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first, as she has been most persistent, legitimate commerce has been kept in abeyance, and the development of the abundant resources of the country hindered ; and instead of the higher civilization which should have resulted from the incoming of Europeans and their wares, a lower and more degraded barbarism has been induced. That trade has produced its bitterest fruits, not upon its immediate victims, but at home, both in the murderous wars which it has instigated, and by grafting the worst vices of civilized countries upon the stock of the native barbarism. Africa, because it was given up to the slave-trade, remained unexplored, except upon the seaboard, until within a comparatively recent period.
The interior of that continent began to excite public attention, especially in Great Britain, during the latter part of the last century. An association for the prosecution of explorations was formed in London in 1788, which seven years later sent ont Mungo Park, who entered by the way of Senegambia into the kingdom of Sudan, in the valley of the Kwara, or Niger, where on a second visit, ten years later, he lost his life. Burckhardt penetrated into the same region in 1813, and after him Ritchie and Lyon in 1818. In 1822 was undertaken the famous expedition of Clapperton and Denham, which crossed the Desert from Tripoli, and explored the region to the eastward of that passed over by Park and those who followed him, discovering Lake Tsad, and traversing parts of the great interior kingdom of Bornu. In 1825 Major Laing visited and verified the existence of Timbuktu, and was followed thither in 1828 by M. Cailliè. Two years later the brothers Lander, one of whom had accompanied Denham and Clapperton's expedition, traversed the course of the Kwara from the point where Park lost his life to the Gulf of Guinea, thus solving a hitherto insoluble mystery, and revealing a mass of highly valuable geographical knowledge. By these various expeditions, extending over nearly forty years, that portion of Africa lying between the Great Desert and the Gulf of Guinea was so far explored that its chief physical features were understood, though most of its interesting and practically useful details were still to be learned. Nor till the publication of the great work of Dr. Barth, named at the head of this paper, could it be said that we possessed any satisfactory account of this truly wonderful region.
We commenced the preparation of this paper with the design of presenting a résumé of all the principal works on African travels made during the last ten years, but have found this single work so full of valuable matter that we have filled our allotted space with discussions of this only. In another paper we hope to present the chief points of interest in the great works of Livingstone, Burton, and Du Chaillu.
In 1845 Mr. Richardson, under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society and of the British Government, undertook an expedition over the route formerly taken by Denham and Clapperton, of which he published an account a few years after. Two years later another expedition was projected for him, (which, however, did not fully set out till 1849,) in which he was accompanied by two German scholars, Messrs. Barth and Overweg, the former of whom alone survived the perils of the journey, and was permitted to report its results.
Dr. Barth (so we choose to style him, as the term is easy, and doubly his) possessed many valuable qualifications for the work undertaken by him. He was a ripe scholar, especially in the two important departments of philology and natural history, and an enthusiastic traveler. By former journeys about the shores of the Mediterranean, both in Asia and Africa, he had become familiar with the customs of the Arabs, and especially those of the Barbary States. The preliminaries being all completed, and the parties assembled, the final departure for the interior took place near the end of March, 1850. The route lay directly south from Tripoli, through the Hammada desert to Murzuk, in Fezzan. Thence deflecting westward, the travelers passed by Ghat to the country of the Tuwarek—the Bedouins of Sahara-and then turning again to the south, they after six months' journeying reached Agades, in the country of Aïr, or Asben, near the southern border of the Great Desert. We
e pass rapidly over this party of the story, which occupies full half of the first volume, not on account of any lack of interest in it, but because it is not so directly connected with our precise subject as are other portions of these volumes.
Aïr, or Asben, lies beyond the desert directly southward from Tripoli, forming a kind of midway region between the wastes of Sahara and the fertile country of Sudan. Its people, the Kel-owi, are Berbers, with laws and institutions settled by pre
scription, and a history which reaches back to their heroical and mythical times. They hold the faith of Islam-steadily but not fanatically—and seem to have long enjoyed a moderate share of civilization. As compared with the Bedouins, whom they resemble in many things, they are altogether a more elevated race. Agades, the capital of Aïr, lies somewhat to the westward of the route taken by the expedition ; but Dr. Barth and a portion of the attendants turned aside thither to pay their respects to the Sultan, and so secure his good-will.
At length (Friday, Oct. 4) the day arrived when I was to set out on my long-wished-for excursion to Agades; for although at that time I was not aware of the whole extent of interest attaching to that place, it had, nevertheless, been to me a point of the strongest attraction. For what can be more interesting than a considerable town, said to have been once as large as Tunis, situated in the midst of lawless tribes, on the borders of the desert, and of the fertile tracts of an almost unknown continent, established there from ancient times, and protected as a place of rendezvous and commerce between nations of the most different character, and having the most various wants. It is by mere accident that this town has not attracted as much interest in Europe as her sister town, Timbuktu.— Vol. i, p. 299.
A six days' journey, made with a small caravan of native traders, brought him to the royal city, and the next day he was presented to the “Sultan,” Abd-el-Kader, who had but lately been called to that dignity by something akin to a popular election, and was just then to be formally installed. The city presented rather a neat appearance, and though greatly declined from its former magnificence, it was still a considerable place. Three hundred years ago its circuit was more than three miles, and its population 50,000; but now it was estimated to contain no more than 7,000.
The expedition after he had rejoined it proceeded over the semi-desert table-land of the Kel-owi toward Kano, the capital of a chief province of the great empire of Bornu. Before reaching that place the three Europeans separated—Mr. Richardson turning eastward toward Zinder, and Mr. Overweg, soon after, to the westward, to Tasawa, intending also to visit Gober and Maradi. They were now upon the neutral territory between the Berbers of Aïr and the semi-pagan, negroid races of Bornu, where, in the absence of all authority, violence and rapine are unchecked, except by the power of self-defense. They, however, passed over it unmolested. This too is the transition region between the elevated plateau of the desert and the fertile negro kingdom. Though within the tropics, on the morning of the 20th of January, 1850, the thermometer stood at 48°, and even to Europeans the cold was most uncomfortable; yet in the course of the day palm-trees were seen, and soon after other clear indications that they had reached a warmer climate as well as a more fertile soil were met with. On that day a salt caravan from Bilma, the country eastward of Aïr, was met, guarded by a strong military escort to protect it from robbers; and to this our travelers united their little caravan, proceeding first to Kàtsena, and afterward to Kano. Respecting this salt trade, which is the principal traffic in all the country to the north and west of Tsad, we have the follow ing statistics :
“An approximate estimate of the entire number of the salt caravans, as affording the means of accurately determining the amount of a great national commerce carried on between widely separated countries, had much occupied my attention; and having in vain on the road tried to arrive at such an estimate, I did all I could to-day to obtain a list of the different divisions comprising it. ... We may, therefore, be not far from the truth if we estimate the whole number of the salt caravans of the Kel-owi of this year at two thousand five hundred camels. To this must be added the salt which had gone to Zinder, and which I estimate at one thousand camel loads, and that which had been left at Tasawa for the supply of the markets of the country as far as Gober, which I estimate at from two hundred to three hundred camel loads. But it must be borne in mind that the country of Asben had been for some time in a more than ordinarily turbulent state, and that consequently the caravan was at this juncture probably less numerous than it would be in quiet times.”—Vol. i, pp. 452, 453.
Katsena was formerly the capital of the Hausa, the extensive country lying between Bornu proper, on the east, (Bornu is sometimes used as the name of this whole region,) and the Songhay, whose capital is Timbuktu on the west. The Hausa people constitute one of the best defined nationalities in all this part of Africa, with a history extending over three or four centuries, and a more advanced civilization than any other in all Negroland. But being less warlike than some of their neighbors they have suffered severe spoliations, and are less powerful now than formerly. Their agriculture is respectable, and owing to the wonderful fertility of the soil, abundantly prodnctive; and their skill in the mechanic arts and the extent of their manufactures are far from contemptible. At present Katsena, with its surrounding territorial province, is a dependency of Kano, and this has caused the town to decline from its former magnificence. The population of the whole province was estimated at three hundred thousand, of whom, on account of the disturbed state of affairs, not more than half paid tribute to Kanò. “ Altogether,” says Dr. Barth, “ the province of Kàtsena is one of the finest parts of Negroland, and being situated just at the water-parting between the basin of the Tsad and that of the Kwara, at a general elevation of from one thousand two hundred to one thousand five hundred feet, it enjoys the advantage of being at once well watered and well drained, the chains of hills which diversify its surface sending down numerous rapid streams, so that it is less insalubrious than other regions of this continent.”
The jonrney thence to Kanò was made during the last days of January and first of February, 1851. The aspect of things as they appeared on the morning of the last day of January is felicitously set forth in the following paragraph, which we insert both for its beauty and real value:
“It was a most beautiful morning, and I indulged in the feeling of unbounded liberty, and in the tranquil enjoyment of the beautiful aspect of God's creation. The country through which we passed on leaving Shibdàwa formed one of the finest landscapes I ever saw in my life. The ground was pleasantly undulating, covered with a profusion of herbage not yet entirely dried' up by the sun's power; the trees, belonging to a great variety of species, were not thrown together in an impenetrable thicket of the forest, but formed into beautiful groups, exhibiting all the advantages of light and shade. There was the kaña, with its rich, dark-tinged foliage; the kadeña, or butter-tree, which I here saw for the first time, exhibiting the freshest and most beautiful green ; then the markė, more airy, and sending out its branches in more irregular shape, with light groups of foliage; young tamarind-trees rounding off their thick crown of foliage till it resembled an artificial canopy spread out for the traveler to repose in its shade, besides the gamji
, the shèria, the sokutso, the turawa, and many other species of trees unknown to me; while, above them all, tall and slender górebas unfolded their fan-crowns, just as if to protect the eye of the delighted wanderer from the rays of the morning sun, and to allow him to gaze undisturbed on the enchanting scenery around. Near the village Kashi even the gonda tree, (carica papaya,) which is so rarely seen in this quarter, enlivened the
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XIII.-19