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CONTINUED RESIDENCE IN GHAT.
Commerce of Winter Mart at Ghat.- Visit to Hateetah, and meet
the Sultan.--Means of suppressing Saharan Slave Trade by the Touaricks.--Hateetah refuses my returning with a Bengazi Caravan.-Bad Character of Arabs.-Receive a Visit from His Highness the Sultan; and interesting Conversation with him.Ghat Townsmen great Bigots.-Unexpected Meeting with the Sultan.--My Targhee Friend's opinion of War.—Mode of Baking Bread.—Country of Touat.— The British Consul is perplexed at his Master being a Lady.-Vulgar error of Christians ill-treating Mussulmans in Europe.—People teach the Slaves to call me Infidel.–Visit to Bel Kasem, and find Khanouhen. The free-thinking of this Prince.—Said's apprehensions of Touaricks.—Hateetah's opinion of stopping Saharan Slave-Dealing. -Shafou leaves Ghat.-Discussion of Politics with an assemblage of Chiefs.— Description of the Touarick Tribes and Nations of The Great Desert.-Description of Abeer and Aghadez.-Leo's Account of the Targhee Desert.—Daughters of the Governor Educated.- Touaricks refuse aid from the Turks against the Shânbah. A private Slave-Mart.-Ghat comparatively free from Crime.- Visit from Berka.
It is not my intention to enter into the statistics of trade, but I mention a few facts. Caravans from Soudan, including all the large cities, but especially from Kanou, from Bornou, from the Tibboo country, from Touat, from Fezzan, from Souf, from Ghadames, and from Tripoli, Tunis, and the North coast, visited the Ghat Souk of this winter. The number of merchants, traders, and camel-drivers was about 500, the slaves imported from Soudan to Bornou about 1000, and the camels employed in the caravans about 1050. Provision cara
vans from Fezzan also were 'constantly coming to Ghat during the Souk. The main commerce of these caravans consisted of the staple exports, of slaves, elephants' teeth, and senna, the united value of which, at the market this year, was estimated at about 60,0001., which value would be doubled, on arriving at the European markets.
Next to these grand objects of commerce were ostrich feathers, skins, and hides in considerable quantities. Then followed various articles of minor character, but of Soudanic manufacture, which are brought to the Souk, viz, wooden spoons, bowls, and other utensils for cooking; also sandals, wooden combs, leather pillow-cases, bags, purses, pouches, bottles and skin-bags for water, &c.; arms, consisting of spears, lances, staves, daggers, straight broad-swords, leather and dried skin shields. Some of these weapons are made all of metal; the blades of the swords are manufactured in Europe and America. These arms are mostly for the equipment of the Ghat and Touat Touaricks, and are nearly all manufactured in Aheer. Provisions are also exported from Soudan and Aheer to this mart, consisting of semen or liquid butter; ghusub or drâ; ghafouly *, sometimes called Guinea corn; hard cheese from Aheer, which is pounded before eaten; beef, cut into shreds, and without salt, dried in the sun and wind; peppers of the most pungent character, an extremely small quantity sufficing to season a large dish; a species of shell fruit, called by
Ghafouly-düz-Holcus sorghum, (Linn). Ghafouly grows higher than a man; the stalk is as thick round as sugar-cane; the grain is of white colour, and half the size of a dry pea, of a round flattened shape. It is much coarser eating than maize.
the Moors Soudan almonds * ; bakhour, or frankincense; and ghour nuts and koudah, which are masticated as tobacco. There is then, finally, the great cotton manufacture, which clothes half the people of The Desert. Whole caravans of these cottons arrive together, and they are even conveyed from Ghat to Timbuctoo, this extremely roundabout way from Soudan. The colour is mostly a blue-black, sometimes a lighter blue, and glazed and shining. But the indigo is ill-prepared, and the dyeing as badly done, and the consequence is, the cottons are very begriming in the wearing. The indigo plant is simply cut, and thrown into a pond of water to ferment with the articles to be dyed, and after a short time the cottons are taken out, dried, pressed, and glazed with gum. It is these dark cottons which the Touaricks are so passionately fond of. The only , live animals brought over The Desert from Soudan and Aheer are sheep and parrots.
The articles of import to the Souk from Europe are sufficiently well known; they are chiefly silks and cloth, but of the most ordinary sort, and of showy colours, red, yellow, light green. Raw silk and brocades; beads, glass and composition; small lookingglasses; wooden bracelets, fantastically painted; swordblades; needlest; paperf; razors; some spices, cloves, &c.;
* Arachis hypogæa, (Linn). This shell fruit has two names in Housa, goújčeă, and gaýda. Many of the shells are double; they are smallish, very soft, and easily broken. The taste of the fruit is not disagreeable, a good deal like the almond, but more viscid, and a little insipid.
+ Mostly with the mark “porco" on the packets.
I Mostly with the mark “ tre lune” on it. I complained to a merchant that the paper was very coarse, and asked him why he
attar of roses; carpet-rugs; "Indians," or coarse white cottons; bornouses and barracans, &c., &c. But it may be observed, all the European articles introduced into Central Africa are of the most ordinary description possible. Barracans or blankets are brought from various places for sale at Ghat, but mostly from the Souf and Touat oases, where the women weave them in great quantities. They are very warm and serviceable in the winter months, and are even carried to Soudan, where during the rainy and damp season these woollens are highly prized for their usefulness, and found greatly conducive to health. No fire-arms, which I could observe, are brought for sale here. There is scarcely any gold trade; a very small quantity is brought here vid Touat from Timbuctoo. The money in circulation at the Souk is nearly all Spanish. The exceptions are two small Turkish coins, called karoobs, one of the value of about an English penny, and the other double this. A few Tunisian piastres pass amongst merchants of the north. It is not the large pillared-dollar (mudfah) which is in circulation, but the quarter-dollars of Spain. Five of these quarter-dollars make up the value of a whole Spanish dollar, and four are the value of the current or ideal dollar, called the small dollar. The Soudanese merchants, who are accustomed to see this money brought from the western coast, flatly refuse all other monies but the Spanish. There is not a great quantity
did not purchase finer paper. He replied, “ It's all the same in Soudan, fine or coarse." The same answer would be given to every complaint about the coarseness and bad quality of these imports into Africa. Fine or coarse cloth, and fine or coarse silk, sell much the same in Negroland.
of it here; merchants keep up the supply of this currency by exporting it from Touat and Morocco. No gold coins are in circulation, nor any copper. The Turkish money, excepting the karoobs mentioned, will not pass here; people detest it as much as they do the Turks themselves. I once asked an orthodox merchant how it was, that Mussulmans preferred the money of infidel Christians to that of the Sultan of the Faithful? He naïvely replied, “God has taught Christians to make money, because although used in this world, it is accursed. Mussulmans touch the abominable thing, but don't pollute themselves by making it. In the next world Mussulmans will have all good things and enjoyments without money; but Christians will have molten money, like hot running lead, continually pouring down their throats as their torment for ever."
There is a very ancient story in circulation (in books) respecting the peculiar manner of carrying on trade somewhere in the neighbourhood of Timbuctoo. It is copied by Shaw from former writers on Africa. certain time of the year,” the honest Doctor says, they (Western Moors) make this journey in a numerous caravan, carrying along with them coral and glass beads, bracelets of horn, knives, scissors, and such like trinkets. When they arrive at the places appointed, which is on such a day of the moon, they find in the evening several different heaps of gold-dust lying at a small distance from each other, against which the Moors place so many of their trinkets as they judge will be taken in exchange for them. If the Nigritians, the next morning, approve of the bargain, they take up the trinkets and leave the
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