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Volume 6099_16
Another major book which prepared the advent of
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs


Stanley's Absorbing Interest in Livingstone's Explorations

Stanley's Absorbing Interest in Livingstone's Explorations — His Resolve to Find a
Path from Sea to Sea — A Man of Remarkable Enterprise — Determined to Accom-
plish His Object at Any Cost — Description of the Congo Region— Once the Most
Famous Kingdom of Africa — A King Glorious in Trinkets — People Prostrating
Themselves Before Their Monarch — The Whims of a Despot — Taxes Levied on
Furniture — Killing Husbands to Get Their Wives — Strange and Savage Cus-
toms — Messengers Collecting Slaves and Ivory— A Nation Famous as Elephant
Hunters and Men Stealers— Worship of a Wicked Deity — Priests with Absolute
Power — Sacred Fire Burning Continually — A Priest so Holy That He Cannot Die
a Natural Death — Test of Red Hot Iron Applied to the Skin — How the Congoese
Disfigure Themselves — Outlandish Dress — Husbands Rebuked for Neglecting to
Beat Their Wives— Pipes and Palm- Wine — A Notorious Queen— Followed by a
Host of Lovers — Horrible Practices — Slaughter of Male Children — The Queen's
Tragic End — Queen Shmga and Her Daring Exploits— Female Demon— Univer.-al
Polygamy— Eating Habits of the Congo Tribes — Agonies c f Indigestion — Singular
Modes of Salutation — Stanley's Description of Welcoming Strangers — Love for
Titles and Soundnig Names— How Wives Manage Husbands — Famous Old King
of the Gaboon — King William's Principal Wife — A Monarch Arrayed in Scarlet —
Ferocious Tribes — Traders and Their Wares — Stanley's Description of the Coun-
try-^Superstilions and Paganism — Animal Life in Congo — Antelopes, Zebras and
Buffaloes — Beautiful Monkey Tribe — Wild Attack of Cannibals — Immense War-
Boat — Everlasting Din of jDrums — Horns Carved out of Elephants' Tusks— Wild
War Cry — Singular Temple of Ivory — Horrid Monument of Mud and Skulls.
HENRY M. STANLEY was not the man to be indifferent to the
fate of Livingstone or the objects he had in view. Our young
hero thought, and the world thought so too, that his mission
was to complete, as far as possible, the marvellous discoveries
which Livingstone had attempted to make. If his life had been spared
he would have crowned all previous successes with triumphs greater
still. Stanley having been once in the wilds of Africa, and having learned
by actual observation the great fertility of the soil, the channels of com-
merce which might be opened, the importance of bringing the country
into close relations with other parts of the world, the moral needs of the
savage races whose history has been lost in oblivion and whose future it is
impossible as yet to determine, thought he would discover, if possible,
the sources of the Nile, open new avenues in a land almost unknown,
and, having found Livingstone, the lost explorer, he resolved to find a
path from sea to sea.

In this marvellous undertaking we are now to trace him. He is the
same strong, heroic soul that he was on his first expedition ; the same
enterprising man, possessed of the same iron will, the same abounding
energy and perseverance, the same tact in dealing with hostile tribes, and
the same unswerving resolution to accornplish his object at any cost.

Before we begin his journey, it will be interesting to the reader to have
some account of the Congo region through which Stanley passed, and also
a description of the Congoese, the people dwelling in that part of Africa.

At one time there was no more famous kingdom in all Africa than that
of Congo. It was established on even a grander scale than the modern
Ashanti or Dahomey, which have sprung up within the last 200 years,
during which the empire of Congo has been broken up into many petty
chieftaincies. The writings of the old Jesuit and Capuchin Fathers teem
with tales of its grandeur.

When the king was elected he came out of the palace, glorious in
trinkets, to give the benediction to his people, assembled from far and
near in the palace square, for this important event. The priests and
nobles arranged themselves around him. The king exhorted the people
to be faithful and obedient, and, after the manner of monarchs generally,
assured his subjects of his profound consideration. " He rises, and all
the people prostrate themselves before hmi. He stretches his hands over
them, and makes gestures with his fingers without uttering a Word."
Shouts of joy, followed by firing of muskets and a "jubilee of banquets,"
close this initiatory event of the Congo monarch's reign.

Whims of a Tyrant.

The king was a despot, secretly controlled by his ministers. His civil
list consisted of tribyte paid him by the sub-chiefs or vassal -lords, who in
their turn ground it out of the people. When he found it necessary to
levy a special tax, he would go out of thfe palace with his cap loosely
placed on his head. When the wind blew it off, he would rush into the
house as if in a great passion, and immediately order the levy of goats,
fowls, slaves, and palm-wine. The Negro is a systematic creature in
some things; he does nothing without a reason, and the Congoese
monarch, therefore, considered that he had justified his acts in the eyes
of his subjects by his dignity being offended owing to his cap blowing off.

One of the taxes was levied on beds — a slave for every span's breadth
being the rate at which the impost was made. This tax was devoted to
the support of the king's concubines, and as a broad bed entailed consid-
erable expense on its owner, the possession of this piece of chamber fur-
niture was in Congo looked upon as the sign of a man of wealth. Writers
describe the Muata-Yanvo — another powerful West African monarch,
very little known to literature — as wearing a bracelet of human sinews
on his left wrist, to denote his royal rank. His empire is as large as all
Germany, and about three hundred chiefs owe him allegiance, though
his subjects do not number more than two millions, and his despotism is
shared and tempered by a queen.

When the king desired a fresh companion, a married woman was
selected, her husband and the lovers whom she confessed to (for it seems
they all had them, married or single) being put to death. These little
preliminaries being completed, she entered the royal seraglio, where much
more liberty than would be granted in Mohammedan kingdoms was
allowed to her. On the king's death all his wives were buried with him.

Peculiar Customs.

No man dare see the king eat or drink. All this must be done in
privacy. If a dog even entered the house while the august sovereign
was at food it was killed ; and a case is recorded by English authorities
in which the king ordered the execution of his own son, who had acci-
dently seen him drink palm-wine.

The large army supported by the Congoese monarch was officered by
their own chiefs, and apparently fought under a kind of feudal system.

As in most parts of Africa, the old Congo kings, before the decay of
the slave trade ruined them, monopolized, as far as they could, the com-
merce of the country. This is still the fashion of the Muata-Yanvo of
the Kanoko Empire, east of the Congo country. When traders arrive at
the capital, their goods are deposited in the capital until the king's mes-
sengers,who are sent into the neighboring countries, can collect the slaves
and ivory he is willing to give in exchange.

No stranger is allowed to proceed into these interior regions, the
inhabitants of which are described as cannibals, or as dwarfs. When Dr.
Buchner was at the Muato-Yanvo's in 1 879 he was threatened by the
Kioko, a nation famous as smiths, elephant hunters, and man stealers,
who are gradually spreading from the Upper Quango to the northward,
and from the latest accounts are endangering the very existence of this
secluded empire.

The civil judges sat under trees, each having a large staff in his hand,
as an insignium of office. Incorruptible they were not, but still no one
ever appealed against their decisions, and it is said never even com-
plained of their injustice; but this is not in human nature, and must only
mean that no one was ever heard to do so in public, and that for very
special private reasons of his own.

As in more civilized nations, war is the great parent of taxation, the
Icing being obliged to maintain a large standing army, and to keep it in
good humor by constant largesses, for a large standing army is much
like fire — a useful servant, but a terrible master. The army is divided
into regiments, each acting under the immediate command of the chief
in whose district they live, and they are armed, in a most miscellaneous
fashion, with any weapons they can procure. In these times the trade
guns are the most valued weapons, but the native swords, bows and
arrows, spears, and knives, still form the staple of their equipment. As
to uniform, they have no idea of it, and do not even distinguish the men
of the different regiments, as do the Kaffirs of Southern Africa.

The ancient religion of the Congo Negro is simply polytheism, which
they have suffered to degenerate into fetishism. There is one jnonothe-
istic sect, but they have gained very little by their religion, which is in
fact merely a negation of many deities, without the least understanding
of the one whom they profess to worship — a deity to whom they attri-
bute the worst vices that can degrade human nature.

Shrewd Tricks to Get Rid of Husbands.

The fetish men or priests are as important here as the marabouts
among the Mandingoes, and the chief of them, who goes by the name
of Chitome, is scarcely less honored than the king, who finds himself
obliged to seek the favor of this spiritual potentate, while the common
people look on him as scarcely less than a god. He is maintained by a
sort of tithe, consisting of the first-fruits of the harvest, which are
brought to him with great ceremony, and are offered with solemn chants.
The Congo men fully believe that if they were to omit the first-fruits of
one year's harvest, the next year would be an unproductive one.

A sacred fire burns continually in his house, and the embers, Avhich are
supposed to be possessed of great medicinal virtues, are sold by him at a
high price, so that even his fire is a constant source of income to him.
He has the entire regulation of the minor priests, and every now and
then makes a progress among them to settle the disputes which contin-
ually spring up. As soon as he leaves his house, the husbands and wives
throughout the kingdom are obliged to separate under pain of death. In
case of disobedience, the man only is punished, and cases have been
known where wives who disliked their husbands have accused them of
breaking this strange law, and have thereby gained a double advantage,
freed themselves from a man whom they did not like, and established a
religious reputation on easy terms.

In fact, the Chitome has things entirely his own way, with one excep-
tion. He is so holy that he cannot die a natural death, for if he did so
the universe would immediately be dissolved. Consequently, as soon as
he is seized with a dangerous illness, the Chitome elect calls at his house,
and saves the universe by knocking out his brains with a club, or strang-
ling him with a cord if he should prefer it. That his own death must be
of a similar character has no effect upon the new Chitome, who, true to
the Negro character, thinks only of the present time, and, so far as being
anxious about the evils that will happen at some future time, does not
trouble himself even about the next day.

Next to the Chitome comes the Nghombo, a priest who is distin-
guished by his peculiar gait. His dignity would be impaired by walking
like ordinary mortals, or even like the inferior priests, and so he always
walks on his hands with his feet in the air, thereby striking awe into the
laity. Some of the priests are rain-makers, who perform the duties of
their office by building little mounds of earth and making fetish over
them. From the centre of each charmed mound rises a strange insect
which mounts into the sky, and brings as much rain as the people have
paid for. These priests are regularly instituted, but there are some who
are born to the office, such as dwarfs, hunchbacks, and albinos, all of
whom are highly honored as specially favored individuals, consecrated to
the priesthood by Nature herself

Poison and Red-Hot Iron.

The priests have, as usual, a system of ordeal, the commonest mode
being the drinking of the poison cup, and the rarest the test of the red-
hot iron, which is applied to the skin of the accused, and burns him if he
be guilty. There is no doubt that the magicians are acquainted with,
some preparation which renders the skin proof against a brief applica-
tion of hot iron, and that they previously apply it to an accused person
who will pay for it.

The Chitome has the privilege of conducting the coronation of a king..
The new ruler proceeds to the house of the Chitome, attended by a host
of his future subjects, who utter piercing yells as he goes. Having
reached the sacred house, he kneels before the door, and asks the Chi-
tome to be gracious to him. The Chitome growls out a flat refusal from
within. The king renews his supplications, in spite of repeated rebuffs,
enumerating all the presents which he has brought to the Chitome —
which presents, by the way, are easily made, as he will extort an equal
amount from his subjects as soon as he is fairly installed.

At last, the door of the hut opens, and out comes the Chitome in his-
white robe of office, his head covered with feathers, and a shining mir—
ror on his breast. The king lies prostrate before the house, while the
Chitome pours water on him, scatters dust over him, and sets his feet on
him. He then Hes flat on the prostrate monarch, and in that position
receives from him a promise to respect his authority ever afterward. The
king is then proclaimed, and retires to wash and change his clothes.

A King in Gorgeous Apparel.

Presently he comes out of the palace, attended by his priests and
nobles, and gorgeous in all the bravery of his new rank, his whole person
covered with glittering ornaments of metal, glass, and stone, so that the
eye can scarcely bear the rays that flash on every side as he moves in
the sunbeams. He then seats himself, and makes a speech to the people.
When it is finished, he rises, while all the people crouch to the ground,
stretches his hands over them, and makes certain prescribed gestures,
which are considered as the royal benediction. A long series of ban-
quets and revelry ends the proceedings.

At the present day, the Congo king and great men disfigure themselves
with European clothing, such as silk jackets, velvet shoes, damask coats,
and broad-brimmed hats. But in the former times, they dressed becom-
ingly in native attire. A simple tunic made of very fine grass cloth, and
leaving the right arm bare, covered the upper part of the body, while a
sort of petticoat, made of similar material, but dyed black, was tied
round the waist, and an apron, or " sporran," of leopard skin, was fas-
tened to the girdle and hung in front. On their heads they wore a sort
of hood, and sometimes f)referred a square red and yellow cap. Sandals
made of the palm tree were the peculiar privilege of the king and nobles,
the common people being obliged to go bare-footed.

Wives Who Receive Vigorous Attention.

The wives in Congo are tolerably well off, except that they are severely
beaten with the heavy hippopotamus-hide whip. The women do not
resent this treatment, and indeed, unless a woman is soundly flogged
occasionally, she thinks that her husband is neglecting her, and feels
offended accordingly. The king has the power of taking any woman
for his wife, whether married or not, and, when she goes to the royal
harem, her husband is judiciously executed.

The people of Congo are — probably on account of the enervating cli-
mate — a very indolent and lethargic race, the women being made to do all
the work, while the men lie in the shade and smoke their pipes and drink
their palm-wine, which they make remarkably well, though not so well
as the Bube tribe of Fernando Po. Their houses are merely huts of the
simplest description ; a few posts with a roof over them, and twigs woven
between them in wicker-work fashion by way of walls, are all that a
Congo man cares for in a house. His clothing is as simple as his lodg-
ing, a piece of native cloth, tied round his middle being all that he cares
for; so that the ample clothes and handsome furs worn by the king jnust
have had a very strong effect on the almost naked populace.

The Jagas are a race now settled in Cassange country, into which they
seem originally to have entered as marauders or conquerors. In the
early state of the kingdom they were ruled by Tembandumba — a queen
whose excesses, if not exaggerated in the narrative, seem demoniacal in
their extent. She soon, by her exploits in war, made herself feared and
respected by enemies and subjects ; but so terrible were her cruelties and
tyranny, that only the awe in which she was held prevented her subjects
rebelling. She had a host of lovers, all of whom, one after the other,
she killed with the most cruel tortures as soon as she had tired of them.
Breaking loose from all her relatives — who had ventured to remonstrate
with her — she founded a constitution which only a woman, and one will-
ing to proceed to those extremes of which the sex is capable, could have

Horrible Practices.

"She would turn," writes Mr. Winwood Reade, " the world into a wil-
derness ; she would kill all living animals ; she would burn all forests,
grass, and vegetable food. The sustenance of her subjects should be the
flesh of man ; his blood should be their drink. She commanded all male
children, all twins, and all infants whose upper teeth appeared before their
lower ones, should be killed by their own mothers. From their bodies
an ointment should be made, in the way she would show. The female
children should be reared, and instructed in war ; and male prisoners,
before being killed and eaten, should be used for the purpose of pro-

" Having concluded her harangue, with the publication of other laws of
minor importance, this young women seized her child, which was feeding
at her breast, flung him into a mortar, and pounded him to a pulp. She
flung this into a large earthen pot, adding roots, leaves, and oils, and
made the whole into an ointment, with which she rubbed herself before
them all, telling them that this would render her invulnerable, and that
now she could subdue the universe. Immediately, her subjects, seized
with a savage enthusiasm, massacred all their male children, and immense
quantities of this human ointment were made ; and of which, they say,
some is still preserved among the Jagas."

An empire of Amazons was apparently contemplated. Not only were
male children to be massacred, but women's flesh was forbidden to be
eaten. But she soon found it impossible to battle against nature.
Mothers concealed their male infants ; and though officers were appointed
to be present at every birth to see that the law was carried out, yet, after
a time, she found it necessary to order that the invulnerable ointment
might be made of the bodies of infants captured in war. Whole terri-
tories were conquered and laid waste ; and disaffection in her own army
she kept down by having the forces continually employed.

The Queen's Tragic End.

As age grew upon her she grew- worse and worse — more cruel to her
victims ; more abominable in all her dealings with her subjects. At last
she was subdued. Falling desparately in love with a private soldier in
her army, she publicly married him, and gave him half her throne and
kingdom. As last she grew tired of him, as she had grown tired of a
hundred before. But she had met her match. Calming, cajoling, and
flattering his terrible queen, the king-consort managed for a time to post-
pone his inevitable fate — to be fondled to-day, to be dined off to-morrow.
One day he entertained her at dinner with all the choice viands which
the kingdom of Congo or the young Portuguese colonies on the Coast
could supply. Her drink had been poisoned. Her husband was saved,
and the kingdom freed from a tyrant, whose rule was beginning to be too
heavy to bear. Yet he was never suspected ; or perhaps his act was of
too meritorious a character to be taken notice of So, after much wail-
ing over her funeral — as subjects will wail over kings, no matter how vile
— Tembandumba slept with her fathers ; and Culemba, her affectionate
husband, reigned in her stead.

Blood-curdling tales are told of the excesses of some of the old sov-
ereigns. For instance, Shinga was the name of the Negro queen who
came to power in the year 1640, but, through the intrigues of the Jesuit
priests, to whose rites she did not choose to submit, was forced to fly the
kingdom, after contending with her nephew in three pitched battles,
which she lost. In 1646 she regained her kingdom, after many vicissi-
tudes of fortune. But by this time Queen Shinga had got so accustomed
to war, that she cared for nothing else. Her life was spent in hostilities
against the neighboring kingdoms.

A Female Demon.

Before she undertook any new enterprise, she would sacrifice the
handsomest man she could find. Clad in skins, with a sword hanging
round her neck, an axe at her side, and bow and arrow in her hand, she
would dance and sing, striking two iron bells. Then taking a feather
she would put it through the holes in her nose, as a sign of war, would
cut off the victim's head with her sword, and drink a deep draught of
his blood. She had fifty or sixty male favorites ; and while she always
dressed herself as a man, they were compelled to take the names and
garments of women. If one of them denied that he was a woman he
was immediately killed. The queen, however, was charitable enough to
let them belie their words by their actions. They might have as many
wives as they chose ; but if a child was born, the husband was com-
pelled to kill it with his own hands.

Shinga obtained great power over her subjects. She, however, was
wise in her generation, and, after she had fought the Portuguese, and
been beaten by them, she concluded an humble peace, and retained her
kingdom in safety.

At the present time the Congo kingdom has fallen from its high
estate. The people are lethargic, and altogether given over to palm-wine
and tobacco ; their houses are huts of grass fibres or palm leaves, and
their clothing a piece of native cloth round the middle. Their domestic
utensils are on a par with this primitive barbarism. Baskets made of the
fibre of the palm-tree, bowls of gourds, earthen vessels for boiling,
wooden spoons, and beds of grass on a raised platform are about the
only furniture of their simple huts. Whatever magnificence once existed
is now almost gone.

Universal Polygamy.

Though Portuguese, and latterly English, missions have been estab-
lished among these tribes, fetishism is still to a great extent the prevail-
ing semblance of worship, the Cross being regarded simply as new fetish
introduced by the powerful white man. Polygamy is universal, and the
marriage ceremony little more than buying the wife from her parents,
and giving a feast to her family and friends. But if the nuptial rites are
brief and simple, their sepulchral ceremonies are more elaborate, for fre-
quently, in order to admit of all the relatives being present, the interment
of the deceased will be delayed several months. The dead are frequently
desiccated by roasting, and then buried in the huts which they occupied
during life.

Of late years the natives of the Congo have received renewed atten-
tion. Expeditions have often been despatched a little up the river for the
purpose of trade and exploration, or in order to punish the Mussurongo
pirates, who have frequently attacked the vessels engaged in carrying
goods to or from the " factories " established below the Yellala Falls.

However, since Mr. Stanley succeeded in proving that the river commu-
nicated with the Tanganyika lake, and is the noblest water-way to the
interior, numerous traders have settled on its lower reaches, and the
posts of the International Association, presided over by the King of the
Belgians, are pushing civilization and commerce towards its upper waters.
Before leaving the customs of the Congoese, we must notice that the
eating habits of some of the Congo tribes are very curious. They are,
like all the Negro races, enormous feeders, as many as 300 oxen having
been known to be killed and eaten when a " soba" or chief of the Mun-
dombes, dies, the feast lasting for several days, the gluttons often rolling
on the ground in the agonies of indigestion, but only to rise again and
resume eating, abstaining meanwhile from drink, lest it should prevent
them from finding room for the solids. Among some of the natives a
singular custom prevails. It consists in offering a visitor a dish of
" infundi," or " pirao," and should there not be a bit of meat in the
larder, they send out to a neighbor for " lent rat," as it is called. This
Mr. Monteiro describes as a field rat roasted on a skewer, and which is
presented to the guest, who, holding the skewer in his left hand, dabs bits
of " infundi " on the rat before he swallows them, as if to give them a
flavor, but he is very careful not to eat the rat, or even the smallest por-
tion of it, as that would be considered a great crime and offence, and
would be severely punished by their laws. It is supposed that the host
has by this hospitality duly preserved the dignity of his house and posi-
tion, the entire sham being a curious instance of elaborate politeness
without sincerity existing,among a race which might reasonably be sup-
posed unsophisticated.

Singular Salutations.

The subject of salutations would afford a theme for many chapters^
For example, when two Monbuttoos of the far Nile tributaries meet they
join the right hands, and say, " Gassigy," at the same time cracking the
joints of the middle fingers, while in Uguha, on the western side of Lake
Tanganyika, Mr. Stanley describes the people saluting each other as
follows : — A man appears before a party seated ; he bends, takes up a
bundle of earth or sand with his right hand, and throws a little into his
left. The left hand rubs the sand or earth over the right elbow and the
right side of the stomach, while the right hand performs the same opera-
tion for the left part of the body, words of salutation being rapidly uttered
in the meanwhile. To his inferiors, however, the new-comer slaps his
hand several times, and after each slap lightly taps the region of the

In like manner, the modes of taking an oath are so very extensive that
a large space could very profitably be devoted to this interesting phase
of African life. In many tribes on the West Coast the common way
among blacks to affirm the truth of a statement is, according to Monteiro
to go on their knees, and rub the forefinger of each hand on the ground,
and then touch their tongues and foreheads with the dusty tips. About
Loanda, they make the sign of the Cross on the ground with a finger, for
the same purpose ; but this is evidently a remnant of old missionary

Titles — the love for them, and the endless variety of designations in-
tended to express dignity — might equally be enlarged on, without the
subject being at all exhausted, while the multiplicity of fashions adopted
in dressing their woolly hair, filing their teeth, splitting their ears, or
generally improving upon nature, will be touched, as far as so extensive
a theme admits of, in the chapters which follow. We may, however,
note in this place a few singular customs, which give a better idea of
African characteristics than more labored analyses of their mental traits.

How Wives Manage Husbands.

One custom said to be universal in Oriental Africa is that of a woman
tying a knot in anyone's turban, thereby placing herself under his pro-
tection in order to be revenged upon her husband, who may have beaten
her for some offence. In due time, when the husband comes to claim
her, he is compelled to pay a ransom, and to promise, in the presence of
his chief, never again to maltreat her. In nearly every village in Unyam-
wesi there are two or three public-houses, or perhaps they might be
called clubs. One is appropriated to the women, and another to the
men, though at the one frequented by the men all travellers of distinction
are welcomed by the chiefs and elders. As soon as a boy attains the
age of seven or eight years, he throws off the authority of his mother,
and passes most of his time at the club, usually eating and often sleeping
there. On the death of a Wagogo chief, the son is supposed to look
upon his father's eldest surviving brother as his new and adopted father,
but only in private and not in public affairs.

There is another point connected with the black races of Africa to
which a few lines may be devoted. The hair of most Africans — and
universally of the Negro and Negroid tribes — is short, inclined to split
longitudinally, and much crimped. In South Africa the Hottentot's hair
is more matted into tufts than that of the Kaffir, while it is not uncom-
mon to find long hair, and even considerable beards, among some of the
tribes inhabiting the central plateau of the continent. Black is the almost
universal color of their hair. In old age it becomes white ; but accord-
ing to Walker there are cases among the Negroes of the Gaboon in
which red hair, red eyebrows and eyes are not uncommon, and Schwein-
furth speaks of Monbuttoos with ashy fair hair, and skin much fairer
than that of their fellow-tribesmen.

It may also be mentioned that individuals with reddish hair are by no
means rarely seen among the mountaineers of the Atlas. Whiskers are
rare, though not unknown, and long beards are said to be found among
Niam-niam, and among the papers left by Miani, the unfortunate Italian
traveller, there is a notice of a man with a beard half as long as his own,
which. Dr. Schweinfurth remarks, was of " a remarkable length." The
color of the Negro's skin passes through every gradation from ebony
black to the copper color.

Famous King' and Queen.

Speaking of the Gaboon, we must notice the celebrated king who
ruled many years in that region, and possessed many traits in common
with the savage tribes around him. A traveller makes the following
reference to him :

" When I was up this river a few years since, an aged king was then
reigning, whom the English called King William and the French Roi
Denis ; a somewhat remarkable character in his way. He had made a
voyage to Europe, but his contact with civilization had no effect upon his
manner of life, his liking for rum, and plurality of wives. At one time he
derived large revenue from the slave trade, the Gaboon being the river
from the mouth of which the slaves were embarked for the English,
French and American colonies ; but when the trade was checked his
income decreased very much, and his riches then seem to have con-
sisted of an amazing number of suits of clothes, old uniforms, gaily deco-
rated coats, and other fanciful .attire, with which he decked his black
person. When I saw him with his principal wife he was most gorgeously
arrayed in a scarlet coat "vyith an epaulet on each shoulder, and the breast
elaborately braided; a medal was swung around his neck, and in his
hand he held a cane. That was the only time I ever saw him."

The tribes on the banks of the Congo are of the most ferocious descrip-
tion, and treacherous beyond anything with which African travellers
have hitherto had much experience. Mr. Stanley, with a kindly enthusi-
asm fully appreciated, proposed to call the river the Livingstone. But as
this would have been an innovation on all the established rules of geo-
graphical names, it has not been adopted.

The country on either side of the Congo is remarkably different.
North of it are lagoons and swamps covered with the sickly mangrove
and backed by dense forests. South of the great river we come into a
country covered with coarse grass, and scattered with occasional baobab-
trees, while little forest can be seen from the ocean ; and inside of feverish
lagoons we have long stretches of sandy, bays, such as prevail on to the
Cape of Good Hope. But as we travel back from the shore the country
rises terrace, by terrace, with corresponding changes of vegetation, the
climate getting moister as the more densely-clothed interior is ap-
proached, until on the third and highest terrace great plains, covered with
gigantic grasses, make their appearance.

Traders and Tlieir Wares.

At the mouth of the river there are several foreign trading stations, or
factories, established on a sandy strip of coast, called Banana. Some
forty-five miles further up are the stations of Punta da Lenha (Wooded
Point) ; and at Em-bomma, or as the traders call it, Bomma, sixty miles
from the mouth of the river, there are the highest of all the foreign settle-
ments. Here are Portuguese, English, French, Dutch, and St. Helena
traders. The neighboring country is singularly sterile. According to Mr,
Stanley, it is bleak in the extreme. " Shingly rocks strewed the path
and the waste, and the thin sere grass waved mournfully on level
and spine, on slope of ridge and crest of hill ; in the hollows it was some-
what thicker ; in the bottoms it had a slight tinge of green."

The six factories at Bomma are all constructed of wooden boards,
roofed in the generality of cases with corrugated zinc. Business is trans-
acted in the ample court-yard attached to each factory. This consists in
bartering calico, glass-ware, crockery, iron-ware, gin, rum, arms, and gun-
powder, for palm-oil, ground-nuts and ivory. The merchants live toler-
ably comfortably. Some of them have fruit and garden vegetables, and
little vineyards, while pineapples and limes may be obtained from the
market, which is held on alternate days behind the European settlement.

In earlier times Bomma was a great seat of the slave trade ; and to
this day Tuckey's description of the people, though written more than
half a century ago, is still perfectly applicable. They are as rude, super-
stitious, and pagan as ever they were, the efforts of the missionaries
having as yet scarcely impressed the solid mass of primeval barbarism.
They still distrust strangers as much as ever, are still as intolerant of any
innovation in their customs, and their lust after rum and idleness is as
marked to-day as half a century ago. It may be added that were slaves
salable the Congoese would not be wanting in alacrity in obtaining them,
and we may be perfectly certain that barracoons for their reception, and
smart skippers for their shipment, would speedily reappear on the scene
of the old — though it is affirmed, so far as the Portuguese and Spanish
isles and colonies are concerned, not altogether extinct — traffic.

In early days the Congo country extended far south of the river, and
in the capital of the then kingdom the Jesuits resided and reared a cathe-
dral, the remains of which still exist, and owing to the priestly influence
obtained great power throughout the country. The monarch was often
ruled by females, the tales of whose ferocity were stock subjects for the
early chroniclers. The empire of Congo is, however, now a something of
the past, though in the neigborhood of Ambassi the nominal king still
exercises sufficient control over the people to be able to annoy the cara-
vans passing to and from the interior ; but a score of local chieftains have
as much authority as he.

Though the Portuguese claim the coast from a point considerably north
of the Congo, they have never actually occupied it north of eight degrees
of south latitude ; and here the reader must note that we are getting
south of the equator. The elephant is not now met with in the maritime
region, but in the less populous regions antelopes, zebras, buffalos — not,
it need scarcely be remarked, the American bison, which is popularly
known by that name — hyaenas, jackals, leopards, and the monkey.

As for the monkey tribe, a description of the guereza must suffice.
The general color of this monkey is black. The sides of the body and
top of the loins are ornamented with long, pendant, white hairs, forming
a fringe-like mantle. The face is encircled by white, and the tail ends in
a white tuft. The guereza lives, according to Riippell, in small families,
tenanting the lofty trees in the neighborhood of running waters. It is
active and lively, and at the same time gentle and inoffensive. It is the
prettiest of all the monkeys, and our illustration gives an idea of its
striking appearance. It is an excellent climber. Formerly the skin of
the guereza was used by the natives for decorating their shields, but with
the introduction of fire-arms the demands for shields and for this coveted
decoration ceased, and this is undoubtedly a fact to be glad of, because
there exists no more instigation to hunt this beautiful and entirely harm-
less animal.

It has the head, face and neck, back, limbs and part of tail covered
with short, black velvety hair, the temples, chin, throat and a band over
the eyes white, and the sides, flanks, from the shoulders downward, and
loins clothed with white hair.

Like all the others, these monkeys are pre-eminently a sylvan race ;
they never abandon the forests, where they live in society under the
guidance of the old males. They seem to be much attached to partic-
ular localities. Each tribe or family has its own particular district, into
which individuals of other tribes or species are never allowed to intrude,
the whole community uniting promptly to repel any aggression, either on
their territory or their individual right. So strongly is this propensity
implanted within them that they carry it into our manageries. Noth-
ing is more common than to see monkeys of the same species unit-
ing to defend one qf their kind against the tyranny of a powerful
oppressor, or to resent any insult offered to a member of their little

These animals generally take up their quarters in the vicinity of a run-
ning stream, and seldom approach the habitations of men, or invade the
cultivated grounds of the gardener and husbandman. No doubt it is their
spirit of union and mutual defence which prompts them to collect round
travellers, and, by their chattering, grimace, and other means in their
power, endeavor to prevent an intrusion into the spot which they regard
as their own.

There are no domestic animals in Congo except goats, swine, dogs
cats, and a few sheep, with hair instead of wool. The goats are very
beautiful, but the other quadrupeds are rather woe-begone specimens of
their kind. The natives do not use beasts of burden, and the horses,
asses, mules, and camels introduced by the Portuguese have died out.
The Congoese have never kept horned cattle, though they thrive well
enough in the few places on the coast where they are reared under the
care of the whites.

The natives in some parts of the country still retain traces of the civil-
ization and even of the literary culture introduced among them by the
Jesuits, but south of the Coanza River the land is left almost solely to
wild hunting tribes, who, in their .taste for the ownership of cattle, and in
the use of the spear and war-club, resemble the Kaffir race, with whom
they live in close proximity. The country abounds in many natural re-
sources, including gum-copal, iron, and copper, and is capable of growing:
coffee and many other crops.

Cannibals on the Warpath.

Mr. Stanley describes the tribes amongst whom he ran the gauntlet
during his descent of the river as cannibals of the fiercest description^
bold, athletic, and numerous, and in time likely to furnish ample work
both for the missionary and the merchant, though, except that the ener-
getic explorer has preserved some of their names, we are still at sea
regarding their relationship to the Central Africans and to the tribes nearer
the mouth of the river.

The shores of both the Congo and the Aruwimi resounded with the
din of the everlasting war-drums, and from every cove and island swarmed
a crowd of canoes, that began forming into line to intercept and attack
the travellers. These crafts were larger than any that had yet been
encountered. The leading canoe of the savages was of portentous length,,
with forty paddlers on each side, while on a platform at the bow were
stationed ten redoubtable young warriors, with crimson plumes of the
parrot stuck in their hair, and poising long spears. Eight steersmen were
placed on the stern, with large paddles ornamented with balls of ivory ;
while a dozen others, apparently chiefs, rushed from end to end of
the boat directing the attack.

Fifty-two other vessels of scarcely smaller dimensions followed in its
wake. From the bow of each waved a long mane of palm fibre ; every
warrior was decorated with feathers and ornaments of ivory ; and the
sound of a hundred horns carved out of elephants' tusks, and a song of
challenge and defiance chanted from two thousand savage throats, added
to the wild excitement of the scene. Their wild war-cry was " Yaha-
ha-ha, ya Bengala."

The assailants were put to flight after a series of charges more deter-
mined and prolonged than usual.

In the centre of the village was found a singular structure — a temple
of ivory, the circular roof supported by thirty-three large tusks, and
surmounting a hideous idol, four feet high, dyed a bright vermillion
color, with black eyes, beard and hair. Their cannibal propensities were
plainly shown in the rows of skulls that grinned from poles, and the
bones and other grisly remains of human feasts scattered about the
village streets.



William Hillman
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