
be present at the funeral rites. The wlves^oif tto 
deceased shaved their hea^ dose, $meai^d^thelr* 
bodies with white earth, put on:^ a wa^ni^^omtii^w^ 
ment^ and ran howling about the str^MS dfke 
furies, repeating the name of their late hatband, 
aad reciting the great actions^of his past Mftt cIThe 
nearest relatives sat by the corpse; makidgvja;. 
mentations. The town's people and' aci^uainttitietef 
brought presents of gold» cloth, bntkdy^'gM:^fii^ 
^joined the doleful cry. During the ingtetf&i4fAd 
egress of all sorts of people, brandy in a mcouing^ 
and palm wine in an evening, were liberally tfteftlK 
Wben diese ceremonies had lasted one, tw^/^ot 
three days, the body was richly clothed attd fnb 
into a coffin, with fine cloths, cosdy corolsy^^^ld 
charms, and other valuable artielesv f(^'«fai^i^'li£ 
the deceased. The corpse was tbenoflrhisd 'Vb! 
the grave, preceded by a number of jmittigf^en;^ 
running, loadings and dischflvging'theii^ dcudOili^t 
and followed by a confused: mulctttide of tteftiinii 
women. r^ ': ■ : i-^^ni bfjB injsg 

lAasoowastfae body was depositttde^itiNsea/th, 
tbe fanuae of mourning beOEraus atiM^W wf *fMiti|ig> 


and revelry, where people, ate, drank, and were 
merry for several days successively. 

When a king, or a very great man died, tbe 
body wa.s sometimes laid on a atenail like a grid* 
iron, dried slowly over a gentle fire, and kept, till 
it were convenient to make the funeral custom, 
even if it were a year. Public notice of the day 
of interment being given, an incredible number of 
people, habited as richly as possible, arrived at 
theispot; not of that nation only, but those of 
other countries, desirous to see the spectacle* At 
such funerals, several slaves of the deceased were 
sacrificed^ to serve him in the other world, as was 
also the wife dedicated to his fetish : several 
wretched men, who through age, or inability were 
not fit for labour, were bought on purpose to be 
victims. These miserable creatures underwent a 
thousand deaths, being killed by backing, piercing, 
and tormenting. The human sacrifices were pre- 
vented near the European settlements ; but the 
negroes there privately withdrew to distant places 
to perform them. 

When the body of a negro could not possibly be 
convq^ed to his own country for interment, his 
head, one arm, and one leg, were cut off; and 
aAer being cleansed and prepared, were sent there 
by his friends or acquaiatancey and buried with 
the accustomed solemnities. 

.Every town had one or two officers whose btksi- 
neas it was to proclaim the orders of the chief ; to 
prookftim' things lost or stolen } to moderate the 
voices, of Ithe council when disputes ran high, or 
deixites bBcame^eonfiised. This be performed by 
repenting tfae^word, Tie-tie^ hearken, from which 


the name of his office was taken. The Tie-ties 
were also public messengers to either the friends 
or enemies of the state : and a cap made of the 
skin of a long-haired ape, which was worn by them 
only, was a passport through an enemy's country. 
They carried in their hand a bundle of fine rushes, 
and the hair of the elephant's tail, with wbich^ 
when they were not otherwise employed, they 
drove tiiie flies from the face of the chief. 

The arms of the negroes were, European mus-^ 
kets, which they got in exchange for their gdd, 
and which they handled with wonderful dexterity, 
discharging them sitting, creeping, and lying 
down ; a kind of sword, or chopping-knife, about 
eight or ten inches broad at the extremity, and 
four at the handle, and about two feet long ; and 
the bassagay, a long and slender spear, which they 
threw with the right hand. They had bows and 
arrows, the latter pointed with iron, and having 
feathers at the head i but these were not in gene* 
ral use along the coast. The swords had an orria- 
mented wooden guard : or, among people of <»>n- 
dition, thin plates of gold. The sheath wan of 
leather, and from it was suspended the head of a 
leopard, or a red shell, both of which were consi- 
dered as very valuable. The military cap was 
made of the crocodile's skin, and adorned on eacb 
side with a red shell, and behind, with a quantity 
of horse-hair. In battle, the paan was brought 
between the legs, that it might not impede tl^m 
when running. When they darted the hassagay, 
they covered their bodies with a shield four or 
five feet long, and three broadb, which they amied 
on the left arm ; it was made of oziero, and co« 
vered with leopard's skin, gilt leather, or some 

47^ , GOLD COAST. 

other^ttiaterial. The ttt!gro strtick with his' sabre, 
or (htrted likrltas«agBy, ^Wle he Variedliis attitude, 
atiaplayed-wafi liis shicldV so that it was difficult 
t<y wound him.: ' - ..— 

;^ Negroes iirere not eiiily prcivailcd upon to 
^wrk ft* Eur6pfeans. ' For themselves they ^anu- 
fkdtured earthen vessefei 1>owls and troughs of 
^haii tnatj, copper bokes for orhtment, arm-rings 
bfgold, sflVer, "and ivory, all their instruments of 
Itrsbafhdry, atirf all their weapons of war, except 
ttitak^ti. ' Theiy made fetishes of gold, cast in 
mdulds of bfack earth, and gold and silver hkt^ 
batJdi'fi^ the Europeans, the thread and teitttif^ 
of Which were so fine, that it woold not haveb^en 
easy for a Eui^opean artificer ta imitate them. 
^ The evil spirit was annually banished all their 
tdilms 'by a ceremony which consisted of ^ifa^ing, 
daiidn^, jumping, drinking, and full liberty of 
sfieech, during seven days ; and on the morning of 
thfe' eightft day a universal cry was made by the 
inhabitants, and each threw sticks, stones, and 
dirt as fast as he could take them up ; running 
hfltt the imaginary demon, who was supposed 
td ht fleeing before them. When they had driven 
Utitt to a tonvent^t distance from the town, they 
M i^fetumed; the women scoured their wooden and 
eattbeti v6^els, and t^e community was freed from 
hit' attack for another year. This ceremony took 
pHck-itt k hundred towns and villages on the 
c36ai% otf the^lSttie day. 

i^'^^'hegrbi^^ %rtller inland had Incky ^nfd nn- 
Ibcky da;^ V'^^^^ the letter they remained in a 
ikkfk' of al^MQt^ iifieneis ; thus rendefring their 
ifnaginifion^ftrt.^'^ .i^i.>/ 

The apes 6f this cooritiy Ai'cf rifearly 'fiV*?ft«fe 


high, bold and mUchievous ; and the notion that 
they can speak, but will not, leat thejr should be 
made to work» is universaL All monkeys are A^- 
trous thieves. In stealing the large. miUf^ th^y 
take one or two stalks in each paMs^ as mapijr ui|ider 
each arm, if the fore legs may be^ ctll^^v^^ 
two or three in their mouths.} and, thus .1^4^ 
they march off, leaping oi^ their, hind. <l^gS(^. 4^ 
they are pursued^ they driq^all the booty, exqep^ 
the portion which they carry in their mouth^^^];]^ 
it may not retard their flight. Jiut this .i^^^^Jj^ 
extraordinary than their discjcin^ajtiofx pf : th« 
miUet, every stalk, of which is >^i3celj;|ejjf;aiwi,<\^§ 
when they^ave ; ajoid if,. ^pj|^.^^ 
like it, they throw iliaway» and pluc;kjgpqtl^gf. -.-^r^ 

Ants on the Gold X^astwilLjattfc^.^ ^^^ 
sheep in the night, and ^/4^9 P^iP^fi^^ 
skeleton before morning. As soon^ppe^j^jt^v^ 
assaults a rat» . he is inevitably gqne ; . JTqr^ rP%^ 
tempting jip escape, he is attacked l>yrai;i9|^$ apd 
another, on his way, till he ia pye^poif«r^^^j^ 
opnxeyed by numbers to a place; whei^^^li^ $:Alt 
deypur, him in safety. If these insect^ .haiff ^f^t^ 
language, they have at least, a method /^j^gfii^^H- 
nicating. ipteliigence to each other* . t,l)%F^ ^9 
on^ or twf^ which, having di^^vepec^ari^i?^ 191 
beetle, .bajve immediately dq^r^d,,rap4^^*fcWBS4 
i^ a minufe, bringing widi them^ lo^x^^f^thgif 
fellpws ; ^ if the^e werQ ,^f)p auJpScj^, ;jEn9^ ^i^ 
called ; and when they ha4^fec}wetd,^lii^;r JiNT) 
they flMxql^; off. with^i^ ^^0^ j^f^f^fss^if^ 
wch fM;J^F;=A«7tJie.f €51^91^1, .<^^^^ .'pie 

wooden chest in one night, and ji^^{|^^,f^^.^ 
b9l»s S^^^^til^^ ^^fOvfiiMP^ »##4^Pt* T 


I have had frequent occasion to mention palm 
wine and oil, and I shall now give some account 
of various uses of the tree that produces tbemithe 
number of which is, perhaps, not surpassed by any 
thing in the vegetable creation. 

The leaves are manufactured into ropes, nets, 
and other things. The nut, when young, is 
roasted and eaten ; when old, it contains the palm 
oil, which is expressed like that of olives ; when 
the oil is extracted, the pulp is con^ered by the 
negroes as a delicacy, and when it becomes too 
stale for this purpose, it is excellent to fatten hogs. 
The tree is then bereft of all its branches, which 
serve for fences, coverings of houses, &c. and 
when it has remained a few day« in this state, a 
small hole is made in the trunk, into which is in- 
serted a reed. Through this pipe the liquor called 
palm wine dr<^s slowly into a vessel placed below 
to receive, it. Scarcely two quarts issue from one 
tree during twenty-four hours ; but the tree con-' 
tinues dropping twenty or thirty days. The last 
drop of moisture being forced out, by a fire kindled 
at the bottom, the life and the usefulness of the 
tree end together, except that its trunk serves tor 
fuel. The wine, when drank fresh, or as the phrase 
is here, under the tree, is a pleasant beverage ; but 
it is so strong that it speedily intoxicates. 

The stalk of the large millet grows eight or ten 
ffeet high, and on one stalk grow one, two, 
three, and sometimes four ears of corn, each con- 
taining from three to four hundred grains. A 
thousand "stalks yield commonly about five bushels 
4tf eotti. The millet is sown and reaped twice in 
thte year ; but the latter crop is small. 
- I now quitted thfe Gold Coast, and proceeding 


westward, I touched at the n^ro town called 
Corby la Hou, situated on the Ivory Coast ; «t was 
large j^nd very populous. The men load their 
legs with thick iron rings ; and the gseater a man's 
quality, the greater the load he carries^ I saw 
some persons of such distinction that they had 
upwards of sixty pounds weight of iron on one 
leg. I^his seems to be one of the most hurden- 
sorae of the caprices of fashion. Very fine cloths, ^ 
.composed of six stripes each, are manufactured 
here. If the father bca weaver, a fisherman, or 
any other occupation, the son is brought up to 
the same. They are such expert divers, that if a 
string of coral be thrown, into the sea when tbsy 
are on bpard a vessel, they will jump into tlie 
water, and bring it up. 

Passing Cape Falmas, I came to the GraiR 
Coast, so named, not from the abundance of edafele 
grkin it produces,' though rice, in particular, ts 
very plentiful, but from the abundance of the 
Malaguetta pepper, known in England by the 
name of Grains of Paradise. I anchored c^the 
town of Fettra Kroo, the principal town of the 
Kroomen, which is situated in about 5^ north la- 
titude, and 7° 48' west longitude* There are five 
other towns in the territory. 

The Kroomen are tall, well made, muscular and 
active. They hire themselves as labourers at 
Sierra Leone, which is about 350 miles from their 
country ; and they are to be found as tradots, 
sailors, factors, and interpreters, at «very viUagie 
an d factory in the intermediate spacev The washc&r- 
women at Sierra Leone have lately employed 
their hired Kroomen to carry baskets j^, met 
clcMt;hes from the brook. They £eel the indignity. 

480 GRAIN tOASt. 

Bind say, ^ Man sbouki O0t tieniade to d6 woman*s 
werk ;'* hnt aa dny an pui, they submit. The 
men efli^Iayed at & diMHtt ftont tiieir eomtryy 
are seldooi law than HBtmn ymn of age, or more 
than forty ; thoia who nmaia at home cuitivaiii 
the groiuui, fish, and aomatamas t^ ; ^ but 
Kraomen^" as d^y lay, ** nvt like to fight agiisat 

In the year 1809, the nnmbar of KitMNnen at 
Sierca Leime amounted to eight hundred. Th^ 
live upoD a little rice, tad convert the greater 
part of tteir wages into such goods as aiw most 
valuable in their own country. In a year and a 
bdf, or two years, a sufficient stock is coileeted, 
and the Krooman returns home with his wealth. 
A certain portion of it is given to the head man 
of the town; his mother, if ^be be livings has a 
handsome present ; and all his relations and friends 
are partdfiers of his riches, if there be but a leaf of 
tobacco for each. This liberality is displayed to 
'' get him a good name." What remains of his 
fortune is given to his fiither to *' buy htm a wilb ;** 
and after a few months indulgence at hoBK, he 
sets out again for Sierra Leone, or one of ibe 
factories on the eoast, to labour for more moBi&y. 

By this time the Krooman is proud oibemg ac- 
quainted with " white man's fashion,'^ imd takes 
with him some raw youth, whom he initiates into 
the mystery of his calling, and of whose labour be 
shares the jKofit : and when he lias amassed ano- 
ther fortune, he again returns home ; confirms his 
former good name by additional presents, and en- 
gages his father to buy him another wife. In this 
manner he goes on for ten or twelve years ; 
scarcely appropriating a particle of his earnjingsto 


his awn use} but lof^^iMiiBg^his. mfmtation, and 
the number of his wi^fi^ J^h^if^ of ^»e Kroo^ 
man ASf^ wa$ sov4;i^ ^ j^i^ AiB y iv^o once^ 
and whose father J^4%^2ML!^Hfllfi ^Igbtttsu • 
^ili^.^niv^^^^ that, i£:A 

K^f^man wew tft^asajr^r^d an^iWritfi,i»-TOuld 
be,{^.|a.d^>tl^.(^J)isj^^ eoiiflfer}^ 

Premiums have been proposed to KrooDsm; if^ 

*^S)' S8i44 ¥*^ '^./^^^^-^-^^ bttt difltiiu:- 
tio^ power,^ aQ4 r^^ot^ j|nt)»Ag. thek jaani^ri^ , 
meoit. ^6 to them all that is hooQUi^ahle ^nd de^ 
sir^bie i», taHe.,tb^^ ingkegaants. ftpm tbem^ and^ 
you;ti)caAwajf their VMii^^ for iuduftryrand aeif- 
deniai..:, ,. 

^ Pie,.jint^ght,Krooi|iaa ibes not take the pro-. ^ 
per^of.^Qtlift]» 'y those wha have lived loog among 
Eur<y)^nsdo{ butJt is difficult to detect a thief; ' 
.for aAycma will. suffer in bia awn person, rather 
than hesLJ^ testimony against another. « They plead 
in their, own defence with much art. A thief, 
whose^uilt was evideut, made a long speech to 
the iB^vein^r of Sierra Leon e« on his trial, in* 
whi(?h«Jb^ .expressed bis sorraw that the governor 
was na|J)^Q a^Krpomau ; and enlarged upon the 
supeci^,^ili$y;h«^ould then have possessed to 
disting;ui8l\. k^tween truth: < :and falsdiood where 
Kroomea weretcpncemei&si he^dtd not forgiH' to 
mention the security against deception he might 
in that ca$e ha\^e obtained, by qieans of fetishes, 
of which, he said, white men knew neither the 
value nor the use. 

From Fettra Kroo, I went t(>a village, on the 
Rig Sestro, close to the shore, containing about 
sixt^ houses, raised two or three feet from the 


ground, the ascent to which was by a short ladder* 
The houses were neatly built, and had upper 
stories. The Sestro is a fine river ; its banks are 
wooded and full of villages. That of the king is 
situated about three miles from the mouth. I 
found this monarch, if such he may be called, 
sitting on his heels, on a fine mat, in a large semi- 
circular building entered by a ladder, and appro- 
priated to public business. He was an elderly, 
. silver-haired man, dressed in a frock of white cot- 
ton, curiously embroidered with worsted of differ- 
ent colours. On his. head was a tall cap, like a 
mitre, composed of osiers, and adorned with ram's 
horns, porcupine's tails, and gree-grees, as amulets 
are called here. Round his neck was a string of 
knotted rushes, from which were suspended two 
kid's horns ; his hair was also twisted into tufts, 
resembling horns, which here were the prevailing, 
symbol of dignity. He was attended by about 
twenty of his counsellors, who sat on his right 
and left, driessedin frocks, but bare-headed. How 
•far the power of this simple sovereign extended 
I know not ; but he was courteous, and amiable, 
and lived among his people like the careful and 
affectionate father of a large family. 

The people here are strong and laborious. They 
cultivate the ground, and make weapons and 
knives. Their canoes are neatly ornamented.; 
their malaguetta is sold in large baskets jna4e of 
bulrushes. Women never eat with tbeiifi ^husbands, 
or children with their parents : the husband eats 
first, tjien the wife, then the children.' 
' When I had been treated with hospitality by 
the chief, all his people offered me their housea ; 


but I found it impossible to remain in any one of 
them a quarter of an hour, on account of the heat 
and smoke. Negroes^ in general^ keep up a small 
fire during the night, and Bleep with their feet 
near it ; a custom, which, though it throw them in 
a bath, I believe contributes to their health, by 
correcting the humidity of the air. The climate 
here is ipoist, hot, and unwholesome. 

I had an opportunity of witnessing the funeral 
ceremonies of these people. An old woman dying, 
the corpse was laid out, and covered with a cloth, 
and all the inhabitants of the village arranged 
themselves in order round it, each holdmg a few 
banana leaves, to shade it from the sun. The 
men then, in a distracted manner, ran howling 
about the house of the deceased, while the women 
sat round the body and joined in the horrid dis- 
cord. When this had continued twenty-four. 
hours, the body was placed in a cof&n with a pot 
of rice, and another of palm wine, and the coffin 
was put in a canoe, and carried by ten stout 
young men to the river, to be transported to the 
place of the old woman's nativity ; each person 
being, if possible, buried where he was born. 

In three days the friends and relations returned, 
bringing with them a sheep and a quantity of 
palm wine for the funeral feast. I was invited to , 
join them ; and, as I happened to be hungry, I 
ate and drank -with them as long as any mutton or 
wine remained; I then retired, thinking I had 
been very hospitably entertained. But it appeared 
that I had literally reckoned without my hosts ; 
for the next morning I was waited on by the 
whole company, and each demanded a particular 



present; so that when I had satisfied them^ I 
found I had defrayed the whole expence of the 
feast. A Dutch trader, on such an occasion, made 
a memorandum in hfs pocket-book never to accept 
an invitation to an old woman's funeral. 

When a man of consequence is interred, a male 
slave and a female, after being well fed, are put, 
in a standing posture, into two holes, dug for that 
purpose, near the grave, their heads only appearing 
above the ground. The deceased is then requested 
to accept of them, and the two heads are struck 
off and placed in the grave, one on each side of the 
coflBn. Four kids, or sheep, killed on the spot, 
pots of rice and of palm wine,- and various fruits, 
are added ; and the dead person is entreated to 
make use of these on his journey, if he should be 
hungry or thirsty. These people consider death 
. only as the passage to a better life. 

According to my own ideas, nothing but mur- 
der or self-defence can be a sufficient reason for 
the taking away human life ; but among men who 
believe that, by sacrificing slaves, they are intro- 
ducing them to a better state of servitude, under 
a happier master, the sacrifice admits of some 
extenuation. .^ 

I'rom Rio Sestro, I safled to Cape Mezurado, 
the termination of the Grain Coast, where I 
landed, and saw three villages, consisting of about 
twenty houses each. Each house contained three 
neat apartments, and was inhabited h^ from fifty 
to sixty persons of both sexes and all ages. The 
women- were handsome, and, as the men informed 
me, were permitted to be very civil to white men 
, for money. The river Mezurado, is about a hun- 


dred and twenty yards broad at its mouth. It is 
navigable for boats about forty miles ; a little be- 
yond this there are falls that prevent further navi- 
gation. The country between Cape Palmas and 
Cape Mezurado is supposed to contain upwards of 
fifty negro villages. The extent is more than 
twenty-five leagues. 

Leaving Cape Mezurado, I sailed to Cape 
Monte. As soon as I landed, the whole shore was 
covered with black men, who welcomed me, and 
conducted me to their houses. The king, or ra- 
ther chief, seemed to rank with the chief of Rio 
Sestro, and resided in a village about three iniles 
up the river, with four hundred of his wives and 

The inhabitants cultivate rice, millet, yams, and 
potatoes, and boil salt for their king, whose slaves 
they are. Each man has as many wives as he can 
maintain, and in increasing th^ir number, increases 
that of his labourers. I enquired respecting their 

• religion, and was told that it consisted in rever- 
encing and obeying the king, without troubling 
themselves with what was above them. I en- 

* quired concerning their wars, and was informed 
that they were not often troubled with them, for 
when any dispute happened, they rather chose to 
end it amicably than come to blows. They ap- 

*peared also to live peaceably with their wives, and 
not to trpuble themselves with their familiarity 
with white men. 

The people in the vicinity of Cape Monte name 
their children when they are ten days old.. On 
such an occasion, all the inhabitants of a village 
assemble ; and, as is not unfrequent, when a vil- 
lage assembles, a great noise is made. If the infant 


be a boy, he is laid upon a shield, and a small bow 
is put into his hand by the officiating person ; who 
wishes that he may soon be like his father, an in- 
dustrious man, a good builder, a good husband- 
man, to get rice to entertain those who may come 
to visit him ; that he may not be a drunkard, or 
a gormandizer, or covet his neighbour's wife. If 
the infant be a girl, she is laid on a mat, and a 
little staff is put into her hand. She is exhorted 
to be industrious, cleanly, chaste, a good cook, 
and a dutiful wife, so that her husband may love 
hei* above all his other wives. After these wishes 
and admonitions are ended, the child is named, 
and returned to its mother, and the ceremony con- 
cludes with a feast. If these people have not much 
religion, they have some morality; and if they 
are not warlike, they have some good sense. I 
am sorry to add, that human sacrifices are not un- 
known among them.. 

When a great man dies, the hair is dressed, and 
the body finely clothed and set upright, being 
supported by props. The relations and friends 
kneel round it j with their backs to the corpse, and 
shoot their arrows, as they call it, " round the 
world,** to signify that th^y are ready to revenge 
the deceased on any person who may speak ill of 
him, or who may have been the cause of his death. 
Women and slaves are strangled to attend him in* 
the otK« world, and are put into the grave with 
some necessary utensils, such as kettles, bowls, 
and mats. When the king is supposed to be 
dying, many persons hide their daughters ; while 
those who attend the sick monarch endeavoor to 
conceal his situation, that the people rtiay not 
abscond. When the absentees return, thev are 


repn>aqhed with cowardice, and told it was unrea-* 
soniJ^le to have eaten the breiad of their lord, and 
to have refused to die with him. These, reason- 
able persons imagine that a whole body is a better 
servant than a head only ; the victims therefore, 
are sent entire to the grave } they al^o imagine< 
that a well fed body makes a better servs^nt than 
one with an empty stomach j the victims there* 
foreare compelled to eat heartily bqfore they are 

The men of Cape Monte wear the Sudan shifts 
with ^ide sleeves ; the women have only a cloth 
wound round the waist, and hanging to the knees* 

I now proceeded to the. river Sherbro, near the 
mouth of which are two small islands, besides the 
large one called S^erbro, which is about forty-five 
miles from east to west, and about fifteen irom 
north to- south. The inhabitants of Sherbro are 
BuUoms ; but as I shall particularly describe the 
manners and customs of these people when I come 
to Sierra Leone, I shall only mention a few of their 

The men clear a fresh plantation every year, 
during which time the women are employed in 
making salt. When the wood is cut and burnt, 
the women and the young people perform the re^t 
of the labour. The people are kind to each other, 
and if strangers go among them, they give them 
water to wash, oil to anoint their skins^ provii> 
sions to eat, and will quit their own beds to lodge 
them. TheY will pass the day in looking fox pajl^ 
wine, and the night in dancing. Th^y have fi^t 
sheep and goats, abundance of fowls, duck/fe iHS4; 
geese, and they pan raise any quantity of ffiq^^hey, 
please. They doniot salt their rnc^t^ bub dry it< 


over a fire. Th6 coffee tree grows wild in the 
countries adjoining the Sherbroj but the inha- 
bitants are ignorant of its value. 

The most enviable ornasient for a child is a 
leopard's tooth suspended from the wrist. This is 
a badge of freedom, and cannot be worn by the 
child of a slave. 

Among the BuUoms of Sherbro there are itine^ 
rant nvasters in the art of<]ancing, who are dressed 
in the most extravagant manner. On their heads 
they wear a monstrous fabric of bamboo, adorned 
with feathers ; on their legs a number of iron rings 
that jingle as the wearer moves ; the rest of their 
clothing is a petticoat of grass. When one of these 
men comes into a town, the young women form a 
ring around him ; while he throws himself into a 
variety of the most fatiguing attitudes, till *he 
perspiration streams from every part of his body, 
and he is quite exhausted. 

The chiefs of Sherbro accuse tl^eir wives of being 
witches when they begin to grow rather elderly, 
even if they have brought them children, to make 
room for younger women. The number of their 
wives is from ten to thirty. 

On the death of a great man the women shave 
their heads, and inflict wounds on their arms, 
breasts, and backs. Both«men and women dance 
night and day during the funeral cry, and drink 
as much r\}m as they can. get'. On such an occa- 
sion eight or nine puncheons are drank, guns are 
fired, and two or four people are sacrificed. 

From Sherbro I entered the river of Sierra 
Leone, and took up my lodgipg at Freetown, an 
. establishment ol* my countrymen. 

489^ '> 



1 HE river of Sierra Leone, or Mitofnba, Us it is 
called by the negroes, is about fifteen miles wide 
at its mouth,, which lies in 8^ 80' north latitude, 
and 18^ 4*8' west longitude. Six miles abo^e, the 
river is six or seven miles in breadth, which it con- 
tinues to be nearly twenty miles fkrther, where it di- 
vides into two large branches called Port Lago at)d 
Rokelle river. Before this it had received a «mftll 
brfinch on the north, called Bullom river, and a 
larger on the south called the Bunch* The air on 
the coast is so humid that salt and sugar can 
scarcely be kept in a dry state ; and a thick bar of 
•^iron that has lain on the ground five or six years 
may be easily broken to pieces with the hand. 
The mean degree of heat at Freetown is 84** ; but 
in the months of July, August, and September, 
it is sometimes above 100. 

Freetown is situated on an eleyated spot, on the 
southern side of the river, about six miles from its 
mouth, and contain^ about four hundred houses 
built with wood, with a church, an hospital, a 
store-house, and a house for the governor. It were 
greatly to be wished that a colony established for 
such noble purposes as those of abolishing the 
slave trade, and civilizing black men, should an- 
swer the ends proposfed ; but perhaps it is not in 
the nature of things that it should do so to any 
extent ; perhaps the manners of black men are' 


assimilated to their climate, and are in some de« 
gree inseparable from it ; and perhaps the fatal in- 
fluence of the climate on Europeans may proceed 
from the dissimilarity of their habits. In a word, 
it might be as easy to wash black men white, as to 
produce any general change in them, and as easy 
to extirpate them as either. 

I went up the river of Sierra Leone as far as its 
junction with the Bunch ; and having ascended 
this about three miles, I arrived at the small island 
of Gambia. From hence I sent m^ compliments 
to Panaboora Forbanna, king of the Timmanees, a 
people who inhabit the southern side of the river. 
The length of his little kingdom was thirty-six 
milesi and its breadth about ten ; but he was a 
good king, and beloved by his subjects. He owed 
to them his crown, which was only a cap of blue 
cloth, and his throne, which was nothing but a 
straw mat. 

At ten o'clock the next morning Forbanna and 
his wife, attended by four of the principal men, 
came in a canoe to visit me. The canoe was four- 
teen feet long, and was paddled by twelve men. 
At dinner I placed the king next to myself j he re* 
quested a chair for the lady ; but he had it placed 
on his left, and a little behind his own. I ordered 
her a plate, which she placed on her knees, and 
the king shared with her. all that was given him. 
I had prepared a dish of rice, dressed in the negro 
manner, by steam, and mixed with pieces of fish 
and poultry : this Forbanna thought delicious. If 
a negro have been feasted with every delicacy a 
European can here place on his table, and rice 
constitute no part of the entertainment, he will 
say he has had no meat. Roast meat the king did 


not like ; salt meat he ate with great reHlb, and 
bread in great quantity. The lady ate a consi-* 
deraUe quantity of sugar ; they both drank wine, 
though sparingly* 

After dinner I presented his majesty with a com- 
plete suit of scarlet cloth, richly laced with gold, 
a shirt and neckcloth trimmed with broad lace^ an 
enormous cocked hat with a red feather, red stock- 
ings, shoes with red heels and large silver buckles, 
to these I added a large sword with a wrought sil- 
ver hafidle, and a cane four feet and a half long, 
with a prodigious silver head. To his wife I gave 
some amber and agate, some cloves and glass trin- 
kets, and a piece of gauze striped with blue sDk. 

At sight of these royal robes, Forbanna could 
not contain his satisfftction, and his wife was quite 
overpowered. She clapped her hands, exclaiming, 
" atot, atot, mungo oonifera !" — bravo, bravo, 
white king ! and, eager to see her husband in this 
magnificent dress, she divested him of his cap, and 
tWb pieces of cotton, which formed the whole of his 
apparel, except a third piece which hung fr6m bis 
waist to the middle of the thigh. She then put on 
the scarlet coht and waistcoat^ considering, proba- 
bly, that shirt, breeches, shoes, and stockings, 
might form a state habiliment of themselves. Her 
husband put on the hat, crossed the sword-belt 
over his shoulders, and held the cane in his hand. 

Forbanna, king as he was, and a good king, was 
neither yonng nor handsome; and it was not a 
little ludicrous to see his majestic gravity in his 
new robes, while his dusky body was exposed 
through the opening of his waistcoat, and his con- 
sort walked round him with unbounded admiration. 

49S sikmiA LBOME. 

The next day I returned the visit o£ Forbanna^ 
and found him seated on a ttiat before the door of 
his house, with bis legs crossed, and his knees 
erect, surrounded by his wives, children, and a 
number of his subjects, and receiving from every 
one some testimony of respect or affection. 

The king of Timmanee had only five wives in 
addition to his first, and each had a hut within the 
royal inclosure, and a separate household. They 
all made it their particular study to cultivate the 
affection of the king, as the means of augmenting 
their fortunes, which at best are very limited ; for 
when one of these ladies is in possession of a field 
of a few acres, .some slaves of both sexes, a few 
household utensils, a dozen pieces of cotton^ some 
gold rings for her ears, arms, and legs, and five 
or six ounces of gold in reserve, she is considered 
as a very (^ulent and distinguished woman. 

As a contrast to the mild government of the 
king of the Timmanees, I shall give some account 
of one of the most detestable species of tyranny 
that ever was imposed upon misguided man. 

Between the rivers oi^ Sherbro and Sierra Leone 
are five tribes of Bulloms, who have formed a con- 
federacy, called purra. Each tribe has a council, 
consisting of twenty-five persons; from each of 
these are token the five eldest, who jointly com- 
pose the grand council, and these <ielect a chief, or 
head purra man from among themselves. To ob- 
tain admission into the purra of his tribe, a man 
must be under the responsibility of such of his 
friends as are already members, who swear to put 
him to death if he shrink und'ei^the ceremonies 
of initiation, or reveal the secrets ©f the institu- 
tion after. 

PURRA. 49s 

In every district within the limits of thig asso- 
ciation there is a sacred wood to which the candi- 
date is conducted. It is difficult to say, and dan- 
gerous to enquire, what passes here; it is said that 
the novice is not to speak, and if he attempts to 
penetrate the wood, he dies. After some months' 
probation, he is admitted to the trials. It is said, 
that upon these occasions the sacred woods re- 
sound with mournful howlings, and that during 
the night immense dames are seen to rise : it is 
certain that any person whom curiosity tempted to 
enter the wood would be sacrificed, ^nd that dome 
who have entered it have never, been heard of 

The purra of a tribe judges and punishes within 
its own district; the grand purra assembles only 
to judge of differences between the tribes, and to 
punish delinquents of its own order. The su- 
preme tribunal examines which tribe was the ag- 
gressor, and sentences the guilty to be pillaged 
during four^'days. The warriors of the purra de- 
part at midnight, armed with daggers, their faces 
covered with hideous ,masks, bearing lighted 
torches in their hands, and divided into parties of 
forty, filfly, or sixty each. They arrive before day 
in the territory they are about to pillage, and pro- 
claim with a dreadful voice the decree of the purra. 
At their approach, men, women, and children, fly 
before them, and shut themselves up in their 
houses: should any one be met in the fields, roads, 
flr streets, he would never be heard of after. 

The pillage is divided into two equal parts, one 
of which is given to the. injured tribe, the other to 
the purra. 


When anyiamily among the tribes becomes too 
powerful, the grand purra condemns it to a sud- 
den nocturnal pillage : if the chiefs resist, they 
are earned into the mysterious wood, and, in ge- 
neral, they appear no more. The obscurity which 
covers this extraordinary institution is impenetra- 
ble, and the terror it inspires is indescribable. 
One maxim is, I think, incontrovertible, when 
applied to governments ; Truth fears no examina- 
tion, — ^where there is secrecy there is deceit. 

Ttie warriors of the purra are supposed to 
amount to 6,000. The members understand each 
other by certain words and signs. The institution 
does not extend so far north as Sierra Leone, the 
natives of which regard it with horror, and never 
speak of it without evident marks of apprehension. 

Among the Timmanees there is an institution 
which probably had its origin in the slave trade, 
and is scarcely less hateful than the purra ; it i^e- 
gards females only. An old woman, called Boon« 
doo woman, is its sole superintendant; and fts ob- 
ject is to extract from the unfortunate females, 
wlio are placed there by their fathers or husbands, 
a full confession of every crime they may have 
been guilty of themselves, or have been privy to 
in others. On their admission they are smeared 
over with white clay, and solemnly adjured to make 
the desired confession. If the boondoo woman be 
satisfied with the confession of any individual, she 
is dismissed ; if this inquisitor be dissatisfied, she 
administers a draught of water in which some 
leaves have been infused; and if the supposed cul- 
prit feel, as it is likely she may, some pain in the 
stomach or bowels after this potion, she is accused 


of any crime the old hag may please to fix upon. 
If she confess it, she is sold ; if she persist in de- 
nying it, she dies, and no one knows how. 

I saw a woman at Freetown who had been con- 
fined in the boondoo, and had made her espape. 
She said that, having been affected with a pain in 
her stomach, in consequence of having drank the 
infusion, tlie boondoo woman accused her of 
having, by witchcraft, killed Pa Bunky, a chief 
who had died four years before, and having after- 
wards taken. up his body, and eaten it; and that, 
trembling between slavery and instant death, she 
had confessed the crime. At Freetown, however, 
she declared that Pa Bunky's blood did not live in 
her belly, and that she only wished for an oppor- 
tunity of drinking the red water, to prove her in- 
nocence. She had not the least suspicion of deceit 
or villainy in the boondoo woman. 

When the red water is to be administered, the 
supposed culprit is obliged to fast twelve hours, 
and then swallow, a little rice. A calabash, con- 
taining about half a pint of the red water, is pre- 
sented to him with many ceremooies, and he is 
made to pronounce an imprecation upon himself if 
he be guilty. He empties the calabash eight, ten, 
or twelve times successively, as quick as it can be 
filled. He now commonly begins to vomit ; but 
he must continue to drink till the whole of the rice 
he swallowed lie on some plantain leaves that ari 
placed on the ground before him. This is his ac- 
quittal. The number of calabashes given may not 
exceed sixteen, and some persons have died afler 
drinking four. When this infusion acts as a pui^ 
gative, it is termed ** spoiling the red water,** and 
the accused is sold for a slave, or if he be too old 


to.sey, or if he die under the ojieration, one of 

his family is taken and sold, unless he can redeem 
himself by substituting a slave in his place. If an 
opportunity do not . occur soon of taking one of 
the family, the affair is remembered; and I knew 
an instance of a young man beii^ sold for a slave, 
because his grandmother had spoiled the red water 
many years before he was born. 

The natives of these countries are in general 
well formed ; their skins are sjeek and soft, and 
cooler than those of European^ in the same cli- . 
mate. Those in the neighbourhood of Sierra 
Leone are usually above the middle size, well 
proportioned, sprightly, and of an opeq counte- 
nance. The manners of the females, particu- 
larly the young ones, are easy, and not devoid of 
grace. They are, in general, remarkable for the 
beautiful contour of their limbs, the fine shape of 
their bosoms, their large and expressive eyesj and 
their open and ingenuous countenances. The 
frankness of their manners is tempered with' a ti- 
midity towards strangers, which renders them still 
more interesting. These people have no other 
mode of expressing that an object is beautiful than 
by saying it is good : they calla handsome woman 
a good woman, and a pretty child a good child. 

Negro children at their birth are nearly as fair 
as Europeans, and do not acquire their proper co- 
lour till several days afler; the palms of the hands, 
and the soles of the feet, retain their first colour 
through life. Sickness changes the skin to a paler 
or lighter hue. The eye is invariably black. The 
hair is shorter, finer, blacker, more elastic, and 
more crisp, than that of a European. Some ne- 
groes have hair six or eight inche; in length. 



Their hair turns white sooner than that of Euro- 
peans; but even old peojde are rarely bald« 
Among the Foolahs, whom commerce or curiosity 
had brought to the settlement of Sierra Leone, I 
saw a young man whose features were exactly of 
the Grecian mould, and whose person might have 
afforded to the statuary a model of the Apollo Bel- 

The dress of the Timmanees, who inhabit the 
south, and the BuUoms who inhabit the nwthside 
of the river Sierra Leone, is such as has been often 
described^ the wide cotton shirt for the men, and 
the cotton cloth, forming a petticoat, for the wo- 
men, with a second cloth thrown occasionally over 
the shoulders. The ornaments are beads, cora], 
gold, and silver, in the ears, and round the neck, 
large silver rings upon the arms, and small bells 
at the ancles. The dress of the men is not com- 
plete unless it be laden with gree-grees. Children 
go entirely naked till two or three years of age ; 
but their hair is neatly plaited, and a string of 
beads, coral, or a piece of European silver coin is 
hung round, or suspended from the neck, ancles, 
or .wrists. From this time till they are married, 
the girls wear a narrow piece of cloth, the ends of 
which hang down behind and before, nearly to the 
feet ; the dress of the boys is the same, except 
that the ends do not hang loose. In mourning, 
the woYnen lay aside the garment of the matron, 
and resume that of the maiden. Tliey so cover 
the face with a kind of white night-cap, that they 
can see only their feet, unless they throw the head 
very far back. To take off this cap would occa- 
sion a serious palaver, as it is allowed to be taken 

VOL. ir, K K 



off only by the head man of the village. Two or 
three rows of large white cowries are won> round 
the neck, and in some parts of the country it is 
customary to whiten the face, neck, shoulders, 
and legs. The same occasion that clothes the Eu- 
ropean in black covers the negro with white. 
' Both men and women have their hair plaited 
and braided in a variety of forms, and with great 
neatness. Before the men set out on a journey, 
their wives pass several hours in dressing their hair^ 
which is done so closely and exactly as to retain its 
form for two or three weeks. The women omau 
tnctit their foreheads with squares, triangles, and 
other figures of blue, red, or white paint. They 
bestow great attention upon their persons, wash^ 
ing themselves several times in the day, and 
anointing themselves daily with palm oil, to pre- 
serve the velvet softness and smoothness of their 
skins. They are also tattooed. 

The negroes expose the head, uncovered, to the 
perpendicular rays of a scorching sun, during the 
greatest bodily exertions, with perfect impunity ; 
and children, not a month old, sleep quietly on 
the backs of their mothers, in the full glare of sun- 

In the choice of a spot to build a town, the first 
object of the Timmanees and Bulloms is securiQrj 
for often have the unsuspecting inhabitants' of 
towns been seized and liurried away to slavery^ 
On this account they clear no more groand than 
is necessary for the houses to stand upon, and ara- 
thus buried in a thick wood. The approach to 
the town is by one or more narrow footpaths, 
scarcely perceptible, which are carried in a wind- 

HOUSES. 499 

ing direction round the place; so that when o 
stranger arrive witbin a few yards of the town, faie 
may imagine himself at a distance from any hu« 
man habitation. The villages on the coast seldom 
consist of more than forty or fifty houses y but as 
we advance inland they become larger. They 
commonly form a circle, inclosing an area, in the 
midst of which is* placed the palaver-hous|e, or 
town-hall. The towns take their names from local 
circomstances, or remarkable occurrences. One 
of the Bullom towfis is called Matcha, No-path ; 
another Yella, Surrounded-with^water; another 
Pek-ken-tyeng, £lephant-broke-wood-there. The 
houses are sometimes square, but mostly circular, 
and it ia seldom that the house consists of more 
than one apartment; sometimes, howeveri the 
space is divided in two by a partition of wattled 
sticks covered with clay, that rises the height of 
the walls. A space of about a foot is left open all 
round between the top of the wall and the bottom 
of the roof, to admit the air. The roof is conical, 
and covered with thatch, which projects a few feet 
beyond the building, ,and forms a sort of piazza. 
Under the shade of this the negro swings in his 
hammock, or reclines on mats spread *on a bank of 
earthy about 'a foot and a half high, and two or 
three feet broad, which runs round the outside of 
the house, except at the entrances ; these are ge- 
nerally two, opposite each other. 

The entrance of a house is seldom closed by any 
thing but a mat, which is occasionally let down, 
and is a sufficient barrier against all intruders. 
The most intimate friend will not presume to lift 
up the mat, unless his salutation be returned: even 

K k2 


a husband dares not enter his own house when the 
mat is down, if his wife pronounce the word moo- 
ridee, I am busy. 

The burree^ or town-house, has no walls. A 
number of strong posts support the roof» which 
has a floor of bamboo sticks laid close together 
that serves as a public granary for rice. A bank 
of mud forms a seat round the building. Some of 
these houses are large enough to contain tw^ or 
three hundred people. Here, as in other parts of 
Africa, all public business is transacted ; here the 
inhabitants meet to converse, and here strangers 
station themselves till a lodging be provided for 
them. Every contract is made at the burree; and 
even children are required to be present, that they 
may be evidences of the transaction when the pre- 
sent generation of men shall have passed away. 

The most ingenious man in a Timmanee or Bui- 
lorn village is usually blacksmith^ joiner, architect, 
and weaver. The employments of the others are 
clearing a piece of ground for a rice plantation, 
building or repairing tlieir houses, shooting, or 
fishing. Much of their time is taken up iii settling 
disputes, ^hich they call talking* palavers ; and 
much is passed in listless indolence, reclining upon 
mats, or sleeping in the shade. In their endea- 
vours to obtain tobacco and rum» the luxuries 
they have been taught by Europeans to value, no 
toil is thought too severe. They make fine cotton 
cloths of a variety of patterns, six or seven inches 
wide, and four or five feet in length. Seven of. 
these are joined to make a piece for a woman. 
. During the heat of tlie day an African village is 
in general silent, but no sooner does the air begin 


to cool than fresh vigour animates the people, and 
it resounds with drums and dancing. 

fThe young men in the neighbourhood of Sierra 
Leone are universally fond of exhibiting their great 
HgUity ; and many of them are very expert in vaults 
log, tumbling, and performing somersaults. The 
people are also fond of listening to histories and 
fables, in doing which they will frequently pass 
A gceat part of the night. I shall give two of these, 
M a specimen of their powers of invention, . and 
manner of relating their stories. 
. *^ An elejAant and a goat once disputed which 
eould eat the most, and to determine the matter, 
they w^it into a meadow * as big as from here to 
white man's country.* After they had eaten some 
time, the goat lay down upon a rock to diew the 
cud. ^ What are you doing?* said the elephant to 
ham. ' I am eating this rock,' replied the goat, 
< and when I have done I will eat you.' The ele* 
pbant, terrified at this unexpected threat, ran 
away ; ^nd since that time he has never dared to 
enter a town in which there was a goat.** 

** A man and his wife, with their spoiled child, 
were travelling through a thick wood, when they 
s^itfW a gourd lying near the path : the child cri^ 
for it ; the father took it up ; and they pursued 
t^eir journey. Soon after, a spirit called Min, to 
whom the gourd belonged, awpke from his sleep, 
ftnd being thirsty, he seeks fpr his gourd bottle. 
NQt finding it, he sings the folloip^*ing couplet two 
or three times over, jn a plaintive tone of Toice; 
and this, as well as the others, is so sung by the 
relator of the story. * Where are you my gout-d ? 
Why havip you gone away, and left me thus alone?' 
The gourd replies, * I have not run away from 


you, O Min; but have been carried off against mj 
will,' The man, alarmed by }Jje song of the gourd» 
throws it down, and, with his wife and child, f n- 
deavours to make his escape. Min, following the 
direction of the sound, arrives at the spot where 
the gourd is lying, at^d takes it up. He sings, 
* Where is the wretch who stole my gourd ? I 
will wreak my vengeance. on his guilty head.* 
Still singing> he sets out in pursuit of him, and 
the child answers, * It was 1/ The motlmi^ drops 
the child, Min seizes it, and destroys it. He re^ 
peats his song, and the mother says, ^ It was 1/ 
In a fit of despair, her husband stabs her. Min 
finds the body, but again repeats his song, and the 
man is obliged to confess the fact : he attempts to 
elude the search of his dreadful adversary by con- 
cealing himself in the bushes ; but he is soon dis- 
covered, and sacrificed to the resentment of Min.* 

I think the woman must have played the part of 
Eve in this story, or she could not justly have in- 
curred ihe displeasure of the spirit: its moral, 
however, is obvious ; we ought not to gratify the 
unreasonable desires of children. 

Among the Timmanees and Bulloms the regal 
dignity continues in the same family; but the 
head men of the country are at liberty to norni* 
nate any individual of that family, however dis- 
tantly related to the deceased king. These men 
are regarded with the highest veneration by their 
immediate dependants, and often present a very 
striking resemblance of the patriarchs by their 
hoary heads and snowy beard& 

The Europeans have taught the negroes their 
vices. On the coast they are frequently shrewd 
and artful, and sometimes malevolent and perfi* 


dious« Their long connexion with European sl^v^ 
traders has tutored them in the arts of deceit ; sfi 
that false weights and measures, damaged goods^ 
and the various cheats of European cunning, are 
now immediately detected by them. As we ad- 
vadlceinto the country, the natives are more sim- 
ple in their manners, more devoid of art, and 
more free from suspicion. They are in general of 
mild dispositions, but they posses a great share of 
pride, and are easily affected by an insult. They « 
cannot even heiu* a harsh expression, or a raised 
tone of voice, without shewing that they feel it. 
One of the severest insults that can be offered to a 
negro is to speak disrespectfully of his mother, 
which he calls cursing her. ^* Strike me,'' he 
jsays, " but do pot curse my mother !** The re- 
spect they pay to the aged is very great: the title 
of pa or ma, father or mother, is prefixed to the 
name of an old person to denote reverence. 

In travelling through many parts of the country, 
when overpowered with, heat, fatigue, or huqger, 
I have ever met with an hospitable reception at 
the villages of the Timmanees and Bulloms. Mats 
have been brought for me to repose on ; if it were 
a meal time, I was at liberty to partake^ or to waif 
till something better could be provided } if it were 
night» a hut has been set apart for me, and a guide 
has been offered me in the morning. The entrance 
into one of these towns presents a pleasing picture 
of the manners of black men. As soon as a stranger 
is observed, all the inhabitants hasten to shake 
him by the hand, pronouncing several times the 
word, wdcome: even the children, who can 
barely lisp a welcome, hold out their little hands 
with a smile, and are delighted if the stranger 


notice them, THe usual salutation of the Bui- 
4oiii8 to eadi other is, *' Are you come f " and if 
tlie/'dkilike their visitor, they say, ^ You have not 
been long away/* 

It has been said that the mental faculties open 
"eaify, and decline rapidly in hot climates; but 
this is not the case on the western coast of Africa. 
The orators there are, in general, men who have 
passed the prime of life ; but they are often very 
successful in exciting the passions, by their bold 
and figurative language, which flows in tor- 
rents, and is sometimes such as would not dis* 
grace the pen of an eastern poet. Even when 
the discourse is vapid, and full of tiresome repeti- 
tions, it is delivered with force and energy, and 
often with considerable vehemence of tone and 

The religion of the Timmanees and Bulloms is 
such as has often been described in the course of 
my travels ; a belief in the Supreme Author of 
all things, too good to do harm, therefore not 
needing to be supplicated ; in a number of infe- 
rior mischievous beings, inhabiting rocks, woods, 
and waters, whose evil intentions they avert by 
sacrifices, the best part, however, of which they 
eat themselves ; and, inferior to these, in a kind 
of tutelary spirits, that reside in or near thehr 
towns. They imagine that witches, when they 
die, appear again in the form of a pigmy race, like 
our fairies, and that, divested of their former ma* 
lignity, they quit their retreats at night, and join 
the revels of the people. 

In the mountains of Sierra Leone I have seen 
many temples erected to the devil, consisting of 
trunks of trees planted in a circular form, with a 


roof of branches covered wtUi lesLW$i {itt.tbe 
middle of the circle was a^sqitttra ttbie^^or^^ritar, 
filled with offerings ; atid^the pillfurs <>f vithcfce^nide 
edifices were ornamented with saorificf^ slnid*'ab-* 

WbeB the nations in the neighbourhooA - ^f 
Sierra Leone go to war with each other» they in-' 
deavour to strike terror into their enemies by 
dressing themselves in the most hideous manner 

1 they can devise. Some whiten the body, and 

• nmke the face still blacker than nature has done 
it; others paint the knees and elbows with red ; 
all are armed with a load of gree<grees, of the 
most gTQtesque forms. They do not approve of 
£kiropean tactics, atid they laugh when they are 
told that men stand still to be shot at. When op* 
posite parties meet, which is not c^n the case, 
they shelter themselves behind trees, and practice 
what is called bush-fighting. ' 

. . Mania is a disease I never heard of among the 
negroes, nor could I make them comprehend the 
meaning of the term. They had no other idea of 
it than that of losing their heady as they call it, by 
intoxication. They are very subject to a species 
of lethargy, which tiiey are much afraid of, as it 
proves fatal in every instance. At the commence* 

rlnent of the disease the patient has commonly a 
ravenous appetite/ eats twice the quantity he has 
done in hesJth, and becomes very fat. As the 
disease advances, the appetite declines, and the 
patient wastes awirjr. The disposition to sleep is 
so powerful, that it scarcely leaves intervids fi)r . 

seating ; and the repeated applicatioB of the whip, 
a remedy which unhappily has often been tried, is 
hardly sufi^cient to keep the poor creature awake. 


Human sacrifices, which I have traced Aam 
Angola to the Sherbro, are not known here. When 
a Ttmmanee or BuUom dies, the corpse is interro* 
gated. l£ old| it is asked, Was your death caused 
by God on account of your great age and infirmi- 
ties ? If young. Was it because God l^ked to 
take you ? Was it caused by your bad mictions ? 
(meaning on account of your being a witch.) Was 
it caused by a man, or a woman, in such a town, 
or in such a fisimily ? The body during its inter* 
rogation is laid on a kiqd of bier, which is placed 
on the heads of two men, and ito answer in th« 
affirmative to any one of these questions is aigni* 
fied by its impelling the bearers towards the person 
who asks them. The negative is given by a rolling 

When any person of consequence is taken sick, 
he is removed to another town, a distance 
from the effects of the witchcraft under wliich he 
is supposed to be sufiering. If he do not then re- 
cover, a hut is built in the deepest recesses of the 
wood, whither he is carried, his asylum being 
known only to his most confidential friends* 
During his last illness, the late king, Naimbanna, 
was removed from his own house on the island of 
' Robanna to a small island a few miles distant A 
semicircular piece of ground was cleared from the 
underwood, the larger trees being left standing ; 
and the only avenife to the place was defended by 
the most potent fetishes that could be procured. 
A hut about eight or ten feet square, neatly woven 
like a basket, but not so closely as to exclude the 
light, was erected, and a fetish was placed pear it. 
The old king was laid within it, onmaJtsspwadon 
the ground, surrounded H>y his jD)iaLfajD)% ; and 


by his side stood the physician, hdiding in his 
hand a fetish about fbur feet long, of a very un- 
couth forin^ ornamented with bells and pieces of 
iron, which he occasionally jingled with much 
noise and self complacency* Notwithstanding this 
powerful application, the good old Naimbanna 
died sooi^ after, greatly axul deservedly regriettedfr 

The professions of medicine and coQJuratio9 
are inseparable^ and the people are ^mly peiv 
suaded that every person who practises the heal- 
ing art holds converse with evil spirits^ and can 
enforce their obedience. Ttiese men have even 
pretended to extract the bottom of a quart beetle 
from the sides of their patients, and assured them 
it was conveyed thither by some unfriendly witob, 
and had been the cause of their pain. The Tim- 
nunees and BuUoms are of opinion ths^ by pos- 
sessing a part of the body of a person who has 
been successful in his undertakings, they shall . 
inherit a portion of his good fortune. .Th^ body 
of a mulatto chief on the Bananas, an island at 
the mouth of the Sherbro, was obliged to be in-^ 
terred privately, lest it should have been converted 
into fetishes. 

A few old rags placed upon an orange tree will 
generally secure the fruit as efiectually, as the dra^ 
gons did the fruit of fSrmer times ; but when any 
person be taken ill, though it be at the distance of 
several months, if he recollect* having taken frmt 
softly t he imagines that the fetish has caught him, 
and that he cannot recover till he have made a re- 
compence to the owner. 

Children are often buried in the houses of their 
parents : people of ^consequence are generally 
buried in the palaver-house \ but every village or 


town -that has been long established has a common 
buryiag^placeia its vicinity. Tlie ^^cry/* or mourn- 
ing fiuhgrait peopleji is sometimes continued fer 
lOdntiiia) DtifiDg the/day, the mourners sl^qi, or 
imrsuft their different avocart»oiis$ in the evening; 
they retttrOt and they^pass the night in mourning ; 
tba;t ist shouting, ckncing^ djuricing^ mid firing 
muekiitSy The chief magnificenoe sef the £inef ale 
. coQ^ista in the quantity of rum and.tcd&oco #x-» 
pended on the occasion. The funeral ceremoay 
of the distinguished Mulatto above mefitlesiefl^ 
did not take place till three years after the body 
^as interred ; and during that time a bed was kept 
constantly prepared for him in the palaver-^house^ 
Weteir.was placed near the bed side to wash his 
hands, and meat for him to eat. Upwards ef 
tMiepty ptancheons of rum, and a laige quantity of 
tQbapqO' ware cowumed at the funeral cry. 

mA. heftdm«m oaUed king Jemmy, who resided 
V¥i(^ip; a mile of the settlement, died while I re^ 
mained at Sierra Leone. The body was placed in 
t)iQ'paJ|av,edr«house, of his town, and a message, was 
qenjt to tbe governor of the colony^ requesting 
him to help the people to cry for king JemmjnK 
The governor sent an officer to cry in his stei^ 
and J, among others, was present at the cexemony* 
The corpse being placed by the side of the graven 
sk numbeir of questional were« put to it ; ^^^^ which^. 
Pa I)ei«baft a neigbouring head man, addressed 
the.. decease as if he. were still eapable of under** 
standing ; him ; expre&siug his great sorrow at 
having ii«t sa.good a father; saying that he and 
all the people had wished him to stay with them }< 
but that a9 he had jthought proper toi leave them, 
tl>?y,P<^Viild not help it, and they wished him well. 


Others of the head mea addressed the deceMed 
in a similar manner. When the speeches were 
finished, the person who represented the governor 
was asked if he would not shake king Jemmy by 
the hand ; and requesl;ing an explanation, he was 
desired to *^ say a prayer, white man's ^ishion/' 
The pillow, the neck-handerchief, and the uitibrelfa 
of the deceased were put into the grave with him, 
*' because he liked them;'' and his wife, who 
stood sorrowing by, with his hat in her hand, waft 
going to put that in also ; but was prevented by 
ta Demba, who probably reserved it for his own 
Oise. Several pieces of kola were deposited in the 
grave for king Jemmy to eat, and when it was 
closed, the women began a howl which continued 
till after we had left the town. 

The Timmanees and BuUoms never boil milk, 
lest it should occasion the cow that gave it to be-* 
come dry ; or throw the rind of an orange in the 
fire, lest the remainder of the fruit should fM 
from the tree. 

The kola is the produce of a large and beauti- 
ful tree. Seven or eight kernels, of the size and 
shape of a chesnut, are included in a large thick, 
green capsule. It is astringent, and of a pleasant 
bitter taste. Kola is presented to the guests in 
visits of ceremony and friendship, and considered 
as a mark of great politeness ; it forms a part of 
every valuable present, and is the token of amity 
or hostility between nations. Two white kolas 
announce peace and a continuance of friendship ; 
two red ones are considered as an indication 
of war. 

Ground-nuts are inclosed in a shell like that of 
an almond, which fruit they a little resemble in 


flavoui:* They are produced fttthe extremity of 
the root, as the potatoe; the leaf i$ like'tfaatof do* 
veT) and-the plant is propagated from the kernels. 

The butter tree is a remarkable production of 
this coiHitry. The fruit is large^ and coot^ns 
three or four seeds, each about the size of a waU 
fmt. These are first dried, then parched, then 
bruised in a mortar. They are* afterwards boiled 
in water, and, as the oil ri^es to the surfiice^ jfc ii 
skimmed off, and poured into a hole dug in the 
ground, which is lined with a clean cotton cloth. 
Through this the Water passes, and in it the butter 
remains, which is nearly as firm as cheese, as white 
as chalk, and pleasant to the taste. It is made both 
by Timmanees and BuUoms. 

The Japanzee, or Chimpanzee, is common in 
the mountains, and seems more nearly related to 
the human species than even the ourang-outang : 
when at his full growth he is nearly five feet in 
height. One of these, when young, was brought 
alive into the colony. He was nearly two reet 
high, and coveied with black hair, which was long 
and thick on the back, short atid thin on the 
breast and belly. His face was bare; bis head 
and hands resembled those of an old black man, 
except that the hairs on his hf ad were straight. At 
first he crawled on all fours, always walking on 
the outside of his hands ; but when grown larger 
he endeavoured to go erect, supporting himself by 
a stick which he carried in his hand. He ate;* 
drank, slept, and sat at table like a human being. 
He seemed of a melancholy disposition, probably 
from his being throwTi out of his native spherd of 
action ; but he was good-natured, and never 
offered any person an injury. 


The largest snake yet discovered here was 
eighteen feet in length. 

The gall of the , alligator is considered by the 
natives of Sierra Leone as one of the most active 
and fatal of poisons ; but it is chiefly used ih ma- 
gical ceremonies, and the composition of fetishes. 
If a person kill an alligator, he must have the tes* 
timonjr ofat least two respectable witnesses to 
prove that he poured the gall upon the ground^ or 
he is liable to be severely punished. 



I NOW quitted Sierra Leone on an expedition 
to Teembo, the capital of the Foola kingdom, 
and proceeding by sea to the Rio Nunez, I sailed 
a few leagues up the Rio Pongas, as it lay in my 
way. The people in the vicinity of this dver bad 
a number of holes bored in the outer circle of the 
ear, each opntainiog six or eight small ring&j In 
tindress these holes are filled with pegs oCwood^ 
The custom of bringing the fore-teeth to a sharp 
point generally prevails here; the BullonjiS. spud 
Timmaneea practice it less frequently, ancj. th» 
Foolahs not at all. . 

The mouth of the Nunez is about six miles in 
breadth. About one hundred and fifty miles 
above it are yet to be seen many ruins, and vesj- 


tig98 loi Portuguese ^staUkhofeuts, formed on the 
first discovery of the country ; and many of the 
dflMeodmits of tiiese people are stSl living among 
the blaek meuy and are become black tbemselvea. 

I sailed iq> the Nunes as far as Kacundy, which 
is about seventy miles from its month \ the river 
is navigable for large ships to this place* Between 
Kacundy on the Rio Nunez and fiulola on the 
Rio Grande, there is a frequent oommui4catioii 
by land, as the two rivers here approach near to 
each other. - ^ 

A remarkable circumstance happended at Ka- 
cundy a short time before. A leopard, one night, 
broke into the house of a Mr. Pierce ; went up 
stairs into a chamber where seven children were 
sleeping; seized a large dog that was in the 
room; walked down the way he had come ; passed 
a sow, with a litter of pigs in the court, without 
molesting them ; and marched off with the dog in 
his jaws ; to the great satisfaction of the inhabi- 
tants, who rejoiced that his choice had not fallen 
on any other individual *. 

Having obtained guides at Kacundy, I began my 
journey on foot, travelling in an easterly direction. 
It soon appeared that a great commercial inter- 
course was carried on between the Foolahs and the 
upper parts of the Rio Nunez, for we frequently 
met five or six hVindred of these people in one da^, 

* This circumstance is taken from a letter written by a private 
soldier under the command of Major Peddie^ dated Kacundy, 
Dec. \7, 16 IC. He adds, ** We expect to march in the course 
of a fortnight, and when we arrive at Timbuctoo I will write t6 
yoa sfiia," A letter dated Kays, on the Gambia^ March 19* 
leiSy says, '' We are waiting for the diy season^ when we shall 
slait again.** A letter from a friend, dated Sierra Leone, Feb. 
24, 1S19, informs the father of the death of his son. 

cariyiQg on tbtir* jbacks loads of rice and ivofy, 
whichr they were goiiig to exchange for salt. As 
we pieceeded, we found a number of successive 
towns, generally at the distance of six, eigkt, or 
ten seiles from each other, in which we were 
always most, hospitably received. The utmost 
suTjmK and satisfaction were expressed at the ap- 
pearance <^ white men, none of whom had been 
seen .baKace, even at the distance of a few days? 
journeyfrom the coast. 

After tcavelling sixteen days, through a country 
sometimes barren, ^nd at other times fruitftij, and 
after passing two or three small rivers, we aiTived 
at the town of Laby, which is distant about two 
hundred miles from Kacundy, and almost directly 
east of that place. Here we were most cordially 
received by the chief, or king, who is subordinate 
to the king of the Foolahs. 

Laby is* about two miles and a half in circum* 
ference, and is supposed to contaki not fewer than 
5,000 inhabitants. From Laby we proceeded 
towards Teembo, which is seventy-two miles 
farther inland j and having continued to experi- 
ence the same hospitality, we arrived there in 
^even daysJ 

The soil of Foota Jallon is dry, and frequently 
stoney } about one third of the country is said to be 
extremely ftrtile. Rice it cultivated, chiefly by the 
labour of the women ; but the men, a great pro- 
portion of whom are slaves, perform the office of 
beasts of burden, and carry away the produce on 
their backso Each town and village has its public 
plantation ; but, in addition to this, every indivi- 
dual is allowed to cultivate as much land as he 

VOL. II. L h 


pleases for \\h private use; tind many of the 
Foolahs who have a number of slaves may be said 
to occupy farms. They have made such progress 
in agriculture that, before the time of sowing, they 
collect the weeds and bum them, and mixing the 
ashes with the dung of their cattle, they hoe them 
into the ground. In our journey to Teembo we 
several times saw herds of more than a hundred 
head of cattle each. I purchased a common fowl 
for two beads, and a sheep, for a goat, or forty. 

The Foola country is in general hilly, particu- 
larly about Teembo; the land is cleared of wood!, 
and well cultivated, and the water is excellent. 
Paper, wliich was so damp on the Rio Nunez that 
it would ^scarcely bear ink, became hard and dry 
before we reached Teembo ; and tobacco leaves 
which we carried with us, crumbled to powder, 
though they were frequently wetted. The nights 
and mornings were sometimes cold, and. the ther- 
mometer was once as low as 51* at half past five in 
the morning, though it rose to n^ar 90* at noon. 

As we advanced into the interior, we found the 
houses, though of the same form, larger, and' con* 
structed with greater neatness and solidity than 
among the Timmanees and BuUoms. The w^Hs 
were ten or twelve feet high, and the honses 
from twenty to thirty feet in diameter. They 
were generally built with bricks about twelve 
inches long, eight inches wide, and four inches 
thick, dried in the sun ; with a thin layer of mud 
or clay between each row of bricks. A raised 
bank of earth ran all round the wall on the inside, 
on which the family sat by day, and slept by 
night ; and thifi, together with the wall and floor. 

TOWNS. 515 

was covered with a very hard and smooth plastq^. 
The mosques were lOf a square formt and loftier 
than the houses, and the ropfs projected . a^out 
fifteen feet beyond the top of the wall,^ and fqirmed 
a shade to a very pleasant walk below. 

The towns of Foota are much larger than those 
in the neighbourhood of Sierra Leone. Te^tipibo, 
the capital, is said to contain 8,000 inhabitants. 
Each family inhabits a distinct inclosure, and, a 
number of these form naxrow streets, or lanes. 
The towns are surrounded either by a lofty pali- 
sade of bamboos, or by a wall of bricks hardened 
in the sun, with a sloping thatched roof over it, 
to defend it from the weather. The entrance is 
commonly through a porch or gateway, which is 
carefully shut at night. 

Square forts are often erected to guard the 
towns from sudden assaults. The walls of these 
are built with the same sort of bricks as thp 
houses; but th^y^are six feet in thickness, and 
strengthened with beanos of timber ; they are also 
surrounded by a deep and wide ditch, and have 
a tower at each angle, with loop-holes to fire 

I .saw a large tower at Teembo which had been 
erected by the father of the present king, and was 
now going to decay, though it was still used as a 
granary. This sovereign had been victorious over 
nations " towards the rising and the setting sun ;" 
but his town was surprised and burnt by his.ene^ 
mies, and this fort was built to prevent the recur- 
rence of such a calamity. 

I had many conversations with Al Mami S^d- 
dqo, king of Foota Jallon, and with several of his 

L L 2 


principal officers, during my stay at Teembo ; and 
m the course of these I understood that no Foolah 
was ever sold as a slave, either for debt or crime ; 
but that the Foolahs, who are Mohamedans, made 
no scruple of going to war with their pagan 
neighbours, for the express purpose of procuring 
slaves for sale. I received a visit one morning 
from the officer who performs the regal functions 
in the absence of the king, and this great man told 
me, without disguise, that they could not get 
European goods without slaves ; that they could 
not get slaves without war ; and that they, who 
prayed five times a day, had a right to make war 
upon those who never prayed at all, for the pur- 
pose of procuring guns, powder, and cloth, which 
they considered as necessaries. 

The following day I visited one of the head 
men, who had desired to see me. I found him 
writing; but he laid aside his occupation on 
ray entrance. I introduced the subject of the 
slave trade. He said that their book desired them 
to make war on every nation that would not do 
God service. I replied, that God was, himself, so 
good and merciful, that he must ever be displeased 
with those who were cruel and unjust. " If," said 
the head man, <^ we could get the articles we want 
without going to war, I would believe that going 
to war was offensive to God ; but if we cannot get 
these things without going to war for them, God 
cannot be angry with us for going to war } espe- 
cially as it is so in our book.'' 

The vilest sophistry is convincing when it sanc- 
tions our interest. There is a book in which It is 
said, ** Whatsoever ye would that men should do to 


you, do ye even so to them ;** yet there is no sort 
of persecution that the pretended followers of this 
book have not practised under the pretext of its 

The head-man added, that the cai)tives of both 
sexes, who were too old to be saleable, had their 
throats cut ; and when I expressed my detestation 
of this barbaritv, he said it was more merciful than 
to sufifer them to perish with hunger. 

I remember that the book above quoted says, 
•' Judge not, that ye be not judged ;" and I will 
not dare to disobey its precept ; otherwise I should 
judge that the Europeans, who were the primaiy 
cause of these wars and these massacres,' must 
meet with some condemnation. 

One of the most amiable chiefs in the Fooia 
country allowed the Christian religion, as I -de- 
scribed it to him, to be good in many respects ; 
but he objected to the doctrine of the forgiveness 
of injuries, saying that it was a virtue not to be 
attained by man, and therefore not to be required 
of him. 

Though the Foolahs are rigidly tenacious of the 
dogmas of their prophet, they are highly gratified 
by having passages in the Bible pointed out to 
them that bear a similitude to those of the Koran. 
I have seen many of them listen with deep atten- 
tion, and great pleasure, to various passages of our 
Scriptures, when translated to them by an inter- 
preter. The king told me, several times, that he 
had a very important question to ask, which he 
must defer to a more private opportunity. At 
length, after obliging every person to quit the 
room, he asked me what was the name of the 
mother of Moses ! 


Writing constitutes one of the chief amusements 
of the Mohamedan nations ; they are anxious to 
excel in it, and many of them write Arabic with 
great expedition and tolerable elegance. They 
procure paper from the Europeans, they write with 
a reed, and here they make an excellent durable 
ink, of a dark purple colour, from the leaves of i 
tree called bullanta. A large snail-shell is their 
inkstand, and, like us, they absorb the ink with a 
little cotton. They set a high value upon some of 
their manuscripts. An old man, who had a small 
quarto book containing extracts from the Koran, 
very neatly written, and ornamented with views of 
the Ciiaba, at Mecca, refused to sell it for eight 
slaves. It must be owned, however, that it had 
another value besides its intrinsic one ; it had, as 
the owner said, " walked to Mecca." 

The Foolahs have founded many colonies which 
have risen to kingdoms. One of these is that of 
the Soosoos, through which I passed on my return 
from Teembo to Sierra Leone ; another is on the 
borders of the Senegal, and extends nearly 390 
miles along its shores ; but the principal nation of 
the Foolahs, and the one properly so called, is that 
of which Teembo is the capital, and which bears 
the name of Foota Jallon. The country subject 
to the king of the Foolahs is about 350 miles in 
length from east to west, and about 200 miles in 
breadth from north to south. 

The king is arbitrary, and the punishments he 
inflicts are severe. He opens and shuts the mar- 
kets, and channels of trade, at his pleasure. 

The head man of a village claims as much rice 
from the gcncml stock, as, poured over his bead, 
while he stands erect, will rench up to his mouth ; 


and this quantity is scarcely adequate to the ex- 
pence of entertaining strangers, whicli he is suU- 
jected to by his office. 

The Foolahs are very fine men, robust, courage- 
ous, and formidable to their neighbours. They 
travel, in the capacity of merchants, throughout 
the Gulph of Guinea. Their colour is a reddish 
black, their features are regular, their hair is longer 
and not so woolly as that of the common negroes. 
The women are handsome and spfightly^ 

The dress of the Foolahs and Mohamedans in 
general, is a wide shirt resembling a surplice, of 
white, or sometimes blue cotton ; very wide 
drawers, reaching a little below the knee ; san- 
dals; and a red or blue woollen cap. If a man 
have two patches of red cloth set upon the drawers 
behind, in the bend of the knees, and a cotton 
cloth rolled round the bottom of the cap, he as- 
sumes an air of conscious superiority. The silver 
ornaments worn by some of the chief women were 
said to be of twenty pounds value. 

No woman eats with her husband ; she eats 
what he has left. I asked a Foolah woman of some 
consequence, and much good sense, whose hus- 
band had four wives, the greatest number his reli- 
gion allowed him, if she did not wish she were his 
only wife. " No," she replied, ** I am not com- 
pany for my husband ; and I should be at a loss 
for amusement, if it were not for the company of 
his other wives.*' Women suckle their children 
till they can bring them a calabash full of water. 
Where polygamy prevails, a son. has a greater 
affection ibr his mother than his father. I have 
often bj5en delighted with the strength and tender- 


ness of the attachment subsisting between mothecs 
and their sons. 

The Fool^bs, in common with all the followers of 
M ohamed, affect a serious disposition. Riding on 
horseback is their favourite exercise, and I was 
invited by the king to be a spectator of a kind of 
horse-race, or course. Notwithstanding the coun- 
try is mountainous and the roads are very rough, 
the Foolahs never shoe their horses. Many of the 
Foolahs pride themselves on their literary acquire- 
ments/ and pass much time in reading, writing, 
.and collating manuscripts, the subjects of which 
are generally either divinity or law. There are 
schools for the instruction of children in almost 
every town, and the art of reading is common 
throughout the country. 

Africa is peopled by three distinct classes of 
men, independent of the Egyptians and Abyssi- 
nians, the latter of whom are not indigenous, and 
the former may perhaps be traced to the blacks of 
Nubia. The first class includes the Hottentots, 
Bosjesmans, and Caffers, who occupy the southern 
part of this continent, and rank the lowest in civi- 
lization. The second class is composed of the Ne- 
groes, who form a broad belt across the centre of 
Africa, and rise higher in the seale of society. 
The third class comprehends the Moors and Arabs, 
who are, to a man, followers of Mohamed. 

The conduct of the Moors forms a singular page 
in the annals of mankind. They continually en- 
croach upon the negrqes, without exterminating 
them, without apparently diminishing their num- 
bers } they gain an absolute ascendancy over them, 
without using the sword that their prophet has 
put into their hands : and by what means f -^^ by 


means of letters. They have riches^ honour, and 
power given them by the pagans, because they 
can write ; and they convert whole nations to 
their religion because they can write, and teach 
them to write also. If it be asked why Europeans 
have not met with the same success, I answer that 
their doctrines are more hostile to the habits of 
the negroes, and less accommodating to their pre- 

The negroes on the coast believe •* all white 
man witch, and all white man rogue ;*' and they 
have not imbibed these notions without some ex- 
perience of white man's cunning and knavery. 
The Moors have persuaded the negroes that the 
gree-grees they purchase of them, are a defence 
not only against witchcraft, but against all other 
evils, except sickAess and death. 

The Christian will tell a native chief that, of 
his six wives, he must put away five, because it is 
a sin to have more than one. This will certainly 
astonish the chief, but it will not induce him to 
part with his wives. He cannot comprehend the 
idea that the word sin is intended to convey; but 
he knows that it is, and ever has been, the custom 
in his country for a man to have as many wives as 
he can maintain, and that his consequence in* 
creases in proportion to the number. The Mo- 
hamedan will say to the negro chief, ^* Keep 
your six wives, but let the two last be called con- 

The Christian, if he be a very zealous one, may 
tell the negro, that if he do not believe such and 
such doctrines, he will be plunged after death into 
everlasting fire. The negro cannot believe what 
he cannot comprehend ; but he perfectly under- 


Stands the nature of fire, and prefers the pamdoie 
of Mohamed, and the compaay of everlastingly 
beautiful females, which are promised him by the 
Moor, on the simple conditions of praying five 
times a day, and abstaining from pork which he 
does not wish for, and brandy wliich he has^ not 

I have been led insensibly into this digression, 
when I intended only to enumerate the thr^e dis- 
tinct classes of Africans, and to remark tliat it was 
curious to observe the change in the character and 
occupations of the negroes, produced by the 
Moorish influence, in this, the first nation I met 
with in Western Africa, to which it had been ex- 

The Foolahs and Mandingoes hold spirituous 
liquors in such abhorrence, that, if a single drop 
were to fall upon their garment, they would not 
wear it till it were washed ; and a Foolah being 
asked what was the greatest crime be could com- 
mit^ replied, '' The eating of pork, particularly if 
it were the flesh of a boar.** 

Dancing was formerly practiced at Teeinbo ; 
but, in the reign of the late king's father, the 
slaves revolted while their masters were dancing ; 
and since that period no one has ventured to dance 
in the capital ; though the amusement is stillcon- 
tinned iti the distant parts of the country. 

Among the Foolahs there is a set of people called 
singing-men, who, like the ancient bards of Bri« 
tain, travel about the country, singing the praises 
of those who choose to purchase praise, or venting 
tiieir satire upon those who have offended them. 
In the towns of the Bulloms tiiere is frequently a 
professor of this art, who is called the master, and 


who composes songs for the inhabitants, on occa- 
sion of any remarkable event that may have hap« 
pened in the cmmtry. 

An opinion prevails among the Foolahs respect- 
ing twins, similar to that which prevails in England 
with regard to seventh sons ; they are supposed to 
be born with a capacity for the practice of physic 
and surgery, especially for the cure of fractures. 

A Foolah asked me the cause of an earthquake 
which had recently been felt in the country, and, 
not being satisfied with my explanation, he gave 
me his own, which, he said, his book had taught 
him. " The earth,** said he, " stands between 
the horns of a bull, and when the bull is sick, it 
causes the earth to shake." He added that the 
tides were occasioned by the breathing of the bull. 
This theory of the earth differs materially from 
that of the king of Laby, who asked me what the 
earth stood upon. I answered, " Nothing." He 
said he could not believe it: his book had told him 
that it stood upon a rock ; that the rock stood 
upon a spirit; the spirit on the back of a fish ; tlie 
fish upon the water; and the water upon the wind; 
and that God Almighty knew what the wind stood 

I was witness to the punishment inflicted on an 
adulterer at Teembo. In the morning the drum 
beat to summon the people together near the great 
mosque.' The culprit was brought from a house 
in which he had been confined, and stretched on 
the ground, with his bare back exposed to the rays 
of the sun. The book of their law was then taken 
to the mosque with much ceremony, and publicly 
read : after which a head-man approached the pri* 
soner, and, ordering him to be held tmU g^ve him 


sixty laches with a small whip. Another head- 
man gave him sixty more, and when these were 
ended the offender cried, '' £1 Hamd ii lillah !" 
— praise be to God. His hair was then, cut off 
close to his head. While this was performing, he 
exclaimed, ** Allah u Kabeer!" — God is great; 
and when it was finished, he carefully picked up 
his hair, and returned home. 

Theft is punished in Foota by the amputation of 
a hand or a leg; and the Foolahs seem impartial in 
the execution of their laws ; for one of the king^s 
brothers had had his right hand cut off for being a 
great thief* 

Some years ago, the Foolahs and Mandingoes 
united their forces against Sambo, king of Bam- 
bouk, and attempted, as they term it, to break 
Ferbanna, his capital. The siege was carried on 
with uncommon vigour, and the allies even at- 
tempted to undermine the walls ; but the besieged 
behaved with such intrepidity that the assailants 
w^e obliged to withdraw. They, remained inac- 
tive, at a small distance from the town, owing to 
the want of powder, and the gallant Sambo sent 
them a supply, desiring them to use it against 
himself* They shortly after were destitute of pro- 
visions, and the humane Sambo sent them food. 
They then broke up their camp, and returned to 
theii: respective eountries. 

The Foolahs, and other nations to the eastward 
of them, manufacture beautiful leather, coloured 
red, black, and yellow. They inlay the handles 
of their swords, and chase the blades with great 
neatness. They make a variety of elegant orna- 
ments of gold and silver for their women; they 
form, from a single tree, canoes capable of carry- 


iog eight or ten tons; they weave mats in a variety 
of patterns, stained with beautiful and indelible 
colours, and make the narrow cotton cloths of 
other countries. 

When the Foolahs come down to the sea-side, to 
trade with Europeans, they are under the controul 
of a head-man, who regulates their march, settles 
all disputes in the path, and has the disposal of 
their goods. When they reach the end of their 
journey, they erect small huts, composed of boughs 
of trees, to shelter them from the sun. The head- 
man expects to be accommodated by the factor ; 
though it matters not how small his room, if it 
have a door, or a mat to let down instead of otie. 
Before the parties enter upon business, the factor 
gives the head-man his present, which consists of 
kola, Malaguetta pepper, tobacco, rice, and palm 
oil. Tlie two first of these articles are the most 
essential ; and, without them, the others, however 
large the quantity, would scarcely be worth ac- 
cepting. If the parties do not agree, the present 
is returned; but if the Foolahs eat the kola, it is a 
sign that they do not intend to go away. . The 
head-man makes a speech, which is always very 
long, setting forth the great distance he has tra- 
velled, and the great difficulties he has had to en- 
counter. The intercourse is carried on through 
the medium of intei*preters; the head-man's speech 
being translated by his own interpreter, and the 
factor's by his; though both very often under- 
stand them as well as their agents. 

The trade for rice is soon settled, as an equal 
measure of salt is usually given for it ; but every 
tooth of ivory demands a separate palaver, in which 
every formality of the first is repeated ; and as the 


Foolahs have no idea of the value of time, they wall 
sit a whole day, with inexhaustible patience, to 
gain an additional trifle in the price of their mer- 
chandize. At going away they expect another 
present, which is more or less considerable, ac- 
cording to the quantity of goods they brought. 
If they be pleased with this present, they sound 
the factor s praise, as they go, and tell every party 
they meet how well t^ey have been treated. 
' It is astonishing to see the loads these people 
carry to so great a distance. The salt is packed 
in round masses of about fifty pounds weight each: 
the goods in a kind of basket about seven feet 
lotig, and a foot and a half, or two feet wide, 
whicli, when filled, weighs from a hundred and 
fifty to two hundred pounds. This is placed be- 
tween the shoulders, so as to project about four 
feet above the head ; a bow is fixed to one of the 
upper corners, and a string to the other, and the 
man holds both in one hand : in the other, be car- 
lies a forked stick, on which the load is placed 
when he wants to rest. The Foolahs bring to> the 
coast slaves, elephants' teeth, rice, soap^ and cat- 
tle; and take back salt, kola, guns, . gunpowder^ 
clothe tobacco, beads, &c. 

On leaving Teembo I returned by a different, 
and rather more dangerous path than that by 
which I bad approached the capital of the Poolahs; 
I was, however, escortied by a large body of these 
people, sometimes amounting to five or six hun- 
dred, sent at the command of the king. When ' 
we arrived at the frontiers of the Soosoo country, 
which it was necessary to cross, in order to reach 
the coast by this path, a suspicion arose on the 
part of the Soosoos that the Foolahs were come to 


.make war upon them, under the pretence of con* 
ducting a white man on his journey. On the Foo- 
lahs exhibiting some goods and slaves^ as a proof 
that trade, not war, was their purpose, it was de- 
termined at an 'assembly of theSoosoo chiefs, heUl 
in a neighbouring town, that the party should not 
only be permitted to pass, but that tlie path should 
be open to succeding travellers. 

The Soosoo country extends on the south to the 
river Kissey, which is to the north of the llio Pon- 
gas, and on the north it extends nearly to the Rio 
Nunez. Several of the towns we passed through 
contained from one to three thousand inhabitants^ 
and all were surrounded with bamboo fences* or 
brick walls, like those of Foota. 

I shall mention such particulars respecting tliese 
people as I was able to collect in my passage 
through their country. 

When a child is born among the Soosoos, they 
imagine that its body is animated by the soul of 
some person lately deceased; and to discover 
whose it may be, they place a cylindrical piece of 
iron against a wall, asking if it be such an one 
who has returned. If the iron stand, the question 
is answered in the affirmative; if it fall, in the ne- 
gative, and another trial is made. 

I shall here observe that the word gree-gree, lik^ 
fetish, has been introduced by the Europeans, and 
adopted by the negroes. The Timraanec word 
for these charms is massebbay, the BuUom 'nsebt 
bay, the Soosoo sebbay. 

When a Soosoo addresses a person older than 
iiimself, and to whom he wislios to shew some re* 
Rpect, he styles him " old man ;" if a greater do* 

128 soosoos. 

gree of respect, he calls him " old father;" and the, 
most honourable appellation is old ^^ grandfather/' 
A boy, speaking to a woman about thirty years of 
age, called her ** Gaa fooree Bondee,*' — old mo- 
ther Bondee; to, which she indignantly replied, 
that, being older than his mother, she thought 
herself intitled to be called ** Mama fooree Bon- 
dee,** — old grandmother Bondee. In Great Bri- 
tain or France either appellation would be an 

The Soosoos frequently bury their dead in the 
street, close to the house of the deceased, and in- 
close the grave with four pieces of wood, secured 
by stakes. I saw the grave of a woman in the 
centre of her husband's inclosure ; at the head of 
the grave were placed the horns of an ox that had 
been killed for the funeral feast, and the hair of 
the woman's eldest daughter, a girl of twelve years 
of age, that had been cut off to give place to the 
mourning cap. In general only one person in a 
family, and that one the nearest in age to the de- 
ceased, wears mourning for any length of time ; 
though some of the others may wear it a few days. 

The Soosoos have an establishment called Semo, 
which is similar to the purra of Sherbro. 

On our journey from Teembo the thermometer 
in the shade was often at 100^ more than once at 
102^, and once at 103^ It has been remarked 
that the fondness for highly seasoned dishes in- 
creases with the heat of the climate j it has been 
observed, by that great traveller Brace, that God 
gave man pepper to counteract the tendency to 
putridity which heat produces; and it may be 
added, that he has scattered salt in the desert for 
the same purpose. 


After leaving the Soosoo country, we passed 
through a colony of Mandingoes, which lies be- 
tween-that and the country of the Bulloms ; and 
from thence, crossing the river of Sierra Leone, we 
arrived at Freetown. The Foolahswhohadaccom-^ 
panied me passed a few days there, and returned 
full of admiration of what they had seen, and 
highly gratified by their visit. I afterwards under- 
stood that, when they reached the confines of 
Foota, they were met by a number of thdr country- 
men, who were so much interested by the recital 
of what they had seen and heard in this British 
settlement, that the conversation lasted through 
the night. 

I now prepared to quit Sierra Leone for the 
second snd last time, and sail to the mouth of the 
Gambia ; but, as this river led the way to one of 
my most arduous undertakings, I sliall reserve it 
for a succeeding volume ; in which the Gambia 
and the Niger, the Senegal and the Desert, the 
Empfa-e of Marocco, and the States of Algiers, 
Tunis, and Tripoli, will complete the Tour op 



Howakil and Atnphila Bays, the Journey to 
Tigre over the Salt Plain, Chelicut, and the 
Eastern coast of Africa as far as the Bay of De 
TAgoa, are taken from Salt. 

The Bay of De PAgoa is taken from Captain 

Southern Africa is taken from Kolben, Sparr- 
man, Patterson, Vaillant, Thunberg, Van Reenen, 
Barrow, Lichtenstein, and Campbell. 

Benguela and Angola are taken from Barbot, 
and Merolla, in Churchill's Collection of Voyages 
and Travels. 

Congo is taken from Pigafetta, CarU, Merolla, 
and Barbot, in Churchill's Collection, and from 
Captain Tuckey. 

Cacongo is taken from Tuckey, and FAbbe 

Loango is taken from Barbot, in Churchill's 
Collection, and I'Abbe Proyart. 

The River Gabon is taken from Bowdich. 

Benin is taken from Barbot and Van Nyendael. 

Whydah is taken from Bosman. 

Dahomy is taken from Snelgrave, Norris, I)al- 
zel, and Description de la Nigritie. 

Ashantee is taken from Bowdich. 

The Gold Coast is taken from Bosman and Me- 

The Ivory and Grain Coasts are taken from 
Snoek and Barbot. 


The Kroomen are taken from Ludlani, in the 
Reports of the African Institution. 

Cape Monte is taken from Snoek and Barbot 

Sberbro is taken from Winterbottom's Account 
of the Native Africans; Account of Sierra Leone; 
and Kizell, a native, in the Reports of the African 

Sierra Leone is taken from Golbeny, and Win- 

Teembo and the Foolahs are taken from the 
Account of Sierra Leone, and from Winterbot- 
tom*s Account of the Native Africans. 

The Soosoos are taken from Winterbottom. 


Printed by John NicboU aod Son, 
25, Parliament Street, Weatmintier. 


I .