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Volume 6099_17
Another major book which prepared the advent of
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs


The Greatest Feat on Record

The Greatest Feat on Record— Stanley's Journey Across the Continent to the Congo —
Expedition Planned by the Daily Telegraph of London and the New York
— Englishmen in the Party — The Barge Named the "Lady Alice"— An
Army of Followers to Carry the Outfit— Journey to the Victoria Nyanza — Specu-
lation as to the Sources of the Nile — Dangers of Travelling in the Dark Conti-
nent — Crawling Through Jungles — A Famine-stricken District — Two Young Lions
for Food — Stanley's Pity for His Famishing Men — Death of a Young English-
man — Burial Under a Tree — Discovery of the Extreme Southern Sources of the
Nile — Arrival at Vinyata — Strange Old Magic Doctor — Breaking Out of Hostili-
ties—Severe Loss of Men — Treachery of Natives — Arrival of Six Beautiful
Canoes — Stanley Receives a Royal Invitation — The Creat King Mtesa Welcomes
the Traveller — Prodigal Display of Hospitality — Great Naval Parade in Honor of
the Visitor — Uganda, the Country of King Mtesa — Startling Horrors of African
Life — Severe Punishmtents Inflicted by the King — Errand Boys in Picturesque
Dress — The King's Power of Life or Death — A Queen's Narrow Escape — Instru-
ments of Torture — A Powerful Despot — Review of the Warriors — History of the
Old King — Strange Tales of the Ancient Times — Marvellous Military Drill — Sin-
gular Funeral Customs — Description of King Mtesa in Early Life — How the King
Receives Visitors Royal Ceremonies — Superstitious Dread of a Water Spirit —
Decorations and Mystic Symbols — Worshipping with Fife and Drum — The Afri-
can's Indolent Character — Stanley's Estimate of King Mtesa —A Doubtful Eulogy.
WE now come to one of the most extraordinary, if not actually the
greatest feat ever performed in the annals of modern explora-
tion. This expedition undertaken by Henry M. Stanley from
Zanzibar right across the African continent to the Congo, is so full of
perilous adventure, so remarkable for pluck and resolution, that it stands
out boldly upon the canvas of history as the greatest achievement of our

Stanley's own account of what preceded his great undertaking is full
of interest :

" While returning to England in April, '74, from the Ashantee War,
the news reached me that Livingstone was dead — that his body was on
its way to England !

" Livingstone had then fallen ! He was dead ! He had died by the
shores of Lake Bemba, on the threshold of the dark region he wished to
explore ! The work he had promised to perform was only begun when
death overtook him !

" The effect which this news had upon me, after the first shock
passed away, was to fire me with a resolution to complete his work, to
be, if God willed it, the next martyr to geographical science, or, if my
life was to be spared, to clear, up not only the secrets of the Great River
throughout its course, but also all that remained still problematic and
incomplete of the discoveries of Burton and Speke, and Speke and Grant.

" The solemn day of the burial of the body of my great friend arrived.
I was one of the pall-bearers in Westminster Abbey, and when I had
seen the coffin lowered into the grave, and had heard the first handful of
earth thrown over it, I walked away sorrowing over the fate of David

Soon the resolve was formed to complete, if possible, the work Living-
stone had been compelled to leave undone.

In this memorable expedition the Daily Telegraph of London and the
New York Herald newspapers were associated. Mr. Stanley was com-
missioned to complete the discoveries of Speke, Burton, and Livingstone.
His party from England consisted of Francis and Edward Pocock and
Frederick Barker. A " barge," named the " Lady Alice," was taken in
sections, besides two other boats, with a perfect equipment. When all
preparations had been completed, and the farewell dinners eaten, Stanley
left England, to begin his perilous journey, on the 15th of August, 1874.
He reached Zanzibar September 21st, 1874, and there found many former
associates of his search for Doctor Livingstone. He engaged quite a
little army of followers to ^o with him and carry the outfit. This outfit,
which consisted of a most miscellaneous collection of articles, weighed
18,000 pounds, and was, with the party, carried across to the continent
from Zanzibar island in six Arab vessels. On the morning of the 17th of
November the start was made into the interior.

Was it the Source of the Nile?

The first stage of this journey was to the Victoria Nyanza, which
Stanley desired to explore. The imperfect description and explanations
of previous travellers had left much to be decided concerning this great
inland sea. '' Was it the source of the Nile or of the Congo ? " " Was
it part of a lake system, or a lake by itself? " These questions Stanley
had determined to answer once for all.

The advance to the great Lake Victoria was full of adventurous interest.
Travelling in the " Dark Continent " means being at times in the wilder-
ness without a guide, or with traitors acting as guides, which is a worse
alternative. This was Stanley's fate, and he was deserted in the waste
with a small stock of food. Through the terrible "jungle" the men had
to crawl, cutting their way, guided solely by the compass, overcome by
hunger and thirst, desertions frequent, sickness stalking alongside. This
was indeed " famine-stricken Ugogo."

While on this disastrous march he lost five of his people, who "wan-
dered on helplessly, fell down, and died." The country produced no
food, or even game, unless lions could be so called. Two young lions
were found in a den, and were quickly killed and eaten. This was the
only food for the whole expedition ! Stanley tells us how he returned to
camp, and was so struck by the pinched jaws of his followers that he
nearly wept. He decided to utilize his preciolis medical stores, and
wisely, for the people were faminishing : medicinal comforts for the dead
had no meaning. So he made a quantity of gruel, which kept the expe-
dition alive for eight and forty hours, and then the men he had des-
patched to Suma for provisions returned with food. Refreshed, they all
marched on, so that they might reach Suma next morning.

Death of Edward Pocock.

After proceeding twenty miles, they came to the cultivated districts
and encamped. But the natives of Suma were hostile, and the increasing
sick list made a four days' halt necessary. There were thirty men ailing
from various diseases. Edward Pocock was taken ill here, and on the
fourth day he became delirious ; but the increasing suspicions of the
natives — who are represented as a very fine race — made departure neces-
sary, and so a start was made on the 17th January, in very hostile com-
pany. The famine in Ugogo had severely tried every man's constitution,
and all felt weak in spirit if not ill in body. " Weary, harassed, feeble
creatures," they reached Chiwyu, four hundred miles from the sea, and
camped near the crest of a hill 5,400 feet high. Here Edward Pocock
breathed his last. He was laid under an acacia, and upon the trunk of
this fine old tree a cross was cut deeply, in memory of a faithful follower.

Hence two rivulets run, gradually converging, and finally uniting into
a stream which trends toward Lake Victoria. So here the extreme
southern sources of the Nile were discovered ; but up to this point the
explorer had, as he said, " child's play," to what he afterwards encount-
ered. We have already seen what this child's play was like.

From sad Chiwyu to Vinyata was the route. After passing Mangina,
the expedition entered Iturn, and so to Izanjih, where Kaif Halleck was
seized with asthma. He would lag behind, and so Stanley proceeded
gently to Vinyata, where the expedition arrived on the 21st of January,
1875. Here a magic doctor paid Stanley a visit, and cast longing eyes
at the stores. Scouts had been meantime sent after the man Kaif Hal-
leck, and he was found murdered on the edge of a wood, his body gashed
by many wounds.

Hostilities Break Out.

Next day, after the departure of the magic doctor, who came for
another present, the natives showed hostile symptoms. One hundred
savages, armed and in warlike, costume, came around, shouting and
brandishing their weapons. At this juncture Stanley, following Living-
stone's practice, decided to make no counter demonstration ; but to
remain quiet in camp, and provoke no hostility. This plan did not
answer, however. The natives mistook for cowardice the wish for peace.
There were so many tempting articles too — stores dear to the native
mind, which the inhabitants coveted. No peace would be made at any
price, and the savages attacked the camp in force.

Stanley disposed his men behind hastily-erected earthworks and other
shelter, and used the sections of the " Lady Alice " barge as a citadel for
final occupation. There were only seventy effective men to defend the
camp, but these were divided into detachments and subdivided. One
sub-detachment was quickly destroyed, and in the day's fight twenty-one
soldiers and one messenger were killed — three wounded. Stanley's men,
however, pursued the retreating enemy, and burned many villages, the
men bringing in cattle and grain as spoils. Next day the natives came
on again, but they were quickly routed, and the expedition continued its
way through the now desolate valley unmolested. So the Iturnians
were punished, after three days of battle.

Heavy Losses of Men.

The victors, however, had not much to boast of. After only three
months' march, the expedition had lost 120 Africans and one European,
from the effects of sickness and battle. There were now only 194 men
left of 356 who had set out with the expedition. They pressed on, how-
-ever, towards the Victoria Nyanza, and after escaping the warlike
Mirambo, who fought everybody on principle, Stanley reached Kagehyi
on the 27th February. He was now close to the Lake, having marched
7.20 miles ; average daily march, 10 miles.

On the 8th March Stanley, leaving F. Pocock to command the camp,
set forth with eleven men in the " Lady Alice," to explore the Lake and
ascertain whether it is one of a series, as Dr. Livingstone said it was.
The explorer began by coasting Speke Gulf. Many interesting observa-
tions were made. He penetrated into each little bay and creek, finding
indications that convinced him that the slave trade is carried on there.
But the explorer had to battle for his information. Near Chaga the
natives came down, and, after inducing him to land, attacked him ; but
Stanley " dropped " one man, and the natives subsided. On another occa-
sion the natives tried to entrap him, but he escaped by firing on the
savages, killing three men, and sinking their canoes with bullets from an
elephant rifle.

Continuing his course now unopposed, Stanley coasted along the
Uganda shore. Just as he was about to depart, on the following morn-
ing, he perceived six beautiful canoes, crowded with men, all dressed in
white, approaching ; they were the king's people conveying a messenger
from the King of Uganda to Stanley, begging a visit from him. This
messenger was gorgeously arrayed for the important occasion ; he wore
a bead-worked head-dress, above which long white cock's feathers waved,
and a snowy white and long-haired goat-skin, intertwined with a crimson
robe, depending from his shoulders, completed his costume. Approach-
ing Stanley, he delivered his message thus :

A Royal Invitation.

" The Kabaka (King) sends me with many salaams to you. He is in
great hopes that you will visit him, and has encamped at Usavara, that he
may be near the lake when you come. He does not know from what
land you have come, but I have a swift messenger with a canoe who will
not stop until he gives all the news to the Kabaka. His mother dreamed
a dream a few nights agd, and in her dream she saw a white man on this
lake in a boat coming this way, and the next morning she told the
Kabaka, and, lo ! you have come. Give me your answer, that I may
send the messenger. Twiyanzi-yanzi-yanzi !" (Thanks, thanks, thanks.)

Thus delivering himself, the messenger, whose name was Magassa,
implored Stanley to remain one day longer, that he might show him the
hospitalities of his country, and prepare him for a grand reception by the
king, to which Stanley consented.

Magassa was in his glory now. His voice became imperious to his
escort of 182 men; even the feathers of his curious head-dress waved
prouder, and his robe had a sweeping dignity worthy of a Roman
emperor's. Upon landing, Magassa's stick was employed frequently.
The sub-chief of Kadzi was compelled to yield implicit obedience to his
viceregal behests.

" Bring out bullocks, sheep, and goats, milk, and the mellowest of your
choicest bananas, and great jars of maramba, and let the white man and
his boatmen eat, and taste of the hospitalities of Uganda. Shall a white
man enter the Kabaka's presence with an empty belly? See how sallow
and pinched his cheeks are. We want to see whether we cannot show
him kindness superior to what the pagans have shown him."

Five canoes escorted the travellers to Usavara, the capital of King
Mtesa. The explorer was most kindly received, and closely questioned
upon subjects of so diverse a character as to remind Stanley of a college
examination for a degree.

Great Naval Parade.

King Mtesa appeared quite a civilized monarch, quite a different being
from what he had been when Speke and Grant had visited him as a
young man. He had become an adherent of Mahomet, wore Arab dress,
and conducted himself well. He entertained Stanley with reviews of
canoes, a naval " demonstation " of eighty-four " ships " and 2,500 men !
Shooting matches, parades, and many other civilized modes of entertain-
ment were practiced for the amusement of the white man. In Uganda
the traveller is welcomed, and perfectly safe.

King Mtesa's country is situated on the equator, and is a much more
pleasant land than might be supposed from its geographical position,
being fertile, and covered with vegetation. It is a peculiarly pleasant,
land for a traveller, as it is covered with roads, which are not only broad
and firm, but are cut almost in a straight line from one point to another.
Uganda seems to be unique in the matter of roads, the like of which are
not to be found in any part of Africa, except those districts which are-
held by Europeans. The roads are wide enough for carriages, but far
too steep in places for any wheeled conveyance ; but as the Waganda
(the name given to the inhabitants of Uganda) do not use carriages of
any kind, the roads are amply sufficient for their purposes. The Waganda
have even built bridges across swamps and rivers, but their knowledge of
engineering has not enabled them to build a bridge that would not
decay in a few years.

Like many other tribes which bear, but do not deserve, the name of
savages, the Waganda possess a curiously strict code of etiquette, which
is so stringent on some points that an offender against it is likely to lose
his life, and is sure to incur a severe penalty. If, for example, a man
appears before the king with his dress tied carelessly, or if he makes a
mistake in the mode of saluting, or if, in squatting before his sovereign,
he allows the least portion of his limbs to be visible, he is led off to in-
stant execution. As the fatal sign is given, the victim is seized by the
royal pages, who wear a rope turban round their heads, and at the same
moment all the drums and other instruments strike up, to drown his.
cries for mercy. He is rapidly bound with the ropes snatched hastily
from the heads of the pages, dragged off, and put to death, no one daring
to take the least notice while the tragedy is being enacted.

They have also a code of sumptuary laws which is enforced with the
greatest severity. The skin of the serval, a kind of leopard cat, for ex-
ample, may only be worn by those of royal descent. Once Captain Speke
was visited by a very agreeable young man, who evidently intended to
.strike awe into the white man, and wore round his neck the serval-skin
emblem of royal birth. The attempted deception, however, recoiled
upon its author, who suffered the fate of the daw with the borrowed
plumes. An officer of rank detected the imposture, had the young man
seized, and challenged him to show proofs of his right to wear the em-
blem of royalty. As he failed to do so, he was threatened with being
brought before the king, and so compounded with the chief for a fine of
a hundred cows.

Severe Punishments.

Heavy as the penalty was, the young man showed his wisdorh by
acceding to it ; for if he had been brought before the king, he would
assuredly have lost his life, and probably have been slowly tortured to
death. One punishment to which Mtesa, the king of Uganda, seems to
have been rather partial, was the gradual dismemberment of the criminal
for the sake of feeding his pet vultures ; and although on some occasions
he orders them to be killed before they are dismembered, he sometimes
omits that precaution, and the wretched beings are slowly cut to pieces
with grass blades, as it is against etiquette to use knives for this purpose.

The king alone has the privilege of wearing a cock's-comb of hair on
the top of his head, the remainder being shaved off. This privilege is
sometimes extended to a favorite queen or two, so that actual royalty
may be at once recognized.

When an inferior presents any article to his superior, he always pats
and rubs it with his hands, and then strokes with it each side of his face.
This is done in order to show that no witchcraft has been practiced with
it, as in such a case the intended evil would recoil on the donor. This
ceremony is well enough when employed with articles of use or apparel;
but when meat, plantains, or other articles of food are rubbed with the
?dirty hands and well-greased face of the donor, the recipient, if he should
happen to be a white man, would be only too happy to dispense with the
ceremony, and run his risk of witchcraft.

The officers of the court are required to shave off all their hair except
a single cockade at the back of the head, while the pages are distin-
guished by two cockades, one over each temple, so that, even if they hap-
pen to be without their turbans, their rank and authority are at once indi-
cated. When the king sends the pages on a message, a most pic-
turesque sight is presented. All the commands of the king have to be
done at full speed, and when ten or a dozen pages start off in a body,
their dresses streaming in the air behind them, each striving to outrun the
other, they look at a distance like a flight of birds rather than human

Here, as in many other countries, human life, that of the king ex-
cepted, is not of the least value. On one occasion Mtesa received a new
rifle with which he was much pleased. After examining it for some
time, he loaded it, handed it to one of his pages, and told him to go
and shoot somebody in the outer court. The page, a mere boy, took the
rifle, went into the court, and in a moment the report of the rifle showed
that the king's orders had been obeyed. The urchin came back grinning
with delight at the feat which he had achieved, just like a schoolboy
who has shot his first sparrow, and handed back the rifle to his master.
As to the unfortunate man who was fated to be the target, nothing was
heard about him, the murder of a man being far too common an incident
to attract notice.

On one occasion, when Mtesa and his wives were on a pleasure excur-
sion, one of the favorites, a singularly good-looking woman, plucked a
fruit, and offered it to the king, evidently intending to please him. In-
stead of taking it as intended, he flew into a violent passion, declared
that it was the first time that a woman had ever dared to offer him any-
thing, and ordered the pages to lead her off to execution.

The Queen's Narrow Escape.

These words were no sooner uttered by the king than the whole bevy
of pages slipped their cord turbans from their heads, and rushed like a
pack of Cupid beagles upon the fairy queen, who, indignant at the little
urchins daring to touch her majesty, remonstrated with the king, and
tried to beat them off like flies, but was soon captured, overcome, and
dragged away crying for help and protection, whilst Lubuga, the pet
sister, and all the other women clasped the king by his legs, and, kneel-
ing, implored forgiveness for their sister. The more they craved for
mercy, the more brutal he became, till at last he took a heavy stick and
began to belabor the poor victim on the head.

" Hitherto," says Speke, " I had been extremely careful not to inter-
fere with any of the king's acts of arbitrary cruelty, knowing that such
interference at an early stage would produce more harm than good.
This last act of barbarism, however, was too much for my English blood
to stand; and as I heard my name, M'zungu, imploringly pronounced, I
rushed at the king, and staying his uplifted arm, demanded from him
the woman's life. Of course I ran imminent risk of losing my own
in thus thwarting the capricious tyrant, but his caprice proved the friend
of both. The novelty of interference made him smile, and the woman
was instantly released."

On another occasion, when Mtesa had been out shooting, Captain
Grant asked what sport he had enjoyed. The unexpected answer was
that game had been very scarce, but that he had shot a good many men
instead. Beside the pages who have been mentioned, there were several
executioners, who were pleasant and agreeable men in private life, and
held in great respect by the people. They were supposed to be in com-
mand of the pages who bound with their rope turbans the unfortunates
who were to suffer, and mostly inflicted the punishment itself.

The king seems to have been rather exceptionally cruel, his very wives
being subject to the same capriciousness of temper as the rest of his sub-
jects. Of course he beat them occasionally, but as wife beating is the
ordinary custom in Uganda, he was only following the ordinary habits of
the people.

An Instrument of Torture.

There is a peculiar whip made for the special purpose of beating wives.
It is formed of a long strip of hippopotamus hide, split down the middle
to within three or four inches of the end. The entire end is beaten and
scraped until it is reduced in size to the proper dimensions of a handle.
The two remaining thongs are suffered to remain square, but are twisted
in a screw-like fashion, so as to present sharp edges throughout their
whole length. When dry, this whip is nearly as hard as iron, and scarcely
less heavy, so that at every blow the sharp edges cut deeply into the
flesh. Wife flogging, however, was not all ; he was in the habit of kill-
ing his wives and their attendants without the least remorse. There was
scarcely a day when some woman was not led to execution, and some
days three or four were murdered. Mostly they were female attendants
of the queens, but frequently the royal pages dragged out a woman whose
single cockade on the top of her head announced her as one of the king's

Mtesa, in fact, was a complete African Bluebeard, continually marry-
ing and killing, the brides, however, exceeding the victims in number.
Royal marriage is a very simple business in Uganda. Parents who have
offended their king and want to pacify him, or who desire to be looked
on favorably by him, bring their daughters and offer them as he sits at
the door of his house. As is the case with all his female attendants,
they are totally unclothed, and stand before the king in ignorance of their
future. If he accept them, he makes them sit down, seats himself on
their knees, and embraces them. This is the whole of the ceremony,
and as each girl is thus accepted, the happy parents perform the curious
salutation called " n'yanzigging," that is, prostrating themselves on the
ground, floundering about, clapping their hands, and ejaculating the
word "n'yans," or thanks, as fast as they can say it.

Twenty or thirty brides will sometimes be presented to him in a single
morning, and he will accept more than half of them, some of them being
afterward raised to the rank of wives, while the others are relegated
the position of attendants.

Life in the palace may be honorable enough, but seems to be anything
but agreeable, except to the king. The whole of the court are abject
slaves, and at the mercy of any momentary caprice of the merciless,
thoughtless, irresponsible despot. Whatever wish may happen to enter
the king's head must be executed at once, or woe to the delinquent who
fails to carry it out. Restless and captious as a spoiled child, he never
seemed to know exactly what he wanted, and would issue simultaneously
the most contradictory orders, and then expect them to be obeyed.

A Merciless Despot.

As for the men who held the honorable post of his guards, they were
treated something worse than dogs — far worse, indeed, than Mtesa
treated his own dog. They might lodge themselves as they could, and
were simply fed by throwing great lumps of beef and plantains among
them. For this they scramble just like so many dogs, scratching and
tearing the morsels from each other, and trying to devour as much as
possible within a given number of seconds.

The soldiers of Mtesa were much better off than his guards, although
their position was not so honorable. They are well dressed, and their
rank is distinguished by a sort of uniform, the officers of royal birth
wearing the leopard-skin tippet, while those of inferior rank are distin-
guished by colored cloths, and skin cloaks made of the hide of oxen or
antelopes. Each carries two spears, and an oddly-formed shield, origi-
nally oval, but cut into deep scallops, and having at every point a pend-
ant tuft of hair. Their heads are decorated in a most curious manner,
some of the men wearing a crescent-like ornament, and some tying round
their heads wreaths made of different materials, to which a horn, a bunch
of beads, a dried lizard, or some such ornament, is appended.

Not deficient in personal courage, their spirits were cheered in combat
by the certainty of reward or punishment. Should they behave them-
selves bravely, treasures would be heaped upon them, and they would
receive from their royal master plenty of cattle and wives. But if they
behaved badly, the punishment was equally certain and most terrible.
A recreant soldier was not only put to death, but holes bored in his body
with red-hot irons until he died from sheer pain and exhaustion.

Picturesque Review of the Warriors.

Now and then the king held a review, in which the valiant and the
cowards obtained their fitting rewards. These reviews offered most pic-
turesque scenes. " Before us was a large open sward, with the huts of
the queen's Kamraviono or commander-in-chief beyond. The battalion,
consisting of what might be termed three companies, each containing
two hundred men, being drawn up on the left extremity of the parade
ground, received orders to march past in single file from the right of
companies at a long trot, and re-form again at the end of the square.

" Nothing conceivable could be more wild or fantastic than the sight
which ensued ; the men all nearly naked, with goat or cat skins depend-
ing from their girdles, and smeared with war colors, according to the
taste of the individual; one-half of the body red or black, the other blue,
not in regular order; as, for instance, one stocking would be red, and the
other black, whilst the breeches above would be the opposite colors, and
-SO with the sleeves and waistcoat. Every man carried the same arms,
two spears and one shield, held as if approaching an enemy, and they
thus moved in three lines of single rank and file, at fifteen or twenty
paces asunder, with the same high action and elongated step, the ground
leg only being bent, to give their strides the greater force.

"After the men had all started, the captains of companies followed,
even more fantastically dressed ; and last of all came the great Colonel
Congow, a perfect Robinson Crusoe, with his long white-haired goat-
skins, a fiddle-shaped leather shield, tufted with hair at all six extremities,
bands of long hair tied below the knees, and a magnificent helmet
covered with rich beads of every color in excellent taste, surmounted
with a plume of crimson feathers, in the centre of which rose a bent stem
tufted with goat's hair. Next, they charged in companies to and fro, and
finally the senior officers came charging at their king, making violent
professions of faith and honesty, for which they were applauded. The
parade then broke up, and all went home.*'

Distributing Rewards.

At these reviews, the king distributes rewards and metes out his pun-
ishments. The scene is equally stirring and terrible. As the various
officers come before the king, they prostrate themselves on the ground,
and after going through their elaborate salutation, they deliver their
reports as to the conduct of the men under their command. To some
are given various presents, with which they go off rejoicing, after floun-
dering about on the ground in the extremity of their gratitude ; while
others are seized by the ever-officious pages, bound, and dragged off to
execution, the unfortunate men struggling with their captors, fighting,
and denying the accusation, until they are out of hearing. As soon as
the king thinks that he has had enough of the business, he rises
abruptly, picks up his spears, and goes off, leading his dog with him .

The native account of the origin of the Waganda kingdom is very
curious. According to them, the country which is now called Uganda
was previously united with Unyoro, a more northerly kingdom. Eight
generations back there came from Unyoro a hunter named Uganda, bring-
ing with him a spear, a shield, a woman, and a pack of dogs. He began
to hunt on the shores of the lake, and was so successful that he was
joined by vast numbers of the people, to whom he became a chief.

Under his sway, the hitherto scattered people assumed the character of
a nation, and began to feel their strength. Their leading men then held
a council on their government, and determined on making Uganda their
king. " For," said they, " of what avail to us is the king of Unyoro ?
He is so far distant that, when we sent him a cow as a present, the cow
had a calf, and that calf became a cow and gaVe birth to another calf, and
yet the present has not reached the king. Let us have a king of our
own." So they induced Uganda to be their king, changed his name to
Kimera, and assigned his former name to the country.

Founding a Kingdom.

Kimera, thus made king, took his station on a stone and showed him-
self to his new subjects, having in his hand his spears and shield, and
being accompanied by a woman and a dog ; and in this Avay all succeed-
ing kings have presented themselves to their subjects. All the Waganda
are, in consequence, expected to keep at least two spears, a shield and a
dog, and the officers are also entitled to have drums. The king of Unyoro
heard of the new monarch, but did not trouble himself about a move-
ment at such a distance, and so the kingdom of Uganda became an
acknowledged reality.

However, Kimera organized his people in so admirable a manner, that
he became a perfect terror to the king of Unyoro, and caused him to
regret that, when Kimera's power was not yet consolidated, he had not
crushed him. Kimera formed his men into soldiers, drafted them into
different regiments, drilled and organized them thoroughly. He cut roads
through his kingdom, traversing it in all directions. He had whole fleets
of boats built, and threw bridges over rivers wherever they interrupted
his line of road. He descended into the minutest particulars of dorriestic
polity, and enforced the strictest sanitary system throughout his country,
not even suffering a house to be built unless it possessed the means of

Organization, indeed, seems now to be implanted in the Waganda
mind. Even the mere business of taking bundles of wood into the pal-
ace must be done in military style. After the logs are carried a certain
distance, the men charge up hill with walking sticks at the slope, to the
sound of the drum, shouting and chorusing. On reaching their officer,
they drop on their knees to salute, by saying repeatedly in one voice
the word " n'yans " (thanks). Then they go back, charging down hill,
stooping simultaneously to pick up the wood, till step by step, it taking
several hours, the neatly cut logs are regularly stacked in the palace

Each officer of the district would seem to have a different mode of
drill. The Wazeewah, with long sticks, were remarkably well-disciplined,
shouting and marching all in regular time, every club going through the
same movement; the met attractive part of the drill being when all
crouched simultaneously, and then advanced in open ranks, swinging
their bodies to the roll of their drums.

By such means Kimera soon contrived to make himself so powerful
that his very name w'as dreaded throughout Unyoro, into which country
he was continually making raids. If, for example, at one of his councils
he found that one part of his dominions was deficient in cattle or women,
he ordered one or two of his generals to take their troops into Unyoro,
and procure the necessary number. In order that he might always have
the means of carrying his ideas into effect, the officers of the army are
expected to present themselves at the palace as often as they possibly
can, and, if they fail to do so, they are severely punished ; their rank is
taken from them ; their property confiscated, and their goods, their wives,
and their children are given to others.

A King Placed in an Oven to Dry.

In fact, Kimera proceeded on a system of reward and punishment:
the former he meted out with a 1iberal hand ; the latter was certain, swift,
and terrible. In process of time Kimera died, and his body was dried
by being placed over an oven. When it was quite dry, the lower jaw
was removed and covered with beads ; and this, together with the body,
were placed in tombs, and guarded by the dec: ased monarch's Tivorite
women, who were prohibited even from seeing his successor.

After Kimera's death, the people proceeded to choose a king from
among his many children, called " Warangira," or princes. The king
elect was very young, and was separated from the others who were
placed in a suite of huts under charge of a keeper. As soon as the
young prince reached years of discretion, he was publicly made king,
and at the same time all his brothers except two were burned to death.
The t.vo were allowed to live in case the new king should die before he
had any sons, and also as companions for him. As soon as the line of
direct succession was secured, one of the brothers was banished into
Unyoro, and the other allowed to live in Uganda.

When Stanley saw Mtesa he was an elderly man, but when Captains
Speke and Grant arrived in Uganda, he was about twenty-five years of
Vige, and, although he had not been formally received as king, wielded a
power as supreme as if he had passed through this ceremony. He was
wise enough to keep up the system which had been bequeathed to him
by his ancestors, and the Uganda kingdom was even more powerful in
his time than it had been in the days of Kimera. A close acquaintance
proved that his personal character was not a pleasant one, as indeed was
likely when it is remembered that he had possessed illimitable power
ever since he was quite a boy, and in consequence had never known con-

He was a very fine-looking young man, and possessed in perfection
the love of dress, which is so notable a feature in the character of the
Waganda. They are so fastidious in this respect, that for a man to
appear untidily dressed before his superiors would entail severe punish-
ment, while, if he dared to present himself before the king with the least
disorder of apparel, immediate death would be the result. Even the
royal pages, who rush about at full speed when performing their com-
missions, are obliged to hold their skin cloaks tightly round them, lest
any portion of a naked limb should present itself to the royal glance.

Striking Dress and Appearance.

The appearance of Mtesa is described as follows : — " A more theatrical
sight I never saw. The king, a good-looking, well-formed young man
of twenty-five, was sitting upon a red blanket, spread upon a square plat-
form of royal grass, encased in tiger-grass reeds, scrupulously dressed in
a new 'mbugu (or grass-cloth). The hair of h's head was cut short,
except upon tl;,e top, where it was combed up into a high ridge, running
from stem to stern, like a cock's comb. On his neck was a very neat
ornament — a large ring of beautifully-worked small beads, forming
elegant patterns by their various colors. On one arm was another bead
ornament, prettily devised, and on the other a wooden charm, tied by a
string covered with a snake skin. On every finger and toe he had alter-
nate brass and copper rings, and above the ankles, half-way up the calf, a
.stocking of very pretty beads.

" Everything was light, neat, and elegant in its way ; not a fault could
be found with the taste of his ' getting-up.' For a handkerchief, he had
a well-folded piece of bark, and a piece of gold-embroidered silk, which
he constantly employed to hide his large mouth when laughing, or to wipe
it after a drink of plantain wine, of which he took constant and copious
draughts from Httle gourd cups, administered by his ladies in waiting,
who were at once his sisters and his wives. A white dog, spear, shield,
and woman — the Uganda cognizance— were by his side, as also a host of
staff officers, with whom he kept up a brisk conversation, on one side ;
and on the other was a band of  'Wichwezi,' or lady sorcerers."

These women are indispensable appendages to the court, and attend
the king wherever he goes, their office being to avert the evil eye from
their monarch, and to pour the plantain wine into the royal cups. They
are distinguished by wearing dried lizards on their heads, and on their
belts are fastened goat-skin aprons, edged with little bells.

Mtesa's palace is of enormous dimensions, and almost deserves the
name of a village or town.  It occupies the whole side of a hill, and con-
sists of streets of huts arranged as methodically as the houses in an
American town, the line being preserved by fences of the tall yellow tiger-
grass of Uganda.: There are also squares and open spaces, and the whole
is kept in perfect order and neatness. The inner courts are entered by
means of gates, each gate being kept by an officer, who permits no one
to pass who has not the king's permission. In case his vigilance should
be evaded, each gate has a bell fastened to it on the inside.

How the King Receives Visitors.

The mode of welcoming strangers is as follows : Under the shade of
'the hut the monarch is seated on his throne, having on one side the
spears, shield, and dog, and on the other the woman, these being the
accompaniments of royalty. Some of his pages are seated near him, with
their cord turbans bound on their tufted heads, ready to obey his slightest
word. Immediately in front are some soldiers saluting him, and one of
them, to whom he has granted some favor, is floundering on the ground,
thanking, or " n'yanzigging," according to the custom of the place. On
the other side is the guest, a man of rank, who is introduced by the officer
of the gate. The door itself, with its bells, is drawn aside, and over the
doorway is a rope, on which are hung a row of charms. The king's pri-
vate band is seen in the distance, performing with its customary vigor.

The architecture of the huts within these enclosures is wonderfully
good, the Waganda having great natural advantages, and making full
use of them. The principal material in their edifices is reed, which in
Uganda grows to a very great height, and is thick and strong in the
stem. Grass for thatching is also found in vast quantities, and there is
plenty of straight timber for the rafters. The roof is double, in order to
exclude the sunbeams, and the outer roof comes nearly to the ground on
all sides. The fabric is upheld by a number of poles, from which are
hung corn-sacks, meat, and other necessaries.

The interior is separated into two compartments by a high screen
made of plantain leaf, and within the inner apartment the cane bedstead
of the owner is placed. Yet, with all this care in building, there is only
one door, and no window or chimney; and although the Waganda keep
their houses tolerably clean, tiie number of dogs which they keep fill
their huts with fleas, so that when a traveller takes possession of a house,
he generally has the plantain screen removed, and makes on the floor as
large a fire as possible, so as to exterminate the insect inhabitants.

Royal Ceremonies.

The ceremonies of receiving a royal guest are as elaborate as the
jarchitecture. Officers of rank step forward to greet him, while musicians
are in attendance, playing on the various instruments of Uganda, most of
them being similar to those which have already been described. Even
the height of the seat on which the visitor is to place himself is rigor-
ously determined, the chief object seeming to be to force him to take a
seat lower than that to which he is entitled. In presence of the king,
who sits on a chair or throne, no subject is allowed to be seated on any-
thing higher than the ground ; and if he can be induced to sit in the sunbeams, and wait until the king is pleased to see him, a triumph,
of diplomacy has been secured.

When the king has satisfied himself with his guest, or thinks that he
is tired, he rises without any warning, and marches off to his room, using
the peculiar gait affected by the kings of Uganda, and supposed to be
imitated from the walk of the lion. To the eyes of the Waganda, the
" lion's step," as the peculiar walk is termed, is very majestic, but to the
eyes of an American it is simply ludicrous, the feet being planted widely
apart, and the body swung from side to side at each step.

After Mtesa had received his white visitor, he suddenly rose and
retired after the royal custom, and, as etiquette did not permit him to eat
until he had seen his visitors, he took the opportunity of breaking his

The Waganda are much given to superstition, and have a most implicit
faith in charms. The king is very rich in charms, and, whenever he
holds his court, has vast numbers of them suspended behind him, besides
those which he carries on his person. These charms are made of almost
anything which the magician chooses to select. Horns filled with
magic powder are perhaps the most common, and these are slung on the
neck or tied on the head if small, and kept in the huts if large.

Famous Water Spirit.

Their great object of superstitious dread is a sort of water-spirit, which
is supposed to inhabit the lake, and to wreak his vengeance upon those
who disturb him. Like the water-spirits of the Rhine, this goblin has
supreme jurisdiction, not only on the lake itself, but in all rivers that
communicate with it ; and the people are so afraid of this aquatic demon,
that they would not allow a sounding-line to be thrown into the water,
lest perchance the weight should happen to hit the water-spirit and
enrage him. The name of this spirit is M'gussa, and he communicates
with the people by means of his own special minister or priest, who lives
on an island, and is held in nearly as much awe as his master.

Mtesa once took Captain Speke with him to see the magician. He
took also a number of his wives and attendants, and it was very amusing,
when they reached the boats, to see all the occupants jump into the
water, ducking their heads so as to avoid seeing the royal women, a stray
glance being sure to incur immediate death. They proceeded to the
island on which the wizard lived.

" Proceeding now through the trees of this beautiful island, we next
turned into the hut of the M'gussa's familiar, which at the further end
was decorated with many mystic symbols, among them a paddle, the
badge of high office ; and for some time we sat chatting, when pombe
was brought, and the spiritual medium arrived. He was dressed Wich-
wezi fashion, with a little white goatskin apron, adorned with various
charms, and used a paddle for a walking-stick. He was not an old man,
though he affected to be so, walking very slowly and deliberately, cough-
ing asthmatically, glimmering with his eyes, and mumbling like a witch.
With much affected difficulty he sat at the end of the hut, beside the
symbols alluded to, and continued his coughing full half an hour, when
his wife came in in the same manner, without saying a word, and assumed
the same affected style.

"The king jokingly looked at me and laughed, and then at these
strange creatures by turns, as much as to say, ' What do you think of
them ? ' but no voice was heard, save that of the old wife, who croaked
like a frog for water, and, when some was brought, croaked again because
it was not the purest of the lake's produce — had the first cup changed,
wetted her lips with the second, and hobbled away in the same manner
as she had come."

Worshipping With Drums and Horns.

On their pathways and roads, which are very numerous and well kept,
they occasionally place a long stick in the ground, with a shell or other
charm on the top, or suspend the shell on the overhanging branch of a
tree. Similar wands, on a smaller scale, are kept in the houses, and bits
of feathers, rushes, and other articles are tied behind the door. Snake-
skin is of course much used in making these charms, and a square piece
of this article is hung round the neck of almost every man of this country.

The religion of the Waganda is of course one inspired by terror, and
not by love, the object of all their religious rites being to avert the anger
of malignant spirits. Every new moon has its own peculiar worship,
which is conducted by banging drums, replenishing the magic horns,
and other ceremonies too long to describe. The most terrible of their
rites is that of human sacrifice, which is usually employed when the
king desires to look into the future.

The victim is always a child, and the sacrifice is conducted in a most
cruel manner. Having discovered by his incantations that a neighbor
is projecting war, the magician flays a young child, and lays the bleeding
body in the path on which the soldiers pass to battle. Each warrior
steps over the bleeding body, and thereby is supposed to procure immu-
nity for himself in the approaching battle. When the king makes war,
his chief magician uses a still more cruel mode of divination. He takes
a large earthern pot, half fills it with water, and then places it over the
fireplace. On the mouth of the pot he lays a small platform of crossed
sticks, and having bound a young child and a fowl, he lays them on the
platform, covering them with another pot, which he inverts over them.
The fire is then lighted, and suffered to burn for a given time, when the
upper pot is removed, and the victims inspected. If they should both be
dead, it is taken as a sign that the war must be deferred for the present ;
but if either should be alive, war may be made at once.
Character of the African.

How the Negro has lived so many ages without advancing seems mar-
vellous, when all the countries surrounding Africa are so forward in com-
parison. And, judging from the progressive state of the world, one is
led to suppose that the African must soon either step out from his dark-
ness, or be superseded by a being superior to himself The African neither
can help himself nor be helped by others, because his country is in
such a constant state of turmoil that he has too much anxiety on hand
looking out for his food to think of anything else.

As his fathers did, so does he. He works his wife, sells his children,
enslaves all he can lay hands on, and, unless when fighting for the prop-
erty of others, contents himself with drinking, singing, and dancing like
a baboon, to drive dull care away. A few only make cotton cloth, or
work in wool, iron, copper, or salt, their rule being to do as little as pos-
sible, and to store up nothing beyond the necessaries of the next season,
lest their chiefs or neighbors should covet and take it from them.

There are many kinds of food which the climate affords to anyone of
ordinary industry, such as horned cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, fowls, ducks,
and pigeons, not to mention the plantain and other vegetable products,
and with such stores of food at his command, it is surprising that the
black man should be so often driven to feed on wild herbs and roots,
dogs, cats, rats, snakes, lizards, insects, and other similar animals, and
should be frequently found on the point of starvation^ and be compelled
to sell his own children to procure food. Moreover, there are elephants,
rhinoceroses, hippopotami, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes, guinea-fovvls,
and a host of other animals, which can be easily captured in traps or
pitfalls, so that the native African lives in the midst of a country which
produces food in boundless variety. The reasons for such a phenomenon
are simple enough, and may be reduced to two, — namely, utter want of
foresight and constitutional indolence.

Mtesa took a deliberate view of Stanley, as if studying him, while the
compliment was reciprocated, since the latter was no less interested in the
king. After the audience Stanley repaired to his hut and wrote the fol-
lowing" : " As I had read Speke's book for the sake of its geographical
information, I retained but a dim remembrance of his description of his
life in Uganda. If I remember rightly, Speke described a youthful prince,
vain and heartless, a wholesale murderer and tyrant, one who delighted
in fat women. Doubtless he described what he saw, but it is far from
being the state of things now. Mtesa has impressed me as being an
intelligent and distinguished prince, who, if aided in time by virtuous
philanthropists, will do more for Central Africa than fifty years of Gospel
teaching, unaided by such authority, can do.

Stanley's Estimate of Mtesa.

" I think I see in him the light that shall lighten the darkness of this
benighted region ; a prince well worthy the most hearty sympathies that
Europe can give him. In this man I see the possible fruition of Living-
stone's hopes, for with his aid the civilization of Equatorial Africa
becomes feasible. I remember the ardor and love which animated Living-
stone when he spoke of Sekeletu ; had he seen Mtesa, his ardor and love
had been for him tenfold, and his pen and tongue would have been
employed in calling all good men to assist him."

Five days later Stanley added to his observations the following: " I see
that Mtesa is a powerful emperor, with great influence over his neighbors.
I have to-day seen the turbulent Mankorongo, king of Usui, and Mirambo,
that terrible phantom who disturbs men's minds in Unyamwezi, through
their embassies, kneeling and tendering their tribute to him. I saw over
three thousand soldiers of Mtesa nearly half-civilized. I saw about a
hundred chiefs who might be classed in the same scale as the men
of Zanzibar and Oman, clad in as rich robes, and armed in the same
fashion, and have witnessed with astonishment such order and law as is
obtainable in semi-civilized countries. All this is the result of a poor
Muslim's labor ; his name is Muley bin Salim. He it was who first began
teaching here the doctrines of Islam. False and contemptible as the^e
doctrines are, they are preferable to the ruthless instincts of a savage des-
pot, whom Speke and Grant left wallowing in the blood of women, and I
honor the memory of Muley bin Salim — Muslim and slave-trader though
he be — the poor priest who has wrought this happy change. With a
strong desire to improve still more the character of Mtesa, I shall begin
buildmg on the foundation stones laid by Muley bin Salim. I shall de-
destroy his belief in Islam, and teach the doctrines of Jesus of Nazareth."

Col. Long, an officer of the Egyptian army under Gen. Gordon, had
visited Mtesa nearly a year previous to Stanley's arrival, and he describes
the emperor as exceedingly fierce and brutal, altogether different from
Stanley's conceptions of the great African ruler. Col. Long travelled on
horseback from Gondokoro to Mtesa's capital, and as the horse is an
unknown animal in Central Africa, the natives at first supposed that the
gallant Colonel and his steed were united in some mysterious manner,
and concluding from this that he was an extraordinary being they gave
him an unusually grand reception. Mtesa ordered thirty human beings to
be slain in honor of his visit, the victims being selected from among pris-
oners captured in war. Col. Long, being unaccompanied except by a few
native servants, did not consider it prudent to interfere with the shocking
ceremony, but was compelled to be an unwilling witness of this horrible

At a later period a change came over the king. Mtesa conceived a
strong affection for Stanley, and repeatedly invited him to his palace,
where much of. the time was devoted to a discussion of religion, and so
earnestly did Stanley relate the story of Christ's life and sufferings that
he won the king over from Mohammedanism to the Christian faith.



William Hillman
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