« AnteriorContinuar »
and flatter them to the top of their bent.
All this has a very palpable object; and JHE wealth of the natives of Africa if the reader supposes that the white trader,
present time has consisted exclusively of tion, takes advantage of the ignorance and the natural productions of their burning simplicity of the poor black, he greatly clime. With the exception of Egypt, no errs, for although this may occasionally nation in that vast, mysterious, and won- happen, yet, as a general rule, the reverse derful division of the globe, has ever be- is rather the case, for the chief natives come so civilized as to produce by manual as keen men of business in their skill articles of commercial value to sell or way as any man on Liverpool or Glasgow barter with other races of men. It is 'Change. If the white man can so manage supposed that the “ivory, apes, peacocks, that he is not cheated himself, he may rest gold," &c., brought to King Solomon by content. The African bakhshish is termed the “ships of Tarshish,” were obtained " dash." “ Making dashes, or presents, from Africa. From that remote period has become part of the trade from usage, till now, it is highly probable that the in- and to know how to make presents juditercourse, based on the traffic in question, ciously is a very important branch of the between Europeans, Asiatics, and Africans, i knowledge of it. When the negro trader has continued year by year without any comes to look at your goods, he asks for interval of suspension ; nor do we think a dash; when he brings you goods, he there has ever been any material difference wants one ; and when he receives payment, in the manner of trading.
another. The head slaves look for dashes; We purpose describing the mode of the pilots, both in bringing you in and doing business which prevails at this day taking you out of the rivers, independent in the Gulf of Guinea, a locality which has of a fixed payment, receive dashes; inalways been eminent for traffic beyond any deed, whatever the occasion of a black other part of the western coast.
man's coming on board may be, a dash is enabled to gather ample and reliable in- always solicited. Nothing connected with formation for our purpose from a book, trade tires your patience so much as their entitled Trade and Travels in the Gulf of importunities for presents.” Guinea, written by a gentleman named It is astonishing to what an extent some Smith, who made several voyages as ship’s of the native chiefs and large traders are surgeon and “trading-captain ”-as the intrusted with goods. “ With the utmost natives call the supercargo or agent for confidence, a fellow nearly naked will ask the European merchant.
you for three or four, or even five thousand A ship having arrived at any of the pounds' worth of goods on credit, and inlittle ports or trading-towns, is moored as dividuals are often trusted to that amount. closely to the shore as may be safe or con I have trusted more than one man with venient, and then the trader goes ashore goods, the returns of which were worth to pay or compound for 6
between two and three thousand pounds." custom-dues with the king of the place. Not one in ten, however, who asks for These duties are paid in goods in propor- credit, is worthy of it; and trusting to tion to the ship’s tonnage. The crew mean any amount whatever entirely depends on while strike masts and yards, and clear the circumstances. The character a negro hold for stowing palm-oil, &c. The goods trader bears, and the size of his house, and brought by the ship are sent ashore, and the number of his slaves and wives, are placed under a temporary shed on the the criteria of his worth as a man of busibeach, under charge of two or more African Some of the chiefs are said, by Kroumen-for it would be certain death | Mr. Smith, to be splendid merchants. for white men to sleep ashore—who watch They are hard, he says, in bargaining; them day and night, and are accountable but the agreement once made, they confor them.
scientiously adhere to it, and they are as Custom having been settled with the exact in their payments as their European king, the ship hoists her colors and fires a brethren. gun, as a signal to open trade. Forthwith, The articles which the English trader the vessel is boarded by crowds of natives, takes out with him to barter are exceedwho “ crack fingers” with the Europeans, | ingly multifarious. There are all sorts of
gaudy cotton-prints from Manchester ; | takes possession of his newly-acquired guns, iron bars, copper and brass rods, property. knives, buttons, beads, and hardware of Bartering in the Gulf of Guinea is teall descriptions from Birmingham; musical dious enough; but it is far worse to the instruments, silks, gunpowder, rum, &c. southward, where the native holds out All goods paid to the natives are called merely for the love of higgling and disbars, derivable from the custom that once puting, although he may have made up his prevailed of making an iron bar the stand- mind from the first to accept what you ard of value. The value of goods is have offered. When the Guinea negro reckoned (almost nominally) by the manilla has made the very best bargain he can, -which is a piece of copper, worth about and has at length paid for it with the five cents. Rum, tobacco, cowries, &c., articles agreed, he then torments the are sold wholesale, and the smallest quan- | trader for the usual dash. " He first tity of oil received is a puncheon. The wants a valuable article—such as a gun, articles which the African gives in ex piece of high-priced cloth—which if change are principally palm-oil, ivory, he does not get, nay, whether he does or gum copal, and small quantities of gold- not, he nexts solicits an article of less dust. Some of the ivory tusks are of value, such as a knife; then a night-cap, great size and weight. They vary from then a mug, afterward a plate, and lastly thirty to seventy pounds-weight each tusk, a tobacco-pipe." but our author has obtained one of a pair Of course the priests are by no means that would weigh together above two backward on their part in begging, or hundred and ninety pounds. We learn rather demanding dashes; and it is highly without much surprise, that the black man advisable, if not altogether necessary, to is quite as roguishly expert at adulterating propitiate them, for they possess sufficient his goods as his white brother can possibly power over both chiefs and people to put be. He, instance, mixes sand and a stop to trading under certain circumcopper-filings with gold-dust; pours melt- stances. A remarkable instance of this ed lead into the cavities of elephants’ tusks is related. On one part of the coast, the to increase their weight; and mixes palm- guana—a sort of huge lizard—is ju-ju, oil with chopped plaintain-sucker, mud, or sacred, and is regarded as a tutelar water, calabash, &c. “Every conceive divinity. It happened that one of these able mode of deception is resorted to," creatures crawled on board a ship, and one says Mr. Smith, “to cheat you. Some of the coopers, not aware of the conseof them are not indifferent coopers, and quences of the act, cruelly cut about a foot with the cooper's tools they have stolen off its tail. “ Several scores of natives from ships, cut off the chimes of the casks were on board at this time, and were so with which they are supplied to put oil in, alarmed, that they all instantly betook and make new ones; or knock down the themselves to their canoes in the greatest cask entirely, and take out a stave or two trepidation, every moment expecting the ere putting it together again; or nail ship would sink, or be struck with lightpieces of wood to the inside of the heads ning, for his having dared to offer such an of the casks." But at the large and indignity to one of their gods. Formal beautiful island of Fernando Po-situated demand was made by the priests, through about a score of miles from the mainland the king, for the perpetrator of this awfully in the Bight of Biafra—a far more primi- sacrilegious act, to be given up to them tive and satisfactory mode of barter still for punishment, which would certainly be prevails, although it is mainly confined on death ; and every native was interdicted the part of the natives to a supply of trading with the ship, or even going on edibles. A line is drawn on the beach, board, under the heaviest penalty. This the natives remaining on one side of it, is called putting mark for ship.'” Under and the Europeans on the other. The these circumstances, the traders found it former lay down their yams, or whatever necessary to open a conciliatory negotiathey wish to sell, and the latter place tion with the priests and natives; and beads, tobacco, or whatever they are ultimately, on paying the latter à large willing to give in exchange. Should the quantity of goods, the taboo was removed native be content, the two contracting from the ship, the cooper forgiven, and all parties mutually cross the line, and each | things resumed their usual course.
The chiefs and rich native traders buy fidence in themselves than they have in all descriptions of elegant and costly you, and in the artificial assistance you European furniture—including sofas, fau- have at command. Receipts for eleteuils, ottomans, mirrors, gold and silver phants' tusks, oil, &c., are given in writcloth, damask table-covers, carpets, &c., ing. Agreements of all kinds, and promisas well as many refined luxuries, such as sory-notes, and orders upon the officers of musical boxes, pianofortes, &c. Now, all the ship, are also given under your hand, they care for about these things is the on scraps of paper, which they fold caremere fact of possession—the ability to fully up, and tie in the corners of their boast of having articles not possessed by handkerchiefs. A native trader doing the majority of their countrymen. As to business with ten or fifteen ships at the putting them to use, that is out of the same time, whose transactions extend to question. Hundreds of pounds of valuable every article of commerce they have, has goods are lumbered together in a large an incredible number of written documents hut and left to rot; or the more portable or books, but I never knew a wrong book articles are packed in boxes and buried in presented. Their head slaves and wives the ground, where the insects and reptiles assist in arranging, taking care of, and make short work with them. A chief will remembering them.” give anything for a novelty, no matter Whatever the Guinea trade may be to what it is, or whether he even understands the ship’s owner, owing to the deadliness its use, and will half ruin himself some of the climate, it is a most unpleasant and times rather than a rival should outbid dangerous one for the crew. Then the him for the coveted article.
voyage is invariably a long one, owing to see human nature the same at bottom all the time occupied in “housing " the ship the world over. The native huts, it may --which is absolutely necessary, for the be added, are exceedingly liable to be heavy rains begin in May or June, and burned, and in this way large stores of continue without intermission for several European commodities are continually months-preparing the goods, trading them being destroyed.
away, and getting in the return cargo. When a ship has sold all her cargo, the The coast is also liable to tremendous upper masts are sent aloft again, as a tornadoes, attended by awful thunder and signal that the vessel has done trading, forked lightning, blazing from every point and is now waiting the settlement of all of the compass at once. The ship is outstanding accounts; and now the worst shaken to her very keel by the thunder, trials of the trader's patience come on. and is frequently struck in either masts or If the negro merchant has fairly pledged hull by the lightning; and what renders his word to pay on a certain day, he this liability more appalling is the fact, generally redeems the promise ; but more that a Guinea ship has often as much as frequently he puts off payment on all sorts thirty or even forty tons of gunpowder on of pretences, or perhaps tries cajolery and board, for the purpose of barter, and it is threats alternately, until, the white man's therefore no wonder that ships are ocpatience being exhausted, the debtor yields casionally blown to atoms.
Some years to necessity, and sends the stipulated quan- ago, the captain of a ship lying in Old tity of oil, or what not, on board the ship. Calabar deliberately stuck a lighted cigar It is interesting to learn how the natives in a barrel of powder, and blew the vessel manage to keep accounts with their nu up, a Krouman being hurled through one merous customers or creditors. “ The of the cabin-windows to a great distance principal chiefs of Old Calabar are ac on the water unhurt. quainted with the arts of reading and writing, which they apply in their business The true secret of living at peace with transactions. The inhabitants of the other all the world is to have an humble opinion rivers trust entirely to their memories, of ourselves. True goodness is invariably which necessity and use have enabled them accompanied by gentleness and humbleto cultivate and strengthen to an extraor- mindedness. Those people who are aldinary degree. Although they trust to ways sticking on their dignity,” are their own memories, they will not trust continually losing friends and making those of Europeans; neither will they enemies, and fostering a spirit of unhaptrust to their books : they have more con- piness in themselves.
A VISIT TO THE DEVIL-WORSHIPERS dress and equipment of the man we had OF ARMENIA.
brought as a guide from Bavian. He was
a very fair specimen of a Kurd—a fierce, T was a great disappointment to me on cut-throat-looking fellow—but with inore
at Jezirah, to find that the great annual this people, so noted for their surly stufestival of the Yezidis was to take place pidity. On his head was a conical cap of on the next day. It thus became evident brown felt, with a packing-needle stuck in that by no exertion could I hope to reach it, and a dark blue handkerchief wound the sacred valley of Sheikh Adi in time round the bottom. Over a shirt, of which to witness the mysterious rites which, the sleeves were very large and slit on the until vindicated by the testimony of mod- inner side, he wore a sack-for coat it ern travelers, had stamped this strange could not be called—of brown goat's hair, people with a character of systematic sewn conspicuously with red worsted, and profligacy, and had aided to give rise to with sleeves which reached to the elbow ; the report that the object of their adora- wide, white trowsers, drawn in at the tion was no other than the arch-enemy ankles, and gazelle-skin sandals, with a of mankind himself.
piece of coarse matting tied over the inBut although I was thus unable to seek step, completed his dress. Round his initiation into the ceremonies peculiar to waist he wore a belt furnished with a brace the feast-day of their prophet, I was de- of huge, unwieldly pistols and a cimeter ; termined not to quit the country without and from his side hung a leathern tobacat least having made a pilgrimage to the co-pouch, embroidered, and studded with shrine of their faith, and in some degree cowries. A long gun was slung at his satisfied my curiosity with regard to them. back, and he carried in one hand a sort of During my stay in Mosul I became ac- alpenstock, and in the other the indisquainted with the chief or prince of the pensable chibouque. Yezidis, Hussein Beg; and I was fortu In about half an hour we reached the nate enough to return one day from Nim- village of Mangouli, and we here entered roud in time to meet Sheikh Nasr, the a narrow gorge in the mountains, through spiritual head of the sect, on his visit to which a torrent, fringed with a perfect the town. They both promised me the thicket of oleander and wild pomegranate, most unbounded hospitality if I should en- burst its way to join the Zab in the plains ter their territories, and I was glad to below. I had sent on my tents and the avail myself of so good an opportunity of greater part of my servants to Baadri, the extending my travels to the lower chains chief town of the tribe, as I knew the averof the Armenian mountains.
sion with which the Yezidis view the enWe accordingly broke up our encamp- trance of Mohammedans into their sacred ment, which had lain beneath the great valley. My dragoman, and a groom who rock-sculptures hewn by Sennacherib upon was qualified to act as interpreter in Kurthe cliffs of Bavian, and proceeded to scale dish, of which the dragoman was ignorant, the steep sides of the mountains which alone accompanied me. hem in the valley of the Gomel. We soon could well sympathize with the delight reached the little Kurdish village of Mou- which must be felt by those Yezidis who sacàn, where, invited by a neatness and have made their long pilgrimage across cleanliness unusual in the East, I had the desert, on reaching this green and wellpitched my tents some days before. This watered valley. But I felt certain that time we only skirted the place, and rode no votary from the north, who had only past the burial-ground, which lay outside journeyed among the valleys and streams the village. It, too, shared in the general of Armenia, could hail with such pleasure neatness ; and many of the graves were the mountains, and trees, and living waters dressed with marigolds—the only flowers which surround the tomb of his saint, as I which are cultivated and valued in the did after dwelling for months among the country-while the piece of red cord which scorching plains of Mesopotamia. adorned each headstone was new, and of The gorge at first was narrow, and the brightest color.
confined between steep cliffs; but it soon As we continued our way over a rocky opened out into a sort of amphitheater, in and difficult path, I had time to notice the which four beautiful and well-wooded val
leys converged. The greenest and the The open space which I have described best-watered was that to the west; and seemed to be the only level spot in this in a few minutes we caught sight of the part of the valley. It was but a few yards white spires of Sheikh Adi, rising from across, and from it the mountains rose the trees at the head of it.
steeply on either side. In one corner was Our path lay along the banks of the the mouth of the tunnel by which we had brawling stream, and was shaded by mag- entered, and in the other corner of the nificent groves of plane-trees and oak, same side was the portal which led to the which stretched to the summits of the sur outer court of the temple. On the southrounding hills. Here and there the white ern side, and close under the hill, was a front of a khan, or resting place for pil- large fountain fed by a copious stream that grims, stood out from among the trees, flowed from a smaller temple, dedicated and strongly relieved their dark foliage. apparently to the sun. The remaining At a little distance the road we had been sides of the area were inclosed by stone following suddenly entered a massively- seats and fountains, or by the boundary built tunnel, which evidently led to the wall of the temple ; and the boughs of sacred precincts. I was unwilling to go several large mulberry-trees spread a mysfurther without permission, lest I should tic gloom over the whole. shock the feelings of the priests by sud I followed the sheikh through the archdenly intruding upon their ceremonies; way I have mentioned into the outer court but as, after a little while, our shouts had of the temple. The walls were built failed to bring any answer, I pushed on of massive masonry, disposed in regular through the archway.
courses, and the stones around the enAfter riding a little way in the dark I trance were sculptured with cabalistic emerged upon an open space in which signs. Among them I noticed the figure were several fountains and springs of the of a bird-perhaps the king of the peacocks purest water, surrounded by stone slabs himself!-a hatchet, a hooked stick, a and seats. I was here accosted by a fa- comb, and double triangles, within circles, kir, one of the lowest order of priests, after the manner of Freemasons' signs. who seemed to be ordering me off the We took off our shoes to enter the inner premises; but when my interpreter came court, along one side of which the temple itup, and I was able to explain that I was a self stands, and descending a few steps, Christian from the far west, and that I found ourselves in front of a low and curicame with the permission of Hussein Beg ously-ornamented arch, beside which were and Sheikh Nasr, his tone changed at once, most conspicuously painted in black the and he gave us a most hearty welcome. hooked stick, the comb, and a serpent. I was at once established in a guest house The temple was very dark, and it was close to the temple, and several priests a few minutes before we could make out and priestesses vied with one another in the form of the building. At the entrance supplying my wants.
there was a spout and a tank of the beauBut I was anxious to explore the tem- tifully clear water which abounds throughple, and on proposing to see it at once, out the valley, and, as our conductor made and to return afterward to the dinner which some signs about it that we did not underthey were preparing, a venerable old stand, I thought it expedient to follow his sheikh readily led the way. He was a example, and to wash my hands and face; fine-looking fellow, with a long gray beard, as I knew that it was the custom of the and robes of spotless white which swept Yezidis to perform ablutions before apthe ground. His turban was black, and proaching their holy places. We then round his waist he wore a girdle of a red went on into the temple. It was a plain and green check-pattern. The priestesses building, divided in the center by a row of wore robes of the same check, which much massive columns, which, as is usual in resembled a Highland tartan, and scarfs the churches of the East, were tapestried of it were fastened upon their shoulders with gay cloths and large handkerchiefs. with large buckles. The fakirs were en On the northern side hung a gold-embroitirely clothed in black, and they appeared dered curtain, which, on being drawn back, to be employed in the menial offices of disclosed the so-called tomb of Sheikh Adi the temple, such as trimming the lamps -a mere frame-work of lath and plaster, and carrying wood.
covered with a green cloth; and probably