Page images
PDF
EPUB

ter ten men.

of cocoa-nut and other large trees. The whole is diversified (and the fact has been confirmed to us by the most with small lakes and green marshes, skirted all round with respectable authority), that it it even pass over a botrice and pasture fields. In one part, the intertwining cin

tle of wine, however well corked and sealed up, the namon trees appear completely to clothe the face of the plain ; in another, the openings made by the intersecting

wine becomes so strongly tainted with musk, that it footpaths just serve to show that the thick underwood has cannot be used: and a whole cask may be rendered been penetrated. One large road, which goes out at the useless in the same manner. Among the great vari. west gate of the fort, and returns by the gate on the south, ety of birds, we were struck with Mr. Percival's ac. makes a winding circuit of seven miles among the woods. count of the honey-bird, in whose body the soul of a It is here that the officers and gentlemen belonging to the common informer appears to have migrated. It garrison of Columbo take their morning ride, and enjoy makes a loud and shrill noise, to attract the notice of one of the finest scenes in nature.'—(p. 336, 337.)

any body whom it may perceive; and thus inducing As this spice constitutes the wealth of Ceylon, great to the tree where the bees have concealed their trea.

him to follow the course it points out, leads him pains are taken to ascertain its qualities, and to propagate its choicest kinds. The prime sort is obtained sure; after the apiary has been robbed, this feathered from the Laurus Cinnamonium. The leaf resembles scoundrel gleans his reward from the live. The list the laurel in shape, but is not of so deep a green conciled to the crude and cloudy land in which we

of Ceylonese snakes is hideous; and we become reWhen chewed it has the smell and taste of cloves. There are several different species of cinnamon trees live, from reflecting, that the indiscriminate activity on the island ; but four sorts only are cultivated and of the sun generates what is loathsome, as well as barked. The picture which we have just quoted from what is lovely; that the asp reposes under the rose ; Mr. Percival of a morning ride in a cinnamon wood is and the scorpion crawls under the fragrant flower, and

enchanting, that we are extremely sorry the addi. the luscious fruit. tion of aromatic odours cannot with veracity be made

The usual stories are related here, of the immense to it. The cinnamon has, unfortunately, no smell at size and voracious appetite of a certain species of serall but to the nostrils of the poet. Mr. Percival gives pent. The best history of this kind we ever rememus a very interesting account of the process of ma- ber to have read, was of a serpent killed near one of king up cinnamon for the market, in which we are

our settlements, in the East Indies; in whose body sorry our limits will not permit us to follow him. The they found the chaplain of the garrison, all in black, different qualities of the cinnamon bundles can only

the Rev. Mr. -(somebody or other, whose name be estimated by the taste ; an ottice which devolves we have forgotten,) and who, after having been miss. upon the medical men of the settlement, who are em ing for above a week, was discovered in this very in. ployed for several days together in cheuing cinnamon, convenient situation. The dominions of the King of the acrid juice of which excoriates the mouth, and Candia are partly defended by leeches, which abound puts them to the most dreadful tortures.

in the woods, and from which our soldiers suffered in

the most dreadful manner. The island of Ceylon is completely divided into two

The Ceylonese, in com. parts by a very high range of mountains, on the two pensation for their animated plagues, are endowed sides of which the climate and the seasons are entire with two vegetable blessings, the cocoa-nut tree and ly different. These mountains also terminate com.

the talpot tree. The latter affords a prodigious leaf, pletely the effect of the monsoons, which set in peri

. impenetrable to sun or rain, and large enough to shel odically from opposite sides of them. On the west

It is a natural umbrella, and is of as side, the rains prevail in the months of May, June, eminent service in that country as a great-coat tree and July, the season when they are felt on the Mala would be in this. A leaf of the talipot tree is a tent to bar coast. This monsoon is usually extremely violent the soldier, a parasol to the traveller, and a book to during its continuance. The northern parts of the the scholar.* The cocoa tree affords bread, milk, island are very little affected. In the months of Octo- oil, wine, spirits, vinegar, yeast, sugar, cloth, paper, ber and November, when the opposite monsoon sets huts, and ships. in on the Coromandel coast, the north of the island is

We could with great pleasure proceed to give a furattacked; and scarcely any impression reaches the

ther abstract of this very agrceable and interesting southern parts. The heat during the day is nearly publication, which we very strongly recommend 10 the same throughout the year; the rainy season ren

ihc public.' It is written with great modesty, entirely ders the nights much cooler. The climate, upon the without pretensions, and abounds with curious and whole, is much more temperate than on the continent important information. Mr. Percival will accept our of India. The temperate and healthy climate of Cey. When we can praise with such justice, we are always

best thanks for the amusement he has afforded us. lon, is, however, confined to the sea-coast. terior of the country, the obstructions which the thick happy to do it; and regret that the rigid and indepen. woods oppose to the free circulation of air, render the dent honesty which we have made the very basis of heat almost insupportable, and generate a low and

our literary undertaking, should so frequently compel malignant fever, known to Europeans by the name of

us to speak of the authors who come before us, in a the Jungle fever. The chief harbours of Ceylon are style so different from that in which we have vindica

Trincomalee, Point de Gallee, and, at certain scasons ted the merits of Mr. Percival.
of the year, Columbo. The former of these, from its
nature and situation, is that which stamps Ceylon one
of our most valuable acquisitions in the East Indies.
As soon as the monsoons commence, every vessel
caught by them in any other part of the Bay of Bengal

DELPHINE. (EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1803.) is obliged to put to sea immediately, in order to avoid Delphine. By Madame de Stael Holstein. London. Mawdestruction. At these seasons, Trincomalec alone, of all the parts on this side of the peninsula, is capable of affording to vessels a safe retreat; which a vessel This dismal trash which has nearly dislocated the from Madras may reach in two days. These circum- jaws of every critic anong us with gaping, has so stances render the value of Trincomalee much greater alarmed Bonaparte, that he has seized the whole im. than that of the whole island ; the revenue of which pression, sent Madame de Staël out of Paris, and, for will certainly be bardly sufficient to defray the ex. ought we know, sleeps in a night-cap of steel, and pense of the establishnients kept up there. The agri- dagger-proof blankets.' To us it appears rather an at. culture of Ceylon, is, in fact, in such an imperfect tack upon the Ten Commandments, than the govern. state, and the natives have so little availed themselves ment of Bonaparte, and calculated not so much to en. of its natural fertility, that great part of the provisions force the rights of the Bourbons, as the benefits of necessary for its support, are imported from Bengal. adultery, murder, and a great number of other vices,

Ceylon produces the elephant, the buffalo, tiger, which have been somchow or other strangely neglect. elk, wild-hog, rabbit, hare, flying-fox, and musk-rat. ed in this country, ayd too much so (according to the Many articles are rendered entirely useless by the apparent opinion of Madame de Stacl) even in France. smell of musk, which this latter animal communicates in merely running over them. Mr. Percival asserts

* All books are written upon it in Ceylon.

man.

6 vols, 12 mo.

It happens, however, fortunately enough, that her vers between them, besides hemoptoe, hemorThage, book is as dulí as it could have been if her intentions deliquium animi, singultus, hysteria, and faminei ululahad been good; for wit, dexterity, and the pleasant !tus, or screams innumerable. Now, that there should energies of the mind, seldom rank themselves on the be a reasonable allowance of sickness in every novel, side of virtue and social order; while vice is spiritual, we are willing to admit, and will cheerfully permit eloquent, and alert, ever choice in expression, happy the heroine to be once given over, and at the point of in allusion, and judicious in arrangement.

death; but we cannot consent, that the interest which The story is simply this.- Delphine, a rich young ought to be excited by the feelings of the mind should widow, presents her cousin Matilda de Vernon with a be transferred to the sufferings of the body, and a considerable estate, in order to enable her to marry crisis of perspiration be substituted for a crisis of pasLeonce Mondeville. To this action she is excited by sion. Let as see difficulties overcome, if our approthe arts and the intrigues of Madame de Vernon, an bation is required; we cannot grant it to such cheap hackneyed Parisian lady, who hopes, by this marri. and sterile artifices as these. age, to be able to discharge her numerous and press. The characters in this novel are all said to be drawn ing debts. Leonce, who, like all other heroes of no- from real life; and the persons for whom they are invels, has fine limbs, and fine qualities, comes to Paris tended are loudly whispered at Paris. Most of ihem -dislikes Matilda--falls in love with Delphine-Del. we have forgotten; bui Delphine is said to be intended phine with him; and they are upon the eve of jilting for the authoress, and Madame de Vernon (by a slight poor Matilda, when, from soine false reports respect sexual metamorphosis) for Talleyrand, minister of ing the character of Delphine (which are aggravated the French republic for foreign affairs. “As th s lady by her own imprudences, and by the artifices of Ma- (once the friend of the authoress) may probably exdäme Vernon), Leonce, not in a'fit of honesty, but of ercise a considerable influence over the destinies of revenge, marries the lady he came to marry. Soon this country, we shall endeavour to make our readers after, Madame de Vernon dies-discovers the artifices a litile betier acqnainted with her ; but we must first by which she had prevented the union of Leonce and remind them that she was once a bishop, a higher Delphine-and then, after this catastrophe, which dignity in the church than was ever attained by any of ought to have terminated the novel, comes too long ro. her sex since the days of Pope Joan; and that though lumes of complaint and despair. Delphine becomes a she swindles Delphine out of her cstate with a consid. man-runs away from the nunnery with Leonce, who erable degree of address, her dexterity sometimes fails is taken by some Freuch soldiers, upon the supposition her, as in the memorable instance of the American that he has been serving in the French emigrant arny commissioners. Madaine de Stael gives the following against his country--is shot, and upon his dead body description of this pastoral metropolitan female : falls Delphine as dead as he. Making every allowance for reading this book in a

• Though she is at least forty, she still appears charming translation, and in a very bad translation, we cannot paleness of her complexion, the slight relaxation of her fes

even among the young and beautiful of her own sex. The but deem it a heavy periormance. The incidents are tures, indicate the languor of indi-position, and not the devulgar; the characters vulgar, too, except those of cay of years ; the easy negligence of her dress accords with Delphine and Madame de Vernon. 'Madaine de Stael this impression. Every one concludes, that when her health has not the artifice to hide what is coming. In travel. is recovered, and she dresses with more care, she must be ling through a flat country, or a flat book, we see our but it is always expected ; and that is sufficient to make the

completely beautiful: this change, however, never happens, road before us for halt" the distance we are going. imagination till add something more to the natural effect There are no agrecable sinuosities, and no specula- of her charms.'-(Vol. I., p. 21.) tions whether we are to ascend next or descend;

what new sight we are to enjoy, or to which side we are to Nothing can be more execrable than the manner in bend. Leonce is robbed and half murdered; the apo. which this book is translated. The bookseller has thecary of the place is certain he will not live ; we employed one of our countrymen for that purpose, were absolutely certain that he would live, and could who appears to have been very lately caught. The predict to an hour the time of his recovery. In the contrast between the passionate exclainatious o! Ma. same manner we could have prophesied every event dame de Stael, and the barbarous vulgarities of poor of the book a whole volume before its occurrence. Sawney, produces a mighty ludicrous efiect. One of

This novel is a perfect Alexandrian. The two last the heroes, a man of high fastidious temper, exclaims volumes are redundant, and drag their wounded in a letter to Delphine, I cannot endure this Paris; I length: it should certainly have terminated where have met with ever so many people whom my soul abthe interest ceases, at the death of Madame de Ver. hors.' And the accomplished and enraptured Leonce non; but, instead of this, the scene-shitiers come and terminates one of his letters thus : • Adieu ! adieu ! my pick up the dead bodies, wash the stage, sweep it, dearest Delphine. I will give you a call to-mortos. and do every thing which the timely fall of the cur? We doubt if Grub street ever imported from Caledonia tain should have excluded from the sight, and left to a more abominable translator. the imagination of the audience. We humbly appre

Weadmit the character of Madame de Vernon to be hend, that young gentlemen do not in general make drawn with considerable skill. There are occasional their tutors the confidants of their passion ; at least we traits of eloquence and pathos in this novel, and very can find no rule of that kind laid down either by Miss many of those observations upon manners and charac. Hamilton or Miss Edgeworth, in their treatises on edu- rer, which are totally out of the reach of all who have cation. The tutor of Leonce is Mr. Barton, a grave old lived not long in the world, and observed it well. gentleman, in a peruke and snuff-coloured clothes. In

The immorality of any book (in our estimation) is stead of writing to this solemn personage about se to be determined by the general impression it leares cond causes, the ten categories, and the eternal fitness on those minds, whose principles, not yet ossified, are of things, the young lover raves to him, for whole pa. capable of affording a less powerful defence to its in. ges, about the white neck and auburn hair of his Del. fluence. The most dangerous effect that any fictitioas phine ; and, shame to tell! the liquorish old peda. character can produce, is when two or three of its gogue seems to think these amorous ebullitions the popular vices are varnished over with every thing that pleasantest sort of writing in usum Delphini that he is captivating and gracious in the exterior, and enne has yet met with.

bled by association with splendid virtues: this apoloBy altering one word, and making only one false gy will be more sure of its effect, if the faults are not quantity,* we shall change the rule ot Horace to against nature, but against society. The arersion to Nec febris intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus

murder and cruelty could not perhaps be so overcome; Inciderit.

but a regard to the sanctity of marriage vows, to the Delphine and Leonce hare eight very bad typhus fe- and to numberless restrictions important to the well

sacred and sensitive delicacy of the female character. * Perhaps a fuult of all others which the English are least being of our species, may easily be relaxed by this disposed to pardon. A young man, who, on a public occa- subtle and voluptuous contusion of good and erů. sion, makes a falte quantity at the outset of life, can sel- is in vain to say the fable evinces, in the last act, that dom or never get over it.

vice is productive of misery. We may decorate a ril

lain with graces and felicities for nine volumes, and sure to add, that the badness of the principles is alone hang him in the last page. This is not teaching vir. corrected by the badness of the style, and that this tue, but gilding the gallows, and raising up splendid, celebrated lady would have been very guilty, if she associations in favour of being hanged. In such an had not been very dull ! union of the amiable and the vicious, (especially if the vices are such, to the commission of which there is no want of natural disposition,) the vice will not degrade the man, but the man will ennoble the vice. We shall MISSION TO ASHANTEE. (EDINBURGH REVIEW, wish to be him we admire, in spite of his vices, and, if

1819.) the novel be well written, even in consequence of his vice. There exists, through the whole of this novel, Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee, with a Sta

tistical Account of that King dom, and Geographical Notices a show of exquisite sensibility to the evils which individuals suffer by the inflexible rules of virtue prescribed! Bowdich, Conductor. London, Murray. 1819.

of other Parts of the Interior of Africa. By T. Edward by society, and an eager disposition to apologize for particular transgressions. Such .doctrine is not con CAPE Coast CASTLE, or Cape Corso, is a factory of fined to Madame de Staël; an Arcadian cant is gaining Africa, on the Gold Coast. The Portuguese setiled fast upon Spartan gravity ; and the happiness diffused, here in 1610, and built the citadel; from which, in a and the beautiful order established in society, by this few years afterwards, they were dislodged by the unbending disciplire, are wholly swallowed up in com

Dutch. In 1661, it was demolished by the English passion for the unfortunate and interesting individual. under Admiral Holmes ; and by the treaty of Breda, Either the exceptions or the rule must be given up : it was made over to our government. The latitude of every highwayman who thrusts his pistol into a chaise Cape Coast Castle is 5 6 north ; the longitude 1° 51' window has met with unforeseen misfortunes ; and west. The capital of the kingdom of Ashantee is every loose matron who fies into the arms of her Coomassie, the latitude of which is about 6° 30' 20" Greville was compelled to marry an old man whom north, and the longitude 2° 6' 30" west. The mission she detested, by an avaricious and unfeeling father. quitted Cape Coast Castle on the 22d of April, and ar. The passions want not accelerating, but retarding ma- rived at Coomassie about the 16th of May-halting chinery. This fatal and foolish sophistry has power two or three days on the route, and walking the whole enough over every heart, not to need aid of fine com- distance,

or carried by hammock-bearers at a foot. position, and well.contrived incident-auxiliaries pace. The distance between the fort and the capital which Madame de Stael intended to bring forward in is not more than 150 miles, or about as far as from the cause, though she has fortunately not succeeded.

Durham to Edinburgh; and yet the kingdom of Ash. M. de Serbellone is received as a guest into the house antee was, before the mission of Mr. Bowdich, almost of M. d'Ervins, whose wife he debauches as a recom- as much unknown to us as if it had been situated in pense for his hospitality: Is it possible to be disgust. some other planet. The country which surrounds ed with ingratitude and injustice, when united to such Cape Coast Castle belongs to the Fantees; and, about an assemblage of talents and virtues as this man of the year 1807, an Ashantee army reached the coast paper possesses ? Was there ever a more delightful, for the first time. They invaded Fantee again in fascinating adulteress than Madame d'Ervins is inten. 1311, and, for the third time, in 1816. To put a stop to ded to be or a povero cornuto less capable of exciting the horrible cruelties committed by the stronger on compassion than her husband? The morality of all the weaker nation; to secure their own safely, en. this is the old morality of Farquhar, Vanburgh, and dangered by the Ashantees; and to enlarge our knowCongreve-that every witty man may transgress the ledge of Atrica the government of Cape Coast Castle seventh commandment, which was never meant for the persuaded the African committee to send a deputation protection of husbands who labour under the incapacity to the kingdom of Ashantee ; and of this embassy the of makiug repartees. In Matilda, religion is always as publication now before us is the narrative. The em. unamiable as dissimulation is graceful in Madame de bassy walked through a beautitul country, laid waste Vernon, and imprudence generous in Delphine. This by the recent wars, and arrived in the time we have said Delphine, with her fine auburn hair, and her beau- mentioned, and without meeting with any remarkable tiful blue or green eyes (we forget which), cheats her accident, at Coomassie the capital. The account of cousin Matilda out of her lover, alienates the affec. their first reception there we shall lay before our tions of her husband, and keeps a sort of assignation readers. house for Serbellone and his chère amie, justifying her. "We entered Coomassie at two o'clock, passing under a self by the most touching complaints against the ri. fetish, or sacrifice of a dead sheep, wrapped up in red silk, and gour of the world, and using the customary phrases, suspended between two lofty poles. Upwards of 5000 people, union of souls, married in the eye of heaven, &c. &c. the greater part warriors, met us with awful bursts of martial &c., and such like diction, the types of which Mr. music, discordant only in its mixture ; for horns, drums, rattles, Lane, of the Minerva Press, very prudently keeps and gong-gongs, were all exerted with a zeal bordering on ready composed, in order to facilitate the printing of frenzy, to subdue us by the first impression. The smoke which

encircled us from the incessant discharges of musquetry, conthe Adventures of Captain and Miss F and fined our glimpses to the foreground; and we were halted other interesting stories, of which he, the said inimita. whilst the captains performed their Pyrrhic dance, in the centre ble Mr. Lane, of the Minerva Press, well knows these of a circle formed by their warriors; where a confusion of sentiments must make a part. Another perilous ab- Hags, English, Dutch, and Danish, were waved and flourished surdity which this useful production tends to cherish, in all directions, the bearers springing from side to side, with is the common notion, that contempt of rule and order a passion of enthusiasm only equalled by the captains, disis a proof of greatness of mind. Delphine is every then were in a blaze ; and emerging from the smoke with all

charging their blunderbusses so close, that the fags now and where a great spirit struggling with the shackles im. the gesture and distortion of maniacs. Their followers kept up posed upon her in common with the little world around the firing around us in the rear. The dress of the captains was ber; and it is managed so that her contempt of res a war cap, with gilded rams' horns projecting in front, the trictions shall always appear to flow from the extent, sides extended beyond all proportion by immense pluines of variety, and splendour of her talents. The vulgarity eagles' feathers, and fastened under the chin with bands of of this heroism ought in some degree to diminish it's cowries. Their vest was of red cloth, covered with fetishes value. Mr. Colquhoun, in his Police of the Metropo. and saphies in gold and silver; and embroidered cases of almost lis, reckons up above 40,000 heroines of this species, moved, intermixed with small brass bells, the horns and tails most of whom, we dare say, have at one time or anoth- of animals, shells and knives ; long leopards' tails hung down er reasoned like the sentimental Delphine about the their backs, over a small bow covered with fetishes. They judgments of the world.

wore loose cotton trowsers, with immense boots of a dull red To conclude-Our general opinion of this book is, leather, coming half way up the thigh, and fastened by small that it is calculated to shed a mild lustre over adulte. chains to their cartouch or waist belt; these were also ornary; by gentle and convenient gradation, to destroy the mented with bells, horses' tails, strings of amulets, and innuDodesty and the caution of women : to facilitate the hung from their right wrist, and they held a long iron chain acquisition of easy vices, and encumber the difficulty between their teeth with a scrap of Moorish writing affixed to of virtue. What a wretched qualification of this cen. 'the end of it. A small spear was in their left hands, covered

Q

with red cloth and silk tassels ; their black countenances cautious in their accounts; declining to speak unless heightened the effect of this attire and completed a figure they were positive

and frequently referring doubtful scarcely human.

points to others whom they knew to be better ac *This exhibition continued about half an hour, when we were allowed to proceed, encircled by the warriors, whose quainted with them. numbers, with the crowds of people, made our movement as

The character of the present king is, upon the gradual as if it had taken place in Cheapside; the several whole, respectable; but he is ambitious, has com. streets branching off to the right presented long vistas crammed quered a great deal, and is conquering still. He has with people; and those on the left hand being on an acclivity, a love of knowledge; and was always displeased innumerable rows of heads rose one above another : the large when the European objects which attracted his attenopen porches of the houses, like the fronts of stages in small tion were presented to him as gifts. His motives, he theatres, were filled with the better sort of females and chil: said, ought to be better understood, and more respect heir exclamations were drowned in the firing and music, bui paid to his dignity and friendship. He is acute, capri

. their gestures were in character with the scene. When we cious, and severe, but not devoid of humanity; and reached the palace, about half a mile from the place where we has incurred unpopularity on some occasions, by entered, we were again halted, and an open file was made, limiting the number of human sacrifices more than through which the bearers were passed, to deposit the presents was compatible with strict orthodoxy. His general and baggage in the house assigned to us. Here we were grati: subjects of discourse with the mission were war, fied by observing several of the caboceers (chiefs) pass by with legislation, and mechanics. He seemed very desirous their trains, the novel splendour of which astonished us. bands, principally composed of horns and flutes, trained to play of standing well in the estimation of his European in concert, seemed to soothe our hearing into its natural tone friends; and put off a conversation once because he again by their wild melodies; whilst the immense umbrellas, was a little tipsy, and at another time because he felt made to sink and rise from the jerkings of the bearers, and himself cross and out of temper. the large fans waving around, refreshed us with small currents The king, four aristocratical assessors, and the of air, under a burning sun, clouds of dust, and a density of assembly or captains, are the three estates of the atmosphere almost suffocating. We were then squeezed, at the same funeral pace, up a long street, to an open-fronted all matters of foreign policy, have a veto on the king's

Ashantee government. The noble quartumvirate, in house, where we were desired by another royal messenger to decisions. They watch, rather than share, the dowait a further invitation from the king.'-(pp. 31-33.

mestic administration ; generally influencing it by The embassy remained about four months, leaving their opinion, rather than controlling it by their auone of their members behind as a permanent resident. thority. In exercising his judicial functions, the king Their treatment, though subjected to the fluctuating always retires in private with the aristocracy, to bear passions of barbarians, was, upon the whole, not bad; their opinions. The course of succession in Ashantee and a foundation appears to have been laid for future is the brother, the sister's son, the son, and the chief intercourse with the Ashantees, and a mean opened, slave. through them, of becoming better acquainted with The king's sisters may marry, or intrigue with any the interior of Africa.

person they please, provided he is very strong and The Moors, who seem (barbarians as they are) to handsome; and these elevated and excellent women be the civilizers of internal Africa, have penetrated to are always ready to set an example of submission to the capital of the Ashantees: they are bigoted and the laws of their country. The interest of money is intolerant to Christians, but not sacrificers of human about 300 per cent. A man may kill his own slare ; victims in their religious ceremonies ;-nor averse to or an inferior, for the price of seven slaves. Tritling commerce; and civilized in comparison to most of the thefts are punished by exposure. The property of the idolatrous natives of Africa. From their merchants wife is distinct from that of the husband-though the who resorted from various parts of the interior, Mr. king is heir to it. Those accused of witchcraft are Bowdich einployed himself in procuring all the geo. tortured to death. Slaves, if ill treated, are allowed graphical details which their travels enabled them to the liberty of transferring themselves to other mas. afford. Timbuctoo they described as inferior to ters. Houssa, and not at all comparable to Boornoo. The The Ashantees believe that an higher sort of god Moorish influence was stated to be powerful in it, but takes care of the whites, and that they are left to the not predominant. A small river goes nearly round care of an inferior species of deities. Still the black the town, overflowing in the rains, and obliging the kings and black nobility are to go to the upper gous people of the suburbs to move to an eminence in the after death, where they are to enjoy eternally the centre of the town where the king lives. The king, a state and luxury which was their portion on earth. Moorish negro called Billabahada, had a few double. For this reason a certain number of cooks, bullers, aud barrelled guns, which were fired on great occasions; domestics of every description, are sacrificed on their and gunpowder was as dear as gold. Mr. Bowdich tombs. They have two sets oí priests; the one dwell calculates Houssa to be N. E. from the Niger 20 days in the temples, and communicate with the idols; the journey of 18 miles each day; and the latitude and other species do business us conjurers and cunding longitude to be 18° 59' N. and 3° 59' E. Boornoo was men, tell fortunes, and detect small thefts. Half the spoken of as the first empire in Africa. The Maho: offerings to the idols are (as the priests say) throwo metans of Sennaar reckon it among the four powerful into the river, the other half they claim as their ort. empires of the world; the other three being Turkey, The doors of the temples are, from motives of the Persia, and Abyssinia.

highest humanity, open to runaway slaves; but shut, The Niger is only known to the Moors by the name upon a fee paid by the master to the priest. Every of the Quolla, pronounced as Quorra by the negroes, person has a small set of household gods, bought of who, from whatever countries they come, all spoke of the Fetishmen. They please their gods by avoiding this as the largest river with which they were ac- particular sorts of meat ; but the prohibited viand is quainted ; and it was the grand feature in all the not always the same. Some curry favour by eating no routes to Ashantee, whether from Houssa, Boornoo, veal; some protection by avoiding pork; others say, or the intermediate countries. The Niger, after leav- that the real monopoly which the celestials wish to ing the lake Dibbri, was invariably described as divid. establish, is that of beef—and so they piously and pruing into two large streams; the Quolla, or the greater dently rush into a course of multon. They have the division, pursuing its course south-eastward, till it customary nonsense of lucky days, trial 'by ordeal, joined the Bahr Abaid ; and the other branch running and libations and relics. The most horrid and detest. northward of east, near to Timbuctoo, and dividing able of their customs is their sacrifice of human ric. again soon afterwards—the smaller division running tims, and the torture preparatory to it. This takes northwards by Yahoodee, a place of great trade, and place at all their grea: festivals, or customs, as they the larger running directly eastward, and entering the are called. Some of these occur every twenty-one lake Caudi under the name of Gambaroo. The days; and there are not fewer than a hundred victims variety of this concurrent evidence respecting the immolated at each. Besides these, there are sacrifice Gambaroo, made an impression on my mind,' says Mr. es at the death of every person of rank, more or less Bow dich, almost amounting to conviction.' The bloody according to their dignity. On the deait of same author adds, that he found the Moors very his mother, the king butchered no less than three thox.

So

sand victims; and on his own death this number The doors were an entire piece of cotton wood, cut with great would probably be doubled. The funeral rites of a labour out of the stems or buttresses of that tree; battens great captain were repeated weekly for three months; variously cut and painted were afterwards nailed across. and 200 persons, it is said, were slaughtered each time, that I gave but two tokoos for a slab of cotton wood, five feet

disproportionate was the price of labour to that of provision, or 2400 hundred in all. The author gives an account by three. The locks they use are from Houssa, and are quite of the manner of these abominations, in one instance original: one will be sent to the British Museum. Where they of which he was an unwilling spectator. On the fune- raised a first floor, the under room was divided into two by an ral of the mother of Quatchie Quotie, which was by no intersecting wall, to support the rafters for the upper room, means a great one,

which were generally covered with a frame-work thickly plas

tered over with red ochre. I saw but one attempt at flooring A dash of sheep and rum was exchanged between the king with plank; it was cotton wood shaped entirely with an adze, and Quatchie Quofie, and the drums announced the sacrifice and looked like a ship's deck. The windows were open wood. of the victims. All the chiefs first visited them in turn; I was work, carved in fanciful figures and intricate patterns, and not near enough to distinguish wherefore. The executioners painted red; the frames were frequently cased in gold, about wrangled and struggled for the office; and the indifference as thick as cartridge paper. What surprised me most, and is with which the first poor creature looked on, in the torture he not the least of the many circumstances deciding their great was from the knife passed through his cheeks, was remarka- superiority over the generality of negroes, was the discovery ble. The nearest executioner snatched the sword from the that every house had its cloucæ, besides the common ones for others, the right hand of the victim was then lopped off, he the lower orders without the town.'—(pp. 305, 306.) was thrown down, and his head was sawed rather than cut off: it was cruelly prolonged, I will not say wilfully. Twelve

The rubbish and offal of each house are burnt every more were dragged forward, but we forced our way through morning at the back of the street ; and they are as the crowd, and retired to our quarters. Other sacrifices, prin- nice in their dwellings as in their persons. The Ash. cipally female, were made in the bush where the body was bu- antee loon is precisely on the same principles as the ried. It is usual to " wet the grave" with the blood of a free- English ; the fineness, variety, brilliancy, and size of man of respectability. All the retainers of the family being their cloths are astonishing. They paint white present, and the heads of all the victims deposited in the boots cloths, not inelegantly, as fast as an European can hurry to assist in placing the coffin or basket; and just as it write. They excel in pottery, and are good goldrests on the head or skulls, a slave from behind stuns one of smiths. Their weights are very neat brass casts of these freemen by a violent blow, followed by a deep gash in almost every animal, fruit, and vegetable, known in the back part of the neck, and he is rolled in on the top of the the country. The king's scales, blow.pan, boxes, body, and the grave instantly filled up.'—(pp. 287, 288.) * About a hundred persons, mostly culprits reserved, are est gold. They work finely in iron, tan leather, and

weights, and pipe-tongs were neatly made of the pur. generally sacrificed, in different quartors of the town, at this custom (thut is, at the feast for the new year). Several slaves

are excellent carpenters. were also sacrificed at Bantama, over the large brass pan, their

Mr. Bowdich computes the number of men capable blood mingling with the various vegetable and animal matter of bearing arms to be 204,000. The disposable force within (fresh and putrefied), to complete the charm, and pro- is 150,000 ; the population a million; the number of duce invincible fetish. All the chiefs kill several slaves, that square miles 14,000. Polygamy is tolerated to the their blood may flow into the hole from whence the new yam greatest extent ; the king's allowance is 3333 wives ; is taken. Those who cannot afford to kill slaves, take the and the full compliment is always kept up. Four of head of one already sacrificed, and place it on the hole.?—(p. the principal streets in Coomassie are half a mile long; 279.)

and from 50 to 100 yards wide. The streets were all The Ashantees are very superior in discipline and named, and a superior captain in charge of cach. The courage to the water-side Africans: they never pursue street where the mission was lodged was called Appe. when it is near sunset; the general is always in the remsoo, or Cannon Street ; another street was called rear, and the fugitives are instantly put to death. The Daebrim, or Great Market Street ; another, Prison army is prohibited, during the active part of the cam- Street, and so on. A plan of the town is given. The paign, from all food but meal, which each man carries Ashantees persisted in saying that the population of in a small bag by his side, and mixes in his hands with Coomassie was above 100,000; but this is thought, by the first water he comes to; no fires are allowed, lest the gentlemen of the mission, to allude rather to the their position should be betrayed; they eat little se population collected on great occasions, than the per. lect bits of the first enemy's heart whom they kill; inanent residents, not computed by them at more than and all wear ornaments of his teeth and bones.

15,000. The markets were daily; and the articles for In their buildings, a mould is made for receiving sale, beef, mutton, wild-hog, deer, monkeys' flesh, the clay, by two rows of stakes placed at a distance fowls, yams, plaintains, corn, sugar-cane, rice, pep. equal to the intended thickness of the wall: the inter-pers, vegetable butter, oranges, papans, pine-apples, val is then filled with gravelly clay mixed with water, bananas, salt and dried fish, large snails smoke-dried ; which, with the outward surface of the frame work, is palm wine, rum, pipes, beads, looking-glasses ; san. plastered so as to exhibit the appearance of a thick dals, silk, cotton cloth, powder, small pillars, white mud wall. The captains have pillars which assist to and blue thread, and calabashes. The cattle in Ashsupport the roof, and form a proscenium, or open front. antee are as large as English cattle ; their sheep are The steps and raised floors of the rooms are clay and hairy. They have no implement but the hoe; have stone, with a thick layer of red earth, washed and two crops of corn in the year; plant their yams at painted daily.

Christmas, and dig thein up in September. Their

plantations, extensive and orderly, have the appear. • While the walls are still soft, they formed moulds or frame- ance of hop gardens well fenced in, and regularly works of the patterns in delicate slips of cane, connected by planted in lines, with a broad walk around, and a hut grass. The two first slips (one end of each being inserted in at each wicker-gate, where a slave and his family re. terstices were then filled up with the plaster, and assumed the side to protect the plantation. All the fruits mention. appearance depicted. The poles or pillars were sometimes ed as sold in the market grow in spontaneous abundencircled by twists of cane, intersecting each other, which, ance, as did the sugar-cane. The oranges were of a being filled up with thin plaster, resembled the lozenge and large size and exquisite flavour. There were no cocoa cable ornaments of the Anglo-Norman order; the quatre-foil trees. The berry which gives to acids the flavour of was very common, and by no means rude, from the symme- sweets, making limes taste like honey, is common trical bend of the cane which formed it. I saw a few pillars here. after they had been squared with the plaster), with numerous

The castor oil plant rises to a large tree. slips of cane pressed perpendicularly on to the wet surface, The cotton tree sometimes rises to the height of 150 which, being covered again with a very thin coat of plaster, feet. closely resembled futing. When they formed a large arch, The great obstacle to the improvement of commerce they inserted one end of a thick piece of cane in the wet clay with the Ashantec people (besides the jealousy natuof the floor or base, and, bending the other over, inserted it in ral to barbarians) is our rejection of the slave trade, the same manner; the entablature was filled up with wattle and the continuance of that detestable traffic by the work plastered over. Arcades and piazzas were common. white sh, very frequently renewed, was made from a clay Spaniards. While the mission was in that country, in the neighwourhood. or course the plastering is very frail, one thousand slaves left Ashantee for two Spanish and in the relief frequently discloses the edges of the cane, schooners on the coast.-How is an African monarch giving, however, • piquant effect, auxiliary to the ornament.' to be taught that he has not a right to turn human

« PreviousContinue »