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presented, in an assemblage of elated jocund beings, under the doom of being almost all dead within a few weeks, bantering the grave and pensive feelings of perhaps the only associate that seriously contemplated any such subject!
On the 16th of February, 1816, the Congo sloop and the Dorothy transport quitted Deptford, bearing so many sanguine hopes, to be disappointed, and so many accomplished men, never to return. As the latter vessel has been subsequently appointed to the Polar Expedition, we presume it was in the end ascertained that some mismanagement in the stowage was the cause of that 'heavy rolling' of which Captain Tuckey, in his Narrative, complains as a grievous nuisance to all on hoard. We were obliged,' he says, to submit to this discomfort, by which we could neither take our meals, sleep, walk the deck, or even sit down to write, with any satisfaction.'
In order to effect some repairs of the Congo, the expedition, on the 9th of April, put into Porto Praya, in St. Jago, during the run to which island every practicable examination was made of the animal products of the sea. The short stay there was actively improved by the naturalists, to whose observations are added a number of curious notices of the state and character of the government and the people. The paltry ceremonial of popery, the blended consequence and beggarliness of the persons of office, the most wretched but not therefore unostentatious show of fortification and military state, the degradation yet without misery, in our sense of the word, of the negro population, and the barren state of a great part of the island, combined with its apparent natural capabilities, formed, altogether, a most grotesque exhibition. As to Porto Praya, the Narrator says, This capital of the Cape Verde islands consists of three rows of hovels, constructed ' of stones and mud, and thatched with branches of the date tree, and chiefly inhabited by negroes.' The highest peak of the island is estimated at 4500 feet of elevation.-There is a long detail of Professor Smith's botanical observations.
On Good Friday they quitted the port, occupied at that season with all the solemn fopperies of the church; and with that conscientious deference which it is characteristic of Englishmen to manifest toward ali religions in the world but the true, they made their sign of homage to the sanctitites of the Romish calendar.
In compliment to the religion of the place, we this morning, being Good Friday, hoisted the colours half-mast, the fort having done so, and the Portuguese vessels putting themselves in mourning by topping their masts up and down.'
It is possible enough that the Methodist Cranch incurred the displeasure of his religious associates, by some profane remark on this Protestant act of piety.
In the neighbourhood of the line, they had a long and severe
trial of patience, in the baffled and very tardy progress they were condemned to make, through the combination of adverse currents, with that succession of squalls, calms, and rains, which • would seem to be entailed,' says Capt. T. as an everlasting 'curse on this region of the Atlantic.' He had great difficulty in enforcing on the crew an attention to the indispensable precautions against the malignant effect of the damp sultry weather on their health. From their stupid negligence seven of them were attacked with fevers when the rain had lasted but two days. There was no way to save the rest but by an exemplary flogging of one of the most refractory.
The great variety of the animal phenomena of the sea, alleviated, in some measure, the distressing tediousness of this part of the voyage. These were succeeded, on the arrival off Malemba point, by the first exhibitions presented of the rational animal of the African continent.
We were surprised by a visit from the Mafook, or king's merchant, of Malemba, accompanied by several other negro gentlemen, and a large cortege of attendants, in an European built four-oared boat and two canoes, one of which latter preceded the boat to announce the great man, and the officer in her introduced himself by letting us know, that "he was a gentleman, and his name was Tom Liverpool." ›
There was the greatest difficulty to convince the Mafook that the vessels were not come for a cargo of slaves, which he had ready in such quantity, under the denomination of captives, that he would sell them, he said, at half their value. When compelled at last to believe that the Captain wanted no such commodity, he very liberally began to abuse the sovereigns of Europe, for having so little consulted, of late, the prosperity of the Malemba mart. It was ungrateful of him to forget their long preceding course of favours, and the benevolent reluctance with which they had been withdrawn. He however did the Portuguese sovereign the justice to acknowledge, that though his subjects were formally prohibited the traffic in slaves to the north of Cabenda, where nine of their ships and one Spaniard were at that time stationed, they were not prevented from sending their boats on this service up to Malemba.
These gentlemen were dressed and decked in a motley style of extravagantpuppyism,' the vanity of the wearer presiding in a ludicrous strife of European and African shreds and trinkets. The farrago was completed by the matters of superstition.
All were loaded with fetiches of the most heterogeneous kinds; bits of shells, horns, stone, rags, &c. &c. ; but the most prized seemed to be a monkey's bone, to which they paid the same worship that a good catholic would do to the os sacrum of his patron saint. The master fetiche of the Mafook was a piece of most indecent sculpture representing two men, surrounded by the tips of goat's horns, shells,
and other rubbish, and slung over the shoulder with a belt of the skin of a snake. The features of these sculptured figures, instead of being Negro, as might be expected, were entirely Egyptian; the nose aquiline, and the forehead high.'
But costume, fetiches, and all, were of less account with these gentry, than the brandy bottle. For the sake of this they stuck to the ship day and night. In quest of the same luxury more gentlemen' came off to the ship, but were forced to go back ungratified, and forced also, much to the mortification of both the gangs, to take with them the sots and coxcombs who had too long infested it.
It was found, as indeed Capt. T. says he expected to find, that in the most recent charts the coast is very erroneously laid down from Loango Bay to the mouth of the Zaire. As the expedition was now approaching the destined scene, the Captain very properly issued a paper of orders and admonitions, highly appropriate and judicious, with an exception which every reader of moral principle will be compelled to make. In cautioning against any conduct toward the females, inconsistent with the established regulations in the native communities, be suggests, as if for the very purpose of averting any imputation of a moral intention in instruction, that the men of these communities would probably be ready with voluntary offers of their female relatives. As to the philosophical objects of the expedition, the orders were carefully and minutely framed to afford every possible facility and security to the operations in the department of the scientific gentlemen.
The arrival of the Zaire in the channel, was indicated, somewhat sooner than the Captain had expected, by the ship's passing, in the short interval between two casts of the plummet, from a depth of eighteen fathoms to one in which no bottom was found at a hundred and fifty. If this was a depth surpassing every description and expectation: the velocity of the current was, on the other hand, very inferior to what he had reason to anticipate, not exceeding two miles an hour. A fresh breeze carried him across this fathomless channel in about an hour, to soundings in twenty-three fathoms, as suddenly found as those on the other side had been lost. By currents, mud-banks, eddies, ground-swells, and fickle breezes, it was rendered a matter of considerable difficulty to get fairly into the river; while the visits of dirty tippling insolent Mafooks, and the sight of slave ships, administered but little of the nature of heroic stimulus in the labour,
Whatever offensive and noxious properties might be expected to be encountered in the physical state of such a region, were fully rivalled by those of its moral climate, as displayed in a combination of popery and paganism, between which it would be difficult to decide the excess of vileness.
• Several of the Sonio men who came on board were Christians, after the Portuguese fashion, having been converted by missionaries of that nation; and one of them was even qualified to lead his fellow negroes into the path of salvation, as appeared from a diploma with which he was furnished. This man, and another of the Christians, had been taught to write their own names and that of St. Antonio, and could also read the Romish litany in Latin. All these converts were loaded with crucifixes, and satchels containing the pretended relics of saints, certainly of equal efficacy with the monkey's bone of their pagan brethren. Of this we had a convincing proof in each vociferating invocations to their respective patrons, to send us a strong wind, neither the fetiche nor Saint Antonio having condescended to hear their prayers. The Christian priest was however somewhat loose in his practical morality, having, as he assured us, one wife and five concubines; and added, that St. Peter, in confining him to one wife, did not prohibit his solacing himself with as many handmaids as he could manage.
All our visitors, whether Christians or idolaters, had figures raised on their skins, in cicatrices, and had also the two upper front teeth filed away on the near sides, so as to form a large opening, into which they stuck their pipes, and which is so perfectly adapted to the purpose, that I thought it expressly formed for it; until on enquiry I learned, that, as well as the raised figures on the skin, it was merely ornamental, and principally done with the idea of rendering themselves agreeable to the women, who, it seems, estimate a man's beauty by the wideness of this cavity, which in some measured near an inch, the whole of the teeth, and particularly the two front ones, being enormously broad, and very white.
Our Sonio visitors were almost without exception sulky looking vagabonds, dirty, swarming with lice, and scaled all over with the itch, all strong symptoms of their having been civilized by the Portuguese.' They are, into the bargain, very sharp and very exorbitant in their traffic, and prompt and certain to seize every roguish advantage.
The method of closing a bargain, and giving a receipt, is by the buyer and seller breaking a blade of grass or a leaf between them; and until this ceremony is performed, no bargain is legally concluded, though the parties may have possession of each other's goods; this we only learned by experience, for having bought, and as we thought, paid for a couple of fowls, they were immediately slaughtered for dinner, but the owner taking advantage of the omission of the ceremony, pretended that he had not concluded the bargain, and insisted on another glass, which we were obliged to give him, but profited by the lesson.'
It being found almost impossible to make the detestable 'transport,' the brute of a transport,' ascend the river, a hasty transhipment was made to the Congo and the double boats, in order to push the expedition forward. Though a very noble stream, the Zaire did not appear, as the explorers advanced, to correspond to the reports and descriptions which had placed it
in the very first class of rivers. The profound channel at the outlet is not to be considered as merely the river-course;
-the true mouth of the river being at Fathomless Point, where it is not three miles in breadth; and allowing the mean depth to be forty fathoms, and the mean velocity of the stream four and a half miles an hour, it will be evident that the calculated volume of water carried to the sea has been greatly exaggerated.'
Nor does it perform the last stage of its progress to the ocean, in the form of a magnificent single mass of waters; on the contrary, the expedition soon entered among a number of islands and sand banks, where, for a space of many leagues, the river is divided and diverted into a variety of channels and windings. For a considerable way up from the outlet, perhaps ten leagues on the north side, and a greater length on the south, the banks or shores consist of a wide swamp, covered with mangrove trees, and bounded, at the distance of seven or eight miles inland, by a line of bigh hills. This mangrove tract is entirely impenetrable, the trees growing in the water, with the exception of a 'few spots of sandy beach.'
(To be continued.)
Art. IV. Dissertations on various interesting Subjects, with a View to illustrate the admirable and moral Spirit of Christ's Religion; and to correct the immoral Tendency of some Doctrines at present popular and fashionable. By the Rev. Thomas Watson. 8vo. pp. 194. London.
THESE Dissertations, for such, we suppose, we must call
them, remind us how completely an author's intentions may outstrip his capabilities, and how the thing which he designs in the simplicity of his heart, may be the very last thing for which his resources and his habits fit him. Unless we greatly mistake, we have occasionally met with the fact in the case of men not otherwise distinguished by self-importance or by arrogant pretensions; yet it must be granted, that, generally, it bespeaks a mind not reduced to a sober estimate of its own powers and attainments. But when an author advances the bold pretension of correcting a considerable proportion of the reflecting part of mankind, upon many fundamental matters, concerning which they have egregiously erred, some inquiry might not unwisely be instituted by himself into his superior qualifications for the ambitious enterprise. It evidently requires no smail degree of self-confidence, accompanied with a proportion somewhat more than usual, of that negative but inspiring quality called ignorance, to tempt a man of utter incapacity, to set up as a proficient in any science, with all the totalities and omnifics of an empiric, when the liability to immediate detection, and the impossibility of ultimate impunity, meet him at every