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Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 2, by James Richardson

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Title: Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 2
       Under the Orders and at the Expense of Her Majesty's Government

Author: James Richardson

Release Date: June 9, 2006 [EBook #18544]

Language: English

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Performed in the Years 1850-51,









Printed by G. Barclay, Castle St. Leicester Sq.



Description of Tintalous and its Environs—Palace and Huts—Bedsteads—Kailouee Race—Unhandsome Conduct of Mr. Gagliuffi—Proposed Journey to Aghadez—Dr. Barth starts—An obstinate Bullock—Present extraordinary—State of Zinder—Affability of the Sultan—Power of Charms—Scorpions—Dialogue with a Ghâtee—Splendid Meteors—Visit from En-Noor—Intrigues of the Fellatahs—A Sultan loaded with Presents—Talk of departing for Zinder—State of the Bornou Road—Division of a Bullock—Bottle of Rum stolen—More Visits from the Sultan—A Musical Entertainment—Curious Etymological Discussions—A wonderful Prophetess—Secret Societies—Magicians—The Evil Eye—Morality of Soudan—Magnificent Meteor—Stories of the Sfaxee.1


Muslim want of Curiosity—Gossip on Meteors—A Family Broil—Rationale of Wife-beating—Abominable Dances—Evil Communications—Dr. Overweg—Kailouee Vocabulary—Windy Day—Account of Wadaï—Madame En-Noor—Profits of Commerce—The letter Ghain—Fellatah Language—Introduction of Islamism—Desert Routes—Trade in Agate Stones—A lively Patient—The Eed—A Visit en masse—Arrival of the Boat—Butchers—Exchange of Visits with the Sultan—Diet—A Shereef—A delicate Request—Information on Maradee—Tesaoua—Itinerant Schoolmasters—En-Noor's Territory in Damerghou—Unpleasant Communication—Amulets—The Foundation of a City in the Desert—En-Noor's Political Pretensions.21


News from Barth—Camels restored—Expensive Journey—Proposed Migration of Males—Supply of Slaves, whence—A new Well—Pagans and Christians—Tibboo Manners—The great Gong—When is a Tibboo hungry?—Hunger-belt—Queen of England in the Sahara—The Shanbah—A hasty Marriage—Saïd's new Wife—Wild Cauliflowers—Tolerance of the Kailouees—Men go to fetch Salt from Bilma—Approach of Dr. Barth—Lion's Mouth—Tibboos and Kailouees—Mysteries of Tintalous—Fewness of Men in Aheer—Trees preserved in the Valley—Bright Stars—Method of Salutation—Purposed Stars—Kailouee Character—Champagne at Tintalous—The Wells.40


Dr. Barth's Journey to Aghadez—Description of the Route—Tiggedah—Luxuriant Scenery of Asadah—Plain of Tarist—Beautiful Valley—Buddeh—Small Caravan—Aghadez—its Inhabitants—their Occupation—The great Koku, or Sultan—Asbenouee Revolutions—Election of a Prince—Interview—Ceremony of Investiture—Razzia—Intricate Political System—Account of Aghadez—Mosque—Environs—Women—Tribes of Asben—The Targhee Family—Population of the Ghât Districts—of Aheer—The Oulimad and Tanelkums—Tribe of Janet—Haghar—Sagamaram—Maghatah—Extent of Aheer—Connexion with the Black Countries—Mechanism of Society in Aheer—Chieftains—Tax-gathering—Food of the Kailouees—Maharees—Amusements—Natural Features of Asben—Vegetation—Cultivation—Manufactures—Bags for Charms.57


Projected Departure for Damerghou—False Start—Picturesque Caravan—Sultan's Views of White Skins—My Birthday—The Sultan fights his Battles over again—His Opinion of Women—Bragging—The Razzia on the Fadeea—Political News in the Desert—Cold Weather—Continue our Journey—Bornouese Fighis—Tin-Tagannu—Trap for a Lion—Mousa's Camels—A further Delay—Jackals and the Fire—Language of Signs—Tintalousian Coquettes—Departure of the Zinder Caravan—Natural Features—Languages—The Kilgris—Killing Lice—The Razzia to the North—Present of a Draught-board—Pagan Nations—Favourable Reports.75


Medicine for Bad Eyes—A summary Proceeding—News from the Salt-Caravan—Towns and Villages of Tesaoua—Earthquakes—Presents for the Sultan of Maradee—Yusuf's Insolence—English Money in Aheer—A Razzia on the Holy City—Bornouese Studies—Gipsies of Soudan—En-Noor and the Marabouts—Ghaseb—State of the Weather—Calculations for the Future—Senna—Relations of Man and Wife in Aheer—En-Noor in his Family—Gouber and Maradee—Beer-drinking—Study of the Sau—Shara—The Oulimad—Lions—Translating Jokes—Digging a Well—Projects.92


Razzia on the Fadeea—Haussa—Names of Places—Ant-track—Circular Letter from Mourzuk—Vast Rock—Mustapha Bey's Letter—Effects of Water—Butterflies—Aspect of the Country—A Slave advanced to Honour—Shonshona—Herbage—Birds—Appearance of the Salt-Caravan—Colours of Dawn—Bilma Salt—Mode of Barter—Pass the Rock of Mari—Granite—Indigo Plant—Presents at Stamboul—The Sultan begs again—Old Men's Importunities—Baghzem—Curiosities of the Route—People of Damerghou—Temporary Village of Women—Country begins to open—Barter Transaction with Lady En-Noor.110


We continue our Journey—Huntsmen—Gum on the Tholukhs—The Salt-Caravan—A Bunch of Gum—Games among the Slaves—Baghzem—Trees—Palm of Pharaoh—Deserted Villages—Birds' Nests—Wife of En-Noor—Unan—Lizards—Bad News—Christmas day in Africa—Christmas-boxes—Begging Tuaricks again—Bargot—Musicians—Speculations—Tribes at War—Parasitical Plant—Importance of Salt—Animals—Agalgo—Force of the Caravan—Beat of Drum—Approach the Hamadah—Giraffes—Poisoned Arrows—Ear of Ghaseb—Soudan and Bornou Roads.124


Enter the Hamadah—Home of the Giraffe—Water of Chidugulah—Turtles—Cool Wind—Jerboahs—Centre of the Sahara—New-year's Eve—Cold Weather—Birds of Prey—Soudan Date—Burs—Animals on the Plateau—Young Ostrich—The Tholukh-tree—Severe Cold—Eleven Ostriches—Termination of the Desert—Inasamet—The Tagama—Purchases—People begin to improve—Fruit of the Lote-tree—Village roofed with Skins—Vast Plain—Horses—Approach Damerghou—Village of Gumrek—Rough Customers—Wars of the Kilgris and Kailouees—A small Lake—Guinea-hens—Vultures—Party of Huntsmen.143


My Barracan—Spontaneous Civility on arrival in Damerghou—Ghaseb Stubble—Cactus—Water-Melons—Party of Tuaricks—Boban Birni—Huts of Damerghou—Tagelel—Women of the Village—Population of the Country—Complaisant Ladies—Festivities—Aquatic Birds—Dancing—A Flatterer—A Slave Family—A new Reason for Wife-beating—Hazna Dancers—Damerghou, common ground—Purchase of Ghaseb—Dethroned Sultan—Yusuf—Mohammed Tunisee—Ophthalmia—Part with Barth and Overweg—Presents to Servants—Sheikh of Fumta—Yakobah Slave—Applications for Medicine—Boban Birni—Forest—At length enter Bornou ground—Daazzenai—Tuarick Respectabilities—Detachment of the Salt-Caravan.161


March for Zinder—Enter the City—Reception—Delighted to escape from the Tuaricks—Letters from Kuka—Hospitable Treatment—Presents for the Sarkee and others—Visit the Shereef—His Duties—Audience of the Sarkee—Servility—Double-skulled Slave—Powder and Shot—Portrait of the Sultan—Commission from Kuka—European Clothes—Family of En-Noor—Tour of the Town—Scavengers—List of Sultans of Central Africa—Ancient Haussa—The Market—Money—Conversation with the Shereef—The Sultan at Home—Mixed Race of Zinder—Statistics—Personages of the Court.178


Presents from Officials—Mode of treating Camels—Prices—Cowrie Money—Shereef Interpreter—Visits—Harem—Houses—Grand Vizier—Picturesque Dances—Tuaricks at Zinder—Kohlans and Fullans—Province of Zinder—Account of its Rebellions—Trees—Details on the Slave-trade—Prices—Mode of obtaining Slaves—Abject Respect of the Sultan—Visits—Interview with the Sarkee—The Presence—Curious Mode of administering Justice—Barbarous Punishments—Hyænas—Gurasu—Fighis—Place of Execution—Tree of Death—Hyæna Dens—Dancing.196


Brother of the Sultan—Trade of Zinder—Prices—The Sarkee drinks Rum—Five Cities—Houses of Zinder—Female Toilette—Another Tree of Death—Paganism—Severity of the Sultan—Lemons—Barth and Overweg—Fire—Brother of the Sarkee—Daura—Shonshona—Lousou—Slaves in Irons—Reported Razzia—Talk with the Shereef—Humble Manners—Applications for Medicines—Towns and Villages of Zinder—The great Drum—Dyers—Tuarick Visits—Rationale of Razzias—Slaves—"Like Prince like People"—French in Algiers—The Market—Old Slave—Infamous System—Plan of the great Razzia.214


Family of the Sarkee—Converted Jew—Hard Dealings—How to get rid of a Wife—Route to Tesaoua—Influence of Slavery—Prices of Aloes and Silk—Medicine for a Merchant—Departure of the Sarkee for the Razzia—Encampment—Mode of Fighting—Produce of Razzias—Story of the Tibboo—Sheikh Lousou—Gumel—Superstitions—Matting—Visit of Ladies—The Jew—Incendiaries—Hazna—Legend of Zinder Well—Kohul—Cousin of the Sheikh—Female Sheikh—State of the Country—Salutations.233


Political News—Animals of Zinder—Sleepy City—District of Korgum—Razzias—Family of Sheikh Omer of Bornou—Brothers—Sons—Sisters—Daughters—Viziers—Kashallas—Power of the Sheikh—A Cheating Prince—Old Slave—Fetishism—Devil in a Tuarick's head—Kibabs—Fires—A Prophecy—Another Version of the Razzia—Correspondence between Korgum and Zinder.250


Sheikh of Bornou—Arab Women—News from the Razzia—Procession of newly-caught Slaves—Entrance of the Sarkee—Chained Slaves—My Servant at the Razzia—Audacity of Bornou Slaves—Korgum—Konchai—Product of the Razzia—Ghadamsee Merchants—Slave-trade—Incident at Korgum—State of Kanou—A Hue and Cry—Black Character—Vegetables at Zinder—Minstrel—Medi—Gardens—Ladies—Fanaticism—Americans at Niffee—Rich People—Tuaricks Sick—Morals—Dread of the Sarkee—Fashions.263


News from Tesaoua—Razzia on Sakkatou—Laziness in Zinder—The Hajah—Herds of Cattle—More Tuarick Patients—Gardens—My Luggage—Adieu to the Sarkee—Present from his Highness—Start from Zinder—Country—Birds—Overtake the Kashalla—Slaves for Kanou—Continue the Journey—People of Deddegi—Their Timidity—Horse Exercise—Cotton—Strange Birds—Occupation of Men and Women—State of African Society—Islamism and Paganism—Character of the Kashalla—A Dogberry—Guddemuni—Cultivation—Beggars—Dancing Maidens.281


A Village plundered—Shaidega—Animals—Our Biscuit—Villages en route—Minyo—Respect for Learning—Monotony of the Country—A Wedding—Palsy—Slave-agents—Kal, Kal—Birni Gamatak—Tuaricks on the Plain—Palms—Sight the Town of Gurai—Bare Country—Bearings of various Places—Province of Minyo—Visit the Sultan—Audience-room—Fine Costume—A Scene of Barbaric Splendour—Trade—Estimate of Wealth—How to amuse a Prince—Small Present—The Oars carried by Men—Town of Gurai—Fortifications.297


Fezzanee Traders—Sultan in want of Medicine—The Stud—Letters—Yusuf's Conduct—Architecture—Fragment of the History of Minyo—Politics of Zinder—Bornouese Fish—Visits—Two Routes—Dancing by Moonlight—Richness—Fires—Information on Boushi and Adamaua—The Yamyam—Liver Complaints—A Girl's Game—Desert Country—Gift Camel—Few Living Creatures—Village of Gusumana—Environs—The Doom Fruit—Brothers of Sultan of Sakkatou—Stupid Kadi—Showing off—Hot Weather—[Final Note—Death of Mr. Richardson.]314





Description of Tintalous and its Environs—Palace and Huts—Bedsteads—Kailouee Race—Unhandsome Conduct of Mr. Gagliuffi—Proposed Journey to Aghadez—Dr. Barth starts—An obstinate Bullock—Present extraordinary—State of Zinder—Affability of the Sultan—Power of Charms—Scorpions—Dialogue with a Ghâtee—Splendid Meteors—Visit from En-Noor—Intrigues of the Fellatahs—A Sultan loaded with Presents—Talk of departing for Zinder—State of the Bornou Road—Division of a Bullock—Bottle of Rum stolen—More Visits from the Sultan—A Musical Entertainment—Curious Etymological Discussions—A wonderful Prophetess—Secret Societies—Magicians—The Evil Eye—Morality of Soudan—Magnificent Meteor—Stories of the Sfaxee.

I begin at length to consider myself as it were at home in this singular country of Aheer—without, however, experiencing any desire to dally here longer than the force of circumstances absolutely requires. It must be confessed, as I have already[2] hinted, that the town of Tintalous,[1] in front of which we are encamped, does not at all answer the idea which our too active imagination had formed. Yet it is a singular place. It is situated on rocky ground, at the bend of a broad valley, which in the rainy season becomes often-times the bed of a temporary river. Here and there around it are scattered numerous trees, many of considerable size, giving the surface of the valley something of a park-like appearance. The herbage is not rich, but it is ornamental, and refreshes the eye in contrast with the black, naked rocks, which rise on all hands to the height often of two or three thousand feet. To the east, it is true, the country is a little open; and between the mountains run in numerous white sandy wadys, sprinkled with fresh green plants, or shaded by various species of mimosa and other spreading trees, under which the shepherds and herdsmen find shelter from the sun.

The principal feature of Tintalous itself is what may be called the palace of En-Noor. It is, indeed, one, compared with the huts and stone hovels amidst which it is placed. The materials are stone plastered with mud, and also the wood of the mimosa tree. The form is an oblong square, one story high,[3] with an interior courtyard, and various appendages and huts around on the outside. There is another house, and also a mosque built in the same style, but much smaller. Of the rest of the habitations, a few are stone sheds, but the greater part are huts made of the dry stalks of the fine herb called bou rekabah, in the form of a conical English haystack, and are very snug, impervious alike to rain and sun. There are not more than one hundred and fifty of these huts and sheds, scattered over a considerable space, without any order; some are placed two or three together within a small enclosure, which serves as a court or yard, in which visitors are received and cooking is carried on. There is another little village at a stone's-throw north. The inhabitants of these two villages consist entirely of the slaves and dependants of En-Noor.

All around Tintalous, within an hour or two hours' ride, there are villages or towns of precisely the same description, more or less numerously peopled. At Seloufeeat and Tintaghoda, however, we saw more houses built of stone and mud. This may be accounted for by the fact that the inhabitants are not nearly so migratory as those of Tintalous, who often follow in a body the motions of their master, so that he is ever surrounded by an imposing household.

I must not omit mentioning an important article of furniture which is to be observed in all the[4] houses of Aheer—namely, the bedstead. Whilst most of the inhabitants of Fezzan lie upon skins or mats upon the ground, the Kailouees have a nice light palm-branch bedstead, which enables them to escape the damp of the rainy season, and the attack of dangerous insects and reptiles like the scorpion and the lêfa.

I shall hereafter make a few observations on the tribes inhabiting Aheer. Here I will note that they are all called Targhee, that is Tuarick, by the traders of the north; and that the predominant race is the Kailouee. To me the latter seems to be a mixture of the Berbers, or supposed aborigines of the northern coast, with all the tribes and varieties of tribes of the interior of Africa. This may account for their having less pride and stiffness than the Tuaricks of Ghât, who are purer Berbers; as well as for their disposition to thieving and petty larceny, of which I have recently been obliged to give some examples. The pure Berbers, likewise, are much less sensual than their bastard descendants, who seem, indeed, to have no idea of pleasure but in its grossest shape.

The Kailouees are, for the most part, tall and active, little encumbered by bulky bodies; some having both complexion and features nearly European. At any rate there are many as fair-looking as the Arabs generally, whilst others are quite negro in colour. The women are smaller and stouter; some are fattened like the Mooresses of the[5] coast, and attain to an enormous degree of embon-point. They are not ill-looking, but offer nothing remarkable in their forms.

I have already set down many particulars of manners, and shall proceed to do so in the same disjointed way. At a future time all these traits must be collected to form one picture.[2] For the present I am anxious about the future progress of the Mission, and impatient, at any rate, to hear some news of our advance. We cannot do all the things we would. Our position is almost that of prisoners. We must depend entirely on the caprice of En-Noor, who, however, may already have laid out his plans distinctly, though he does not choose to communicate them to us.

Oct. 2d.—We have been lately discussing the practicability of going to Sakkatou, on a visit to the Sultan Bello; and this morning I looked over, for the first time, some "letters of credit" which Mr. Gagliuffi, our plausible consul at Mourzuk, had given me. I found that the amount offered for the use of the expedition in Kanou does not exceed a hundred and fifty reals of Fezzan, or about twenty pounds sterling, and that the agent is expressly requested not to advance any more! This extraordinary document induced me to look further,[6] and it soon appeared that the documents on which I relied so much were mere delusions. The wording of the Arabic letter to Bornou was ambiguous; but in as far as I and my interpreter could make it out, Haj Bashaw, to whom it is addressed, was requested, if he had any money of Mr. Gagliuffi's in hand, to give me a little! I really did not expect that a person in whom I had placed so much confidence would play me this trick. But it seems that Levantines are and will be Levantines to the end of time. I have written to Government, complaining of this unworthy conduct.

3d.—Dr. Barth is about to take advantage of the delay necessarily incurred at Tintalous to visit Aghadez, the real capital of Aheer, to which the new Sultan has lately been led, and where his investiture will shortly be celebrated. This journey will extend our knowledge of this singular Saharan country, and may also be of advantage in procuring the signature of the Sultan to a treaty of commerce.

4th.—Dr. Barth started this morning in company with Hamma, Waled Ocht En-Noor (son of the sister of En-Noor). The departure took place in presence of the Sultan himself, who had come to take tea with me. The caravan was at first composed of bullocks, the camels being a little in advance on the road. Our friend the Doctor started astride on one of these animals, which are a little difficult to manage, especially when they have been out at grass for some time. Indeed, in the first[7] place, it is no easy matter to catch them from amongst the herds; then it is hard to load them; and then, though not often, they refuse to proceed. On this occasion a powerful brute proved absolutely unmanageable. En-Noor, seeing its obstinacy, exclaimed that he gave it to me to kill and eat. He afterwards, however, modified his gift, and said that the bullock was also to be distributed amongst the Arabs of the caravans now in Tintalous; and that we were to give a turban as a present to the herdsman. I was told that, in the meantime, representation had been made to him, to the effect that it was unfair to distinguish the Christians in this manner. Soon after the animal was given it ran away, and no one could catch it.

Well, the bullock caravan went off in good style; and Sultan En-Noor remained taking his tea and eating English pickles and marmalade with me. He drank the tea and ate the other delicacies with evident pleasure, not being afraid, like the greater part of his subjects, to eat the food of Christians. Possession of power seems to have one good effect—the destruction of prejudice; pity that it sometimes goes further and destroys belief. En-Noor told us that the Sultan of Asoudee had gone out on a razzia to the west. We are obliged to hope that it will be successful, as otherwise our affairs will most materially suffer. We talked also of the state of Zinder, which is represented to be a walled town, with seven gates built amidst and around some huge rocks. The[8] governor, Ibrahim, keeps fifty drummers at work every night, but whether with a purpose superstitious or political I do not know.

En-Noor admired much the portraits of the personages who figure in the accounts of the former expedition to this part of the world, particularly that of Clapperton. He had also a wonderful story to tell of this traveller's magic. He said that Abdallah (Clapperton's travelling name) had learned from his books the site of his (En-Noor's) father's house, that near it was a gold mine, and that he had intended to come and give intelligence of this treasure. "See!" exclaimed the Sultan, "what wonderful things are written in the books of the Christians!"

My young fighi (or writer of charms) tells me, as a secret, that he cannot write a talisman for himself, but must ask another of the brotherhood to do this for him. Neither in this place can physicians heal themselves. This civil youth made me a present of a piece of his workmanship to-day, observing, "There is great profit in its power; it will preserve you from the cut of the sword and the firing of the gun." I pray not to have occasion to test its efficacy, but hope it may also serve as a protection from the bite of scorpions, which are so plentiful about here, and are said, at this season, to jump like grasshoppers. According to the people of Tintalous there are three species of them, each distinguished by a different colour—black, red, and yellow. Despite the talk of these disgusting reptiles I went in the[9] evening to see the wells which supply Tintalous with water. They are nothing more than holes scooped out of the sand in the bed of the wady, and supplied by ma-el-matr, "rain-water," which collects only a few feet under the sand, and passes through no minerals.

I afterwards proceeded to the encampment of the slave caravan, which is going in a few days to Ghât. A native of that place—the chief, indeed—was exceedingly rude at our first rencounter, and the following dialogue took place:—

The Ghâtee. Where are you going?

Myself. I am going to Sakkatou.

The Ghâtee. What for?

Myself. To see the Sultan, who is my friend.

The Ghâtee. How do you know him?

Myself. The English have known him for years past.

The Ghâtee. Ah!

Myself. Yes.

The Ghâtee. Have you any dollars—large dollars? (making a large circle with his thumb and forefinger.)

Myself. No: I don't carry money to Soudan, which is of no use to me. There I shall have wadâ.

Ghâtee. Eh! Eh! But cannot you give me a turban?

Myself. No, I am not a merchant, I don't bring such things; go to the Arab merchants and buy.

Ghâtee. Um! Um!


Myself. Do you know Mohammed Kafa in Ghât?

Ghâtee. Oh, yes!

Myself. He is my friend.

Ghâtee. Allah!

Myself. Yes; he sent me a fine dinner twice whilst I was in Ghât.

Ghâtee. Allah! Allah!

Myself. Do you know Haj Ibrahim? He is my great friend.

Ghâtee. Allah! Allah! (greatly surprised).

Myself. Why, how is it that you do not know me, Yakōb, as I have been in Ghât many years before?

At this some of the other people of the caravan cried out, "Yes, yes, we all know Yakōb;" so that I left the rude slave-merchant quite crest-fallen. He evidently, at first, wished to assume the airs of a Haghar, and bully me out of a present.

The caravan consisted of some thirty poor young women and children. There was also with them a small quantity of elephants' teeth.

Now that the moon is absent and the nights are clear we have a most splendid view of the heavens, its stars and constellations. The number of meteors darting to and fro overhead is very great—nearly one a minute shoots along. Some are only a faint glimmer, and have but the existence of a moment, whilst others are very beautiful and last several seconds.

5th.—The weather is improving; the strong gusts [11] of wind have ceased, and so has the rain. We have now calm and fine days with moderate heat.

In the afternoon I received another visit from En-Noor, who came straight into my tent, like an old friend whom I had known for twenty years. He stopped with me at least an hour, drinking tea and smoking, chatting the while about his past history and present affairs. He reiterated again assurances of his friendship for the English, and his determination to remain the ally of the Queen of England! He referred to the time when the great Bello, sultan of Sakkatou, sent his ambassador to request him (En-Noor) and all his people to subject themselves to the Fellatahs. En-Noor gave him for answer, "I am under God, the servant of God, and shall not submit myself to you or to any one upon earth. My father, and grandfather, and great-grandfather, and all my ancestors, ruled here, and were the servants of God, and I shall follow in their steps." The Fellatahs then tried to seduce the people, but they all said, "We have one Sultan, that is En-Noor." All the other authorities of Aheer followed the example, and preserved their independence, the people everywhere arming themselves with whatever weapons they had in case a war should break out.

After this narrative, En-Noor spoke again of the English, and said he should send a maharee for the Queen.

I gave him a fancy ring of the value of threepence, with a mock diamond in it, which he immediately[12] put on his finger with as much glee and pride as the gayest Parisian coquette. Yusuf and the Sfaxee, being present, swore it was diamanti; but I am quite sure the old Sheikh understood the compliment. I also gave him a pair of bellows, a basin, and a pint bottle with a little oil it; with all these things he was greatly delighted, continually admiring and trying the bellows. When he went out of the tent he himself carried all these articles away under his arm.

With reference to our wish to start for Zinder, the Sultan says he will send immediately for the boat, that it may be ready by the time Dr. Barth returns from Aghadez, when he is determined himself to take that route. He seems now in the enjoyment of good health. I felt much satisfied with his visit. Certainly, when I reflect that in the northern frontier of Aheer we were pursued for several days, like monsters not fit to live, by armed bands, this appears to me extraordinary condescension on the part of En-Noor. I hope we shall part in a friendly manner. This worthy sovereign gives the present Sultan of Sakkatou, Ali Bello, the character of a miser, but says that his father was a man of liberality. He cannot exceed En-Noor himself in greediness.

The bad state of the Bornou route is accounted for by the desire the Kailouees have to render it unsafe, so that they may have all the caravans come along their own route. The same thing is said of the[13] Timbuctoo route from Soudan. The Haghar murder all who attempt to go from Soudan to Timbuctoo, in order that the caravans may pass Ghât and Tuat. This is called the natural explanation of the bad character of these routes.

6th.—I continue to record the few characteristic incidents of my residence at Tintalous. Our bullock has been at last killed. We could not catch him, but shot him down. The carcase was divided between no less than twenty persons, and the meat proved to be pretty good. Of my share I made steaks, which I washed down with some tea and rum. This is the first time we have had fresh beef since leaving Tripoli. The event created an immense sensation throughout the whole town of Tintalous, for the slaughter of a bullock does not take place there every day.

This morning I administered two ounces of Epsom salts to a good-natured Kailouee, who, although perfectly well, would persist in begging for medicine. These people are continually asking to be doctored when nothing ails them. En-Noor seems to have taken a fancy to our morning beverages, and has sent for tea and coffee. I am afraid he will become a regular customer. Yusuf carried off a bottle of rum from the tent in the evening, which occasioned a disturbance between the servants and myself. This worthy is not to be trusted with the care of any strong liquor. The little Hamadee was privy to the theft. In the course of the evening[14] the new moon was seen by seven creditable persons, so that in eight days more we shall have the Feast of the "Descent of the Koran from Heaven," and four or five days after that we hope to start for Zinder.

7th.—This was a fine morning, with the thermometer at sunrise in the tent 70°; outside, 66°. The water has been so cooled during the night that my hands ached when I washed them. Later in the season it will be yet colder; and all reports tell us that in Kanou after the rains it is often very chilly.

His highness the Sultan again was attracted by my tea and marmalade, and gave me a call. He desired to see once more the portrait of Clapperton, and told me that Abdallah had five women in Sakkatou, and had left behind him three children, all boys. The Sultan was excessively friendly in manner, which induced me to make him another little present of a ring set with paste, and a small pair of gilt scissors for one of his wives. He calls me his brother, and manifests increased anxiety to be friendly with the English. According to him, a short time since the Sheikh of El-Fadeea, who commanded the attack made on us at the frontier, came here; and, in consideration of a few presents and compliments, had promised to exert himself to procure the restoration of our lost or stolen camels. En-Noor also again talked about the boat. I am in great hopes that we shall part from him on good terms, and that he will be true to his protestations. There is generally a companion with the old[15] gentleman on these visits. This time it was an aged Tanelkum, who married a sister of the Sheikh and has been settled many years in the country. We gave him more tea, and also a piece of white sugar, to carry home.

This evening the Fezzan and Tripoli Arabs had a musical entertainment, accompanied with dancing, at which Madame En-Noor and several distinguished ladies of Tintalous assisted. It was the usual singing business, with Moorish hammering on tambourines. The dance was performed by men, mostly in imitation of the women, and was also of the usual inelegant and indelicate description. However, there was a little mixing of the derwish dances. The thing went off to the great satisfaction of the Kailouees, and was kept up till midnight.

8th.—I slept little after the villanous dancing and riot of the preceding night, and rose late. My occupation this day was completing my vocabulary of the Kailouee language, of which I expect to collect a thousand words. My interpreter sometimes gives very curious explanations when I work with him. The Arabic word which we translate "Alas!" coming under consideration, he observed: "There is no corresponding word in the languages of these countries. This word belongs to the Koran and the next world." He means, that the word has only a relation to the torment of the damned. It is curious that this Arabic term agrees with, or is like, our word wail (Ar. weel), and is the term used by our [16] translators of the New Testament in describing the torments of the lost, "Weeping and wailing" &c.

Of the term "chaste," Yusuf observed, "There is no such expression in these languages; all the women are alike, and equally accessible when danger is absent." It is also true that the men place no bounds to their sensual appetites, and are restrained only by inability. It may be, however, that the more religious would have some scruples about intriguing with their neighbours' wives.

When we came to the word "school" Yusuf pretended there was not such a word in Kailouee. He asked, "Where in Tintalous is there a school?" The question, unfortunately, is put with too much truth. The Kailouees hereabouts seem entirely to neglect education.

I myself observe that the Arabic booss answers exactly to the vulgar word in English for kiss.[3] The name of a raven is one of many remarkable examples of a word being chosen to imitate in sound some peculiarity of the thing signified. In this case, kāk irresistibly reminds one of the raven's croaking voice; which we describe by caw. Kass, scissors, is also an imitation of the sound produced by this instrument in cutting.


In the evening the Sfaxee and Yusuf came to pay us a visit, and related divers sorts of wonders of this and other countries of Africa. The first matter concerned us. Eight days ago died in Tintalous an old witch, or prophetess, a negress, who foretold our arrival, and said to En-Noor, "A caravan of Englishmen is on the road from Tripoli, coming to you." This woman for many years was a foreteller of future events. The next thing we heard referred to the secret societies of Central Africa. Some of the chiefs of these societies have the power of killing with their eyes. One of these fellows is known to have gone to a merchant, in whose arms was sleeping a pretty female slave, and to have entered into conversation with him, asking him how he was, &c. In the meanwhile the wizard cast his eyes upon the pretty slave, and its heart withered. This power is accordingly much dreaded. If, however, any one perceive the incantation of the wizard, and say, "Begone, you son of a brach!" he immediately flees, like a dog with his tail between his legs.

In parts of Bornou, also, extraordinary things sometimes happen. There are men in those places who have the power of assuming the shapes of wild animals. This they do mostly in the nights. Under the form of lions and leopards, they go to the tents of strangers, and endeavour to lure them forth by calling out their proper names with a perfect human voice. If any one is so imprudent as to obey summons and issue forth, he is at once devoured.


The Sfaxee pledges his word of honour that there was a female slave a year ago in Mourzuk who killed five of her companions with her looks. On this a council was held by the merchants and great people of Mourzuk, to know what to do with her, and the decision come to was to send her back to Bornou; a happy decision for the poor slave! Lucky for her that she was not born in some parts of Europe, with her marvellous power. Even our friend Gagliuffi has not escaped these superstitions of the people among whom he lives. On my seeing his young turkeys for the first time, in very considerable numbers, I exclaimed, "What a host of young turkeys you have got!" On this he became quite alarmed, lest I had cast a malign look upon them, and ejaculated a counter-exclamation, "Oh, God bless them!"

The Sfaxee and Yusuf do not speak very favourably of some parts of Soudan as to morality. In some districts of Begarmi, Yusuf says, a male takes the first female he meets with, no matter how near the relationship. All the women, in fact, are in common. We must receive his asseverations for what they are worth, on this subject in general, and on the developements into which he entered. According to him, in those regions where scarcely any other roof is required but the heavens, there is no other couch spread than the earth, and no one shuns, in any act of life, the eyes of his neighbours.

Whilst these wonders of witches and tales of[19] African lewdness were being related, a thing happened which none could disbelieve, none call in question. This was the appearance of an immense meteor in the sky, shooting over half the heavens, with a slight curve, from east to west. It had a tail like a comet, and around its head burnt a blue light of excessive brilliancy. This phenomenon appeared at a quarter to eight o'clock in the evening. I never saw anything like it before, and perhaps shall never again see its equal. It might have been visible two minutes. We all cried out with surprise at beholding it. We had our faces towards the south, and the course of the meteor was across the south, but not very high, at about the third of the circle of the heavens. Afterwards, every few minutes, small meteors were seen sporting about in the same direction, some in a straight line and others descending.

9th.—The wind of this fine cool morning prevented a visit from En-Noor. That he might not be disappointed, however, I sent him his customary tea; and amused myself by hearing the Sfaxee discourse of that constant subject of conversation, the attack of the Fadeea. According to him, on that occasion great fear was felt by all the caravan. Most of our servants had formed the resolution to abandon us. There were, however, some honourable exceptions; amongst the rest, Saïd, the great mahadee, and another. Yusuf and Mohammed Tunisee proposed the plan, that we three, the Germans, and[20] myself, should be mounted on maharees, and either conveyed back to Aisou or forward to Tintaghoda, during the night. Some of the Kailouees wavered, as well as the Tanelkums; but En-Noor (of our escort) always declared that he would never consent to our being given up. The next morning, two or three of the assailants were very bold, and came and called out in an authoritative tone, that we must be given up. It is curious that, in spite of all the force that was mustered against us, as soon as they saw that we were determined to resist them, they immediately began to parley. The Sfaxee is an immense talker, and great allowance must be made for what he says. In reality, we shall never be able to know the exact truth with respect to this affair. Dr. Overweg confesses that he was terribly alarmed as well he might be. For my part, I was more used to desert dangers, and slept all night. Dr. Barth very kindly refused to allow anybody to awaken me.

[1] Tintalous is 40 short and 30 long days from Ghât, N.N.E.; 60 short and 50 long from Mourzuk, N.E.; 20 short, 15 long, from Zinder or Damerghou, S.S.W.; 7 long, 10 or 12 short, from Bilma, E.; 38 to 45 days from Tuat, N.W. (viâ Taghajeet). Maharees, of course, trot and gallop in half the time. These are native statements.

[2] Perhaps the note-books of Mr. Richardson, in which facts are set down fresh and distinct just as they presented themselves, will be found to be more interesting than an elaborate narrative. At any rate it has seemed better not to attempt to do what was left undone in this matter.—Ed.

[3] A good many similarities of this kind, accidental or otherwise, might be pointed out: ydrub is "to drub;" kaab would be translated, in old English, "kibe;" ykattah is "to cut;" kotta, "a cat;" bak, "a bug;" stabl, "a stable," &c. &c. I have noticed, also, some similarities with French words e.g. ykassar, "casser"—Ed.



Muslim want of Curiosity—Gossip on Meteors—A Family Broil—Rationale of Wife-beating—Abominable Dances—Evil Communications—Dr. Overweg—Kailouee Vocabulary—Windy Day—Account of Wadaï—Madame En-Noor—Profits of Commerce—The letter Ghain—Fellatah Language—Introduction of Islamism—Desert Routes—Trade in Agate Stones—A lively Patient—The Eed—A Visit en masse—Arrival of the Boat—Butchers—Exchange of Visits with the Sultan—Diet—A Shereef—A delicate Request—Information on Maradee—Tesaoua—Itinerant Schoolmasters—En-Noor's Territory in Damerghou—Unpleasant Communication—Amulets—The Foundation of a City in the Desert—En-Noor's Political Pretensions.

Oct. 10th.—My garrulous friend the Sfaxee has gone off this morning, to bring his merchandise from Tintaghoda. The little fighi came, as usual, to see me. I showed him the Arabic New Testament. He read a few sentences, and then laid the book aside. I offered it to him, but he refused to accept the inestimable present. He represents the feelings of all the Muslims of these countries. They have not even any curiosity to know the contents of the Gospel, much less the inclination to study or appreciate them. They remain in a state of immovable, absolute[22] indifference. Even the beautiful manner in which the Arabic letters are printed scarcely excites their surprise. En-Noor paid me his usual morning visit, drank tea, and ate pickles and marmalade. We asked him about meteors. He recollects the fall of many. One, he says, fell upon a house, and terrified the inhabitants, who came running to him. Afterwards they dug to the depth of a man, and found nothing, for it had buried itself deep in the earth. According to him, a great profusion of meteors denotes abundance of rain and herbage: but these phenomena exert also a sinister influence like comets, signifying the death of some great personage. I have no doubt that extraordinary meteors are very frequent in this part of the Sahara. En-Noor was very condescending, as usual: no change is observable in his manners.

It turned out that he had come with the intention of speaking on a very delicate subject, but had refrained. We learned what it was afterwards. Dr. Overweg was sent for in the course of the day to attend upon one of En-Noor's wives, who had been frightfully beaten by his highness the previous evening. This domestic broil formed the common topic of conversation in Tintalous. Every scandal-monger has got hold of one version of the story. From what we could gather, the great man was lying down quietly, when suddenly, without any apparent provocation, he started up, took a large stick from the fire, one of its ends still burning, and with this terrific [23] weapon belaboured his wife over the face, striking especially at the mouth, and cutting the upper lip in two. The poor woman is now very ill. No cause can be discovered for this piece of brutality. En-Noor has, they pretend, two wives here, and one on his estate at Damerghou; but he has only one son and three daughters. No larger family has this great man, with all his wealth and slaves, been able to bring up.

Beating a wife is so common in these countries, that, only when the act is attended with features of unusual atrocity, as in this case of En-Noor, does it excite any attention. There cannot be a question of the fact, that our friend the Sultan is a great despot in every point of view. Perhaps in no other way could he maintain any authority amongst these semi-barbarian Kailouees. This, nevertheless, cannot excuse the atrocity of beating his wife with burning fagots. Some say that the exciting cause of his brutality was the eternal loquacity of the woman, of which his highness began to be afraid. This may be true, or be only an excuse invented by his courtiers. Supposing, however, the cause to have been her infidelity, let us examine what can be reasonably expected from these African women. They are not allowed scarcely to believe themselves to possess souls; they have no moral motives to be chaste, and certainly none of family and honour, being mostly slaves. Then the greater part of the young girls of consequence are married to old men, who are worn[24] out by their sensual habits and indulgence with innumerable concubines. These young women are thus left, though married, like so many widows, without education or religious motives, and with all their passions alive, to the first opportunity which presents itself. We know what they do, and we cannot expect anything else from them.

We have often dancing now of evenings. Yesterday, hearing the tambourines and other instruments strike up, I went to the house of the Sfaxee to see what was going on. They were dancing again their Mourzuk dances before a number of delighted Kailouees, male and female; amongst the rest Lady En-Noor herself. The whole beauty and appropriateness of this exercise amongst the Moors consists, as is well known, in gross imitations of natural acts. No further description or comment can I permit myself. I have often thought that the present dance must be an inheritance from very ancient times. There seems to be a part of our nature to which it is adapted. The performances at European Operas are often nearly as indelicate.

Evil communications corrupt good manners. One of our servants has learned to act the Tuarick. He quarrelled with Yusuf, and on being told to go away replied, "Yes. I will go; but when you get up to Damerghou I will bring down the people upon these Christians, and they shall be eaten up!"

11th.—Zangheema, En-Noor's principal slave, came early this morning for Dr. Overweg, that he[25] might attend the "beaten wife." My privileged friend went accordingly, and visited at the same time all the women of the household. They received him in a very friendly manner: some of them proved nearly white.

12th.—This day I finished my Kailouee vocabulary, which contains about a thousand words. I have never yet collected so large a quantity of materials of any of the languages of Africa. I carefully packed up my vocabulary for England, and got it ready, with other matters, to send by the first opportunity.

Dr. Overweg has again visited the belaboured wife this morning, and reports her to be improving. The Sultan seems now to repent what he has done, and is endeavouring to obtain forgiveness by kind and courteous behaviour.

There was a great deal of wind to day, but it did not come in puffs, endangering our tents. I sometimes wonder, however, how the flimsy huts of which part of Tintalous is composed are not swept away. They are made of the dry stalk of that excellent herb bou rekabah, called in Kailouee afada.

13th.—No news stirring to-day; nothing said of razzias; so much the better. We are living very quietly here, and the climate agrees with me extremely well. Some of our people, however, are sick.

14th.—The mornings continue cold; 65° outside the tent, and a few degrees higher inside. This[26] fresh weather, no doubt, accounts for my good health.

According to a Tibboo merchant now here, and going with our caravan, the people of Wadaï would receive a Christian well, and allow him to visit their country. He represents Wadaï as a very rocky region, like Aheer, with two large rivers in it running from south to north—not season streams, but continual. He says that the people are all blacks, and a very tall race. They have a language of their own, which is difficult to learn. Warrah is the capital. The natives drink a great deal of bouza, and are nearly always intoxicated. Such is a summary account of Wadaï from the mouth of a Tibboo geographer.

This morning, Madame En-Noor sent me by Zangheema a pair of pewter earrings, in exchange for some rings. It is extremely difficult to make a good bargain with these people. With respect to our merchandise, it all sells lower here than we paid for it at Mourzuk. The profits come from the purchase of slaves. A burnouse of forty mahboubs will sell in Soudan for little more than its cost, if dollars or money is to be given; but if slaves are taken in exchange, three slaves, perhaps, may be obtained, which, in Tripoli, may be sold at forty or fifty dollars each. Hence the profit of the Soudan commerce. The article which yields the greatest profit is loaf sugar, which, costing half a dollar in Mourzuk, is said to sell for a full dollar in Bornou. [27] To be sure there is all the risk and the heavy freight of such an article, especially if conveyed up during the rainy season.

I wrote yesterday a despatch to Government, requesting letters of recommendation to be sent up to me in Kordofan, pointing out the route of Egypt as the probable one by which I shall return to the Mediterranean. I had a long dispute with Overweg about the letter ghain, which he persists in pronouncing like a strong k. Yusuf was called in, and declared that the ghain was the letter which distinguished Arabic from all other languages. In Kailouee Tuarick there is no kaf or ghain. These Berber dialects have, however, the hard g in a thousand words, and have also the k in a great number of cases, but the hard g and the t are the consonants most frequently occurring. The Haussa has also the g hard, as in măgăree, "good;" and a great number of words with the sound tsh, as doutshee, a stone or mountain.

The Fellatah language is said to resemble the Kailouee; in other words, to be a Berber dialect. If this be the case, the Fellatah people are probably of Berber extraction, and not Arab, as they are vulgarly supposed to be. This is a question requiring still further investigation. Others, again, say that the Fellatah language is quite different from the Tuarick. Overweg thinks Islamism was introduced into Bornou by the Shoua Arabs, who are[28] found in Bornou in great numbers. The Fellatah, he thinks, received Islamism by way of Timbuctoo, from Moors and Arabs trading to that city from Morocco. There is considerable probability in both these opinions.

15th.—Four or five days after the approaching Eed, or festival, half the people of Tintalous will go for salt, and the other half prepare for their annual journey to Soudan with En-Noor.

The inhabitants of Damerghou are reported to be half "Kohlan," blacks, and half Kailouees. It is the Kailouees in the neighbourhood of Damerghou who infest the borders and routes of Bornou. En-Noor is now very quiet, and there is a chance that he will not come down upon me for more money.

According to the Fezzanees, Tuat is thirty days from Aisou and thirty-three from Taghajeet (short days). Ghât is forty short and thirty long days from Tintalous or Asoudee. Bilma is fourteen long and seven short days from Tintalous or Asoudee. There is no direct route from this (Tintalous) to Timbuctoo; from Sakkatou there is, however, a short route to Timbuctoo, and it is said to be a safe one. The number of days here mentioned are merely general numbers; they vary according to the good state of the camels, or the disposition of the people, or certain accidents on the road.

The evening of the feast of the "Descent of[29] the Koran from Heaven," all good Muslims ought to sit up all night to read the Koran, through and through again.

There is a curious commerce of yămăneé, or agate stones, in Soudan. These yămăneé are originally brought from the eastern coast of Africa, from and near Mombas (Mozambique), where they pass as money, like the cowries. From Mombas they are carried, by the Muscat traders, to Yamen, and thence to Mekka; in which place they are blessed, and rendered doubly precious. From Mekka they are brought to Egypt, and from Egypt to Mourzuk; from which point they are distributed all over this part of Africa, and the souk of Kanou is stocked with them. They are much esteemed by all classes of the inhabitants of the interior of Africa, and are worn equally by the men and women.

In this commerce we see the round-about-way in which some articles are conveyed for sale. If there were a road from Mombas direct to Bornou, this agate would be cheap enough. But then, perhaps, it would not be esteemed or valued at half its present cost. It would not be blessed at Mekka, and so lose all its talismanic and mysterious power. The name is derived from Yaman, evidently from the first country in Arabia, to which they were brought originally from Africa.

According to Overweg, Madame En-Noor is still very unwell with her lip. It is cut right across under her nose, penetrating to the gums; she is,[30] nevertheless, very lively, and is always pestering Overweg to read the fatah with, or marry a young girl, one of her relations. She endeavours to warm my worthy friend to comply with her match-making wishes by luxurious descriptions of the beauties of the proffered bride.

As soon as the people hear I have a wife in Tripoli, they begin to ask how many children I have got. On receiving for answer, "None," they are greatly astonished, and ask me the reason of so strange a matrimonial phenomenon.

This evening another fine meteor appeared in the south-east. Its head was like a blazing star, and it left behind it a train of sparkling light and flame. There were also numbers of smaller meteors.

16th.—The morning of the Eed. According to the Fezzanees, prayers are soon ended; because, they say, "these Kailouees know nothing of their religion."

The Fezzanees asked me to hoist the British flag; to which I replied, "No; the flag belongs to the Queen, but I will give you a little powder for your matchlocks." All these Mahommedan feasts are celebrated on the northern coast of Africa by the discharge of gunpowder.

No certain information can be obtained of the route from Zinder to Sakkatou, in this place. The people only say the present Sultan is not so strong as was his father; thereby intimating that the routes are not so secure as formerly.


It is usual for the inhabitants of Tintalous to visit those of Asarara on the morning of the present feast. About sixty men, natives of this place, accompanied by a dozen Moors from Tripoli and Mourzuk, went, accordingly, to Asarara this morning. Then a number of the people of Asarara returned with them. Yusuf remarked, with some surprise, that even the women went out to pray, about forty in number. So that it would seem the Kailouees educate their women in religion more than the Muslims of the coast.

The most interesting event to us, however, this morning, was the arrival of the boat from Seloufeeat. Our servants were very quick in their return. They came all night, to avoid any further attempts to carry off the camels. They were all alone. I welcomed the return of the boat as I would that of an old friend.

There was no firing this evening, as was expected, En-Noor being very unwell-suffering rheumatism and fever.

The most agreeable sight in all these Mahommedan feasts is to see all the people dressed out in their finery. The merchants have appeared in splendid burnouses, all more or less in good humour. The slaughtering of the sheep to-day was the dirtiest part of the business. All here on such occasions play the part of butchers-men, women, and children; and all attack, stab, skin, and maul the poor[32] animals, in a way frightful to behold. The environs of the town were turned into dirty slaughter-houses.

17th.—I have determined to purchase no more things from the Sfaxee at present. He makes me pay double price. It will be better to wait and see what can be done at Zinder. An infidel traveller, who is known to be in possession of any property, is sure in these countries to be looked upon as a milch-cow. Does not "the book," according to the vulgar opinion, authorise the faithful to take our lives? "Our purses are more lawful."

The festival being over, I went to pay my respects to Sultan En-Noor. He is much better in health than yesterday, but has still a bad cold, and continues to blow his nose and wipe it—pardon the naïve statement—with the sole of one of his sandals! The action struck me as rather uncleanly and undignified in a prince; but Kailouees are not punctilious.

Mr. Gagliuffi had mentioned to me that he had given assistance to some shepherds who were begging their way to Soudan. One of these poor fellows had come to see the Sultan. He seemed, indeed, miserably poor, but tried to hide the fact, saying to them and Yusuf: "I have news for you; now I am your friend, as I was a friend to the Consul in Mourzuk." He was quite a young man, and excited my compassion.

In the afternoon I received a visit from En-Noor,[33] with a whole train of his people. The Shereef was absent. The Sultan came especially to see the boat, the pieces of which were put together that he might know its shape and size. Yusuf then drew for him a ship with all sails set, on a piece of paper. It was very well done; and excited the applause of my visitors. I treated them, as usual, with pickles, marmalade, and tea. Among other things I showed En-Noor the broad arrow, or government mark, on many of our things; as the guns, and pistols, tent, bags, and biscuits, which greatly surprised him.

The Sheikh was in good spirits, and was pleased with his visit. I sent him during the day a piece of dark blue cotton print for a pillowcase. This little present delighted him much. I am much hampered with the "princesses," who first sent to buy sugar, and then to beg, forgetting to buy.

We have a Tuat Tuarick changing camels for slaves now in Tintalous. This man belongs to the tribe called Sgomara, if I have caught the name correctly.

18th.—I rose early, having had a bad headache during the night through eating meat in the middle of the day. Whatever is eaten in the middle of the day must be taken very sparingly. I believe the greater part of the diseases with which foreigners in these countries are afflicted arise from want of sufficient attention to diet. We must take great care of our health just as we are entering Soudan.[34] The weather is still cool, especially in the morning. The prevailing wind during these last twenty days has been E.N.E., which is very refreshing. The Moorish merchants pretend that in Soudan it is now very cold.

I received a visit from the young Shereef, whose conversation smacked a good deal of a disagreeable curiosity respecting my movements and intentions in Central Africa. I therefore gave him a very ordinary and cool welcome. This fellow has been here some time, and never offered to pay us a visit before. En-Noor has been feeding him during his stay. He displayed a good deal of shrewdness, and is well acquainted with the Christians of the Mediterranean. He is going to visit his brother in Zinder, and then returns to Tripoli by the way of Bornou and Mourzuk. Like all these shereefs, or marabouts, he pretended that had he been with us, or had we travelled with him from Mourzuk to Tintalous, no one would have dared to molest us; an assertion wholly false, for the Tuaricks care little for marabouts when they are bent on plunder.

A young woman has just arrived from a distant village, with the express object of procuring from the Taleb (Overweg) a medicine to produce abortion: she says she has been gadding, "barra" (out of her mother's house), and is frightened lest she should get a good beating. On Overweg's refusing to give her any such medicine she burst out into[35] a pathetic lamentation, and talked loudly of what her parent would do to her. Young ladies often think of their mothers a little too late under these circumstances.

A slave of the Sultan of Aghadez arrived this morning, in six days from the capital, to inquire after the health of En-Noor. He brings no particular news, but says he saw Barth at Aghadez.

"Man is to man the surest, deadliest foe," has been quoted from the poet as most applicable to the moral and social state of Africa. It may truly be said to be our case, for hitherto we have suffered little in this town except from men. Looking also around us, the people suffer less from the arid country which they inhabit than from the violence which they inflict one upon another.

I learned from Yusuf yesterday evening, that for every dollar I take from the Sfaxee, if I pay in Mourzuk, I must give two. I was greatly afflicted at this positive declaration, but scarcely believe it; if it, however, prove to be the case, I must by all means find money in Soudan. It will be a hard fight, indeed, to keep down the expenses of this expedition; however, every effort must be employed to effect this desirable object.

Mărādee, I learn, is three days west from Tesaoua; and this latter place is two from Zinder. There is another village, called Gazawa, one day south of Tesaoua. The inhabitants of these places are half Mahommedans and half pagans; the latter[36] do not offer human sacrifices; their religious rites consist principally in worshipping trees, to which they sacrifice at certain seasons. The Fellatahs are always at war with the people of Mărādee, but Gouber is at peace with Sakkatou. In Mărādee there is one large stone-and-mud house for the Sultan; all the rest of the houses are bell-shaped huts. The place has a numerous population. Tesaoua is also independent and self-governed, as are most of the places hereabouts.

I had a visit from two itinerant schoolmasters, natives of Bornou. From these I learned that there does exist a little education amongst the Kailouees. There is a village near called Amurgeen, three hours from Tintalous, where children are sent from all the places around, so that it forms a species of college or university. It is to this college that En-Noor sends his sons and grandsons. These itinerant pedagogues are negroes; and it is certainly a curious circumstance that from Central Africa instruction should migrate northwards. But the Kailouees have little pride in this respect; although boasting of the name of Tuaricks, and accounting themselves white people, or allied with the whites, they do not scruple to receive education from the negroes of Bornou, whilst certainly it would be very easy to have Kailouee schoolmasters.

I heard from my friend Tibbaou that En-Noor's territory in Tesaoua is simply a village at some distance from the medeeneh, or city, where there[37] is a native and independent sultan of some power. His territory in Damerghou is also a mere village. Nevertheless, the possession of these places extends the political influence of the Kailouees in Soudan. The neighbourhood of Damerghou, especially the western side, seems celebrated for a tribe, or factions of tribes, consisting of bad Tuaricks. This race is evidently spreading in Soudan; there are great numbers in Gouber and the countries near.

I purchased from the itinerant pedagogues of Bornou two of their ink-bottles, which are made of small calabashes. They wrote for me some specimens of their penmanship, a charm, fatah, or first chapter of the Koran. They wrote and formed their letters sideways, as some lawyers' clerks do in England.

Dambaba Makersee took the liberty of informing me to-day, as if I did not know it before, that all the things of us Christians were considered by the Kailouees generally as common property, and that whoever could lay hold of any ought to do so without qualm or scruple; but, he added, when you arrive in Zinder, all will be changed. Let us hope so, Inshallah!

Strings of charms are worn by the men occasionally under the arm, or suspended over the shoulders, as well as round the neck. The charm or armlet of the Moors and Tuaricks corresponds with the Fetish of the ancient Kohlan, people of [38] Soudan, and of the present negro races on the western coast.

I finished the statistics of the towns and villages of Asben—after all, a very imperfect affair. Nevertheless, it is the best which I could make from my materials.

En-Noor paid me a visit in the morning, and stopped gossiping two hours. From him I learnt that the Fellatah language has no relation to the Arabic or Tuarick, but is quite a language peculiar in itself. He also informed us that the Gouberites were still at war with the Fellatahs of Sakkatou; that they were united with the people of Maradee, ancient Kohlans like themselves, and that this united force had been lately gaining their lost ground against the new Muslim powers in Soudan. En-Noor seems to favour the re-establishment of these people against the Fellatahs. The latter he naturally hates, on account of their attempts on the independence of the Kailouees, and their perpetual intrigues at Aghadez.

With regard to Tesaoua, En-Noor pretends that he founded this city. His statement is singularly suggestive and picturesque in its simplicity. He says that he met, on the spot where Tesaoua now stands, a forlorn man, with only two slaves.

"What are you doing?" he said to the man.

"Nothing," the man replied. "What can I do, naked as I am, with myself and two slaves?"


"Oh!" rejoined En-Noor; "stop a minute, and I will bring you a multitude of people, and we together will make a large city." En-Noor kept his word, and brought a multitude of Kailouees, Kohlans, and their slaves. Now Tesaoua is a mighty city, and En-Noor has got a small town of his own near it, mostly peopled by his dependants. Such is the foundation of many African cities; these places springing up as mushrooms, and disappearing as soon.

En-Noor also pretends, that through his father he is heir to the thrones of the ancient Kohlans, about Kashna, Gouber, and Maradee, and that he ought to come into possession after the death of the present occupants. This, I should think, is incorrect; but his highness has undoubtedly great political influence in those countries. We learn that several of the men of Tintalous have wives and families in Damerghou and Tesaoua, but none of them have large families—only one or two children.



News from Barth—Camels restored—Expensive Journey—Proposed Migration of Males—Supply of Slaves, whence—A new Well—Pagans and Christians—Tibboo Manners—The great Gong—When is a Tibboo hungry?—Hunger-belt—Queen of England in the Sahara—The Shanbah—A hasty Marriage—Saïd's new Wife—Wild Cauliflowers—Tolerance of the Kailouees—Men go to fetch Salt from Bilma—Approach of Dr. Barth—Lion's Mouth—Tibboos and Kailouees—Mysteries of Tintalous—Fewness of Men in Aheer—Trees preserved in the Valley—Bright Stars—Method of Salutation—Purposed Stars—Kailouee Character—Champagne at Tintalous—The Wells.

Oct. 22d.—A letter was received this morning from Dr. Barth. It appears that the treaty will not be signed, nor even presented to the Sultan. En-Noor paid me a visit, as usual, this morning. I presented to his highness some old boxes, with which he ordered a door to be made for his palace. His politeness does not cease, and the graciousness with which he receives my presents is really remarkable.

The man sent after our camels brought back my poor white maharee, and demanded ten dollars (as good as twenty to me) for his trouble. I refused [41] to give them, preferring to let him have the camel, which is hardly worth ten dollars. This manner of recovering our lost or stolen camels amounts to buying them over again. But it has been our misfortune all along, that our friends, and those who profess to be such, and all who attempt to aid us—every one of them, have profited by our losses, and the disasters which have befallen us. This dispute has been referred to En-Noor, and they have accepted five dollars, which I offered them.

I this day made out the statement of the principal items of expenditure which the expedition has incurred from Mourzuk to Tintalous, including the escort to Zinder. It amounts to the enormous sum of three thousand mahboubs, or about six hundred pounds sterling!! If we do not proceed better than this on the future part of the journey, the expedition will at any rate be bankrupt and ruined for want of funds.

23d.—Yusuf and I brought before Overweg this morning the necessity of his assisting in relieving the Government from the double payment of the sums advanced by the Sfaxee. He agreed that it was highly important to save this money, and promised to place his goods at my disposal for sale in Soudan.

On the departure of the caravan for Zinder and Kanou every male inhabitant will leave Tintalous, some starting with it and others going for salt, leaving only the women and children behind. This[42] is considered by the Moors as preferable to leaving a few men behind, because these few would occasion quarrels amongst the women, and, besides, excite the jealousy of the absent husbands.

Most of the men who go with us to Damerghou and forward to Tesaoua will find another wife and family in both these places. This is a regular emigration of males, not the accidental departure of fathers and husbands. These gentlemen pass half the year in Soudan and half in Aheer. The system does not appear to be advantageous to the increase of population: the wives of these birds of passage hardly bear two children a-piece. Indeed there are very few children in Tintalous. We have not yet sufficient data or experience for a conclusion on this part of statistics; but, up to the present, all that we have seen in Africa during this journey exhibits it as singularly miserable and destitute of population. We can hear of no man, not even a sultan with his fifty female slaves, having more than four or five children. As for the poor, one or two are all that they can bring up.

Whence, then, comes the supply of slaves? So far as this part of Africa is concerned I may observe, in reply, that the annual number of slaves brought is exceedingly limited, amounting only to a few thousands. When we get nearer the western coast, we shall probably be able to account for the supplies of slaves which are transported across the Atlantic.


This afternoon a well was commenced near our tents. The digging of a well is an important matter; his highness En-Noor, therefore, vouchsafed his presence. A number of the excavators came to me to beg for sugar. I brought out a piece of white loaf sugar, and broke it into thirty pieces or so; then ordered one of them to divide it fairly amongst themselves: but this was impossible. Anything like fairness amongst the Kailouees, all of whom are addicted to thieving (a habit acquired from Soudan), was out of the question. As soon as I rose from the ground, after breaking the sugar on a leathern apron, there was a general rush upon it, and some got a great deal and others none. Was not this a fine miniature picture of mankind?

24th.—En-Noor paid me a very early visit, and drank coffee. I heard that a courier to Mourzuk would cost forty dollars. I begin to learn a little Soudanese; there are some beautiful soft words in it. Yusuf says there is no name for God in this language; but his statement requires further examination.

From what we learn respecting Barth's reception at Aghadez, it would appear that the people were disposed to look upon him with the same complacency as they are wont to regard the pagans, or En-sara as they call them, of Gouber and Maradee. Indeed, the Tanelkums and Kailouees consider that we shall be well received by our brethren, the pagans of Soudan.


Here is a most extraordinary trait of the barbarity of the Tibboos. It often happens that they are out foraging for twenty days without finding anything to eat. If they light upon the bones of a dead camel, they take them and pound them to dust; this done, they bleed their own living camels (maharees) from the eye, and of the blood and powdered bones they make a paste, which they eat! This is somewhat analogous to what Bruce relates of the Abyssinians cutting out beefsteaks from the rump of a live bullock. The Tibboos possess the finest maharees; and the breed in the rest of the Sahara is always being improved or kept up by a constant supply from their country.

I continue to supply his highness En-Noor with either tea or coffee every day. I sent him some early this morning. He is a greedy old dog, and will not buy a loaf of sugar because I will not give it him at the price of Mourzuk, and thus lose the freight. I hold out, and we have sold him none for the present.

Overweg is making a small commercial lexicon of the things brought to the market of Kanou: a most excellent idea. I myself intend, if I go to Kanou, to make a list of all the things I find in the Souk, with some account of their produce and mode of importation into that mart.

The great gong sounded throughout the village this afternoon, to give note of preparation to all the people, that every one of the males must be ready [45] to leave this place in the course of three or four days. The Sheikh says he is determined to leave in three days, whether the people come from Aghadez or not. Yusuf laid before En-Noor this evening the necessity of our sending a courier to Mourzuk, stating that we had nothing left. His highness pitied our case, and said he would look about for a courier; observing, "The Consul has need of much money and many presents in Soudan." He said, also, that he would recommend us to go to Bornou.

25th.—The days are now pretty hot, and the nights correspondingly cool. We have a good deal of wind. I wrote a letter to Drs. Overweg and Barth jointly, calling upon them to assist me in case the Sfaxee would not wait for his money until the return of the courier. Dr. Overweg consents. I wrote out the Tuarick alphabet.

The account of the Tibboos pounding the camels' bones and bleeding their animals to make paste, is confirmed by the Gatronee of the Germans.[4] He says, moreover, that this is the way in which they proceed. Every Tibboo must fast three days before he thinks about eating. If on the fourth day he do not arrive at the belad, or country, he then takes his left sandal from his foot, and stews or soddens it, making something of a soup. These sandals being leather, or untanned hide, it is, perhaps, [46] not impossible to make of them a palatable soup! If on the fifth day he find no village, he then devours the sandal of his right foot. After this, still not finding a village, he collects bleached camels' bones and bleeds his camel as before mentioned.

A Tibboo always has a girdle with seven knots, and when travelling hard takes in, as the sailors would say, a reef every day; if after seven days he find nothing to eat, he is considered hungry and unfortunate. The three Tuaricks who followed us from the well of Aisou declared that they had had nothing to eat for fifteen days; and there cannot be a doubt of the fact, that both the Tibboos and the Tuaricks can, on a pinch, remain without food for a considerable time—say ten or twelve days.

A Tuatee, who knows Algiers well, arrived here this afternoon, and is going with us to Zinder. He brings an extraordinary report about the copy of the treaty which I left with Haj Ahmed at Ghât. He says he heard it read, and from it learned that "the Queen of England is now in Tripoli, and wishes to come and live in Ghât, and has offered to buy half Ghât." Such is the nature of Saharan reports.

More authentic intelligence arrived to-day by a courier, who made the journey from Ghât to Seloufeeat in fourteen days—sufficiently quick. This courier brings a warning from Khanouhen to the[47] caravans now proceeding to Ghât, not to come in twos or threes, as they were wont, but to come altogether, as he fears reprisals from the Shanbah and the Haghar.

The history of the thing is this:—A tribe of Tuaricks has always acted as the guides of the Shanbah in their foraging parties—on the Tuarick territory, for example—always pointing out to them the camels of the people of Ghât. Khanouhen has chastised this treacherous tribe, destroying a great many of them; but the Shanbah and Haghar not choosing to desert their old friends, have determined to take vengeance upon the Ghât Tuaricks. It is this revenge which Khanouhen fears. He anticipates a combined attack on the caravans. The wonder is how these routes are kept open at all, when these distant tribes, who have no interest in the commerce that moves along them, are notorious for their predatory feelings and education. It is now said that the Fadeea, our friends on the frontier, are in league with the Shanbah against the Ghât Tuaricks.

En-Noor, it appears, had sent his son to salute the new Sultan of Aghadez, and to assist in establishing or placing him on his throne. He got as far as Asoudee, when he fell in love with a pretty woman of the town, and at once married her, proceeding no farther on his mission. Yesterday evening a man arrived mounted on a maharee, bringing with him all the finery of the bride, which he exhibited [48] to the people, riding about the town! All were greatly astonished at the splendour of the bride's dowry. Are not these fit materials for an Arabian Night's entertainment? My servant, Saïd, also married the other evening, but not so romantically; taking up with the divorced wife of another freed black. I heard nothing of it until all was over. The parties guessed rightly that I should take no interest in the matter, or rather disapprove of it, as the fellow has abandoned his own and natural wife. This divorced negress, who has at last found a master, has gone the round of all the tents since she has parted from her former husband, and is a little intriguing wretch. The Sfaxee and Yusuf countenanced the affair, but kept it quite unknown to me. They, however, fetched Overweg, and presented him with a portion of the marriage-supper—bazeen. I felt much disgusted on hearing of the affair. The old wife is a native of Kanemboo, and is going thither. She will, of course, gladly take leave of her husband and this young wife and rival. Marriage is an excessively loose tie here, at any rate amongst the poor. The rich pretend to respect marriage.

We have all done little in clearing up difficulties, or obtaining correct information of the Tuaricks of the Sahara. No good informants are to be found. From the Sheikhs of Ghât it is quite impossible to learn anything. We hope to get some information from a Tanelkum now going with[49] us. Many tribes have been mentioned, casually; but the principal are—the three great tribes of Ghât, those to which Khanouhen, Shafou, Jabour, and Hateetah belong—a tribe in Janet—the Haghar of Ghamama—the Isokamara, located on the Tuat route from Aisou—the Tanelkums of Fezaan—the Maraga, a breed produced from the slaves of the Haghar and the Sorgou of Timbuctoo.

26th.—The sky is now frequently cloudy, but no rain falls. The valley of Tintalous is looking fresh, on account of the great quantity of wild cauliflower overspreading its surface, called by the Arabs liftee. This word liftee, is evidently derived from lift, "turnip." The vegetable grows in lines and circles, determined apparently by the action of the water, which deposits the seeds. No use is made of this wild cabbage; it is very bitter, and no animals even eat it.

En-Noor paid me a visit this morning before I was up; he drank some coffee, and went off to see his camels. The Tanelkums were quite wrong in their surmisings about En-Noor and his religious fanaticism. He has shown less fanaticism than any prince with whom we have had yet anything to do during the present journey. All the Kailouees of Tintalous are equally tolerant. We have now three quasi-princes, or sons of sultans, in Tintalous, besides the son of En-Noor. We have Mousa Waled Haj-Ali, who takes our despatches to Mourzuk, with Yusuf my interpreter, and a Tibboo, the[50] son of the Sultan of Kouïvar. As we proceed onwards, princes and sons of princes will thicken upon us.

27th.—I packed up and sent off all my despatches to Mourzuk, together with a few trifling things for my poor wife, by the hand of Mousa Waled Haj-Ali, the virtual Sheikh of the Tanelkums.

28th.—All the male inhabitants, with the exception of five or six, have gone off this morning to fetch salt from Bilma. They return here in the course of a month, and the greater part of the salt is transported from hence to Soudan by the next caravan. We have heard of our friends at Aghadez. They are expected here in a few days. The new Sultan of Aghadez is said—but there is little accuracy in these desert reports—to have gone on an expedition west, to settle some differences between some tribes in arms against one another. The people also say that the new Sultan is "hungry," and is glad of such an opportunity to get "something to eat." This is the way in which they would describe a Chancellor of the Exchequer planning a new tax.

Some say the object of the razzia is to chastise the Fadeea for attacking us; but still the main object is to fill the Sultan's "own hungry belly." Such are Asbenouee politics.

Bakin-Zakee, the Soudanese name of the Kailouee green cap, I know here means the "lion's mouth." This is the phrase with which I always[51] salute Zangheema, En-Noor's chief slave; but the terms are much more appropriate for his master, as intimating his avaricious, nay voracious, disposition. Zangheema, however, might be called "Kărĕn Zākee," the jackal of the lion, or "the lion's provider," so anxious is he to minister to the voracious appetite of his lord.

We have received the news that Dr. Barth is near. He is expected to-morrow evening, or early next day.

29th.—En-Noor paid me a visit at sunset to-day, and talked of how many children people had in this country. His highness said he knew a sultan in Soudan who had seven hundred children.

30th.—The Gatronee of the Germans confirms the report of the circumstance, that, when the Kailouees go to the Tibboos to trade for salt, all the male Tibboos run away, leaving all the business in the hands of the females; which latter, besides trading in salt with the Kailouees, make a good mercantile speculation with their charms. Each woman, in fact, has her Kailouee husband or lover, during the carrying on of this singular commerce. If the traders catch a single Tibboo man staying behind, they at once murder him, with the most marked approbation of the Tibboo women. Such is the state of connubial fidelity in this part of the Sahara.

The Tibboos have been very greatly neglected by persons writing on Africa, chiefly on account of[52] the slighting, summary way in which they are spoken of by the members of the former English expedition to Bornou. They are, however, divided into a great number of tribes, are spread over a considerable extent of country, and are partly the guardians of the Bornou route. We must pay them some attention when they come under our observation.

There is a man come from Dr. Barth and his party. They are expected in the course of forty-eight hours. En-Noor is very angry that they do not mend their pace. We are all ready to start. An immense caravan is waiting for their arrival.

31st.—The people begin to pester me to marry another wife in Soudan,—one very young and with large breasts is the kind of article they recommend.

The mysteries of Tintalous are celebrated at the well in the evening, under the bright, glowing light of Venus, which star is now seen a couple of hours above the horizon after sunset. On the margin of the well, which is on the other side of the wady, at the distance of a quarter of a mile, the damsels of Tintalous regularly meet their lovers, and spend with them half an hour of sweet communion. Some even retire to the shade of a large-spreading tholukh near, or behind blocks of rock rising on the edge of the valley, and indulge in lawful or unlawful embraces. The strangers who come here, the Moors of Tripoli and Fezzan, are freely initiated into these mysteries.


I am told by our servants, who have been round to all the villages or towns in the neighbourhood of Tintalous for the purchase of ghaseb, that these places, small or large, are none of them equal to Tintalous, although the houses are much the same—bell-shaped huts, and the people are of the same character. What has greatly astonished our servants is the fewness of the men; indeed, in some villages they saw no other persons but women and children, and scarcely any children. What is the cause of this? It would seem that the men are consumed by the women. These women bear few children, and perhaps this may in part account for, if it be not produced by, their excessive licentiousness. Yet the men are on the wing a great part of the year. The Kailouees, however, wherever they go, have their women at hand, and during a journey many of them take two or three female slaves. How is this superabundant supply of the softer sex kept up? If I am noticing a mere temporary phenomenon, the destruction of men in the razzias may account for the disproportion. Besides, the Kailouees are always imparting fresh slaves into their country.

The poor people of Tintalous are fed chiefly on the pounded grains of the herb bou rekaba. It is a real Asbenouee dish. Overweg made a supper of it one evening. I tasted it, and find it has a very strong flavour of herbs; that is to say, what is commonly imagined to be the flavour of herbs in general.[54] The people now go a long way for wood. The tholukh-trees of the valley are not allowed to be cut down; they are always preserved as a resource for the time of drought and dearth, when the flocks can find no herbage in the valley. The boughs are at such junctures lopped off, and the flocks are fed on the leaves. Thus I have seen the goats and sheep fed on the tholukh-leaves on the plains of Mourzuk, as well as near this place. Another reason may induce En-Noor to save the tholukh-trees,—that there may be a perpetual shade and verdure in the valley of Tintalous. There are many finer valleys than this in Asben, and were the trees not preserved, it would be a very barren, unlively spot.

This evening, two hours after sunset, Venus exhibited her most splendid phasis: the west, where she was setting, about half-an-hour before she disappeared, was lit up as if it was moonlight. On concealing the planet, the effect produced was that of the setting of the moon. Every star was eclipsed in the western circle of the heavens, I never saw anything before equal to this. I could here fully realise the words of Scripture, that the stars were made also "to give light upon the earth."

The manner of saluting and shaking hands amongst the Kailouees deserves notice: they first hold up the right hand with the palm outspread, like the Tuaricks of Ghât. Afterwards, when more companionable and familiar, they take hold of hands, and press them lightly some five or six[55] times or more, if great friends, and conclude this pressing of the hand with a sort of jerk, drawing quickly off each other's hand. In taking hold of the hand of your friend, you fit your thumb in the circle formed by his thumb and fingers, and every time you press his hand, and he presses yours, you separate the hands from each other.[5]

Nov. 1st.—The month has set in with wind,—not gusts, but steady wind, continually blowing from E.N.E. It is stated positively that we leave here to-morrow morning, whether the people return or not from Aghadez. I register all reports as I hear them, though perfectly aware that we have not been yet quite let into the secret of the singular migration in which we are about to bear a part. The greater number of the men of Tintalous have gone to Bilma in search of salt; and I originally understood that the great annual caravan was for the transport of this necessary article. Perhaps En-Noor means to go slowly on, just to keep us in good humour. Our intercourse with the Kailouees has taught us to consider them a very mild, companionable race. Often indeed, like children, I wonder what the Tibboos can see in them to make them so desperately afraid, for I am told ten Kailouees will frighten away fifty Tibboos of Bilma. But the Tibboos of Tibesty are considered a braver race. It is worthy of remark, that these cowardly[56] Tibboos have a bad character, and, like most cowards, are very treacherous.

I determined not to carry the little box in which the two bottles of champagne were packed any further; so I, Overweg, Yusuf, and the servants, set to work and drank a bottle of it, to the toast, "that we might have better luck higher up than all have hitherto experienced." The other bottle I have stowed away in reserve for the Lake Tchad, to drink the health of Her Majesty when we launch the boat, if we are fortunate enough to arrive there.

I went to the wells to see the people get water this morning. A number of little children came,—some naked, and others with small pieces of leather round their loins: they all wore very large necklaces of charms sown up in leather bags.

[4] People are called here by the nation, and even town, to which they belong, or in which they were born, as sometimes in Europe.

[5] This mode of shaking hands is common among the Fellâhs of Egypt.—Ed.



Dr. Barth's Journey to Aghadez—Description of the Route—Tiggedah—Luxuriant Scenery of Asadah—Plain of Tarist—Beautiful Valley—Buddeh—Small Caravan—Aghadez—its Inhabitants—their Occupation—The great Koku, or Sultan—Asbenouee Revolutions—Election of a Prince—Interview—Ceremony of Investiture—Razzia—Intricate Political System—Account of Aghadez—Mosque—Environs—Women—Tribes of Asben—The Targhee Family—Population of the Ghât Districts—of Aheer—The Oulimad and Tanelkums—Tribe of Janet—Haghar—Sagamaram—Maghatah—Extent of Aheer—Connexion with the Black Countries—Mechanism of Society in Aheer—Chieftains—Tax-gathering—Food of the Kailouees—Maharees—Amusements—Natural Features of Asben—Vegetation—Cultivation—Manufactures—Bags for Charms.

Dr. Barth[6] has made a very interesting journey to Aghadez. He says the track lies either through fine valleys or over mountain-chains cut up by[58] defiles. Here and there were charming spots, green with herbage and trees. In going, the shallow wells at Eghelloua were found to be full of water; but a month later they were all dry. Beyond is the Wady Chizolen, overlooked by a mountain that rises abruptly to the height of two thousand feet. Then comes the valley of Eghellal, with its rivulet, and beyond swell the famous mountains of the Baghzem. The worthy Doctor seems to have been too much occupied in collecting geographical data to preserve many picturesque facts by the way. On the third day he encamped at Tiggedah, where numerous species of trees and bushes tufted the valley, which was clothed also, near the margin of its streams, with grass as fresh and green as any in Europe. At that time, however, the place, with the exception of the cooing of wild doves and the cry of a solitary antelope, seemed perfectly unvisited by man. Afterwards, it was found full of flocks and herds, and enlivened by the encampment of a salt-caravan, with a string of young camels bound for Aghadez. The tribe to whom the valley belongs are nomadic, and shift from one place to another, as their fancies and necessities suggest. Amidst the trees, however, may be seen a small mosque, built of stone and roofed with palm-trees.

This agreeable place prefaces the still more luxuriant scenery of Asadah, where the vegetation is so rich, and the path so shut up by branches, that it is difficult to keep on the camel's back. What a [59] contrast to the naked deserts of Ghât! It was from between the rich foliage of this valley that Dr. Barth obtained his first glimpses of the majestic mountain-chain of Dogem, estimated to attain the height of between four and five thousand feet. It is the loftiest range in Aheer.

The plain of Erarer-en-Dendemu, which next succeeds, is covered with brushwood and low trees, and inhabited by lions—here called the Father of the Wilderness. Dr. Barth saw several, as well as a kind of ape about the size of a small boy, squatting in crowds on the lower hills. Beyond, overhung by the mountains of Anderas, is the rocky plain of Tarist, famous among the Arabs, as well as the Kailouees, on account of the remains of a mosque, indicated only by lines of stones on the ground. It was founded by a great saint called Sidi Baghdadi, and is a general resting-place for caravans. The basaltic formation here succeeds the granitic; and the plain is covered with loose black stones, about the size of a child's head.

Escaping from this rough ground, the travellers entered a narrow valley, trenched by a broad watercourse, along the sides of which was a thick growth of palm-trees. There are two villages in this wady. Near one of them slaves were seen yoked to a plough, and driven like oxen, by their master. Further south the hoe replaces the plough in preparing the ground. This valley, inhabited by the Imrad (a Targhee tribe), is capable of producing not only[60] ghaseb, but corn, wine, dates, and all kinds of vegetables. Fifty gardens adorn, it is said, the neighbourhood of Ifargen. But, in general, the rich soil is left uncultivated, and is covered by wild and sickly vegetation, which checks the progress of the traveller.

In Wadi Buddeh grows a prickly plant called karengia; and a parasite (griffenee), producing a sweet but insipid berry of a red colour. A party of five lions were pursued like so many jackals. A small caravan of four persons, in Wadi Teffarrakad, were making use of four different modes of progression: one was on a camel, another on a buffalo, the third on a donkey, and the fourth used his own legs. In Wady Boghel were the signs of a field of ghaseb having existed last year. The ground was covered by a sickly wild melon; and in the thick foliage of the trees the guinea-hens were cackling. Here Dr. Barth saw the first specimen of the bauré tree, the trunk measuring twenty-six feet in circumference, and the thick crown rising to the height of eighty feet. Here and elsewhere wild beasts were observed. The whole country, indeed, abounds in lions, wild boars, gazelles, ostriches, and monkeys.

On the seventh day the party reached Aghadez, which they entered about an hour after sunset, it being the custom in this country never to enter a town by day. Aghadez is situated on a hamadah, or lofty plateau of sandstone and granite formation. Around, although there is no arable soil, a good[61] deal of herbage and wood is found in the depressions of the plain. It is not surprising, therefore, that this much-talked-of capital is nothing but a large village, as indeed are all the other places of Aheer, with the exception of Asoudee. Aghadez, which is mentioned by Leo Africanus, is said by tradition to have been founded or enlarged by settlements from the north, consisting of a people called Arabs, but probably Berbers, since expelled by the Tuaricks. It serves as a sort of rendezvous between the Kailouees and the tribes to the south and west. A peculiar language (Emghedesie) is spoken by the inhabitants in their private intercourse; but Haussa is the idiom of trade. There are about seven hundred inhabited houses scattered among the ruins; and of fifty thousand people who must previously have lived within the walls, scarce eight thousand remain.[7] The inhabitants are partly artizans, partly merchants; but few caravans now[62] pass on this route, and commerce with Timbuctoo seems altogether to have ceased. The trade that exists is entirely in provisions, principally in ghaseb, or millet, which is imported from Damerghou. The system adopted is entirely one of barter—the Aghadez money consisting of turkedi,[8] or dark-coloured cotton for female clothing made in Soudan, Egyptian leather for sandals, English calico, white shawls, cloves, pepper, pearls, &c. All these objects are imported, the only manufactures of Aghadez being leather-work (sandals and saddles) and coloured mats. I do not know what materials are used in tanning. The Fezzanee gets assistance, according to my fighi, from four trees—the graut, the ethel, the pomegranate, and the essalan. The first and last are a species of acacia. Women and men work in their houses at the production of these articles, and merchants go and purchase à domicile, there being now no shops. There are three market-places or bazaars, where prices are very low.

The Sultan of Aghadez, the great Koku Abd-el-Kader, does not receive any direct contribution towards his revenues, from the people of Aghadez, but levies a kind of octroi of ten mithkals on every camel-load of goods that enters the town, provisions being exempt. He has property of his own, however; receives presents at his installation; and can[63] always raise a sum by making a razzia on any neighbouring freebooters.

It is a fundamental law in Aheer, that the Sultan of Aghadez shall belong to a particular family, which is said to derive its origin from Constantinople. Therefore when, in consequence of some discontent, Abd-el-Kader was deposed last year, the malcontents chose a relative, Hamed-el-Argau; but he also displeasing, a rival was set up in Makita, also of the same family. This caused great confusion, and the Walad Suleiman took the opportunity to make forays against Aheer. The prudent then resolved to restore the old Sultan, and succeeded, as I have already said, in their endeavours. When Dr. Barth arrived in Aghadez, the investiture was about to take place. The Sultan is chosen by the Kilgris and Iteesan tribes, who nourish a deadly hatred against their kindred, the Kailouees. On the present occasion, however, a marabout proclaimed peace and good-will between these ancient enemies. It was necessary, indeed, that some understanding should be come to, as after the election the ratification of En-Noor and Lousou is required. En-Noor, especially, is greatly respected by the people of Aghadez, as the grand supporter of authority in Asben. The new Sultan is usually brought from Sakkatou in state by the tribes Iteesan and Kilgris. A vast crowd of them, with their families and flocks, had marched up and occupied a camp[64] near the town; but they departed on the same day that Dr. Barth arrived—even before he entered.

Early in the morning, Dr. Barth paid his respects to the Sultan. He was a stout man, about fifty-five years of age—benevolent-looking, as far as could be judged in spite of his face-wrappers. He sat in a large room, supported by two massive columns, and received his visitors kindly. The presents pleased him, and were acknowledged by the counter-present of a fat ram, and by meals sent every day.

The ceremony of investiture took place on the 16th of October, and seems to have been an imposing spectacle. Certain intricate forms are used to express the combination of various Tuarick tribes in choosing this foreign sultan. Succeeding it was the great festival, on which a procession took place, in which the new chief, wearing the burnouse which I had sent him, took part, with a great number of Tuaricks in their best array. Immediately afterwards a razzia (of which both we and Dr. Barth heard various conflicting reports) was agreed upon against the tribes of the north, especially those who had molested our expedition—the Fadeea. It was highly successful, and may perhaps be useful in procuring respect for future travellers. Two thousand men went out upon this foray, in which Abd-el-Kader was accompanied by Astakeelee, the Sultan of the Kailouees. Some, indeed, say that the latter[65] only acted. Very little resistance was made, and I hear of only one man being killed. The fellow who stole Barth's maharee was compelled to restore him. Dr. Barth, however, though well-pleased on the whole with his reception, did not venture to present the treaty. He obtained some letters of recommendation to Soudan. Many of the distinguished persons of Aghadez visited Dr. Barth during his stay, and altogether his reception was satisfactory.

I have already mentioned that the Sultan of Aghadez, though elected and controlled by a kind of aristocracy of sheikhs of various tribes, is invested with the power of life and death. He is said to have a frightful dungeon, into which guilty persons are thrown upon swords sticking upright in the ground. In his warlike expeditions he is regarded, however, as chief of some tribes only. The Kailouees have a sultan of their own, and encamp apart. The Sakonteroua, or Sheikh of Aghadez, exercises considerable influence. He is obliged annually to accompany the great salt-caravan, which sometimes numbers ten thousand camels—Saharan statistics—to Sakkatou.

The town of Aghadez was formerly divided into a variety of quarters, the names of which still remain, although the space they occupied—three miles in circuit—is now principally filled with ruins. With the exception of five or six rubbish-hills, the whole space is level. The houses are spacious, with large rooms and court-yards. They are of mud, whitewashed, and furnished with flat terraces. Doves,[66] children, and young ostriches, enliven the streets. There are some mosques, but none of imposing architecture. One, however, has a lofty tower, almost pyramidal in shape, supported on a basement of pillars, and rising to the height of about ninety feet. There is a kind of ladder inside; but Dr. Barth was not allowed to ascend, being told that the entrance was walled up.

The land around the town is slightly undulating, and covered in the depressions with the Acacia Arabica. Herbage and good water abound. There are no orchards near, except in Wady Ameluli; but El-Hakhsas, three hours distant, produces melons, cucumbers, and melochiyeh, and supplies the whole town.

The women of Aghadez are reported to be free and easy in character, and let loose tremendously as soon as the Sultan had departed on his razzia. Dr. Barth had some difficulty in keeping them at a distance. There are more children, however, to be observed in Aghadez than in most Aheer towns.

This journey of Dr. Barth's has considerably extended our acquaintance, both with the geography and the political state of Asben or Aheer. We see now that it is strictly a portion of the Sahara, intersected with fertile valleys, that towards the south begin to assume quite a tropical character. The inhabitants are various in origin and in name; but it is difficult to describe their subdivisions with any accuracy. According to the natives, there are only[67] two great tribes—the Kailouees, which division includes the Kailouees proper, the Kaltadak, and the Kalfadaï; and, secondly, the Kilgris, including the Kilgris proper, the Iteesan, and the Ashraf. But, in questions of detail, numerous other names appear which it is difficult to arrange under any proper head. The Kailouees are, I think, of genuine Targhee origin, although, as I have already mentioned, with a mixture of the Soudan races. The Kaltadak and the Kalfadaï seem to be identical with the borderers who attacked us on our first entrance into this country. The Kilgris are located southward, beyond Aghadez, along the Sakkatou route, and even far into Soudan, where the influence of the Targhee races seems to be rapidly on the increase.

According to some of the Tanelkum Sheikhs, the following are the names of the principal Targhee tribes scattered over the desert of Sahara, excluding the inhabitants of Aheer:—

1. Ouraghenfamilyof Shafou.
2. Emanghasatan"of Hateetah.
3. Amana"of Jabour.

These are Ghât Tuaricks—Azghers.[9]

4. Aheethanaran, the tribe of Janet.

5. Hagar (Ahagar), pure Hagars and Maghatah,[68] who stand to them somewhat in the relation of the Kourglouss of Algiers to the Turks. They occupy the tract between Ghât, Tuat, and Timbuctoo.

6. Sagamaram; located on the route from Aisou to Tuat.

7. Oulimad; tribes surrounding Timbuctoo in great numbers. In conjunction with the Berebisheers, a tribe of Arabs, they shut up the road between Aghadez and Timbuctoo by their predatory character.

8. Tanelkum, located in Fezzan.

We have been making inquiries of the Tanelkums about the population of Ghât and its deserts. The Tanelkums say, that ten or twelve years ago Khanouhen brought up about ten thousand maharees against the then masters of Mourzuk, the Walad Suleiman, headed by Abd-el-Galeel. The ten thousand maharees were the whole force and strength of the Azgher, Khanouhen having called out every male; for every man of the Azgher is a warrior. The Arabs, seeing the number of the Tuaricks, deemed it expedient to make peace. From this circumstance, it would be supposed that the Azgher may number from five to ten thousand families, nearly all located west of the Soudan route, along the lines of the Ghadamez and Tuat routes; where, it is said, there are fertile valleys, in which dates and corn are cultivated. But at Ghât I could never learn anything of these wadys. During my last visit I had no time,[69] and the people there had no inclination to give me information about this fertile portion of the Azgher desert. On the former occasion, I learned from Haj Ahmed that there was a running stream, on the banks of which corn was cultivated, at about four days west of Ghât. This is probably the locality of Janet. For myself, I do not believe the Azgher Tuaricks number more than two thousand families.

Of the population of Aheer I have been able to learn nothing definite; that is to say, nothing which I can absolutely depend upon. Some make it reach above fifty thousand souls. There are, however, only forty towns, exclusive of Aghadez; and about twenty places where people live in tents. I wrote down a second list of them, with their directions, and some guess at the number of male inhabitants. The son of the Tanelkum Sheikh considers the Kailouee warriors to amount to about fourteen thousand; which, indeed, will make the whole population above sixty thousand. The accounts I have received, therefore, seem to be sufficiently exact for general purposes.

The Tanelkum Sheikh says there are no other tribes of Tuaricks but those enumerated above. The largest and most powerful tribe is that in the neighbourhood of Timbuctoo, the Oulimad, answering, perhaps, to the Sorghou of Caillie; and the smallest and weakest, the Tanelkum. But the Tanelkums, if small in number, are great in pride,[70] and consider themselves a race of marabouts. They certainly make long prayers, and several of them can write a little. The Turks treat the Tanelkums with great consideration, and every year the Pasha of Mourzuk gives their Sheikh a fine burnouse and other presents. They pay no impost, though living in the Fezzan valleys. They are devoted to peaceful pursuits, and are camel-drivers and small merchants. Formerly they were powerful; and gave a sultan to the town of Ghât. About a century ago, their Sheikhs and the greater part of the Tanelkums were destroyed by a razzia of the Tibboos. They had then a town, which was situate in the Wady Esaiyen, where there are still ruins to be seen, and which we passed near Berkat.

Of the Oulimad I know but little, except that they are exceedingly turbulent, even ferocious, in the neighbourhood of Timbuctoo. They also extend their razzias from Timbuctoo to the south-western frontiers of the Asbenouee territories. A very short time ago they made a foray on the Soudan route, between this and Damerghou. The Ghât Tuaricks I have pretty well described.

The tribe of Janet has been mentioned frequently in this journal, from the circumstance of their attempting to get up a razzia against the expedition.

The Haghar are well known, even in Europe, for their freebooting propensities. They lie between the Oulimad and the Azgher tribes surrounding Tuat, and are some of them engaged in commerce.


The Sagamaram (or Sgamara) are an interesting small tribe, located in the rocky valleys, along the line of the route from Aisou to Tuat. They are mostly dressed in leathern clothes, and trade with Tuat, taking their cloths and a fragrant herb called debau, which they exchange against dates, &c. They likewise come to Aheer and Soudan, and fetch slaves and goods for the souks of Tuat. They are a very pacific tribe, not unlike the Tanelkums, but carrying on more commerce.

The Maghatah (or Maratah) are a thievish race, and have the vices of their mothers, those peculiar to Soudan, as well as the more ferocious traits of Berber bandits. Several of these people are in Janet.

In concluding these imperfect general observations on the state of Aheer or Asben, I will only add that the country extends from north to south eleven days' journey, or about two hundred and twenty miles (twenty miles to the day); and east and west, eight days, or one hundred and sixty miles. Aghadez, the largest town or city, stands, as has been seen, alone; and may be considered as a kind of connecting link, politically and otherwise, with the black countries to the south. I have already endeavoured to explain the singular constitution of society in this large but thinly-peopled tract. We observe there a curious combination of the monarchical and patriarchal states, with a dash of democracy into the bargain. Several times[72] I have been reminded of Homer's heroic age. The princes and the people seem alternately to appear on the scene, exercising sovereign sway. The great Sultan is elected from out of the country; but he is compelled to seek the ratification of the chiefs, the elders, and the populace within. Then there is the great chief of the Kailouees, whose town or camp is at Asoudee; with Sultan Lousou, a most influential man; not to speak of the great En-Noor himself, who has, perhaps, personally, the greatest political weight of them all. Each of these great men is perpetually surrounded by an army of retainers, dependants, and slaves; and public affairs are transacted, partly according to some old routine, difficult for a stranger to understand, partly after the fashion of "Arabian Nights," kings meeting casually at the head of great armies in some poetical wilderness. All these chieftains are both pastors and merchants. One of their chief articles of traffic is, I am sorry to say, their unfortunate fellow-creatures. They are the greatest slave-dealers in the Sahara; two-thirds of the whole commerce is in the hands of the Kailouees. The Sultans levy duties likewise on the caravans that pass through their territory—duties which, to our cost, we know to be neither regular nor moderate; but they have no right to apply taxation to their quasi-subjects. Sometimes, when they are "hungry," they make a razzia on a distant tribe, and find both slaves and cattle at their disposal.


As might have been expected, the Kailouees—princes and people—are not very refined in their ideas or luxurious in their habits. Their food consists principally of the grains ghaseb and ghafouley, or guinea-corn. They have also flocks and herds of sheep, camels, and bullocks; but the bullocks are used chiefly for draft, and to carry goods from Aheer to Soudan. Asses are exceedingly numerous, and likewise go to Soudan to fetch guinea-corn. The population of Aheer, being scattered about in small towns and villages, a few hours journey apart, these animals are found very useful for the transport of the persons and effects of the poor. The richer people have camels of the maharee species, like all the Tuaricks; and in some respects it is the possession of this splendid animal which distinguishes the Kailouee population from the people to the south. For example, all their sports and pastimes would be exactly Soudanese, were it not for the introduction of the maharee. On the celebration of a wedding, the Kailouees ride round the groups of guests on their silent-treading camels, which measure their movements to the sound of a big rude drum. Such scenes would otherwise be perfectly Nigritian. The men dance, flourishing their lances; and the slaves both dance and sing. But I have already noted down all that I observed remarkable in manners, and need not here repeat myself.

The great natural features of Asben, also, are[74] doubtless by this time impressed on the mind of the reader. They consist of a series of naked granite rocks or mountains, some of them rising to upwards of three or four thousand feet, ranging in every direction, with many isolated peaks; and of picturesque valleys winding along between steep precipices—threads of green, in which the tholukh and all species of mimosa and acacia, with the souag and other trees, flourish in immense growth, sometimes adorned by garlands and festoons of luxuriant parasitical plants. Wild animals of various kinds range at will in unfrequented places, but do not seem to excite much terror. There are gardens and cornfields in the neighbourhood of some of the towns and villages, the cultivation being kept up during the dry months by irrigation; but only a few of the inhabitants, mostly slaves, cultivate the soil. Besides the grains I have mentioned, a few vegetables, principally onions, are produced. Date-palms bear fruit, which is good, but will not keep.

I have already mentioned the chief manufactures of Aheer. They flourish to the greatest extent in Aghadez; but Tintalous also has its artizans. Working in leather was very popular during our stay, in consequence of the presence of a noted charm-writer—bags being necessary. A good many cunning blacksmiths ply their trade in various places.

[6] See the papers read before the Geographical Society, in January and March 1851. It appears to me that Mr. A. Petermann slightly depresses the importance of the part played by Mr. Richardson in this mission. However, this may arise from the fact that the communications on which his paper was founded were all from his German friends. It is not necessary to be grudging of notice to any of the three enterprising gentlemen who undertook this arduous journey; but we must always remember who planned the Mission, and who directed it with consummate prudence as long as life and strength lasted. In Mr. Richardson's MS. an outline is given of Dr. Barth's journey, and I therefore insert it, with corrections and additions, from the papers just alluded to.—Ed.

[7] This is Dr. Barth's statement, which I have introduced from his own account. It will have been seen that Mr. Richardson (see vol. i. "Note on the Territorial Division of Aheer,") makes a much lower estimate. I may here remind the reader, that even when in his diary Mr. Richardson inserts two different and contradictory statements, I do not undertake to select one and suppress the other, except in the case of an obvious slip of the pen. Nor have I thought it necessary to burden the page by indications of slightly different assertions. A diary must necessarily abound with imperfect observations, which correct or complete one another; and perhaps the general impression left on the mind of the reader—who accompanies, as it were, the writer in receiving its various elements—is more like truth than it would be after the perusal of one absolute dogmatic statement.—Ed.

[8] As an illustration of the previous note, I will observe that this word is spelt in several different ways in the MS., and I do not know which is the correct one.—Ed.

[9] The three tribes of Ghât are called Azgher, in contradiction to the Hagar. A Tanelkum explained the meaning of this last word (which I have usually written Haghar) to mean "wandering" or "wanderers." The word is sometimes written Hogar.



Projected Departure for Damerghou—False Start—Picturesque Caravan—Sultan's Views of White Skins—My Birthday—The Sultan fights his Battles over again—His Opinion of Women—Bragging—The Razzia on the Fadeea—Political News in the Desert—Cold Weather—Continue our Journey—Bornouese Fighis—Tin-Tagannu—Trap for a Lion—Mousa's Camels—A further Delay—Jackals and the Fire—Language of Signs—Tintalousian Coquettes—Departure of the Zinder Caravan—Natural Features—Languages—The Kilgris—Killing Lice—The Razzia to the North—Present of a Draught-board—Pagan Nations—Favourable Reports.

Nov. 2d.—As this was the day fixed for our departure for Damerghou, it may well be imagined that we looked forward to it with some anxiety. Our delay in the neighbourhood of Tintalous had been unexpectedly long, and at times even the idea had crossed our minds that we should never be allowed to depart at all. Often we had desired to start alone; but had been withheld by our own prudence, as well as by the representations of our host, the venerable Sheikh of Tintalous. We had come by degrees scarcely to believe in the possibility of an advance, and to consider ourselves as the prisoners of circumstances in this advanced part[76] of the Sahara, touching on the very borders of Central Africa. Now, however, we saw, by the bustle of preparation in the town, that, whether the salt-caravan arrived or not, we were to press forward. All night the town was in a bustle. We rose before sunrise, to complete what packing we had to do, and saw Jupiter and the moon in positions nearly resembling the Ottoman device. It was windy all yesterday and this morning, with a considerable degree of cold.

To my astonishment when we had taken leave of Tintalous, we pitched tent after half an hour's journey. This was done, however, for a twofold reason: 1st, to see that all was right, and that we had left nothing behind; and 2d, to buy ghaseb,—a supply having arrived from Asoudee just in time for us to carry with us. Never was there a more picturesque caravan. Ladies on bullocks, children and women on donkeys, warriors on maharees, merchants on camels, the Sultan's horse harnessed going alone, and following steadily; goats and their kids, sheep, foals of camels, &c. running or straggling along! When we had pitched tent in the valley, still in sight of Tintalous, En-Noor paid us a visit, and vouchsafed to explain the reasons of our delay. His highness also related several interesting things of Aghadez. The Sultan of that place, he says, is a descendant of one of three brothers, Shereefs, who ruled in Africa over the negro and other races. The eldest brother was Sultan of the[77] West (Morocco); the next was Sultan of Bornou; and the third and youngest was Sultan of Aghadez in remote times. But how remote, it is impossible for En-Noor to tell, and, of course, for me to relate. I was much amazed by the predilection of En-Noor (who is not absolutely a white man) for black people. He praised Overweg, because he was getting brown and black. As for me, his highness was almost inclined to express his disgust for the whiteness of my skin. Unfortunately, I happen to be what the people call in England "very fair," except in those parts of my skin which come in direct contact with the sun. I spent the day in compiling a Haussa vocabulary, and hope to make considerable progress by the time we arrive in Damerghou.

3d.—This was my birthday, but of course it was unkept, and, indeed, almost unthought of until it was past.

En-Noor again visited us, and drank with us coffee. His highness is getting quite attached to my tent, and swears that when I return to my country I must become a great man, and be made, like himself, a governor or sultan of some country. Shall I say, Inshallah? I asked Yusuf to explain why the Sultan thought so, and I could only learn that it was the opinion which his highness had formed from my general conduct.

Being in a very happy humour to-day, the Sultan related many things of his youth; his exploits, of course, which all men relate, and which I shall[78] likewise do, I imagine, if I live to be old. Showing us his withered fleshless arms, and taking hold of his armlets, he observed: "The time was when these armlets could not slip off. Now, see how easily they come away." He then abused me for my leanness, and admired the Taleb (Overweg), because he had more flesh on his bones. His highness also stated that he and a single man went to Damerghou and back in thirteen days, bringing a caravan of ghaseb. They never stopped on the road, but travelled day and night. This garrulous gentleman also declared he was the maker of his own fortunes—that he would not receive anything from his father. When he was young, he would take no person's advice; he did everything himself and from himself: but on the death of his father he always kept to his post as Sheikh of Tintalous, and Sultan of two towns in Soudan. He never moved this way or that way. Thus he has remained to a good old age, respected and venerated by all, whilst all his compeers have disappeared—not one remaining. He looks around for the friends and companions of his youth, and finds not one—they are all gone! Even now he allows no one in Asben to be greater than himself. Even if a Sultan presumes to lord it over him, he (En-Noor) at once knocks him down, and he is no longer Sultan in Asben. He remains, however, friends with all if he can. He never takes notice of anything which is not done under his own eyes; but when he sees a[79] bad thing committed, he then acts—killing the wicked people, if necessary.

The opinion of his highness of women does not flatter the ladies. He recommended us never to listen to the advice of our wives; if we did, we should be lost. The women were very well to fetch water, pound ghaseb, and cook the supper, but for nothing else. He never, himself, paid any attention to what they said; they were awful talkers. His highness here touched on a tender point; for, as the reader remembers, he has been beating one of his wives shamefully lately, because he pretended he was alarmed at her continual talking—bewildered by the length of her tongue! Proceeding in his confessions, the Sultan next related wonderful stories of a wonderful maharee which he had in his youth. With this maharee he rode to Aghadez in one day. With this maharee he chased, and run down, and won gazelles, and then cooked and ate them, &c. Glorious old fellow! Our Tanelkum Mousa, however, afterwards observed, that this was kitheb, "a lie;" but that he knew a woman who could catch gazelles. Many other things of equal interest his highness related, and then left us in a good humour.

Two of our camels strayed this evening. En-Noor's people soon brought them back. Our servants are very careless, and all our mishaps are a profit to the Kailouees. We have still, however, two camels lost, and, I imagine, shall not now recover [80] them. But I was glad to hear the news that the Sultan of Asoudee was successfully chastising all the people who on the road attacked us. He had punished the people of Azaghar and of Seloufeeat, even the son of Haj Bashaw; and the Haj himself, who was said to be our friend, because he did not look after his son. The Sultan acts quite according to my opinion, making all the principal people of Seloufeeat and other places responsible for the conduct of the poorer and lower classes. It is said that the Fadeea have fled; but others say that they have been captured, and all our property which could be found seized in the name of the Sultan of Asoudee. All the steps taken by this Sultan have been directed, more or less, by En-Noor. He can muster, it is said, two thousand warriors—for every able-bodied man fights in this country. This expedition may be useful for future travellers from Europe, but I fear we shall get back none of our property.

As a specimen of the political news strained through the brains of the people of Tuat, I may mention that the Tuatee, recently arrived here, reports that "the King of the Frenchmen has run away to England, and carried with him all the money of the French," and, moreover, that "as the French conquered Algiers by distributing large dollars to every one, and hold it by the same means, the French now having no money, must soon relinquish Algiers again to the hands of the Muslims."


4th.—The weather is getting colder and colder. The last few days have been quite chilly, with a strong wind blowing from the east. This morning it was quite uncomfortable, the thermometer having fallen for the first time to 60° at sunset. We started early, and made seven hours in a south-eastern direction. It was a nice ride; but as the day advanced we got much sunburnt. After three hours we passed on the left the little village Zouazgher. The caravan showed again very picturesquely, the burdens tumbling off from the donkeys in the most delightful confusion, and the girls squalling for help. I ate on the road some Soudan dates, as they are called by the Arabs, and found them pleasant—a sort of bitter sweet. The name of the tree and of the fruit is, in Bornou, bitu. In Haussa the tree has two names, aduwa and tinku. Our course to day was up a fine valley, down which the water in the rainy season runs from east to west. There was abundance of trees and herbage. At this place, however, lions abound, and last night a camel was eaten by them. We encamped opposite a mountain, rising pretty high in sugar-loaf shape, called Adudai. Over the carcase of the camel hovered a small flock of eagles.

A Bornouee fighi, called Mustapha, from the country Malămdi, west of Kuka, tells us he has been six months at Aghadez. According to him, the route from Aghadez to Timbuctoo is one month.[82] It is open, and not dangerous. En-Noor, indeed, promised to send any of us by that route if we wished. There are few people on the route, and if you pay them a little money you pass unmolested. This Bornouese fighi is not equal to his brethren whom I saw in Tintalous. But I learnt from this itinerant pedagogue the interesting fact, that there are a great number of persons of his profession, all from Bornou, travelling about in Aheer. Light, therefore, is springing up from the interior, and spreading to the coast in an opposite direction to what it did in former times.

5th.—Warmer weather greeted us this morning. We stay here to-day. The place is called Tin-Tagannu, and is a large wady, full of herbage and trees. It is inhabited by a few shepherds. This place is said to have been the first of the inhabited localities in Aheer, although now shepherds only drive their flocks there; so that spots of earth have their seasons and fortunes in the Sahara as elsewhere. By the way, I must continue to call this Sahara. Although there are periodic rains, we are still without the influences of the Soudan climate, which begins at Damerghou and Zinder. At the present season no country can be more healthy than these Asbenouee valleys. I hear that nearly all the women, as well as the men, have left Tintalous, so that the town is a perfect desert. En-Noor has brought his wives and daughters, and our caravan is like the migration [83] of the whole of the town going in quest of a new country.

A trap was set last night for the lion, but the king of beasts was too wise to be caught. En-Noor borrowed a gun of us to make this trap, which was of the following description. It was expected that the lion would come again to the carcase of the camel; so a hedge of thorns was made round the carcase with one opening, where was placed the muzzle of the gun, with a large piece of meat tied to the trigger, so that when he seized the meat he might fire off the deadly weapon against himself.

This is a fine place for doves, and Overweg shot half a dozen to-day. Our Tanelkum, Mousa, informs us of the right way of tending camels. They ought never to be tied, but allowed to roam at large. They require also to be led through the best valleys, being so far helpless in finding a good grazing-place for themselves. He showed us his camels, comparing them with ours. And certainly ours, which had their legs tied and were not guided to good herbage, could not bear comparison. But, of course, the business, the support, the riches of Mousa, are his camels. They occupy all his thoughts, and would appear, to a stranger, to be the end of his existence.

6th.—This morning at sunrise the thermometer was as low as 52° Fahrenheit. We shivered with cold.


Dr. Barth arrived early by way of Tintalous. He confirms the news that the Sultans of Aghadez and Asoudee have completely chastised all those tribes who stopped us on the road and levied black mail on us.

En-Noor paid us a visit in the morning. After shaking us all in a very friendly manner by the hands, he expressed his regret that he could not go with us now to Zinder. The country was not tranquil, and the people would not consent to his going; but if we wished to proceed immediately with his principal slave, Zangheema, he assured us we should go safely. He then left us to reflect upon what we would do. We decided, without a dissentient voice, that we could not venture to go with Zangheema, and that we must wait for En-Noor, be the time ever so long. We forwarded this decision to his highness, who seemed to receive it with satisfaction. His wife sent us word, "To be sure not to go without her husband;" a piece of advice from a lady we are anxious most religiously to respect. Dr. Overweg made an application, through Daubala and Yusuf, to go to the salt-mines of Bilma with the Kailouees. But either the applicants betrayed the thing, or En-Noor was unwilling to grant permission. Our friend, therefore, is disappointed of this most interesting geological excursion.

We are to remove a little further to the west, to a valley more convenient than this for pitching tents, and under some shelter. We still hope we[85] shall not be obliged to await the return of the salt-caravan from Bilma (that is, a month, or forty days) before we start. Probably, when good news comes from the camp in the west we shall go on. It will be a sad trial for our patience to wait so long, after having already dallied more than two months in Tintalous.

7th.—The thermometer at sunrise stood at 51°—very cold. There are no signs yet of Zangheema's starting to Damerghou. The people, when sitting over the fire in the evening, relate jocosely that the jackals, not being able to come near the flame, and nevertheless feeling the cold very much, hold up their fore-paws, in a sitting or squatting position, in imitation of men, towards the fire, be they at ever so great a distance, and so screw up their imaginations to the belief that they are warming themselves. The language of gesticulation and signs, by the movement of different parts of the body, is quite a study in this part of the world. The most singular gesticulation, and yet the most significant, is that by which a person begs a thing. He holds the object in one hand (the left) before the owner, then gives the right hand and arm a swing round, and at last places the right hand to his bosom—the meaning of all which is, that he seeks to ascertain if the owner has any other article of the same description as that which he holds in his left hand, and whether he is willing to give it to him. When a Kailouee says a thing[86] is good, he puts the forefinger of his right hand into the clasped palm of his left, and so, as he pronounces the thing good, nagari, he turns his imprisoned finger round within the closed left hand. When he says there are many persons, he clasps together the fingers of his left hand, and forms a good English fist, holding the hand thumb upwards. He then strikes, with the palm of his right hand, the fist of his left hand, held in that particular position. This sign also represents a more indelicate idea, and is used in the same way on the coast.

The women, from the shepherdess to the princess, of Tintalous, are as fond of the bustle as European dames; but the important difference is, it is the natural bustle which they here delight to exhibit to the admiring male population. If a woman be called to, going off to the well for water, she does not turn round to see who is calling, but immediately draws her frock tight round her form, and imparts to it a most agitated and unnatural swinging motion, to the great satisfaction of the admiring lookers-on. Thus we see how the coquettes of London and Paris meet at opposite poles with these of the Sahara and Central Africa.

Additional applications were made to En-Noor by my colleagues, to go respectively to Bilma and to Zinder—Dr. Barth wishing to go on with Zangheema—but without effect. The old Sheikh remained firm in his refusals: Zangheema, however,[87] was the first to start objections to Barth's accompanying him. As to Overweg, we think he lost his opportunity by not treating directly with En-Noor, instead of Hamma his son-in-law. His highness will do nothing extra for us unless paid.

8th.—We rose early, and found a large portion of the caravan destined for Zinder already gone. This is very tiresome to see the people starting with whom you were to have gone, and to know that you have still thirty or forty days to wait; and as for expenses, living at almost as dear a rate as in Tripoli. Our boat has gone with the caravan.

Hereabouts grow a great quantity of wild water-melons, delaâah. They are very small and bitter, but the people, nevertheless, eat them occasionally. If cultivated they would, of course, soon yield an excellent supply. Barth represents the road between this and Aghadez as very woody, and also that the country is everywhere mountainous. Baghzem is not high, but is, nevertheless, a very large mountain, seen several days' journey. The high plains without water are also covered with trees. I hear, also, that the road between this and Damerghou is exceedingly woody, and the trees of "the scratching or rending description," like the tholukh. Aheer also abounds in senna.

Yusuf says that all the people of Soudan are red, with the exception of the inhabitants of Tesaoua, Kanou, Kashna, and Maradee.


Barth represents Gouber as stronger than ever, and united in alliance with Maradee against the Sultan of Sakkatou. He has written all the towns. Gouber appears amongst the towns described by Leo Africanus.

9th.—This morning En-Noor paid us a visit, to tell us to move after him in the wady near, under the shade of the trees. His highness was very polite and friendly, as he has now been for some time past.

The weather continues cold—thermometer, 49° at sunrise in the air. This cold weather ought to strengthen or restore our health. It certainly would do us good, much good, if we could get meat and soups.

I sent on our boat yesterday to Zinder, with three of our servants, together with some other heavy baggage. I was occupied to-day in compiling the Haussa dictionary. Kashna is represented to be the fountain of the Haussa language, the Florence of Soudan. Kanou is a place of foreigners, and the language of the city must be much corrupted. According to En-Noor, Kal, in the names Kalfadaï, Kaltadak, Kilgris, and Kailouee, signifies country. There are to be added to the zoology of this country the monkey and the mohur, or fine large gazelle, as large as a deer, called in Haussa măráiă. We already find great differences in the pronunciation of the Haussa language, but especially in the[89] following letters:—sh is confounded with ch or tch, l with r, and r with l, o with u, &c. Letters are also frequently unnecessarily doubled. These differences, however, will never much affect the conversation, when the parties are well agreed upon what subject they are conversing.

10th.—This morning we are removing to the shade of the trees, near En-Noor. Dr. Barth describes the Kilgris as very fine, tall men, and much lighter in complexion than the Kailouees: they dress very simply, having only the black turkadee on their heads, having neither a bakin zakee under it, nor any white shash, or fotah, to wind upon it, in the fashion of the Kailouees. They are, like all these tribes, very proud, and nourish a deadly enmity towards the Kailouees, of whom they take precedence in Aghadez. Barth gave away a black-lead pencil in Aghadez, and afterwards everybody came to ask him for one. A person got one pencil, and begged another, saying, "the two would last him his whole life."

11th.—The weather is increasingly cold in the morning; three-quarters of an hour after sunrise the thermometer was 45° in open air.

His highness vouchsafed this day to sleep in my tent, and yesterday he did the Germans the honour of slaughtering lice in theirs. It is a grand piece of etiquette in this country, that every man has the privilege of murdering his own lice. If you pick a louse off a man's sleeve, you must deliver it up[90] instantly to him to be murdered, as his undoubted right and privilege.

The Sultan of Aghadez has returned from his razzia against the people of Seloufeeat, of Azgher, and the Kalfadaï. Those whom he caught he chastised: but most of the Fadeea fled. I register these varying reports, because they show the state of uncertainty in which we were always kept, now hearing one thing, now another. But the true state of the case seems to be, that though the great Koku of Aghadez did take the field for a razzia, the actual operations were conducted by the Sultan of Asoudee. It must be remembered, however, that with their maharees these desert-princes can march to and fro with surprising rapidity, and that rumour finds it difficult to follow their footsteps. En-Noor now thinks the country sufficiently tranquil to move on two days further. He says he shall do so in the course of fifteen days.

12th.—His highness paid me a visit as usual, and I gave him a box containing a looking-glass, with a lid, on which is painted a draught-board, for the wife of his highness, who recommended us not to leave En-Noor, but continue with him until he carried us safely to Zinder. His highness expressed great satisfaction for the present; and when I told him to take care it was not broken, he observed: "I will take especial care of this thing, because there is none like it in this country, and it cannot be repaired." He told us also that his ladies[91] could play at draughts. I gave him, besides, a piece of green silk for a shade for his eyes. He went off immediately, gratified with these little presents.

The weather is very pleasant for the study of languages, but the days are too short and the nights are too long. Nevertheless, I sleep nearly all night this cold weather.

13th.—Thermometer at sunrise in the open air was 41° 30' Fahr., so that the cold increases, this being the lowest which I have yet taken. The Germans have had a deal of trouble with Mohammed of Tunis; they would send him back, but there is no opportunity of doing so.

Máguzáwa and Azna are the names of the pagan nations of Soudan, denoting the same people, and not different races. The names answer to the word Kurdi, in Bornou. These pagans say, in derision of the Muslims, when it rains, "Allah must have a large belly," that so much water falls from him.

En-Noor describes pagans of Maradee drinking large quantities of gia (beer, or fermented liquor).

This evening a Gadamsee arrived at the tents, bringing two or three slaves from Damerghou. He says the news of our arrival had already reached Damerghou—that it was reported there that the Sultan of Aghadez had given Barth a black tobe; not, by any means, a bad rumour. He sends his slaves to Ghât from this place, and returns immediately to Damerghou, taking letters for us to Zinder.



Medicine for Bad Eyes—A summary Proceeding—News from the Salt-Caravan—Towns and Villages of Tesaoua—Earthquakes—Presents for the Sultan of Maradee—Yusuf's Insolence—English Money in Aheer—A Razzia on the Holy City—Bornouese Studies—Gipsies of Soudan—En-Noor and the Marabouts—Ghaseb—State of the Weather—Calculations for the Future—Senna—Relations of Man and Wife in Aheer—En-Noor in his Family—Gouber and Maradee—Beer-drinking—Study of the Sau—Shara—The Oulimad—Lions—Translating Jokes—Digging a Well—Projects.

Nov. 14th.—I wrote this morning, by the slaves going to Ghât, to Mr. Bidwell and my wife. En-Noor paid us a visit in the afternoon, and was exceedingly civil. He promises me letters for Sakkatou, and to forward Overweg to Maradee.

Our servant shot a large vulture to-day. En-Noor having bad eyes, ordered the eyes of this bird of prey to be scooped out for a medicine. This is not the first time that I have heard of the various parts of animals being eaten, or otherwise used, to cure or strengthen the corresponding parts in human beings. It seems to be an idea natural to people in a rude or semi-barbarous state.


En-Noor related a pretty anecdote of himself and his younger days in our tent to-day. After saying, that formerly the Asbenouee people were the only folks considered bad in these parts, he observed, that now he himself and the Asbenouee were certainly much improved in their manners and dispositions; "for," added he, "there were once four fighis (charm-writers) who employed people to speak against me, and bring me into disrepute. What did I do? I called them to me, gave them fine presents of burnouses and a great supper, with an apartment in which to pass the night. But when they were fast asleep I dug a large hole, fetched them all out of the room, killed them, and covered them up in the hole. Now, however," continued his highness, "we do not go so far as this, but content ourselves with taking away an enemy's camels."

15th.—Weather cold this morning. Thermometer at sunrise, 43°. I hang the thermometer on the tent-ropes, just outside, at about a foot from the ground.

Hamma (son-in-law of En-Noor) returned this morning from the salt-caravan. He marked on the sand that the caravan would be thirty-five days before it returned; so, I imagine, we have still from this time some thirty days to wait here. He left the caravan on its entering the Hamadah, between this and Bilma.


Towns and Villages of Tesaoua.

(From Amankee's relation.)

  1. Tesaoua: people 1400; residence of the governor. Two large wells and one small one.
  2. Harmaua: 500. A little water.
  3. Ungua Korna: 400. One well, much water.
  4. Haidaua: 500. One well, and much water.
  5. Nuwala: 500 or 600. No water; but only half an hour from Haidaua.
  6. Nachira: 800, scattered about in small groups. Much water.
  7. Ungua-guka: 500. One well.
  8. Ungua-tallai: 400. Much water.
  9. Gindaua: 1000. Large wells; few trees.
  10. Saulawa: 40 or 50.

The capital and nearly all this country is full of trees. Not a stone is to be seen, and the soil is sandy.

The Sultan, or Governor of Tesaoua, is subject to the sovereign of Maradee, who is the only independent black prince in this part of Africa. The inhabitants are mixed, pagans and Muslims, but these last are not bigoted.

En-Noor visited us this evening, and I asked him if he recollected earthquakes in this country. The old Sheikh emphatically replied, Babo, "There are none."


16th.—Barth has picked up a good many words in Aghadez, mostly correct.

17th.—It was colder this morning, although yesterday was very pleasant. Thermometer at sunrise, 41°.

It is expected that we shall still remain here thirty days, which time, if divided half between Haussa and half between Bornouee, will help me on in these languages, the principal of the interior of Africa. Mohammed Tunisee is now the servant of Barth alone. Overweg has given him up.

Yesterday morning I gave Overweg the presents for the Sultan of Maradee, to whom he intends to go on a mission, in the same way as Barth went to Aghadez. The presents consist of a fine burnouse, a fine shasheeah (five mahboubs), two pieces of coloured cotton cloth, two heads of white sugar, knives, scissors, cinnamon, looking-glasses, beads, &c. I hope he will not return without bringing back the treaty signed. He is also to make some arrangement for the establishment of the missionaries in Maradee.

To-day we had prayers in Overweg's tent. I read several short prayers from the Church of England prayer-book, and also the Gospel and Epistle for the Sunday.

18th.—Yesterday evening it was cloudy, and the moon had, for several hours, an immense elliptical ring round it—a common phenomenon in the northern Sahara.


To-day Yusuf got up in a rage, and threw down his writing, because I told him he did not take pains to obtain from the people the several meanings of the words. This has been the case for most of the time we have been occupied with the vocabulary. I have therefore left him to himself, since he insulted me in this manner before the servants, and I fear I cannot trust myself to go with him to Sakkatou. It is a great inconvenience, but I must search for a kateb (writer) at Zinder. There are many poor men of this profession in Bornou, and very faithful people.

19th.—His highness En-Noor continues to visit us. Yesterday I gave him an English silver fourpenny piece, an English farthing, and a small French silver coin, with all of which he was greatly delighted. He summed up their value in wadâ; fifty wadâs are an English penny. He admired her majesty's face on the silver fourpence; but his shadow, the man who generally comes with him, said,—"Oh, no, the face of the woman for a Sultan is not good. This is good," pointing to the head of Louis Philippe.

The news came yesterday evening that a razzia had just been made on Tintaghoda, the assailants carrying away everything before them, and the inhabitants of the town fleeing to the mountains. This razzia was made by the people whom the Sultan of Aghadez has lately punished for the depredations committed on us and other caravans on[97] the road. When this took place there were a few people at Tintalous, who, on hearing the news, came off immediately to us after En-Noor, so that now there does not remain a single inhabitant in the village. The people of the razzia were much disappointed at finding no more camels, all those of the villages hereabouts, and indeed through all Aheer, being gone to fetch salt from Bilma. They wished to make up the number of camels which the Sultan of Aghadez took away from them. Of course, when the salt-caravan returns, an effort will be made to avenge this insult on the holy city of Aheer—this profanation of the abode of marabouts! It is singular, nevertheless, that only a year ago some neighbouring tribes, thinking these holy men had too much wealth, carried off a large number of their camels. This is the much-vaunted place amongst the credulous Moorish merchants of the coast, where theft and robbery are unknown!

21st.—A foggy November morning! But this change of the atmosphere is very rare, and soon passes away. It is amazing how steady the seasons are, and how they roll, each bringing its accustomed weather and tunes.

Yesterday I began my Bornou studies, not knowing whether I shall go first to Bornou or Soudan. I intend, if my health be preserved, to make a dictionary of the Bornou and Soudan languages together, for the sake of commerce and general information. I hope Government will[98] print it, or if not Government, the Philological Society.

Abizgen is a fruit which abounds in Aheer. It is half the size of small currants, and has not a disagreeable taste—a sort of bitter-sweet clammy taste. This fruit may be called Aheer currants.

In the neighbourhood of our encampment have been seen gazelles, ostriches, and monkeys, in considerable numbers.

22d.—En-Noor went off yesterday morning early, to visit a great marabout in the neighbourhood. This will enable us to apply ourselves closely to the languages, all day long. Occupied as I am with Soudanese and Bornouese, all the days fly away swifter than arrows shot by the most expert archers. En-Noor is expected to return in the course of four or five days. We have now all the village of Tintalous with us. It is Tintalous encamped out in the valley.

23d.—The orient sky flamed this morning with a pure yellow flame, amidst a somewhat murky atmosphere.

Most of the people have a fire all night. In the morning they cower over it like inhabitants of the poles. Of course we as well as they, having been baked in the summer's sun, now feel the cold most acutely.

There is a species of people scattered through Soudan which correspond to our gipsies, called Máguzáwa (sing. Bámăguzăi). These are essentially [99] a merry, care-nothing people, always half tipsy, and always full of fun. They, however, work a little in agriculture; differing from our gipsies, who are little more than itinerant tinkers. A boy was shown to me to-day, whom his parents had christened Butu, "worthless." It is related that his mother had many children before him, all of whom died, and when he came into the world the people or neighbours all cried, "Butu! Butu!" i.e. "He will come to nothing." Then, it is added, "God seeing the people gave him a bad name, determined in compassion to preserve his life, and so his life was preserved to this day."

En-Noor returned this evening from his visit to the marabout.—It is my intention to send home fifty thousand African words for this expedition. What future expeditions may do, if my life be spared, I cannot tell. I speak for this. I imagine I have already sent to the Foreign Office six thousand. I shall have five thousand, I hope, by the time I get to Zinder—three of Soudanese, and two of Bornouese. I must try to get a few words of the Aghadez language. These I can get, probably, at Sakkatou. I must have another writer, or fighi. My present Bornouese fighi is a very poor fellow.

24th.—The Sunday soon came again, with the study of languages. Now the time of our waiting here does not appear to be long enough. I have a commercial dictionary to make.


En-Noor came to us after his return from his visit to his marabout friend. He says of the late razzia at Tintaghoda, that the marabouts of that town brought it all upon themselves, being the first to begin to countenance attacks upon caravans (that is, ours). He does not pity them; he does not care for them; and, he added, "They have now lost all their reputation amongst the people." The fact is, when we came the marabouts did not know what course to take, whether to attack us or to receive us; so they chose the former, in their blinded judgment, and brought all this evil upon their heads.

The Fadeea, or Kalfadaï, have decamped with their booty and their families to the Hagar, beyond the reach of recapture or revenge.

A scorpion was found in my tent to-day, running across the sandy floor. We look upon them now as nearly harmless, whilst the cold weather has deprived them of all force.

25th.—Occupied with the languages. Time passes quickly.

26th.—Began the Bornou grammar.

27th.—A visit from En-Noor. He put on one of my gloves, and was much amused with it. He held out his hand, and put it on the face of his courtiers—showing fight. It was very white, which gave him occasion to pass to my skin, and pity my being so white. I made several useful remarks on Haussa grammar, and begin to understand the genius of the language.


A caravan of ghaseb has arrived from Damerghou, by which we learn that the Sfaxee and Fezzan merchants are arrived in that country. We have been trying to buy ghaseb of the people, or of En-Noor; but it appears we were too late, for it is said to be all gone. The dollars are worth only 1750 wadâs here, whilst in Kanou they pass for 2500. Every article is depreciated in value in Aheer, because food is scarce. We have, however, managed to purchase a bullock—a great beast.

28th.—I did not feel so well after the meat-eating; we have had so little of it, and so seldom, that a little extra quite upsets me, and the gnawing it makes all my teeth bleed. Thermometer, 50°. The weather has changed to mistiness, haziness. It is now reported that we still remain here twenty-five days longer, the caravan arriving only in twenty days, and five being allowed to rest the camels. So we have time enough for the Haussa and Bornou languages. I wish to master the grammar of each, so as to superintend some translation of the Scriptures.

29th.—The weather is still hazy, and warmer; but whilst it is warmer in the morning it is cooler in the mid-day, on account of the clouds and haze. Half an hour after sunrise, thermometer 56°.

En-Noor says we shall start in seventeen days, but ten days more or less for these people are nothing. Our courier for the money has just been[102] gone thirty-three days. If, happily, he arrive to day, he will save a week of the Shantah from Mourzuk to Tripoli. If we remain here now twenty-five days, and are thirty-five days more before we arrive at Zinder, that will be sixty days. I shall then have only twenty days more to wait till the expiration of the four months, when I may expect the courier to return. Thus I hope to have the money to pay the Sfaxee before I go to Sakkatou. But, alas! such calculations are extremely uncertain, and we cannot tell what a day may bring forth. For our support and safety we must repose firmly in the goodness of an Almighty Providence.

Nov. 30th to Dec. 3d.—The weather has been mild these last few days; this morning, half an hour after sunrise, thermometer 51°.

En-Noor has been to pay a visit to the Sultan of Asoudee, meeting him at some neighbouring village. There was a council respecting the affairs of the tribe of the Iteesan, who are fighting amongst themselves; but no news has transpired since his return. The old sheikh is in good health and spirits, which he attributes partly to drinking my coffee twice and thrice a-day. He says we shall leave here in the course of twelve days.

Senna is grown, or rather collected, in all the districts of Aheer; but it is cheap now, and does not fetch the price in Tripoli which it formerly did; many other as suitable purgatives being found in[103] Europe, I suppose. Senna is, besides, procured from the district of the Tibboos of Bilma, and some of this is still sent to Tripoli. Bornou has also much senna, but it does not pay the expense of forwarding it to Tripoli.

The relations of man and wife in Aheer are curious, if not extraordinary. A woman never leaves the home of her father! When a man marries a woman, he remains with her a few weeks, and then, if he will not take up his residence in the town or village of his wife, he must return to his own place without her. When a man sees a woman who pleases him, he offers the parents a price for her—say, four camels. If the parents agree that the price is adequate to the charms or the rank of their daughter, the bargain is concluded. These four camels remain always the property of the wife, with which she supports herself, sending them to Soudan or to Bilma, fetching ghaseb or salt. Many of the women have a large property obtained in this way. When their husbands visit them, they give them something to eat, and they remain a few days or weeks; and again depart to their own native towns, leaving the wife with her property, and any chance lover. But the men marry two or three wives, and so are constantly in motion, first going to visit one wife and then another. Thus the male population of this country is kept in a continually restless state of activity—roaming about here and there, marrying another and another wife, if their means will permit [104] them. The women, of course, left in this way, and unrestrained by any high moral motives, take as many lovers as they dare, or can secretly dispose of. It appears that En-Noor always disapproved of this strange system, and swore he would never marry a wife, because he should be obliged to go to another town to reside there, and so be exposed to having an inferior position, the authorities of the town of his wife pretending to exercise jurisdiction over him. All his women have ever been slaves. His highness is now living amidst his daughters and their children—the men who married them being all away in their own native countries. A daughter of En-Noor costs ten camels, and this is considered a very high price for a woman. With two or three camels, a woman manages to support herself and children. If the husbands of En-Noor's daughters be ever so poor, he never gives them anything but a little food. They must come and reside in his town. His highness passes all his evenings amidst this circle of women—his female slaves, his daughters, and granddaughters.

The population of Gouber and Maradee together may be about 1500.

Mărádee, capital of Maradee, and residence of the Siriki.

Jinubakai is the second division of the country, inhabited wholly by the pagans or gia-drinkers (beer-drinkers); not, therefore, Mahometans.

Gouber (Gubar), is the name of the country, of [105] which the capital and residence of the sultan is Chibri. This country consists of a large city (Chibri), and several small villages, some fifty or sixty; two are here mentioned, Gomer and Sanna.

These two countries of Gouber and Maradee are now in alliance against the Sultan of Sakkatou, i.e. of the Fellatahs, and mutually inflict razzias upon one another. Tesaoua is in close connexion with these ancient Kohlan countries, and is, indeed, a province of Maradee. There are mixed up with the population a number of people, emigrants from Aheer, called Buzai; but these Aheer Tuaricks have lost both their language and nationality, retaining merely the name, to denote their origin. So, in all probability, were more people and of other countries to emigrate to Soudan, they would soon become Soudanee, and lose their nationality. In these countries of Soudan above-mentioned, Mahommedanism has been but lately professed. But the great distinguishing mark between paganism and Mahommedanism appears to be the drinking or not drinking gia, the latter being the people who of course abstain from this intoxicating beverage.

Overweg says, that within three-quarters of an hour's walk are found hereabout granite, sandstone, and basalt, a variety of stones somewhat remarkable.

The study of sau, "footsteps" of men and animals, is quite a science in this part of the world.[106] The Fezzanee are reckoned the most expert in this knowledge; they are said to be able to distinguish the footsteps of people when printed upon the trunk of a palm, the print-step being made by dipping the feet in water! As to animals, the people observe near the neighbouring rocks the sau of the lion—a very deep, heavy impression of his five claws, of the monkey, the hare, the gazelle, the fox, the jackal, the hyæna, the mouse, &c. &c. Indeed, we appear to be surrounded with animals; and in the morning I found the sau of the dog, the cat, the hare, and the mouse, on the sandy floor of my tent. It is my intention, before I leave Africa, to draw the forms of the footsteps of the more remarkable animals. Inshallah!

4th.—Visit from his highness the Sheikh every day. He is now kind enough to send me every morning—at the suggestion of his principal wife—a small can of milk, which, besides the value of the milk itself, saves my sugar, enabling me to drink tea and coffee without sweetening. This evening the shara was brought of the arrival of couriers from the salt-caravan, to say it was near. Like the Arabs, for this shara or news, or first advice of the coming of something good or agreeable, the Kailouees ask some present. We gave a little bit of sugar to the slave who brought the welcome intelligence.

Dec. 5th to 9th.—I was occupied with vocabulary of Haussa and Bornou. Weather mild and[107] misty, but a little cold this morning; thermometer, at three-quarters of an hour after sunrise, 43°.

Nearly all the salt-caravan has arrived, and proceeded in advance, coming in small detachments. They rendezvous in a fine wady full of herbage, with water higher up. We are expected to leave in a few days, three or four at most. Nothing seems now to detain En-Noor. But the Fadeea have returned from the Hagar, finding themselves not pursued. They very naturally prefer their own fine valley in Asben to the stony, desert wilds of Hagars. I suppose a razzia will be executed against them, for the restoration of the camels of Tintaghoda, on the return of the salt-caravan from Soudan.

En-Noor gives a tremendously unfavourable account of the Oulimad, who occupy the desert of Sahara between Aghadez and Timbuctoo, and keep the road there shut against caravans. He says, they would sleep in our tents in the day, eat and drink with us; but in the night they would carry away the tent, and make themselves clothing with it. In fact, En-Noor considers them the veriest barbarians in this region of Africa. There may be a little exaggeration in this, and the Oulimad may not be worse than the Hagars of Ghemâma, or even than some of his own people. The Kailouees do not hunt, nor do they cultivate the soil; so that this country abounds with animals. Some of the country is extremely wild and rocky, and affords many a retired den for the lions, who descend from [108] the rocks and prowl abroad for prey in great numbers. Their footmarks frequently cover the length and breadth of the wadys. Barth himself saw (very fortunately, for it is a sight seen by very few persons indeed) as many as five together. Monkeys also abound in great numbers. I related to En-Noor the anecdote, as a joke, of the monkey shaving the cat in Paris; but this he took seriously, for he observed, "That is nothing; I have seen the monkeys crack lice just like men." It is always a difficult matter to translate a joke to these people. Overweg has been out these last two days hunting for ostrich eggs, in the places which these birds frequent. He saw their footprints, dung, feathers, &c., and two specimens, but found no eggs. It appears this is a most difficult bird to catch.

En-Noor continues to be very friendly. I get milk now every morning, for which I pay sugar and coffee. His highness and his people went out yesterday to dig a well, about two hours distant. All the water in this place is exhausted. It appears to be merely a deposit of rain-water under the sand, at a depth of from four or five to eight feet. It becomes, as in this case, entirely exhausted before the commencement of the next rains; but of course there are some springs, and many wells which are not dried up during the whole year.

N.B.—If I remain a month at Zinder, I must make a little excursion amongst the Bornou villages and see the rustic life of the people; but I fear it will [109] be a bad place to hear the pure Bornouese language. I still hope to go off early to Sakkatou, and finish quickly with Soudan. In these matters the Germans are better off than I am, and have not to wait for money.[10]

[10] Nearly the whole of this long account of a residence in Aheer consists in the journals of Mr. Richardson of disjointed fragments, jotted down almost without any connexion. This was necessarily the case. Few incidents, save an occasional visit from thieves, or a dispute with that strange old gentleman, Sultan En-Noor, diversified this period. However, the simple commonplace book of a traveller in a totally new country can never be without its interest. No doubt Mr. Richardson would have attempted, had he survived, to throw all these observations into a picture; but any attempt to do so on my part would have probably resulted in the omission of characteristic traits, and the introduction of extraneous ideas. The following chapters appear to me to increase in interest, page by page.—Ed.



Razzia on the Fadeea—Haussa—Names of Places—Ant-track—Circular Letter from Mourzuk—Vast Rock—Mustapha Bey's Letter—Effects of Water—Butterflies—Aspect of the Country—A Slave advanced to Honour—Shonshona—Herbage—Birds—Appearance of the Salt-Caravan—Colours of Dawn—Bilma Salt—Mode of Barter—Pass the Rock of Mari—Granite—Indigo Plant—Presents at Stamboul—The Sultan begs again—Old Men's Importunities—Baghzem—Curiosities of the Route—People of Damerghou—Temporary Village of Women—Country begins to open—Barter Transaction with Lady En-Noor.

Dec. 10th.—I rose before the sunrise; the coldest morning we have had; thermometer at half-an-hour after sunrise, 38°.

It is reported that we leave here to-morrow, or the day following. There is arrived from Aghadez the first man of that city after the sultan, called Amagai. He is come here respecting the affairs of the Fadeea. En-Noor also asked to-day for a list of all the things taken by force from us on the frontiers. It appears the Sultan of Aghadez had captured the Sheikh of the Fadeea, or some one sheikh, and allowed him to go out of prison on the promise that he would restore all the things taken from us—but [111] not to us; so these Sultans and Sheikhs of Aheer will probably get all these things back, and divide the spoil. But, nevertheless, it is better that the people in authority should have them, than that they should remain in the possession of the robbers, the lawless plundering tribes of the frontier. Probably these people will be more cautious how they plunder another caravan of Christians. It will always be a satisfaction to us that the robbers were made to disgorge their booty. I have also heard that a small camel was brought in exchange for my large lost one; and En-Noor sent it back, ordering them to restore the large camel of the boat. My camel has been to fetch salt from Bilma.

The children call Tesaoua, and the countries thereabout, Haussa, and say it is near, and that they go on donkeys. From this it is certain this portion of Soudan still has the ancient name of Haussa. Afaou is merely the Bornou name for Haussa, there being no place or district of that name. All these countries have most of them two names, or two pronunciations of the same name; one by the natives, and one by the Moorish merchants and other strangers. Thus the village of En-Noor is called by strangers Tintalous, and by the people themselves Chintullus. Travellers had better adhere to the name the place has amongst the strangers and foreign merchants, otherwise their narrative might be questioned by the people abroad, who do not know the native name.[112] Maradee has its native name of Mariadi, but if you were to mention this name in Mourzuk and Tripoli none would know the country of which you were speaking. In fact, it is just the same as calling Florence Firenza, when speaking to persons who have not travelled in Tuscany, or who are unacquainted with Italian. I continue much occupied with the Bornouese and Haussa languages, and am now collecting the names of insects and animals. This is extremely difficult, as for many of the animals of Soudan there are no Arabic names.

I measured an ant-track, and found it 125 feet. The ants were fetching the cottony dried blossom of a withered plant, and were amazingly busy. The tracks did not wind much. I noticed, also, in my walk, the footmarks of hares and many other animals. This country is full of live things.

11th.—I rose before sunrise; this is the coldest morning I have yet had, according to the thermometer, which was only two degrees above the freezing point (34°).

A circular letter arrived to-day from Aghadez, addressed to all the Tuaricks, written by Mustapha Bey of Mourzuk, recommending them to render us all necessary protection. It is dated back two months. Probably this letter was written on account of the unfavourable intelligence which reached Mourzuk respecting us. To-morrow, please God, we start for Soudan.

12th.—Thank God! we left our encampment of[113] Chintagawna this morning. And oh, most gracious God! give us a prosperous journey, and may we be useful to ourselves and our fellow-creatures.

We started about eleven o'clock, and went on about three hours and a-half. The day was very cool; the thermometer in the morning, at sunrise, being only three degrees above the freezing-point. We expect to see the water freeze on the high plains through which we are about to pass, before arriving at Damerghou. Our encampment is a pleasant wady, under a conical-formed rock of considerable elevation, perhaps 1500 feet. We are also in a high situation, some 1000 or more feet above the level of the sea. There is near this rock a lower one of an oblong form, its sides fluted with pillars; these columnar masses are basalt. Dr. Overweg examined the rocks, and found the outer crust a new species of rock, a sort of trachite or brachite; and the interior a sort of basalt, or volcanic substance. The large rock is also of the same formation. Dr. Barth ascended the large rock.

I am now told that I made a great mistake about the wording of the circular letter of Mustapha Bey. This letter begins by thanking the Tuaricks of Aheer for exterminating the Walad Suleiman! It then hints broadly at the necessity for the Turks in Mourzuk and the Tuaricks of Aheer being friends; and to maintain this friendship one important condition is required—that they, the Tuaricks of Aheer, shall protect all the merchants[114] or other travellers passing through their country, and coming from Mourzuk. In the event of their committing a bad action, the Bey says he may be compelled to make reprisals; so it is quite clear the letter is written entirely on our account, and perhaps is a preliminary measure to making reprisals. Nous verrons. This letter is only addressed to the people of Aheer.

If water be the sustaining and even the generative force of vegetation in the desert, it is also the destruction of trees and herbage; for along the line of the current of the wady are seen immense numbers of dead and overthrown trees, torn from their roots by the force of the water in the rainy season. En-Noor paid me a visit this afternoon, and took a nap in my tent.

13th.—We rose early, but did not start till about nine o'clock. This was the coldest day we have yet experienced: the heavens were overcast with clouds. We came five hours; our course irregular, but always south-east; the track through wadys filled with the usual trees of the tholukh species. Yesterday were seen numbers of large butterflies, but to-day, on account of the cold, few. Flies innumerable follow the caravan. The rocks were, as yesterday, many conic-formed, and others rounded or appearing in ranges, like huge haycocks: granite, sandstone, and trachite. We have in the distance before us, a peculiarly shaped rock of considerable height, called Mari, in the midst of a range. We are [115] encamped in the bed of an immense broad valley, and camels are feeding about in considerable numbers. The salt-caravan is very near. We are not yet in the regular caravan route, viâ Asoudee, but expect to reach it after to-morrow. En-Noor has with him as a guest the principal man of Aghadez, before mentioned. This man was once a slave, but by his address has risen thus high, as the slaves frequently do in Turkey: so widely do similar manners prevail. Many slaves in Soudan rise to the highest consequence.

The shonshona (or practice of scarifying the face or neck) prevails everywhere in Bornou, Soudan, and all this part of Africa; the Tuaricks and Fellatahs being the only people who abstain from this barbarous practice. Each device of scarifying denotes the peculiar nation of the blacks. I have now got three sketches of faces thus disfigured, and shall get as many as I can.

The Mahommedans of the coast usually teach that this way of marking the body is a sin, but nevertheless the black Muslims will not abandon the peculiarities of their nation.

14th.—Started early, but made only two hours and a-quarter, through the expansive valleys of yesterday. Here we found the salt-caravan, there being in this place abundance of room, herbage, and a large well, all necessary for such an assembly of people and beasts. On the road we put up a covey of partridges, and a splendid solitary bird, [116] the hobara of Soudan. Footprints of the hares and of the gazelle were observed en route.

By this opportunity we have got a few dates from Bilma; but they are very poor, some of them little better than dried wood. The salt-caravan has nothing attractive. The salt is all tied up in small bales or bundles, the outward wrapper being matting or platting of strips of the leaves of the doom-palm, called by the people kabba. Our caravan resembles the march of a wandering tribe, there being camels, sheep, oxen, asses, dogs, with all the paraphernalia of tents, cooking utensils, &c. Some of the animals are laden, some unladen, playing, running, and skipping about. Then come the human animals, men, women, and children of every age. Our own caravan is mostly composed of the household and slaves of En-Noor, with two or three strangers. But now all changes to the salt-caravan, and we shall probably be soon absorbed in it.

Yesterday morning I observed the dawn of day, and witnessed a degree of redness and red clouds, or, more poetically, rosy-tinted clouds, which I never before observed in all the Sahara. Probably now the sky will change to a colouring more like England. Sunset and sunrise in the Sahara are essentially different from those of England, the colours in the desert being exceedingly light and bright; and often in the summer time, at daybreak, there is a full, blazing sun in the course of three quarters of an hour; so that, that rich colouring of [117] the summer's dawn in England is never here observed.

I visited the salt-caravan, or that portion of it which belongs to En-Noor. The salt is prepared in Bilma, by the Tibboos, in three different manners. There is, first, the canto, a kind of pillar or pedestal, about 16 inches high, and 3 or 4 broad in its widest part. As to weight, 10 of these are a good camel-load, 8 a load for a small camel, and 6 for a weak camel. Then there are two cakes, one of refined salt and the other coarse. These coarse cakes are about 5 inches in diameter, and the refined ones 7 inches, the former being about 3lbs. and the latter 5lbs. in weight. When a caravan of Tuaricks arrive at Bilma, they find the salt all ready for them, and they pay a barter for it in this way,—a zekka of ghaseb is exchanged against twenty of the coarse cakes; a zekka for six of the refined cakes, and three zekkas of ghaseb for two of the pillars. Ghaseb appears to be the only staple thing which the Tibboos receive for their salt; they may also take now and then turkadias, or black turbans, and on the other side the Tuaricks bring a few dates with them: the fruit, even those of the best quality, are not very good or fine. This commerce of barter is managed almost solely by the women: the men remain in their houses, whilst the women go to the salt-pits or lakes, and transact this important business; but the men do not run away, as is commonly [118] reported. At least, so say the Tuaricks. The supply of salt is inexhaustible. It is, probably, on account of the weight of the salt, and the fatigue of the camels which carry it, with the distance, that this commerce is not very profitable to the Tuaricks; but this can only be ascertained in the markets of Kanou, and other large cities of Soudan. There are only six months to the rainy season, so I have just time to go to Sakkatou and return, without waiting long at any of the intermediate places between Sakkatou and Kuka.

Our encampment is under some rocks, where are seen the dens of lions. At the mouth of these caves or holes are bones of animals and the dung of the lions.

15th.—I rose early, but we did not start till two hours after sunrise. The caravan was a considerable time in loading. We have only with us En-Noor's detachment of the salt-caravan, about 130 camels. We may be quicker in our movements to-morrow. The first morning of starting is always thus slow. We came to-day five hours: passed the picturesque rock Mari, like a camel couchant, and entered after three hours the Asoudee route, or the direct caravan route from Ghât to Damerghou, through Aheer. Another detachment of the salt-caravan passed or crossed us, and took another route to the east. Our course was always southwards, now S.E. now S.W., through wadys filled with trees, mostly tholukh and its varieties; the rocks were all granite. [119] Aheer appears to be a region essentially of granite, although here and there are volcanic cones striking up, composed of basalt, or a variety of this stone. The weather was very cloudy and cold, only a little warm in the middle of the day. We have not come to water or wells for three days, because our journeys are very short. To-day I saw, for the first time, the indigo plant—neela in Arabic, and bala in Soudanese. I was glad to make its acquaintance. It grows amongst the other herbage, and may be easily confounded with it as a common herb. It is now in seed, the pods being small and very hard. This is one of the products capable of working the regeneration of Africa, if Africa is to be civilised by legitimate commerce.

En-Noor asked to-day if, on entering Constantinople, we English made presents. I told him very positively, "No;" but, on the contrary, everything which the English demanded of the Sultan of the Turks he did for us; and because the Sultan was weak, England was obliged to protect him against the encroachments of the other Christian nations.

I was much surprised to hear to-day that En-Noor begged a black burnouse from Barth. The old Sheikh is a Tuarick every inch of him. Nevertheless, it is too bad to beg the things which we wear to protect us from the cold and the heat. Barth, I believe, has not yet made the Sheikh a present, and he is coming Hateetah over my worthy friend. Overweg has given the Sheikh a cloth jacket, which he could [120] ill spare. I feel most determinedly disposed to give nothing more; but in justice I have to add, that his highness sends regularly the milk in the morning, that he gave me a piece of gour-nut on the road, and that he sent me a few dates at my request! These are great things for Tuaricks; so, "patience."

16th.—I rose at daylight; the cold was moderate, morning foggy as yesterday. People say we shall be only nine days from this going to Damerghou, but I will give them twelve. All the old men in this country apply to the Taleb for medicine to restore their powers. They very unwillingly relinquish the exercise of the functions which give them most delight; but nature is stronger than all things, and they must submit to its inevitable course. In a country like Africa, where woman is only thought of for one purpose, it chagrins these old fellows to see all their nice plump slave-girls about them, and to find themselves past and gone, so far as this state of existence is concerned. En-Noor and Hateetah both made this kind of application to the Taleb. When I was alone in my former journey in the desert, I had also the same kind of experience.

We came two hours to-day to the well of Anfesas, before the mountain of Baghzem. Our course was through valleys and rocks, as yesterday, and, indeed, always in this country; for there is very little variation in the landscape. Baghzem, instead of being the high mountain pictured to me[121] by the Ghadamsee merchants, is, at this view of it, only a low range. Two little things observed to-day were, first, a "traveller's sharpening stone," on which every person passing by sharpened his dagger or his sword: next, were heaps of sand scraped together, and sticks or stalks of herbage stuck on the top, as frail marks of the route, corresponding to the heaps of stone which mark in line the routes of the Sahara. There was also a mosque formed of boughs of trees; that is, a low wall of the groundplan of a mosque made of boughs of trees, like the walls of stone in other places. The trees were as before, always those full of thorns, like the tholukh; many of the species bearing what is called the date of this country. No animals of game were seen, except a solitary hare; but there were marks of the foot of the mohur, or large gazelle.

The lading of the camels in the morning takes always an hour and a-half: we have few people, compared with the number of beasts of burden.

However, under the leadership of En-Noor, who has now decked himself in a fine yellow burnouse, a sort of ensign of authority, the caravan marches in great order and tranquillity.

The inhabitants of Damerghou are said to be a mixture of Kohlans and Tuaricks; the latter, however, receding into the interior. But if the Tuaricks have dispossessed the Kohlans, they have almost become Kohlans themselves, forgetting their own language and their own customs and manners.[122] This would naturally result from their habit of taking female slaves from Soudan. Women, of course, always teach their children their own language. In this way the population becomes in a few years amalgamated, the blacks with Tuaricks.

17th.—We stopped here all day, occupied with Bornouese. The place is pleasant enough, there being a good well of water. A little temporary village stands near, composed of the women and children belonging to the salt-caravan.

18th.—We halted again another day. After this rest of three days for the camels, we are to go on quicker. Overweg paid a visit to the temporary village, principally to see the women, taking with him the Mâlem Ibrahim. He was pleasantly received, and notes the fact as the first specimen of Soudan hospitality. I also made an excursion of an hour to a neighbouring eminence, where I had a view from the top of a quartz rock of the surrounding landscape of stony hills and valleys. On the east and west were ranges and groups of mountains; on the north-east and towards Bilma, and on the south-west round the mountain of Baghzem, the country appeared open. North and south were rocks. In the direction of our route (south-east) the rocks seem scattered and at wide distances, so I expect we shall soon bid farewell to the mountains of Aheer. The celebrated mount of Baghzem is a mighty mass of rock, not high, but apparently of immense breadth. The[123] town of Baghzem is on the western side, and out of our route.

I had a little clandestine transaction with Madame En-Noor to-day. She sent me cheese and milk, and I sent her a ring. The slaves brought the cheese stealthily: so, I suppose, the Sultan was not to know of it. But they say that all the goats belong to the women, and, consequently, the milk and cheese; but the camels to the men; some women, however, have camels. There is a sort of division of male and female property in this country.



We continue our Journey—Huntsmen—Gum on the Tholukhs—The Salt-Caravan—A Bunch of Gum—Games among the Slaves—Baghzem—Trees—Palm of Pharaoh—Deserted Villages—Birds' Nests—Wife of En-Noor—Unan—Lizards—Bad News—Christmas day in Africa—Christmas-boxes—Begging Tuaricks again—Bargot—Musicians—Speculations—Tribes at War—Parasitical Plant—Importance of Salt—Animals—Agalgo—Force of the Caravan—Beat of Drum—Approach the Hamadah—Giraffes—Poisoned Arrows—Ear of Ghaseb—Soudan and Bornou Roads.

Dec. 19th.—We started early, and journeyed on eight hours and a-half—the best day we have had since leaving Tintalous. Our course still towards that immense block of mountain, the celebrated Baghzem. We are now encamped along its side. We crossed a large wady with ancient-looking trees, having antiquity, in fact, stamped on their trunks, all of the tholukh species. The sand of this desert is covered with the footsteps or marks of the gazelle and hare; but we saw only one gazelle and one hare. The gazelle was followed by a stupid mongrel-bred dog; it jumped high in the air, and was soon out of sight. The Kailouees are no[125] huntsmen. I question whether they have ever caught a gazelle or any full-grown animal in their lives; they are a stupid set, and their dogs worse still in field-sport, though always living in the desert. There are huntsmen amongst the Haghars. The Kailouees prefer running down men, or rather women. All they think of is riding or straying from place to place after the women—this is their sport.

This may be called a country of dry wadys. The name is appropriate all the year round, except on the few days when the floods are seen pouring down these seeming beds of rivers. Hereabouts are the largest tholukh and other trees found in Aheer. Those that grow on high ground are small, but from their trunks are picked off, by the slaves, pieces of gum. To-day, however, I could not succeed in getting a piece. What was found was carried to En-Noor. I shall soon get a taste of it. We continue with our same number of camels; no other detachments of the large salt-caravan have yet joined us. En-Noor is still very active, riding before and behind, seeing that all is right. He is followed by his shadow. He wears his yellow burnouse. I have heard of no town on this side of Baghzem.

An immense quantity of stone is scattered over the route hereabouts. Overweg believes it to be basalt, or a species of volcanic stone of similar character.


I am preparing myself for my Soudan journeys, and, en route, take as much rest as possible. Cold winds prevail night and morning, but the sun burns a few hours in the day. Certainly now is the best season for travelling in this country. What it is in Soudan it is impossible to tell.

20th.—We rested to-day. There is a well a short distance off, called Tilya. This morning early filed by a large division of the salt-caravan, about three hundred camels. We passed them yesterday. They had also a little merchandise besides salt. Some of the people inquired of me if I had found my camels. I told them two were still missing. They were all strangers, but were, nevertheless, civil. I made a short excursion in search of gum amongst the tholukh-trees. I was fortunate enough to find one piece, or, rather, a small bunch of pellucid drops, of a bright amber-colour. The bunch was scarcely exuding from the tree on which it was found, and was ready to drop when touched, hanging by the slenderest connexion. It was even somewhat disposed to become liquid. This gum is found only on the small young trees. The taste was very pleasant. It is astonishing how little gum has been picked off these trees by our people, although we have passed tens of thousands of them en route.

The slaves of the caravan were having a game amongst themselves this morning. They brought into my tent a man bound as dead, and I was[127] obliged to pay a handkerchief to relieve myself of the bad omen. Such a thing is considered a horrible thing if you do not buy away the ill effects of it. This is certainly an easy way of collecting money and goods. It was, however, amusing to see the fellow, how still he lay; truly it was as still as death. The ceremony itself arose out of the culprit, or man bound, having lost our camels, a circumstance which has detained us here to-day. The herdsman was thus punished for his neglect; and so all these African people have an amusing way of turning their misfortunes into fun, as well as of making a profit out of them. I have already observed before, that every misfortune we have suffered has been a benefit to the Kailouees. This has made them so careless about what might happen to us.

21st.—Our course was generally nearly south, but often a little winding. Baghzem was always on our right, until we left it behind us, on the north-west. This mountain has, probably, been so much celebrated in all past times, because it is the most conspicuous object on the return route from the south to the north. Overweg conjectures that it is granite. He had no servant at hand yesterday to visit it with him, and he did not like to go alone, because it swarms with lions.

We passed to-day mostly through undulating country, a sort of ground which, in the Sahara, lies generally between the plateaux and the high[128] rocky ranges. From one of the lesser heights we had a magnificent view of Baghzem. We passed also through and along several fine wadys, lined with ancient trees. Perhaps, in some places, full half of the trees were decayed, and many only naked stumps. The trees were so thick in certain places as to deserve the name of forests—primeval forests—but, I imagine, not to be compared with those of America.

Amongst the trees to-day appeared most conspicuously the doom-palm. This is the first day we have seen it in such numbers. This "palm of Pharaoh," as the Moors call it, according to their habit of coupling all strange things with those ancient monarchs, is found in groups as well as isolated trees. When isolate, and also when in groups, it very frequently assumes a double-shaped trunk, or two large arms spread out or divided from a low stump.[11] Of the leaves, which are called gabba, the people make all their rope.

These trees are now laden with fruit, not ripe. The abundance of them gives to the place of our encampment a truly tropical aspect. We journeyed on to-day eight hours and a-half—a good, fair day. The weather was warm, even a little sultry. As to inhabitants, we passed many isolated huts, but saw no villages in groups. We also passed the ruins of many villages, whose houses were better[129] built than any I have yet seen in this part of Aheer. This country has seen its best days; for the huts which now take the place of these houses, high and well-built of stone and mud, are, indeed, miserable. Probably these deserted places are some of the towns whose people were carried off to Bornou in the recent razzias. At the bottom of most of the wadys to-day, water was found at a foot depth, though not a copious supply. People were at the wells in numbers, watering their cattle.

En-Noor paid me another attention to-day, when on camel-back, in presenting to me a piece of gour-nut. This is considered a very great compliment. As to the fruit itself, I have not yet acquired the taste; it is only agreeable if you are thirsty, and after chewing it drink water.

22d.—We remain here to-day. It is not so cold as it has been.

I am sorry Madame En-Noor has left off the milk, though I never cease to send coffee twice a-day. I must now, however, send but once, as my sugar is getting low.

I observed the beautiful bird's nest which I mentioned the other day. It is a perfect piece of architecture, far superior to the huts made in this country. The only apparent deficiency is, that it seems to hang on nothing, or is suspended sometimes on a slender straw, at other times on a thin twig. The nest is built of straw inside and outside, but the inside is of a finer straw. I have not seen the bird [130] who is the architect of this wonderful piece of mechanism. I observed two species of parasitical plants, one of which has a slender trunk, and has its root in the earth; and the other, which is entirely dependent on the tree over which it spreads for all its support and nourishment. Its roots are in the very boughs of the tree which bears it. Some of our blacks, who were carried over the desert when young, and had not seen or observed this phenomenon before, burst out laughing. These comicalities of vegetation amused them exceedingly. What excites the serious attention of cultivated minds often produces only laughter in vulgar and untutored people. Parasitical plants would be a complete study for the botanist here. The doom-tree has a smaller and rounder-shaped head than the common date-palm; the leaves are spread out very like a fan, but I know not whether the doom is called the fan-shaped palm.

We are to stay at this place some time—there appears to be no hurry. We shall probably be here three days more. The Sultan of Asoudee is visiting amongst us, and has concerted with En-Noor that all the caravans shall go together, in order that no one portion of it shall arrive before the other in Damerghou, and so get the ghaseb cheaper; as, of course, the early arrivals generally get the better bargains. At first I could not understand the reason of our all going together; now the thing is clear enough.


En-Noor called at my tent in the evening, and was very civil. I got a little milk afterwards for the tea sent him. The royal family appear now to be short of milk. I find that his royal highness has in reality only one wife, who is a slave. In an African point of view, however, even this is too much. His highness confessed to Overweg that God gave man his limited time in this as in all things. Had the beating I have recorded any relation to this bitter reflection?

When the sun is down, the landscape around begins to look like Old England, the species of trees not being visible. The doom reminds me of the shorn elms along the hedges.

23d.—The Sultan of Asoudee sent this morning for powder, and was thankful for a small quantity. We remained here this day. All the valleys and country around are called Unan. This is also the name of a well near us, but water is usually obtained by scooping out the sand in the bed of the valleys, and there are few regular wells; those which are dug are destroyed as soon as the rain returns. Such alone remain entire as are out of the reach, or beyond the range of the periodic floods.

24th.—We were not to come on to-day; but En-Noor changed his mind, and we journeyed on five hours, up the valley of Unan. The eternal sameness of the tholukh and doom—for dooms are now in great numbers—would be wearisome, had we [132] not had so much desert before; but we are still delighted with the continual occurrence of trees, be they of what species they may. There is, besides, a great abundance of wild water-melons, which the people sometimes eat. They are very small, but hard and sound. The lizard, which almost through the whole desert was found darting about and around the camels' feet, has now disappeared. It would be a curious inquiry for a naturalist to endeavour to account for its disappearance, for the nature of the soil has not so much changed. The only difference—but perhaps this is great for the lizard—is that hereabouts occur periodic rains, which deluge the land for a few days in the year; and during these few days, probably, all the land lizards found in low places would be destroyed.

This is Christmas-eve; a sorry one for us all! We receive no news but bad news. For to-day a man came up to us, who said he left Tripoli three months ago, and that the cholera had been very severe in Tripoli, making many victims; but he brought no particular news for us. He came by the way of Ghadamez and Ghât, and yet had heard nothing of our misfortunes on the frontier. I suppose the people of Ghât had already ceased to talk about us and our affairs; for here in the desert, as elsewhere, things are soon forgotten. We saw little of the rest of the caravan en route, but if we ever see the whole of the camels going with us, and the division of Aghadez, I am quite sure they will never [133] reach the exaggerated number of 10,000! All numbers are dreadfully exaggerated in Africa.

25th.—Christmas-day! My second Christmas day in Africa during this journey. We have nothing to make a merry day of; but we must try and cheer ourselves up by the thought that we are still spared, after passing through so many dangers, and amidst a people naturally hostile to us, and only softened by fear of the Turks, and by possession of the goods of the Government, which they have taken one way or other. Yet some of the people appear of a more kindly nature, and Overweg has experienced a little hospitality in the huts retired from the road, or sequestered in the surrounding valleys.

Gracious God! make us all thankful for health and strength: may we ever praise thy protecting care of us and our mission. For the sake of our Saviour, born on this day, pardon all our sins; give us grace to lead a new life, and a most willing mind to receive Jesus as the Lord our righteousness! O God, have mercy upon all our friends and relations, and give them the will to receive the Saviour, born on this day, as their only chance of salvation! O God, have mercy upon Africa, and on all men!

Some musicians came this morning to salute us with a little of their rough music, a drum and a clarionet. I gave them three rings and a little sugar. I have very little to bestow, and were I to be more generous, or to make an effort to give them [134] anything like a Christmas gift, I should then have all the people upon me, begging everything I had left. Yesterday I spoke a few words to Hamma, son-in-law of En-Noor, and he immediately asked me for a turban. I had not spoken to him for several weeks, or only saluted him with a few words, in order to avoid his begging. This man has already had from me presents to the amount of fifty dollars! Thus I am cut off from all conversation with these people, and have no practice in speaking the languages of the interior. I must try to get on better than this. Overweg, as doctor, is better off. The sick, and the people who bring the sick, must talk to him, and must receive a favour from him. And he frequently gets a few cheeses in return. The women make extraordinary propositions. The other day they offered him a slave or a bullock for a medicine to produce a child.

The place of our encampment is called Bargot, which I believe is also the name of a well, near or about an hour and a-half distant. I have also heard the name of Bergu. Yesterday we passed some ruins of houses, built of stone and mud. I am glad that Barth borrowed my Bible, and is reading to-day. Overweg also was the first to propose prayers on Sundays when we are staying long together in one place.

We are now near the Hamadah, which is a journey of full four days without water. We arrive at the water on the morning only of the fifth[135] day. I gave a Christmas-box to all the servants of the expedition, seven persons, each a cotton handkerchief and a ring. This is all I could spare. Yusuf had a silk handkerchief and no ring. The kind of ring esteemed here is one having a good imitation of a stone, and the metal is as good as gold for these people. With the exception of the Gatronee and my mahadee, the rest ill deserved their Christmas-box, but it is necessary to forget and to forgive. However, I am now more strict with them, as we are leaving the Tuaricks, amongst whom some of our servants became almost Tuaricks themselves in manners.

The Sultan of Asoudee is still with us, and keeps up a sort of state about him, although he is a poor weak fellow indeed, compared to En-Noor. He has not paid us a visit, and we have not seen him. En-Noor, probably, does not wish to bother us with such a visit. The musicians who saluted us this morning came from him, but they did not know it was a feast-day of Christians, and only came to pick up what they could get. I sent Madame En-Noor a piece of white loaf-sugar, and told her it was a Christmas-box. She received it with many thanks; so I have chronicled all our doings this day. I read the two first chapters of St. Luke in Arabic. We had no provisions, or anything with which we could produce the resemblance of a plum-pudding. As to roast beef, we have some[136] bits of preserved beef, which we eat with our baseen and hamsa.

Amidst so many uncertainties in Central Africa we may not see another Christmas-day. O God! whenever the time of our departure is come, may we be found relying for salvation on that Saviour, thine only-begotten Son, born on this day.

Overweg and I conversed late at night on the mechanism of the heavens, and the antiquity of the world, according to the received theories of astronomers and geologists; the dark and black vault above, sprinkled over with brilliant points, being the object which first set our thoughts in motion. The stars are time itself, and also illustrations of the passage of light through the universe. The earth was once a hotter orb, passing successively from a vaporous to a fluid, and then a solid state. The northern climes were once torrid zones, from the evidence of the fossil remains and from coals, which are masses of tropical trees. Such were the speculations in which we indulged.[12]

26th.—We stay here to-day. There is some trouble amongst those restless tribes, the Kaltadak and Kalfadaï; and Yusuf was sent for this[137] morning by En-Noor to write some letters for him to these marauding tribes. They are fighting amongst themselves. The route from the North will never be safe for Europeans until these tribes are properly subjugated; and when will that time come? It is now reported that we all go to Zinder. I shall be glad of this opportunity to get a few dollars, and then make the best of my way to Sakkatou. But our delay here renders this trip always less certain, and seems to point out that I shall go first to Bornou.

The most frequent parasitical plant, which is found upon nearly all the tholukhs, is called koushi in Haussa, and barango in Bornou. It is a fine plant, and its flower is not unlike the woodbine or honeysuckle, but devoid of all fragrance. The leaves are succulent, full of moisture, in shape a long oval, the longest not more than an inch and a quarter. This parasite also fastens itself on other trees, and often kills the branches from which it draws its strength—a real sap-sucker. The karembo frequently dies in its embraces.

Hamma, the son-in-law of En-Noor, is not to go with us, on account of the quarrels with the Kalfadaï and the Kaltadak. He is exceedingly disappointed, for it deprives him of making anything for himself in Haussa; and En-Noor keeps him very poor indeed, as his highness does everybody about him.

The salt-caravan is the affair of life and death[138] for Aheer; and the reason is now clear to me why it is that En-Noor goes every year with it, and directs and superintends its movements. This is the greatest service he can render to his country, and the Kailouees generally. Without this salt the population of Aheer would soon all perish, or emigrate to Soudan. The other commerce of the country could not suffice for the support of the inhabitants.

27th.—We had a visit from the people of the country before starting; they appear to be a fine race of men, whiter than most of the Kailouees, and nearly all tall. In these nomade districts the weakly children generally die off, leaving only the robust. We journeyed on southwards five hours, through wadys formed by the force of the waters, gradually approaching the great Hamadah. The doom now disappeared, and most of the trees dependent on much water; for here the wadys are all shallow. Footmarks of the ostrich, gazelle, hare, habara, and some other interesting animals, cover this portion of the desert. The gazelles have more room, and the ostriches also. The former, besides, are out of the way of the lion; for this beast seldom pursues its prey across the desert plains.

People say we shall see many animals in the Hamadah, because the lion does not come there. A large gazelle was taken this evening by some of the caravan.

A few locusts and many fine butterflies were[139] busy about. We are encamped at a place called Agalgo, or Agallegu. There is a well at the distance of an hour; so that the number of days during which no water is found is reduced to three: but this water is a sort of collection from the rain remaining beyond its time, and is not always found.

We are now on the edge of the plateau. En-Noor said to-day, "There are five thousand camels with us;" but I question whether there be more than two thousand. It is of great importance to ascertain this, for thus only the force of the country may be estimated. We are now said to be eight days from Damerghou.

The Sultan of Asoudee has detained many of En-Noor's young people, to protect the country in case there be any troubles with the Kalfadaï.

Several pieces of scoria, or lava, were found on the road, showing a district here once to have had active volcanoes. The granite begins to disappear, to be replaced by sandstone. This sandstone, generally, according to Overweg, forms plateaux; whereas granite is found in rocks and ridges in the midst of valleys.

28th.—We started early. The camels move on at the beginning of their day's work to the beating of the kanga, or drum. We have two or three drums, but the drummers have little skill, and the beating is always the same monotonous sound. Our course varied from S.E. to S.W., but lay always southward, through shallow valleys, or low, [140] indented, or scooped-out plains; the whole country being what the people call hamadah, or plateau. All the large trees have disappeared with the doom-palm. Nevertheless there are everywhere the marks of water. Yet the rain cannot fall here so much as in the mountainous regions which we have left behind, for it is high ground only which brings down the rain in Africa; except, indeed, near the equator. As yesterday, the sand and soft earth are covered with the footmarks of gazelles, ostriches, the habara, and even the giraffe. The people, in fact, say we shall see the giraffe before we arrive at Damerghou. But of these animals, who have left thus the impression of their feet on the sand, we saw not one. Indeed it is quite a matter of luck to fall in with animals in the desert. I have seen but very few. My colleagues have both encountered lions and monkeys, neither of which have I seen.

We have come to-day seven hours and a-half, a very good march for En-Noor. The nights are cold enough; there is also a fresh breeze, generally from north-east, every day: nevertheless, the sun burns hot. The sky has always now a few clouds, and the atmosphere is a little thick and misty. We have with us various queer characters; amongst the rest, a fellow who boasts of his having killed many people with poisoned arrows. When I come near him I always attack him, not, indeed, with his favourite weapon, but with irony. I tell him, "Ah! poisoned arrows kill many people.—What[141] matters it?—There is no God" (looking up, and saying Babo Allah!) This has had its effect once or twice, and he has confessed it is not so very fine to kill people with poisoned arrows.

Evening came on, but I heard nothing of water. We are encamped near a small hill. I looked to-day again attentively at our strings of camels. Instead of five thousand, I do not believe there are more than five hundred. We have few people with us in comparison with the number of camels, and these are many of them slaves of the masters who are remaining behind in Aheer. The disturbed state of the country has prevented many persons of consequence from joining us. To-day, my mahadee brought me an ear of ghaseb, of immense length—about three times the length of the ghaseb grown in Ghadamez and other oases of the Sahara; nine times the length of an ear of wheat. This was found growing on the road, and intimates that we are approaching Soudan very fast. I also picked up to-day camomile flowers and the senna-plant.

Explanation of Soudan and Bornou common words for articles of dress, food, instruments for manufacturing:—

Jebus, leathern bag.

Foofoo, paste of Indian corn.

Bouza, a species of beer. In Waura, near the western coast, it is made of guinea-corn, honey, Chili pepper, a root of coarse grass; in Kanou and Wadaï it is made of only ghaseb and honey, and is [142] therefore more pure and agreeable. It is called by some, acid beer.[13]

Kolla, the gour-nut, called "African," or "Soudan."

Shea, the butter-tree.

Manioc, root. The main article of food in Congo, used as flour.

I trust, under the auspices of a good Providence, to arrive strong in Soudan. There our greatest enemy is fever! I walked a little to-day, and found myself better for the exercise; but, as a rule, I avoid exposing myself to fatigue.

[11] I believe the trunk of the doom is always thus divided and subdivided.—Ed.

[12] I have not thought it advisable to abridge or alter this naïve account of a Christmas-day on the southern borders of the Sahara. Mr. Richardson seems already to feel certain presentiments of the fate that awaited him. In other places I have omitted devotional passages; but in this it seemed to me that it would be unjust to the memory of this amiable traveller to do so.—Ed.

[13] In Egypt it is made of rice.—Ed.



Enter the Hamadah—Home of the Giraffe—Water of Chidugulah—Turtles—Cool Wind—Jerboahs—Centre of the Sahara—New-year's Eve—Cold Weather—Birds of Prey—Soudan Date—Burs—Animals on the Plateau—Young Ostrich—The Tholukh-tree—Severe Cold—Eleven Ostriches—Termination of the Desert—Inasamet—The Tagama—Purchases—People begin to improve—Fruit of the Lote-tree—Village roofed with Skins—Vast Plain—Horses—Approach Damerghou—Village of Gumrek—Rough Customers—Wars of the Kilgris and Kailouees—A small Lake—Guinea-hens—Vultures—Party of Huntsmen.

Dec. 29th.—About five hours after we started, the route opened into a bonâ fide hamadah. All around us stretched a limitless plain. Our course lay always south, and we journeyed ten hours, with sand in the evening.

Yesterday I had observed a few footmarks of the giraffe, but to-day they were everywhere visible. They were double, as this animal does not move its feet one after another, like the camel or the horse, but two of its feet together, or simultaneously. We saw the footprints of young as well as old ones. This plateau is the real home of the giraffe. No[144] place could be better adapted for such an unwieldy creature. There is abundance of small tholukh, on which it feeds; all the country is open around to it, and it is out of the reach of ferocious animals. Towards the evening the marks of the giraffe disappeared, and were succeeded by the footprints of what is here called the wild ox (but which Overweg believes to be a large species of gazelle), so that one animal appears to have made room for the other. The day was cool and cloudy.

The plain is intersected with shallow beds and streams, and in some places evident marks of an abundance of water in the rainy season.

30th.—We started early for the well, but did not reach it till late in the evening, after a march of nine hours. The well is called Chidugulah, and is situated on the side of a valley of some depth. In the bed of this valley Overweg found some infusoria, clay or stone.

Many people started in the night to get water, and give their animals a drink. There is but a small supply, and what there is has a muddy, chocolate colour. The last water we took up from the valleys of Asben had a milky hue, so that when the coffee was made of it, it looked like café au lait.

Bandits and hostile tribes frequent this well of Chidugulah, and rest hereabouts to pillage caravans. Our people spoke of the Oulimad, and Overweg dreamed he was fighting with them. I dreamed the same night of large turtles, for it had been said [145] they are found in this plateau, and their marks had been traced to-day. I learn now that large turtles, two feet and a-half long, and one foot and a-half broad, are found here. The back shell of one was used for a watering trough by the people we met en route. We had sand all day, rising occasionally in considerable mounds. I observed the prevailing winds in the formation of these mounds; for there is always an inclined plane towards the quarter whence the wind blows; whilst to where it blows the mounds are scarped. The winds prevailing now are E.N.E.; and the wind has nearly always come from this direction since our arrival in Aheer. In another season, however, there may be a total change. In full summer it may be south, for what we know. In fact, Amankee says, in summer the wind always comes from the south. At this season the sand is covered with nice herbage in some places, but in the hot weather it must be all dried up. This is, in truth, the spring time in this country; the birds are all laying. There are also young birds fledged. In Haussa there is no word for "fledged."

This route must really present, in some parts, for many hours together, an ocean of sand; as, I think, it is described in the Itinerary procured by Davis. To-day the footprints of the giraffe have entirely disappeared.

In summer it must be very difficult for large caravans to obtain water from this well, for our people were full half a day filling four or five skins. [146] What a blessing, nevertheless, is the existence of the Chidugula, for there is no water for three days farther. The boys killed this morning a jerboah, or what the Germans call a jumping mouse. I saw one yesterday, jumping before my camel's feet. There are a great number here. This jerboah is of a different colour from those I have seen in Tunis; being white all over the lower part of the body and neck, straw-coloured on the top of the head and along the back; whilst those in Tunis are nearly of the same colour as ordinary mice. This species is also small, three inches and a-half long, and the tail is double the length of the body. The hind legs are nearly as long as the body, and the fore legs not half an inch. Near the tip of the tail there is an inch of black. Many young jerboahs were caught, all of the same description. The Haussa people call it a mouse, but have besides a special name.

We are now about the middle of the Sahara, including the radii of the western and northern coasts, and we here find an immense plateau, stretching many days north and south, east and west. So far Le Brun's conjecture is right, that the central parts of Africa are plateaux, or one vast plateau. But more of this hereafter. This plateau extends to the Bornou route, and how much further east is yet to be ascertained. In the west we yet also want information. North and south it extends along the territory of Aheer some eight days, or about one hundred and sixty miles. Overweg reckons the[147] height of the plateau, above the level of the sea, at some fifteen hundred feet.

31st.—The last day of the year! One year gone in Africa this tour! How many more are to pass? Alas! who can tell?—We came to-day nine hours, always south, over a perfect desert-plain, mostly sandy. A cold north-east wind was blowing all the day. The people dread it as death itself; as well they may, for they are nearly naked. Their Soudan cotton clothes afford them little or no protection against such a bleak north-easter. Europeans are astonished to see these people shivering with cold in this bleak weather, and forget that they themselves are well clothed. This remark is very applicable to the northern coast, where hundreds of the poor are seen shivering, with only a thin blanket thrown around them in the coldest day of winter. When they see a European well covered with tight cloth clothes, and flannel underneath, they may well call out sega, "cold," as they often do; and we are ready to laugh, and forget they are naked.

In this part of the desert birds of prey abound. We passed to-day some twenty large vultures, feeding on a dead camel. When the caravan filed by they all took wing, and perched themselves in a row on a rising mound of sand, and there waited until we had passed before them, like so many soldiers. These were black vultures, and of enormous breadth of wing. Many wild oxen, or what are so called, were seen, and everywhere the footprints [148] of ostriches and gazelles. His highness En-Noor made us a present of two ostrich eggs, and we supped on this out-of-the-way delicacy the last day of the year. The date of the black country (Soudan) is deserving of notice. It is called in Bornou, bitu; and in Haussa, aduwa and tinku, both tree and fruit. Its kernel, or stone, is very large, and the little pulpy matter upon it has the taste of a bitter sweet. It is about the size of an almond, and covered with a green husk, a little thick. This fruit is now ripening fast in Aheer. The tree is covered with thorns, very large, and projecting in every direction. The leaves are small, almost without veins, and with a thick stalk.

To-day we had the karengia, or bur, with a vengeance. En-Noor had already advertised us of its appearance hereabouts two days ago. It is certainly the most troublesome thing that can well be conceived for all travellers, and more so for Europeans. This bur is from a species of herbage bearing grain, very small, and which the people make bazeen of, like ghaseb and other grain. All feet of men, women, and animals, were to-day covered with this teasing bur.

The animals seen on this plateau, it will be seen, are in reality mostly of the harmless kind. The giraffe, the wild ox (considered a species of immense gazelle, or stag), the gazelle, a large and small species, the ostrich, the guinea-fowl, the hobara (in Haussa, tuja), various kinds of vultures, the crow, [149] many small birds, the lizard (in small numbers), the jerboah, the locust, butterflies, and other insects, the thob, the large turtle, &c. Overweg says the footmarks of the hyæna were also seen.

En-Noor's people caught a young ostrich, only a few hours hatched. It is now kept as a pet. Several eggs have been also picked up. The ostrich has been seen feeding on the gum of the tholukh-tree.

As to trees, we have still the eternal tholukh, or mimosa. What an omnipresent tree is this in Africa! The mimosa is found at the Cape, with the ethel; it is found in all the northern Sahara, and the ethel with it, wherever there is some water, as in the wadys of Fezzan. In all the western Sahara it abounds, producing the finest gums. Consider also the gum-trade at Mogador and Senegal! In the plain of Timbuctoo, the mimosa is found in scattered forests. Our people pretend, however, that the tholukh does not occur in Soudan, its place being filled up by various thorny trees, much resembling the mimosa. We have around us some other stunted shrubs. All trees are dwarfish in these plateaux.

Various distinguished characters are amongst the servants and slaves of En-Noor. One fellow is called the "King of the Donkeys," another wench is styled the "Queen of the Goats;" Zumzug is properly named Proban berau, "a great thief," from his thievish propensities. Then there is the "Lad of the Arrows," the fellow who is always boasting of [150] how many people he has killed with arrows, &c. &c.; but Zumzug requires especial notice from me, on account of his having run off to Aghadez with a caftan of mine; and also from the curious circumstance that En-Noor keeps such a thief amongst his slaves, so confounding the honest with the thievish servants.

January 1, 1851.—A strong, bleak, north-east wind ushers in the New Year. It began yesterday, and is likely to continue for some time. Most comfortless and disagreeable weather is this for the caravan. The people do not like to move, and show a decided tendency to hibernation. Some camels are also lost—escaped from the numbed fingers of their drivers. I, too, feel it cold; and yet there is so much of home in this weather—this keen, bracing air—that I cannot complain.

Our people caught the camels at length, and we proceeded still southwards. After three hours' travelling we appeared to have passed the most barren portion of the plateau, and came upon a new species of tree, called in Haussa, tadana. We have this day had a splendid sight of ostriches—eleven feeding in a troop near us, quietly like so many sheep—eccentric birds of their species, showing no tendency to scud away. Perhaps I shall never see so many again together. They were all black, with maybe a white feather or two underneath the sombre plumage.

The small tholukh-trees are full of birds' nests. [151] In the Northern Sahara a bird's nest was not to be seen, but here the trees are all covered with them. Amongst the various smaller ones, we came upon a huge vulture's nest on a very small tholukh, which seemed to bend and look unhappy beneath the weight of this den of rapacity and violence. There are hereabouts no rocks for the eagles to build upon. We halted amidst abundance of herbage and small trees, which afforded a little shelter from the wind.

It is, perhaps, as well that we begin the year with this most bleak and unlovely day. We may have a better one to terminate 1851. I was obliged to increase my travelling clothes, and put on an extra holi on account of the cold wind; and yet the temperature was not very low, it being only 46° at sunrise. The wind evidently comes over an immense extent of plain towards the east, perhaps some forty or fifty days' journey. We made six hours and a-half.

2d.—We started early, and moved at first to the beat of the drum. Already yesterday we had seen symptoms that the desert was drawing to a close. To-day we fairly got out of it, and entered upon a wilderness of small trees. The vegetation has not, however, yet improved in proportion to our nearness to Soudan; for this dwarf forest of tholukh and various other trees cannot be compared to the splendid desert vegetation in the Aheer valleys; these are pigmy mimosas in comparison with those[152] of Aheer. The surface of the ground is now undulating sand and red earth, and every trace of stone has almost disappeared; the soil is also covered with karengia and other herbs, all dry and sapless. We seem to be traversing a limitless stubble-field, covered over or sprinkled with small trees. Few animals enliven the scene; a crow here and there struts or flies. All the small birds seem to have sought covert from the cold. The same north-east wind as yesterday blows with remorseless strength.

I observed great numbers of ant-hills, and very large ones, too. Some of the paths from these hills are straighter than the roads made by man over the Sahara. So, also, the birds in Aheer, and on this route, build better houses for themselves than men do. We halted amidst karengia, and had great difficulty in finding a place clear of them. En-Noor suffers dreadfully from the cold, and we help to keep him alive by our coffee, which he drinks shivering, and then admits to have given him renovated heat and strength. This coffee keeps the old fellow in a good humour, and he is extremely civil to us.

3d.—We started early, and made four hours and a-half, when we stopped at the village Inasamet, or Unwessemet. The weather is still the same, and the route continues to wind through a scattered wilderness of small trees, amongst which Overweg thought he had discovered a species of wild orange.


We now see signs of approaching habitations, such as flocks of sheep straying, and droves of oxen feeding begin to appear. There seems to be a great number of birds of prey hereabouts. I counted at least thirty vultures, who watched the passing of the caravan, in hopes to see a camel fall and be abandoned.

We encamped a stone's throw beyond the houses. The well is called by the same name as the village. The inhabitants are Tuaricks, and some of them of a very pure race, almost white; whilst others, again, are dark: they are called Tagama. The women and children all came out to sell their cheeses, and a few other things. I purchased two small fowls and a good number of cheeses, which seem to be the principal articles of produce: they are made quite square, three or four inches a side, and a quarter of an inch thick. I purchased these with imitation silver rings, of which the people are immensely fond, preferring them to the imitation gold ring. I got two cheeses for a ring—a plain hoop: the fowls cost each three of these toys. The women and girls bothered me much with their curiosity and their bartering. Some of them are as stout as the Mooresses of the coast, and nearly all are well-looking; many with very good features, and fair for this country. All are polite enough, men, women, and children. We are glad to find the people more civil, the nearer we approach to Soudan. [154] We pray and hope this amendment may continue; for hitherto, since we left Mourzuk, we have always had the people, with the exception of those of Tintalous, more or less hostile towards us. Some of our customers came to ask if the rings were really silver, for the blacksmith of the village had said they were only pewter. We replied, they were de-de silver; that is, looked like it, or equal to it. They are, indeed, a most excellent imitation of silver, and answer quite as well the purpose of adorning these Targhee beauties.

I saw to-day, on a single bough of tholukh, and a very small bough, three birds' nests suspended in a festoon. I tasted the wild water-melons of this part of the Sahara, and found them bitterness itself. But I am told by our Gatronee, that the Tibboos have a method of extracting the bitterness from this wild fruit. The people brought me en route some fruit, called in Bornou kusulu, and mageria in Haussa; that is, the nebek or fruit of the sider or lote-tree. They were dry, but sweet and nice, and of a pleasant, acid sweet. Provisions thus are becoming more plentiful and varied. Dr. Barth has bought some meat of el-wagi, the name given by Yusuf for the bugar wahoush, or wild ox of the Arabs.

The greater part of the trees in this region are of the species called in Haussa, tadani, and in Bornouese, kabi. Were these trees adorned with[155] leaves—they are now fallen off, in consequence of the cold—the country about would seem covered with a dense forest.

Our arrival amongst the Tagama is a new era in our journeying, it being some time since we saw any men besides Kailouees. Overweg thinks the men thieves and bad, and the women lascivious; but I observed in their conduct nothing different from other Tuaricks. A man, however, offered several women to Barth. I have never yet had such offers. Amongst the things brought for sale are young ostriches and the eggs of ostriches. I ate in the evening some flesh of the giraffe; it is pretty well tasted, and something like beef. Hunting the giraffe is a great occupation with the people of this village, and the flesh of the animal a source of subsistence for them. They have, however, besides, cattle and flocks; and the karengia, which has proved such an annoyance to us, is the principal farinaceous food of these Tagama, as the bou rekaba is the principal food of poor families in Aheer. Inasamet has, perhaps, a hundred huts, covered with the skins of the bullock, and probably of the giraffe. The latter animal is hunted by men mounted on horseback, who throw their spears at it, and wound it under the belly. This is said to be the only way of killing it, for the rest of its body is covered with a sort of rhinoceros hide, of great thickness. Of this hide they make famous sandals, which wear long.

It is difficult to decide how far this immense[156] plain—which extends as far as Aghadez on the N.W., to Gouber on the S.W., perhaps as far as the plain of Senezrouft, on the route of Timbuctoo—passing, besides, eastwards across the route of Bornou,—how far this vast space of desert is a plateau to the surrounding countries; that is, whether higher or lower than their level. We do not think it is a plateau in reference to Aheer. There is another route to Damerghou, westward of this, on which is situate the forest of Kob-kob, the place mentioned in the itinerary which I procured from the people of Ghadamez.

4th.—The morning was cold, with wind. The Tagama, I observe, have many horses. Like their more civilised brethren in Europe, these people find this the most tractable and convenient animal in every case where the desert does not interfere.

We came south seven hours and a-quarter; after four, the wavy country broke up into a deep valley; in another hour, on the right, was seen a pool of rain-water—a small lake, stretching nearly a mile long. The country, as yesterday, was undulating, and covered with a dwarf forest; but the trees were thicker, and the ground was covered with dried herbage, mostly karengia. It is our constant occupation, morning and evenings, for half an hour, to pick the burs out of our clothes. The animals seen were mostly small birds; some flights of blackbirds, two-thirds the size of the English[157] blackbird; and crows and doves in numbers. Near the water I picked up the feathers of the guinea-fowl, and the piece of a shell of a large turtle. Burrows of the hyæna and the ant-eater dotted the ground. En-Noor told me that lions also abound in the thickets. The lions conceal themselves in the trees, and the hyænas burrow under ground.

Our people are now on the threshold of Damerghou, and do not know yet what route they will take from this country to Kanou; whether by Tesaoua or Zinder. Even En-Noor seems quite undecided what he shall do.

5th.—We came well on to-day, eight hours and twenty minutes. After four or five hours we passed on the roadside a dozen huts, with skin-roofs or coverings. The people are some light, some dark; variegated, like most of the Tuaricks. The children of eight or nine years go quite naked. After two hours more we came upon the large village of Gumrum, or Gumrek. I saw many people, light and dark; the women are fat and bold, free in their conversation; and the men evidently fanatical. The latter shouted that we ought not to pass, because we were infidels. One fellow was very savage, and cursed me; he was an old grey-headed gentleman, and seemed quite excited. These people are also of the tribe of the Tagama. Amankee came up to me, whispering, "These are like the Kalfadaï, they would rob you as they did, only they are all in the hands of the Sofo (En-Noor)."


The inhabitants of Gumrek have much cattle. We ourselves saw some five or six hundred head, and they must have more than double this number, besides flocks and horses. The men mostly ride horses, but their breed is miserably small and ill-looking. People in poor circumstances mount bullocks, as do all the women.

To the west, lately, there came off a great razzia. All this country around, for some hundred miles, is the noted theatre of such expeditions, which are mostly undertaken against the salt and other caravans, where there is considerable booty expected. The smaller caravans escape. When the Kilgris and Kailouees are in open hostility, they generally make this the theatre of their battles; the former carrying off the salt of the latter. This hostility is, like that of most of the wild tribes, of ancient date. The Kilgris have been driven from all this part of Asben by the Kailouees. The houses we passed in ruins are said to have been once occupied by the Kilgris. If so, they evidently were in former times powerful and opulent, and have since become relaxed and pusillanimous. At any rate, they have been expelled by the fiercer and more ferocious Kailouees. The Oulimad also come here to plunder occasionally. At Gurarek we saw a phenomenon which, after so much desert, gladdened indeed our eyes. This was a fine sheet of water, of great extent, covered with a forest of luxurious trees. It was a genuine Soudan picture, and we gazed at it with delight. I nevertheless [159] thought of the pestilential exhalations of the stagnant pools further on in Soudan. The ground holds the water tightly, for wells are sunk near it of some depth before water is reached. This pool, or lake, dries up during the heat of summer, as is proved by the existence of wells sunk in their beds.

The country to-day was extremely pleasant, like some parts of the undulating county of Essex, after the harvest is gathered. I scarcely expected to find such reminiscences in Africa, on the frontiers of Pamerghou. If the vegetation were all in leaf, the scenery would be quite cheerful and happy-looking. The trees to-day thickened into forests down some slopes—but there is nothing tropical in all this verdure; one or two plants, at most, are all that could be considered as such. Many gazelles glanced on either hand as we proceeded: the guinea-hen was in great numbers, thirty or forty together, old ones and chickens. They run very quickly through the forests, and cannot be taken in the day. At night, however, some are snared. They feed on the karengia, and get immensely plump. Their flesh is greatly esteemed. Doves showed themselves in flights; and many beautiful small birds, some strangers to my eyes. One especially, a little black-and-white fellow, with an immense bushy tail. Vultures, in company with a variegated crow, were feeding on a dead camel. This curious crow has a white neck and breast.[160] What a truly Saharan group is that which I have just noticed. The vulture feeding on a camel fallen in the desert, towards the end of an arduous journey!

We met a party of huntsmen, with three bullocks to carry their ghaseb. They had six dogs, and told us they were off after the giraffe. A few lizards now and then glanced over the path, and at every thirty or forty yards rose a busy ant-hill.

En-Noor and I converged to-day from the backs of our respective camels. He asked me particularly if I liked stout women, and whether stout women were found in England. I replied, gravely, that this species occurred in all Christian countries; a piece of zoological information which seemed highly to gratify him. His highness still pretends he does not know where he is going—that is, whether to Zinder or Tesaoua.

We encamped near a shallow wady, the first we have seen in this part of the country; i.e. a well-defined dry bed of a river.



My Barracan—Spontaneous Civility on arrival in Damerghou—Ghaseb Stubble—Cactus—Water-Melons—Party of Tuaricks—Boban Birni—Huts of Damerghou—Tagelel—Women of the Village—Population of the Country—Complaisant Ladies—Festivities—Aquatic Birds—Dancing—A Flatterer—A Slave Family—A new Reason for Wife-beating—Hazna Dancers—Damerghou, common ground—Purchase of Ghaseb—Dethroned Sultan—Yusuf—Mohammed Tunisee—Ophthalmia—Part with Barth and Overweg—Presents to Servants—Sheikh of Fumta—Yakobah Slave—Applications for Medicine—Boban Birni—Forest—At length enter Bornou ground—Daazzenai—Tuarick Respectabilities—Detachment of the Salt-Caravan.

Jan. 6th.—We came seven hours. The weather is always thick, as for many days past; but the wind not so strong, nor the air so cold. We had even some drops of rain; and, probably, the rain here is not so constant, in its fall in summer-time, as is generally supposed. I took out my last barracan, as some precaution against the threatening clouds. This barracan excited everybody's attention; every one admired it, and asked for it. I was plagued to death by the people, and I vowed I would not take it out again be the weather what it might. The[162] same demand had been repeatedly made for my poor carpet; so, on the following day, I took it off from the camel.

An hour before we pitched tent; we passed a town on the top of a hill composed of huts, some covered with skins, and some made of straw. Our encampment is in a wady, near a cluster of hovels. The people came running to welcome us, by offering ghaseb for sale. Two volunteered to assist us in clearing a clean place for our tents. This being the first act of spontaneous assistance which we had witnessed from Tripoli to Damerghou, I gave them each a ring. We are now fairly in Damerghou; and to-day we saw the first specimens of the culture in this part of Africa. The ground is cleared by burning, as on the coast; which burning serves partly to supply the place of manure. The people, apparently slaves, were burning and raking up the ashes and stubble, with rakes made of fallen branches of trees. We passed through wide tracts of ghaseb stubble. Some of the stalks were seven or eight feet high, but the ears were not larger than those seen at Ghadamez—about eight or nine inches.

Amongst the plants observed yesterday was the cactus, with a smooth leaf. Water-melons were also found in the road, mostly quite good and sweet, but some white ones perfectly tasteless. None, even those cultivated, are equal to the melons of the coast; there are no mealy ones here.


We were met by a party of Tuaricks, who came to salute En-Noor, mounted on horseback. As we had had some very rough customers amongst the Tagama, I took little notice of them, and continued eating my bread and cheese. At this the people of the caravan laughed. They thought we ought always to receive these strangers, Tuaricks, with fear and trembling. I deemed the contrary plan more politic. However, had I known they were official persons, and one son of a sheikh of a town, I should have given them a more civil welcome.

7th.—We came eight hours and a-half south, over an undulating country, intersected with small wadys, and through ghaseb stubble. All was wavy ground, and bare of trees. There is, however, a small hill, at a distance of some ten miles from our encampment, called Boban Birni, "Great City," of conical form. Numerous villages were scattered along the whole line of route, a few of some size. The form of the huts is like that of beehives. Around them are small magazines of ghaseb, supported on wooden stakes, very like corn-stacks. The inhabitants of these Damerghou villages are blacks, with features like the Bornouese. In fact, they speak the Bornou languages, and are said to have been the product of past razzias in that country by the Tuaricks.

Damerghou is the granary of Asben, and seems to be entirely in possession of the Asbenouees,[164] nearly all these villages being peopled by the slaves of the Tuaricks. Some villages, indeed, contain nothing but slaves.

Few animals were noticed to-day, but we saw four gazelles feeding together, and some hares. Not many birds appeared, on account of the fewness of the trees. Only a small portion of the ground is cultivated, but the camels and cattle are taken to be fed in the waste lands.

We encamped at the village of En-Noor, called Tagelel. The capital of Damerghou is on the west (N.W.) from this, and is called Olleloa. The place is governed by Tuaricks.

People say there are two or three hundred towns and villages in the country. Damerghou is not considered as part of Soudan, because it is possessed by the Tuaricks; but the country and climate are undoubtedly the same as all the neighbouring Soudanee territories. The weather was very warm and oppressive to-day. I fancied I suffered from the change of climate. I felt not quite well, and was much annoyed by the disobedience of the servants. Mohammed Tunisee has spoiled them all, and even Yusuf has done his share of mischief.

8th.—The weather was warm again this morning. I had a visit from the female slaves of the village of En-Noor, introduced by the wife of his highness. I gave them rings and sugar, and sent them off in a good humour. The country around looks exceedingly bare, almost free from trees.[165] There is a little herbage for the camels. Ghaseb stubble, however, spreads all over, which looks well for the industry of the poor slaves. The karengia has disappeared.

The news of the day goes that En-Noor will take me himself to Zinder. He probably wants to make acquaintance with the new governor of that place, as well as to see us safe there. The Tuaricks paid me a visit. I gave them a bit of sugar, showed them a gun, and got rid of them. A present of leban from a daughter of En-Noor induced me to give her a ring.

Amankee says the population of this country is very various, but the Tuaricks of Asben are the masters. The villagers are not all slaves; there are many free people amongst them,—also Buza in numbers; Tuaricks who, having settled in Soudan, have forgotten their own language, speaking only Haussa. Many visitors trouble us, but we hope for a diminution to-morrow. The people of Damerghou are reported as enormous thieves, but we have seen as yet but little of their propensities this way, having, happily, lost nothing.

I made a visit to the village, and was well received by the principal slave of En-Noor, who presented me with ghaseb-bread, cheese, and furd, or ghaseb-water. The ladies were singularly complaisant, and one offered me her friend; another was offered by a man. I believe these offers[166] made in the way of compliments. In the East, it would not be prudent to take him at his word who should say, "Everything I have is yours." The huts of the village are very clean, and are inhabited entirely by slaves of En-Noor. These villages of Damerghou, at a distance, have the appearance of Chinese villages, such as I have seen drawn, with eaves cocked up like the rim of a French hat. The evening was given up to festivities, the slaves of the caravan uniting with those of the Tagelel. A regular procession brought the supper from the village to the people of the caravan, and then the music and dancing began. We had no supper sent. His highness is amazingly shabby in this respect. He fancies, perhaps, he could send us nothing better than what we have ourselves got, but he might try the compliment. We are, however, obliged to him for preventing others from levying contributions upon us in this new region. The Tuaricks here—all the strangers—are very civil; on account, I believe, of our being with the old man. He is of great negative utility.

Overweg went to a lagoon, with little green isles in the midst of it, and shot some ducks. Ducks! This convinces us that we are now in the country of water. A wader was shot, and a fine plump bird something like a partridge, which Mohammed Tunisee calls poule de Carthage, but it is much [167] smaller than those that I have eaten in Tunis. Many aquatic birds were flying or floating about the lake.

The dancing in the evening was after this fashion. Two men beat drums, standing on one side of a circle marked. The dancers advanced towards them with shy and coyish gesture, and then swung round and round to the opposite side of the circle in a sort of time kept by the beating of the drum. They threw up their legs, but not in an indecent manner. It was a kind of simple waltzing. The men were not more violent in action than the women. Each sex danced separately, the women beginning first and then retiring. During the performance a song was kept up, a continually recurring rhyme. When it became dark the male and female slaves made love, and coquetted together. We, too, had our music; a strolling minstrel came to our tent by appointment to play on his guitar. He sang all our praises in very nice Haussa words, and indulged in the most extraordinary flattery I ever heard. I was Sultan, and had the riches of the world at my command. Over was the great doctor, and what he could not cure, God himself could not cure. Bar was the wise man, knowing all languages and all things. We tried not to be pleased, but in vain. Flattery is sweet, especially when enveloped in song.

The weather was hot to-day, and sultry. I made many little presents, some to a fighi of[168] Bornou, a Shoua Arab, who repeated the fatah to us. It is reported that a great deal of the salt goes with En-Noor to Zinder, from which we are separated by two days' journey, one of villages and another of forest.

9th.—The morning opened with wind, as usual, from the N.E. The weather was cooler than yesterday. I visited a group of cottages, or rather huts, and received a present of a korna for holding water. The thatch of these primitive habitations was of bou rekaba stalks. The korna is allowed to twine itself over the roofs, as the woodbine over our cottages, and looks very pretty. This group of cottages was inhabited by a single family,—alas! all slaves.

According to Overweg, the reason En-Noor beat his wife in the terrible manner mentioned in this journal was, because she was accustomed to glide out of her chamber at night to witness the dances—the beastly dances of the north coast. I certainly was surprised to hear that she was present at these filthy exhibitions. "Have I not bought you?" his highness remonstrated with her. "Are you not my slave?" "No." she replied; "I am your wife, not your slave." So the lady continued, till she aggravated his highness into a great fury. Many Europeans, it must be confessed, would beat their wives for a less cause.

It is now said, his highness goes first to Tesaoua. We start all to-morrow, at any rate. The bells which cover the horses are without clappers, but being[169] close together they make a great jingling noise by dashing one against another. Suppers were brought this evening, but the singing and dancing were not continued. We had, however, at sunset, a visit from a Hazna dancer,—a perfect specimen of African buffoonery and jingling. He danced and sung with the wildest barbarity. He had two followers, to pick up the offerings of the people. They beat two pieces of stick together to the motion of his legs, hung with bells. The upper part of his body was naked, whilst the lower part was covered with a red and yellow apron. This man is said to drink beer, and is a professed pagan.

I went to the wells, which are bored through the hard red clay, in the shape of small circular holes, of about fifty feet in depth. There is very little water at this season, but it is sufficient for the wants of the village when the salt-caravan is not here.

The inhabitants of Damerghou consist of Kailouee Tuaricks—Bornouese runaways and slaves—Haussa people, free and slaves—Bousa, or the descendants of Tuaricks by slaves, and a few Fullanee. This is also the refuge of dethroned sultans, as well as runaway slaves. There is now here the Kailouee prince called Maaurgi, who exercised authority some years since in Aheer. Damerghou, indeed, appears to be common ground, where every one who pleases, and is strong enough, comes to establish himself. Many runaways, freemen from Bornou, who had committed some misdemeanour, being found in this[170] country weak and unable to protect themselves, were reduced to slavery by a Tuarick prince. The slaves here answer to the serfs of Russia, with the exception that they may be taken away and sold in other countries.

10th.—The morning was cool because of the wind. They held a souk, or market, to-day near us. Provisions were very cheap. I was greatly amused to see the small quantities of sunbal which Mahadee had laid out for two zekkas of ghaseb. For myself I was much plagued by the women, who all admire my beard; not, certainly, my red nose, which is terribly scorched and peeled by the sun.

Overweg visited the dethroned Sultan of Asoudee, who is living here in state, in the midst of his slaves. He holds a sort of court, and, contrary to the free customs of the Tuaricks, he permits slaves who approach him to prostrate themselves and throw dust on their heads. He is the uncle of the present Sultan of Asoudee, and is called Masouarji. In his fallen condition he gave Overweg a hospitable reception, and a present of dates, which was duly acknowledged.

Yusuf, refusing to do some translation which I requested him, now forfeits all claims to my service. I told him, to-day, to go off to Kanou. Afterwards I arranged with him to go with me to Zinder, where, before the governor, I hope to get clear of him; for he is now of little use, and costs me more than all my servants together.


Mohammed Tunisee has done him great harm; but, nevertheless, this chap continues to improve since the arrangement made, by which he becomes only the servant of Barth. The Germans, however, are still afraid of him. Yusuf is trying the same system with me, but will probably find that it will end in no good affair for himself. Mohammed Tunisee and Yusuf seem hitherto to have combined to spoil all our people. The liberated slaves from Tunis, brought up by me, have turned out the best and most faithful servants. I am much pleased with this.

All the people of Damerghou are afflicted with ophthalmia, which is said to arise from the winds that prevail constantly over this open and unsheltered country. Some of the people pretend it is caused by drinking ghaseb-water, which appears absurd enough. The Moorish and other merchants attribute the greater part of their diseases to drinking water,—especially the fevers. How much truth there is in this assertion is not easy to be determined.

11th.—It has been agreed that I and my colleagues should here part for a time, Dr. Barth going to Kanou, and Dr. Overweg to Tesaoua and Maradee, whilst I proceed with En-Noor direct to Zinder. Dr. Barth promises to be in Kuka in two months; and Dr. Overweg says he will immediately correspond, that is from Tesaoua to Zinder. The latter has the more difficult journey before him; but even Dr. Barth's visit to Kanou may turn out a more[172] serious business than perhaps he anticipates. We took leave one of the other with some emotion; for in Central Africa, those travellers who part and take divergent routes can scarcely count on all meeting together again.

I also here parted with Amankee, my Haussa servant. He had behaved indifferently lately, but nevertheless, as he rendered us some service in the acquirement of the Haussa languages, and in other matters, I made him a present of four dollars for one extra time he had remained with us. He had been paid his wages at Mourzuk to go with us to Zinder, but then we expected to be only three months en route. In a moment, just as we were starting, he changed his mind, and would go to his home at once. This is his character,—levity and instability,—otherwise he is a good fellow enough. He is one of those Tuaricks who have settled in Haussa and forgotten their native tongue. I have been often obliged to use harsh language to him, to curb his levity. In parting with the servants of the Germans, I promised them each a present of six dollars if I heard a good report of them on their arrival at Kuka. This present is held out as an inducement because it is impossible to tell what may happen, as the Germans will nearly always be without any special escort. En-Noor, however, sends one of his slaves with Overweg to Maradee, and Barth goes with the salt-caravan to Kanou.

I was much disappointed that we made but one[173] hour this morning (south). To pass the time, I determined to visit some of the villages with which Damerghou is overscattered. I went first to a place called Fumta Bou Beker, twenty-five minutes from our encampment. Here I found the Sheikh, who had just returned from Kanou,—a considerable merchant. He received me with great hospitality, and gave me ghaseb-water, and some little pieces of meat, roasted, besides milk. I was accompanied by my stupid mahadee, who is, nevertheless, not a bad market-man. He purchased a large calabash of milk, and a peck of beans, for some small pieces of jaui, or benzoin. I then administered caustic to all the eyes of the village—at least sixty persons—including men, women, and children, with the Sheikh. Bad eyes were the only pressing complaints of the place.

The villagers all spoke Bornouese. I believe this is the general language of Damerghou. There were only two or three Tuaricks present. Most of the people were free. The Sheikh, of course, had several slaves; amongst them a Yakobah slave, with straight lines cicatrised in curious patterns all over his body. The poor fellow seemed remarkably stupid, and I believe that many of these poor fellows brought from the more distant countries of Soudan become half idiots from continually regretting their beloved country. Alas! what can be done for Africa, when the greater part of its social system is constructed on slavery?


Curious applications are made for medicines to cure various afflictions, moral and physical, amongst these people. A woman, to-day, begged for a medicine to prevent her children from dying. She had had many children, and all had died. Another woman applies for a medicine to prevent her husband from liking her rival, and to make him place his affection on her. A man demands medicine for good luck, and says he is always unfortunate.—Good people, I am not the physician to be called in in these cases.

It is night, and En-Noor has not made his appearance. I am travelling with his wife and the other women; besides, there are a number of male slaves and some thirty camels of salt. Probably his highness will go another way to Zinder.

I believe that Fumta Bou Beker is quite an independent village, and that all the great towns and villages here have an independent jurisdiction of their own. According to a slave of En-Noor, there are two sultans.

12th.—The morning was cool and windy. We started pretty early, and moved one hour through huts scattered amidst the ghaseb stubble. Then came three hours of undulating ground, uncultivated. Afterwards we fell in with huts again; and in two hours more reached the conical-shaped mount called Boban Birni. It consists of a sort of coarse sandstone and is in part overgrown with herbage. From the encampment to Mount Boban Birni was a distance of six hours S.W. It can be seen from[175] afar off, though in reality not very lofty. We passed the mount for two hours through a forest of dwarf trees; the country still billowy, as it were. We advanced in all about eight hours, braced by a pleasant north-east wind. As we advanced we saw ostriches quietly feeding at no great distance, not heeding our caravan as it murmured by. Partridges rose as we advanced; together with guinea-hens, blackbirds, crows, black and white, and several long-tailed flutterers.

13th.—The morning was overcast, with cold wind. We started early, and made a long day of nine hours and a-half, and did not encamp until an hour after dark. Our course, as we ascended from Mount Boban Birni, was S. 3° E. The country still undulated through the same forest, which in many places was quite dense, whilst in others the trees were scattered.

When we reached the camping-ground a pleasant announcement was made. We were at length upon Bornou soil! I could hardly believe my ears. Oh, marvel, after all our dangers and misgivings! Thanks to Almighty God for deliverance from the hands of lawless tribes! I shall never forget the sensation with which I learned that I was at length really in Bornou, and that the robber Tuarick was in very truth definitively left behind.

Our encampment was near a little village of twenty huts, called Daazzenai, placed under a rock of red stone. The country of Damerghou, in this[176] direction, is separated from Bornou by about eleven hours of forest, or some thirty miles English—a sufficient distance to divide two countries, especially in Africa. The trees were larger to-day, and some of considerable altitude. Many pretty yellow blossoms, glowed on a species of shrub not unlike the laburnum.

I observed scattered in the forest small mounds of mud, wasting away to the level of the ground; there were many of them; the birds perch thereon.

We have seen a few nice families amongst the Tuaricks and their slaves, but these are mostly foreigners. There is the family of the Tripoline slave; her husband is a pleasant, quiet man, and one of En-Noor's household; she has a daughter and one cade-lamb. Then there is the Bornou fighi and his wife. These people are so affable, that they always have visitors near their little tent. They have also a cade-lamb. Their tent is a curiosity. It is just large enough for one of them to creep in—not for two. I suppose the fighi enters at night, and leaves his wife to sleep at the door.

A detachment of the salt-caravan passed us to-day for Zinder. The whole force of the salt-caravan this year could not be more than fifteen hundred. Two divisions were with us of Kailouees, one in advance, each of five hundred, and the Kilgris' division of five hundred. So much for the boasted ten thousand camels which were gone this year to bring salt! From En-Noor one could not[177] possibly get correct statistics, for, being a thorough Kailouee and a Tuarick, he magnifies everything connected with his people before strangers, and particularly to us. It was very amusing to see all the little children warming themselves in the evening at the fire, or feeding the flames with brushwood, which they easily collected.



March for Zinder—Enter the City—Reception—Delighted to escape from the Tuaricks—Letters from Kuka—Hospitable Treatment—Presents for the Sarkee and others—Visit the Shereef—His Duties—Audience of the Sarkee—Servility—Double-skulled Slave—Powder and Shot—Portrait of the Sultan—Commission from Kuka—European Clothes—Family of En-Noor—Tour of the Town—Scavengers—List of Sultans of Central Africa—Ancient Haussa—The Market—Money—Conversation with the Shereef—The Sultan at Home—Mixed Race of Zinder—Statistics—Personages of the Court.

Jan. 14th.—We started early, in hopes to reach Zinder in the course of the morning. Our course of five hours was S. 10° E. from the encampment. The route from En-Noor's palace in Damerghou is two good days and a-half. After two hours and a-half we came to huts in a valley, and a village of thirty or forty houses, called Boban Tabki. In three quarters of an hour there were villages again. I was pleased to see the corn-stacks or field-granaries standing in the open country, apart from all houses or habitations, illustrating the security of property in Zinder and its neighbouring districts. The country all around is pleasant, nicely undulating with ridges [179] of green hills—the horizon bounded on every side with rounded green hills.

We sighted Zinder after four hours' march; and entered the town within another hour. I was somewhat impatient to get rid of the Tuaricks, and place myself in the hands of the Bornou authorities; so I rode off myself to the town, leaving the suburbs, where the family of En-Noor have their residence, deaf to all their cries to stop. I found a friendly Kailouee, who conducted me straight to the house of the governor. His servants took me to the Shereef, and the Shereef sent me to Saïd, my servant, where I found a house and everything prepared for my reception; and here, also, I found a slave sent from Bornou by the Sheikh, to conduct me to Kuka: so all things wore a happy aspect after so many miseries and uncertainties.

I was delighted with the appearance of Zinder, its picturesque situation, and its unexpected size. It is much larger than I was led to expect. As soon as I was domiciled I received visits from several merchants of Mourzuk, besides the authorities of the town. All the sons of the Sultan of the place came to salute me; I gave them each a little sugar, and off they went highly pleased. Provisions now poured in at such a rate, that after the starvation of the desert I became nauseated at their sight. These were sent by the Sultan and the Shereef.

Thankful satisfaction for my deliverance from[180] the wild tribes, the most hostile to Christians of all this part of Africa, and fond anticipations of what I may do in Bornou; the good news I already heard, and the anxiety of the Sheikh for our safety, with my comparatively robust health;—thoughts of all these things prevented me from sleeping during the night.

I learnt from Saïd, servant of Haj Beshir, that letters had arrived from Mourzuk for us in Kuka, and one was addressed to the Sheikh, which had determined him to bring us all at once to Kuka, and prevent us going first to Soudan. Upon this advice, the Sultan of this place had sent four persons to Tesaoua, to bring my colleagues from that place. But whether they will come on the demand of these persons is very questionable. I learned that the Sfaxee, as I expected, was laid up with fever in Kanou, for he is emphatically a man of fever; and, besides, he has no control over himself, but gorges himself with food when an opportunity presents itself; and this, after the privations of the desert, is sure to bring on disease. Yusuf Moknee came to me this evening, to know what was to be done on the next morning. He finds it necessary to alter his conduct, as he sees now that I could do without him. I determined to go on with him for the present. I do not wish to leave him here with En-Noor, for he may do us harm with that subtle Kailouee prince. I must take him away from the Tuaricks altogether.


I found all the Mourzuk people very friendly—everybody friendly; the world seemed turned upside down after our treatment from the Tuaricks. I began to make little presents, for I am determined our friends shall have a portion of her Majesty's goods as well as our enemies; which latter, indeed, took them away from us by force. I must not forget to remark, that when I entered Zinder there was not a single person bold enough to whisper the name Kafer! so immense is the difference between this Bornou country and the Tuarick territories.

15th.—I rose early, having slept little. The weather was cool, the thermometer at sunrise being at 59°. I began to prepare our presents for the Sultan and the Shereef. After much debating as to quantity, it was determined to keep all the best things for Kuka, and give small presents here. In this respect I must praise Yusuf and his friends amongst the Mourzuk people.

I prepared a present for Sarkee Ibrahim, sultan of Zinder, consisting of a piece of muslin for turban, a red turban, three heads of sugar, two glass drinking-cups, painted, a cup and saucer for coffee, a few rings in imitation of gold, cloves, two handkerchiefs (cotton), powder and shot, fifty bullets, two or three small looking-glasses. The present for the Shereef consisted of a carpet (hearth-rug), used here for kneeling upon in performing prayers, three white sugar-loaves, cloves, handkerchief (cotton), powder and shot, with some other trifles. The[182] present for Saïd, sent by Haj Beshir from Kuka, consisted of a cloth caftan (coarse), a cotton handkerchief, and a piece of cotton stuff to make a pillow.

I am happy to add, that all were content and satisfied; but we made them understand—indeed, they knew it before we arrived—that the Tuaricks had taken away nearly all my property.

I must add the present of the Shereef Saghir (little Shereef), who acts as interpreter for the Sultan: a glass painted drinking-cup, a handkerchief (cotton), a little sugar, jani, senbal, a few cloves, and two or three rings; with which he was well satisfied.

Before noon I waited on the Shereef to deliver my present. I was much struck with this man's appearance. He was quite an European—white as myself. His countenance seemed full of thought and meaning. He is a native of Fez, and has lived long in Algiers. He has served in the war against the French under Abd-el-Kader, and has only been two years in Bornou and in Kuka, and once in Zinder. He is here as the nather, "looker-on;" one who watches over the interests of the country, particularly in its foreign relations. To speak plainly, he is a spy of the Sheikh of Bornou over the authorities of Zinder, including the Governor. All the people say, "Without the Shereef nothing can be done in Zinder;" and well they may, considering that he is in the entire confidence of the Sheikh. The Shereef is also the agent of all foreigners, and [183] our goods were directed to his care from Tintalous—that is, those things which we sent up before us. The Sultans of Zinder are always a little disaffected; and to check them, and watch their conduct, the Shereef has been sent here. This personage is also universally respected for his learning, piety, and almsgiving; so that, apparently, the Sheikh could not have intrusted his interests to a more able man. The Shereef knows well the use of arms, for it is reported here in Zinder that he has killed forty thousand Frenchmen with his own hands! The people actually believe this most marvellous report!

After leaving the Shereef we went to salute the Sultan Ibrahim, and deliver to his highness our present. We were conducted into a species of fort, built of clay, with walls exceedingly thick. Here in a sort of anteroom, or open skifa, or hall, we found some fifty soldiers of the Sultan, unarmed and bare-headed, with one or two governors of neighbouring places, all squatted upon the ground. I was requested to squat down amongst them, which I did near a raised mud-bench. There was little light, the place being built to shut out the glare and heat of the sun. Here I waited a quarter of an hour, till the Sultan was announced by the cries of the soldiers, slaves, and domestic officers. His highness took his seat upon the mud-bench; and whilst so doing his attendants all squatted down, many of them taking up the dust from the ground and throwing it over their bare heads, and crying, [184] "Long live the Sultan! God bless him!" This is the first occasion on which I have witnessed this degrading custom, this abject worship of the representative of power. The scene was perfectly African and negro.

I was squatted amidst a number of courtiers, one of whom had a sort of double skull, another smaller skull raised above the larger one,—a protuberance which came from an accident in infancy. This double-skulled man was the chief of the domestics.

The Sultan was in a merry humour, and smilingly asked after my health. We then read our letters of recommendation, which pleased him. He observed that the route viâ Aheer was good. "How good," asked Yusuf, "when we are arrived here naked, and stripped of everything?" At which his highness burst out, laughing, with all the people. There was now observed a little bustle behind, and his highness called out "Silence!" like a sheriff in a court of law. I begged the interpreter to tell the Sultan that our present was small, for we had been stripped by the Tuaricks. This he whispered in his ear; after which I slipped a packet of powder and shot into the hands of one of the principal courtiers, telling him it was for the Sultan, and he carried it off. I did not place it with the other presents, because the servant of Haj Bashaw, sent from Kuka, forbad my giving his highness any powder and shot, alleging, that this [185] Sultan was always disaffected, and the Sheikh would disapprove of my giving him munitions of war. But I was determined to give fifty bullets and two dozen charges of powder, believing that he could do the Sheikh little harm, whilst it would make him my personal friend. No person knew what I gave the Governor.

The powder and shot being delivered, I took leave of his highness, raising my cap and shaking hands with him. At this doffing off the cap all the people were highly gratified, thinking great respect was thereby shown to their prince.

Ibrahim is a negro, a native of Zinder, a man of fifty years of age, with a countenance sparkling with good humour, and I believe I may add, intelligence. He has been Sultan here some thirty years, so that he must be a man of character. This day he received a renewal of his commission from Kuka, a ceremony that takes place every year; and so he was in a happy humour. There was also a sort of feast at the palace, and his highness rode out with a detachment of cavalry. The persons who brought our camels from Kuka also brought the renewed commission, or a man, from the Sheikh. Haj Beshir has sent us ten camels, to bring the boat and our baggage, in the event of our camels being stolen, or having become weak with the journey from Mourzuk. I have, therefore, only to sell my camels and turn them into ready money, which I much need, and then start.


We afterwards called again on the Shereef, and had a laugh about the man with two skulls. I told the Shereef "two heads were perhaps better than one," at which they all burst out laughing. The Shereef was surrounded by foreign merchants, all chatting in good humour. These Moors were friendly to me. To-day I dressed in my European clothes; first, because unless you have very good clothes, such as worn by the people of the country, you cut a very bad figure; and secondly, and principally, to show the Kailouees, and other strangers, that I was now in a friendly place, and that no one dare say anything to me in the way of insult. In fact, as yesterday, there is not even a whisper of the word Kafer. His highness and all the people admired my European gear. I told them that now the Turks dressed in the same manner, or nearly so; at which they were greatly surprised. I had on a black surtout, tight trousers, and varnished boots, gloves, neckerchief, waistcoat; everything European but the hat, wearing instead of this the fez cap or shasheeah.

In the evening I paid a visit to the family of En-Noor, who were greatly astonished at my transfiguration from a bad Moorish dress into an European suit. They were much disconcerted at this change, and my happy humour. Madame En-Noor rated me for running away from them yesterday. I told them I wished to get to my friends of Bornou as quickly as possible. My interpreter also [187] informed them that the Sheikh had sent camels, and enlarged on the anxiety of everybody here for our safety. They were all displeased at this news, as a reflection upon them and the conduct of the Tuaricks. They now beheld quite a change in everything. I was anxious to mark this change in our circumstances, that they might reflect how they treated Europeans again when fallen into their hands. At the same time I showed a desire not to hurt their feelings, wishing to be on friendly terms with them whilst here.

The Kailouees are all excessively quiet now. All feel the power of the Sheikh, and are almost as submissive as if they were at Mourzuk. However, the family of En-Noor still keep begging. But I believe now I must finish with them. The Sultan is said by his servants to have gone to Tesaoua. I am extremely glad I came without him to this place. Perhaps he also was ashamed to bring me. From Tesaoua he will be here after some days. People call him, as in Aheer, An-Nour, and not En-Noor. The prince of Zinder asked, where is An-Nour? The people are still at work preparing this chieftain's apartments, consisting of a circular wall of matting, enclosing a number of huts; there is a mud-house in the middle, but it is now fallen into ruins.

I made a tour of the town, and was still more pleased than before with its size. It is said to contain 20,000 inhabitants. There are many divisions,[188] separated by blocks of granite, and small hills. We visited the Kaïd of a district. He immediately brought us ghaseb-water and milk. Really the world seems turned upside down when the conduct of the people here is compared with the hospitality which we received from En-Noor, although he personally paid us some attentions not vouchsafed by others. We came through the souk, where were the sticks of meat roasting, and lots of people. No one whispered Kafer! The Shereef sent me a horse to ride on when I go out, and recommends me to do so.

The scavengers of Zinder are a multitudinous host of a small species of filthy-looking vultures, brown and black in colour: they are exceedingly tame, for the people never touch them, and they walk about the streets tamer than the fowls. I believe the same species of vulture are also the scavengers of Kanou. At Zinder they take their evening exercise by flying in circles over the city, a hundred or two together. There are a few white ones amongst the flock. The Sultan sent for a piece of camphor this morning. I gave him some, with a silver French coin and a new English farthing.

The news is, that I must stay here ten days, to oblige the slaves who have been sent from Kuka to carry the baggage. We are also to stay at Minyo a few days, en route four days from this.

I spent the evening gleaning information of the[189] interior. There is now no war in any part of Central Africa, i.e. no great wars. Probably the princes of Africa, like those of Europe, find that war will not pay. At any rate, all is peace for the present. This will facilitate our progress. I had a visit from the son of the Kadi of Kuka, an intelligent young man, who has promised to come to-morrow to write the routes from Zinder to his native place.

I have obtained a list of the names of the principal sultans in this part of Africa:

  1. Bornou—The Sheikh Omer, the son of the sheikh who reigned in the time of the first expedition. He has now reigned fourteen years. He has a good character.
  2. Sakkatou—Sultan of the Fellatahs, Ali. He is not so great as his father Bello, celebrated in the time of the first expedition.
  3. Asben, or Aheer—Abd-el-Kader.
  4. Maradee—Binono.
  5. Gouber—Aliou (Ali).
  6. Niffee—Khaleelou. The name of the capital is Gondu. The Sultan is a Fullan, but independent of Sakkatou, as are many other Fullan princes.
  7. Adamaua—Lauel. He is called by the Fullans Madubbu-Adamaua, i.e. Sultan or Kakam of Adamowa. He is a Fullan, but the people whom he governs are all Kohlans, or negroes.[190]
  8. Yakobah—Ibrahim. His father was called Yakobah, and the country has probably derived its recent name of the late sultan; the capital is called Baushi. The rulers are Fellatahs.
  9. Kanou—Osman Bel-Ibrahim.
  10. Kashna—Mohammed-Bello.
  11. Zaria—Mahommed Sani.
  12. Kataguni—Abd-er-Rahman.
  13. Kadaija—Ahmadou.
  14. Timbuctoo—Mohammed Lebbu, a Fellatah.
  15. Jinnee—
  16. Begharmi—Burkmanda.
  17. Mandara—
  18. Lagun—
  19. Zinder—Ibrahim.

The alliances and enmities, the wars and the intrigues of all these princes, will one day, perhaps, form materials for some semi-mythological history, when civilisation has removed its camp to these intertropical regions. Regular annals, however, there never can be. No record seems to be kept, except in the unfaithful memories of the natives; and even if the contrary were the case, posterity would willingly consign to oblivion all but the salient points of this period of barbarism and slave-hunting.

Daura is a city of great antiquity, but I have never seen it on the maps. It is two days from Zinder on the route to Kanou, and has now about[191] the same number of inhabitants as Zinder, or from 20,000 to 25,000.

Ancient Haussa, according to the Monshee, consisted of seven cities, viz.

  1. Kanou.
  2. Kashna. This city is now about three times the size of Zinder.
  3. Daura.
  4. Zaria.
  5. Gouber.
  6. Maradee.
  7. Zanbara. This city is now about the size of Kashna. It lies beyond Gouber, not far from Sakkatou.

I went to see the souk. There are two market-days in Zinder: the great souk on Thursday, and the little one on Friday, the days following one another. I rapidly passed through it; it was full of people and merchandise; all things in abundance; no one called after me, but I did not like to stay long to expose myself. The principal provisions and domestic animals offered for sale are cattle (oxen), sheep, camels, asses, goats, beef, mutton, samen, honey, ghaseb, ghafouley, a little wheat, dried fish (rather stinking, because no salt is used in drying), kibabs or roasted pieces of meat, beans, dankali or sweet potatoes; which last are brought from Kanou, as also is the fish, &c. I purchased three sweet potatoes for a fifth of a penny. There was, besides, also a good quantity of merchandise [192] of every sort, and slaves in numbers. Honey also is brought from Kanou to this souk. In Kanou, twelve pounds and a-half are sold for four thousand wadâs, or four-fifths of a dollar. In Zinder, the same quantity sells for about double the price. They adulterate here and send it to Aheer.

In the evening I went with the Shereef to his garden. He has brought with him the tastes of the people of Morocco for gardens, and has introduced into Zinder tomatas from Kuka. His beds contain onions, peppers, cucumbers, wheat, lemons, date-palms, and some other small things. There is a little wheat also, but merely as an ornament. The date-palms bear twice a-year, but the dates do not dry in this country. There is a part of Soudan where the dates are said to become dry as those of Fezzan. The lemons are as good as those on the north coast, but they are found only in Soudan. But two or three trees have been seen in Bornou. Onions are in abundance, and it is said that those people who eat onions do not catch the fevers of Soudan. The Shereef considers the horses of this country to have little strength—not to be compared with those of the north coast. He has sent me one to ride round the environs. We conversed upon Algerian affairs. The Shereef said nothing against the French in general; he only complained of the non-fulfilment of the treaty of capitulation with Abd-el-Kader and his fellow-prisoners. I told him Bou Mâza was liberated, which news surprised[193] him. He said Bou Mâza was a fool, and had no followers. All the conversation of the Shereef was marked with good sense. He had been in Malta, and resided there two months. His native place is two days' journey from Tangiers. He is well acquainted with Christians. He speaks with a strong Mogarbi accent. As to this country and the Tuaricks, he observed the Sheikh was determined to keep them down, and was not afraid of them.

The Shereef possesses a fair amount of women—some twenty, but only one son. I sent this evening presents of rings to the ladies.

Yusuf paid a visit to the Sultan this morning, to carry him a present on his part. He entered the interior of the building, and found it full of dirt, and bare of every species of furniture. The Sultan himself had only upon him a Soudan tobe and a white cap. All the rest of his people were bare-headed, and were covered with dirty tobes. This contempt of dress arises from the fact that the prince was a slave of the ancient Sultans of Bornou. There are, besides, other sultans en route to Kuka, of the same stamp; but he of Minyo is said to dress excessively, changing his costume five times a-day. We are to remain some days in Minyo, of which I am glad, because there we shall see the Bornouese population, in a purer state. Here it is mixed somewhat with the Kailouees and other tribes. At any rate, the manners of the people are somewhat [194] influenced by the great number of foreigners. En-Noor and Lousou have both houses in Zinder, which the people dignify by the name of belad or "villages," but which are simply enclosures of a few huts.

I have been endeavouring to collect materials for the statistics of Zinder. The following note exhibits a partial result:—

Various persons give the population of Zinder at 25,000 or 30,000 souls. Let us take the number at 20,000.

The military force consists of cavalry and foot—two thousand cavalry having swords, spears, and shields; and eight or nine thousand bowmen, having only bows and arrows. This force is commanded by one Shroma Dan Magram, who receives the enormous pay of half the land taxes of some fifty towns and villages in the circle of the province of Zinder. The officers of the Sultan of Zinder are mostly slaves.

The principal personages are Shroma Dan Magram; the Kady, Tahir; the Bash Kateb, or Secretary, Dang Gambara; the chief of the Treasury, Nanomi; of the Custom-house, Fokana. There are four officers of the Treasury, and four of the Custom-house; and, moreover, four Viziers, the principal of whom is Mustapha Gadalina.

The Arabs do not pay any custom duties, but all the blacks and the Kailouees and Fullans pay as follows:—


A camel,ladenorunladen 5000wadâs.
An ass" "100"
An ox" "100"

There is no duty on goods, and, whether the camels are laden with rich burnouses or salt, it is all the same thing.

Camels are very cheap in this country, and the best of all will not fetch more than 40,000 wadâs, or about sixteen Spanish dollars. The Shereef is to purchase ours, four of them for 120,000 wadâs; they cost about three times the sum in Mourzuk. Horses are not quite so cheap; the best will fetch 100,000 wadâs.[14] The exchange here is the same as in Kanou; 2500 wadâs is the value of the large dollar, or douro ghaleet, as it is called amongst the Moorish and Arab merchants.

[14] See p. 216.



Presents from Officials—Mode of treating Camels—Prices—Cowrie Money—Shereef Interpreter—Visits—Harem—Houses—Grand Vizier—Picturesque Dances—Tuaricks at Zinder—Kohlans and Fullans—Province of Zinder—Account of its Rebellions—Trees—Details on the Slave-trade—Prices—Mode of obtaining Slaves—Abject Respect of the Sultan—Visits—Interview with the Sarkee—The Presence—Curious Mode of administering Justice—Barbarous Punishments—Hyænas—Gurasu—Fighis—Place of Execution—Tree of Death—Hyæna Dens—Dancing.

Jan. 17th.—The Sultan this morning sent me an ox. I made him my personal friend by giving him the powder and shot, in spite of the servant of Haj Beshir from Kuka. The Shereef is excessively generous; whether at his own cost or that of Kuka I do not know. I suppose the latter, as he had orders from head-quarters to supply us with everything. He sends rice, honey, fowls, eggs, milk, tomatas, and all things in abundance. I repeat, for the third time, that the world is turned upside down, so far as the supply of provisions and hospitality is concerned. It is true that the Tuaricks are desperately poor, and their generosity must always be very limited.


Our maharees of the salt-caravan went very well, and ate little on the road, so that much time was saved in this way. The Tuarick camels are far better travellers than the Arab, which sometimes are allowed to eat all day long. The females and the young ones are the most troublesome. I was much amused to see one of the Kailouee camel-drivers overcome the obstinacy of a young camel. The fellow actually bit the loose skin which hung over the muzzle of the rebel, and in this manner dragged it to the string, and there tied it to the rest. All the male camels are gelded, whilst many breeding maharees carry no weights, but follow their burdened kind with their foals.

To-day, for the first time, I received cowrie money, viz. four cases, made of matting, each containing 30,000. This was the price of four of my camels. The Gharian brute I sold to one of the servants for 8000. It is quite a labour to count this money, but I perceive that some persons are exceedingly expert at it, and count 5000 in a few minutes. There would appear to be always some mistakes made; one case was found to have ninety-eight short. This certainly is not much out of 30,000, and when a dozen people were counting. The small and large shells are all alike, and of the same value. But I shall be able to say more of this money afterwards. Thirty thousand of these shells are many pounds in weight, and not very conveniently carried about.


I visited some of the principal personages this afternoon, with the interpreter of the Sultan. This interpreter is a Shereef, and has been a sailor, in which capacity he has seen Malta, and many European countries. He is now married to a daughter of the Sultan of Zinder, and is established here in the confidence of his father-in-law. It appears, then, that even common Moorish sailors make their way in these black countries.

The first person we visited was one of the viziers, called Mayaha, a native of Damagram, a place one day east, from whence the greater part of the population of Zinder is drawn. This personage was sufficiently polite. He gave me permission to see the interior of his house, and his harem. The harem was full of fine, handsome Haussa slaves, attending on his four wives; they were all polished, and apparently clean, lying about on the floors of the huts, and in the court-yards, in the most strenuous idleness—one cleaning, polishing, and decorating another. One was bolder than the rest, and beckoned me to come to her.

This house of this vizier contained many huts of bee-hive shape; one or two were built of sun-dried earth, but all were small. Few carpets, or even mats, were seen: these people of Zinder are most dearly fond of squatting on the naked dust.

Afterwards I visited the Grand Vizier, or Mustapha Gadalina (a title). This personage, a man of great age, was polite, but did not permit me to [199] enter the interior of his house. We then went to see the Commander-in-chief—a funny fellow. He was very civil to us, and to all, joking with his soldiers, amidst whom he was squatting. These Zinder troops have no arms in their undress, and only wear a loose tobe, with bare heads. The General told us he would visit us in the morning.

After a climb to the summit of one of the granite rocks of Zinder to have a view of the town, I went to see and hear the drummers hammering on their kangas. There were three of them, surrounded by a group of Zinder maidens. One fellow had two long drums, very narrow, on which he laboured with all his might. The maidens approached the musicians by twos, dancing or stepping forward, and retreating with great apparent modesty. Whilst I was looking at a couple, one of them ran up to me, and struck me lightly with her hand. For this attention I was obliged to give her a present of gour-nuts, which are equally current with the cowries on such occasions. The drum is the national music of the people of Zinder, and they hammer away at it from morning to night. They say that in the palace it never ceases all day, beginning at dawn. Perhaps it may be esteemed useful in supplying the place of silly conversation.

Very few Tuaricks are to be seen in the streets of this city. They rarely show themselves, except on market-days, when they come from their houses in the suburbs. Little cordiality exists between them [200] and the Binder people. They owe one another, like all neighbouring people, many grudges. I jocularly told the commander-in-chief to kill all the Tuaricks. He naïvely replied, "I would, but when I attack them they all run away!" I am informed by the Moors here the Tuaricks have a wholesome dread of the Sheikh, and are on bad terms with the Fullans. They are, however, for the most part, friendly with the ancient Kohlans, the people of Maradee and Gouber. This accounts for the fact that En-Noor always spoke in the most amiable way of these remaining kingdoms of Soudan paganism. The town of Zinder is inhabited chiefly by the blacks of the Bornouese province of Damagram, who, though speaking the same language, are not considered Bornouese. In fact, properly speaking, it is situated in that province. The Zinder folks are easily distinguished from the natives of Kuka, and those more eastern provinces, by a lighter complexion and the smaller breadth of their nostrils.

Zinder has always enjoyed much liberty as a province, though it has fallen successively under the influence of Bornou and Haussa princes. Anciently it was ruled by the former; then it lapsed to the Haussa princes and the Fullans, and finally it was again recovered by Bornou. The present prince, Ibrahim, has been sultan twenty-five years. Under his rule a rebellion took place against the Sheikh, who removed him, made him prisoner, and promoted his brother to the governorship of the province.[201] But this new prince also rebelled; upon which the Sheikh came with a large force a year ago, and restored the former governor, placing, however, several persons here as a check on his authority. I have already mentioned the influence of the Shereef of Morocco. But no people in the world detest central government so much as the Africans, and these rebellions occur yearly and monthly.

The facts which have been mentioned to me connected with the last rebellion of Zinder, and its reduction by the Sheikh of Bornou, are interesting, as illustrative of the present condition of these out-of-the-way countries. The re-conquest proved to be no easy matter, and required three months' siege, and sixty thousand men, commanded by the Sheikh's best officers and the sultans of the neighbouring provinces. When the revolted people had notice of the approach of this force, they threw up a wall of earth round the city in the brief space of three days only. Even Africans can be energetic when compelled by necessity. The siege lasted three months, and many people were killed on either side.

Before hostilities commenced the Sheikh sent for the brother of the deposed prince, whom he had placed in power at Zinder; but the answer was refusal. "If you want money," said the rebel chieftain, "here it is; if you want slaves, here they are;—but I will not come to Kuka." Ibrahim, the former and present sultan, had meanwhile gone to the capital, and covered himself with dust in the [202] presence of the Sheikh, and obtained his pardon and the promise of his restoration to power. His brother knew this well, and, of course, would not go to the capital. It is surprising, however, that the rebellion could hold out so long against so large a force; the people of Zinder must be framed for war. The Tuaricks during the struggle stood by and looked on. The displaced brother is now at Kuka, having there obtained the pardon of the Sheikh. He fled to the Tuaricks after the capture of the town.

There are several pretty shady trees scattered through the town of Zinder, planted mostly in the gardens of the grandees. The names of three of these are, in Bornouese, rimi, jaja, and ilbug.

I have obtained some information on the slave-trade, which I here give in its crude shape. Slaves are classed as follows:—

1st. Garzab: those who have a beard.
2d. Morhag: those with beard beginning.
3d. Sabaai: those without beard.
4th. Sadasi: grown children.
5th. Hhamasi, or children.
Ajouza, old women, not classified.
1st. Shamalia: those with the breasts hanging down.[203]
2d. Dabukia: those with the breasts plump.
3d. Farkhah: those with little breasts.
4th. Sadasia: girls, smaller.
5th. Hhamasiah, or children.

The best of the slaves now go to Niffee, to be there shipped for America; they are mostly males, of the class 2d, 3d, 4th, and are minutely examined before departure. From all reports, there is an immense traffic of slaves that way exchanged against American goods, which are driving out of the markets all the merchandise of the north.

Prices:—I. Males.
1st.From 10,000 to 15,000 wadâs.
2d.30,000and under.
II. Females.
1st.10,000and under.(Ajouza.)
2d. 80,000"

The above are the prices of Kanou; there is sometimes a difference of 5,000 or 10,000 wadâs.[204] A remark suggested by this list of prices is, that the value of human merchandise is determined by its present adaptation for consumption. No allowance is made for capability of development, intellectual or physical. Slave-drivers and slave-holders believe as little in a future here as hereafter.

I give another account of the prices of slaves at the principal markets in this part of Africa, and at Smyrna and Constantinople. A good male slave is sold, at

A good female slave is sold, at

This is merely to show the difference of prices at these various places of slave traffic, and so enable the reader to form some notion of the profits of the commerce.

I am very sorry to hear of the iniquitous manner in which slaves are captured for the supply of the north at this present time. It appears that, now all [205] these populations are Muslims, it is difficult to get up the war-cry of Kafers!—"Infidels!" What is then done? The sultan of a province foments a quarrel with a town or village belonging to himself, and then goes out and carries off all the people into slavery. Thus acts the present Sultan of Zinder, and so did his brother during his year of administration. To appease the Sheikh of Bornou they send him a portion of the spoil. Indeed, the Sheikh countenances the system, so detrimental to his interests as a sovereign, and so immoral in its character. The brother of the present sultan was accustomed to go out every month, and bring in razzias of slaves, particularly to Dura, a country which belongs half to the Sheikhs of the Fullans. The real Kerdi people are now very distant, and you must go many days' journey if you will catch genuine Kafer slaves.

On Friday, Yusuf paid his respects to the Sultan at noon, being the Sunday of the Muslims, when visits are made by true believers to the princes. He found his highness surrounded by his court, in a cloud of dust, which the people raised by throwing it in handfuls upon their heads, and thus doing homage to their prince. Yusuf and some other Moors obstinately abstained from such a grovelling mode of "rendering to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's," and contented themselves with saluting his highness in the Moorish fashion. Yusuf observed, "Our religion does not teach this servility." The natives salute their Sultan by the cry of "God give you[206] victory!" (i.e. over your enemies.) In Soudanee this phrase is "Allah shàbáka nasăra;" and in Bornouese, "Kábunam sherga!"

18th.—I sent letters for Government and my wife viâ Kuka, as caravans are expected to leave Bornou for Moursuk about this time. My rooms were full of visitors to-day. First came the commander-in-chief, Shroma. I showed him all my treasures, portable peepshow, kaleidoscope, &c. &c. He was marvellously pleased. I treated him also with sugar, but coffee he positively refused as too bitter. He brought with him some twenty of his troops and a chosen aide-de-camp. He is just the man for a negro commander, full of cunning and address, very active if necessary, and on familiar terms with his men, pleasing them by low fun and buffoonery. Afterwards came the sons of the Sultan, all of whom I treated with sugar and coffee: that is, as many as would venture to taste of it. Then followed a host of Fezzan merchants, with the son of the Kadi of Kuka—a very nice, pleasant young fellow, who writes pretty good Arabic. He is to make out for me the route from Zinder to Kuka.

I afterwards went to the Sultan himself, to show him my treasures, viz. peepshows and kaleidoscope. These barbarians are nothing but great wilful children. I also took the compass. We entered the interior of the building, where we found a number of officers, courtiers and slaves, squatted together on [207] the sand, chatting most familiarly on all subjects. The building is all made of mud, mixed with large grains of granite. They say all the buildings of Bornou are built in the same manner, and very few of stone, on account of the rain; for the stone, not being well cemented together, falls during the great rains of the tropics.

After we had been kept waiting about half an hour his highness made his appearance, the courtiers and slaves throwing dust on their heads, prostrating themselves on the ground before him, crying, "God give you victory over your enemies!" Whilst the Sultan took his seat upon the raised mud-bench, the slaves held up two wrappers or barracans, to shield his highness from public view whilst he took his seat. All the floor of the apartment was covered with a dense mass of people, and amongst the number several Tuaricks, including the Sheikh Lousou, and Haj Abdoua, another distinguished Tuarick. Lousou is a tall thin man, of light complexion, with European features—a perfect Targhee. His manners were very mild, and indeed all this tribe are gentle enough here in a foreign country. The Sheikh shook me cordially by the hands. I then commenced business as showman to the prince and this mass of people. At first his highness was timid, and would not look through the glasses of the peepshows, but when the people began he followed, and acquired the knack of[208] looking through in a very short time. My compass and watch and keys were then all examined, and produced great amusement. What pleased him much was the screw by which the compass was stopped. I was dreadfully frightened lest the watch should be broken as well as the compass, and indeed the former has received some damage: such machines should not be handled by these negro grandees.

Whilst this examination was going on, his highness, as if he had little time to lose, continued to administer justice. Several cases were settled whilst the worthy Sultan was looking through the peepshow and kaleidoscope. Among others, a man came forward in great agitation, and cried, "O Sultan! my wife will not live with me, and has run away to her father. I will give you three bullocks if you will fetch her back and make her live with me!" The Sultan smiled, and observed only, "Hem, your wife won't live with you! Well, what can I do?" Another man came forward and cried, "O Sultan! I am a thief, but you must pardon me. I stole this mat because I was a poor man" (holding up the mat). "I restore the mat." His highness observed, "Leave it; I will see what can be done." A collection of stolen articles was restored also by another person. Then came a man more bold, and brought a present from a neighbouring village, consisting of two large bowls of ghaseb and a bundle of[209] wood. The man made a great clamour, holding up the present. His highness looked at him, and said, "Good, good; put them down."

I am told his highness is much feared by all the people of the provinces. He has the character of being impartial. But the way in which he carries out capital punishment is truly terrible, and beyond conception barbarous. He neither hangs nor beheads. This mode of punishment is too mild for him. No; he actually cuts open the chest, and rips out the heart! or else hangs up people by the heels, and so inflicts upon them a lingering death. I am astonished that the Sheikh of Bornou permits such barbarity, but imagine that the Sheikh is still afraid of his vassal, and shrinks from endeavouring to deprive him of this awful power. Here, then, we have a specimen of the negro character, with all its contradictions; soft and effeminate in its ordinary moods; cheerful, and pleasant, and simple, to appearance; but capable of acting, as it were without transition, the most terrible deeds of atrocity. Say what you will of the barbarism of the Tuaricks, such a mode of inflicting capital punishment is unknown amongst them. I took leave of his highness, promising to come again another day and bring other things.

This evening we were disturbed by the cries of the hyæna; a large one had come down upon the calves belonging to a drove of bullocks, and carried [210] off one as big as itself. The brute seizes its prey by the throat, and so prevents the animal from giving intelligence to its pursuers. The place of execution is near my house, and when the Sultan executes any criminal the body is left unburied. At such times, troops of hyænas, old and young, come down in the night, from the rocks and open country, and devour the body in a few minutes. The jackal does not visit this place, but is found in the open country. There are also many lions on the road between this and Kuka.

A very simple mode of salutation is prevalent here in Zinder, said to be the custom of Wadaï—that of merely clapping the palms of the hand together; the hand being held forward flat, not edge-ways.

Gurasu is an interesting Tuarick territory, three days' journey north-east from Zinder, and two days from Minyo. This country consists of a number of small villages, scattered upon the rocks, or mountains. The inhabitants are especially those banditti who, from time to time, plunder the caravans on the route from Bornou to Mourzuk. Gurasu is seven days from Kanem, and Kanem is three days from the Bornou route. Kanem is mostly a desert country, and has now only a few inhabitants.

Gurasu and Damerghou are the only Tuarick countries adjoining the provinces of the Sheikh of Bornou, and Gurasu is the last country east in this [211] part of Africa. There is but very slight communication between it and Zinder; and little is known of the people, except that they are Tuaricks.

19th.—I again entertained visitors, who are still numerous, of all classes; and also paid a visit to the Shereef, and took with me the kaleidoscope, as he expressed a wish to see its revolving glowing beauties.

Zinder is full of half-crazy fighis, who can just write the Arabic alphabet. They go about the streets begging piteously, with a calabash inkstand and reed-pen in their hands. I have been pestered with two or three every day since I came here. They also wander through the country parts of Damerghou. Bornou is the nursery of these silly pedagogues, in whom learning and madness are most cordially united; but, as I have already mentioned, it sends out a few instructed ones to redeem the reputation of these ignoramuses.

In the afternoon I went to see the place of execution, and found it covered with human bones, the leavings of the hyænas, whose dens are close by. Proceeding a little further I came to the Tree of Death! a lonely tree springing out of the rocks, some forty or fifty feet in height, and of the species called here kanisa. My guide would not approach it very near, for he assured me that if any person went under its boughs, there must instantly come an order from the Sultan to put him to death, or hang him heels upwards upon its branches. "Don't you[212] see the place is swept clean underneath its boughs? This is done every day, and by the executioner alone: no other person dare go there, for if he do he must die!" I certainly began to feel sick myself at the recital of various horrors perpetrated at this place by the executioner, and don't know whether, if any one had offered me some great reward, I would have ventured to place my feet upon this accursed spot of mother earth. Never in my life did I feel so sick at heart—so revolted at man's crimes and cruelties. The tree itself was a true picture of death—a tree of dark, impenetrable foliage, with a great head, or upper part larger than the lower one, and this head crowned with fifty filthy vultures, the ministers of the executioner, which eat the bodies of the criminals! The number of executions here performed is very great—some two or three hundred in a year. Since we have been here a man has been butchered in the night, scarcely a hundred yards from my house; so that I am in a pleasant neighbourhood, what with the executions and what with the hyænas. The people pretend that for a small offence the Sultan inflicts capital punishments: for example, merely speaking bad language.

Turning from these disagreeable scenes, we went to see the dens of the hyænas, which are beneath the rocks, extending far under ground. Here we saw bones and dung enough. The scavengers of Zinder are, therefore, the vultures and hyænas: the [213] former wing the air and dart on their prey by day, and the latter prowl the streets by night.

In the evening we refreshed our fancies by witnessing the kanga, or drums beating to the dances of the maidens of Zinder. It is always the same thing, two or three fellows thumping upon their drums, dancing round them occasionally themselves, and the maidens approaching these drummers with timid steps. To-night they had a sort of hopping-dance, on one leg, keeping time to the beating of the drums. These coy maidens soon approached, or rather ran at me, and touched me with the hand; this done, they claim the right of a present. It is considered a favour to be so distinguished.



Brother of the Sultan—Trade of Zinder—Prices—The Sarkee drinks Rum—Five Cities—Houses of Zinder—Female Toilette—Another Tree of Death—Paganism—Severity of the Sultan—Lemons—Barth and Overweg—Fire—Brother of the Sarkee—Daura—Shonshona—Lousou—Slaves in Irons—Reported Razzia—Talk with the Shereef—Humble Manners—Applications for Medicines—Towns and Villages of Zinder—The great Drum—Dyers—Tuarick Visits—Rationale of Razzias—Slaves—"Like Prince like People"—French in Algiers—The Market—Old Slave—Infamous System—Plan of the great Razzia.

Jan. 20th.—I received visits as usual, and one from a younger brother of the Sultan, whom I treated with coffee; and I also gave him a cotton handkerchief and a ring, so that he went away highly satisfied. He had a numerous train, all of whom had a peep at the show and a bit of sugar. This brother of the Sultan is a pleasant-looking fellow, a very different character from the man in power. He asked for saffron to colour charms with; but I had none to give him.

Those who expect to find Zinder a great commercial dépôt will be much disappointed. The principal merchants here are the Sheikhs En-Noor [215] and Lousou, and the other Tuarick of Asben, whom I have mentioned, called Haj Abdoua. Of Zinder merchants there are but two of consequence, the Morocco Shereef, Konchai, and Haj Amurmur, a Tibboo. The latter is always resident; but Abd-Effeit, or Shereef Konchai, goes abroad and trades. Both these are foreigners. There are, besides, a number of small traders, Tibboos and Fezzanees, who drive a few hard bargains with the Governor. At the present moment his highness has no money. All the specie is quickly carried off to Kuka. The Tuaricks have the goods and the money, and often make their own prices; but as they always demand ready cash, are obliged to wait long before they can dispose of their goods. Burnouses alone bring a great profit; for these are sold to sultans, who require a credit of several months. I am afraid I shall have to give a very poor account of the commerce of this portion of Africa, with reference to its being profitable to Europeans. The greater part of the goods in Kanou are cheaper than those found in the markets of Fezzan, or even Tripoli. The only way in which this commerce pays the Moorish merchants is by the purchase of slaves; and this, from casual circumstances en route, frequently turns out a loss. All the traders found on this road are mostly poor fellows, with small capitals: there is no equal to Waldee.

Here is a statement of the prices of provisions in the market of Zinder:—


An ox, 10,000 wadâs (for riding).

A cow, for food, 8000.

(N.B. Cows only are eaten, bullocks being used for riding and carrying burdens.)

A sheep of the first quality, 1500 wadâs.

A goat of the first quality, 1000.

A good fowl, 100.

A horse (of the best kind and condition), 1,000,000.[15]

An ass: he, 8000 wadâs; she, 6000 wadâs.

A zekka of ghaseb: large, 10 wadâs; small, 6 wadâs.

(N.B. When there is but little rain, a zekka of ghaseb consists only of two handfuls.)

A pound of samen, 40 wadâs.

A pound of honey, 60 wadâs.

A zekka of wheat, or one handful, 10 wadâs.

A zekka of rice, or about six handfuls, is 20 wadâs.

A canto of salt, of the weight of about a quarter of a cantar, is now sold for 1200, because the salt-caravan has just arrived; but after two or three months it will fetch 2500 wadâs.

His highness the Sultan expressed the most ardent desire to see and make himself acquainted with the rum, and other strong drinks of the Christians, having heard from his son-in-law and interpreter, the little Shereef, that I had a supply of [217] these liquors with me. After resisting some time, I delivered up to his highness half a bottle of mastic, with which retiring to his innermost chamber, and taking with him his son-in-law, he made himself very merry; so much so, that he was unable to make his appearance in public or justice-hall all this day.

The immediate territories of Bornou contain five large and important capitals, viz. Zinder, which belongs to Haj Beshir, the prime minister.

Mashena, belonging to Mala Ibrahim, second minister.

Minyo, belonging to Abd-Er-Rahman, brother of the Sheikh.

Yumbi, belonging to the mother of the Sultan.

These capitals are the centres of large populations and provinces.

The taxes are appropriated by the various personages to whom they are given by the Sheikh, but these personages are expected to give up to his highness the greater part of the funds which they derive from them.

21st.—I made various routes, and got a statement of the principal articles of commerce, as current in Zinder and Kanou, Mourzuk and Tripoli. I repeat, there is no chance for an English merchant in this part of Africa.

The houses of Zinder are mostly built of double matting, but a good number have mud walls and thatched roofs. Others are all built of mud. There are no nice mosques with minarets. The residence [218] of the Sultan is a fort of mud, with walls of some height; it overlooks all the other buildings. The Shereef Kebir has also a mud house, with walls of some height. There are two principal streets, running from the south to the north; one terminating at the castle of the Governor, and the other in the market. These are of some width, there being space for a dozen camels to pass abreast. There are, besides, many little squares before the houses of the grandees, where the people lounge: the streets are always full of idle people.

Instead of suak, the women used here the calix of a flower, called furai, for staining their teeth with a deep amber colour. It is the fashion for ladies to dress their hair in solid knots, two of which fall over the temples, one over the ear, and the other at the back of the head. Some of the women have hair tolerably long. I noticed to-day the shonshonah of Daura. It consists of two thick cuts, forming an angle at the corner of the mouth, with a few small ones on the temples.

I went to see another Tree of Death, where his highness slaughters criminals in the same way as mentioned under the other tree. The space beneath the boughs is also swept clean. This tree is more spreading, and of another sort; it is crowned with the filthy vultures, which roost day and night in considerable numbers on its upper branches. Yusuf tells me the history of these trees, when the inhabitants were pagans. It was under them that the[219] people sacrificed their oxen and sheep to the deity, who was supposed to reside in these trees. Scarcely a generation has elapsed since this was the case, so that the people may well dread to venture where, in the time of old men yet living, sacrifices, some perhaps human, were offered up.

The Sheikh is obliged to keep a tight hand over the inhabitants of Zinder, to prevent them from lapsing into paganism. His father made them Muslims, and he holds them to the profession of Islamism.

No news from Tesaoua respecting the four persons who were sent to bring Drs. Barth and Overweg first to Bornou, before they went to Soudan. I have had several patients, but ophthalmia does not prevail here as in Damerghou.

A constant succession of visitors troubled me all day long. Another son of the Sultan came this morning—quite a young man—and a dozen of boys from the palace, some sons of the Sultan, and others of his ministers. I gave them all a little piece of white sugar, and sent them off. This is the cheapest present.

I am told that all the Tuaricks are dreadfully afraid of the Sultan of Zinder, for whenever his highness catches an offender, let him be of what tribe of Tuaricks he may, he cuts off his head with as much unconcern as a poulterer of Leadenhall market does that of a goose.

I hear now that, since the dispersion of the[220] Walad Suleiman, the route of Bornou, from Kuka to the Tibboos, is quite secure.

Some lemons have been brought to me, equal in flavour, though small, to those of the north coast. In Soudan they are marvellously cheap; ten are sold at Kanou for the fiftieth part of a penny, viz. one wadâ; for the same single wadâ forty can be had at Kashna. There are forests of lemon-trees in Soudan.

The news has arrived from the salt-caravan, that Barth says that he will not return even if they threaten to cut his throat. En-Noor is at Tesaoua, and says they should return; but the salt-caravan is distant from him, and the communication between the two places is difficult.—I had scarcely written these words when the four people sent to bring back Drs. Barth and Overweg returned without them, and brought letters from my colleagues, each one stating that he should continue his journey as previously determined. Ferajee, one of the messengers, pretends that En-Noor is going with Overweg to Maradee; which is very unlikely. Dr. Barth seems very angry, but his comrade takes matters more easily.

The Shereef Kebir is said to be the only person who has money in Zinder. This man monopolises all the power and all the money. I do not know how long this will last, but I should think it will soon make both the Sultan and the people of Zinder disaffected. As it is, all the merchants of Zinder [221] are foreigners, and so have the disposal of all the goods most coveted by the blacks, who have only the ghaseb and the cattle.

22d.—The morning is hazy and mild, the thermometer standing at 57°.

A fire broke out close to us early this morning, and two or three huts were immediately consumed. However, the people quenched the flames in a very short time. I wonder half the town is not burnt down every now and then. Visitors pour in upon me as soon as I am up and dressed; and some patients likewise.

The brother of the present Sarkee of Zinder, who ruled a year in Zinder, is called Tanimu. He has a great military reputation, and is a brave man. During his administration he razzied no less than thirty countries. Daura, or Dura, was the principal theatre of his exploits. This Daura is a country consisting of about a thousand towns and villages; four hundred belonging to the Fullans, and six hundred to the Sheikh of Bornou. The Fullanee Sultan is called Mohammed Bello, and he of the Sheikh, Sofo Lukudi. The nearest place in Daura is not more than one day S.W. of Zinder. The people of the country are remarkably expert in the use of the bow and arrow; and their arrows are very strong, piercing through, as the people say, three boxes, and afterwards killing a man. The wound of these arrows is fatal, the flesh of the smitten part rising up immediately into an enormous swelling. The brother of[222] the present Sarkee brought in hundreds of slaves from Daura, the people at the same time having risen against the authority of the Sheikh.

The blacks of Kanou—not the Fullans—do not scarify their faces like their neighbours. The form of the shonshona of Zinder and its provinces is four cuts on each side the cheek, but not drawn very near the corner of the mouth; that is, rather towards the ears. In Tumbi and Gumel, provinces of Bornou, they draw four on the left side of the cheek and five on the right side; the cuts not drawn very near either the corner of the mouth or the ears. Maradee and Kashna have six cuts on each side of the cheek, drawn from the top of the ears down to the corner of the mouth. Gouber has four small cuts close to the corner of the mouth. The people of the Sheikh of Bornou have two small cuts drawn down the face, under each eyelid, and one in the forehead, between the eyes. Even Mekka has its shonshona. One of the shereefs here in Zinder, who was born in that holy city, has three small cuts on each side his face, drawn down the fleshy part of the cheek. It is only in Mekka that the shonshona is seen. The other countries of Arabia do not use this disfigurement.[16]

The Sheikh Lousou sent his slave to salute me on his part. They say, that had we been committed to his care, he would not have fleeced us like En-Noor. [223] But I almost question if he would have been strong enough to protect us. I observe, again, that all the Tuaricks are well behaved in Zinder, and have a wholesome dread of the Sheikh.

Many of the domestic slaves in Zinder are constantly ironed, for fear they should run away to the neighbouring towns and villages. The poor people live just like convicts. It is only when they are taken to Kuka, or to a great distance, that their irons are struck off.

The report is now current in Zinder, that the Sarkee is going, in the course of seven or eight days, to razzia some neighbouring place in the direction of Daura. They say, even, that he will not scruple to razzia some of the villages of Meria if necessary; that is to say, a part of the province of Zinder. My informants observed merely, "Oh, he must have slaves to pay his debts; and as the largest fish eat the little fish, so the great people eat the small people." Thus the protection of Islamism is now come to nothing, and the cry is,—"To the razzia!" without mentioning even the name of Kafer or Kerdi. In the end this will retard the progress of Mahommedanism; for the blacks see that it is now no protection for them against their more powerful neighbours and their periodical razzias.

I visited several personages this afternoon; first, the Shereef Kebir, with whom I ate some broiled fish brought from a neighbouring lake, and some fine Bilma dates, soaked in milk. I asked him how [224] it was that the Sheikh committed to the governors or sultans of the provinces the awful power of life and death. "Oh," replied he, "the Sheikh has given them this power that he might not be bothered with their reports about criminals. It is far better to finish quick with these people." Where there are periodical razzias the sacredness of human life is unknown, and the Shereef has been, besides, many years in the camp of Abd-el-Kader, where a good deal of sanguinary work was carried on. He thought it, therefore, quite right that the Sheikh should not fatigue his sovereign conscience by deciding on the lives of criminals and other suspected persons, and that the sooner they were hung or slaughtered the better.

From the Shereef I passed on to the brother of the Sultan, a young man of mild manners. I entered the inner part of the house, where were the women. Verily the Zinder people have a strange love of dust, dirt, and bare mud walls. In the two or three beehive huts which I explored, there was not a single article of furniture, nor a mat to lie down upon. The brother of the Sultan was sitting by his sister, and both on the dust of the ground, without a mat. I am told, however, that they sleep on mats and skins, which are, indeed, cheap enough; two or three pence, or two or three hundred wadâs, would purchase a good one. The sister of the Sultan was coloured well with indigo, the dark blue of which replaces the yellow ochre of the [225] ladies of fashion in Aheer. This Zinder lady had also the end of the tufts of her hair—I cannot call them curls—formed into clayey sticks of macerated indigo. For the rest, she had little clothing, her arms and bust being quite bare. All the other ladies with her were coloured in like fashion, and had their hair dressed in a similar manner.

Afterwards I visited an old Tripoline Mamluke, who has been up here twenty-two long years. He came alone, and has now a household of twenty-eight persons, including wives, children, and slaves. He is called Mohammed El-Wardi, knew Dr. Oudney, and even mentioned his name, recollecting it after so many years. He knew also the other travellers. Some of his family are in Kuka.

Various applications are made me for remedies to avert certain evils, and one man applied for a means to make him sell his goods quick: this was a Tibboo trader.

It would appear that some of the routes from Zinder to neighbouring places are not very safe; that from this place to Kanou, even, is somewhat dangerous for small parties, there being woods on the road, in which lurk banditti, who lie in wait for unprotected caravans. With good travelling, Kanou is only eight or ten days from Zinder, and Kashna four or five. It is not easy to get the route here by hours, for the people are ignorant of this way of reckoning the routes. By days, something may be done.

The Moorish merchants resident here pretend[226] that the territory of Zinder contains no less than two thousand belad, or inhabited spots, towns, villages, and hamlets, and some of these are large towns—as large, or larger, than Zinder. Damagram is a populous place, more so than Zinder; but the whole of the province of Zinder has this name, the people being all Damagrama. The town of Damagram was once the capital of the province. The large towns are:—

All these are towns, some larger than Zinder.

I expect to see the great drum brought here, and to hear it beaten. It has led the people of Zinder to the razzia during the time of twelve sultans. The drummer, when he beats the drum in[227] leading on the people to the razzia, repeats the perpetual chorus of Jatau chi geri—"The red (Sultan) eats up the country." He is afraid to mention the name of the Sultan, and so repeats the word red, as distinguishing royalty; but whether in the same way as purple distinguished the Roman emperors, or because kings delight in blood, does not appear.

I went to see the process of indigo dyeing. The dyers bore circular pits of about fifteen or twenty feet deep, and three feet in diameter, in which they throw the things to be dyed, and leave them there. The pits are full of the dye, produced by the leaves and the seed of the plant called nila, sodden in water. They dye tobes and raw cotton, and cotton twist; the work is carried on in the open air. About thirty people were employed at the pits which I saw. They also prepare indigo in a better way than what I saw at these pits.

23d.—I have not quite done with the Tuaricks, and had many visitors of that tribe to-day; amongst the rest, our old friends and robbers, Ferajee and Deedee. I told Ferajee I had my boxes full of gold and silver, and asked him to buy. He replied, "Ah, el-Consul did not say so in Asben; he said babo (there is none)!" At this, all our visitors burst out in a roaring laugh. I rejoined, "Oh, no, Ferajee; because I was then amongst thieves and robbers." (Continued laughter.) I went to see[228] the souk;—everybody was very civil;—no calling Kafer!—Tuaricks all as still as mice.

I called upon the Shereef Kebir, and drank with him tea and coffee, which he makes in Magrabi fashion, putting the sugar in the tea-pot. I observed, "How is this? I hear the Sultan is going soon on a razzia." Somewhat disconcerted, he replied, Allah yâlem!—"God teaches!" After some time, he explained that the Sheikh left his vassals great liberty in this matter; that the Sultan of Zinder was permitted to go to Daura and eat up the Kohlans, but not the Fullans, between whom and the Sheikh there was peace: that is to say, the Fullans were not to be made slaves, but the Kohlan subjects of the Fullans might be captured. The Sheikh was not friendly to Maradee, and wished the Sultan of Zinder to attack that country; but the Sarkee was a friend of Maradee, and would not, &c. &c. So it is quite clear these Sarkees, or at any rate the one in Zinder, have great latitude of action. After hesitating still more about these razzias, the Shereef said, "Oh, you see the strong devour the weak; there are no regular governments here."

In the souk to-day, it was proved beyond all doubt that the Zinder people sell themselves into foreign slavery. Many of the slaves for sale had the Zinder scarified marks on their faces. There were also specimens from Maradee. Slaves are sent from Zinder to Niffee. Indeed, it now appears [229] that all this part of Africa is put under contribution to supply the South American market with slaves.

Zinder is considered within the circle of Soudan, and not to be Bornou, but only a Bornouese province. The Sheikh has in this province several Tuarick subjects, i.e. Tuaricks settled in the Zinder provinces.

The souk to-day was full of people, but goods of value were wanting. Indeed, Zinder is now a poor place. Only the foreigners have any at their command. The Sarkee is at this moment desperately poor, and is going on this approaching razzia to raise money to satisfy his creditors. Verily, this is a "new way to pay old debts."

I heard a curious explanation of the reason why the people of Zinder do not use mats or skins to lie down upon in the daytime. It is said they are afraid, because the Sarkee does not use them, and they must not display a luxurious taste not practised by their prince. This is the explanation of the Shereef and the little court of Arabs and Moors by which he is surrounded. "Like people like prince" is a proverb which I think I have heard.

The Shereef told me this morning that he had made war with France, in Algeria, fourteen years, and he had been a prisoner of the French seven months. He said the French were people without religion, or faith in their words and promises, and could not be trusted. He showed me his French passport. However, he seems to have soon forgotten [230] his troubles in Algeria, and is quiet now. He writes well, and has received a good education. His country is one day east of Tetuan, in the Rif mountains. He is likely to be very useful to the Sheikh in Zinder.

I visited the souk again in the evening, and made a few small purchases of curiosities; but there are very few things to be got in this market, and those mostly come from Kanou. What things are made here are of the rudest manufacture.

I passed the slave-market, and was greatly shocked to see a poor old woman for sale amongst the rest of human beings. She was offered for six thousand wadâs, about ten shillings in English money. It is quite impossible to conjecture of what use such a poor old creature can be. The Shereef Kebir made a present of a little boy to Saïd of Haj Beshir this evening. The poor little fellow looked very pitiful. He was stolen from Daura. He has only one cheek marked with the shonshona, because his mother lost all the children which she bare before him; and the custom is, when a mother thus loses her children, to scarify only one cheek.

The mode of supplying the slave-markets of the north and south is truly nefarious, and perhaps surpasses all the wickedness of the Tuaricks. The Sarkee of Zinder wants gour-nuts, and has no money to purchase them; he sends his servants or officers to a neighbouring village, and they steal in open [231] day two or three families of people, and bring them to the Sarkee. These poor wretches are immediately exchanged for the gour-nuts. A boy steals some trifling articles—a few needles; he is forthwith sold in the souk; and not only he, but "if the Sarkee wants money," his father and mother, brothers and sisters: and "if the Sarkee is very much pressed for money," his familiars search for the brothers of the father, and all their relations. Indeed, crime is a lucrative source of supply for the prince, and what his vengeance spares from the executioner is sold into foreign slavery.

In the approaching razzia, the Sarkee is expected to take the common route of Daura, and carry off the villagers subjected to the Sheikh; for, contrary to the opinion of the Shereef Kebir, the Sarkee will not attack the Kohlans, who are the subjects of the Fullan, but the bonâ fide subjects of the Sheikh. He will probably bring back one thousand slaves or captives. He will send two hundred to the Sheikh, with such a message as this:—"I have eaten up the Kafers of Daura; here is your offering of two hundred Kafers." Should the Sheikh receive a remonstrance from the Bornou governor of Daura, that the Sarkee of Zinder has come upon him and carried off Muslims, his subjects, he will shut his ears. In all these razzias the lesser chiefs act an important part, and each gets a share. A chief who fights under the Sarkee captures fifty slaves, and gives up to the Sarkee[232] twenty-five or thirty, keeping the rest for himself and people.

If a single undistinguished man captures five, the Sarkee gets two of the five; another captures two, the Sarkee gets one, and the captor one. So all have a common interest in these nefarious razzias, and all start off with the utmost glee to capture their neighbours, their brethren, and to sell them into bondage. The Sarkee of Zinder will take with him about five thousand cavalry and thirty thousand foot (bowmen), drawn from these portions of the provinces against which the razzia is not now directed.

[15] 83l. 6s. The price mentioned in a former page, viz. 1000,000 wadâs is evidently erroneous.—Ed.

[16] Many Egyptians, men and women, practise tattooing; and if I mistake not, I have seen evidences of the existence of the practice mentioned in the text in some parts of Egypt.—Ed.



Family of the Sarkee—Converted Jew—Hard Dealings—How to get rid of a Wife—Route to Tesaoua—Influence of Slavery—Prices of Aloes and Silk—Medicine for a Merchant—Departure of the Sarkee for the Razzia—Encampment—Mode of Fighting—Produce of Razzias—Story of the Tibboo—Sheikh Lousou—Gumel—Superstitions—Matting—Visit of Ladies—The Jew—Incendiaries—Hazna—Legend of Zinder Well—Kohul—Cousin of the Sheikh—Female Sheikh—State of the Country—Salutations.

Jan. 24th.—The thermometer stood last night at 74° after dark. This morning it is, as usual, about 56°. The weather is still hazy; but the town is remarkably healthy, and there are very few cases of fever at the present time. Zinder, by the people, is said to be always cool.

His highness the Sarkee of Zinder is a prince of true African and Asiatic calibre. He has three hundred wives, one hundred sons, and fifty daughters; but his women are not prisoners in a harem. His wives and daughters are seen about the streets walking alone, and the daughters are given in marriage to the grandees of the court. His wives,[234] likewise, are often found with paramours outside the palace.

I went to see a Jew who has been some time resident in Zinder. This Jew is one of those three who came to Mourzuk with Abd-el-Galeel, and after his death turned Muslims, and came up to Soudan and Bornou. He is called Ibrahim. The one now in Tesaoua, and who is going with Overweg to Maradee, is Mousa; and the other is called Isaac. The Moors put no faith in the conversion of these Jews: they say, "These men are always Jews in their hearts; they turned Muslims on speculation." It is certain that they got handsome presents at Mourzuk from the credulous believers. Of others, the Moors say they became Muslims to prevent the Tuaricks from killing them. I asked Ibrahim how he passed the Tuarick countries, and was informed that the Ghâtees treated him the worst. They swore he was not a Muslim, but still a Jew, and demanded one hundred dollars from him to pass. He got off with fifty; whilst to the Aheer people he paid about twenty dollars. A Christian or a Jew must never think he will be able to save his money, or, much less, his credit, by apostatising, for these Tuaricks will always swear his conversion is sham, however real it may be. He will always have to pay the same money, whether he keep his religion or sell it for the chance of saving his worthless gold and silver.

All these Jews, however, seem to have thriven[235] in their apostasy. Ibrahim of Zinder is worth about six or seven thousand dollars, and, besides being a working-jeweller, is a merchant. I tried to exchange some of my imitation rings for his silver ones, but it was useless. He had the conscience to demand thirty of my nicely-made rings for one of his trumpery, ill-made silver ones—silver with a very bad alloy. Then he wanted a pretty cotton-print handkerchief for a miserable silver bead. With such people it is impossible to strike a bargain. These Barbary Jews are the hardest and most tricky dealers in the world. Ibrahim has been laid up with a bad leg for five months, and intends going to Kuka when he gets better. He wanted me to sell him some mastic, but I refused. He said he wished to have one jolly day, but the fellow is almost a skeleton with his ulcerous leg.

The Shereef Saghir is quite a character. He has been over the greater part of the world, and along the Indian coast—has seen the English in India, and the Christians in many ways and manners; and so is free from all sort of fanaticism. He wants now to return with me to England. He says—Soudan is bâtal (worthless), and that if he take his wife, the daughter of the Sarkee of Zinder, with him to the north coast, he will sell her, and so finish his connexion with the negroes! I forgot to mention that Ibrahim has brought with him a Muslim wife from Mourzuk, and has now two or three black wives, and several children.


From the courier who came from Dr. Overweg I have obtained the following account of the route from Zinder to Tesaoua:

From Zinder direct west to Tus, 1 hour; village: to Termini, 5 hours; village: to Dambidda, 1 hour; a large village: to Babul, 5 hours; village: to Gumda, 4 hours; village: to Kurnaua, 4 hours; village: to Garagumsa, 5 hours; village: to Shabari, 7 hours; village: to Maizirgi, 1 hour; large village: to Tesaoua, 5 hours.

Along this route there is abundance of herbage and trees, but no running water or wadys. There are wells of great depth. The distances between the various villages being in all, when summed up, thirty-eight hours, we must consider the whole length of the route three long and four short days' journey, as the caravans generally arrive on the fourth day.

Slavery is the curse of all these countries. My Soudan servant, Amankee, would not come with me to Zinder, on account of his longing desire to see his mother and brother and sisters; and yet, although these feelings are deep in the bosoms of all the blacks, they can see their neighbours torn away from their houses and carried off in irons with the greatest indifference. The slaves of the Sarkee of Zinder are double-ironed, like convicts, and in this condition jump through the streets, for they cannot walk. The backs of these poor slaves are all ulcerated with the strokes of the whip.


I received a visit this morning from the Jew Ibrahim. After a good deal of wrangling I exchanged three handkerchiefs for three beads of silver, but one of the beads I made him a present of. I was much surprised to hear from him that the aloe wood, aoud el-Komari, sold in Bornou for its equal weight in silver. He also stated that twelve rubtas of raw silk sold for one real in Mourzuk and Zinder, whilst fifteen could be purchased in Kauou for the same money. What will become of the goods of the Germans?

En-Noor's wife, Fatia, sent this morning for medicine to enable her to bring forth a child. I maliciously recommended to her a younger husband. A Tibboo has continued to pester me to death for a medicine to make him profit in his mercantile transactions. To get rid of him, being in a merry mood, I scribbled over a piece of paper, and he swallowed it. A great number of people come for medicines who are not sick. I generally content myself with a bare refusal, explaining that there is no necessity; but there is nothing so difficult as to convince a man that he is well when once he has persuaded himself of the contrary.

The Sarkee went out this morning to his razzia and does not return for some days, so I shall not be able to take leave of his highness. The gossips persist in saying that he is dreadfully in want of money, and must go out to bring in some slaves to pay his debts. He was attended by about one[238] thousand cavalry, and a good number of maharees. He is gone southwards. They report that he is indeed gone to Daura, but nothing is known positively as to whether he will capture the Sheikh's subjects or those of the Fellatahs. The Sarkee, on a former occasion, captured a great many people belonging to Germal, one of the Sheikh's provinces, and an order was forthwith sent to him to restore them to their homes and lands. He was compelled to comply. Besides slaves, the Sarkee will bring in bullocks and horses; but the sheep taken are eaten by the troops of the razzia. His highness is expected to gather an army of 2000 horse, and 10,000 on foot, besides camels for provisions and water, when completed. The plan and route of the expedition are kept a profound secret, so that the army will fall upon the unsuspecting population by surprise.

After about three or four hours' ride the Sarkee usually encamps, and a souk, or market, is opened at the camp for provisions. "There are no women with the yaki (or army of razzia), the men cook and do all the work," says my informant. At night the Sultan calls round him his chosen troops, and distributes gour-nuts, and makes presents of provisions. He then sleeps a few hours, and probably starts at midnight, or as soon as the moon rises. A slave, a soldier of the Sarkee, who has been to a hundred razzias, tells me, that three years ago this Sarkee went to attack him of Daura in his[239] capital. On arriving before the town the army of Zinder set fire to all the ghaseb stubble and the garden-trees around it. This done, they commenced a regular battle with the besieged. The fight continued till night, when the Sarkee of Daura fled. The Zinder people carried off a large booty: the share of the Sultan alone was nine hundred.

This freebooting prince does not fight himself, but sits down at a distance from his troops and overlooks their conduct and manoeuvres; his generals command and lead on the attack, whilst a body-guard surrounds the sacred person of the monarch. On the occasion referred to, this body-guard was covered with mattrass-stuffing to shield off the terrible arrows of the Daura people. The greater part of the troops of Zinder have only a spear; a few have shields and swords, but none have muskets. All the Daura people have bows and arrows. There are numbers of petty traders here waiting for the booty of this razzia, and some of the creditors of the Sarkee went this morning to wish him God speed. I am glad I did not go out to see him start on such a nefarious expedition. It appears, however, that we are not to leave for Kuka until the return of the army. They intimate that a portion of the spoil will be sent with us to the great Sheikh of Bornou: so that after all, however unwilling, we shall seem to countenance this bloody work.


26th, Sunday.—We have still to remain here another week at least, so I must make what use I can of the time of this delay, caused by the nefarious razzia, now in course of operation. In the extravagant manner that this government of Zinder conducts its affairs, it can only support itself by periodical expeditions of this kind. There is one Fez merchant here, to whom the Sarkee owes four millions of wadâs, or about two thousand reals of Fezzan; and other creditors claim in a like proportion. Now, indeed, we begin to understand how the slave-markets of quasi-civilised countries are supplied by the surplus produce of these expeditions.

The route from Aghadez to the country of Sidi Hashem, now governed by his son, is three days' journey, and from the country of Sidi Hashem to Wadnoun, three days: there is also a route of five days, a little more direct; and the route direct from Aghadez to Wadnoun is four days' journey.

The story of the Tibboo is going the round of the town, and becoming the daily gossip. This story has now assumed a substantial historical shape. The facts are, as I have already intimated, that the Tibboo persecuted me to give him a medicine to enable him to trade with profit. I scribbled over a bit of paper, cut in the shape of a dollar, the number 10,000 dollars, and told him to swallow it, and afterwards to bring it me in the same state. The price for this was a fowl. He[241] swallowed the paper, and went off to get the fowl. Not succeeding in the souk, he went to the Shereef Kebir, and requested him to give him a fowl for a sick person. The Shereef gave him what he asked, and the Tibboo brought it to me. This story since has been greatly embellished at the expense of the Tibboo, and affords infinite amusement to the Moorish and Arabic merchants of Zinder.

I have just noticed some sable ladies, with their hair all twisted into three or four great points—vain attempts at curls. The back parts are all covered with a paste of indigo. The hair is well dressed, and free from any woolly appearance.

Yesterday the Sheikh Lousou paid me a visit. I presented him with a loaf of sugar, and a cotton handkerchief. He received them with manifest pleasure, and promised to write a letter to the Queen, that, in the event of other English people or Europeans passing through the Tuarick country of Aheer, he would render them all the protection in his power. Lousou is esteemed by some persons as great a man as En-Noor in Zinder, but this estimation is exceedingly out of place. Lousou could give protection to European travellers and merchants, but not in an equal degree to En-Noor. As he is a younger man than En-Noor, however, it is desirable to secure his friendship, and, if possible, that of the Sarkee. Lousou wore the bag of camphor which I gave him, showing it to me with great satisfaction.


According to the information of a slave of the Sarkee, Gumel is a large Bornouese province, the capital of which is Tumbi: the Sultan's name is Dan-Tanoma. Gumel is one day and a-half from Zinder, but the capital is three days by horse and five days by camel travelling. Gumel has twelve great officers. Bundi is a large province of Bornou, the capital of which is Galadima: the Sultan's name is Kagami. Galadima is three days from Zinder. Aoud, a large place, is one day from Galadima. Alamaigo, also a large village or town, is half a day from Galadima. Meria, is three days from Galadima, and three from Zinder.

According to strict Muslims, it is a sin to write Jebel Mekka, "the mountain of Mekka." I have lately noticed several instances of superstition. A Moor of Fezzan, to whom I gave a small portion of camphor, showed me the paper and piece of cotton cloth in which he had wrapped it up, and swore that during the night the ginns, or evil spirits, had eaten it. Many other Moors asked me if it was possible to preserve camphor from the ginns? They said they knew a man who one evening locked up a piece of this substance in an iron box, and in the morning it was gone; the ginns had eaten it.

I went to see the manufacture of the matting which is used for making houses. There were thirty slaves at work, all belonging to one man; over these were three masters (also slaves), to keep [243] them at their task. They certainly did not hurry themselves, and very few people hurry themselves in this country. These slaves were all Hazna, or pagans. The Sarkee of Zinder, besides Tuaricks, has many pagan subjects. Some of the blacks, I was surprised to see, had breasts as full and plump as many women. In other respects these pagans do not differ from their Muslim brethren. The matting is woven thirty or forty feet long, and eight feet broad, and is used to enclose a cluster of huts. It is all doubly-woven. I gave each of them a small looking-glass, having nothing else to dispose of.

According to a Moor here, the land revenues of Zinder are divided into three portions; one of which goes to the Sarkee, one to the Sheikh, and one to the Bashaw. This is the new arrangement. The Sarkee makes up his accounts, or fills up his exchequer by razzias.

27th.—The weather continues mild, but thick. The thermometer now stands at about 60° at sunrise. The people are mostly healthy. We do not hear of cases of fever, or any other periodical complaints. As soon as up, I received a visit from a number of old ladies, who came to see the Christian, and to bring him a bowl of milk. One of them had been the nurse of the Sultan of Zinder; so that I was bound to feel duly honoured by this attention.

Everybody now says the Sarkee will return in the course of five days, and besides slaves, will bring [244] store of cattle and horses, the spoils of the poor people. I certainly never heard of a more iniquitous expedition, for it is believed he has gone against the pacific and loyal subjects of the Sheikh—not tribes or villages under another power.

I went to visit the renegade Jew Ibrahim. I had prescribed a regimen for him, to assist in the cure of his bad foot, but yet he had done nothing. These kind of people are most eager to get prescriptions, but very lax in following them. Probably in secret they expect a magical cure, and have no confidence in any specific less expeditious than the waving of a wand. I repeated everything again to him, without expecting compliance. It is, however, cheap to express condolence in this manner.

The streets are almost deserted; only a few beggars and poor people show themselves about. There was a fire last night in the market-place, said to be the work of an incendiary. The thieves here set fire to the huts, and profit in the confusion by carrying off the goods and chattels of the alarmed; as, indeed, they do in London and other cities of Europe. The devices of roguery are marvellously monotonous.

In the forenoon I received a visit from the Iman of the mosque of Zinder. I asked about the Hazna, or pagans, thinking to get a little information; but I only learnt what I knew before, that the Hazna make their offerings, which consist, of milk and ghaseb, under trees. These Hazna are mostly peasants—little [245] farmers; and, like Cain, they offer to their deity the fruits of the earth. The Iman said their deity was Eblis, or the Devil; an accusation commonly bandied between rival creeds. He informed me, also, that there are a good number of Hazna in both Zinder and the other towns and villages of the province. He despaired of their ever becoming Muslims, but added, "The great men amongst them must become Muslims by order of the Sheikh, whilst the poor people are left to do as they please, and so furnish a constant supply for the home and foreign slave-mart. It is not the interest of the Sarkee or the foreign merchants that they should become Muslims."

I have heard of the names of two other Tuarick tribes, viz. the Ezzaggeran, near Gouber, and the Daggera, near Minyo, belonging to the Tuarick country of Gurasu. These, apparently, are fractions of tribes.

I register the following legend, which seems to imply that Zinder, like many of the towns of this part of Africa, is of comparatively modern origin.

Twenty years ago there was a fine spring of water bubbling from under the largest granite rock of Zinder. It was this spring which first attracted a population to settle here. Suleiman, father of the present Sarkee, one day harangued the people, and told them, "This water is not necessary for us; the Sheikh of Bornou will hear of this prey, and come and take our country from us. Now let us fetch a [246] fighi, who shall write a talisman; and we will put this talisman upon the mouth of the spring, and with it a large stone, and the water of the spring shall immediately dry." The people consented to this; the charm was written and thrown into the spring, and the stone was rolled on to its mouth; since which the spring has in reality ceased to flow.

The population of Zinder is now supplied with water from three wells, about half an hour distant from the spring, now dry. Upon the stone over this dried spring are several marks, like the footprints of camels and horses. Other people add, "the marks of a man when he kneels down to pray."

The Shereef Kebir says, that Lousou brought a piece of magnetic iron to him, which he sent to Haj Beghir in Kuka. Lousou reports that there is an abundance of magnetic iron in Aheer. Kohul is very cheap in the market of Zinder. In Kanou it can be had for ten reals (Fezzan) the cantar; and in Yakoba, whence it is brought, for three reals. There is a whole rock of kohul in Yakoba, the property of the Sultan. The Fellatahs rule Yakoba as well as Adamowa. They are still very powerful in all this part of Africa. Individual Fellatahs have as many as five thousand slaves, who work partly for their masters and partly for themselves.

I visited this evening Sidi Bou Beker Weled Haj Mohammed Sudani, cousin of the Sheikh of[247] Bornou. He was surrounded with all the objects of Bornou luxury,—carpets, guns, pistols, swords, umbrellas, &c., &c. He was busy looking over a book containing an explanation of dreams, with a vastly-knowing mâlem. They both made pretensions to great learning. In other respects, the cousin of the Sheikh was very affable. He said, Bornou is the only good country hereabouts. All the rest are full of fever or bandits. "There were two English," he observed, "came to us (in Bornou), and were very well until they went to Soudan, where they died." These persons were Oudney and Clapperton. I told him I must return by way of Wadaï, which he disapproved of. I added, that Abbas Pasha would write to Darfour and Wadaï, to give me protection. He then said, "Oh, if the Sheikh writes to Wadaï, you can go in safety."

This cousin of the Sheikh is a great merchant, and comes backwards and forwards to Zinder from Kuka.

28th.—The nights are still rather cool, but the days not so. The weather continues heavy, with a south-east wind. I went to the cousin of the Sheikh to administer to him a dose of Epsom salts. I have often been surprised to see how greedily these people drink off this nauseous medicine, and smack their lips as if it was something excessively delicious.

Afterwards I had a visit from a great sister of the Sarkee, a woman who is a Sheikha (female[248] Sheikh), and receives the revenues of fifty villages for her own private use. She was quite well, but begged hard for medicine. At last I gave her some tea, which she drank off, after laughing a good deal.

A small caravan has arrived from Ghadamez in three months, but brought no news, except that Aaron Silva is living, and not dead, as reported. These merchants make continual inquiries respecting the state of the country (i.e. of Soudan), and are answered, "Afia, afia." However, it is these same slave-dealing merchants who occasion the greater part of the wars and troubles in these countries, by their perpetual demand for slaves.

I am told that many cantars of indigo can be purchased in Soudan (in Kanou), at a price which would bring a great profit in Tripoli; but the merchants refuse to engage in this commerce. I think I shall make a trial of it.

The cousin of the Sheikh recommended me to dress in my English clothes on my arrival in Kuka. By doing this, he observed, "you will please the people, and get many presents." It was ever my intention to dress in European clothes in Bornou.

The common mode in which a poor person salutes a great man, is by kneeling down and throwing dust upon the bare head. The degree of humility and respect is expressed by the quantity of [249] dust thrown! The Sarkee, of course, gets a great deal of dust, and every personage under him his portion, according to his rank. The beggars throw the dust about in clouds. At first, it is painful to see this custom.



Political News—Animals of Zinder—Sleepy City—District of Korgum—Razzias—Family of Sheikh Omer of Bornou—Brothers—Sons—Sisters—Daughters—Viziers—Kashallas—Power of the Sheikh—A Cheating Prince—Old Slave—Fetishism—Devil in a Tuarick's head—Kibabs—Fires—A Prophecy—Another Version of the Razzia—Correspondence between Korgum and Zinder.

Some political news has arrived to-day by the caravan from Ghât. According to the gazette of the caravan there is peace now between the Porte and Musku (Russia), and Musku is to restore to the Porte the one hundred countries taken by her, as also to pay the expenses of the war. Hostilities have broken out between the Emperor of Morocco and the French; a Shereef has appeared to recommence the holy war, and Muley Abd-Errhaman supplies him with the means to fight the French. Thus the news is all fashioned to Muslim tastes. Also it is said, that in future the red colour in flags is always to be uppermost. This seems likewise a compliment to the Muslim power in Europe and Africa. It is very curious to see how dexterously the caravan-newsman has coined his wares.


The shonshona of Gouber is very faint, and consists of nine very small cuts.

Gouber is full of Tuaricks, Kilgris, and Iteesan. It is said the Sarkee will bring an immense number of Hazna, or pagans, with him, on his return from the razzia.

29th.—At sunrise, when the thermometer is at 57°, I feel the cold. I am told that, though Kuka is very hot, it is quite free from fever,—in fact, from all periodic epidemics. So we may expect to do well, if we escape the fever of Soudan.

The household gods of Zinder are a large species of lizard, who make their dwelling-places in the walls and roofs of the huts. These are in great numbers. Cats are the principal nuisance and the thieves of the place—attacking and devouring fowls. Of rats and mice I have observed none. But few small birds show themselves. The small filthy vulture is everywhere, and a few eagles of a diminutive white species are seen amongst them. Some few dogs are kept, ill-looking and mongrel in their breed. The domestic cattle are horses, asses, oxen, sheep and goats, and a few camels.

The life of the male population of Zinder seems to pass in dreamy indolence, varied continually by the excitement of a razzia. The women divide their time between the kitchen and the toilette. No amusement is sought, except from drum-beating and the attendant dance. Thus time lapses with these black citizens. As for the foreign merchants and[252] traders, they, too, drowse away the period of their residence in this sleepy city. They sell their goods in a lump, on trust, to the Sarkee, and then compose themselves to slumber whilst he goes forth on a razzia, and brings them slaves in payment. The thick, heavy atmosphere—at any rate during this season—appears to forbid any other kind of life. It weighs upon the eyelids, and oppresses the soul. Existence passes away in a tropical dream, and death finds its prey, as Jupiter found Maia, "betwixt sleep and wake," in this poppied climate. Altogether—as far as I can see through my own winking eyes—Zinder is a most unlovely place; by no means desirable for a stranger to live in. I manage, however, now and then to grasp at, and hold, something like definite information. In looking over the itineraries of Captain Lyon, I find that the razzias have obliterated many towns and villages from the map. At any rate, the people now are ignorant of their names.

Korgum, half-a-day's distance from Konchai, two days from Zinder, is, according to a report come in this afternoon, the place or theatre of the present razzia. The pretext is—for I now hear of a pretext—that they will not pay tribute to the Sheikh. Korgum consists of three villages and a town, upon and under some rocky hills, which are visible during three days' march. The district is the residence of a sultan. Ten years ago it belonged to Maradee, but since then has been wrested from it, though it has[253] ever shown a doubtful allegiance. When the former chief fled to Maradee, he stopped to drink water at Korgum; but the sultan refused to grant him permission. The present Sarkee, on being restored to his government,—though he made war upon his brother—nevertheless determined to avenge this barbarous inhospitality. He went and attacked the Sultan of Korgum, captured several of his people, and cut off, it is pretended, eight hundred heads. Not satisfied with this slight vengeance, the chief of Zinder seems to have remained anxious to pick a quarrel. He next sent for wadâ; in other words, for tribute. The Sultan of Korgum forwarded some. The Sarkee despatched a message, that what he had received was "few." The Sultan replied, "Why should I send many?" A pertinent question, that seems to have closed the correspondence, but not brought the affair to a conclusion.

The Sarkee of Zinder heard that the Sultan of Korgum had just gone out on a razzia, united with the people of Maradee, and has taken this opportunity to make a foray. It is probably with reference to some rumour of this expedition that Overweg writes to me.

It is said here that the Sarkee never captures all the people, but leaves a few to breed for another razzia! All the inhabitants of Korgum are Hazna, a fact strongly insisted on as a salve for the consciences of my Muslim friends. The Sarkee is expected back on Friday.


I received a visit from the two Shereefs that were at Mourzuk in our time. They left after us; had remained three months in Ghât, and, of course, detest the Tuaricks. I gave them coffee, and each a cotton handkerchief.

30th.—The following are given me as the names of the family of the Sheikh Omer, of Bornou:—


All these my informant knows. What a family! Verily we are in Africa!


The mother of the Sheikh is called Magera, a native of Begarmi.

Sisters of the Sheikh.

These are all he recollects among the number. A copious royal family!

Daughters of the Sheikh.

No doubt there are others. It is curious to compare this knot of near relations with the scanty families among the Tuaricks. The fertility of the human race seems to be as that of the soil on which its several tribes are located. Deserts may produce conquerors, but the fat lands produce subjects.

I may now add a further list, obtained at the same time as the above.

The great vizier (or prime minister) is Haj Beshir; but there are other viziers of more or less power:—Shadeli; Ibrahim Wadai; Rufai (cousin [257] of the Sheikh); Hamza, and Mala Ibrahim. These form the council of the Sheikh.

The chief kady is Kady Mohammed, and another kady of influence is named Haj Mohammed Aba.

The principal slaves (that is to say, the principal favourites in these despotic countries) are Kashalla Belal and Kashalla Ali. The word Kashalla corresponds to the title Bey. The brother of Abd-el-Galeel, lately killed, is living at Kuka, and is called Sheikh Ghait. There is also there a brother of the ancient sheikh killed in Fezzan, called Sheikh Omer, uncle of the above.

According to my informant, the power of the Sheikh has immensely increased since the days of the first expedition. The Sheikh has now more than 100,000 cavalry, and a great quantity of muskets. Certainly I have ocular proof that Zinder, an important province, has been added to the territories of this most powerful prince. I may as well mention, that my authority is Omer Wardi. His father, Mohammed Wardi, went with Clapperton to Sakkatou.

The Sheikh, according to this seemingly well-informed person, is paramount sovereign of Begarmi and Mandara,—these states paying each a tribute yearly of one thousand slaves, to which Mandara adds fifty eunuchs,—a most costly contribution. This seems to be the country where eunuchs are made in these parts.


Lagun is also under the Sheikh, and has become a province of Bornou.

In this country, it is said, there are pieces of cannon. Also, there is another country, Kussuri, four days south of Begarmi, now united to the Sheikh's territories; and besides, Maffatai, four days south-east from Kuka (a country of a sultan).

Dikua, two days south from Kuka; a province with a powerful sultan, who has the power of life and death.

Kulli, one day west of Dikua; Blad-es-Sultan.

En-Gala, two days south of Kuka, country of a sultan; belonging to Yusuf, brother of the Sheikh.

I went to see the renegade Jew; he was busy in a quarrel with a servant of Lousou, to whom he had given eight slaves to take to Ghât, to be sold on his account. Lousou had sold the slaves, and rendered no account to the renegade—a most unprincely proceeding, to say the least of it; if, indeed, it would not be more African to say princely proceeding: for there seems no vice, whether violent or mean, which is not exaggerated by the holders of power in these parts.

The souk is almost deserted to-day, on account of the Sarkee being absent. I passed the slave-stalls, and saw another poor old woman for sale, upwards of fourscore years of age. The slave-merchants offered her for four thousand wadâs, about eight shillings. People purchase these poor old creatures that they may fetch wood and water, even until their strength fails them and they faint by the way.


I made other inquiries about the Hazna of Zinder. It seems the Sarkee himself is still half pagan, for at the beginning of every year he proceeds with his officers to a tree, the ancient god of paganism, and there distributes two goffas of wadâ (about 100,000), three bullocks and sheep, and ghaseb, to the poor. These things are really offered to the deities of his ancestors, though the poor of the country get the benefit of them. There are four or five trees of this description, at which such annual offerings are made; but there is only one Tree of Death where malefactors are executed, the one mentioned in a former page.[17] The Muslim converts of Soudan find the Ramadhan excessively burdensome, as well as many other rites of Islamism, and for this reason the greater part of the population of Soudan, who profess Mohammedanism, are still pagans in heart. It is vain to expect a nation to pass from loose to ascetic practices without some moral motive, such as that which sustained the Muslims at their first brilliant start in the world.

A Tuarick came this morning and said the devil was in his head, and that he wanted some medicine to drive him out. I gave him an emetic of tartarised antimony, which I hope served his purpose.

N.B. The news of the Sarkee having "eaten up" four countries of Korgum is confirmed to-day.


The preparation of kibabs is quite a science here. The kibab cook makes a conical hillock of dust and ashes, flattened on the top. The edge of this mound he plants with sticks, on which is skewered a number of little bits of meat: then a fire is kindled between this circular forest, and the sticks are twisted round from time to time, so that every part may be well roasted. To us these kibabs are cheap enough, five or six cowries a stick.

The wall of Zinder has no gates, only openings. I went to the garden of the Shereef. The vegetation does not look very flourishing in this season. The Shereef has planted some horse-beans; "the only beans of the kind," says the gardener, "in all the territories of Bornou."

31st.—The weather is increasingly cool; therm. at sunrise, 50°. The atmosphere of Zinder never clears up. I was awakened this morning, before daylight, by the cries of "Fire!" A fire of huts was raging close upon us. This is the third accident of this kind which has taken place during the sixteen days we have been here. The people take them, as a matter of course, with Californian indifference, and it is likely that there are two or three fires every ten days.

A merchant from Kanou (native of Tunis) called to see me. He says the English (Americans) now bring calicoes, powder, dollars, rum, wadâs, guns, and many other things, to Niffee, which afterwards are sent up to Kanou. The slave-trade, [261] therefore, must thrive here; and we get the credit of it, because the ruffians by whom it is carried on speak our language.

A great fighi called also to-day to explain any dreams which I might require the interpretation of, bringing with him his Tifsir El-Helam. I told him that last night I dreamt I saw "two persons fall to the ground upon (from?) the boughs of a tree." He searched his book and produced a passage, the pith of which was, that anything which I undertake will not be accomplished. Very agreeable information! I thought we had had bad news enough. The passage made to apply prophetically to me ran literally as follows:—

"And whosoever sees (in dreams) a tree fall, or any thing fall from it,—then will not accomplish itself the thing which is between the man who thus dreams."[18]

I hired to-day Mohammed Ben Amud Bou Saad, at a salary of ten reals of Fezzan a month.

I have heard another version of the plan and cause of the present razzia of the Sultan of Zinder. "Our own correspondents" cannot be more versatile in finding out rumours than the gossips of Zinder. It is now said that the Sultan of Korgum wrote to the Sarkee of Zinder, and asked him if he should make a razzia on or with Maradee.[262]

The Sarkee said, "Go." But as soon as the news came that the sultan was gone, this prince, in whom that other put his trust, immediately set out to make a razzia on the country deserted by its sultan.

"Compos!" cried my Moorish informant; and certainly it was a clever negro trick. It is difficult to know whom to pity or condemn in this iniquitous affair. We may be certain, however, that the poor women and children, the principal sufferers by the razzias, are guiltless in these transactions; and we may, without fear, bestow our sympathies upon them. At the same time it is allowable to admire the profound secrecy with which the Sarkee planned his razzia. Not a soul in Zinder, besides himself, knew where he was going. The general opinion was to Daura, which affords scope for a thousand razzias.

The correspondence which I have mentioned between the vassals of Korgum and Zinder illustrates the abominable system on which the Sheikh of Bornou permits his provinces to be governed. Really it is difficult to compare the condition of this extraordinary region to anything but a forest, through which lions and tigers range to devour the weaker and more timid beasts—to which they grant intervals of repose during the digestion of their meals.

[17] See pp. 211 and 218. Probably the second Tree of Death described was in reality only a fetish tree.—Ed.

[18] The unhappy event which soon after this interview occurred, no doubt confirmed the belief of the natives in the powers of this great fighi.—Ed.



Sheikh of Bornou—Arab Women—News from the Razzia—Procession of newly-caught Slaves—Entrance of the Sarkee—Chained Slaves—My Servant at the Razzia—Audacity of Bornou Slaves—Korgum—Konchai—Product of the Razzia—Ghadamsee Merchants—Slave-trade—Incident at Korgum—State of Kanou—A Hue and Cry—Black Character—Vegetables at Zinder—Minstrel—Medi—Gardens—Ladies—Fanaticism—Americans at Niffee—Rich People—Tuaricks Sick—Morals—Dread of the Sarkee—Fashions.

Feb. 1st.—It is said that we shall leave this for Kuka on Monday next, whether the Sultan of Zinder returns from his razzia or not. It certainly is a shame that I should be kept here waiting the pleasure of a fellow gone to heat up for slaves to pay his debts.

The merchants from Kanou represent the power of the Fellatahs as very strong, if not increasing. From Sakkatou to Kanou, and Kanou to Niffee, Yakoba, and Adamaua, everywhere along these lines of towns and populous districts, are found Fellatah chiefs or sultans. Bornou is, however, now much stronger than during the time of the first expedition. The Sheikh has two thousand muskets; so says the Shereef Kebir; whilst in the time of Denham he had only fifty. Certainly two thousand muskets is[264] a progress beyond fifty. The Asbenouee Tuaricks carried away some half-dozen Arab women when they slaughtered the Walad Suleiman. One of these women has been seen, and the Sheikh and the Shereef Kebir are trying to get her back. The Sheikh has sent word that all the Arab women must be restored to their homes.

The Shereef Kebir says the powder of this country is all bad, but that Haj Beshir and the Sheikh get English or American powder from Niffee. Leaden bullets are scarce; they use zinc bullets: but these will not go far, resisting the force of the powder; nor will they penetrate deep when they hit a person. Nitre is found at a place one hour from Zinder, called Kankandi.

It is supposed that the Sarkee, not having found slaves enough in Korgum, has gone somewhere else. The Shereef Kebir would scarcely mention the subject of the razzia to me for shame. At length a Moor present said, "Fish eats up fish, so it is with the Sarkee." This brought forth a laugh, and seemed to be thought a sufficient salve for all their consciences.

A cry was raised early this morning, "The Sarkee is coming!" Every one went out eagerly to learn the truth. It turned out that a string of captives, fruits of the razzia,[19] was coming in.[265] There cannot be in the world—there cannot be in the whole world—a more appalling spectacle than this. My head swam as I gazed. A single horseman rode first, showing the way, and the wretched captives followed him as if they had been used to this condition all their lives. Here were naked little boys running alone, perhaps thinking themselves upon a holiday; near at hand dragged mothers with babes at their breasts; girls of various ages, some almost ripened into womanhood, others still infantine in form and appearance; old men bent two-double with age, their trembling chins verging towards the ground, their poor old heads covered with white wool; aged women tottering along, leaning upon long staffs, mere living skeletons;—such was the miscellaneous crowd that came first; and then followed the stout young men, ironed neck to neck! This was the first instalment of the black bullion of Central Africa; and as the wretched procession huddled through the gateways into the town the creditors of the Sarkee looked gloatingly on through their lazy eyes, and calculated on speedy payment.

In the afternoon I was informed that the Sarkee was really about to enter the town.

Expecting to see other captives, and anxious to be an eye-witness to all these atrocities attendant on the razzia, I went to see him pass with his cavalry. After waiting ten minutes, there rode up single cavaliers, then lines of horsemen, all galloping towards [266] the castle-gates to show the people their equestrian skill; then came a mass of cavalry, about fifty, with a drum beating, and in the midst of these was the sultan. There was nothing very striking in this cavalcade; a few cavaliers had on a curious sort of helmet, made of brass, with a kind of horn standing out from the crown; others wore a wadding of woollen stuff, a sort of thin mattrass, in imitation of a coat of mail. Its object is to turn the points of the poisoned arrows. The cavaliers thus dressed form the body-guard of the Sarkee. Amongst these troops were some Bornou horsemen, who rode with more skill than the Zinder people. The best cavaliers resembled as much as possible the Arab cavaliers of the north. There were no captives with these horsemen; the slaves had only come in to the number, it was said, of some two or three thousand during the day. Although I wished to see them, I was, nevertheless, spared a repetition of the misery and indignation which the sight in the morning produced in my mind. I have been told positively that the poor old creatures brought in with the other captives will not fetch a shilling a-head in the slave-market. It is, therefore, a refinement of cruelty not to let them die in their native homes,—to tear them away to a foreign soil, and subject them to the fatigues of the journey, and the insults of a rude populace, and ruder and crueller slave-dealers. Many die on the road during the two or three days' march.


It is exceedingly painful to live in a place like Zinder, where almost every householder has a chained slave. The poor fellows (men and boys) cannot walk, from the manner in which the irons are put on, and when they move about are obliged to do so in little jumps. These slaves are ironed, that they may not run away. There are many villages and towns, a few days from Zinder, to which they can escape without difficulty, and where they are not pursued. It was exceedingly horrifying to hear the people of Zinder salute the troops of the razzia on their return with the beautiful Arabic word, Alberka, "blessing!" Thus is it that human beings sometimes ask God for a blessing on transactions which must ever be stamped with his curse. The Italian bandit also begs the Virgin to bless his endeavours. It is evident that nothing but the strong arm of power and conquest will ever root out the curse of slavery from Africa.

The slave whom Haj Beshir sent from Kuka to Zinder, to accompany me to Kuka, went with the Sarkee, and took one of my servants with him. I did not know anything about it until they were gone. But this evening, on my return from seeing the Sarkee, I found a woman and child, a boy and a young man, tied together, lying not far from my hut, in the enclosure where we are residing. I was excessively indignant at this conduct of Haj Beshir's slave, although certainly done in ignorance. These captives were the fruits of the part he took [268] in the expedition. I have not made up my mind whether I will go to Kuka with this fellow, for it is not the first time he has shown something like an insolent behaviour. As to my servant, I had already discharged him, but the Shereef Kebir persuaded me to let him go with the boat to Kuka, as he knew how to place it on the camels better than the other servants. I scolded him well for going with the razzia, because he himself was once in bondage, and had returned free under our protection. But I fear my words will have little effect; for in Zinder, at least, the great concern and occupation of the black population is, to go and steal their neighbours, and sell them into slavery. I repeat again, nothing but foreign conquest by a non-slaveholding power will extirpate slavery from the soil of Africa.

I read Milton's "Comus" and other portions of his poetry, and find it a great relief in drawing my mind a little off African subjects. I am sorry I did not bring with me a copy of Shakespear. I have very few books with me of any kind, and fewer maps. I received a visit of fighis from the villages around, also from a sister and niece of the Sultan of Zinder, and gave them all a bit of sugar and sent them off.

Around my house exists a swarm of fighis, who can copy charms and a few passages from the Koran. I procured some of the bonâ fide specimens of their calligraphy. There are four different[269] hands. These fighis are all blacks of pure blood. They write sideways.

A courier arrived to-day from Kuka, bringing a despatch for the Governor of Zinder, to the effect that, in the event of his finding any people of Bornou committing misdemeanours of any sort, he, the Sultan of Zinder, was at liberty to treat them as he chose. I am told that the Bornou slaves, as well as the free people of that country, when they come to Zinder, have the audacity to seize on whomsoever comes in the way, and take them and sell them as slaves in the souk. This kidnapping is mostly done in the villages around Zinder, but even in the city itself it has been ventured; and the Sultan has hitherto been afraid to arrest these Bornouese miscreants. What a glimpse into the state of the empire of Bornou do such facts afford!

2d.—This morning the slave of Haj Beshir came to declare that the slaves which he brought here yesterday were not his booty, but belonged to another person, a volunteer. There is no getting at the truth in these countries. The theatre of the late razzia is westwards from Zinder about two days. Korgum is one day from Tesaoua. Konchai is a neighbouring country, about four hours from Korgum. The Sarkee attacked four villages of Korgum, but got few slaves. The people, though without their sultan, defended themselves well with their renowned arrows, and when they could[270] hold out no longer they ascended the rocks and escaped. The wounds of arrows, though poisoned, are not always fatal, and often cured by the remedies known in these countries.

The villages of Korgum are called Tangadala Agai. Not getting many slaves there, the Sarkee attacked two or three villages of Konchai. This province contains some three hundred villages. Ganua and Tanbanas were the places razzied. From the latter place six hundred slaves were obtained, nearly half of the whole captured. The total product of the razzia is about fifteen hundred; a thousand for the Sultan's share, and five hundred for the troops and volunteers. It is said this thousand will not suffice to pay the Sultan's debts, and it was on account of the fewness of slaves the Sarkee was obliged to bring with him the halt, the blind, the maimed, and the aged, stooping to the earth with age. Besides human beings, the Sarkee captured eight hundred and thirty bullocks, and flocks of sheep; seven hundred bullocks he gave to the troops and volunteers, and one hundred and thirty have been reserved for himself. Four men were killed, and one hundred horses, belonging to Zinder; but the enemy are said to have lost a good number. All the villages made resistance but one, where the poor people were busy cooking their suppers; when the Sarkee and his famished crew rushed upon them, seized them, and carried them into captivity. This, at any rate, is the report; but, [271] according to others, the results of the expedition are much less important.

All the country razzied is nominally subject to the Sheikh of Bornou, so that this Sarkee of Zinder has been pillaging the Bornou territories, and carrying off their inhabitants, who are subjects of the Sheikh, to raise money to pay his debts. A certain enmity exists, it is said, between Konchai and Zinder, which formerly was subject to the province of Konchai.

According to one authority, the booty of the razzia is greatly reduced, even to more than half of what was reported. The share of the Sarkee is four hundred slaves, and one hundred and twenty slaves he gave to his troops. Seven places were attacked, but the people had news of the movements of the Sarkee, and were prepared to receive him: they shot their arrows through their stockades, thick and fast, upon the Sarkee and his people, and then retired to the rocks and behind the trees, which are abundant. Only one country was fairly razzied. Also but few beasts were taken, the people having secured all their cattle and flocks beforehand. The Sarkee got about one hundred bullocks. He took with him no less than two thousand horse, a collection from all the petty governments in the surrounding provinces, with their chiefs. All these forces did little more than beat the air. The capture of five hundred slaves will not pay the expenses of the expedition, but[272] these people never sit down to count the cost. Their reckoning-days are few and far between.

There is a report here that the Sultans of Maradee, Gouber, Korgum, and Tesaoua, have all gone together on a razzia to the territory of Sakkatou, and a few of the people of Zinder have gone with them; and this is the reason given for horses being now scarce in Zinder.

Haj Beshir has sent a message from Kuka, that I am to quicken my steps thitherward. The kafila from Mourzuk has arrived, and many Arabs from the north.

Of gubaga, called by the people of Zinder, ferri, four draâs are sold in Zinder for one hundred wadâs, about twopence. This native cotton cloth, when doubled, makes tents impervious to the summer rain.

There are about fifty Ghadamsee merchants in Kanou and Boushi, capital of Yakoba, the principal of whom (here described as Maidukia) are:—


There are some merchants of consequence from Fezzan, viz. Basha Ben Haloum, Mohammed es-Salah, the agent of Gagliuffi, Sidi Ali, and Fighi Hamit, who always goes to Goujah (blad of the gour-nuts). This country of the gour is distant three months' travelling, making small stages south-west by west. Morocco, Tuat, and the countries of the west, are scarcely represented by merchants in Kanou—there being one or two of them at most. Nor are there any from Egypt or the East.

According to my informant, a small merchant, but well acquainted with these parts, not more than one hundred and fifty or two hundred slaves pass through or from Zinder annually to the north, and about five or six hundred go by the route of Tesaoua to the north, i.e. Tripoli, and a few to Souf. After all, the great slave-market is Central Africa itself.

An affecting incident is told of the people of Korgum during the late razzia. The Sultan of Zinder besieged one town four days, and would not allow the people to drink water. They then sent word that "they did not know either God, or the Prophet Mahommed, or the Sheikh of Bornou, only him, Sarkee Ibrahim of Zinder, as their ruler and lord, and prayed him to give them water and peace." The Sarkee replied, "When my brother fled to you, you also would not allow him to drink, nor will I now permit you; therefore surrender into our hands." The people of the town held out these four [274] days, and then during a night they all fled to the rocks and escaped.

There are but few places to make razzias upon around Zinder, except on the Sheikh's provinces, unless the Sarkee will go to Maradee, and there he is now in friendship, or else is afraid to move in that direction. In the account of the booty, it is to be understood that all of it was not brought to Zinder, some having been distributed amongst the troops and volunteers of the rest of the province. I am told that the greater part of the slaves will be sent to Kanou for sale. It has already been observed, that only a few slaves go to the north in comparison with the numbers captured. The bulk of the slaves of the razzias are employed as serfs on the soil, or servants in the town. In Kanou, a rich man has three or four thousand slaves; these are permitted to work on their own account, and they pay him as their lord and master a certain number of cowries every month: some bring one hundred, some three hundred or six hundred, or as low as fifty cowries a-month. On the accumulation of these various monthly payments of the poor slaves the great man subsists, and is rich and powerful in the country. This system prevails in all the Fellatah districts.

At dusk, there was a hue and cry near our house. I ran out to see what it was: the noise and stir was nothing less than an attempt of a slave to escape. The poor fellow was surrounded by a mass of men[275] and boys, all anxious to seize him and deliver him to his master, to obtain the reward.

My sympathies certainly begin to cool when I see the conduct of these blacks to one another. The blacks are, in truth, the real active men-stealers, though incited thereto frequently by the slave-merchants of the north and south. It must be confessed, that if there were no white men from the north or south to purchase the supply of slaves required out of Africa, slavery would still flourish, though it might be often in a mitigated form; and this brings me to the reiteration of my opinion, that only foreign conquest by a power like Great Britain or France can really extirpate slavery from Africa.

3d.—The sky never gets clear here till late at night. I read several pieces of Milton's poetry. I went to the gardens to see the wells: people fetch water from the wells of the gardens, where the supply is sufficiently abundant. I observed in the gardens the henna plant, the cotton plant, the indigo plant, and the tobacco plant. All these appear to be commonly cultivated in the gardens of Zinder. There are scarcely any other vegetables but onions, and beans, and tomatas; but the people cultivate a variety of small herbs, for making the sauce of their bazeens and other flour-puddings. The castor-oil tree is found in the town and in the hedges of the gardens in abundance.

A Tuarick woman was brought here to-day for[276] me to cure. She had been in an ailing, wasting state, for the last four years; the husband said that the devil had touched his wife, and reduced her to this state. Another woman was brought with an immense wen upon her abdomen. I have given away nearly all my Epsom salts, and now supply emetics. It is necessary to purge these people immediately, in a few hours, or they think you do nothing for them, or will not or cannot do them any good. Many Tuaricks come from the open country. We have also frequent cases of ophthalmia, mostly from the villages around.

This evening I was charmed by the vocal sounds of a strolling minstrel, attended by two drummers with small drums, called kuru, and a chorus of singing-girls collected from the neighbourhood. The chorus-singers sang like charity-school girls at church. Altogether the singing was more pleasing than the monotonous, plaintive sounds of the Arabs.

It seems difficult to get off. Everybody is making preparations for our journey, from the Sultan to the lowest slave sent from Kuka to assist in the transport of the boat and our baggage, and yet nothing is done!

I parted with my new acquaintance, Medi, to-day, a soldier and slave of the Sarkee. He has been occasionally my cicerone in Zinder. He had been captured from a child, and is now past middle age, and knows little of the loss of home. He was a friendly chap, and gave me all the information he [277] could make me understand in Soudanee and Bornouee.

The evening was warm; a most pestilential sort of mist usually covers the ground at dark. After an hour or so it clears off—a few meteors now and then.

4th, Dies non.—It is said we shall probably leave this to-morrow. Read Milton all day. Weather sultry hot; did not go out. Thermometer in the evening, at dark, 80°.

5th.—I had a visit from a number of Tuarick ladies from the villages around, all of whom put their hands to their stomachs, and pretended they were mighty ill. I gave them all round a cup of tea. The renegade Jew came this morning, and gave me a list of all the things sold in the market of Kanou.

I went in the afternoon to see the Kaïd of Haj Beshir of Kuka, called Abd-el-kerim. He had a female slave afflicted with the leprosy, and sent for me to come and see her. He gave me some gour-nuts, and I found him a friendly man. Denham represents the Bornou people of his time as very fanatical. At present I have seen nothing of this. But we are in a province where there are many Hazna, or pagans; and the people of Zinder are but lukewarm Muslims. I have yet had no instance of fanaticism, either from people of Kuka or from residents here.

I was amused by the relation of Haj Mohammed[278] Ben Welid respecting his intercourse with an American vessel at Niffee.[20] He first describes the vessel as very large; the sides being ascended by a ladder. Then these Americans (English they were called) had a black interpreter, who spoke Arabic. Through this black fellow they inquired of the man of Ghadamez from whence he came. He replied, "Ghadamez,"—this they did not know; then "Trablous,"—this they did not know; then "Tunis,"—nor was this place known; and, finally, "Malta." "Ah!" they cried, "we have heard of this place." They then asked him what he traded in, and gave him some tobacco and rum. They were full of goods of every description,—calicoes, powder, shot, rum, tobacco, dollars, and wadâ yaser (a great quantity of cowries), &c.

My room has been an hospital all this day, full of the sick, with various disorders. They come mostly from the villages around Zinder, and amongst them are a great number of Tuaricks, these people being more exposed to the weather, or more delicate, or more fanciful in their complaints. These poor devils all bring something—a little cheese, or a little milk; and I have received more of these trifling presents from them during the twenty days that I have been in Zinder, than in all the five or six months which I spent in their country. The reason may be, that in Asben[279] they have nothing (or next to nothing), whilst here reigns abundance. Our servants say now that the Tuaricks always bring something, and the townspeople of Zinder nothing. Some of the Tuaricks are not sick; they come only to see the Christian, and stop, and look, and stare, and watch the minutest action of the said Christian,—more especially the women, who would never leave my room if I were not to drive them away.

6th.—I am told by a well-informed person, that morals are much relaxed here. To-day a black man came from the country to beg for his wife, who had been taken away from him and given to a Moor, who was about to send her to the coast for sale. She is to be restored to the man in exchange for two young girls, whom he has fetched from the country (probably kidnapped). The woman, however, has been given over, in the first place, to Shroma, the commander-in-chief; and after she has passed two or three days with him, she will be allowed to return to her husband. This woman was first kidnapped by the Sultan, and belonged to the Sheikh's dominions, to a village near Zinder, and was taken in a razzia. The Sultan gave or sold her to the Moor. This is a sample of the transactions daily going on there. I am also assured that the three hundred wives of the Sarkee himself are at almost everybody's disposal, two or three gour-nuts being the utmost which these ladies ask. But this is not all; for these women, wives of the Sultan, [280] have intrigues with the slaves of the Sultan, with the brothers of the Sultan, and even with the sons of the Sultan. Whatever may be said of the Tuaricks and their freebooting, they do not practise such revolting immoralities as these.

The Sarkee of Zinder is feared both by Fellatahs and Tuaricks, especially on account of the barbarous nature of his executions, which I have described. It may be supposed that a better system, both of government and morality, is practised in Kuka, and the more connected Bornou provinces.

A man came to me to beg or buy some large beads for his wife; he said his wife was very anxious for them, to wear round her loins. Various are the caprices of fashion. Europeans show their finery, but here children and women wear beads round their loins under their clothes.

It is now said we shall leave Zinder positively on Saturday next.

[19] Mr. Richardson interchanges the words razzia and gazia; the latter, I imagine, is the correct word, but the former is better known to European readers.—Ed.

[20] See the Appendix. This Haj appears to have given some useful information to Mr. Richardson.—Ed.



News from Tesaoua—Razzia on Sakkatou—Laziness in Zinder—The Hajah—Herds of Cattle—More Tuarick Patients—Gardens—My Luggage—Adieu to the Sarkee—Present from his Highness—Start from Zinder—Country—Birds—Overtake the Kashalla—Slaves for Kanou—Continue the Journey—People of Deddegi—Their Timidity—Horse Exercise—Cotton—Strange Birds—Occupation of Men and Women—State of African Society—Islamism and Paganism—Character of the Kashalla—A Dogberry—Guddemuni—Cultivation—Beggars—Dancing Maidens.

A Shereef has come here to-day from Tesaoua, and reports that Overweg left that place for Maradee, about eight days since, with a Tuarick of En-Noor. The city of Maradee is but an hour from Gonder, and is about twice the size of Zinder. The whole occupation of these two cities is that of razzia, and their subsistence and riches are all derived from this source. These places also swarm with Tuaricks, Kilgris, Iteesan, and Kailouees, who join the blacks of Maradee and Gouber in their slave-hunting expeditions. A grand razzia is being perpetrated by the united forces of the Sultans of Maradee, Gouber, and Korgum, with the assistance of a thousand Tuarick horse, on the territories of the Sultan of Sakkatou. [282] The cavalry of the marauders consists of some five thousand, and there are more than this number on foot. My informant says they will go near Kashna, perhaps to its very gates. So it seems the Sultan of Sakkatou, with all his power and his great cities, is unable to check, or apparently even to avenge, the depredations committed upon his most important provinces. It is said that the product of this razzia will be some of the finest slaves in this part of Africa, many of them almost white. We are to leave here to-morrow. Inshallah! It is too bad to be kept so long here, when Haj Beshir has sent orders for us to come immediately.

7th.—The morning was cool; thermometer at sunrise, 58°. I slept little, being angry at being kept here so long. I read Milton to divert my mind awhile from African subjects.

There seems to be little industry in Zinder. The education of the greater part of the males is to fit them for razzias, and this must be considered as the principal cause of the unfeeling manner with which the blacks hereabouts look upon, their captive brethren. These captives are their means of livelihood; they live on the products of the razzias, and, of course, the superior intellects with which they may come in contact countenance all their proceedings; for the foreign merchants are equally interested with them in their inhuman expeditions. Africa is bled from all pores by her own children, seconded by the cupidity of strangers.


All the Moors and Arabs whom I conversed with extol the power of the Sheikh of Bornou, and represent him as the greatest sheikh in Central Africa. Nevertheless, the Fellatahs are everywhere, far and wide, from Sakkatou to Adamaua, a dominant people, though few in number compared with the population of the subjected kingdoms.

One of the most remarkable women, perhaps the only remarkable woman in Zinder at the present moment, is a certain Hajah (i.e. a woman who has made the pilgrimage of Mekka). She is a native of Fezzan, and is now employed in the household of the Sheikh of Bornou. She is excessively free and easy with all men folks; and although such a saint, her chastity, I am told, does not rate high. She returns to Kuka with us—no great gain to our caravan.

Near our enclosure is a long space full of bullocks and cows—some four hundred and fifty. These are distributed amongst the whole population by ones, twos, and threes. I have seen no herd but this, and if this is really the only one, it speaks little for the wealth of the people of Zinder. In fact, with regard to horses it is much the same,—the Shereef can hardly find me a horse to ride on in the whole town.

Apparently, Zinder is a wretchedly poor place. All are needy, from the Sarkee downwards, and when they get any property it all comes from the razzias. The system of living on rapine and man-stealing [284] seems to bring its own punishment along with it.

A posse of Tuarick patients assailed me very early this morning. The Tuaricks, who have more intellect than the blacks, let loose their imagination to fancy they have all sorts of complaints. Thus I have more patients from them than from the people of Zinder, and am quite undeceived as to my having done with this tribe when I entered the gates of this town. There is, however, this difference now, that they treat me with the greatest respect, and are very quiet, bringing presents instead of demanding presents.

The Tuaricks of Gurasu, I hear, have a bad name, and are troublesome to the Sheikh.

I went to the gardens this morning and yesterday morning—it is an immense relief from the enclosure of huts in town—but have not observed anything new. I am told that the suburbs of Kanou are full of palms. Zinder, if the people were industrious, could have its forests of palms, bearing luscious fruit twice a-year. But, alas! the excitement of the razzia destroys the taste for all rational industry. What bandit could ever settle down into a tiller of the ground?

8th.—The people came this morning, in a great hurry, to take off the luggage, and afterwards pretended that I should go to-morrow, whilst the baggage must be forwarded to-day. This arrangement I positively refused to comply with, being determined to stop no longer.


I went to take leave of the Sarkee. His highness had nothing to say, and we as little to him. We just shook hands, and that was all. He is not very well pleased with his late man-hunt. He still owes twenty thousand dollars, which it will require a dozen such speculations to pay off. The castle outside was besieged with soldiers, all lounging and listening to two or three drummers. I am disgusted to see so many idle people. The only novelty was four or five singing-women, who sung choruses inside the walls to a drummer. All the soldiers in undress, or not going on razzia, are bare-headed, and also nearly all the inhabitants of the town. A few persons, mostly women, wear a piece of blue cotton cloth over their heads, tied tight, so as to have the appearance of a cap. The common sort of women go with their breasts bare; others, of higher rank, drag up their skirts to cover their breasts; and a few add a piece of cotton cloth, which they throw over their shoulders like a shawl.

The Sarkee has presented Yusuf with a horse, blind with one eye, and not much bigger than a jackass, in return for the present Yusuf made to him. In fact, this potentate is now as poor as a rat, and has nothing to give away. When he has anything, he soon parts with it, being generous to prodigality. The title Sarkee is used for men of inferior rank, and is something like Bey.

I waited till three o'clock, P.M., for my servants, and Saïd of Haj Beshir, to come and bring the oxen [286] for the rest of the baggage—the boat and the heavy baggage left in the morning; and seeing no signs of their preparation, I determined to be no longer duped by them, and told the servant of Haj Beshir that I would start to-day, be the consequence what it might. So off I went to the Shereef, and told him I must go at once, to follow the Kashalla, who had taken away the box in which was the chronometer, and I must go to wind it up early in the morning. He immediately informed the Sarkee, and asked for a soldier. A soldier was forthwith brought, and a message from the Sarkee, that the horse which had been sent for me to ride upon was a present from his highness to me. This is the first present of the kind I have received in Africa; and after giving away about five hundred pounds sterling of Government money I have got in return, at last, a horse worth one pound fifteen shillings and fourpence, the current value of this country! The Sarkee of Zinder is miserably poor, but he was afraid to let me go to Kuka, to his master, without giving me a present.

I started from Zinder, riding my "gift horse," about an hour before sunset, and arrived at Dairmummegai, a very large village, where the Kashalla had pitched tent, after three hours' ride. Our course was due east, through a scattered forest of dwarf-trees, in which were fluttering about a number of strange-looking birds, that reminded me I was in a foreign land. One solitary bird excited my pity; its form was something like that of a[287] small crane, but, verily, it was most disproportionally thin, with very long neck and shanky legs. It was wandering about as if it had lost itself in the world; and yet a bird losing itself in the world is a strange notion! We met a couple of huntsmen, on the shoulders of one of whom was coiled a fine bleeding gazelle. These huntsmen had only bows and arrows, and they had managed to get a gazelle, whilst we, with all our matchlocks and muskets, had never been able to shoot one of these animals during our eight or nine months of passage through the desert. The Kashalla was exceedingly glad at my arrival, and got ready a bowl of new milk. He is a man of some fifty or sixty years of age, black, and with Bornou features, speaking a little Arabic. The greater part of the Bornou people know a few words of this language. The Sheikh sent him to bring the boat and our baggage. He is a friendly, quiet man, whilst the man sent by Haj Beshir, Saïd, is an impudent slave, and only thinking of what he can get by his journey.

I saw, as I passed through the streets of Zinder this morning, a number of slaves chained together, going to the market of Kanou; so that this place is the great central dépôt of this merchandise. These were some of the fruits of the Sarkee's last razzia.

9th.—The morning was cool, and we started early, and made six hours and a-quarter in a general south-east direction, through a continuation of scattered[288] forests, with open spaces, the wood being broken in upon here and there by a scanty ghaseb cultivation. Amongst the trees, some rose with giant arms and all the characters of tropical vegetation. The country was undulating, with ranges of low hills. Blocks of granite were scattered on the surface of the ground; in the deeper valleys lay stagnant water of the last rains, fast drying up; and here were water-fowls, waders, and some large, strange, black-and-white geese, with necks of enormous length.

After three hours and a-quarter we came to the considerable village of Deddegi, where, on our appearance, all the inhabitants fetching water or tending cattle ran away. This I may remark, as the first time that the people ran away at our appearance amongst them. Hitherto we have always had the population pressing upon us for curiosity, or to attack and plunder us. Things change. But the flight of the people of Deddegi is easily explained. We were soon recognised as a Bornou caravan, and the Bornouese in coming to Zinder,—the Sheikh's people especially,—have been in the habit of plundering these villages, or carrying off the people and their cattle, the former into slavery. Recently the Sarkee has complained of this, and the Sheikh, to do him justice, has ordered the Sarkee to seize any Bornouese committing these misdemeanours, and execute what justice he pleases upon them. The Sarkee, now, will not be slack to obey[289] his master's commands. Still it is not surprising the people ran away from a Bornou caravan.

We encamped at the group of villages called Dairmu. My "gift horse" had given me most excruciating pain in riding, and I was obliged to dismount for half an hour. The saddles are very bad, and cut you raw before you are accustomed to them. But I must submit to this fatigue, for now I must ride horses and put away the camel, which is too slow for travelling in Soudan, where water and herbage are found for the horses every two or three hours.

After I was somewhat recovered, I went to see the village, and found all the people working upon cotton; some cleaning it, some winding it into balls, and others weaving the gubaga, or narrow strips of cotton cloth, with which the greater number of the population are clothed. A small portion of the cotton-twist is dyed with indigo, and with this and the undyed a species of check-cotton cloth is woven; but all very rude. The Sheikh of the place supplied the caravan with bazeen. For myself I purchased a couple of fowls, which cost just twopence farthing in English money: they were, however, small; and I may remark that all fowls are small in this country, and most of the domestic animals, like horses, sheep, dogs, cats, &c. are diminutive when compared to those of Europe. The bullocks, however, are of a good size, with branching horns. The sheep have no wool, or[290] rather, the wool takes the appearance and substance of hair, like that of a dog; and their tails, too, are like those of dogs; but, indeed, the Soudan sheep are well known. No fruit or vegetables are found in these villages: not even onions, common in most places. The birds have all a strange appearance. I am no naturalist, and wonder when I should examine. That filthy species of vulture, the scavenger of Zinder, is seen in twos and threes. The woods abound in turtle-doves. I gave the Kashalla a ring for himself and his female slave, or wife, as it may be. Very few men of this sort have wives: all their women are slaves. He was greatly pleased with the present.

10th.—My thermometer remains behind with the baggage at Zinder, expected to-day. Here we wait for it, and the rest of the caravan. I oiled myself well last night with olive oil, and feel much better this morning. During a walk through the villages, I observed that two-thirds of the male population, as in Zinder, are quite idle, lounging about, or stretched at their full length upon the dust of the ground. A third find something to do, either in working on cotton, or making matting, or in the gardens, where tobacco, pepper, cotton, and indigo are grown. These are the staple products of the gardens in this part of Africa. The women have always something to occupy their time, suckling their children, fetching water, cooking, or else picking cotton. All the males, I imagine, at some[291] seasons of the year, find occupation, when the ghaseb is sown and when reaped. But, nevertheless, what powerfully solicits the observation of the European in looking into these villages is the downright livelong idleness of the male population.

We begin, at length, to regard this region merely as the nursery-ground of slavery—of the system which takes away the idlers to perform their share of the curse pronounced on Adam, that in the sweat of his brow he should eat and earn his bread. Again it is to be observed, that the wants of these people are very few: they live on ghaseb and milk, eating little meat; these come to them almost without labour. The ground is tilled by burning the stubble of the previous year, or by burning the trees on new land. The seed is thrown in when the rain begins, and nothing more is done till the grain is ripe for the sickle, when it is gathered in. It is collected under small sheds made of matting, and eaten as it is wanted. The cattle are mostly driven to graze and to water, and this is all the attention they require. The cotton furnishes a scanty clothing, deemed sufficient; all the children go naked till they are ten years old, or only wear a piece of cotton, leather, or a skin round their loins. The men of some consequence buy a tobe brought from Kanou or Niffee; the women purchase a few beads and other ornaments with their fowls or ghaseb. The bowls or household utensils are made from[292] gourds, in shape like a cucumber, but straight, with a knob at the end; they are slit in two, and thus form two spoons, the concave head of the gourd serving as the bowl, the other part as the handle. These calabashes, some of which are pretty, are hung up within the huts as ornaments. On peeping into these huts, nothing is seen but these said calabashes, except the strings or nets by which they are suspended on the sides of the huts. As you enter there is always a partition-wall on your right hand, and a round entrance at the further end of the hut to this part, partitioned off. This space, so divided off, is the sleeping-place, where there is a raised bench of mud, or a bedstead made of cane or wickers. A few utensils for culture, an axe and a hoe, may be mentioned, all made by native blacksmiths, of the rudest description. Iron is found in the native rocks of Soudan, and is not imported. The greatest skill of the African blacksmith is, alas! shown in forging the manacles for slaves. I must mention that many of the huts have walls of clay, and roofs only of thatch or matting. The grain-stacks are also raised a foot or two from the ground, on stakes, to prevent the ghaseb getting wet during the rainy season. Thus it is that these children of Africa live a life of simplicity little above pure savages, and I may add, a life of comparative idleness, and perhaps happiness, in their point of view.

Yesterday our Kashalla made a move to say his[293] prayers. He was surrounded by the people who came with him from Zinder and Bornou, and the inhabitants of Dairmu. He prayed, but prayed alone, none following his example! It is quite clear that all the black population hereabouts are only nominal Muslims, and remain in heart pure Hazna, or pagans. Those who do pray, pray very little indeed; there is no sensual charin or allurement in Mahommedanism for the African mind, whilst its fasts and commands of abstinence from strong drinks deter thousands from embracing the religion of the false Prophet. It cannot allure the African by polygamy, because the African has as many women as he pleases by the permission of his native superstition. Islamism, therefore, takes no hold of the native African mind. There are a few Tuaricks scattered amongst all this population, but living generally out of the villages by themselves; they are all subjects of the Sheikh, and have escaped the desert to lead an easier life in Soudan. It is strange that some of the Tuarick women are enormously corpulent, whilst a corpulent woman is not found amongst the blacks. I must add, that the morality of these black villages seems of a much higher and purer kind than that of the Tuarick villages of Asben. Here they do not look upon woman, as in Asben, simply in the light of an instrument of pleasure: but I fear this will soon change. What morality, indeed, can there be without higher and more binding motives?


I was much pleased with the condescension of the Kashalla in furnishing me with information on routes, and gave him a head of sugar. He is a man of great generosity, and immediately divided it amongst his people. He says he never leaves the Sheikh's presence, and it was solely on account of me that the Sheikh sent him to fetch me from Zinder. If this be true, their sovereign has paid a high compliment to the Mission.

The only character whom I could discover in Dairmu was the constable, or general police-officer. This was an ill-looking fellow, with one eye damaged,—a most unamiable Dogberry. He approached the Kashalla twice, keeping, however, at a timid distance, kneeling down and throwing the dust in handfulls over his head, in the most abject manner. Yet this man was the dread of the whole neighbourhood! The exercise of all disagreeable employments seems to debase man. Before his superiors he crouches and grovels in dust; with the people he commands, he is a very tyrant!

10th.—I was joined yesterday evening by the rest of the caravan, Saïd, and Moknee, and my new interpreter. Saïd brings goods for Haj Beshir. We started early, and made seven hours; our route varying between east and south-east, through a fine wavy country, rising at times into high hills, with few trees in comparison to what we have hitherto had, and a good deal of cultivation, all ghaseb. The sandy soil is well adapted for this kind of[295] grain. A ridge of quartz rocks strikes up through the sand. The rocky hills are mostly granite. The atmosphere was cooled by an easterly wind. We pitched tent, or rather halted, at a cluster of villages of considerable size, the principal of which is Guddemuni. They are all placed on hills. In the deep valley near is a large lake, towards the east, about two hours long and half-an-hour wide. In the dry season the people cultivate, by irrigation from the lake, a quantity of wheat, which they export to Kanou. Besides wheat, they raise ghaseb on the hill tops; and in the gardens, cotton, indigo, tobacco, onions, pepper, dates (bearing twice a-year), henna, potatoes (dankali), the palm (geginya),—bearing a large fruit (gonda), like the mealy melon,—gourds, rogo, and gwaza; which last are two species of potatoes. Some large trees are planted like the kuka, the fruit of which is used for sauce.

To-day the Kashalla rode up to several men wandering in the fields, hunting, and attempted to impose some labour on them. This was a signal for a general stoppage of all foot-passengers, who were met by his people, for one purpose or another, either to take from them any little articles, or to vex them. They did not, however, stop two people we met, but gave them full leave to pass. Who were these? One was a man who, by disease, had become all over of a light flesh-colour, his black skin peeling off. It was a perfect phenomenon—a man with strong negro features, entirely white, or of [296] a light dull-red colour. The other man was a miserable, filthy, blind fellow, whom the first invalid was leading. They were, in fact, a couple of mendicants going to Zinder on speculation, having come from Kuka, begging through all the towns and villages. The trade of begging is coextensive with man, civilised or uncivilised, in towns or country. Africa has a good number of this industrious class of people.

The language of this cluster of villages is Haussa, like that of Zinder, the "Haussa of the North," as it is called: it varies a little from the pure Haussa of Kashna and Kanou. The people of this place were all excessively civil. I walked out in the evening, and saw about thirty of the maidens of Guddemuni (one of the villages) encircling a female dancer, who kept pacing to the sound of a rude guitar. At the sight of me they all made off. The poor blacks in these villages always expect that the white man comes to bring them into slavery. Afterwards I went to salute the Sultan. We saw him during two minutes; he kept rubbing his hands, as if he were cold. He was a sinister-looking man, dressed in a white tobe; he had not the least suspicion of what a Christian might be. I made the acquaintance of the taste of the doom-palm, in a dish of pastry seasoned by it. The taste is something like rhubarb, only a little sharper.



A Village plundered—Shaidega—Animals—Our Biscuit—Villages en route—Minyo—Respect for Learning—Monotony of the Country—A Wedding—Palsy—Slave-agents—Kal, Kal—Birni Gamatak—Tuaricks on the Plain—Palms—Sight the Town of Gurai—Bare Country—Bearings of various Places—Province of Minyo—Visit the Sultan—Audience-room—Fine Costume—A Scene of Barbaric Splendour—Trade—Estimate of Wealth—How to amuse a Prince—Small Present—The Oars carried by Men—Town of Gurai—Fortifications.

Feb. 11th.—I rose early, and started as usual, as quick as possible. We made seven hours and a-half, and halted at a small village called Bogussa. After the fifth hour we came to the hamlet of Dugurka, which the Kashalla delivered up to plunder, because the people refused to give him some water. This is the story of my servants, which I do not believe. But certain it is, that, after the Kashalla passed the hamlet, his people, who loitered behind, commenced a general pillage of the poor little village. The inhabitants had all fled at our approach, save one old man. All the hut-doors were violently torn away and the insides ransacked. The spoils were leben, bowls or calabashes, [298] bows and arrows, axes, and some other trifles. Of live-stock, all the fowls were seized and slaughtered on the spot; also a lamb. My interpreter tells me that all the slaves of the Government of Bornou are marauders, and that it was for this reason the Sarkee of Zinder complained to the Sheikh of the government caravans seizing the people and sacking their villages. In all my life I never saw such an instance of the triumph of might over right. My servants, most of them Bornouese, joined their brethren with great eagerness. To remonstrate with them is useless. I have had several quarrels of remonstrance already since I have been in the Sheikh's territory, about similar acts of brigandage; and if I go on, I shall quarrel with all the world of Africa, every hour of the day. I reproached my servants ironically. I told them some one would soon come and take their camels and bullocks, and they must not complain to me to get them redress. But it is astonishing to see with what zest these freed slaves from the north coast enter again upon their old habits of plunder and razzia. The education of Africa consists in preparing it for the razzia. All the fine-spirited youth of all the great families look forward to this as their only occupation.

We reached the rocky hills called Shaidega, near which the lake terminates, stretching from Guddemuni. At the base of these rocky heights is a sprinkling of huts, and there are indeed many sprinklings[299] of huts which cannot be mentioned all along this route. The hill tops have no longer the naked appearance of the Saharan rocks, but are clothed and crowned with trees. The country is very fine and park-like, and were it not for the doom-palm, would be more like some of the best parts of Europe than Africa is supposed to be. The animals seen to day were two wild boars and some wild oxen. A couple of lions, a male and a female, come out nearly every night and serenade the villagers of Bogussa at their hut doors. The filthy vultures of Zinder are spread through all this fine country. Many doves and water-fowl were seen. We forded several stagnant streams of water, but of very small magnitude.

I sheltered myself in the afternoon under a magnificent tree, called in Bornouese kamdu, and in Soudanese, samia. We are beginning to see very fine trees, casting an impervious shade, under which the weary traveller deliciously reposes in the hot clime. To-day I suffered most dreadfully from my horse; with a camel I should have felt nothing, but I must submit: there is no remedy.

I believe the Kashalla to be a very good man, and above his plundering countrymen generally, but habit induces him to wink at the acts of brigandage committed by his people. I observed him yesterday stop a little boy with a load on his head, and tell him to run away from the people coming up, and take another road, that the caravan might not plunder him.


I had an affair with Yusuf yesterday morning: two boxes of biscuit had been left entire in his room at Zinder, and now one of them was found opened and a quantity of the biscuit taken out. He and his son have eaten nearly all the biscuit on the road, together with the Sfaxee and others. It is preposterous to think that Government sent these biscuits for them, who can eat ghaseb, ghafouley, and any grain of this country, and thrive on such food. The Germans gave away their biscuit, complaining that it was an embarrassment to them. This encouraged the people to plunder me of mine, and now I have little left for the rest of my travelling in Africa during the present journey.

12th.—We started early; the weather always cool, with fresh breezes from the east. All our people seem in good health. I got up rather stiff, having had a good fall from my horse yesterday. We made only three hours and a-half, part north-east and the rest due east. When I dismounted I felt less fatigued, and wrote up my journal. We passed several villages en route during these few hours; they occur, indeed, only about half-an-hour apart: viz. first in order after Bogussa, Gerremari, then Lekarari, Algari, a village of fighi pedagogues, Giddejer, and then Collori, where we have halted. It is said we shall still be three days before we get to the Sultan Minyo, and we have to pass Gamatak, Barataua, Birmi, Wonchi, Tungari, and finally, on the third day, early, we are to arrive at [301] Gurai, the capital, governed by Minyo or Minyoma. Bogussa is the first district under the sway of this personage. We have in his name a remarkable instance of how in Africa names of cities and countries are confounded with those of their provinces. Hitherto, I and my interpreter had always taken it for granted that Minyo was the name of the capital of the province, not of the prince; so we understood from everybody, and only to-day we learn that Gurai is the name of the capital, whilst the province is called after the name of the prince, i.e. Minyo, or Minyoma.[21]

Our route this morning lay through a remarkably fine district, teeming with fertility, and requiring only the hand of industry to render it the richest country in the world. Not a ten-thousandth part of the soil is cultivated. We met a troop of schoolboys with their masters; their boards, bedaubed with Arabic characters, would have been an effectual protection for them against a troop of horsemen a thousand times larger than ours. But, nevertheless, a poor woman, or a girl with a bowl of milk or a little butter, could not pass unscathed. Such is morality here. May there not, however, be some promise in this respect for education? A woodman left his axe a moment on the roadside;[302] one of our troopers immediately went off and seized it. The woodman, returning, followed the trooper to the Kashalla, and falling down, and throwing dust over his head, begged for his axe as for his life. The Kashalla could not withstand the appeal, and ordered his trooper to restore the axe. The fellow had concealed the axe, and it was lucky the owner discovered the thief so soon. The poor man went away very thankful, thanking me also. I believe I may be some check on these depredations, for I told my interpreter last night that I never saw a village, or any people, pillaged in the Christian countries; in fact, that I could not have hitherto believed that men could do the things which I saw done that day by the servants of the Kashalla. It is probable he will mention what I said to some one, and it will get to the ears of the said Kashalla. The Africans, in plundering one another, appear as if they were avenging some old grudge; as if they remembered the various occasions when they themselves had been pillaged. They rob with wonderful gusto.

A monotonous uniformity begins to prevail over all these tracts. I am afraid I shall soon get tired of this negro population and these towns, all built and all peopled in the same manner. They seem remarkably curious at first, but curiosity soon palls.

We have with us the Hajah, mentioned before. She is very quiet, being passée, and also afraid of the Sheikh's people.


I went round the village and found some five hundred or six hundred people nestled together. All the villages which we passed to-day have a similar population. I saw the preparations for a wedding; it was a most amusing sight. Two enclosures were crowded with people, all busy; but the busiest were those grinding corn for the marriage-feast. The bridegroom was with one group, haranguing them in the most persevering manner, and rattling a hollow gourd filled with small stones. The group replied in chorus, all on their knees, bending forward, rubbing grain between two stones. The other group went on by themselves. Then, in an enclosure close by, was the bride, attended with, all her maiden friends, jammed together in a hut, all busy, doing nobody knows what. It was with great difficulty I could get a peep at her. The bride and her friends were distinguished by having a sort of brass nail-head driven through the right nostril of their noses. Good big boys were running about quite naked. But the conduct of the people, old and young, was quite decent.

The bridegroom followed me to my tent, rattling his calabash for a present, singing my praises cheaply enough, for I gave him a very small present indeed. They have no set songs; all their singing is extempore.

Afterwards I saw a man afflicted with palsy in his head. He applied to me for a remedy, but I could only recommend him to bathe himself every[304] day in warm water, which will never be done; for these people are too indolent to perform any labour of this kind, even if it be to save their lives.

My new interpreter, Mohammed, pretends that slave servants, or agents, are thought more of, that is, are more useful, than free people in Bornou. This may be accounted for by the absolute control which a master can exercise over his slave.

The thermometer at sunset ranges 84°. It was very warm this afternoon.

Here and there an ostrich egg tops the conical roofs of the huts, from Damerghou to this place. I showed the people my watch, and put it to their ears that they might hear it tick, tick; and I may observe a singularity on this. The people did not say, "Oh! how it ticks!" but "Kal, kal!" so that kal, kal, is the sound which we express by tick, tick, in our language.

13th.—As usual, we rose before sunrise, and started as soon as possible. We made four hours in the forenoon, and rested at a well called Birni Gamatak. The village is near the well, but we did not go to it. From this place to the Tuarick country, Gurasu, there are four short days; but the road has no water in this season. The Kaïd of the village paid us a visit, and brought us ghaseb-water. I amused him and his people with my watch and compass. After resting till 4 P.M. we started again. At Birni Gamatak a zone of mountainous country begins, consisting of granite, gneiss,[305] and other varieties of primitive rocks. We had a magnificent ride through a fine rocky country. After one hour and a-half we passed Wonchi to the right, or south of us; a small village. On the route we had a boundless vista through the hills, over a vast plain, covered with a scattered forest, extending without end towards the north. This country is overrun by Tuaricks; all, however, living in friendship with the Sheikh. We made five hours and a-half, always east, so that we did not arrive at Tungari till long after daylight. Tungari consists of two or three considerable villages, having a population of about two thousand. Here I saw a greater number of date-trees than I had yet seen in Soudan. There were larger plantations, and many gardens. I have nothing particular to observe respecting this place, except that the people showed more boldness than the population subjected to the Sultan of Zinder; because the Sultan of Minyo gives them more protection against the Bornou marauders, or Government servants, travelling through the country. I went to bed thoroughly fatigued.

14th.—We rose at daybreak and went off immediately, and made four hours north-east, and then from a fine rising ground had a splendid view of all the town of Gurai. Our route yesterday and to-day began in a south-easterly direction, and after continuing east for some time gradually turned round to north-east, so that we have our faces again[306] toward the northern desert. Yesterday I felt, for the first time, this approaching warm season—a hot wind, which, curiously enough, now comes from the north, whereas before it always came from the south.

Gurai is very bare of trees, the townspeople having burnt them all up. I kept a-bed all day, to recruit myself from fatigue. The Kashalla went to salute the Sultan, who inquired after me. They reported my state, and said I should come to see him in the morning (i.e. of next day).

According to a Gatronee, Kellai, a country of the Tuaricks, is one day only north-west from Gurai. It is a small village. Gurasu is five days from this, north-west. Dallakauri, also a Tuarick country, is one day northwards, or north-east. This is a large place. Bultumi, another Tuarick country, small; one day, east. Malumri, one day and a-half east. Therrai, a small place, a day beyond Dallakauri, north-west, two days from this. Chokada, a small place, five or six hours from this. All these places are inhabited by the Tuarick tribe of Duggera, viz. Kellai, Gurasu, Dallakauri, Bultumi, Malumri, Therrai, and Chokada. This tribe infests the upper part of the route of Bornou, that between the Tibboos and Kuka. Formerly they were great bandits, but now they fear the Sultan of Minyo, and begin to desist from their bad trade and turn to more peaceful habits. Bunai is one day and a-half south from Buroi, formerly the capital of the[307] province of Minyo, and where the father of the present Sultan resided. It is a little less than Burai. Here we are told that, after all, Minyo is not the name of the Sultan, as before mentioned, but the name of the province, which is sometimes called Minyoma, as being more euphonic; but all people love harmony in language. This province is considered the most powerful of the empire of Bornou.

15th.—Having selected my present for his highness the Sultan, consisting of a piece of cotton velvet for a tobe (ten mahboubs), a head of sugar, a little cinnamon and cloves, a piece of muslin for turbans, and a cotton handkerchief, I paid my visit under the escort of the Kashalla, and the Sultan's major-domo, a man carrying a large stick with a great knob at the end. We went straight to the palace, a considerable building, built of clay, like the Sultan's house at Zinder, in the shape of a fort or castle.

We were first ushered into an audience-room or hall, of large dimensions, with little light, adapted for an African climate. It is newly built, and indeed not yet finished. The architecture is the same as the public buildings or houses of the chief officers in Kuka. Here we waited a quarter of an hour, during which time the people poured in from all quarters. At length we were ushered into the presence. I found the Sultan to be a good-looking black, with features not much stamped with the[308] negro character. He was about the age of forty-five or fifty. His costume was truly royal, consisting of a loose tobe of purple silk, and a black burnouse, embroidered, thrown over it. He wore a turban of Egyptian form, and very handsome. His highness received me very affably, and I took my seat near him, on a pic-nic stool which I have with me. I shook hands, and doffed my hat. There was no throwing of dust about, as at Zinder. But we found the Sultan already seated, with all his courtiers and officers around him. His highness asked about my health, and the Tuaricks. He observed, "The Tuaricks are afraid of you." Some persons of that tribe, perhaps, have given him this false view of the case, pretending that the Tuaricks are afraid I am come to spy out the country, to be taken possession hereafter by the Queen. His highness minutely scanned all my European clothes, making many inquiries about them. All the people were highly delighted to see me throw aside my miserable Soudan tobe, and dress in my European costume. In fact, I don't know what I should have done without these clothes. The people then pulled off my boots, and burst out into an involuntary exclamation of astonishment when they saw my white leg under my stocking. My face and hands are both pretty well tanned, and the quality of the European skin is not so visible as in the parts of the body covered. His highness then inquired whether there was war in Europe, and whether[309] peace existed between England and the Porte. He was very anxious to continue his questions, but there being two or three hundred persons present, he was obliged to defer them till the evening. I was much gratified with the sight. It was really a scene of African state, but without deformities. There was no blood, no slaying of victims, no abject ceremonies; nothing to offend the eye of the European. We merely saw, seated on a raised platform, a black, robed in barbaric style of splendour, with a hundred courtiers and officers squatted on the ground him, all humble beings, but not abject.

On returning, his highness sent our caravan four bullocks, to be slaughtered for our use. To-day was market-day, but there was no stock of consequence here, there being little foreign commerce. There may be a score of foreign merchants, nearly all from Fezzan, but they are mere traders, and only bring a few things for the Sultan and his chief officers. These merchants say that there is no money here, nor, indeed, in Bornou.

The place for money is Kanou. All the wealth of Central Africa is, according to them, concentrated there. Kanou is, in fact, the London of Soudan. I asked a merchant here, who was accounted rich; that is, who was a Maidukia? He replied, "One with property to the amount of a thousand dollars." Even a man with five hundred is accounted a somebody. Such is the estimate of[310] wealth here. I expect to find all Bornou miserably poor.

In the evening I waited again on his highness, according to appointment. He had descended from his throne, and divested himself of all his splendour, being now dressed in a plain tobe and burnouse. He received us squatted on a carpet upon the ground, in an inner court, and reminded me much of a stage king who had undressed after the performance. I produced all my wonderful things to amuse his highness,—my compass, spyglass, kaleidoscope, spectacles, peepshow, &c. In this way I amused him for an hour, he the while asking questions about my personal habits. Our people then told him the sovereign of England was a woman. "Kamo?" To which I replied, "Kamo." I was then requested to read some English, which I did from Milton. I always exhibit a small edition of Milton's poetry, with gilt edges and morocco binding, which greatly surprises all people accustomed to the use of books. The Kashalla then told his highness that I washed my face and hands continually, but did not pray. I explained through my interpreter that now, in a foreign country, I read my prayers, and that we had the Gospel; and he added, "The Zebour," Psalms of David. All educated Muslims are acquainted with or have heard of the Psalms of David. I take out a copy of the Gospel and Psalms in Arabic,[311] that every educated Mahommedan may see that we English are not the En-Sara or Kerdies of Africa, but have a God and a religion. The inconvenience of this is, that it leads sometimes to talking and disputing on religion, not always in season. A prudent man, however, will evade all difficulties without compromising his belief. We had again present a hundred people, or more, and his highness was disturbed at the number, but did not like to send them away. He asked me how old I was; and of my servants, whether I was married, &c.

I returned pleased with my visit, although I lost one of my peepshows; for the Kashalla was foolish enough to tell me to give it to his highness. This is the danger of exhibiting these things. I took to the prince a small present of rings, silk, bracelets, and a necklace of mock pearls for his ladies; and hope to get back my peepshow by exchanging it for some such trinkets. This was a cool day, with a fresh breeze continually blowing.

16th.—I rose in a quieter state, though I have been much fatigued these last few days. It is expected we shall be here two or three days more. Fifteen days is the time allowed for our journey from this to Kuka. The people display greater curiosity to see me than the inhabitants of Zinder, this province being more out of the way of strangers. Yesterday, on returning from the palace, I had a hundred people at my heels.


The mode of salutation for a sultan is peculiar in these provinces. It consists in holding up and back the lower part of the arm, and moving it up and down—to denote strength, probably; an intimation of local strength, as well as that of the body generally. I have been often saluted in this manner, and the mode is employed to strangers or any distinguished person.

N.B.—The people of Kanem have not the shonshona.

The oars of the boat are now carried, as the people say, by Ben-Adam (children of Adam, i.e. men). It is certainly more difficult to get them through these African forests than over the rocks of Sahara on the camel's back. Five servants of the Sultan of Zinder left this morning, having brought them thus far, to return. I gave them a little present of wadâ and rings.

Gurai is somewhat smaller than Zinder, having a population of perhaps seven thousand souls. I have overrated the population of Zinder: that city, probably, does not contain more than ten thousand souls, if so many. On emerging from the Saharan Desert, where we had been accustomed to bestow the name of town upon great scattered villages, with a few hundred inhabitants, Zinder appeared to me quite a capital city. The town of Gurai is scattered about on several hills, and down their slopes. These hills are bare of trees and vegetation.

There is a dry ditch surrounding the town. It[313] answers the purpose of a fortification, especially as its effect is aided by a thickset hedge. At some places this hedge is growing; at others, it consists merely of branches cut from various trees, but rendered almost impenetrable by being made broad and thick. These defences are quite effectual in the kind of wars carried on in these regions.

[21] It is worth while leaving this mistake of Mr. Richardson or his informants, as an illustration of the great difficulty that exists in eliciting accurate facts from natives of Africa and other uncivilised countries.—Ed.



Fezzanee Traders—Sultan in want of Medicine—The Stud—Letters—Yusuf's Conduct—Architecture—Fragment of the History of Minyo—Politics of Zinder—Bornouese Fish—Visits—Two Routes—Dancing by Moonlight—Richness—Fires—Information on Boushi and Adamaua—The Yamyam—Liver Complaints—A Girl's Game—Desert Country—Gift Camel—Few Living Creatures—Village of Gusumana—Environs—The Doom Fruit—Brothers of Sultan of Sakkatou—Stupid Kadi—Showing off—Hot Weather—[Final Note—Death of Mr. Richardson.]

I had visits yesterday from all the Fezzanee traders. These people, as at Zinder, and everywhere at Soudan, sell their goods at a high price to the Sultan, and then are obliged to wait six or seven months for their money, eating up all their profits. No wonder the poor fellows rarely get rich, but remain, on the contrary, always miserably poor. The same is the case throughout all Soudan. To-day my tent was thronged with visitors, before whom I am obliged to exhibit myself, or show my curiosities. Among others, I had a visit from some people who came from Gobter, distant four hours south, on purpose to see me; and, moreover, had a call from some ladies nearly related [315] to the Sultan. They all wanted medicine, but for what they could not tell; so I gave them each a taste of Epsom. This made them relish a bit of sugar, which I distribute to them afterwards, and which appeased their grimaces and disgust. I am pestered to death for medicines, and have visitors without number.

The Sultan sent word this morning to know if I had anything to sell, any fine things from the Christian countries, for he wished to buy them. Our people returned for answer that I was not a merchant, but belonged to the Queen. He then begged me to give him a small quantity of my medicines, for he had heard I had most wonderful drugs;—would I favour him with some of every kind, that he might be prepared for all possible complaints which might attack him hereafter, when I was gone? For the present he is suffering from pains in all his joints; and requests, in the first place, to be relieved from them. Compliance with these demands was, of course, necessary. I therefore packed up small quantities of emetics, acetate of lead, worm-powders, and Epsom, and also a little camphor, and a little sticking-plaster, with a small bottle of Eau de Cologne. With these I went to pay my respects. We found the Sultan in a small private apartment. He was in an inquisitive mood, and began by asking me all manner of questions, the subjects ranging from the affairs of kings and princes down to the handkerchief round my[316] neck. I should observe that the Sultan requested Yusuf to taste the medicines before he delivered them up to him, to see that there was no blood in them. So he tasted the salts and the jalap; but I told him that the acetate of lead was poison, and we wrote sem upon all the packets. It surprised him that we should administer poison to the eyes.

After the interview his servants showed me his horses. They were but ill-formed animals, some heavily built, and others miserable-looking creatures. Yet these are the pick of the whole country, and some have been lately brought from Sakkatou, as the best which could be exported from that quarter.

In the afternoon another slave of Haj Beshir arrived from Zinder, seeking for me. He had brought a letter, but had orders if he did not find me to return it to Kuka; so that I shall be without news until my arrival. He, however, just knows that a caravan came from Mourzuk in thirty-nine days, bringing this letter, which was forwarded to me. It comes direct from Tripoli. There are three letters for me!

This evening my new interpreter came with a long trumped-up story, as to what the Sultan had said respecting my quarrel with Yusuf. His highness was represented to have expressed a strong desire that we might be reconciled before we arrived at Kuka. I cannot tell whether this be true or false. Probably they have attempted to get the Sultan to speak to me about Yusuf. This[317] is always the case. These people do you as much injury as they please on the road, and when they are near a place which makes them afraid, they get a number of people to come and persuade you to say that they are very good fellows. It is quite clear that Yusuf has stolen several things on the road. The last thing missed is a large quantity of cloves. It is difficult to know how to act on these occasions.

17th.—I took Epsom, and feel better.

The architectural ornaments of the palace of Gurai resemble those of the houses of Ghât. The walls are covered with little recesses, of various shapes; the moulding consists of a series of lozenges; the pillars by which the ceiling is supported are of immense thickness. In these large halls, on a level with the ground, there are always raised seats of earth, on which are spread carpets, and lion and leopard skins.

By the way, this country seems clear of animals. They are all either hunted down, or driven into thicker shades and forests.

All these provinces have their histories preserved traditionally. The father of the present Sultan of Gurai, named Ibrahim, was a most determined fellow. He slew no less than seven sultans appointed to take his place. The Sheikh, in the first instance, sent a large army to dispossess him. Before superior forces he retired to a mountain, where he was unattackable. The new Sultan was installed,[318] and the troops of Bornou returned to Kuka. As soon as they were gone, Ibrahim descended the mountains with his slaves, and fell upon the new prince, butchering him and his people. Then he wrote to Kuka: "I am under God and you." The Sheikh, enraged at this conduct, sent another force against him, as before. Ibrahim once more retired to his stronghold, and after the Bornou forces had returned to Kuka, again descended from his mountain, and butchered the new prince as before. And this he repeated seven times, so that at last the Sheikh, seeing the impossibility of continuing the war with such a vassal, allowed him to have quiet possession of the province of Minyo. His son Goso, now sultan, is also a very spirited fellow; but he is on good terms with the Sheikh, and observed to me, "What Kuka (the Sheikh) does, I do; as what Stamboul does, so does Tripoli." Goso, or Gausau, is certainly a very polite prince, and a very accomplished man. To him the Sultan of Zinder is a mere slave.

There is some news about the Sultan of Zinder. It appears that Sarkee Ibrahim feels himself weak, and unable to conduct the government of the province prosperously, i.e. "to go on razzia;" so he wrote for his brother to come and undertake the command of the slave-hunts. The brother spoke to the Sheikh, who said "Go." But the brother said, "No, I will not go, unless you will give me the province to govern." The Sheikh replied, "Your[319] brother will give you some town." "No," was the answer; "I will not go unless you will give me the whole province." This is now the great news in Zinder and Gurai, and was carried to the former place by two horsemen, who galloped from Kuka to Zinder in six days.

I now write the names of the sultans of the province in Arabic, before them, with a black-lead pencil. This greatly astonishes them: first, that I am able to write their names and that of the countries which they govern; and secondly, with a black-lead pencil, which they call wood.

Names of several sorts of Fish (Buni) in Bornou.

The Sultan is very anxious about my personal history, and hearing that I had my wife in Tripoli, inquired if I intended to take another in this country.

I have had numberless visits all day long. The people display an intense curiosity to see the [320] Christian, and would stop here for ever, gazing before my tent. Four sisters of the Sultan gave me a call. I taught them the use of pins, and pinned three of them together, which produced great merriment amongst the people. A Fellatah horse-dealer gave me two routes to-day; one from this (Gurai) to Sakkatou, and another from Sakkatou towards the west.[22]

A quarrel has sprung up between the Kashalla and Saïd, Haj Beshir's slave, about the road we should take from this to Kuka. The north-eastern, or direct east, is the shortest, but there are three days without habitations: this is Saïd's road. The south-eastern is the longer route, and is the Kashalla's, but there are people every day. The latter is probably the better route for me. It is decided that we leave the day after to-morrow.

This evening the Sultan sent me a camel, as a present. Not having experienced the difficulty of riding a horse, I had sold all my camels. The gift camel is a very good one.

When the moon rises, about an hour after dark, the beating of the drums is heard, calling the people to assemble for the dancing—young men and maidens. In ten minutes, some hundred people are collected. The dancing then commences in full and grand style. This evening I went out to see the performance, and found it the most animating I had yet seen in Africa. The young men and[321] maidens separated into parties, the maidens near the drummers, and the young men at a distance of some twenty paces around them. A circle is then formed. The ladies here choose their own partners, instead of waiting to be chosen. A maiden skips up awkwardly to the drummer, then glides off to the side of the young men, and touches the gentleman with whom she wishes to dance, and returns. The young man does not immediately accept, for two or three minutes elapse after he has been touched ere he starts off to join the lady who has honoured him in the presence of a hundred admiring or jealous spectators. They join, turning first face to face, then back to back, then face to the drummers, in the most lively style. The young men are dressed in their tobes, and throw them up and round so as to produce a moving circle, as women might do with their petticoats; but not moving their bodies so much as their circling tobes: this is the grand grace of the dance. Then there are parties of men and women dancing together; but the men with men, and women with women. The women trip up awkwardly, but modestly, to where the men are placed, and then fall back; upon which the men pursue them violently, overtaking them before they get to their places, and throwing their tobes around them: but there is nothing indelicate in all this. On the contrary, the whole dance is quite a pattern of modesty to the Europeans, the Arabs, and the Moors,—to these latter especially, whose dance, as introduced [322] here, is of the most lascivious and beastly description. This entertainment takes place every night; it is the great solace and delight of the people: they have no other amusement. They are all passionately fond of the drum, which certainly makes a great noise, and stirs them up to exhibit their dancing powers.

The whole population have suddenly become sick, and all want Epsom salts: a camel-load would not suffice. One old fellow wants a medicine to enable him to get children. I tell him he is now old, and must be satisfied with the strength God has given him in his past life.

The Sultan has made presents to our people,—to the Kashalla, Yusuf, and others.

18th.—I was so beset with people that I could not use my thermometer this morning. The weather is fresh, with the wind from the north-east. I am obliged to give tea as medicine: everybody now pretends to be sick, from the Sultan to the meanest slave.

In all these villages the people burn up the stubble in the evening, just outside the village, on the dung-heaps. They like to see the flame which whirls up from the dirty hay or straw; but, of course, they make their fire at some distance, to prevent its catching their huts. The mortar and pestle have disappeared: the people use here, for grinding their grain, two stones, as in some places on the north coast.


The insects are beginning their depredations upon me, biting me all over, and raising on my flesh small ulcers.

I have obtained from Nammadina, the Fellatah horse-dealer, a detailed account of the route to Yola, the capital of Adamaua, passing through Boushi.

The Moors represent the latter place to be like Mourzuk and Tripoli; but they say the greater part of the inhabitants of Adamaua are infidels or pagans. The rulers are, however, Fellatahs, and therefore Muslims. Adamaua is a rocky country: a small quantity of grain is found here, with abundance of sheep, oxen, horses, goats, fish, samen, honey, and onions. The rivers of Adamaua have always some water in them.

In the territory of Boushi will be found the celebrated name of Yamyam, where the Moorish and Arab merchants place the residence of the Ben-Adam eaters, or cannibals. I was greatly amused to hear my Fellatah informant most strenuously deny this calumny on the African race; he asserted that he had been in the country, and never had seen anything of this sort. The Moors as boldly affirmed that such cannibals exist, although they were obliged to confess they never saw the people of Adamaua or Yakoba (name of the sultan) eat human flesh. The whole story of the Yamyam is of the remotest antiquity, and has come down to us with many embellishments; but, if once true of the people hereabouts, it can no longer be authenticated by present facts, [324] for as I have said, the Moors themselves represent Boushi to be like Tripoli.

The people from Fezzan and Tripoli, the traders and all, complain of the liver complaint; most of them have been ten or fifteen years in this country, travelling through Bornou and Soudan. I gave them small doses of calomel. All people at this season, blacks and strangers from the north, are full of rheumatism, which they describe by saying they have pains in all their joints and all their limbs. The presence of a Christian having medicines heightens and multiplies these diseases; there is, however, in reality, a good deal of rheumatism, arising from the cold winds of the north-east.

This evening we had again our drummers and the dancers, as on every preceding night. The girls have a laughable game amongst themselves, the boys, however, sometimes joining—that of throwing one another up and forwards by the arm-pits; the girl thus thrown forwards is expected, if she play her part well, to light firmly on her feet. If not, she rolls about and over, and the accidents that then occur are probably considered a great part of the amusement.

19th.—We were hurried off this morning early by the Kashalla, and I had no time to go and take leave of the Sultan. The weather is fresh. I mounted my gift camel; the second grand gift from the princes of Africa. We made a long day, from morning till after dark, about ten hours,[325] through an undulating country. Some of the hollows were very deep, and enclosed stagnant reedy pools, of generally bad water, remaining from the past rains. For the first three or four hours of this march we had a scattered forest of dwarfish trees, mostly dwarf tholukhs. These are succeeded by small forests of the doom-palms, lining the pools and swamps in the valleys, and looking very fresh and pretty. I was astonished to see so few animals; indeed, we only observed now and then a small bird. What was the more strange, no water-fowl was seen in the pools.

But the country to-day was all desert—no grain cultivating, which perhaps may account for the absence of birds and fowls. Saïd prevailed over the Kashalla, and we have taken the desert route, being five days nearer. There are, besides, but few trees, comparatively, which makes it easier to transport the boat.

The Kashalla vexed me very much by taking my camel to transport a portion of baggage, his own camel knocking up. At first I refused to go on, but on the promise that he would get a bullock at the nearest place I mounted upon the luggage. Fortunately, my gift camel is a good one, not like the horse, and can carry a large weight. I cannot grumble much, as the Sheikh's camels are transporting many of my private things. Nevertheless you must show a stern resistance to all these liberties, otherwise you will never be able to get through Africa.


No tent was pitched, but I made myself comfortable by drinking the remainder of a bottle of port wine, which I began yesterday. I felt a little queer, and fancied I had injured myself by drinking so much milk; so I took to a bottle of port wine, and finished it in three times. I have felt much better since. I could very well drink a bottle a-day, and believe I should be much stronger for it. However, such wine should be kept for convalescence after fever. I have still a bottle, and some Cyprus wine—very good wine.

20th.—We started as soon as the day broke and the sun showed himself, and made five hours south-east over country the same as yesterday. But the forests of doom-palms were larger and thicker, and valleys also were more extensive. What is strange, no wild animals show themselves, not even in these sedgy, reedy swamps. I could only see scattered on the ground the feathers of the guinea-fowl. One or two black-and-white crows were noticed. Our people say that all the crows are of this colour in Bornou. In Ashen there are both species, the black, and the black-and-white. Our people also tell us, that on the other route, which the Kashalla wished to travel, there are numbers of elephants, and much water. Here is water enough in the rainy season for all such animals. We had still the tholukh, as well as the doom, and a tree like a large sea-shore plant cropped by the camels.

We saw no ghaseb cultivation, or any sort of[327] grain, till we arrived at Gusumana, where we found wheat, cotton, and pepper in the gardens. The village of Gusumana is situated on a hill, overlooking a steep broad valley, full of the doom-palm. This village has therefore its houses constructed partly with the branches and trunks of this tree, which serve very well. I am housed in a most comfortable little hut made of this material, and nicely thatched; the door is composed of some thin strips of the leaves of the palm, which, as you enter, give way, and then return to their place, just as would a curtain. In this way the air always plays freely into the hut, murmuring sometimes between these fragments of leaves.

I have felt much less fatigue since I mounted the camel, although I have made the longest day upon it that has been made since we left Zinder. I recommend to all travellers the camel in the desert, or in Soudan. I believe the ill-health of the former expedition was much increased by always riding horses. Thank God, my strength still keeps up.

Taking Gusumana as a centre, we have around it several towns and villages. Thisi, one hour west; Gajemmi, one long day north-west; Parum, one hour east-south-east; Kadellebua, two hours south-west; Garua, one hour east; Gogora, two hours east; and, finally, in our road, Kanggarua, two days south-east. The town of Gajemmi is inhabited by the tribe of Duggera;[328] but the Kaïd of this village pretends they are not Tuaricks. He means, probably, not the same as the Tuaricks of Ashen. It is quite clear that these Daggera inhabit all the northern line of Bornou, from Zinder to Kuka; skirting, in fact, all the left of our route. They join the Damerghou territory, and thus extend from that province west to Kanem, and the route of Bornou east. The Tuaricks are ever located on the confines of the desert. Here they roam free, and rob and plunder where they have opportunity, or when the princes of Bornou and Soudan cannot check them.

Our people gnaw the doom fruit, but it is just like gnawing the bark of a tree, slightly flavoured with some aroma. They begin to eat them from childhood, and so keep on, as the gour-nuts are chewed by children; and so the taste is sucked in with their mother's milk. The gour-nut, however, is something, whilst the doom fruit is mere wood. The tree, nevertheless, is green, and in waving forests delightfully relieves this hot, burning, African landscape.

The portion of the caravan consisting of bullocks is always much later than the rest; to-day they were four hours after us. I consider that the hours we now go are at least two and a-half or three English miles in length, as we advance at a speed quite equal to a horse walking at a good pace; nay, I might say, some hours we make three and a-half English miles.


The following are the names of the brothers of the Sultan of Sakkatou, obtained from my Fellatah informant of Gurai. A difference of pronunciation will be observed in the Arab names, as they are transmitted through the Fellatah language. Aliu (for Ali), name of the Sultan himself and one of his brothers; Mallaidi; Amadu (Ahmed), Omeru (Omer, two of this name), Mahammedu (Mahammed), Mogari; Amadu Bedai; Alhattu; Moho; Isa (two of this name); Amadu el-Fai; Musa; Abd-el-Kaderi, and Abd-el-Walli. These are the names of all the brothers which he has heard. The first minister is called Galladima. The Kadi is El-Hali el-Haj; Inna is the generalissimo; Mohammed Wuddeggen, Muddebri Ali, Bu Beker, Manuri, and Gudundi, are names of other grandees and generals. The horse-dealer speaks of them with great familiarity, for he sells to them all. His own country is called Kabi, situated to the south-west of Sakkatou. He gave me the particulars of the route.[23]

21st.—This morning the weather was cool, the thermometer standing at 56°, with a fresh wind. We had a visit early from the Kadi. I asked him why he did not plant date-trees in the fine valley under the village. He replied, "From whence shall I procure them?" I answered, "From Tungari (a place west, three days distant)." At this he looked very stupid. These Minyo negroes have no idea of improving their condition. His reply may serve for all the country hereabouts.


Minyo and its large province is called by its aboriginal names Manga. It extends south-east to a river, on the other side of which begins Bornou Proper. But the people of Manga speak the same language as the Bornouese. Zinder belongs to the circle of Soudan, and its province is called Damagram.

Mohammed, my interpreter, pretends he saw elephants to-day at a considerable distance, looking like black trees. Probably to-morrow we may fall in with some animals worth seeing. I observed two or three swallows, the first this year. We stop here to-day to rest. The animals are knocked up, and the Kashalla has lost a horse.

It is from this Manga province that many of the villages of Damerghou are populated. Formerly the Tuaricks of that province made razzias on these out-lying provinces, with the produce of which they increased the number of their subjects.

An European must needs show off in this country. Yesterday I was obliged to exhibit to all the village,—about a hundred people,—and to-day to as many more. It is very fortunate if you are not detestably ugly, and can pass muster; for if you are, you will have all sorts of faces made at you; and, besides, you will be considered to represent a whole people as an ugly race. I walked round the village. There may be two hundred huts, and about six hundred inhabitants. The sun burns at four P.M. most fiercely. I begin to be afraid of it; but the days are uncertain, and sometimes the weather is quite chilly.


According to my interpreter, Mohammed Ben Ahmed Bu Saad, there is no money in Bornou, and the Sheikh could never obtain a strong army. We certainly find considerable difficulty all along to get an extra camel or bullock, and those to be obtained are very bad ones. The people cultivate very little, and have no resources to fall back on. They have just a little grain for themselves. The Sheikh of this place is a respectable man, and has been very civil to me. He, however, requires from me a medicine to procure him a good reception wherever he goes. He says he is frequently called to Minyo and other large places, and he wants a medicine to procure him the smiles, good-will, and friendship of all the people whom he meets. Especially he wishes always to have the favour of the Sultan. I had numbers of other patients all day; my Epsom is fast going. Thermometer at sunset, 82°; weather very troublesome to-day, blowing hot and cold with the same breath.[24]

[22] See Appendix.

[23] See Appendix.

[24] Here ends Mr. Richardson's journal, with words which already hint the cause of the lamentable accident that speedily followed. Spring was advancing with its uncertain temperature in Central Africa. The thermometer varied nearly thirty degrees between the morning and afternoon. Doubtless, however, the unusual fatigue of horse-exercise during the days that succeeded the departure from Zinder may have contributed its share in breaking down Mr. Richardson's strength. Something of a desponding tone may be observed in the journal for many pages; but we do not find that there was any cessation of industry. In addition to what is found in the regular diary, a good many notes were left written in pencil. Among the principal of them are the following:—


"In Kanem, north of Bornou, it rains a month earlier in the season than in that province; in Bornou, one month earlier than in Kanou; in Kanou, one month earlier than at Niffee. The heat of to-day, under a thatch hut, at one P.M., same as yesterday, 96°. Sugar dissolved into a wash is a common remedy in Soudan and Bornou for bad eyes; but, perhaps, it is made an excuse for getting sugar from us."

"In the evening we marched two hours and a-half in an E.S.E. direction. We were met by the Sheikh of the place, with some fifteen horse, and a mounted drummer. No wild animals are seen, on account of the fires in the desert (made, however, by the people on purpose to catch them). No water-fowls swim in the pools, probably because there is no cultivation. But this is the real country of the elephants. I saw the dung some two days before, and could not make out what it was. These days the dung was more abundant, and the people told me what it was. The people about here do not hurt them, their spears being useless against the hide of this great quadruped; the hunters, however, entangle the smaller animals—gazelles, &c.—by means of a great wheel made of cane. The animals put their feet in the middle, which gives in, and holds them, whilst the top is secured by strong cords."


"Kangarwar, half the size of Zinder. First day, evening march, seven hours, pitched in open country; course, S.E. Second day, pitched in open country; course, E. Third day, six hours, E.N.E. Fourth day, half-an-hour's morning march. Mandemnia village people occupied in making salt."

I believe Mr. Richardson was sometimes in the habit of jotting down observations in this way on loose pieces of paper previous to inserting them in his journal, which he evidently wrote in great part with a view to its being sent to the press, though at others he breaks away into a series of disconnected memoranda. We have no further account of what happened between the 21st of February and the 4th of March, than what is contained in the letter written by Dr. Barth, Mr. Richardson's fellow-traveller, so often mentioned in the foregoing pages (see Preface).—Ed.




Route from Zinder to Kanou.


Routes from Zinder to Kuka: first route, viâ Minyo.

From Zinder to

This route is usually reckoned at fifteen days' journey: trees are abundant on all the route, especially the doom-palm. There are, besides, many streams of water, on the banks of which are seen animals of every description.


Second Route, viâ Mashena.

This route abounds with trees, water, fruit, corn, and many animals.


Route from Gumel to Kuka.

From Gumel to


Route from Kanou to Kuka.

From Kanou to

Route from Kuka to Mourzuk.

From Kuka, north, to

Obs.—All the Tibboo districts, like those of Fezzan, have forests of date-palms. Between Maffarus and Oma there is no herbage during seven days. The greatest quantity of sand in this route is found between Agdem and Zau.


Route from Kuka, to Mandara.

From Kuka, south, to

According to Omer Wardi there is no difficulty in going to Muzgu, south of Mandara, and seat of the nearest pagans.


Route to Mandara from Kuka: Second Route, Eastern.


From Kuka, south-east, to


A day's journey from Mandara is sufficient to make a razzia of slaves. Muzgu, a great Kerdi country, is three days' journey from Mandara.


Route from Kanou to Sakkatou.

From Kanou:

Route from Taghajeet to Tuat.

From Taghajeet, on the northern frontiers of Aheer, to

On this route there are no oases, no date-palms; [345] the road lies through valleys and over plains, lined with rocky mountains, like those of Asben or Aheer. There is no region of sand, but now and then the earth assumes a sandy character. My informant is a Tuatee, who has travelled this route; in fact, no other persons but people of Tuat, unless Hagars and Maghatah, can do so in safety. I could not succeed in extracting more information from my informant. He was a mere barbarian, and pestered me, whilst writing the route, with demands for all sorts of things. Though a resident of the town of Tuat, he was in grain and mould a thorough Targhee bandit.

The different Races in Kuka.

Resident or Strangers.

  1. Shua (the first Arab settlers in Bornou).
  2. Arabs Bengazi.
  3. Arabs Misratah.
  4. Arabs and Moors of Aujilah; Mujabri, from Jalu, or Aujilah.
  5. Fezzanee, or people from Fezzan.
  6. Walad Suleiman, now domiciled in Kuka, and Wady Gazalahs.
  7. People from Tripoli; a very few.
  8. People from the west; a very few.

Belonging to the Sheikh.

  1. Bornouee, bulk of the population.[346]
  2. Kanembu, north-east from Kuka.
  3. Qaiyam, around Kuka, within a few hours.
  4. Manga, west from Kuka.
  5. Baddi, west from Kuka.
  6. Kairi-Kairi, west from Kuka.
  7. Lari, west from Kuka.
  8. Gizzem, south-west from Kuka, twenty days.
  9. Gizzerai, near Gizzem.
  10. Engezer, south of Kuka, ten days.
  11. Kaiauri, south of Kuka, five days.
  12. Babur, south of Kuka, nine days.
  13. Figa, south of Kuka, fifteen days.
  14. Margi, south of Kuka, seven days.
  15. Kobchi, south of Kuka, seven days.
  16. Mulgwai, south of Kuka, ten days.
  17. Massafai, south of Kuka, fifteen days.
  18. Bogwai, south of Kuka, twenty days.[26]
  19. Umbum, south of Kuka, thirty days.[26]
  20. Fali, south of Kuka, thirty-five days.[26]
  21. Umbai, south of Kuka, twenty days.[26]
  22. Koua, south of Kuka, twenty-five days.[26]
  23. Butai, south of Kuka, thirty days.[26]
  24. Maudraui, south of Kuka, eight days.
  25. Begarmi, east of Kuka, twenty days.
  26. People of Logun, near Begarmi.
  27. People from Wadaï; travellers.
  28. Sara, a province near Begarmi, with its own sultan. [347]
  29. 37. Fitri, a province belonging to Wadaï. There is water in the lake of Fitri. People of this province do not come to Kuka.

Route from Tuat to Wadnoun.

From Tuat, or from Ain-Salah, in Tuat, westward, to


South, from this point of departure we come to the

East, from this point there is only desert towards Ghadamez.

West, from the same, Timmemoun and Ourara.

The person who gave me this information is one Haj Mohammed Ben Welid, a native of Ghadamez.[349] Besides the above route from Tuat to Wadnoun, I am indebted to him for the Niffee route. Six years ago he was at Niffee, and saw there a large American vessel trading for slaves and other merchandise.

Route from Kanou to Niffee.

From Kanou, south, to

Route from Kanou to Sakkatou.

From Kanou, west, to


From Rafi to Bakura extends the province or kingdom called Zanfeierra, of which the capital is Bakura.

Between Bakura and the city of Sakkatou, which comes next in order, after two days, there are a number of small villages. Before you reach Sakkatou from Kanou, distant an hour, is a large river, in which is found water during the dry season.

On this route there are not many forests, but there is a good deal of grain and other cultivation, with very few rocks. The road is usually good, only now and then infested by the freebooters from Maradee. This route is travelled in from ten to twelve and fifteen days,—not above fifteen,—with anything like good travelling.

Route from Zinder to Gomel.

From Zinder, west, to


The Kashalla has been so good as to give me the names of the towns and villages between Kuka and the capital of Begarmi; viz, from Kuka to Gornu, one day, but a very short day, three or four hours, and all the days following the same, three or four hours only.

After Mudba, in Begarmi:


Gurai to Sakkatou.

From Gurai, westward, to

Route from Sakkatou, westwards, to

These half days are about five hours. All that I could learn of this route is, that it goes westwards. The Fellatah tells me there is a good road from Sakkatou to Timbuctou, on which caravans are always going in great numbers.

Route from Kanou to Adamaua.

From Kanou, south, to

The route is reckoned seventeen days from Kanou to Kwancha, and three days from Kwancha to Yola.


Route from Sakkatou to Kabi, S.W.

Names of Places about Sakkatou, westwards.

These are all considerable towns and villages. As to their relative position, I have merely written down how distant one is from the other.


The following is a list which I have obtained of the Tibboo nations (or tribes):—

  1. Etteri, two days north of Kuka or Bornou.
  2. Gunda, seven days north from Bornou.
  3. Arinda, one day from Gunda.
  4. Yurimma, two days from Gunda.
  5. Wandala, three days east from Yurimma.
  6. Gaidua, four days east from Wandala.
  7. Mussaui, seven days east from Wandala.
  8. Sakkarta, seven days east from Wandala.
  9. Madema, two days east from Sakkarta (country of Kanum).
  10. Choiokkera, four days east from Madema.
  11. Tumbela, two days north from Gunda.
  12. Masella, eleven days north from Bornou (a country of dates).
  13. El-Wudda, one day from Marsella.
  14. Dummeya, thirty days east of Bornou (in Borgu).
  15. Zuaeda, the Tibesti people.
  16. Tamara, country of Bilma, &c.
  17. Tauwia, two days north of Bilma.
  18. Etmada, one day north from Bilma.
  19. Addubocha, fifteen days east of Bilma.
  20. Fuktua, one day east from Addubocha.
  21. Abuya, two days north from Fuktua.[359]
  22. Belguda, eight days east of Bilma.
  23. Nuazma, three days east of Belguda.
  24. Karrai, three days east of Kameru, near the Chada.

[25] In the former route, Basher is given as only three hours from Kuka. In the next route, Bagusu is made eight hours from Kuka, whilst a little back we have it set down at only half that distance. These discrepancies, of course, set geographers on their guard against placing any absolute dependence on native reports. I remember once questioning the inhabitants of a village in Egypt about the distance of a particular place. One said, five or six hours; others said, a short day; and others, a long day. However, by comparison of various statements, perhaps something like the truth may be reached.—Ed.

[26] These countries seem very far south, and yet are said to be under the Sheikh. More information is required on this point.

[27] G, large place, or town; S, small place, village. Dictated by the Fellatah horse-dealer, Nammadina.



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