Imatges de pÓgina

Under the present favourable auspices for exploring Africa, the gentleman selected for this interesting enterprize is Mr. Ritchie, late private secretary to Sir Charles Stuart, ambassador at Paris. He is a young man, and is said to possess excellent abilities; full of zeal for scientific research; and well acquainted with the use of mathematical instruments; he is familiar with various branches of natural history, and possesses besides, the advantage of having been brought up to surgery. Captain Marryat of the navy bas, we understand, volunteered his services to accompany him, and, should they be so fortunate as to embark on the Niger, he will, no doubt, be of most essential service in exploring that mysterious stream.

The French, who are by no means backward in encouraging the prosecution of discoveries in science, and who, properly enough, consider Africa as a sort of common theatre on which all nations have a right to exercise their talents, have got the start of us on the present occasion. The moment it was understood in Paris that Mr. Ritchic had been appointed to this mission, it was officially announced 10 Sir Charles Stuart, by the minister of marine, that it

consequence of the multitude of robbers and other impediments, set off froin Ferzan accompanied by Father Sevarino di Salesia. They took their way together towards the kingdom of Agadez. Having at length arrived there, they found that the objects of the Propaganda could not be prosecuted there; and, having received intelligence that in the kingdom of Cassina they would have an opportunity of exercising their spiritual office, particularly in come village or other of that kingdom, but not in the capital, they set off in the name of the Lord, leaving the kingdom of Agadez. After a journey of a month with the caravan through the desert, they arrived at the capital of the kingdom of Cassina. Since, however, the secrets of God are inscrutable, it so happened ihat, through the malignity of the water there, the above-mentioned Father Prefect grew sick, being attacked with the swelling of the whole body, and in eight days gave up his spirit to God. On hearing this, the king of that kingdon, then dwell. ing ai Cassina, had him stript of every thing that he possessed. Father Sevarino di Silesia, his companion, seeing every thing thus wrongfully taken away, presented himself before the king, and told him that those clothes were his property, that which his deceased companion had, being not his own private property, but in common; he there. fore begged him to make restitution; hereupon the king answered, · If you desire me to do this, turn Mahommedan as I am. The missionary declined this proposal; upon which the king rejoined, · Begone then, and for thy deeds thou shalt die like thy companion.' In fact, within two or three days, he fell sick of the same infirmiiy as the prefect, and in the course of eleven days, he also gave up his spirit to his Creator.

• The whole of this account we received from a Moorish merchant, a native of Tripoli in Barbary, named Hadjie Milleit; he gave it us with an air of compassion, having been the faithtui companiou of these fathers froin Tripoli to Pezzal, and from Fezzan to Agadez. The tidings of their death, with all its circumstances, he received from a merchant who accompanied these fathers from the kingdom of Agadez to the kingdom of Cassina, and who, out of ten that set out on that journey, was the only one that did vot perish by this sickness, he having escaped by the will of God, that lie might bear the tidings of the unhappy end of these religious. He further informed us, that in the said kingdom of Cassina the sickness has always existed, in consequence of the badness of those waters—those who are not accustomed to them dying intallibly upon drinking them; those therefore who wish to trade there negociate with the caravan of Agadez, and go on no farther. He also stated that all foreigners dying in Cassina are not interred, not even the richest merchants, but are carried out into the country and left a prey to the wild beasts,'

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was the intention of the French government to send an expedition into the interior of Africa; that he had deemed it proper to make this communication, lest the English might suspect it was meant to counteract the proceedings of Mr. Ritchie; whereas the idea had long been in contemplation, and the preparations were now nearly complete. Soon after this it was whispered in Paris that a person was engaged for this undertaking wbo had recently made some noise in the literary world; this was no other than Bahdia, the Spaniard, who, baving some years ago been initiated, in London, into the external rites of Mohamedanism, visited the north of Africa and part of Asia, and, on his return, published his travels under the fictitious name of Ali Bey. It was also said that he was to proceed, in the first instance, to Cairo; thence, by joining the Tombuctoo caravan, to penetrate to the Niger; which he was to trace up to its source, and thence to cross over to the Senegal; the main object being that of ascertaining the possibility of opening a communication between Tombuctoo and the French settlement at Gallam. Acommittee of the Institute, consisting of Messrs. Delambre, Cuvier, and some other members, were appointed to draw up his instructions ; and the government having agreed to advance him 25,000 francs, and to provide for his family in the event of his death, he set out on his travels about the beginning of the present year, ostensibly by the way of Egypt, but actually, we have been informed by a member of the Institute, for Tripoli, with a view of anticipating Mr. Ritchie. We have no objection to see two great nations endeavouring to outstrip each other in their exertions for extending the limits of human knowledge; but it appears as absurd in the French, as unnecessary, to have recourse to duplicity, for no other purpose, that we can conceive, (for we would not attribute it to so mean a passion as jealousy,) than that of throwing a veil of mystery over their proceedings

. After all, we are much mistaken if the shortest and best road for Europeans, to Tombuctoo, will not be found to be that from Cummazee, the capital of the Ashantees. It is somewhat remarkable that we should just now,

for the first time in the course of two hundred years, learn any thing of this rich and populous nation, whose capital is situated not a hundred and fifty miles from the British factory. In the course of last year a mission from the governor of Cape Coast Castle was sent to Zey Tooloo Quamina, king of Ashantee, consisting of Mr. Bowdich, Mr. Hutchison, and Mr. Tedlie. For some time after their arrival in the capital they were kept in close confinement, owing to the jealousy instilled into the king's mind by some Moorish merchants, assisted by the intrigues of the notorious Daendels, once the servile tool of Buonaparte, and now the representative of his Netherlandish majesty on this part of the coast of Africa. Their good conduct, however, enabled them to overcome all difficulties, and the king was so well satisfied of the sincerity of their views and declarations, that he concluded a treaty with them, and consented to send his children to be educated at Cape Coast Castle. The following extract of a letter from Mr. Bowdich will amuse our readers:


• The palace itself is most magnificent, the frame work of some of the windows is made of gold, and the architecture is so perfect that it might be technically described. We were permitted to enter soon after two o'clock, and the king received us with the most encouraging courtesy, and the most flattering distinction; we paid our respects in pairs, passing along a surprizing extent of line to the principal Caboceers, many from remote and some from Moorish territories, all of them encircled by-retinues, astonishing to us from their number, order, and decorations. We were then requested to remove to a distant tree to receive their salutes, which procession, though simply transient, continued until past cight o'clock; it was indescribably imposing from its variety, magnificence and etiquette. When the presents were displayed, nothing could surpass the surprize of the king, but the warm yet dignified avowal of his obligation. “ Englishmen,” said he, (admiring the workmanship of the articles) “know how to do every thing proper," turning to his favourite, with a smile auspicious to our interests.' On Wednesday morning the king's mother and sisters, and one of the Caboceers of the largest Ashantec towns on the frontier, paid us a visit of ceremony; their manners were courteous and dignified, and they were handed and attended with a surprizing politeness by the captains in waiting.

Today we were conducted to a large yard, where the king, encircled by a varied profusion of insignia, more sumptuous than what we had seen before, sat at the end of a long file of counsellors, caboceers and captains. They were seated under their umbrellas of scarlet or yellow cloth, of silk shawls, cottons of every glaring variety, and decorated with carved and golden pelicans, panthers, baboons, barrels and crescents, &c. on the top; their shape generally that of a dome. Distinct and pompous retinues were placed around with gold canes, spangled elephants' tails to keep off the flies, gold-headed swords, embossed muskets, and many other splendid novelties too numerous to mention. Each chief had the dignity of his own province to his right and left; it was truly“ concilium in concilio.” We have observed only one horse, which is kept by the chief captain for state, the people riding on bullocks. At the request of the king I mounted this rare animal, first with a Moorish saddle, but it was inconvenient; and the king having heard Englishmen could ride with a cloth only, begged me to display my horsemanship, which I did for his amusement.

“The manners and deportment of the king are dignified in the extreme, and his sentiments would do credit to the most civilized monarch; he is highly delighted with the medicines, and has begged for a great quantity, trying to learn by heart the doses and uses of each. The surgical instruments also attracted his close attention, and when Mr. Tedlie shewed him a piece of bone which he had taken from an Indian blackman's head, who survived the operation, his wonder could only be equalled by

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