Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

• These different branches of commerce are conducted principally by Mandingoes and Serawoollies, who have settled in the country. These merchants likewise carry on a considerable trade with Gedumah, and other Moorish countries, bartering corn and blue cotton cloths for salt ; which they again barter in Dentila and other districts for iron, shea-butter, and small quantities of gold-dust. They likewise sell a variety of sweet smelling gums packed up in small bags, containing each about a pound. These gums, being thrown on hot embers, produce a very pleasant odour, and are used by the Man. dingoes for perfuming their huts and clothes.

The customs, or duties on travellers, are very heavy ; in almost every town, an ass-load pays a bar of European merchandize, and at Fatteconda, the residence of the king, one Indian baft, or a musket, and six bottles of gunpowder, are exacted as the common tribute. By means of these duties, the King of Bondou is well supplied with arms and ammunition; a circumstance which makes him formidable to the neighbouring states.

• The inhabitants differ in their complexions and national manners from the Mandingoes and Serawoollies, with whom they are frequently at war. Some years ago the King of Bondou crossed the Falemé river with a numerous army, and after a short and bloody campaign totally defeated the forces of Samboo King of Bambouk, who was obliged to sue for peace, and surrender to him all the towns along the eastern bank of the Falemé.

The Foulahs in general (as has been observed in a former Chapter) are of a tawny, complexion, with small features, and soft silky hair ; next to the Mandingoes they are undoubtedly the most considerable of all the nations ir: this part of Africa. Their original country is said to be Fooladoo (which signifies the country of the Foulahs); but they possess at present many other kingdoms at a great distance from each other : their complexion, however, is not exactly the same in the different districts ; in Bondou, and the other kingdoms which are situated in the vicinity of the Moorish territories, they are of a more yellow complexion than in the southern states.

• The Foulahs of Bondou are naturally of a mild and gentle disposition, but the uncharitable maxims of the Koran have diade them less hospitable to strangers, and more reserved in their behaviour, than the Mandingoes. They evidently consider all the Negro natives as their inferiors; and when talking of different nations, always rank themselves among the white people. ." Their government differs from that of the Mandingoes chiefly in this, that they are more immediately under the influence of the Mahomedan laws; for all the chief men (the king excepted) and a large majority of the inhabitants of Bondon, are Mussulmen, and the authority and laws of the Prophet, are every where looked upon as sacred and decisive. In the exercise of their faith, however, they are not very intolerant towards such of their countrymen as still retain their ancient superstitions. Religious persecution is not known among them, nor is it nccessary; for the system of Mahomet is made

to

to extend itself by means abundantly more efficacious :-by establish.. ing small schools in the different towns, where many of the Pagan as well as Mahomedan children are taught to read the Koran, and instructed in the tenets of the Prophet. The Mahomedan priests fix a bias on the minds, and form the character of their young disciples, which no accidents of life can ever afterwards remove or alter. Many of these little schools I visited in my progress through the country, and observed with pleasure the great docility and submissive deportment of the children, and heartily wished they had had better instructors, and a purer religion.

With the Mahomedan faith is also introduced the Arabic language, with which most of the Foulahs have a slight acquaintance. Their native tongue abounds very much in liquids, but there is something unpleasant in the manner of pronouncing it. A stranger, on hearing the common conversation of two Foulahs, would imagine that they were scolding each other. com : ... The industry of the Foulahs, in the occupations of pasturage and agriculture, is every where remarkable. Even on the banks of the Gambia, the greater part of the corn is raised by them; and their herds and flocks are more numerous and in better condition than those of the Mandingoes; but in Bondoủ they are opulent in a high degree, and enjoy all the necessaries of life in the greatest profusion. They display great skill in the management of their cattle, making them extremely gentle by kindness and familiarity. On the approach of night, they are collected from the woods, and secured in folds, called korrees, which are constructed in the neighbourhood of the different Villages. In the middle of each korree is erected a small hut, wherein one or two of the herdsmen keep watch' during the night, to prevent the cattle from being stolen, and to keep up the fires which are kindled round the korree, to frighten away the wild beasts.

The cattle are milked in the mornings and evenings : the milk is excellent; but the quantity obtained from any one cow is by no means so great as in Europe. The Foulahs use the milk chiefly as an article of diet, and that, not until it is quite sour. The cream which it afforda is very thick, and is converted into butter by stirring it violently in a large calabash., This butter, when melted over a gentle fire, and freed from impurities, is preserved in small earthen pots, and forms a part'in most of their dishes; it serves likewise to anoint their heads, and is bestowed very liberally on their faces and arms.

: *!
F
o rnitori

, • But although milk is plentiful, it is somewhat remarkable that the Foulahs, and indeed all the inhabitants of this part of Africa, are totally unacquainted with the art of making cheese. A firm at. tachment to the customs of their ancestors, makes them view with an eye of prejudice every thing that looks like innovation. The heat of the climate, and the great scarcity of salt, are held forth as unanswerable objections; and the whole process appears to them too long and troublesome, to be attended with any solid advantage. 9. Besides the cattle, which constitute the chief wealth of the Foulahs, they possess some excellent hörses, the breed of which seems to be a mixture of the Arabian with the original African.?!..

S4

Leaving

Leaving Bondou, Mr. Park proceeded to the kingdom of Kajaaga; the inhabitants of which are called Serawoollies ; a trading people, and deriving considerable profit from the sale of salt and cotton cloths. At Joag, the frontier town, he was ill-treated, and robbed of half his effects by order of Batcheri, King of Kajaaga. Here he embraced a favourable opportunity of prosecuting his journey to the kingdom of Kassan, under the guidance of Demba Sego, the King's nephew : to pay for whose protection, he was plundered of half of his remaining effects by Demba and his father. Eager to quit people who sold their kindness at so dear a rate, Mr. P. on the joth of January 1796, left Tessee, the frontier town of Kasson, on his way to Kooniakary, the capital. Between Tessee and Kooniakary lay the town of Jumbo, the native place of a blacksmith, one of Mr. P.'s companions. We shall extract the simple and affecting account of the interview between the African artist and his friends.

' About two miles farther to the eastward, we passed a large town called Madina ; and at two o'clock came in sight of Jumbo, the blacksmith's native town, from whence he had been absent more than four years. Soon after this, his brother, who had by some means been apprized of his coming, came out to meet him, accompanied by a singing man; he brought a horse for the blacksmith, that he might enter his native town in a dignified manner; and hç desired each of us to put a good charge of powder into our guns. The singing man now led the way, followed by the two brothers; and we were presently joined by a number of people from the town, all of wḥom demonstrated great joy at seeing their old acquaintance the blacksmith, by the most extravagant jumping and singing. On entering the town, the singing man began an extempore song in praise of the blacksmith, extolling his courage in having overcome so many difficulties ; and concluding with a strict injunction to his friends to dress him plenty of victuals,

• When we arrived at the blacksmith's place of residence, we dismounted, and fired our muskets. The mecting between him and his relations was very tender ; for these rude children of nature, free from restraint, display their emotions in the strongest and most expressive manner. Amidst these transports, the blacksmith's aged mother was led forth, leaning upon a staff. . Every one made way for her; and she stretched out her hand to bid her son welcome. Being totally blind, shę stroked his hands, arms, and face, with great care, and seemed highly delighted that her latter days were blessed by his return, and that her ears once more heard the music of his voice. From this interview I was fully convinced, that what. çver difference there is between the Negro and European in the con. formation of the nose and the colour of the skin, there is nonę in the genuine sympathics and characteristic feelings of our common mature

! During

• During the tumult of these congratulations, I had seated my. self apart, by the side of one of the huts, being unwilling to interrupt the fow of filial and parental tenderness; and the attention of the company was so entirely taken up with the blacksmith, that I believe none of his friends had observed me. When all the people present had seated themselves, the blacksmith was desired by his father to give them some account of his adventures ; and silence being commanded, he began; and after repeatedly thanking God for the success that had attended him, related every material occurrence that had happened to him from his leaving Kasson to his arrival at the Gambia ; his employment and success in those parts ; and the dangers he had escaped in returning to his native country. In the latter part of his narration, he had frequently occasion to mention me; and after many strong expressions concerning my kindness to him, he pointed to the place where I sat, and exclaimed, affille ibi siring, “ see hiin sitting there." In a moment all eyes were turned upon me; I appeared like a being dropped from the clouds; every one was surprised that they had not observed me before ; and a few women and children expressed great uneasiness at being so near a man of such an uncommon appearance. By degrees, however, their apprehensions subsided ; and when the blacksmith assured them that I was perfectly inoffensive, and would hurt nobody, some of them ventured so far as to examine the texture of my clothes ; but many of them were still very suspicious; and when by accident I happened to move myself, or look at the young children, their mothers would scamper off with them with the greatest precipitation, In a few hours, however, they all became reconciled to me. ,

At Kooniakary, the author was treated kindly by the King, who had seen Major Houghton and had presented him with a horse. On account of an impending war, which was likely to involve the kingdoms of Kasson, Kajaaga, Kaarta, and Bambarra, the traveller remained in Kasson till the 3d of February, when he resumed his journey, and arrived on the 12th at Kemmoo, the capital of Kaarta. Here he was introduced to the King, Daisy , who advised him to return to Kasson, or, if he was determined to proceed, to take a circuitous route through the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar, into Bambarra. From Kaarta to Bambarra he could not immediately proceed, withput che danger of being apprehended as a spy. As Mr. Park was unwilling to spend the rainy season in the interior, he resolved to follow the route through Ludamar, which Daisy prescribed ; and accordingly, on 13th February, he left Keinmoo, and arrived on the 14th at Marina ; near to which place he saw two Negroes gathering what they called tomberongs. As the account of these tomberongs is important, we shall exGract it:

· These are small farinaceous berries, of a yellow colour and delicious taste, which I knew to be the fruit of the rhamnus lotus of

Linnæus. Linnæus. Tae Negroes shewed us, two large, baskets full, which they had collected in the course of the day. These berries are much esteemed by the natives, who convert them into a sort of bread, by exposing them for some days to the sun, and afterwards pounding them gently in a wooden mortar, until the farinaceous part of the berry is separated from the stone. This meal is then mixed with a little water, and formed into cakes ; which, when dried in the sun, resemble in colour and flavour the sweetest gingerbread. The stones are afterwards put into a vessel of water, and shaken about so as to separate the meal which may still adhere to them: this communicates a sweet and agrecable taste to the water, and with the addition of a little pounded millet, forms a pleasant gruel called fondi, which is the common breakfast in many parts of Ludamar, during the months of February and March. The fruit is collected by spreading a cloth upon the ground, and beating the branches with a stick.

• The lotus is very common in all the kingdoms which 'I visited; but is found in the greatest plenty on the sandy soil of Kaarta, Ludamar, and the northern parts of Bambarra, where it is one of the most common shrubs of the country. I had observed the same species at Gambia, and had an opportunity to make a drawing of a branch in flower, of which an engraving is given... The leaves of the desert, shrub are, however, much smaller,; and more resembling, in that particular, those represented in the engraving given by Des. fontaines, in the Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences, 1788, P. 443 : As this shrub is found in Tunis, and also in the Negro kingdoms, and as it furnishes the natives of the latter with a food resembling bread, and also with a sweet liquor, which is much relished by them, there can be little doubt of its being the lotus mentioned by Pliny, as the food of the Lybian Lotophagi. An army máy very well have been fed with the bread I have tasted, made of the meal of the fruit, as is said by Pliny ito have been done in' Lybia ; and as the taste of the bread is sweet and agreeable, it is not likely that the soldiers would complain of it......

... .. . 'On the 18th, Mr. P. arrived at Simbing, the frontier town of Ludamar. It was from this village, he says, that Major Houghton, deserted by his Negroe servants, wrote his last letter with a pencil to Dr. Laidley. www . .. . ! . This brave but unfortunate' man, having surmounted many dif. ficulties, had taken a northerly 'direction, and endeavoured to pass through the kingdom of Ludamar; where l'afterwards learned the following particulars concerning his melancholy fate. On his arrival at- Jarra, he got acquainted with certain Moorish merchants who were travelling to Tisheet (a place near the salt pits in the Great Desert, ten days? journey to the northward) to purchase salt; and the Major, at the expense of a musket and some tobacco, engaged them to convey him thither. It is impossible to form any other opinion on this determination, than that the Moors intentionally deceived hims either with regard to the route that he wished to pursue, or the state of the intermediate country between Jarra and Tom

buctoo.

« ElőzőTovább »