« ZurückWeiter »
also a pattern resembling an epaulette on knowledged the gratification of Tuesday, each shoulder, and an ornament like a full and desired Mr James to explain to him blown rose, one leaf rising above another, two notes which he produced, written by until it covered his whole breast; his knee- the Governor in Chief, at the request of bands were of aggry beads, and his ancle. Amooney, king of Annaniaboe, and Adostrings of gold ornaments of the most deli. koo, chief of the Braffves, making over to cate workmanship, small drums, sankos, Sai, king of Ashantee, four ackies per stools, swords, guns, and birds, clustered month of their company's pay, as a pledge together; his sandals, of a soft white lea- of their allegiance and the termination of ther, were embossed across the instep band hostilities. The impression seemed inwith small gold and silver cases of saphies; stantly to have rooted itself into the king's he was seated on a low chair, richiy orna. mind, that this was the Governor's indivi. mented with gold; he wore a pair of gold dual act, or that he had instanced it: his castanets on his finger and thumb, which counsellors became enraged, they were all he clapped to enforce silence. The belts of impatience, we all anxiety.
• Tell the the guards behind his chair were cased in white men,' said the king, what tliey did gold, and covered with small jaw-bones of yesterday made me much pleasure ; I was the same metal; the elephants' tails, waving glad we were to be friends ; but to-day I like a small cloud before him, were spangled see they come to put shame upon my face; with gold, and large plumes of feathers they break my heart too much. The Engwere flourished amid them. His eunuch lish know with my own powder, with my presided over these attendants, wearing own shot, I drove the Fantees under their only one massy picce of gold about his forts, I spread my sword over them, they neck : the royal stool, entirely cased in were all killed, and their books from the gold, was displayed under a splendid um. fort are mine. I can do as much for the breila, with drums, sankos, horns, and va. English as the Fantees; they know this rious musical instruments, cased in gold, well; they know I have only to send a capabout the thickness of cartridge paper : tain to get all the heads of the Fantees. large circles of gold hung by scarlet cloth These white men cheat me, they think to from the swords of state, the sheaths make 'Slantee fool; they pretend to make as well as the handles of which were friends with me, and they join with the also cased ; hatchets of the same were in. Fantees to cheat me, to put shame upon termixed with them; the breasts of the my face; this makes the blood come from Ocrahs, and various attendants, were a- my heart.' This was reported by his lindorned with large stars, stools, crescents, and guist with a passion of gesture and uttergossamer wings of solid gold.” pp. 37–39. ance scarcely inferior to the king's; the
irritation spread throughout the circle, and They were then seated under a tree, swelled even to uproar.” pp. 46, 47. when the chiefs, with their respective bands, passed in succession before To this angry discourse Mr James them, presenting a series of scenes merely replied, " That he would go equally magnificent and singular. The back and tell the Governor all that whole number of troops thus paraded the king said.” Deep dissatisfaction are estimated at 30,000.
was now felt by the other members of No coinmunication took place on the mission, that their chief should this day between the king and the do nothing to assuage the king's wrath mission ; but on the following day on account of the four ackies, which, they were introduced, "and delivered it seems, he considered a sum their presents, which were graciously small, as to render the offer an insult received, and the whole passed in a to him. Ile then asked, it the Engvery amicable manner. The next in- lish had not great books which shewterview was more stormy, and its in- ed all the suns that were paid or recidents so characteristic, that we shall ceived, and it Mr James had not seen introduce as much of it as our limits these books. Mr James suid he had will admit.
seen thein, but did not recollect any
thing relative to the subject in ques" We were sent for to the king's house; tion. The king grew continually he was only atterded by his privy coun
warmer, and at length exclaimed, sellors; he expressed much delight at the camera obscura and instruments. He said, “"I know the English come to spy the **The Englishmen knew more than the country; they come to cheat me; they Dutchmen or Danes ; that black men want war, they want war.' Mr James kdew nothing.' He then ordered our peo- said, “No, we want trade.' The king iniple to be dismissed, said he would look at patiently continued, “ They join the Fantees the telescope in a larger place, that now to put shame upon my face; I will send a he wished to talk with us. He again ac- captain to-morrow to take these books, and VOL. IV.
bring me the heads of all the Fantees un- Ashantee contains about 14,000 square der the forts; the white men know I can miles, and a million of inhabitants, do this, I have only to speak to my cap- being half the size of Scotland, and tains. The Dutch Governor does not somewhat more than that proportion cheat me; he does not shame me before of population. A great part of the the Fantees; he sends me the whole 4 oz. a month. The Danes do not shame me,
country is covered with wood; but
that which is cultivated is well inclosand the English four ackies a month is nothing to me ; 1 can send a captain for all; ed, kept very clean, and yields large they wish war.' lic drew his beard into crops of corn, yams, fruits, and vehis mouth, biting it, and rushing abruptly getables. The Ashantee loom differs from his seat, exclaimed, · Shantee foo! little from that of Europe, and they Shantee foo! ah ! ah!' Then shaking his manufacture cloths of great brilliancy finger at us with the most angry aspect, and fineness. They excel also in potwould have burst from us with the excla- tery and goldsmith's work, though in mation, • If a black man had brought me these arts they are surpassed by the this message, I would have had his head countries to the south. Their houses, cut off before me.' Mr James was sic though constructed only of earth and lent.” p. 49.
wood, display a considerable degree of Mr Bowdich, the second member art and ornainent. Upon the whole, of the mission, now deemed it incum- both with regard to the useful and bent on him to step forward, and oc the fine arts, they appear to display a cupy the place, for which his superior sensible superiority over any other appeared to have shewn himself unfit. part of native Africa yet visited by He accordingly made a speech, which Europeans. he describes as producing a wondrous The government of Ashantee is effect: the storm was at once laid, monarchical, and nearly absolute, and after the council separated, the though admitting a certain control king's satisfaction with what he had of the caboceers or chief men. They said was conveyed to him in the leave the king nearly unmolested in evening, in the following very intelli- the internal administration of the gent words. Indeed, it is difficult to state ; but they claim a share in all make out either the ground of quarrel military questions, where“ their voice or the ground of reconcilement. “ The is still for war;" and they hold, that, king wishes you good night; this is without their interference, the mohis palaver and yours, you must not narch might be in danger of sinking speak it to any one else, the white into inglorious ease. All the energies men come to cheat him. The king of the state are directed to war; the recollects the face of the white man dignities are all military ; and every who spoke to him to-day, he likes subject of an age fit to serve must rehim much, he wishes he would talk pair, at a moment’s warning, to the the palaver; the king likes the other royal standard. Accordingly, Ashan. white men who stood up with him tee has attained a decided pre-emivery much,” &c. &c.
nence in this part of Africa, and has Mr Bowdich's interference, how. rendered tributary several kingdoms, ever contrary to the general rules of more populous and extensive than itembassy, seems to have been viewed self. The succession to the crown, by the British government as justi- as in other African kingdoms, is elfied by the circumstances of the case ; tirely in the female line; the king for Mr James was recalled, and Mr being succeeded, not by his own, but Bowdich placed at the head of the by his sister's son. The queen momission. During a residence of four ther is not required to observe any months at the court of Coomassie, very strict laws of decorum, it being that gentleman experienced several only expected that her husband or fastorms, and was even at one time in vourites shall be distinguished by boapprehension of personal violence ; dily strength and vigour, in order that but he at length succeeded in accom the royal race may not degenerate. modating all differences, and conclud It must not be concealed that the ing a treaty advantageous to both par- comparative civilization, which apties.
pears in some parts of the Ashantee The following are the principal system, is alloyed by features of the heads of the information collected re- deepest barbarism. The lower orders lative to this newly visited kingdom. are held in complete thraldom by the
king or chiefs, and can be put to death thy more frequently than despair or emoor sold to slavery at pleasure. Poly- tion, in the looks of the victims. The gamy is practised to the most unli- chiefs and captains were arriving in all dimited extent. The king is allowed rections, announced by the firing of musby law 3333 wives, which number is kets, and the peculiar flourishes of their carefully kept up; and those of the familiar toʻus ; they were then habited
horns, many of which were by this time chiefs being in proportion, a great plainly as warriors, and were soon lost to proportion of the inferior orders are
our sight in the crowd. As Old Odumata reduced to a state of celibacy. But passed in his hammock, he bade us observe the deepest blot on the national cha- him well when he passed us again ; this racter consists in the frightful extent prepared us in a small degree. Presently of human sacrifices. These are offer- the king's arrival in the market-place was ed by the chiefs on all occasions, when announced, the crowd rolled towards it either the gods are to be propitiated, impetuously, but the soldiery hacked on or still more at the death of any mem
all sides indiscriminately, and formed a ber of the family. Aristocratic ideas passage for the procession. Quatchie Quo. are carried to such a height, that the like a Bacchanal, drunk with the adula
tic húrried by, plunging from side to side station of the departed in the future tion of his bellowing supporters ; his atti. world is supposed alınost entirely to
tudes were responsive to the horror and depend on his rank in the present; barbarism of the exultations which inspired but this can be secured only by ob- them. The victims, with large knives serving all the appointed ceremonies, driven through their cheeks, eyed him and particularly by sending a numer
with indifference; he them, with a savage ous train to accompany him. At the joy bordering on frenzy ; insults were death of any of the royal family, hosts aggravated on the one, fattery lavished on
the other. of victims are immolated. The king,
Our disgust was beguiled for at the funeral of his mother, gave had just past us in their swarthy clothes,
an instant by surprise. The chiefs, who himself 3000; and all the large and the dark gloomy habits of war, now towns were expected to produce their followed Quatchie Quotie, glistening in contingent. The mission were wit- all the splendour of their fetish dresses ; ness to a sacrifice or custom, as it is the sprightly variety of their movements called, on a small scale, for the mo ill accorded with the ceremony. Old Oduther of a personage called Quatchie mata's vest was covered with fetish, cased Quofie, who was connected with the invariably in gold or silver. A variety of royal family.
extraordinary ornament and novel insignia, “ We walked to Assafoo about twelve courted and reflected the sun in every di
rection. o'clock; the vultures were hovering a
It was like a splendid pantomime
after a Gothic tragedy. round two headless trunks, scarcely cold.
“ We followed to the market-place. The Several troops of women, from fifty to a hundred each, were dancing by in move
king, and the chiefs not immediately con
nected with Quatchie Quofie, were seated ments resembling, skaiting, lauding and bewailing the deceased in the most dismal, under their canopies, with the usual inyet not discordant strains ; audible, from signia and retinue, and lined about the the vast number, at a considerable distance. circumference ; the soldiery completed it ;
half of a circle, apparently half a mile in Other troops carried the rich cloths and silks of the deceased on their heads, in
their respective chiefs situated amongst
them. Thirteen victims surrounded by shining brass pans, twisted and stuffed in
their executioners, whose black shaggy to crosses, cases, globes, and a fanciful va. riety of shapes only to be imagined, and im. caps and vests gave them the appearance
of bears rather than men, were pressed to. posing, at a small distance, the appearance of rude deities. The faces, arms, and gether by the crowd to the left of the king. breasts of these conten were profusely raded without the circle, vociferating the
of women before described padrubed with red earth, in horrid emulation of those who had succeeded in besmearing dirge. Rum and palm wine were Howing themselves with the blood of the victims. copiously; horns and drums were exerted The crowd was overbearing ; horns, drums,
even to frenzy. In an instant, there was and muskets, yells, groans, and screcches,
a burst of musketry near the king, and it invaded our hearing, with as many horrors spread and continued incessantly, around as were crowded on our sight. Now and
the circle, for upwards of an hour. The then a victim was hurried" by, generally soldiers kept their stations, but the chiefs, dragged or run along at full speed; the after firing, bounded once round the area uncouth dress, and the exulting countenan
with the gesture and extravagance of mad. ces of those who surrounded him, likening men ; their panting followers enveloping them to as many fiends. I observed apa
them in Hags, occasionally firing in all the
attitudes of a scaramouch, and incessantly the grave' with the blood of a freeman of bellowing the strong names of their exult- respectability. All the retainers of the faing chief, whose musket they snatched from mily being present, and the heads of all his hands directly he had fired. An old the victims deposited in the bottom of the hag, described as the head fetish woman of grave, several are unsuspectingly called on the family, screamed and plunged about in a hurry to assist in placing the coffin or in the midst of the fire, as if in the great, basket, and just as it rests on the heads or est agonies. The greater the chicf, the skulls, a slave from behind stuns one of these heavier the charge of powder he is allowed freemen by a violent blow, followed by a to fire; the heaviest charge recollected, was deep gash in the back part of the neck, and that fired by the king on the death of his he is rolled on the top of the body, and the sister, eighteen ackies, or an ounce avoir- grave instantly filled up. A sort of carni. dupoise. Their blunderbusses and long val, varied by firing, drinking, singing, and guns were almost all braced closely with dancing, was kept up in Assafoo for seve. the cordage of the country ; they were ge ral days, the chiefs generally visiting it nerally supported by their attendants whilst
every evening, or sending their linguists they fired; several did not appear to reco with a dash of palm wine or ruin to Quat, ver'it for nearly a minute; Odumata's old chie Quotie ; and I was given to under. frame seemed shaken almost to uissolution. stand, that, but for the approaching war, Many made a point of collecting near us, and necessary economy of powder, there just within the circle, and firing as close as would have been eight great customs in. possible to startie us; the frequent burst- stead of one for this woman, one weekly, ing of their muskets made this rather dis- the king himself firing at the last. The agreeable. The firing abated, they drank last day, all the females in any way confreely from the bowls of palin wine, reli- nected with the family (who are not allow. giously pouring a small quantity on the ed to eat for three days after the death, ground before they raised them to their though they may drink as much palm wine lips. The principal females of the family, as they please) parauled round the town, many of them very handsome, and of ele. singing a compliment and thanks to all gant figures, came forward to dance; dres- those who had assisted in making the cussed generallly in yellow silk, with a silver tom.” knife hung by a chain round their necks; “ On the death of a king, all the cusone with a gold, another with a silver horn;
toms which have been made for the suba few were dressed as fetish women; an uin- jects who have died during his reign must brella was held over the grand-daughter as be simultaneously repeated by the families, she danced. The Ashantees dance incom. (the human sacrifices, as well as the carou. parably better than the people of the water sals and pageantry,) amplify that for the side, indced, elegantly; the sexes do not monarch, which is also solemnized indedance separately, as in Fantce, but the pendently, but at the same time, in every man encircles the woman with a piece of
excess of extravagance and barbarity. The silk, which he generally flirts in his right brothers, sons, and nephews of the king, hand, supports her round the waist, re- affecting temporary insanity, burst fortha ceives her elbows in the palms of his hands, with their muskets, and fire promiscuously and a variety of figures approximatii!,, with amongst the crowd; even a man of rank, the time and movement, very closely to the if they meet him, is their victim ; nor is waltz."
their murder of him or any other, on such " A dash of sheep and run was exchang an occasion, visited or prevented. The ed between the king and Quatchie Quofie, scene can scarcely be imagined. Few petand the drums announced the sacrifice of
sons of rank dare to stir from their houses the victims. All the chiefs first visited for the first two or three days, but relithem in turn ; I was not near enough to gionsly drive forth all their vassals and distinguish wherefore. The executioners slaves, as the nost acceptable compositioa wrangled and struggled for the office, and
of their own absence." pp. 284-288. the indifference with which the first poor creature looked on, in the torture he was The king of Ashantee may now be from the knife passed through his cheeks, considered as master of the Gold was remarkable; the nearest executioner Coast, where nothing except the Eusnatched the sword from the others, the right ropean posts is able to resist him. On hand of the victim was then lopped off, he was the north he possesses dependencies thrown down, and his head was sawed ra.
still more valuable, particularly the ther than cut off; it was cruelly prolonged, kingdoms of Inta and Dagwumba, I will not say wilfully. Twelve more were dragged forward, but we forced our way civilized than Ashantee; but, being
which are both more populous and through the crowd, and retired to our quarters. Other sacrifices, principally fe- inferior in military prowess, they have male, were made in the bush where the been obliged to own his supremacy. body was buried. It is usual to 5 Mr Bowdich heard also of a number
of other kingdoms, extending to the frequently. He was much gratified with north and east, which were, in gene- the specimens of African Arabic at the end ral, equally populous and civilized as of Mr Jackson's work, and read them that ot' Ashantee. Respecting the ri- fuently. I visited him the next day, when vers of the interior, also, he acquired he sent hastily for a Moor, who, he told much new and important information, Timbuctoo. This man expressing no stir
me, was very learned, and just come from duly to estimate which would require prise when he first saw me, Baba explained a longer discussion than our limits it, by telling me, spontaneously, that this will permit. The Niger he found Moor had seen three white men before at passing among the Moorish caravan Boussa. I eagerly inquired the particulars merchants under the name of the of the novelty, and they were again repeat. Quolla, and it was described as a great ed to Baba, and were thus interpreted :-river Howing eastward. Another " That, some years ago, a vessel withi great river, represented also as flowing masts suddenly appeared on the Quolla or eastward, separates at Tombuctoo, and Niger near Boussa, with three white men, runs parallel to it, under the name of and some black. The natives, encouraged the Gambaroo. The Quolla, or Nie by these strange men, took off' provisions ger, was generally represented by the for sale, were well paid, and received pre
sents besides. It seems the vessel had anAshantee merchants as Howing east- chored. The next day, perceiving the vesward, till it became the main branch sel going on, the natives hurried after her, of the Nile,-an assertion, however, (tbe Moor protested, from their anxiety to which could not, we believe, stand the save her from some sunken rocks, with test of a strict scrutiny. At Gaboon, which the Quolla abounds,j but the white Mr Bowdichwas assured that a branch men mistaking, and thinking they pursued at least of this river turned to the for a bad purpose, deterred them. The south, and discharged itself into the vessel soon after struck, the inen jumped Congo.
into the water, and tried to swim, but We cannot conclude this sketch could not for the current, and were drownwithout giving the particulars which ed. He thought some of their clothes were our traveller learned concerning the now at Wauwaw, but he did not believe unfortunate Mungo Park. They are spontaneous narrative, so artlessly told,
there were any books or papers. This not very satisfactory; but, such as made a powerful impression on my mind. they are, they cannot but be interest- I saw the man frequently afterwards ; his ing.
manners were very mild, and he never ask. “ I paid,” says Mr Bowdich, my first ed me for the most trifling present. He private visit to Baba, the chief Voor, and drew me a chart before he went away; and took some pens, paper, ink, and pencils I dispatched some certificates for Major Ped. with me as a present ;
paper and pen
die by him, indorsed with Baba's recomsils were much esteemed, but he preferred mendations. I heard exactly the same his reed and vegetable ink. Ile received thing afterwards from another Moor, but me courteously, and was contemplating a
he had not been an eye-witness. I begged euriously intricate figure like a horoscope ; Mr Hutchinson, when I left Coomassie, to the Ms. was filled with them. He laid his note any other report on the subject of Mr finger on it, and said, If you have any hard Park's death, and he afterwards sent me palaver, this can make me settle it for you the MS., a translation of which is in the when no other person can; or, if you have appendix.” pp. 90, 91. any dear friend in England you wish to see, tell me the name, and this shall bring
This document in the appendix cons him to you. I thanked him, observing, tradicts the assertion that no offensive that, when Englishmen knew their palaver act was committed by the natives, was right, they always left it to God, and There are two translations of it, and that England was too good a place for me both agree in the main fact, which to wish any one I regarded to leave it. His corroborates but too entirely the predisciples and pupils were writing on wood. ceding statement of this enterprising en boards, like those Mr Park describes. traveller's fall. We insert them, as When a charin was applied for, one of the their variations are as curious as their oldest wrote the body of it, and gave it to Baba, who added a sort of cabalistical mark,
matter is interesting. and gave it a mysterious fold; the èreclus lous native snatched it eagerly as it was
Translations of a Manuscript descriptive of held out to him, paid the gold, and hurried
Mr Park's death. away to inclose it in the richest case he
MR SALAME'S TRANSLATION. could afford. I had a long conversation with Baba, and he begged me to visit him [The words in italics, so distinguished at that gen.
tleman's request, not being in the original]