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Since the days of Vasco de Gama, the undoubted discoverer of this coast, not only had no regular survey of it been made, but the greater part of its numerous rivers, ports, and harbours bad rarely, and many of them never, been visited by Europeans. The Board of Admiralty, therefore, decided that, among the several expeditions which, on the return of peace, were undertaken by its directions for scientific purposes, the examination of the eastern coast of Africa, including the Mozambique Channel and the western shores of Madagascar, was an object worthy to be numbered. The conduct of this survey was intrusted to Captain William Fitzwilliam Owen, who had not long before returned from completing a most extensive and laborious examination of the Lakes of Canada; and that he has well fulfilled this second duty, the detailed and beautifully executed charts, in four large sheets, not included in these volumes, but published separately, abundantly testify.
Captain Owen, for reasons best known to himself, does not profess—except in the advertisement-to be the author of the present narrative, though we readily recognize him as the actual writer of the greater portion of it. A Mr. Heaton Bowstead Robinson stands forth as the ostensible redacteur ; and of his labours we feel that the less we say the better; we are obliged to own that a more clumsy and puzzling production, as to the mere framework, we have rarely met with. There were two, and sometimes four, vessels employed on the survey, and generally detached; and the several commanding officers gave in their observations to the chief, Captain Owen :—these are very properly introduced into the
Narrative,' but without any regard as to time or place, and so huddled together, and the chain of connexion so'entirely broken, that in the same chapter, nay, in the same page, and at the same time, we may find ourselves on the shores of the Red Sea and of Madagascar-or, at the same moment, on both the eastern and the western coasts of South Africa. This extraordinary faculty of ubiquity, which conveys the editor to different places at the same time, easy as it may be to him by the instrumentality of the potent pronoun we, (which is poaching on our manor,) is exceedingly puzzling to the reader, who is never sure to whom the we applies--whether it be to the commander of the Leven, relating what occurred at one place, or of the Barracouta, engaged in another, or of the Albatross in a third.
But we have a much graver charge to make against the editor ; and this refers to a matter in which Captain Owen ought to have kepı his literary ally right. He dedicates half a page to what is called an · Introduction,' and, here, speaking of Captain Owen's instructions, he says, 'Had it been left to his own discretion, he might have obtained the required information without the dreadful sacrifices which it is the duty of these pages to record; for in a climate subject to such varied and deadly changes, a discretionary power was certainly advisable. This power was not given to Captain Owen.'
Fortunately, the instructions are printed, and, after perusing them and this narrative, we are bold to say that not only was a full and ample discretionary power given to Captain Owen, but that he assumed and put in practice a greater latitude of discretion than almost any other officer in the navy would have ventured to do. He went to places never contemplated by his instructions, even as far as Bombay,-he purchased ships to add to his squadron without any authority,—he captured others, which he had no right to do,
—he took possession of a territory belonging to a friendly power, hoisted the British flag, appointed a governor, laid down laws, and punished offenders. We mention these things, and might add many more, not in blame, be it observed, of Captain Owen, but to refute the assertion of this Mr. Heaton Bowstead Robinson, that the melancholy consequences' were owing to the want of discretionary powers. What the causes of these melancholy consequences were will be seen by a few extracts from the 'Narrative.?
The Leven, having arrived in Delagoa Bay, anchored in English River, which may be considered as the estuary into which three rivers fall—the Temby, the Dundas, and the Mattoll,—all large at their mouths, but soon narrowing, and having their sources probably pot more than thirty or forty miles from their entrance into the estuary. A merchant vessel had lost her master and one seaman, while in this river, as it is called, by fever; the people on board reported the place very unhealthy, which our surveyors could not believe to be the case in a southern latitude of 30°; ' but, alas !' says the writer, we were soon to learn the dreadful truth.' Yet they might have remained ignorant of it, had they fortunately been less incredulous, and taken the precaution of moving the ship out of this muddy estuary into the fine expansive bay of Delagoa.
At this place they encountered the first, or southernmost, of the many miserable establishments of the Portuguese scattered along this coast of Africa. It consisted of a major, commandant, captain, Jieutenant, adjutant, secretary, priest, and surgeon, with about fifty soldiers, some of whom were Europeans bavished for capital offences, the rest being negroes,-or rather an improved breed from a mixture of Portuguese, Kaffer, and Negro : they are described as “stout, handsome, and athletic; the women well made, but generally not so well featured as the men—still many might be called pretty.' The adjutant had been banished for the murder of his brother, and was generally drunk all day ; the lieutenant had
been sent hither for murdering a priest, after debauching his sister; and their ladies are described as being in all respects worthy of such husbands. The visiters, however, found these criminals extremely kind and useful, ready to supply all their wants as to provisions and necessaries, but equally careful to exact from them about six hundred per cent. on the prices at which they themselves were in the habit of compelling the natives to serve them.
The Zoolos or Hollontontes (a corruption of Hottentot, or perhaps Hottentot from it) possess the interior as far southward as that narrow strip of country, bordering on the Cape colony, which is inhabited by the pastoral Kaffers, of whom, indeed, they are a congenerate race, or rather a separate tribe; and it may here be mentioned, once for all, that close behind the Portuguese and Arab settlements, along the whole line of coast from lat. 30° south to the southern frontiers of Abyssinia, in about 8° north, or for the extent of 38 degrees of latitude, the country is in possession of the various tribes of these same Kaffers, or Zoolos, known by the general name of Gallas, a fierce and predatory race of men, baving nothing in common with the African negroes--not even the colour—for their manly and gigantic forms exhibit the tinge of bronze. The breeding of cattle is their main object, and the covetous desire of possessing them the source of perpetual plunder and massacre ; yet many of these tribes seem disposed to betake themselves to agriculture, and others manufacture various articles of wood and iron, which they execute in a neat and workmanlike manner, particularly their spears and hassagais; they also bring down to the trading settlements on the coast, wax, honey, ivory, skins, and such articles as are in demand. How the editor of the present work could call these people “fine negroes' we are at a loss to conjecture, so totally different are they in all respects from the negro; but he describes them truly when he says they are 'tall, robust, and warlike in their persons,--open, frank, and pleasing in their manners, with a certain appearance of independence in their carriage. When some of the visiters were asked to exchange their spears for trinkets, they shrewdly desired the inter. preter to inquire if,' when a white man was in an enemy's country, he ever sold his arms ?' These men go all but entirely naked; their women generally are well clothed in long skin cloaks.
Lieutenant Farewell, of the navy, was induced, for the sake of carrying on a trade with the natives, to fix himself at the bay of Natal, under the sovereignty of a chief of the name of Chaka, one of the most inhuman and monstrous characters that ever existed. The account of him here published, as given by the Lieutenant, appears scarcely credible. He puts to death men, women, and children who oppose him; he keeps twelve
hundred concubines, and those of whom he becomes tired he distributes among his officers. He suffers no one to see him eat or drink; his chiefs approach him in a crawling attitude ; if any one should laugh or smile, or cough or sneeze, he is inmediately put to death. One ugly person having disturbed the serenity of his features, he called out —Take that man away and slay bim, he makes me laugh. We are slow to believe this; but we can well imagine that the conversation the Lieutenant had with him, on a visit to his wooden house, is faithfully described :
Showing me his house, he asked if the King of England could boast of so good a one? I answered, “ Yes, much larger.” “Ay, perhaps as large,” said Chaka; “but so good ?” “Oh! yes, much better.” “You have not looked at mine," said Chaka; “ look again; your king may have as large a house, and seemingly as good, but not with so many conveniences." I still, however, insisted that the house of my king was in everything superior, when Chaka desired me, in a serious and displeased tone, to look again, and again, and in short repeated this command six times before I saw the danger of my adhering to the opinion which I had formed. At length, therefore, I concurred with Chaka, by observing that I had not before looked with sufficient attention, and that his house was certainly the most comfortable.'-vol. ii. p. 391.*
Captain Owen having been informed, falsely as it appeared, that the rivers falling into Delagoa Bay extended several hundred miles into the interior, determined, unfortunately, to fit out his boats, to explore them. On either side they found the land low, with muddy fats and putrid swamps, the shores covered with maugrove trees, even far below the high-water mark; the water salt and discoloured with mud ; the thermometer 85°. All these rivers abound with hippopotami, which, though in general timid and harmless animals, are yet capable of exhibiting great courage, when thrown into a state of excitement, as appears from the following incident :
· Lieutenant Vidal had just commenced ascending this stream in his boat, when suddenly a violent shock was felt from underneath, and in another moment a monstrous hippopotamus reared itself up from the water, and in a most ferocious and menacing attitude rushed open-mouthed at the boat, and with one grasp of its tremendous jaw's seized and tore seven planks from her side ; the creature disappeared for a few seconds and then rose again, apparently intending to repeat the attack, but was fortunately deterred by the contents of a musket discharged in its face. The boat rapidly filled, but, as she was not more than an oar's length from the shore, they succeeded in reaching it before she sank. Her keel, in all probability, touched the back of the animal, which irritating him, occasioned this furious attack, and
* This officer, on returning by land with a party to Natal, was met by some of these savages and inhumanly massacred.
had he got his upper-jaw above the gunwale, the whole broadside must have been torn out. The force of the shock from beneath, previously to the attack, was so violent that her stern was almost lifted out of the water, and Mr. Tambs, the midshipman steering, was thrown overboard, but fortunately rescued before the irritated animal could seize him.'—vol. i. pp. 90, 91.
The repeated allacks of the parties on these unwieldy animals were attended with no successful results; but this was not the case with one that was made upon a band of Hollontontes, who, with their shields and spears, rushed, as furiously as the hippopotamus, towards the tents of the party at night, uttering the most hideous yells ; but the skins of these heathen offered less resistance than the hides of their hippopotami, to the volleys of balls and the bayonet points that were prepared to welcome them :
• The constant flash and roar of the muskets, with the horrid yells of the assailants, breaking upon the still dark gloom, produced a terrific scene; an occasional groan, however, as a ball found its fleshy bed, and the falling of some, soon intimidated the barbarians, and, after a short but desperate struggle, the cries of war and defiance were changed into shrieks of terror and dismay, followed by a precipitous retreat, not, however, forgetting their wounded, whom they carried off.'- vol. i. pp. 97, 98.
The rivers at thirty miles, and some of them at a less distance, from their mouths, were found to have so much contracted their streams as not to make it worth while pursuing them farther. The fatal effects of going even thus far were not long delayed. Mr. Tambs, who had escaped the fangs of the hippopotamus, was the first victim to that dreadful disease which afterwards made such havock among the officers and crews. A few days after the death of the above-mentioned officer, a seaman of the Leven was taken ill and shortly expired. Captain Lechmere, a volunteer in the expedition, was seized three days after this, and at once anticipated the result. This fine young man, the son of the late Admiral Lechmere, had excited so general a feeling of respect and esteem among all on board, and there is so characteristic (we should say whinisical, were the occasion less melancholy) a trait connected with his immediate dissolution, that we give the whole passage :
• This interest in his fate was strongly exemplified in the attachment of his attendant, William Newman, a marine, who was as much concerned as if he had been his nearest relative; he carried him from place to place like a child, as poor Lechmere's fevered fancy dictated ; sang to him, fanned him, moistened his lips, and was silent or still as his patient directed, and at last brought him by his special desire into the captain's cabin, where there was already a young midshipman in almost the same hopeless state. As the bell was striking the midnight hour, he sank into the dreamless sleep of death. His last moments were attended with a romantic interest. The fever being very high