Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

man of the name of Dupont, belonging to the Jardin des Plantes, to accompany him, and undertake the collection and preservation of the various objects of natural history which might be met with in the course of their journey.*

Mr. Ritchie arrived at Malta in September, where he was joined by Lieutenant Lyon of the Albion, (bearing the flag of Sir Charles Penrose,) who volunteered to accompany him, as did also John Belford, a carpenter in the dock-yard of Malta. The admiral appointed a ship of war to convey him to Tripoli, where he arrived in October, and met with the most flattering reception. The Bashaw granted him all the privileges of British vice-consuls; and protection in every part of the Tripolitan dominions was secured to him in the most ample and unreserved manner.

Mr. Ritchie visited many parts of the regency, and made considerable collections of plants, minerals and insects. He experienced nothing but kindness and civility from every class of the inhabitants; and such was the favourable impression made on his mind by their uniformly obliging and respectful behaviour, that in one of his letters he says, 'I am confident that when I meet with a Tripolitan in the interior, I may expect to find a friend.'

7

While waiting at Tripoli, Mahommed el Mucknè, the Bey of Fezzan, arrived with a large coffila of slaves, taken in one of his annual predatory expeditions into Soudan. To this chief he was introduced and recommended by the Bashaw, and he experienced at his hands, both then and afterwards, every mark of kindness and attention. He travelled with him to Mourzouk, which they reached on the 3d of May, 1819, having left Tripoli in March. The best house in the place was appropriated for his residence, and the British flag waved for the first time over the capital of Fezzan. Mr. Ritchie soon experienced the important advantages of being a recognized agent of the British government. The character of Englishmen stood high in Tripoli, and was not unknown in Fezzan. By the natives of every description he was treated with all possible respect; and his house became the resort of the principal inhabitants of the city.

Mr. Ritchie had not been long at Mourzouk before it was announced to him that an expedition was on foot against the Eastern

*This wise measure had all the success which might have been expected from it. M. Dupont, (to end his history at once,) after receiving a year's salary at Tripoli before it was due, left Mr. Ritchie, by the advice, it was supposed, of the French consul at that place; and was heard of no more. We trust this is the last experiment of this kind that will be tried :

prius Appulis Jungentur capreæ lupis,

than a nation so jealous and so envious of our literary reputation unite in a kindly yoke to further its advancement.

P 2

Tibboos

Tibboos of the tribe of Burgu, to be conducted by the Bey himself, whom he determined to accompany. During the preparations for this journey he was seized with a fever which confined him to his bed, with frequent delirium, for two months. From this severe attack he recovered but slowly, and never entirely; at intervals the fever returned, and reduced him at length to such a state of debility that, on the 20th October, he expired without a struggle. He had for some months refused to take such nourishment as the place afforded, which was probably miserable enough, and might almost be said to have subsisted on bark. By the death of this young man the cause of African discovery has sustained a great loss. Had his life been spared, there is every reason to believe, from the propriety of his conduct, and the general esteem in which he was held, that he would have conducted the enterprize on which he was engaged to a successful termination. In reporting his death, Colonel Warrington, the resident consul of Tripoli, observes-' As a public character, his whole conduct since I have had the honour to know him, entitles him to my warmest approbation and the highest admiration—as a private one, I feel the loss of that friendship which I valued as much as that of any human being. Although our acquaintance was but of short duration, still his virtues, his talents, his prepossessing and most engaging disposition were so conspicuous that it was impossible not to feel more than a common degree of friendship towards him, and the most lively interest on every point relating to his welfare.'

Though the career of Mr. Ritchie was short, we may safely say it has not been without its use. From the moment of his arrival in Africa he commenced his inquiries into African subjects, and collected much important and interesting information respecting the nature of negro slavery in the interior, and the practices of those concerned in this abominable traffic. He was perfectly satisfied that the accursed means adopted for making captives, were the chief and almost the sole impediments to the progress of European travellers in Soudan; and that if once abolished, the road from Fezzan to Guinea would be as open as that from London to Edinburgh.' The activity with which of late years this trade has been carried on in the northern parts of Africa, has thrown the whole of Soudan into a most confused and unsettled state; every tribe endeavouring to seize and carry off its neighbours, and committing the most horrible excesses. The number of victims brought from the eastward and the southward to Mourzouk, in the course of the year 1819, amounted to about five thousand.

6

It appears to have been Mr. Ritchie's intention to pass a year in exploring the country of Fezzan and the surrounding tribes; and towards the month of November, at which time the season for

travelling

travelling commences, to proceed to Bornou. Of this intention he had found means to apprize the Sultan of Bornou and the Sheik of Kanem, through a Hadji of the name of Hamet, whose wife was a daughter of the latter. She had been taken prisoner in one of the inroads made upon Kanem by the Bey of Fezzan, and brought by him to Tripoli, where the Bashaw, on discovering who she was, ordered her to be set at liberty. From both these sovereigns Mr. Ritchie received assurances of the most friendly reception. At Bornou he intended to pass a few months; and from thence to proceed to Kashna, where he also proposed to make some stay, in the hope of procuring some decisive information respecting the trade on the Niger, and the practicability of Feaching Egypt by the navigation of that river; or, if he obtained no satisfactory intelligence on this point, to visit Nyffe on the Bahr el Soudan, where Hornemann died; thence to proceed to the southward of the Niger by the way of Dogomba to Ashantee, and embark at Cape Coast for England.

The establishment of a vice-consul at Mourzouk is of such ob vious utility that we are glad to find it is meant to be continued, and that Lieutenant Lyon has been appointed to succeed his late friend and fellow traveller. It is important that the character of England should be well known throughout Africa; and we know of no better means of effecting this, than by an accredited agent residing at this central spot. The conduct of Mr. Ritchie had endeared him to every class of the inhabitants of Fezzan, and the regret for his loss was deep and general. His kind and conciliating manners, his extensive knowledge, and the medical advice and assistance which he had the means of bestowing, shed a lustre on the British character which is duly appreciated in the states of Tripoli, and is not altogether without respect even as far as the banks of the Niger.

In our last Number wo endeavoured to shew, and we are willing to think not unsuccessfully, that the confluence of this great river and the Nile of Egypt was not impossible; we might perhaps have ventured a step further, and, from the general testimony in its favour, have argued it to be not improbable. To this point tends all the information collected by Mr. Ritchie, of whose notes respecting the interior of Africa we shall now lay before our readers a short abstract.

The first part of the intelligence relates to the countries and people between Tripoli and Timbuctoo. It was procured from Mahommed, a schoolmaster in Tripoli, born at Timbuctoo of Tripolitan parents. He had twice travelled from Tripoli to that city, by the way of Ghadames and Tuat. From Tripoli to Ghadames is a journey of thirteen or fourteen days. From that

7

P 3

place

is

place to Ain el Salah, (the fountain of Saints,) the frontier of the territory of Tuat, twenty days-and two more bring the traveller to Akably, the capital of the country. Tuat is an Oasis in the heart of the desert; it is a fruitful country, abounding with springs of excellent water, and producing corn, dates and every necessary for subsistence in great plenty. The people dwell in stone houses, similar to those of Tripoli. In thirty days from this town, the traveller will arrive at Mabrouk, a more considerable city than Tripoli, and built also of stone;-the name, it seems, given from the conductors of the caravans felicitating each other on having safely traversed the desert. The Tuarick inhabit all the neighbouring parts; they are nearly black, and live in tents; they wear the baracan or ola of the Arabs, the men wrapping up their faces in it as the women do in most Mahomedan towns, whilst the females expose theirs. The best meiheries* or dromedaries belong to these people, and constitute their principal riches; they give them different names, as khamasy, setasy, sabasy, and ashrasy, according to their ability to travel five, six, seven, or even ten times as far in one day as an ordinary camel. The Tuarick are a well disposed people; and a stranger who once ingratiates himself even with the least considerable among them, is sure of being protected by all the rest of the tribe. From Mabrouk to Timbuctoo, a journey of about fifteen days, the road lies across a country abounding with provisions and good water. Thus the whole journey from Tripoli to Timbuctoo is about eighty days, in which the longest time of travelling without finding water does not exceed

six.

Timbuctoo is not a walled town: some of the houses are built of stone, others of mud; many of the former are two stories high. The palace of the king is like the castle of Tripoli; it is situated in the middle of the town, and is called the kusbé. The name of the king who governed about thirty years ago was Aboubek'r; he was not a negro, but a brown man; most of the people, however, are black, and all of them Moslems. The dress of the inhabitants consists chiefly of long shirts, dyed, in general, blue or black; of the red Moorish cap, turban, and sandals. The dress of the sovereign is highly ornamented with gold. The uniform of the soldiers, who are very numerous, is red, and they are armed with muskets brought by the way of the Great Sea. They manufacture cotton cloths, and gold trinkets at Tim

*This species is no doubt the same as the herie, mentioned by Jackson and others, the existence of which has been called in question.

+ In Colonel Fitzclarence's lively and interesting narrative of his Route through India and Egypt' are figured some of these gold ornaments used by the natives of Timbuctoo, as necklaces, ear-rings, braids for the hair, &c. of very superior workmanship, and good taste in the design.

buctoo.

buctoo. The market days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is plenty of cocoa-nuts at Timbuctoo; the name given to them

The Nile is distant about

half a day's journey from the city; the port is called Kabra: on going to Kabra from Timbuctoo, the river comes from the right hand and flows towards the left; it is here so wide that a gun would not take effect across it. In the language of the country, it bears the name of Issa.* There are many boats upon it, which are chiefly employed in trading to Jinnie. Mahommed had no doubt that they might proceed downwards to Kashna and Bornou. He was always taught to believe, he says, that the Nile of Soudan and the Nile of Egypt are the same river. From Timbuctoo to Wangara is about twenty-five days journey; the inhabitants bring gold dust to Timbuctoo. He had not been there, but understood it to lie in a southerly direction. He has no doubt that Christians might reside without danger or molestation at Timbuctoo; and he offered to accompany Mr. Ritchie thither.

Mr. Ritchie observes that this information was corroborated by so many respectable travellers, particularly by Sidi Hamet Tooghar, the present Cadi of Tripoli, who resided for many years in the interior, and by Sidi Mahommed Dghies, the late prime minister of the Bashaw, who kept up during his life an active commercial intercourse with Soudan, and possessed property at Timbuctoo, that he could not refuse entire credence to it. He seems to think, however, that it tends to discredit the narrative of Adams, the American sailor; in which he differs from Mr. Burckhardt. "From what I have heard, the latter says, related in Egypt and the Hedjaz by several Fellata Bedouins coming, as Hadjis, from the neighbourhood of Timbuctoo, by the way of Tunis, I believe Adams's description of that town (Timbuctoo) to be corOne of them told me it was half as large as Cairo, and built of low mud houses, such as are common all over Soudan.' Mr. Ritchie, however, admits the singular coincidence in the mention of the cocoa-nut growing there by Adams and his informant:-botanists had decided that this fruit could only thrive in the vicinity of the sea coast; and this circumstance was advanced as a main argument against the veracity of Adams!

rect.

The next piece of information was obtained from Hadji Hamet, a native of Bornou, who had performed the pilgrimage to Mecca about five years before. He was born in the capital of Bornou, which bears the same name, and not Birney:†-this last is not, as

Mr.

لوز الهنلي by Mahammed is

[ocr errors]

It is is thus named by D'Anville, and by several of the early writers.

"

+ All reports agree that there is a great fresh-water lake in the interior of Bornou,

« ZurückWeiter »