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The slaves, when on sale, are dressed out, and seated in rows in two long sheds. The buyer is not only allowed the strictest inspection, but may return them in the course of three days, with or without reason assigned. The cowrie here, as in all the countries from Bornou to the Senegal, is the established medium of circulation. Mr Clapperton extols it much, as excluding forgery, and as equally suited to large and small sums, from the great dexterity with which the natives handle it; but really, to count over a thousand pieces, with whatever dexterity, every time one has to pay half a crown, is what we cannot reconcile to any idea of convenience.
Kano is reckoned to contain from 30,000 to 40,000 stationary inhabitants, independent of the vast crowds who repair thither, during the season of trade, from the remotest extremities of Africa. The great quantity of stagnant water enclosed within its walls renders it excessively unhealthy. Most of the Arab merchants who had resided for any time appeared rather like ghosts than men. The blind are also very numerous, and have a village set aside for them. The only public amusement here mentioned is one which bespeaks no very refined taste in the society of Kano. It is boxing, carried on with some science, but with such excessive fury, that a thorough set-to seldom terminates but in the death of one of the combatants. It appears that the fancy here exhibit for pay; and Captain Clapperton had the curiosity to hire a match, which attracted the whole population of Kano as spectators; however, he had a signal, by which he took care to stop proceedings as soon as they threatened to become serious.
From Kano the mission proceeded to Sackatoo, the present capital of the Felatah empire. About half way, by one route, though not visited till their return, is Kashna, or Kassina, which, at the time of the first accounts received by the Association, was the grand emporium of this eastern part of Central Africa. Since the recent Felatah conquest, it has much declined, and Kano has regained its ancient ascendancy. The walls of Kassina, like those of Kano, are of immense circuit, but not above a tenth of the enclosure is built upon; and though a great part is now in ruins, it still carries on a considerable trade with the Tuarick, with the merchants of Ghadamis, and with Tombuctoo.
The journey to and from Sackatoo was attended with very considerable danger, as this powerful state had at its very door two provinces, Goober and Zamfra, in a state of open rebellion, and who took advantage of this circumstance to waylay and plunder all travellers. Although, therefore, a large escort
of cavalry was sent both for and with him, even these thought themselves safe only by posting night and day, with exhausting rapidity, every one exclaiming, — Wo to the wretch that falls
behind; he is sure to meet an unhappy end at the hands of the Gooberites.' Sackatoo was found a well-built city, laid out in regular streets, and the population more dense than in any other part of Houssa; but no guess is made, what may be its amount, or even whether it, on the whole, exceeds that of the cities already visited. The trade is not very great, which is ascribed to the disturbed state of the surrounding country. The fine cloths are chiefly manufactured by slaves from Nyffee, who are said to excel all the other nations of Soudan in spinning and weaving.
Captain Clapperton was well received both by Sultan Bello and his minister the Gadado, though considerable and natural resentment was expressed at Major Denham having accompanied the expedition against their people. The apology however, that the Major had been actuated merely by curiosity, was well received, and his books, which had been transmitted to the Sultan, were handsomely returned. The palace consisted merely of a vast enclosure, containing a multitude of coosies or straw huts at some distance from each other. The Sultan was seated in one, which, being larger than the rest, resembled an English cottage, and was supported on pillars painted blue and white. He appears to have been an intelligent amiable man, with some liberal views. He was delighted with the telescope, the compass, and particularly with the quadrant, which he termed the looking-glass of the sun.' He wished some of the English books to be read to him, in order that he might hear the sound of the language, of which he expressed admiration. At last he said, “ Every thing is wonderful, but you are the greatest curiosity of all.' Captain Clapperton endeavoured to improve this disposition, in order to procure permission to proceed to Youri and Nyffee, where he would have found himself in the tract of Park, and might have completed the discoveries of that great traveller, The Sultan at first assured him of protection in the furtherance of this journey; he soon, however, began to draw a gloomy picture of the dangers attending it, from the disturbed state of the intermediate districts; and he expressed always deeper and deeper alarm, till it became evident that he had formed a fixed resolution against allowing the mission to proceed, This change is ascribed to the good offices of the Arab merchants, alarmed lest a rival commerce should be es, tablished by a new channel. Captain Clapperton was therefore obliged, finally, to conclude, by requesting an escort to carry him back to Bornou.
It seems difficult to fix the limits of this empire of the Felatahs; and, indeed, doubtful whether any very precise limits exist. The delineation given by Sultan Bello himself, must be thrown aside at once as a piece of the most ridiculous boasting. Not only does it include Bornou and Mandara, which have now completely shaken off the yoke, but it comprehends Baghermi, and even Darfoor, in which it is probable that not one of his troops ever set foot. We hesitate not to pronounce a similar sentence on the western limits, represented as extending to the Gulf of Benin. Indeed we suspect the Sultan must have been not a little embarrassed by the repeated entreaties which Cap-' tain Clapperton made, in the simplicity of his heart, that his Majesty would fix upon some point of his maritime coast, at which the British might trade, - when it is quite evident, that he had not a foot of territory within several hundred miles of the sea. These applications he evaded under various pretexts; and, on being categorically questioned as to any particular place, vaguely replied, God has given me all the land of the * Infidels.' Indeed we strongly suspect, that the extension of his empire to the west was very limited, and that the dread of exposing this, was one chief motive which made him rue the permission he seemed at first inclined to grant to the mission to proceed in that direction. This boasted empire, too, was braved in its very centre by rebel, or, more properly, independent states, whose roving bands rendered perilous the very approaches of the capital. During the time of our travellers' residence, a caravan of a thousand people arrived in a state of entire route, having lost a great part of their people, and nearly all their property and baggage. Kano, again, the second capital, has, within a day's march, the town and territory of Doura, which has, for five years, defied all the power of the empire.
Although, however, we must cut down very materially these lofty pretensions of Sultan Bello, it is not meant to insinuate that he does not rule over a considerable and valuable kingdom. It comprehends the greater part of Soudan, or Houssa, in which the l'elatahs are the ruling people--the finest country, and the finest people, in all Africa. Houssa proves to be the name, not of a town or a kingdom, but of a region presenting a certain uniform aspect of nature and social existence. Although the Felatahs form the ruling part of the population, we no where find it defined with any exactness, wherein
their peculiarities consist. Denham (p. 115,) describes them as a very handsome people, not negro, nor ever intermarrying with the negroes, but of a deep copper-colour. It is, however, so deep, that Clapperton (p. 13.) roundly calls a Felatah a black
Even by him, however, they were judged, in their mode of dress and general appearance, to resemble the inhabitants of Tetuan; and he met one of them who had spent some time with the Wahabis in Arabia, and reported that their language and that of the Felatahs was the same. Putting together these particulars, we should presume that this people were originally Arab, and probably sprung from that great Saracen migration which, in the tenth or eleventh century, founded the kingdoms of Ghana, Tocrur, and Berissa. Their original copper-colour would naturally be rendered much darker by a residence of so many centuries. Meantime we cannot fail to recognise in them, and generally in the inhabitants of this region, a superior people to that of Bornou-more energy of character-greater courage-more polished manners-an administration better conducted—and all the arts of life in a more improved state. The plough indeed does not seem to have passed the southern limit of Tripoli; but irrigation, the mainspring of tropical fertility, is practised with diligence. Instead of the poor grain of the gussub, wheat is raised plentifully, and is made into bread; and the markets are well supplied both with fruits and vegetables. The Moslem faith is professed, yet apparently with less bigotry. It appears, indeed, to be a prevalent opinion among some of the Arabs, that the Felatahs are not true Moslems, and will never see paradise; which last conclusion receives much countenance from the dreadful ravages of which they have been guilty. The boys at Sackatoo ran after our traveller, calling out, - There is the infidel !'- though there was one body who made an open profession of tolerant principles. These were the mendicant orders, who, in hope of two or three cowries, came daily under the windows calling out, Allah attik jinne ; . God give thee paradise;' and, says Captain Clapperton, • while almost all" Africa doomed me to eternal perdition, I considered it obtaining their suffrages at a cheap rate.'
Of the intellectual condition of the Felatahs, the information is excessively scanty; but enough transpires to prove that it stands low. Captain Clapperton, on his way to Sackatoo, was told of a large collection of books that was in the possession of Sultan Bello; but he never appears to have instituted any inquiry, and certainly has made no communication to us on the subject. That a small one was in the possession of the Gadada, happens to be mentioned, in consequence of his being
found reading one of them on the Interpretration of Dreams,
- too fair a specimen, we fear, of the whole library. On the whole, we suspect there is pretty clear negative evidence, that not one of the nations of Central Africa has any existence as a literary or intellectual people. That there is some oral poetry can scarcely be considered an exception; for there is scarcely a tribe so rude, to whom the Muse does not inspire this language of the impassioned heart; and even
• She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
Their feather-cinctured chiefs and dusky loves.' The talent of poetry, however, resides chiefly among the Arab caravan drivers; and, we suspect, is due, not so much to any tincture of acquired literature, as to that excited state of passion and feeling which arises in a life of wild and wandering adventure. Their love-strains are too much in the inflated and artificial style of Oriental hyperbole; but there is a dirge on Boo-Khaloom, which has such a portion of antique dignity and pathos, that we cannot forbear presenting it as a favourable specimen.
• Oh! trust not to the gun and the sword! The spear of the unbeliever prevails !
• Boo-Khaloom, the good and the brave, has fallen! Who shall now be safe ? Even as the moon amongst the little stars, so was BooKhaloom amongst men! Where shall Fezzan now look for her protector? Men hang their heads in sorrow, while women wring their hands, rending the air with their cries ! As a shepherd is to his flock, so was Boo-Khaloom to Fezzan!
• Give him songs! Give him music! What words can equal his praise ? His heart was as large as the desert ! His coffers were like the rich overflowings from the udder of the she.camel, comforting and nourishing those around him !
• Even as the flowers without rain perish in the field, so will the Fezzaneers droop; for Boo-Khaloom returns no more!
• His body lies in the land of the heathen! The poisoned arrow of the unbeliever prevails !
• Oh! trust not to the gun, and the sword! the spear of the heathen conquers. Boo-Khaloom, the good and the brave, has fallen! Who shall now be safe ?'
Let us now take a hasty view of some of the leading characteristics of Interior Africa, though they wear too much of a gloomy and painful aspect.
Among these, robbery stands prominent. It exists, not as the deed of desperate and outlawed individuals, but as the great national and state concern of almost every community, great and small. In other parts of the world robbery is chiefly the offence