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The reader asks, What induced us to take a guide apparently so little fit for rough-and-ready work? In the first place, the presence of Said bin Salim el Lamki was a pledge of respectability. Secondly, our companion had a well-filled knowledgebox, and was no churl in imparting its contents. Thirdly, he was courteous, thoroughly good-tempered, generous, and kind-hearted. And, lastly, a bright exception to the rule of his unconscientious race, he appeared_truthful, honest, and honourable. I have never yet had reason to suspect him of a low action. This rare and solid merit determined us to attach him, and when we communicated to him the resolution, "Verily," was the reply," whoso benefiteth the beneficent becometh his lord, but the vile well treated turneth and rendeth thee." I almost hope that he may not deceive us in the end.
On the evening of the 5th January 1857, Captain S and I shook hands with our host and kind friend, and found ourselves on board the Riami, an Arab " Beden," hired for our coasting cruise, and stored with necessaries for two months by Ladha, the collector of customs.* Our Nak hoda, Hamid-never was brain of
goose or heart of hen-partridge hidden by brow so broad and intellectual, and by beard so fierce and bushybelonged to that Suri race, the selfcalled descendants of Syrians, well known for beggary and covetousness, for kidnapping and safe piracy. These men, most uncourteous and vilest of the Arabs, would address even their prince, "Ó Said!" and though ever demanding El Hishmah, or respect for themselves, will on no occasion accord it to others.
It were vain to describe how, after we had been peremptorily summoned on board, our gallant captain eclipsed himself in quest of two sailors who had absconded-how he had forgotten to lay in stores of wood and water— how he did not come home till morning, when, making sail, he ran down to Mtony, and there wasted twenty-four hours - how he again went on shore, promising to return in half an hour, but leaving us to spend the day in vain expectation-how Said bin Salim solaced himself by wishing that the Shaytan might appear to Hamid on his deathbed, and say, "O friend of my soul, welcome home!"-how he reappeared with half-a-dozen fellows, mostly Suris culled from the bazar, one maimed, another a stammerer, a third sick, a fourth malingering, No. 5 a tailor, and No. 6 a diminutive Somali boy-how he was greeted by me with a flea in his ear and the threat of Bakur, and by Said bin Salim with a cup of coffee and a proverb, importing that out of woe cometh weal-and, finally, how, after
The outfit and expenses of an African journey are always interesting to travellers. We paid 50 German crowns (about 4s. 2d. each) to our guide Said, 20 dols. per mens. to our two Portuguese boys, and 32 dols. were the monthly hire of the Beden, besides the inevitable bakhshish. Total in two months, 160 dollars.
Our presents for chiefs were 20 jamdarris, or sprig muslins for turbans (15 dols.); 20 embroidered Surat caps (17 dols. 50 cts.); a broadcloth coat and a Maskat loincloth (20 dols. 50 cts.) for Sultan Kimwere; 35 pounds of small white-aud-pink Venetian beads (14 dols.), and 2 cotton shawls, yellow and scarlet (2 dols. 50 cts.)
Total about 70 dollars.
The provisions were tea, coffee (20 lb.), tobacco, snuff, salt, pepper, currystuff, half-a-dozen of cognac, sugar (20 lb.), rice (3 bags), onions, dates (1 bag), manioc flour (1 barrel), clarified butter, oil, and candles. The expenses of living and travelling, the whole party included, were in January 94 dols., and 84 dols. in February. Total about 250 dollars.
These several items form a grand total of 480 dols., equivalent to about £50 per But I must observe we travelled in humble guise, walked the whole way, had no animals, hired poor vessels, and practised a somewhat rigid economy.
a clear loss of two nights and a day, we drew up our ground-tackle and went our way. Orientals notably want the principle of immediate action. The traveller in Eastern Africa must ever be prepared for three distinct departures the little start, the great start, and the start.
Our old tub, with knees and mast loose like a slaver, soon reached the usual point of departure, Kokotony Bay "in the pebbles "-a roadstead with the usual trimmings of mangrove and manioc, lime and orange, superb mangoes and cocos waving in the clear sea-breeze. Clove plantations adorn the little hills, and the giant calabash stretches its stumpy crooked arms over the clustering huts. This tree is at once majestic and grotesque; the tall conical bole of spongy and porous wood, covered with a soft glossy rind at the base, will have a girth of forty or fifty feet, and bear from five hundred to six hundred gourds. Arbutus-like, in the same season some trees will be bare, others in leaf, in flower, or in fruit. When thickly clothed with foliage growing almost stalkless from the wood, topped with snowy flowers like the fairest of water-lilies, and hung about with ovals here somewhat larger than a coco-nut, covered with a green velvet, and attached by a long thin cord, its appearance is striking as it is novel.
On the 10th of January we ran through the paradise of verdant banks and plateaus forming the approach to Pemba, and halted a day to admire the Emerald Isle of these Eastern seas. In A.D. 1698, the bold buccaneer Captain Kidd buried there his blood-stained hoards of precious stones and metal, the plunder of India and the further Orient. The people of Pemba have found pots full of gold Jumps, probably moulded from buttons that the pirate might wear his wealth. Thus it is that the modern skipper, landing at Madagascar or other robber haunts of the olden time, still frequently witnesses the disappearance of his brass buttons, whilst the edge of a knife resting
upon his throat secures the quiescence essential to the rapid performance of the operation. Landing at Chakchak, the principal harbour, we inspected the town and sketched the fort, an old building, vain and picturesque as any restored castle on the Rhine.
Our gallant captain of the beard"the Lord have mercy on him for a hen!"-determined to doze away the day, and at night to sleep soundly, anchored in some quiet bay. On this latter point we differed. Yet when running out of Pemba, grave doubts regarding my own wisdom suggested themselves as the moonless night fell like a pall, and, exaggerated by the dim twinkling of the stars, rose within biscuit toss the silhouettes of island and plateau, whence proceeded the threatening sounds of a wash. Presently, however, emerging from the reefs, we smelt sea-air, and felt with pleasure the long throb of the Indian Ocean. Our progress northwards was made under difficulties. Rain fell almost daily; the wind was high and contrary, the sea wild and stormy; a strong current set dead against us; the lee-shore, within a few yards of which we were periodically drifted, was steep, too, with coralline rocks and
bars; and if all was unpleasant outside the Riami, the interior, with its atmosphere of cockroaches, bilge-water, and rotting wood, was scarcely more attractive. On the 16th January, after beating about for three days in sight of the conical Hummocks, called by the Portuguese Corva de Mombassa, and when almost despairing of reaching them, we were driven by a fair puff round Ras Betany into the land-locked harbour. Our reception at Mombas was characteristic of Africa. The men hailed us from afar with the query, "What news?" We were unmercifully derided by black nymphs bathing in the costume of the Nereids. And the sable imps upon the sands shouted the free-and-easy "Mzungu!"— white man!
"Here reigned a hoary king of ancient fame,
Mombaze the town, Mombaze the island's name."-MICKLE'S Lusiad.
From earliest ages the people of this inhospitable coast left untried neither force nor fraud, no secret treachery nor open hostility, to hinder and deter Europeans from exploration. Bribed by the white and black Moors, the Arabs and Sawahili, then monopolists of the interior trade, Vasco de Gama's pilots attempted to wreck his ships. In later years the Banyans, now chief merchants of the coast, have excited against us the half-caste maritime races-as usual, the worst specimens of population-and their neighbours, the sanguinary savages, who, in addition to their natural fear of our complexion, have preserved in verse and song a "reivayat," or prophecy, that sovereignty shall depart from them when the Frank's first footstep has defiled the soil. In 1826, the brig "Mary Anne" was assaulted near Berberah, and some of her crew were murdered by the Somal, according to Lieut. Wellsted,* at the instigation of the Banyans, who certainly withheld all information by which the attack could have been prevented or repelled. In 1844, a combination secretly headed by Yayaram, the collector of customs at Zanzibar, so effectually opposed Colonel Hamerton, that, unable to procure a vessel on the island, he crossed over to the main land with his own boat's crew in a launch borrowed from the Prince. Now, however, the number of the European merchants, the increasing power of the Sazzid, and the presence of our ships in these ports, have convinced Arabs, Banyans, and Sawahilis that it is vain for them to kick against the pricks in European shape.
Yet they yield unwillingly, knowing that by the advance of our interests their monopoly will be diverted into another channel. At present, fortunefavoured travellers may perhaps enter the country, but they should consider the countenance of the Sazzid's government a sine quâ non, and never, unless marching in great force, or prepared to bribe in all directions, make any port distant from headquarters their starting-point.
The town of Mombas is mentioned in 1330 by the Shaykh Ibn Batutah as a large place abounding in fruits, and peopled by a chaste, honest, and religious race. Two centuries afterwards it is thus described by the "Colto e buon Luigi," as Camoens is called by the amiable Tasso. In these days of general knowledge I forbear translation.
"Estava a ilha a terra tao chegada
Que humo estreito pequeno a dividia Huma cidade nella situada
Que na fronte do mar apparecia De nobres edificios fabricada
Como por fora ao longe des cobriaRegida por hum Rei de antigua idade Mombaça he o nome da ilha eda cidade."
We read also attractive details of
beautiful gardens, lofty towers, a harbour full of ships; of handsome men, and of honourable women, in silk robes, adorned with gold and jewels; "the horsemen of Mombas," which now barely contains an ass; and the "ladies of Melinde," at present a heap of ruins. The venerable monarch received Vasco de Gama with peculiar attention, and, with the benevolent purpose of cutting his throat, enticed him to land by samples of pepper, ginger, and cloves,† appa
Travels in Arabia, chap. xviii. I have alluded to this event in a previous work, An Exploration of Harar, chap. i.
+ I cannot understand what these cloves were; Andrea Corsali in Ramusia describes them as "not like those of India, but shaped more like our acorns." All authors mention the Portuguese finding cloves at the ports of East Africa; these must have been brought from Bourbon, or from Malacca. The pepper and ginger were doubtless Indian imports, as Calicut Banyans and Christians of St Thomas are mentioned.
rently all imports, and promises to furnish wax, wheat, ambergris, ivory, and precious metals. When the general's ship weighed anchor to enter Mombas, she struck upon a shoal, probably the reef off Ras Betany. The Moors" tumbled into their canoes, the Mozambique pilot plunged from the ship's stern, and an ugly treason stood forth in its nakedness. To make certain, de Gama of the "awful eyes obtained confession from his Moslem captives by heating bacon, and dropping it upon their flesh." * Unable, however, to revenge himself, he set sail for Melinde.
In A.D. 1500 Mombas yielded to D. Alvarez Cabral; in 1503, D. Roderigo Ravasco settled its tribute; and two years afterwards events succeeded one another rapidly in those dear old days-it was attacked, captured, and garrisoned by the first viceroy of India, D. Francesco d'Almeyda, a venerable who had been gravely insulted by its turbulent citizens. A fort was built, stringent regulations were made, and in 1508 the conquest was placed in the first of the three provinces of Ethiopia and Arabia. The government of the general capi
tal, Mozambique, was confided by the king to D. Duarte de Lemos.
The Portuguese were now masters of the principal ports and positions in a coast two thousand miles long. Contrary to received opinion, tradition declares that they penetrated far into the interior, and it is not probable that soldiers so adventurous would confine themselves to the sea-board. The Sawahilis speak of a ruined castle on 'Njuira, a hill north of the Pangany river, and placed by M. Rebmann 160 miles from the ocean. On the heights of Chhaga† (the mountain region whose apex is the much-vexed Kilimanjaro), stone walls, a breastwork for cannon, and an image of a long-haired woman seated in a chair and holding a child, are reported to remain. The Wanika or desert people of the Mombas hills have preserved at Rabai Mku, in one of the strongholds called a Kaya," certain images which they declare came from the West; and iconolatry being here unknown, the savages must have derived them from some more civilised race. According to Dr Kraff, the statuettes are called Kisukas, or little devils, and carried in
Europeans wonder that the East has attached contempt to the word Feringhee. Easterns became acquainted with Europe at a time when the Portuguese were slavers in the Lord's name, the French and Dutch second-rate traders, and the English were rank "salt-water thieves." Vasco de Gama did not hesitate to decorate his yardarms with wretches suspended like the captives of Sallee rovers. ture and cruel death, especially wholesale burning, fell to the lot of Moslems and pagans. Albuquerque's soldiers hewed off the hands and feet of women and children, to secure their bracelets and armlets more quickly. In the seventeenth century, even the commanders of the English East India Company's ships, according to Della Valle, committed robberies on the high seas and on shore. The Great Mogul regarded our nation as "a people of dissolute morals and degraded religion." +In the Portuguese inscription over the fort gate of Mombas, dated 1639, and half defaced by the Arabs, mention is made of the King of “Zara" becoming their tributory. Prichard (Nat. Hist. of Man) confounds the nomadic and cannibal Zagas or Giagas of Congo, so formidable to the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, with the Chhaga country near Mombas. His words are, "In 1569 the same people are said to have been completely routed on the Eastern coast near Mombase, after having laid waste the whole region of Monomotapa." Chhaga in East Africa-by some it is pronounced Zaga-is the name of a district. The people never call themselves Wachhaga or Wajaga, but Wakirniva, or Mountaineers. Zaga," on the other hand, in Western Africa, is said to signify "warlike nomades," and to be now a title of honour.
According to Andrew Battel, the English captive at Angola in 1589, the Giagas or Zagas had little images in their towns. As a rule, however, the want of constructiveness and plastic power in the African prevent his being an idolator in the strict sense of the word. He finds it more convenient to make a god of grass or palm-leaves and broken pieces of calabashes, to which feathers of fowls were fastened by means of blood.-Messrs J. Schön and Samuel Crowther's Journals with the Niger Expedition of 1841. London, 1842.
war-procession to encourage the combatants. No European, however, has seen this great medicine; the chief never dared even to propose showing them to a missionary; and whenever an individual evinced more persistency than was pleasing, he found every bush upon his path bristling with bows and spears, and capped by the wool mop of some sable Roderick Dhu's clansmen.
On the 9th of Jemadi el Akhir, A.H. 1110 (A.D. 1698)—the date is celebrated in ballads many the Mazrui, a noble Arab tribe, and the dependent Sawahilis, emboldened by the squadron of Sayf bin Malih el Yurabi, Imaum of Oman, massacred the European masters of Mombas. They continued quasi-independent, sending occasional presents to the Ayzal Bú Said, the present dynasty of Maskat, till 1823 or 1824, when they placed themselves under British protection in their rebellion against the late Sazzid. They were permitted to fly our flag- a favour for which, when danger disappeared, they proved themselves ungrateful; and a Mr Reece * was placed at Mombas to watch its interests. Sazzid Said, however, who showed a kind of title to the town, was permitted to attack it; and in 1837, after two seasons of desultory warfare, he succeeded. Rashid bin Salim, chief of the Mazrui, accompanied by twenty-six kinsmen, was enticed on board the Sazzid's ship by an oath and a sealed Koran. He fell into the trap-it is wonderful how liar trusts liar and the vessel at once stood for Maskat.
The chiefs spent the remnant of their days at Hormuz, and the power of the Mazrui was for ever destroyed. The traveller laments that we abandoned Mombas had England retained it, the whole interior would now be open to us. But such is the history of Britain the Great: hard won by blood and gold, her conquests are parted with for a song.
Mombas is built upon one of those small coralline islands, which, from Ras Hafun to Cape Corrientes, form the centres of commerce with a coast whose people, brutalised by slavery and incapable of civilisation, would
have converted mainland depots into
Port Tudor," and westward, one similar, "Port Reitz." Vessels generally lie under the town opposite English Point on the mainland, and near a wharf made by Lieutenant Emery in 1825. The harbour is snug; in the south-west monsoon, however, square-rigged ships must be warped out, and in so doing they run the greatest risk of a wreck.
Of the Portuguese at Mombas the only traces are ruins of desecrated churches, some old wells of good masonry, still supplying the best water, and a large fort well placed to command the entrance: standing full to the bay, and detached from the town, if provided with a few batteries à fleur d'eau, it would soon dispose of Arab assailants. picturesque yellow pile, with tall, long, and buttressed curtains, enclosing towers streaked with perpendicular loopholes, high donjons, trees, and little domes, was undergoing repair at the time of our visit; not being authorised to enter by the Prince, I can describe only its exterior.
The town is an array of brown cadjan huts, with a few glaring piles of coralline and lime, surrounded by a tumbling enceinte; the position is a diminutive rise at the eastern and seaward edge of the island. Landing at a natural jetty, where the marks of cannon - balls show the old position of a battery, you ascend the cliff by a flight of steps in a dark dwarf-tunnel, the labour of your countrymen. Above, it opens upon the Mission-house, a double-storied pile of coarse masonry;
* He died and was buried here, but his tomb has been built over.