Two Trips to
and the Cataracts of the Congo.
Richard F. Burton.
In Two Volumes
Contents of Vol. I.
Chapter I. From Fernando Po to Loango Bay.—the German Expedition Chapter II. To Sao Paulo De Loanda Chapter III. The Festival.—a Trip to Calumbo—portuguese Hospitality Chapter IV. The Cruise along Shore—the Granite Pillar of Kinsembo Chapter V. Into the Congo River.—the Factories.—trip to Shark's Point.—the Padrao and Pinda Chapter VI. Up the Congo River.—the Slave Depot.—porto Da Lenha.-arrival at Boma Chapter VII. Boma.—our Outfit for the Interior Chapter VIII. A Visit to Banza Chisalla Chapter IX. Up the Congo to Banza Nokki Chapter X. Notes on the Nzadi or Congo River Chapter XI. Life at Banza Nokki Chapter XII. Preparations for the March Chapter XIII. The March to Banza Nkulu Chapter XIV. The Yellala of the Congo Chapter XV. Return to the Congo Mouth Chapter XVI. The Slaver and the Missionary in the Congo River Chapter XVII. Concluding Remarks Appendix:— I. Meteorological II. Plants collected in the Congo, at Dahome, and the Island of Annabom, by Mr. Consul Burton III. Heights of Stations, West Coast of Africa, computed from Observations made by Captain Burton IV. Immigration Africaine
The Cataracts of the Congo.
"Alli o mui grande reino esta de Congo, Por nos ja convertido a fe de Christo, Por onde o Zaire passa claro e longo, Rio pelos antiguos nunca visto."
"Here lies the Congo kingdom, great and strong, Already led by us to Christian ways; Where flows Zaire, the river clear and long, A stream unseen by men of olden days."
The Lusiada, V. 13.
The Cataracts of the Congo.
From Fernando Po to Loango Bay.—the German Expedition.
During the hot season of 1863, "Nanny Po," as the civilized African calls this "lofty and beautiful island," had become a charnel-house, a "dark and dismal tomb of Europeans." The yellow fever of the last year, which wiped out in two months one-third of the white colony—more exactly, 78 out of 250—had not reappeared, but the conditions for its re-appearance were highly favourable. The earth was all water, the vegetation all slime, the air half steam, and the difference between wet and dry bulbs almost nil. Thoroughly dispirited for the first time, I was meditating how to escape, when H. M. Steamship "Torch" steamed into Clarence Cove, and Commander Smith hospitably offered me a passage down south. To hear was to accept. Two days afterwards (July 29, 1863) I bade a temporary "adios" to the enemy.
The bitterness of death remained behind as we passed out of the baneful Bights. Wind and wave were dead against us, yet I greatly enjoyed the gradual emerging of the sun through his shroud of "smokes;" the increasing consciousness that a moon and stars really exist; the soft blue haze of the sky, and the coolness of 73deg. F. at 6 A.M. in the captain's cabin. I had also time to enjoy these charms. The "Torch" was not provided with "despatch- boilers:" she was profoundly worm-eaten, and a yard of copper, occasionally clapped on, did not prevent her making some four feet of water a day. So we rolled leisurely along the well-known Gaboon shore, and faintly sighted from afar Capes Lopez and St. Catherine, and the fringing ranges of Mayumba-land, a blue line of heights based upon gently rising banks, ruddy and white, probably of shaly clay. The seventh day (August 5) placed us off the well-known "red hills" of Loango-land.
The country looks high and bold after the desperate flatness of the Bights, and we note with pleasure that we have left behind us the "impervious luxuriance of vegetation which crowns the lowlands, covers the sides of the rises, and caps their summits." During the rains after October the grass, now showing yellow stubble upon the ruddy, rusty plain, becomes a cane fence, ten to twelve feet tall; but instead of matted, felted jungle, knitted together by creepers of cable size, we have scattered clumps of dark, lofty, and broad-topped trees. A nearer view shows great cliffs, weather-worked into ravines and basins, ribs and ridges, towers and pinnacles. Above them is a joyful open land, apparently disposed in two successive dorsa or steps, with bright green tiers and terraces between, and these are pitted with the crater-like sinks locally called "holes," so frequent in the Gaboon country. Southwards the beauty of eternal verdure will end, and the land will become drier, and therefore better fitted for Europeans, the nearer it approaches Mossamedes Bay. South of "Little Fish," again, a barren tract of white sand will show the "Last Tree," an inhospitable region, waterless, and bulwarked by a raging sea.
Loango is a "pool harbour," like the ancient Portus Lemanus (Hythe), a spit of shingle, whose bay, north-east and south-west, forms an inner lagoon, bounded landwards by conspicuous and weather-tarnished red cliffs. This "lingula" rests upon a base of terra firma whose westernmost projection is Indian Point. From the latter runs northwards the "infamous" Indian Bar, compared by old sailors with a lengthened Bill of Portland; a reef some three miles long, which the waves assault with prodigious fury; a terror to slavers, especially in our autumn, when the squalls and storms begin. The light sandy soil of the mainland rests upon compact clay, and malaria rises only where the little drains, which should feed the lagoon, evaporate in swamps. Here and there are clumps of tall cocoas, a capot, pullom or wild cotton-tree, and a neat village upon prairie land, where stone is rare as on the Pampas. Southwards the dry tract falls into low and wooded ground.
The natural basin, entered by the north-east, is upwards of a mile in length, and the narrow, ever-shifting mouth is garnished with rocks, the sea breaking right across. Gunboats have floated over during the rains, but at dead low water in the dry season we would not risk the gig. Guided by a hut upon the beach fronting French Factory and under lee of the breakers off Indian Bar, I landed near a tree-motte, in a covelet smoothed by a succession of sandpits. The land sharks flocked down to drag the boat over the breakwater of shingle. They appeared small and effeminate after the burly negroes of the Bights, and their black but not comely persons were clad in red and white raiment. It is a tribe of bumboat men, speaking a few words of English, French, and Portuguese, and dealing in mats and pumpkins, parrots, and poultry, cages, and Fetish dolls called "idols."
Half a mile of good sandy path led to the English Factory, built upon a hill giving a charming view. To the south-east, and some three miles inland from the centre of the bay, we were shown "Looboo Wood," a thick motte conspicuously crowning a ridge, and forming a first-rate landmark. Its shades once sheltered the nyare, locally called buffalo, the gorilla, and perhaps the more monstrous "impungu" (mpongo). Eastward of the Factory appears Chomfuku, the village of Jim Potter, with a tree-clad sink, compared by old voyagers with "the large chalkpit on Portsdown Hill," and still much affected by picnickers. At Loanghili, or Loanguilli, south of Looboo Wood, and upon the right bank of a streamlet which trickles to the sea, is the cemetery, where the kings are buried in gun-boxes.
The Ma-Loango (for mwani, "lord" of Loango), the great despot who ruled as far as the Congo River, who used to eat in one house, drink in another, and put to death man or beast that saw him feeding, is a thing of the past. Yet five miles to the eastward (here held to be a day's march) King Monoyambi governs "big Loango town," whose modern native name, I was told, is Mangamwar. He shows his power chiefly by forbidding strangers to enter the interior.
The Factory (Messrs. Hatton and Cookson) was a poor affair of bamboos and mats, with partition-walls of the same material, and made pestilent by swamps to landward. Little work was then doing in palm oil, and the copper mines of the interior had ceased to send supplies. We borrowed hammocks to cross the swamps, and we found French Factory a contrast not very satisfactory to our insular pride. M. Charles de Gourlet, of the Maison Regis, was living, not in a native hut lacking all the necessaries of civilized man, but in a double-storied stone house, with barracoons, hospital, public room, orchestra, and so forth, intended for the "emigrants." Instead of water, the employes had excellent cognac and vermouth, and a succulent cuisine replaced the poor Britishers' two barrels of flour and biscuit. No wonder that in our half-starved fellow countrymen we saw little of the "national failing, a love of extravagant adventure." The Frenchmen shoot, or at least go out shooting, twice a week, they walk to picnics, learn something of the language, and see something of the country. They had heard a native tradition of Mr. Gorilla's "big brother," but they could give no details.
I will conclude this chapter with a notice of what has taken place on the Loango Coast a decade after my departure. Although Africa has changed but little, Europe has, and we can hardly envy the German nation its eminence and unexpected triumphs in war when we see the energy and persistency with which they are applying themselves to the arts of peace—especially of exploration. And nowhere have they been more active than in this part of the world, where their old rivals, the English, are apparently contented to sit at home in ease, working their factories and counting out their money.
To begin with the beginning. The year 1872 found the Berlin Geographical Society intent upon "planting a lance in Africa," and upon extending and connecting the discoveries of Livingstone, Du Chaillu, Schweinfurth, and other travellers. Delegates from the various associations of Germany met in congress, and organized (April 19, 1873) the Germanic "Afrikanische Gesellschaft." Ex-President Dr. Adolf Bastian, a well-known traveller in Siam, Cambodia, China, and the Indian Archipelago, and who, moreover, had visited Ambassi or Salvador do Congo, the old missionary capital, in 1857, was at once sent out as pioneer and vanguard to prospect the coast for a suitable station and a point de depart into the interior—a scientific step dictated by trained and organized common sense. The choice of leader fell upon Dr. Gussfeldt, Herr von Hattorf being his second in command, and with them were associated Dr. Falkenstein as zoologist, and Dr. Soyaux as botanist. A geologist, Dr. Lenz, of Hamburg, was sent to connect the Ogobe and Okanda rivers with, the Loango coast, unless he found a likely northeastern route. In this case, the Society would take measures to supply him with the necessary equipment.
The expedition began unfortunately, by the loss of outfit and instruments in the "Nigritia," wrecked off Sierra Leone: it persevered, however, and presently met Dr. Bastian and Professor von Gorschen at Cabinda. The former had collected much information about the coast. He had learned from slaves that the old kingdoms of Loango, Mahango, and Angay are bounded eastwards, or inland, by Mayombe, a belt of forest, the threshold of the unknown interior. It begins the up-slope to the great Ghat ridge, which, visible after a day's journey, separates the coast from the central basin. A fortnight or three weeks' march leads to an open country, a land of metalliferous hills, where the people barter their goods against gunpowder and weapons, brought by traders from the east. These "Orientals" are now heard of almost all along the West African coast, and doubtless, in several places, the report will prove true. The prospector had also visited, in search of a depot, Futila in Cabinda-land; the Tschiluango (Chiloango), or Cacongo River, a fine navigable stream, where the people float down their palm oil; Landana; "Chinsonso" (Chinxoxo, pronounced Chinshosho), Chicambo, Loango, and the Quillu (Kwillu) stream, the latter breaking through the coast range, disemboguing near Loango Bay, and reported to be connected with the great Congo. He found the old despotism of Loango to be insignificant, reduced, in fact, to the strip of coast between the Quillu and the Luema-Lukallo Rivers. The slave trade, once a monopoly of kings, princes, and chiefs, is now no more; legitimate commerce has levelled ranks, and the real power is in the hands of the wealthiest merchants.
From the Abbe Durand, librarian of the Paris Geographical Society, we learn: 1. That Loango is in the Province of Cacongo; 2. That Cacongo is considered a province of Loango; 3. That Cacongo forms a kingdom of itself, with a capital, Ringwele. The name of the late king was "Dom Joao, Capitao Mempolo," and, though he had died some years ago, he was not buried, for the usual reasons, in early 1874. Meanwhile his nephew and successor, Mwata Bona, was acting regent until the obsequies shall take place.
The station finally chosen by the German explorers was Chinxoxo, or, as Herr Kiepert uncompromisingly writes it, "Tschinschonkscho." It is within easy distance of the Chiloango or "Luiza Loango" River; and its port, Landana in Cabindaland, has become a thoroughly Europeanized settlement, with five trading stations up stream. An empty Dutch factory was repaired, and the house, containing a parlour, three small bed rooms, and the usual offices, was ready for habitation by the second week in October.
On October 26th, Dr. Gussfeldt, after shaking off the "seasoning fever" at Ponta Negra, proceeded to make a trial trip, and a route survey with compass and chronometer, up the important Quillu River. As usual, it has a bar; within the last few years the right bank has been carried away by the floods, and some of the old factories are under water. The average breadth is 400 paces, which diminishes to 25 at the rocky "gates" near Kama- Chitoma, Manyamatal and Gotu. At 29 direct miles from the mouth lies "Chimbak," a trading station, where Dr. Gussfeldt rested and recruited strength for a month. Thence he went leisurely up stream to the Bumina Rapids, and found the easterly rhumb of the river bending to the N.E. and the N.N.E.; its channel did not exceed 50 yards in width, and precipitous rock-walls rose on either hand. At Bumina as at Gotu the Quillu breaks through the parallel lines of Ghats, whose trend is from N.W. to S.E.; in fact, these "Katarakten" are the Yellalas of the Congo. A march of four hours brought him to the Mayombe country (circ. S. Lat. 4deg.), which must not be confounded with the Ma-yumba or northernmost possession of the Congo kingdom; the latter word properly means "King of Yumba," as Ma-Loango is Mwani-Loango. The Mayombe chief proved friendly, and assisted Dr. Gussfeldt to hire bearers (November 7) for Yangela, where his excursion ended. The boundary-line is marked by a large gate, like the two openings in the wooden wall denoting the Loango frontier between the Quillu and Luema rivers. The character of the country changed to the normal park-like aspect of Africa above the Ghats; the dense forests waxed thin; picturesque views presented themselves, reminding the wayfarer of Switzerland; and bare, dome-shaped mountains formed the background. At Nsunsi, about 2,100 feet above sea-level, the eye ranged over the Yangela country, as far as the land of the Batetye, whose grassy plains are traversed by ranges trending to the W.S.W., and apparently culminating to the south. At the Tondo village the skull of a gorilla was remarked. The upper Quillu, after its great bend, proved to be 350 to 400 paces broad; and the traveller ascertained that, instead of being connected with the great artery, it rises in a lake nearly due north of Nsundi (Sundi), near the country of the Babongo and the Babum. Dr. Gussfeldt returned to the coast on December 2, and prepared for the great march into the interior.
Dr. Falkenstein, the medicus and zoologist, in November 1873 reported favourably of Chinxoxo. The station is situated on a hilly ridge commanding a view of the sea. "It looks imposing enough, but it would produce more effect if we could hoist the German flag, as the other establishments here do those of their respective nations. German ships would then take home news of the progress of our undertaking, and the natives would see at a distance this token of the enterprising spirit of the German nation, and come to us with provisions and other natural products." He adds, "In Fernando Po, an island which I would recommend as a sanatorium for wealthy hypochondriacs, we found an extraordinary abundance of fruit, cocoa-nuts, bananas, mangoes, delicious oranges, and pine-apples...The ivory trade on the Gaboon is very flourishing. A German firm which I visited exports, L10,000 worth per annum, the value of total exports being, L26,000. The tusks are very large; one weighed about 80 lbs., and some have ranged to 120 lbs. The other articles exported are gum and ebony, which are brought by the natives, especially the Fans and Mpangwes (sic) from the interior. The slave trade is said still to be carried on by Europeans, though it is not known where the slaves go to " (of course to Sao Thome and Prince's Island). "In the immediate vicinity of our station the chief trade is in palm oil and ground nuts..... Rings, chains, crosses, watches, &c., are readily taken by the savages in exchange for native goods, and I obtained a valuable fetish for a chain and a cross worth a silbergroschen."
After three months spent upon the coast, and much suffering from fever, the energetic Dr. Bastian was welcomed home on December 13, 1873. His present book[FN#1] makes only one instalment of the work, the other being the "Correspondenzblatter der Afrikanischen Gesellschaft." Briefly, everything has been done to lay the foundation for success and to advertise the undertaking. Finally, not satisfied with these steps, the German Society for the Exploration of equatorial Africa organized in September, 1874, a second expedition. Captain Alexander von Homeyer, a well-known ornithologist, will lead it via S. Paulo de Loanda and Cassange (Kasanji) to the mysterious lands of the Mwata ya Nvo, and thus supplement the labours of Portuguese travellers. This fine undertaking set out early in 1875.
To Sao Paulo De Loanda.
At Loango, by invitation of Commander Hoskins, R.N., I transferred myself on board H.M. Steamship "Zebra," one of the nymphs of the British navy, and began the 240 miles southwards. There was no wind except a slant at sunset, and the current often carried us as far backwards as the sails drove us onwards. The philosophic landlubber often wonders at the eternal restlessness of his naval brother-man, who ever sighs for a strong wind to make the port, and who in port is ever anxious to get out of it. I amused myself in the intervals of study with watching the huge gulls, which are skinned and found good food at Fernando Po, and in collecting the paper-nautilus. The Ocythoe Cranchii was often found inside the shell, and the sea was streaked as with cotton- flecks by lines of eggs several inches long, a mass of mucus with fine membraneous structure adhering to the rocks, and coagulating in spirits or salt water. The drum-fish was not heard except when we were at anchor; its sound somewhat suggests a distant frog- concert, and I soon learned to enjoy what M. Dufosse has learnedly named "ichthyopsophosis," the song of the fish. Passing Cabinda, 57 miles from Loanda, but barely in sight, we fell in with H.M. Steamship "Espoir," Commander Douglas, who had just made his second capture of a slave-schooner carrying some 500 head of Congos. In these advanced days, the representative man walks up to you as you come on board; touches his cap or his wool, and expresses his best thanks in West Coast English; when you offer him a dram he compares it with the trade article which "only 'ting, he no burn." The characteristic sights are the captured Moleques or negrokins, who, habited in sacks to the knees, choose an M.C. to beat time, whilst they sing in chorus, extending the right arm, and foully abusing their late masters, who skulk about the forecastle.
Ten days sped by before we sighted the beginning of the end, Cape Spilemberta and Dande Point, two bluffs in distinct serrations; the aspect of the land was pleasant, a vista of tall cliffs, white or red, rising wall-like from a purple sea, jagged with sharp, black reef and "diabolito," and bearing on the summit a plateau well grown with grass and tree. We then opened a deep bight, which has the honour of being entitled the longest indentation from Cape Lopez to Great Fish Bay, some 17deg. or a thousand miles of coast. A gap in the cliff line and darker vegetation showed the Zenza River, generally called Bengo from the district (Icolo e Bengo) which it traverses. Here was once a busy settlement much frequented by shipping, which thus escaped harbour dues. The mosquito-haunted stream, clear in the dries, and, as usual, muddy during the rains, supports wild duck, and, carried some ten miles in "dongos" or flat-bottomed boats, supplies the capital of Angola with drinking water and dysentery.
As we glide towards the anchorage two features attract my attention: the Morro or hill-ridge on the mainland, and the narrow strip which forms the harbour. The escarpment, sweeping from a meridian to a parallel, juts westward in the bluff Cape Lagostas (Lobsters), a many-coloured face, in places not unlike the white cliffs of Dover; it then trends from north-east to south-west, bending at last in a picturesque bow, with a shallow sag. The material is the taua or blood-red marl of the Brazil, banded with white and brown, green, chocolate, and yellow; huge heaps of "rotten earth," washed down by the rains, cumber the base of the ruined sea-wall north of the town; in front is a pellucid sea with the usual trimmings, while behind roll the upland stubbles of autumn, here mottled black with fire, there scattered with the wild ficus and the cashew, a traveller from the opposite hemisphere.
The Ilha de Loanda, which gave its name to the city, according to Mr. W. Winwood Reade ("Savage Africa," chapter xxv.), is "derived from a native word meaning bald:" I believe it to be the Angolan Luanda, or tribute. Forming the best harbour of the South African coast, it is made by the missionaries of the seventeenth century to extend some ten leagues long. James Barbot's plan (A.D. 1700) shows seven leagues by one in breadth, disposed from north-east to south-west, and, in the latter direction, fitting into the "Mar Aparcelado" or shoaly sea, a curious hook-shaped bight with a southern entrance, the "Barra de Curinba" (Corimba). But the influences which formed the island, or rather islands (for there are two) have increased the growth, reducing the harbour to three and a half miles by two in breadth, and they are still contracting it; even in the early nineteenth century large ships floated off the custom house, and it is dry land where boats once rode. Dr. Livingstone ("First Expedition," chapter xx.) believes the causa causans to be the sand swept over the southern part of the island: Douville more justly concludes that it is the gift of the Cuanza River, whose mud and ooze, silt and debris are swept north by the great Atlantic current. Others suppose that it results from the meeting of the Cuanza and the Bengo streams; but the latter outfall would be carried up coast. The people add the washings of the Morro, and the sand and dust of the sea-shore south of the city.
This excellent natural breakwater perfectly shelters the shipping from the "calemas," or perilous breakers on the seaward side, and the surface is dotted with huts and groves, gardens and palm orchards. At the Ponta do Norte once stood a fort appropriately called Na. Sa. Flor de Rosa; it has wholly disappeared, but lately, when digging near the sea, heaps of building stone were found. Barbot here shows a "toll-house to collect the customs," and at the southern extremity a star-shaped "Fort Fernand."
This island was the earliest of Portuguese conquests on this part of the coast. The Conquistador Paulo Dias de Novaes, a grandson of Bartholomeo Dias, was sent a second time, in A.D. 1575, to treat with the king of "Dongo," who caused trouble to trade. Accompanied by 700 Portuguese, he reached the Cuanza River, coasted north, and entered by the Barra de Corimba, then accessible to caravels. He landed without opposition amongst a population already Christianized, and, after occupying for a few months the island, which then belonged to Congo, he founded, during the next year, the Villa de Sao Paulo de Loanda on the mainland.
The importance of the island arose from its being the great money bank of the natives, who here collected the zimbo, buzio, cowrie, or cypraea moneta. Ample details concerning this industry are given by the old writers. The shell was considered superior to the "impure or Braziles," brought from the opposite Bahia (de Todos os Santos), though much coarser than the small Indian, and not better than the large blue Zanzibar. M. Du Chaillu ("Second Expedition," chap, iv.) owns to having been puzzled whence to derive the four sacred cowries: "They are unknown on the Fernand Vaz, and I believe them to have come across the continent from eastern Africa." There are, indeed, few things which have travelled so far and have lasted so long as cowries—they have been found even amongst "Anglo-Saxon" remains.
The modern Muxi-Loandas hold aloof from the shore-folk, who return the compliment in kind. They dress comparatively well, and they spend considerable sums in their half-heathen lembamentos (marriages) and mutambe (funerals).
As might be expected, after three centuries of occupation, the Portuguese, both in East and West Africa, have naturalized a multitude of native words, supplying them with a Lusitanian termination. The practice is very useful to the traveller, and the despair of the lexicographer. During the matumbe the relations "wake" the toasted, swaddled, and aromatized corpse with a singular vigour of drink and general debauchery.
I arrived with curiosity at the capital of Angola, the first Portuguese colony visited by me in West Africa. The site is pleasing and picturesque, contrasting favourably with all our English settlements and with the French Gaboon; for the first time after leaving Teneriffe, I saw something like a city. The escarpment and the sea-bordering shelf, allowing a double town like Athenae or Thebae, a Cidade Alta and a Cidade Baixa, are favourites with the Lusitanians from Lisbon to the China seas, and African Sao Paulo is reflected in the Brazilian Bahia. So Greece affected the Acropolis, and Rome everywhere sought to build a Capitol. The two lines follow the shore from north-east to south-west, and they form a graceful amphitheatre by bending westward at the jutting headland, Morro de Sao Miguel, of old de Sao Paulo. Three hundred years of possession have built forts and batteries, churches and chapels, public buildings and large private houses,white or yellow, withample green verandahs—each an ugly cube, but massing well together. The general decline of trade since 1825, and especially the loss of the lucrative slave export, leave many large tenements unfinished or uninhabited, while the aspect is as if a bombardment had lately
026—- taken place. Africa shows herself in heaps of filthy hovels, wattle and daub and dingy thatch; in "umbrella-trees" (ficus), acacias and calabashes, palms and cotton-trees, all wilted, stunted, and dusty as at Cairo. We are in the latitude of East African Kilwa and of Brazilian Pernambuco; but this is a lee-land, and the suffering is from drought. Yet, curious to say, the flora, as will appear, is here richer than in the well- watered eastern regions.
Steaming onwards, at one mile off shore, we turned from south- east to south-west, and presently rounded the north-east point of Loanda Island, where a moored boat and a lantern showed the way. We passed the first fort, Sao Pedro do Morro (da Cassandama), which reminded me of the Aguada at the mouth of Goa Harbour. The two bastions and their batteries date from A.D. 1700, and have been useful in administering a strongish hint—in A.D. 1826 they fired into Captain Owen. The next work is the little four-gun work, Na. Sa. da Conceicao. We anchored in five fathoms about 1,200 yards off shore, in company with some fifteen craft, large and small, including a neat despatch cruizer, built after the "Nimrod" model. Fort Sao Francisco, called "do Penedo," because founded upon and let into a rock, with the double-tiered batteries a la Vauban, carefully whitewashed and subtended by any amount of dead ground, commands the anchorage and the northern road, where strings of carregadores, like driver-ants, fetch and carry provisions to town. A narrow causeway connects with the gate, where blacks on guard lounge in fantastic uniform, and below the works are the coal-sheds. Here the first turf was lately turned by an English commodore—this tramway was intended to connect with the water edge, and eventually to reach the Cuanza at Calumbo. So Portugal began the rail system in West Africa.
The city was preparing for her ecclesiastical festival, and I went ashore at once to see her at her best. The landing-place is poor and mean, and the dusty and sandy walk is garnished with a single row of that funereal shrub, the milky euphorbia. The first sensation came from the pillars of an unfinished house—
"Care colonne, che fate qua? —Non sappiamo in verita!"
The Ponta de Isabel showed the passeio, or promenade, with two brick ruins: its "five hundred fruit-trees of various descriptions" have gone the way of the camphor, the tea-shrub, and the incense-tree, said to have been introduced by the Jesuits. "The five pleasant walks, of which the central one has nine terraces, with a pyramid at each extremity, and leads to the Casa de Recreio, or pleasure-house of the governor-general, erected in 1817 by Governor Vice-Admiral Luiz da Motta Feio," have insensibly faded away; the land is a waste, poor grazing ground for cattle landed from the south coast, whilst negrokins scream and splash in the adjoining sea.
Beyond the Government gardens appears the old Ermida (chapel), Na Sa. da Nazareth, which English writers have dubbed, after Madeiran fashion, the Convent. The frontage is mean as that of colonial ecclesiastical buildings in general, and even the epauletted facades of old Sao Paulo do not deserve a description. Here, according to local tradition, was buried the head of the "intrepid and arrogant king of Congo," Dom Antonio, whose 100,000 warriors were defeated at Ambuilla (Jan. ist, 1666) by Captain Luiz Lopes de Sequeira, the good soldier who lost his life, by a Portuguese hand, at the battle of Matamba (Sept. 4th, 1681). A picture in Dutch tiles (azulejos) was placed on the right side of the altar to commemorate the feat.
After the Ermida are more ruined houses and ragged plantations upon the narrow shelf between the sea-cliff and the sea: they lead to the hot and unhealthy low town skirting the harbour, a single street with small offsets. A sandy strip spotted with cocoa-nuts, represents the Praia do Bungo (Bungo Beach), perhaps corrupted from Bunghi, a praca, or square; it debouches upon the Quitanda Pequena, a succursale market-place, where, on working- days, cloth and beads, dried peppers, and watered rum are sold. Then come a single large building containing the Trem, or arsenal, the cavalry barracks, the "central post-office," and the alfandega, or custom-house, which has a poor platform, but no pier. The stables lodge some half-a-dozen horses used by mounted orderlies—they thrive, and, to judge from their high spirits, the climate suits them. In Captain Owen's time (A.D. 1826) there was "a respectable corps of cavalry."
Passing the acting cathedral for the See of Angola and Congo, which deserves no notice, you reach the Quitanda Grande, where business is brisker. There is a sufficiency of beef and mutton, the latter being thin-tailed, and not "five-quartered." Fish is wisely preferred to meat by the white man, "affirming that it is much easier digested;" and a kind of herring, and the sparus known upon the Brazilian coast as the "tainha," the West African "vela," and the French "mulet," at times superabound. All the tropical fruits flourish, especially the orange; the exotic vegetables are large and sightly, but tasteless and insipid, especially peas and radishes: the indigenous, as tomatoes, are excellent, but the list is small. Gardens are rare where the soil is so thin, and the indispensable irrigation costs money. The people still "choke for want of water," which must be bought: there is only one good well sunk in the upper town, about 1840, when the Conde de Bomfim was Minister of Marine and the Colonies,—it is a preserve for government officials. Living in the native style is cheap; but cooks are hardly procurable, and a decent table is more expensive than in an English country town. A single store (M. Schutz) supplies "Europe" articles, of course at fancy prices, and here a travelling outfit may be bought. It has been remarked that Loanda has no shop that sells "food for the mind;" this is applicable, not only to all East and West Africa, but to places far more progressive. A kind of cafe-billard supplies a lounge and tepid beer. The attendants in Portuguese houses are slaves; the few English prefer Cabindas, a rude form of the rude Kru-boy, and the lowest pay of the lowest labourer is 5d. per diem.
The "Calcada Nova," a fine old paved "ramp"—to speak Gibraltar- English—connects Basse Ville and Hauteville. The latter was once a scatter of huge if not magnificent buildings, now in ruins; we shall pass through it en route to Calumbo. Here are the remains of the three chief convents, the Jesuit, the Carmelite, and the Third Order of St. Francis. The citadel de Sao Miguel, lately blown up, has been restored; the extensive works of dressed freestone, carefully whitewashed, stand out conspicuously from the dark bush dotting the escarpment top. Here also is the Alto das Cruzes, the great cemetery, and the view from the sheer and far-jutting headland is admirable. A stroll over this cool and comparatively healthy escarpment ended by leaving a card at the Paco do Governo.
Lopes de Lima (vol. iii. part ii.) gives Sao Paulo in 1846 a total of 5,065 whites, mulattoes, and blacks, distributed into 1,176 hearths; the census of 1850-51 raised the number to 12,000, including 7,000 negroes, of whom 5,000 were serviles; in 1863 the figure was understood to have diminished rather than to have increased. Old authors divided the population into five orders. The first was of ecclesiastics, the second contained those who were settled for command or trade, and the third were convicts, especially new Christians of Jewish blood, who were prevented from attending the sacred functions for a scandalous reason. Then ranked the Pomberos, or Pombeiros, mostly mulattoes, free men, and buyers of slaves; their morals seem to have been abominable. Last and least were the natives, that is, the "chattels." Amongst the latter the men changed wives for a time, "alleging, in case of reproof, that they are not able to eat always of the same dish;" and the women were rarely allowed by their mistresses to marry—with the usual results. The missionaries are very severe upon the higher ranks of colonists. Father Carli (A.D. 1666) found the whites the most deceitful and the wickedest of men,—an effect caused by the penal settlement. Father Merolla (A.D. 1682) declares that "the women, being bred among blacks, suffer themselves to be much perverted—they scarcely retain anything white about them except their skins." J. C. Feo Cardoso (Memoir published in Paris in 1825) attributes the decadence of Angola and Benguela to three reasons; rare marriages amongst the higher orders; poverty amongst the lower; and the immorality and incontinence of both. Lopes de Lima (p. 149 loc. cit.) traces the decline and fall of Christianity in the eighteenth century to the want of priests, to the corruption of the regular clergy (Carmelites and Franciscans), for whom West Africa, like Syria and Palestine, was made a kind of convict station, and to the inhuman slave-export, as opposed to domestic slavery. All has now changed for the better; society in Angola is not a whit inferior to that of any English colony in West Africa, and, as a convict establishment, Loanda is a great success.
The theoretical garrison is one regiment of the line, a squadron of cavalry, and two companies of artillery with three-pounders; the real force is of some 800 men, mostly convicts. No difference is made between white and black, nor is the corps force, which was once very cruelly used, severely treated as the Legion Etrangere of Algeria. Most of the men have been found guilty of capital crimes, yet they are allowed to carry arms, and they are intrusted with charge of the forts. Violence is almost unheard of amongst them: if an English sailor be stabbed, it is generally by the free mulattoes and blacks, who hate the uniform for destroying their pet trade of man-selling. It is true that these convicts have hopes of pardon, but I prefer to attribute their remarkable gentleness and good behaviour to the effects of the first fever, which, to quote from the Latin grammar,
"Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros."
The negroes of Loanda struck me as unusually ill-favoured; short, "stumpy," and very dark, or tinged with unclean yellow. Lepers and hideous cripples thrust their sores and stumps in the face of charity. There was no local colouring compared with the carregadores, or coolies, from the northeast, whose thrum-mop heads and single monkey skins for fig-leaves, spoke of the wold and the wild. The body-dress of both sexes is the tanga, pagne, or waist-cloth, unless the men can afford trousers and ragged shirts, and the women a "veo preto," or dingy black sheet, ungracefully worn, like the graceful sari of Hindostan, over the bright foulard which confines the wool. "It is mighty ridiculous to observe," says the old missionary, "that the women, contrary to the custom of all other nations, buy and sell, and do all things which the men ought to do, whilst their husbands stay at home and spin or weave cotton, or busy themselves in such other effeminate actions." This is not wholly true in '63. The "munengana,"or machila-man, is active in offering his light cane palanquin, and he chaffs the "mean white" who is compelled to walk, bitterly as did the sedan-chairmen of Bath before the days of Beau Nash. Of course the Quitandeira, or market-woman, holds her own. The rest of the street population seems to consist of negro "infantry" and black Portuguese pigs, gaunt and long- legged. The favourite passe-temps is to lie prone in sun or shade, chattering and smoking the cachimbo, a heavy clay pipe, with peculiar stem—"to sleep supine," say the Arabs, "is the position of saints; on the dexter side, of kings; on the sinister, of learned men; and on the belly, of devils."
The Festival—a Trip to Calumbo—portuguese Hospitality.
My first step after reaching S. Paolo de Loanda was to call upon Mr. Commissioner Vredenburg, who had lately taken up the undesirable appointment, and who, moreover, had brought a pretty French wife from Para. I had warned him that he was risking her life and that of her child; he bravely made the attempt and nearly lost them both. I have reason to be grateful to him and to Mr. Vice-consul E. H. Hewett for hospitality during my stay at the Angolan capital. There is a place called an hotel, but it is in the Seven Dials of the African city, and—nothing more need be said.
Fortunately for me, as for herself, Loanda had got rid of Mr. Vredenburg's predecessor, who soon followed the lamented Richard Brand, first British Consul, appointed in 1844. The "real whole- hearted Englishman" was after that modern type, of which La Grundy so highly approves. An honest man, who does not hold to the British idea that "getting on in the world" is Nature's first law, would be sorely puzzled by such a career.
The day after my arrival was the festival which gives to Sao Paulo de Loanda its ecclesiastical name "da Assumpcao." The ceremonies of the day were duly set forth in the Boletim Official do Governo Geral da Provincia de Angola. A military salute and peals of bells aroused us at dawn; followed a review of the troops, white and black; and a devout procession, flags flying and bands playing, paced through the chief streets to the Cathedral. A visit of ceremony in uniform to the Governor- General, Captain Jose Baptista de Andrade, a historic name in Angola, led to an invitation for the evening, a pleasant soiree of both sexes. The reception was cordial: whatever be the grievances of statesmen and historians, lawyers and slave- mongers, Portuguese officers are always most friendly to their English brethren. The large and airy rooms were hung with portraits of the several dignitaries, and there was an Old World look about Government House, like the Paco at Pangim (Goa). Fifty years ago colonial society was almost entirely masculine; if you ever met a white woman it was in a well-curtained manchila surrounded by "mucambas" or "mucacamas, negro waiting maids:" as the old missioner tells us, "when they go abroad, which is seldom, they are carried in a covered net with attendance of captives." All this is changed, except as regards leaving the house, which is never done during the day: constitutionals are not wanted in the tropics, and the negroes everywhere make the streets unfit, except for any but the very strongest-minded of the weaker sex. The evenings at Government House are passed with music and dancing, and petits jeux innocents for the juniors, whilst the seniors talk and play voltarete till midnight. I well remember one charming face, but I fear to talk about it—ten years in Africa cannot pass without the saddest changes.
With an eye to future exploration, I was anxious to see something of the style of travel in Angola, and to prospect the proposed line of railway intended to checkmate the bar of the river Cuanza. The Cassange (Kasanji) war on the eastern frontier had just ended honourably to Portuguese arms, but it proved costly; the rich traffic of the interior had fallen off, and the well- known Feira was sending down its fairings to independent Kinsembo. Moreover, in order to raise funds for the rail, the local Government talked of granting the land to an English company for growing the highly prized gossypium arboreum.
Sr. Joao Soares Caldeira, C.E., kindly asked me to join his party, which started early on August 19. All rode the tipoia, a mere maca or hammock sadly heating to the back, but handier than the manchila: the bearers wore loose waistbelts, with a dozen small sheep's bells on the crupper, intended to proclaim our importance, and supposed to frighten away wild beasts. These gentry often require the stimulus of "ndokwe" (go on), but seldom the sedative of "malemba" (gently) or "quinga" (stop). The "boi- cavallo," the riding bull (not ox) of the interior, which costs about L4, is never used in these fashionable localities. I failed to remark the line of trenches supposed to defend the land-side, but I did remark the "maiangas," said to be indigo vats made by the Jesuits. After a hot depression we ascended a rough zigzag, and halting we enjoyed a charming view of St. Paul. The domed Morro concealing the squalid lower town was crowned with once lordly buildings—cathedral, palace, treasury, and fort; the colours of the ground-swell were red and white, with here and there a dot of green; and the blue sea rose in its loveliness beyond the hill horizon. For a whole league we were in the region of "arimos," or outside farms, where villages, villas, and plantations, threaded by hot and sandy lanes with hedges of green euphorbia, showed the former prosperity of the country. Beyond it the land forms, as in Yoruba, lines of crescents bulging west or seaward, quartz and pebbles showing here and there an old true coast.
After a five hours' ride we reached Cavua, the half-way house, where breakfast had been sent on; the habitations are wretched thatches, crowded with pigs and mosquitoes. Clearings had all ended, and the red land formed broken waves of poor soil, almost nude of vegetation at this mid-winter of the tropics, except thickets of "milk plant" and forests of quadrangular cactus; the latter are quaint as the dragon-tree, some twenty feet tall and mostly sun-scorched to touchwood. The baobab (adansonia) is apparently of two kinds, the "Imbundeiro," hung with long- stringed calabashes, which forms swarming-places for bees; and the "Aliconda" (Nkondo), whose gourd is almost sessile, and whose bark supplies fibre for cloth and ropes. The haskul or big-aloe of Somali-land was not absent, and, amongst other wild fruits, I saw scattered over the ground the husks of a strychnine, like the east African species. Deer, hares, and partridges are spoken of in these solitudes, but they must be uncommonly hard to find at such a season.
About three hours after leaving Cavua were spent upon this high, dry, and healthy desert, when suddenly we sighted the long reaches of the Cuanza River, sharply contrasting, like the Nile, with the tawny yellow grounds about its valley. A steep descent over water-rolled pebbles showed the old bank; the other side, far and blue, gave a goodly breadth of five miles; then we plunged into the green selvage of the modern stream, following muddy paths where the inundation had extended last June. Here tobacco, orchilla, and indigo in the higher, and sugar-cane, rice, and ricinus on the lower lands flourish to perfection. The Angolan orchilla was first sent to Lisbon by Sr. F. R. Batalha: it is a moss, like the tillandsia of the Southern United States, and I afterwards recognized it in the island of Annobom. Passing Pembe and other outlying hamlets, after nine hours of burning sun, we entered Calumbo Town, and were hospitably lodged by the Portuguese Commandant. We had followed the highway, as a line for the intended railway had not yet been marked out, and the distance measured 33,393 metres (= 20.75 English miles).
Calumbo is now a poor place, with a few dilapidated stone houses in a mass of wattle and daub huts, surrounded by large "arimos." The whole "Districto da Barra do Calumbo" contains only 444 hearths. A little stone pier, which Loanda wants, projects into the stream; the lime was formerly procured from shells, but in 1761 calcareous stone was found near the Dande stream. The sightliest part is the vegetation, glorious ceibas (bombax) used for dug-outs; baobabs, tamarinds which supply cooling fruit and distilled waters; limes and bitter oranges. The most remarkable growth is the kaju or cashew nut: an old traveller quaintly describes it "as like St. John's apple with a chestnut at the end of it." M. Valdez ("Six Years of a Traveller's Life," vol. ii. 267), calls it "a strange kind of fruit," though it was very familiar to his cousins in the Brazil, of which it is an aborigine. Here it is not made into wine as at Goa: "Kaju-brandy" is unknown, and the gum, almost equal to that of the acacia, is utterly neglected. A dense and shady avenue of these trees, ten paces apart, leads from the river to the parish church of S. Jose, mentioned by Carli in 1666: an inscription informs us that it was rebuilt in 1850, but the patron is stored away in a lumber-room, and the bats have taken the place of the priest. Portugal has perhaps gone too far in abolishing these church establishments, but it is a reaction which will lead to the golden mean.
The site of Calumbo is well chosen, commanding a fine view, and raised above the damps of the cold Cuanza, whose stagnant lagoon, the Lagoa do Muge on the other side, is divided from the main branch by a low islet with palms and some cultivation. At the base of Church Hill are huts of the Mubiri or blacksmiths, who gipsy-like wander away when a tax is feared; they are not despised, but they are considered a separate caste. I was shown a little north of the town a place where the Dutch, true to their national instincts, began a canal to supply Loanda with sweet and wholesome drinking material and water communication; others place it with more probability near the confluence of the Cuanza and the Lucala, the first great northern fork, where Massangano was built by the Conquistadores. This "leat" was left incomplete, the terminus being three miles from St. Paul's; the Governor-General Jose de Oliveira Barbosa, attempted to restore it, but was prevented by considerations of cost.
Calumbo must be a gruesome place to all except its natives. Whilst Loanda has improved in climate since Captain Owen's day (1826), this has become deadly as Rome in 1873. The raw mists in early morning and the hot suns, combined with the miasmas of the retreating waters, sometimes produce a "carneirado" (bilious remittent) which carries off half the inhabitants. Dysenteries are everywhere dangerous between the Guinea Coast and Mossamedes, the cause being vile water. All the people looked very sickly; many wore milongos, Fetish medicines in red stripes, and not a few had whitewashed faces in token of mourning. I observed that my Portuguese companions took quinine as a precaution. Formerly a few foreign merchants were settled here, but they found the hot seasons fatal, and no wonder, with 130deg. (F.) in the shade! The trade from the upper river, especially from the Presidio das Pedras Negras de Pungo Andongo,[FN#2] consists of hides, cattle tame and wild (cefos); saltpetre washed from earth in sieves, mucocote or gum anime (copal), said by Lopes de Lima to be found in all the forests of Pungo Andongo; wax, white and yellow; oil of the dendem (Elais Guineensis) and mandobim, here called ginguba (arachis); mats, manioc-flour, and sometimes an ivory.
Calumbo was built as early as 1577 by the Conquistador Porcador and first Capitao Mor Paulo Dias II., a gallant soldier, who died in 1589 at Massangano, the "Presidium," which he had founded between 1580-83, and who was buried in the Church of Na. Sa. da Vittoria; he is said also to have built the Church of Santa Cruz. Equidistant from Loanda and the sea, the settlement soon had a wealthy trade with the fortified stations of the interior, and large Government stores filled with merchandize. In 1820 a number of schooners, pinnaces, and small crafts plied up and down to Muchimo, Massangano, Cambembe, and other inland settlements; now we find out only a few canoes. The Cuanza at "Sleepers' Bay" has one of the worst shifting bars on the whole coast. At this distance, five leagues from the mouth, its width is one hundred fathoms, and the depth varies from eight to nine. It breeds good fish; the manatus is common, people talk of fresh-water sharks, and the jacare (crocodile) is fatal to many a pig even in the village. It is navigable for schooners, they say, six days, or 150 miles, to the large "Presidio de Cambembe," where Andrew Battel (1589-1600) visited a "perpendicular water-fall, which made such a noise as to be heard thirty miles' distance." This and another water-fall higher up are laid down in the map of Dr. Livingstone's admirable first journey. Above Cambembe the river- bed is broken by archipelagoes, and the shoals render it fit only for boats. The Cuanza head has been explored only lately, although a royal order to that effect was issued on March 14, 1800.
After receiving and returning the visits of the principal whites, all habited in frocks and continuations of the blackest and heaviest broadcloth, we feasted with the excellent commandant, who was hospitality itself. The mosquitoes soon roused us from any attempt at sleep, and we passed the night after a fashion which sometimes leads to red eyes and "hot coppers" in the morning. I left early, for my companions had business at Calumbo; as they were no longer present to control the bearers, a race soft as putty, and I was not used to manage them, the gang became unbearable. The soldier sent to keep them in order did his best with his "supple-jack," and the consequence was that all bolted into the bush. At Cavua two men were forcibly enlisted, but I preferred walking in. When at home in the Red House (Mr. Hewett's) the hammock men came complaining of my deserting them, and begging bakhshish.
It was another lesson to me—the Gaboon had lately administered one—that, however well you may know the negro generally, each tribe requires a specific study. This, however, would not take long, and with a little knowledge of the language there would be no difficulty in following the footsteps of Joaquim Rodrigues Graca; letters would be required to the several commandants, the season of setting out should be in early Cacimbo (April), and the up march would take six months, with about four to return. But, unless active measures are adopted, only the seaboard will remain to the Portuguese. This is an exploration which I had kept "dark" for myself; but Captain von Homeyer has gained the day, and nothing remains for me but to give the gallant officer God speed. After a short but exceedingly pleasant visit, I left the capital of Angola with regret. All seemed anxious to further my views of travel; the authorities gave me the very best advice, and offered me introductions to all the district commandants, Sr. Moses Abecasis, and Sr. Francisco A. Flores, Sir Henry Huntley's host, obliged me with recommendations to the most influential agents at Porto da Lenha on the Congo River. Mr. Essex of St. Helena placed me in the hands of his compatriot, Mr. Scott, and Captain Hoskins, R.N., ended his kindness with ordering for me a passage on board H.M. Steamship "Griffon," an old acquaintance in the Gaboon River. Briefly, I quitted Sao Paulo with the best wishes for one and all who had befriended me.
The Cruise along Shore—the Granite Pillar of Kinsembo.
On August 22nd we left Loanda, and attacked the 180 miles separating it from the Congo mouth. Steaming along shore we enjoyed the vanishing perspective of the escarpment disappearing in the misty distance. The rivers Bengo, Dande, and Onze are denoted by densely wooded fissures breaking the natural sea-wall, and, as usual in West Africa, these lines are the favourite sites for settlements. The Onze or the Lifune of Mazula Bay—which the Hydrographic Chart (republished March 18, 1869) changes into "River Mazulo," and makes the mouth of the "River Onzo"—is chosen by Bowdich and writers of his day as the northern boundary of Angola, greatly to the disgust of the Portuguese, whose pretensions extend much farther north. Volumes of daily smoke and
048—- nightly flame suggest the fires of St. John lighted by the goatherds of Tenerife. They greatly excite the gallant "Griffons," who everywhere see slaver-signals, and the system is old upon this coast as the days of Hanno and Herodotus. At this season they are an infallible sign that the dries are ending; the women burn the capim (tall grass) for future forage, and to manure the land for manioc, maize, and beans. The men seek present "bush-beef:" as the flames blow inland, they keep to seaward, knowing that game will instinctively and infallibly break cover in that direction, and they have learned the "wrinkle" of the prairie traveller to make a "little Zoar" in case of accidental conflagration.
At 2 P.M. on the 24th we were abreast of Ambriz, an important settlement, where a tall red and white cliff, with a background of broken blue hill, showed a distinct "barra," or river mouth, not to be confounded with the English "bar." The north point of the Rio dos Ambres, of the "green" or "raw copal," is low and mangrove-grown, throwing into high relief its sister formation, Ambriz Head or Strong-Tide Corner, which stands up gaunt and bluff.
A little to the south-east lies the fort, flying the argent and azure flag, and garrisoned by some 200 men; five large whitewashed houses and the usual bunch of brown huts compose the settlement. This nest of slavers was temporarily occupied in May 15, 1855. The Governor-General, Senor Coelho de Amaral, reinforced by 1,000 soldiers from home, and levying 2,500 "Empacasseiros,"[FN#3] embarked from Loanda in the "Dorn Fernando" frigate, landed here, once more burnt the barracoons, and built the fort. In 1856 a force was sent under Colonel Francisco Salles Ferreira, to re-open a communication with the Bembe mines of copper and malachite. That energetic officer marched on Sao Salvador, the old capital of Congo, and crowned Dom Pedro V., whose predecessor died the year before. He there fell a victim to fever, and his second in command, Major Andrade, was nearly cut off on his return. Shortly afterwards the natives blockaded, but were driven from, Bembe, and they attempted in vain to carry Ambriz.
The far-famed copper mines were granted to the Portuguese in the sixteenth century by the King of Congo. They were the property of his feudatory, the (black) "Marquess of Pemba" (Bembe): Barbot mentions their being mistaken for gold, and feels himself bound to warn his readers that the metal was brought "from Sondy, not from Abyssinia or the empire of Prester John." They lost all their mystery about A.D. 1855, when they were undertaken by an English company, Messrs. John Taylor & Co. of London, after agreement with the concessionists, Messrs. Francisco A. Flores and Pinto Perez of Loanda. Between Ambriz and Bembe, on the Lunguila (Lufula?) River, and 770 feet above sea-level, the Angolan government built four presidios, Matuta, Quidilla, Quileala, and Quimalenco. But the garrison was not strong enough to keep the country quiet, and the climate proved deadly to white men. The 24 sappers and 60 linesmen extracted nearly 4,000 lbs. of gangue per diem, when the English manager and his assistant, with four of the ten miners died, and the plant was destroyed by fire. I was assured that this line (Ambriz-Bembe) was an easy adit to the interior, and so far the information is confirmed by the late Livingstone-Congo Expedition under Lieutenant Grandy.
In 1863 the coast was still in confusion. The Portuguese claimed too much seaboard according to the British: the British government ignored the just claims of Portugal, and the political bickerings were duly embittered by a demoralized race of English traders, who perpetually applied for cruisers, complaining that the troops interfered with their trade. Even in the seventeenth century the Portuguese had asserted their rights to the Reino do Congo, extending between the great stream of that name and the Ambriz, also called the Loge and Doce River. In the older maps— for instance, Lopes de Lima—the Loge is an independent stream placed north of the Ambriz River; in fact, it represents the Rue or Lue River of Kinsembo, which is unknown to our charts. Within the Doce and the Cuanza lies the Reino de Angola, of which, they say, the Congo was a dependency, and south of the Cuanza begins the Reino de Benguela. The Government-General of Loanda thus contained four provinces-Congo (now reduced to Ambriz), Angola, Benguela, and Mossamedes. The English government has now agreed to recognize the left or southern bank of the Ambriz as the northern frontier of Angola and of Portuguese rule.
Passing the river mouth, we were alongside of independent lands, and new to us. Boobies (Pelecanus sula), gulls, petrels, and men- of-war birds (P. aquila), flew about the ship; according to the experts, they were bound for fetid marshes which outlie the Loge River. Before nightfall we were off the Lue or Rue River of Kinsembo, which disputes with Landana (not "Landano"[FN#4]) the palm of bad landing. At this season boats are
052—- sometimes kept waiting fourteen days, and the "barreiras" (cliffs) are everywhere at unbounded war with the waters. I determined to land and to inspect the "remarkable lofty granite pillar," which was dimly visible from our deck; but we rowed in vain along the tall and rusty sea-walls. No whaler could attack the huge rollers that raised their monstrous backs, plunged over with a furious roar, and bespread the beach with a swirl of foam. At last, seeing a fine surf-boat, artistically raised at stern and bow, and manned by Cabindas, the Kruboys of the coast, made fast to a ship belonging to Messrs. Tobin of Liverpool, we boarded it, and obtained a passage.
The negroes showed their usual art. Paddling westward they rounded the high red and white South Point, where a projecting reef broke the rollers. We waited for some twenty minutes for a lull; at the auspicious moment every throat was strained by a screaming shout, and the black backs bent doughtily to their work. We were raised like infants in the nurse's arms; the good craft was flung forward with the seething mass, and as she touched shore we sprang out, whilst our conveyance was beached by a crowd of stragglers. The dreaded bar is as usual double: in the heaviest weather boats make for a solitary palm-tree at the bottom of the sandy bay. Some of the dug-outs are in pairs like the Brazilian Ajoujo; the sides are lashed together or fastened by thwarts, and both are made to bend a little too much inwards.
It was dark when we climbed up the stiff Jacob's ladder along the landward side of the white Kinsembo bluff. There are three ramps: the outermost is fit only for unshod feet; the central is better for those who can squeeze through the rocky crevices, and the furthest is tolerably easy; but it can be reached only by canoeing across the stream. Mr. Hunter of Messrs. Tobin's house received us in the usual factory of the South Coast, a ground- floor of wicker-work, windowless, and thatched after native fashion. The chief agent, who shall be nameless, was drunk arid disorderly: it is astonishing that men of business can trust their money to such irresponsible beings; he had come out to Blackland a teetotaller, and presently his condition became a living lecture upon geographical morality.
The night gave us a fine study of the Kinsembo mosquito, a large brown dipter, celebrated even upon this coast. A barrel of water will act as nursery; at times the plagues are said to extinguish a lantern, and to lie an inch deep at the bottom. I would back them against a man's life after two nights of full exposure: the Brazilian "Marimbondo" is not worse. At 7 A.M. on the next day we descended the easiest of the ramps, which are common upon this coast, and were paddled over the Kinsembo River. Eleven miles off, it issues from masses of high ground, and at this season it spreads out like the Ambriz in broad stagnant sheets, bordered with reeds and grass supplying fish and crabs, wild ducks and mosquitoes. Presently, when the Cacimbo ends in stormy rains and horrid rollers, its increased volume and impetus will burst the sand-strip which confines it, and the washed-away material will recruit the terrible bar.
Leaving the ferry, wre mounted the "tipoias," which Englishmen call "hammocks" after the Caribs of Jamaica, and I found a strange contrast between the men of Kinsembo and of Sao Paulo. The former are admirable bearers, like their brethren of Ambrizette, famed as the cream of the coast: four of them carried us at the rate of at least six miles an hour; apparently they cannot go slowly, and they are untireable as black ants. Like the Bahian cadeira-men, they use shoulder-pads, and forked sticks to act as levers when shifting; the bamboo-pole has ivory pegs, to prevent the hammock-clews slipping, and the sensation is somewhat that of being tossed in a blanket.
Quitting the creeper-bound sand, we crossed a black and fetid mire, and struck inland to a higher and drier level. The vegetation was that of the Calumbo road, but not so utterly sunburnt: there were dwarf fields of Manioc and Thur (Cajanus indicus), and the large wild cotton shrubs showed balls of shortish fibre. As we passed a euphorbia-hedged settlement, Kizuli ya Mu, "Seabeach Village," a troop of women and girls, noisy as those of Ugogo, charged us at full gallop: a few silver bits caused prodigious excitement in the liberal display of charms agitated by hard exercise. The men were far less intrusive, they are said not to be jealous of European rivals, but madly so amongst themselves: even on suspicion of injury, the husband may kill his wife and her lover.
At Kilwanika, the next hamlet, there was a "king;" and it would not have been decent to pass the palace unvisited. Outside the huts stood a bamboo-girt "compound," which we visited whilst H.M. was making his toilette, and where, contrary to Congo usage, the women entered with us. Twenty-two boys aged nine or ten showed, by faces whitened with ashes, that they had undergone circumcision, a ceremony which lasts three months: we shall find these Jinkimba in a far wilder state up the Congo. The rival house is the Casa das Tinta, where nubile girls are decorated by the Nganga, or medicine-man, with a greasy crimson-purple pigment and, preparatory to entering the holy state of matrimony, receive an exhaustive lecture upon its physical phases. Father Merolla tells us that the Congoese girls are locked up in pairs for two or three months out of the sight of man, bathing several times a day, and applying "taculla," the moistened dust of a red wood; without this "casket of water" or "of fire," as they call it, barrenness would be their lot. After betrothal the bride was painted red by the "man-witch" for one month, to declare her engagement, and the mask was washed off before nuptials. Hence the "Paint House" was a very abomination to the good Fathers. Amongst the Timni tribe, near Sierra Leone, the Semo, or initiation for girls, begins with a great dance, called Colungee (Kolangi), and the bride is "instructed formally in such circumstances as most immediately concern women."
After halting for half an hour, ringed by a fence of blacks, we were summoned to the presence, where we found a small boy backed by a semi-circle of elders, and adorned with an old livery coat, made for a full-grown "Jeames." With immense dignity, and without deigning to look at us, he extended a small black paw like a Chimpanzee's, and received in return a promise of rum—the sole cause of our detention. And, as we departed through the euphorbia avenue, we were followed by the fastest trotters, the Flora Temples and the Ethan Allens, of the village.
Beyond Kilwanika the land became rougher and drier, whilst the swamps between the ground-waves were deeper and stickier, the higher ridges bearing natural Stonehenges, of African, not English, proportions At last we dismounted, ascended a rise, the most northerly of these "Aravat Hills," and stood at the base of the "Lumba" The Pillar of Kmsembo is composed of two huge blocks, not basaltic, but of coarse-grained reddish granite the base measures twenty and the shaft forty feet high. With a little trimming it might be converted into a superior Pompey's Pillar: we shall see many of these monoliths in different parts of the Congo country.
The heat of the day was passed in the shade of the Lumba, enjoying the sea-breeze and the novel view. It was debated whether we should return via Masera, a well-known slaving village, whose barracoons were still standing. But the bearers dissuaded us, declaring that they might be seized as "dash," unless the white men paid heavy "comey" like those who shipped black cargoes: they cannot shake off this old practice of claiming transit money. So we returned without a halt, covering some twelve of the roughest miles in two hours and a quarter.
The morning of the 26th showed an ugly sight from the tall Kinsembo cliff. As far as the eye could reach long green-black lines, fronted and feathered with frosted foam, hurried up to the war with loud merciless roars, and dashed themselves in white destruction against the reefs and rock-walls. We did not escape till the next day.
Kinsembo does not appear upon the old maps, and our earliest hydrographic charts place it six miles wrong.[FN#5] The station was created in 1857-61 by the mistaken policy of Loanda, which determined to increase the customs three per cent, and talked of exacting duties at Ambriz, not according to invoice prices, but upon the value which imported goods represented amongst the natives. It was at once spread abroad that the object was to drive the wax and ivory trade to Sao Paulo, and to leave Ambriz open to slavers. The irrepressible Briton transferred himself to Kinsembo, and agreed to pay the king L9 in kind, after "country fashion," for every ship. In 1857 the building of the new factories was opposed by the Portuguese, and was supported by English naval officers, till the two governments came to an arrangement. In February, 1860, the Kinsembo people seized an English factory, and foully murdered a Congo prince and Portuguese subject, D. Nicolao de Agua Rosada, employed in the Treasury Department, Ambriz. Thereupon the Governor-General sent up two vessels, with thirty guns and troops; crossed the Loge River, now a casus belli; and, on March 3rd, burned down the inland town of Kinsembo. On the return march the column debouched upon the foreign factories. About one mile in front of the point, Captain Brerit, U.S. Navy, and Commander A. G. Fitzroy, R.N., had drawn up 120 of their men by way of guard. Leave was asked by the Portuguese to refresh their troops, and to house six or seven wounded men. The foreign agents, headed by a disreputable M—M—, now dead, protested, and, after receiving this unsoldierlike refusal, the Portuguese, harassed by the enemy, continued their return march to Ambriz. The natives of this country have an insane hate for their former conquerors, and can hardly explain why: probably the cruelties of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, not peculiar to the Lusitanians, have rankled in the national memory. A stray Portuguese would infallibly be put to death, and it will, I fear, be long before M. Valdez sees "spontaneous declarations of vassalage on the part of the King of Molembo (Malemba) and others."
In 1860 the trade of Kinsembo amounted to some L50,000, divided amongst four houses, two English, one American, and one Rotterdam (Pencoff and Kerdyk). The Cassange war greatly benefited the new station by diverting coffee and other produce of the interior from Loanda. There are apochryphal tales of giant tusks brought from a five months' journey, say 500 miles, inland. I was shown two species of copal (gum anime) of which the best is said to come from the Mosul country up the Ambriz River: one bore the goose-skin of Zanzibar, and I was assured that it does not viscidize in the potash-wash. The other was smooth as if it had freshly fallen from the tree. It was impossible to obtain any information; no one had been up country to see the diggings, and yet all declared that the interior was open; that it would be easy to strike the Coango (Quango) before it joins the Congo River, and that 150 miles, which we may perhaps reduce by a third, would lodge the traveller in the unknown lands of "Hnga."
Bidding kindly adieu to Mr. Hunter and wishing him speedy deliverance from his dreadful companion, we resumed our travel over the now tranquil main. Always to starboard remained the narrow sea-wall, a length without breadth which we had seen after the lowlands of Cape Lopez, coloured rosy, rusty-red, or white, and sometimes backed by a second sierra of low blue rises, which suggests the sanatorium. Forty miles showed us the tall trees of Point Palmas on the northern side of the Conza River; on the south of the gap-like mouth lies the Ambrizette settlement, with large factories, Portuguese and American, gleaming against the dark verdure, and with Conza Hill for a background. The Cabeca de Cobra, or "Margate Head," led to Makula, alias Mangal, or Mangue Grande, lately a clump of trees and a point; now the site of English, American, and Dutch factories. Here the hydrographic charts of 1827 and 1863 greatly vary, and one has countermarched the coast-line some 75 miles: Beginning with the Congo River, it lays down Mangue Pegueno (where Grande should be), Cobra, and Mangue Grande (for Pequeno) close to Ambrizette. Then hard ahead rose Cape Engano, whose "deceit" is a rufous tint, which causes many to mistake it for Cape or Point Padrao. To-morrow, as the dark-green waters tell us, we shall be in the Congo River.
Into the Congo River.—the Factories.—trip to Shark's Point.— the Padrao and Pinda.
The best preparation for a first glance at the Congo River is to do as all do, to study the quaint description which old Purchas borrowed from the "Chronica da Companhia de Jesus em Portugal."
"The Zaire is of such force that no ship can get in against the current but near to the shore; yea, it prevails against the ocean's saltness three-score, and as some say, four-score miles within the sea, before his proud waves yield their full homage, and receive that salt temper in token of subjection. Such is the haughty spirit of that stream, overrunning the low countries as it passeth, and swollen with conceit of daily conquests and daily supplies, which, in armies of showers, are, by the clouds, sent to his succour, runnes now in a furious rage, thinking even to swallow the ocean, which before he never saw, with his mouth wide gaping eight-and-twenty miles, as Lopez[FN#6] affirmeth, in the opening; but meeting with a more giant-like enemie which lies lurking under the cliffes to receive his assault, is presently swallowed in that wider womb, yet so as, always being conquered, he never gives over, but in an eternall quarrel, with deeper and indented frownes in his angry face, foaming with disclaine, and filling the aire with noise (with fresh helpe), supplies those forces which the salt sea hath consumed."
I was disappointed after the Gambia and Gaboon rivers in the approach to the Congo. About eight miles south of the mouth the green sea changed to a clear brown which will be red during the flood. Some three degrees (F. 79deg. to 82deg.) cooler than the salt tide, the lighter water, which was fresh as rain, feathered out like a fan; a rippling noise was faintly audible, and the clear lines of white foam had not time to melt into the coloured efflux. The flow was diverted into a regular curve northwards by the South Atlantic current; voyagers from Ascension Island to the north-west therefore feel the full throb of the great riverine pulse, and it has been recognized, they say, at a distance of 300 miles. Lopez, Merolla, and Dapper[FN#7] agree that the Congo freshens the water at thirty miles from the mouth, and that it can be distinguished thirty leagues off. The Amazonas tinges the sea along the Guiana coast 200 miles, and the effect of the Ganges extends to about twenty leagues. At this season, of course, we saw none of the floating islands which during the rains sail out sixty to seventy leagues from land. "Tuckey's Expedition" informs us, that the Hon. Captain Irby, H.M.S. "Amelia," when anchored twelve miles from the South Point, in fifteen fathoms, "observed on the ocean large floating islands covered with trees and bushes, which had been torn from the banks by the violent current." The Journal of Captain Scobell, H.M.S. "Thais," remarks: "In crossing this stream I met several floating islands or broken masses from the banks of that noble river." We shall find them higher up the bed, only forming as the inundation begins; I doubt, however, that at any time they equal the meadows which stud the mouth of the Rio Formoso (Benin River).
Historic Point Padrao, the "Mouta Seca," or Dry Bush, of the modern Portuguese, showed no signs of hospitality. The fierce rollers of the spumous sea broke and recoiled, foaming upon the sandy beach, which they veiled with a haze of water-dust, almost concealing the smoke that curled from the mangrove-hedged "King Antonio's Town." Then, steaming to the north-east, we ran five miles to Turtle Cove, formerly Turtle Corner, a shallow bay, whose nearest point is "Twitty Twa Bush," the baptismal effort of some English trader. And now appeared the full gape of the Congo mouth, yawning seven sea-miles wide; the further shore trending to the north-west in a low blue line, where Moanda and Vista, small "shipping-ports" for slaves, were hardly visible in the hazy air. As we passed the projecting tooth of Shark Point, a sandspit garnished with mangroves and dotted with palmyras, the land-squali flocked from their dirty-brown thatches to the beach, where flew the symbolic red flag. Unlike most other settlements, which are so buried in almost impenetrable bush that the traveller may pass by within a few yards without other sign but the human voice, this den of thieves and wreckers, justly named in more ways than one, flaunts itself in the face of day.
The Congo disclaims a bore, but it has a very distinct bar, the angle pointing up stream, and the legs beginning about Bananal Bank (N.) and Alligator River (S.). Here the great depth above and below (145 and 112 fathoms) shallows to 6-9. Despite the five-knot current we were "courteously received into the embraces of the river;" H.M. Steamship "Griffon" wanted no "commanding sea-breeze," she found none of the difficulties which kept poor Tuckey's "brute of a transport" drifting and driving for nearly a week before he could anchor off Fuma or Sherwood's Creek, the "Medusa" of modern charts (?) and which made Shark Point, with its three-mile current, a "more redoubtable promontory than that of Good Hope was to early navigators." We stood boldly E.N.E. towards the high blue clump known as Bulambemba, and, with the dirty yellow breakers of Mwana Mazia Bank far to port, we turned north to French Point, and anchored in a safe bottom of seven fathoms.
Here we at once saw the origin of the popular opinion that the Congo has no delta. On both sides, the old river valley, 32 miles broad, is marked out by grassy hills rolling about 200 feet high, trending from E.N.E. to W.S.W., and forming on the right bank an acute angle with the Ghats. But, whilst the northern line approaches within five or six miles, the southern bank, which diverges about the place where "King Plonly's town" appears in charts, sweeps away some seventeen miles down coast, and leaves a wide tract of mangrove swamps. These, according to the Portuguese traders, who have their own plans of the river, extend some seventy miles south to Ambrizette: slavers keep all such details very close, and doubtless for good reasons—"short-cuts" greatly facilitate shipping negroes. The lesser Congo delta is bounded north by the Banana or Malela stream, whose lower fork is "Pirates' Creek;" and south by the mangrove-clad drains, which subtend the main line: the base measures 12-15 miles. At the highest station, Boma, I shall have something to say about the greater delta. The left bank of the embouchure projects further seaward, making it look "under hung," representing in charts a lower jaw, and the projection of Shark Point the teeth, en profile.
My first care was to collect news at the factories. French Point is a long low spit, which supports two establishments where the chart (September 1859) gives "Emigration Depot." It is the old Banana Point, and probably the older Palmeirinha Point of James Barbot, who places it in the territory of Goy (Ngoy), now Cabinda. This part has greatly changed since 1859; either the Banana River requires removing two miles to the north, or French Point must be placed an equal distance south. The principal establishment, M. Regis' of Marseilles, is built in his best style; a two-storied and brilliantly "chunam'd" house, containing a shop and store on the ground-floor, defended by a three- pounder. Behind it a square "compound," with high walls, guards the offices and the other requisites of a bar racoon. It is fronted by a little village where "Laptots," Senegal Moslems, and men-at-arms live with their families and slaves. In the rear stands the far more modest and conscientious establishment of Messrs. Pencoff and Kerdyk: their plank bungalow is full of work, whilst the other lies idle; so virtue here is not, as in books, its own reward.
M. Victor Parrot, the young Swiss agent of M. Regis, hospitably asked us to take up our quarters with him, and promised to start us up stream without delay; his employer fixes the tariff of every article, and no discretion is left to the subordinates. We called upon M. Elkman of the Dutch factory. His is a well-known name on the river, and, though familiar with the people, he has more than once run some personal risk by assisting our cruizers to make captures. He advised us to lose no time in setting out before the impending rains: I wanted, however, a slight preparation for travel, and determined to see something of the adjoining villages, especially the site of the historic Padrao.
Whilst crossing the stream, we easily understood how the river was supposed to be in a perpetual state of inundation. The great breadth and the shallows near either jaw prevent the rain-floods being perceptible unless instruments are used, and "hydrometry," still in an imperfect state, was little to be depended upon in the days when European ideas concerning the Congo River were formed. Twenty miles up stream the high-water mark becomes strongly marked, and further on, as will be seen, it shows even better.
If Barbot's map have any claim to correctness, the southern shore has changed greatly since A.D. 1700. A straight line from Cape Padrao to Chapel Point, now Shark Point, was more than double the breadth of the embouchure. It is vain to seek for the "Island of Calabes" mentioned by Andrew Battel, who was "sent to a place called Zaire on the River Congo, to trade for elephants' teeth, wheat, and palm oil." It may be a mistake for Cavallos, noticed in the next chapter; but the "town on it" must have been small, and has left, they say, no traces. After a scramble through the surf, we were received at Shark Point, where, at this season, the current is nearer five than three knots, by Mr. Tom Peter, Mafuka, or chief trader, amongst these "Musurungus." He bore his highly respectable name upon the frontal band of his "berretta" alias "coroa," an open-worked affair, very like the old-fashioned jelly-bag night cap. This head-gear of office made of pine-apple fibre— Tuckey says grass—costs ten shillings; it is worn by the kinglets, who now distribute it to all the lieges whose fortunes exceed some fifty dollars.
Most of the Squaline villagers appeared to be women, the men being engaged in making money elsewhere. Besides illicit trade, which has now become very dangerous, a little is done in the licit line: grotesquely carved sticks, calabashes rudely ornamented with ships and human figures, the neat bead-work grass-strings used by the women to depress the bosom, and cashimbos or pipes mostly made about Boma. All were re-baptized in 1853, but they show no sign of Christianity save crosses, and they are the only prostitutes on the river.
Following Tom Peter, and followed by a noisy tail, we walked to the west end of Shark Point, to see if aught remained of the Padrao, the first memorial column, planted in 1485 by the explorer Diogo Cam, knight of the king's household, Dom Joao II. "O principe perfeito," who, says De Barros ("Asia," Decad. I. lib. iii. chap. 3), "to immortalize the memory of his captains," directed them to plant these pillars in all remarkable places. The Padroes, which before the reign of D. Joao were only wooden crosses, assumed the shape of "columns, twice the height of a man (estado), with the scutcheon bearing the royal arms. At the sides they were to be inscribed in Latin and Portuguese (to which James Barbot adds Arabic), with the name of the monarch who sent the expedition, the date of discovery, and the captain who made it; on the summit was to be raised a stone cross cramped in with lead." According to others, the inscription mentioned only the date, the king, and the captain. The Padrao of the Congo was especially called from the "Lord of Guinea's favourite saint, de Sao Jorge"—sit faustum! As Carli shows, the patron of Congo and Angola was Santiago, who was seen bodily assisting at a battle in which Dom Affonso, son of Giovi (Emmanuel), first Christian king of Congo, prevailed against a mighty host of idolaters headed by his pagan brother "Panso Aquitimo." In 1786 Sir Home Popham found a marble cross on a rock near Angra dos Ilheos or Pequena (south latitude 26deg. 37'), with the arms of Portugal almost effaced. Till lately the jasper pillar at Cabo Negro bore the national arms. Doubtless much latitude was allowed in the make and material of these padroes; that which I saw near Cananea in the Brazil is of saccharine marble, four palms high by two broad; it bears a scutcheon charged with a cross and surmounted by another.
There is some doubt concerning the date of this mission. De Barros (I. iii. 3) says A.D. 1484. Lopes de Limn (IV. i. 5) gives the reason why A.D. 1485 is generally adopted, and he believes that the cruise of the previous year did not lead to the Congo River. The explorer, proceeding to inspect the coast south of Cape St. Catherine (south latitude 2deg. 30'), which he had discovered in 1473, set out from Sao Jorge da Mina, now Elmina. He was accompanied by Martin von Behaim of Nurnberg (nat. circ. A.D. 1436, ob. A.D. 1506), a pupil of the mathematician John Muller (Regiomontanus); and for whom the discovery of the New World has been claimed.
After doubling his last year's terminus, Diogo Cam chanced upon a vast embouchure, and, surprised by the beauty of the scenery and the volume of the stream, he erected his stone Padrao, the first of its kind. Finding the people unintelligible to the interpreters, he sent four of his men with a present of hawk's bells (cascaveis) and blue glass beads to the nearest king, and, as they did not soon return, he sailed back to Portugal with an equal number of natives as hostages, promising to return after fifteen moons. One of them, Cacuta (Zacuten of Barbot), proved to be a "fidalgo" of Sonho, and, though the procedure was contrary to orders, it found favour with the "Perfect Prince." From these men the Portuguese learned that the land belonged to a great monarch named the Mwani-Congo or Lord of Congo, and thus they gave the river a name unknown to the riverine peoples.
Diogo Cam, on his second visit, sent presents to the ruler with the hostages, who had learned as much Portuguese and Christianity as the time allowed; recovered his own men, and passed on to Angola, Benguela and Cabo Negro, adding to his discoveries 200 leagues of coast. When homeward bound, he met the Mwani-Sonho, and visited the Mwani-Congo, who lived at Ambasse Congo (Sao Salvador), distant 50 leagues (?). The ruler of the "great and wonderful River Zaire," touched by his words, sent with him sundry youths, and the fidalgo Cacuta, who was baptized into Dom Joao, to receive instruction, and to offer a present of ivory and of palm cloth which was remarkably strong and bright. A request for a supply of mechanics and missionaries brought out the first mission of Dominicans. They sailed in December, 1490, under Goncalo de Sousa; they were followed by others, and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the country was fairly over- run by the Propaganda. A future page will enter into more details, and show the results of their labours.
The original Padrao was destroyed by the Dutch in 1645, an act of barbarism which is justly called "Vandalica facanha." Father Merolla says (1682), "The Hollanders, out of envy, broke the fine marble cross to pieces; nevertheless, so much remained of it, when I was there, as to discover plainly the Portuguese arms on the ruins of the basis, with an inscription under them in Gothic characters, though not easy to be read." In 1859 a new one was placed in Turtle Cove, a few yards south-west of Shark Point; but the record was swept away by an unusually high tide, and no further attempt has been made.
We were then led down a sandy narrow line in the bush, striking south-east, and, after a few yards, we stood before two pieces of marble in a sandy hollow. The tropical climate, more adverse than that of London, had bleached and marked them till they looked like pitted chalk: the larger stump, about two feet high, was bandaged, as if after amputation, with cloths of many colours, and the other fragment lay at its feet. Tom Peter, in a fearful lingua-Franca, Negro-Anglo-Portuguese, told us that his people still venerated the place as part of a religious building; it is probably the remnant thus alluded to by Lopes de Lima (iii. 1-6): "Behind this point (Padrao) is another monument of the piety of our monarchs, and of the holy objects which guided them to the conquest of Guinea, a Capuchin convent intended to convert the negroes of Sonho; it has long been deserted, and is still so. Even in A.D. 1814, D. Garcia V., the king of Congo, complained in a letter to our sovereign of the want of missionaries." Possibly the ruined convent is the church which we shall presently visit. Striking eastward, we soon came to a pool in the bush sufficiently curious and out of place to make the natives hold it "Fetish;" they declare that it is full of fish, but it kills all men who enter it—"all men" would not include white men. Possibly it is an old piscina; according to the Abbe Proyart, the missionaries taught the art of pisciculture near the village of Kilonga, where they formed their first establishment. The place is marked "Salt-pond" in Barbot, who tells us that the condiment was made there and carried inland.