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as we have seen, most barbarously, are adultery with the wives of the great men, and poisoning.'
The frequency of the crime of putting poison in victuals, has established the custom of the master invariably making the person who presents him with meat or drink, taste it first; and in offering either to a visitor, the host performs this ceremony first. This the natives who speak English, call "taking off the fetiche." If a man poisons an equal, he is simply decapitated; but if an inferior commits this crime, (the only kind of secret murder,) on a superior, the whole of his male relations are put to death, even to the infants at the breast.'
Another mode of punishment, however, is mentioned under the form of an ordeal, which is quite as reasonable a thing as the magical process by which the gangam kissey, a sort of conjuror-priest, fixes the accusation, from malice or at hazard. The person denounced is to chew a poisonous bark, which, if he is guilty, he will retain in his stomach and die; but if innocent, he will vomit up again immediately. This reverend director of justice has nothing to fear from revenge; it is believed that his sacred person cannot be hurt; but it is also believed that he cannot deserve it, for that, be his adjudgement ever so unjust, the blame attaches solely to the kissey, or god, in virtue of whose supposed communication of truth for the conviction of iniquity it is that the worthy gangam is held sacred and inviolable. Never was there a neater device of fraud in a circle, than this, nor a better exemplification, on the small scale, of that property of superstition, by which, beyond all other things, it has the power of destroying common sense; as if by a retributive law of the Governor of the world, the belief in a false religion should infuse a fatuity into the understanding in its exercise on the most ordinary matters. It is remarkable also, as an illustration of human nature, that the belief in a false religion has a greater power to make men be practically religious after their manner, than a belief in the true, excepting in those instances (a sad minority) of this latter description, in which a special Divine influence enforces that belief. This fact is exemplified in the Greek and Roman, in the Hindoo and other forms of paganism, and in the Mahomedan and Popish superstitions. This is partly owing, indeed, to the circumstance that superstitions generally have many symbols presented to the senses; but the grand cause is, that evil is more congenial to the human mind, and therefore takes stronger hold of it, than good. The paganism-the extremest dross of paganism as it is-of these Congo people, is an additional though superfluous exemplification of this powerful efficacy of false religion. The Fetiches, with their permissions or interdictions, their aids or frustrations, their protections or mischiefs, their favours or re
venges, are incessantly pressing on their minds, whatever they do, and wherever they go. Their individual personal fetiches are to be always with them, and
Each village has a grand kissey or presiding divinity named Mevonga. It is the figure of a man, the body stuck with bits of iron, feathers, old rags, &c. and resembles nothing so much as one of our scare-crows. Each house has its dii penates, male and female, who are invoked on all occasions.'
There has lingered among these people, as among almost all other pagans, a faint dubious glimmer (but that too having acquired a malignant quality) of some Greater Power than the wretched objects of their immediate worship.
They believe in a good and evil principle, both supposed to reside in the sky; the former, they say, sends them rain, and the latter withdraws it; however, they invoke their favour in the dry season, but it does not seem that they consider them as in any other manner influencing human affairs; nor do they offer them any kind of worship. Their ideas of a future state seem not to admit of any retri bution for their conduct in this world; good and bad going equally after death to the sky, where they enjoy a kind of Mahomedan paradise.'
There is a remarkable consistency between the two notions, Manicheism and a future state without retribution.
We shall seem to have lost sight of the interesting and hazardous expedition. But in truth there is very little more to be told. At the period of making ready for the prosecution of the adventure beyond Yellala, a great proportion of the party, both those who were to advance, and those who were to stay with the vessels, were within their last allotment of life.
Tangit vicinia fati.
When aware of this, the reader will feel a kind of ominous solemnity in the description of the night view at the place of their last encampment together, near banza Cooloo, previously to the morning on which the Captain with his selected associates set forward.
The night scene at this place requires the pencil to delineate it. In the foreground an immense Adansonia, under which our tents are pitched, with the fires of our people throwing a doubtful light over them; before us the lofty and perpendicular hills that form the south side of Yellala, with its ravines, in which only vegetation is found) on fire. presenting the appearance of the most brilliantly illumi nated amphitheatre; and finally, the hoarse noise of the fall, contrasted with the perfect stillness of the night, except when broken by the cry of our centinels," all's well." continued to create a sen• sation to which even our sailors were not indifferent.'
On the 18th of August, the Captain, though very sensibly
affected in his health, set off with fourteen men, several natives hired as carriers, a guide, and an interpreter in place of Prince Schi, alias Simmons,' who had deserted, and behaved in a base and mischevous manner;-and he returned to the same spot on the 14th of September, after a most resolute, persevering, laborious, but fruitless series of exertions, in which he encountered a long succession of difficulties in the nature of the country, and an incessant course of obstructions and vexations from the roguery, capriciousness, and idleness of the natives. The reader sympathizes with his continual mortifications more indignantly, perhaps, than he is warranted, when it is considered how natural it was for such barbarians to act just as they did; and he wishes there had been the means of administering the whip or the bamboo to almost every male African biped that camne in the Captain's way. The extreme difficulty of obtaining any thing like half an adequate supply of provisions, for a party without means of advancing on the water, and without stores of their own, would soon have become an invincible obstacle; but the most immediately fatal circumstance was, that one after another of his Europeans, exhausted with fatigue, and heat, and deficiency of sustenance, fell ill, and was to be left behind, to the care of some native attendant, or of some one of his countrymen detached for that purpose from the yet efficient but thus fast diminishing band. The slight alleviation of toil obtained, in some of the upper stages of the progress, by the use of two or three small canoes of the natives, was counterbalanced by the perversity and exactions of the owners and managers of these paltry, crazy vehicles.
Much vigilance of observation is evinced in the brief journal written under the pressure of so many harassing circumstances. But the field of view did not, except in the consideration of its being so new to Europeans, furnish matter of extraordinary interest. The uniform degradation of the human occupants of small spots and shreds of it, gave little diversity of appearance, manners, or accommodations of life. Just to keep alive appeared the whole amount of their system, except that the sight of some European toys and textures seemed to awaken the idea, that for the sake of a little decoration, it was worth while to do their best at playing the rogue in the way of exorbitant barter, or of getting payment before-hand for services which they meant to render but partially, or not at all. In this way only were they in the least formidable, either as enemies, or as false friends, their pettiness and cowardliness of character being such as to render them contemptible as to any other mode of hostility, if they ventured to make a shew of waging it. A considerable horde of them did in one instance, upon some resolute and imperative measure adopted by the Captain, presume to make such
a shew, with loud and portentous note of preparation,' which, as it would have been inconvenient just then to defy, he readily quashed by a little humouring, rebuking, and bribery.-With respect to their personal appearance, he says,
The Congoese are evidently a mixed nation, having no national physiognomy, and many of them perfectly South European in their features. This, one would naturally conjecture, arises from the Portuguese having mixed with them; and yet there are very few mulattoes among them.'
He could obtain from them no notion of their history, beyond a slight tradition that Congo once formed a mighty empire, the chief of which had three sons, between whom he divided 6 his dominions at his death.' In contemplating their present condition he says,
'The idea of civilizing Africa by sending out a few negroes educated in England, appears to be utterly useless; the little knowledge acquired by such persons having the same effect on the universal ignorance and barbarism of their countrymen that a drop of fresh water would have on the ocean.'
Their chief luxury is palm wine, which he describes as an exquisite one also to the fatigued European traveller when he can obtain it. They have songs on this subject, as well as on love, war, &c.
The indolence of the men is so great, that if a man gets a few beads of different colours, he stops at home, (while his wife is in the field picking up wood, &c.) to string them, placing the different colours in every kind of way till they suit his fancy.'
None of the formidable beasts or reptiles which infest many parts of Africa incommoded the travellers. There were plenty of hippopotami in the river, and in several places they saw alligators.
The river, though not without its inconvenient rocks and rapids, presented to the mortified explorers a grand practicable road forward, which they were never to travel. At the highest point which they attained it had assumed a very noble and tantalizing appearance, and the natives said there was no further impediment to its navigation.
And here,' says Capt. T. we were even under the necessity of turning our back on it, which we did with great regret, but with the consciousness of having done all we could.'
This excursion convinced us of the total impracticability of penetrating with any number of men by land, along the sides of the river, both from the nature of the country, and impossibility of procuring provisions.'
The river was very gradually rising during the latter part of the time of this fruitless and disastrous experiment. Its
highest swell seems to be about twelve feet. The Captain records an observation very interesting with respect to the inquiry from what region it comes. The
Extraordinary quiet rise of the river shews it, I think, to issue chiefly from some lake, which had received almost the whole of its water from the north of the line.'
On reaching the place below Yellala, where the sloop and boats had been left, he was shocked to find what a number of the stationary party had quitted the enterprise, in the complete and final sense. He was appointed very soon to follow them.
To his Journal is added that of the botanist, Professor Smith, which is a parallel narrative, with many observations of considerable value, relating to the natural history of the tracts which were traversed. This is followed by a series of General Observations, in which the substance of the information obtained by the Expedition is brought very clearly into one view. The work is completed by an elaborate Appendix of natural history, forming of itself a considerable volume.
The copper-plates are sufficiently neat, and there are a number of very illustrative wood-cuts introduced in the letter-press.
Art. III. A Concise Description of the Endowed Grammar Schools in England and Wales; ornamented with Engravings. By Nicholas Carlisle, F.R.S. Assistant Librarian to His Majesty, F. and Sec. S.A. &c. &c. 8vo. 2 Vols. pp. xliv. 1841. Price £2. los. 4to. £4. 4s. London, 1818.
MR. CARLISLE is already known to the Public, as the Compiler of a Series of Topographical Dictionaries of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Of the first of these, a brief notice was given in this Journal at the time it appeared ;* and in justice to our Author, we think it proper now to add, that his Topographical Dictionary of England has been found peculiarly serviceable to Magistrates, in making orders of removal under that most expensive part of the present system of Poor Laws, the law re-pecting Parochial Settlements. His other Topographical Dictionaries, which it has not fallen in our way to notice, are all characterized by great accuracy and research.
This "Concise Description" is published at a particularly interesting period, when the public attention is so strongly directed to the state of the National Charities. Whatever discontents exist respecting the selection of the Commissioners for investigating the Endowed Schools and Charities of England,and (as we lately took occasion to shew†) there certainly appear to have been strong grounds for complaint, we are still disposed
* See Eclectic Review. Old Series, 1808. Vol. IV. Part I. p. 564.
+ Eclectic for Oct. Art. Brougham's Letter to Romilly.