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these volumes, that we deeply regret our inability to give them unqualified praise; nor can we now dismiss them without pointing out, in brief, their distinguishing excellencies. Mr. Lingard has, as we have already intimated, been equally assiduous in recurring to original authorities, and skilful in the management and application of them. He has at all times displayed in his investigations and arguments, a vigorous and discriminating mind; his views are comprehensive; his style, though not highly finished, is at once firm and flowing: on the whole, we should be extremely sorry to have his work placed beyond the reach of our frequent reference.
Art. II. A Narrative of Travels in Northern Africa, in the Years 1818, 1819, and 20. Accompanied by Geographical Notices of Soudan, and of the Course of the Niger. With a Chart and Plates. By Captain G. F. Lyon, R.N. Companion of the late Mr. Ritchie. 4to. Price £3. 3s. London. 1821.
AS Captain Lyon begins the detail of his expedition without
apprising his readers of the circumstances under which it was undertaken, we shall, from other sources of information, communicate one or two particulars, in order that the object of his mission may be better understood. Our readers are aware of the various attempts which have recently been made, all of them unsuccessfully, to explore the river Niger, and to reach the celebrated city of Tombuctoo. To the melancholy results of Mungo Park's enterprise, and of Major Peddie's unfortunate journey, may be added the premature fate of Horneman, who was supposed to have died at Tombuctoo; but more recent accounts render it probable that he terminated his labours, after considerable sufferings, at Bakkanee, the chief town of Noofy on the banks of the Nil. Nothing, however, can be definitively pronounced as to the place of his decease; for his papers, having been forwarded to our Consul at Tripoli by the Bey of Fezzan, were unluckily lost on their road. These failures, it might have been imagined, were not likely to render succeeding travellers enamoured of an expedition which has hitherto been productive of little more than peril and privation. But it is not easy to check the ardent and inquisitive spirit of British research. Indeed, the enthusiasm to ascertain the situation of Tombuctoo, and to develop the sources of the Niger, which has so long prevailed, would seem to be wholly disproportionate to the object, and to resemble the zeal of the Portuguese in the fifteenth cen
We refer more particularly to the persons employed by the African Association, to prosecute researches into the interior of Africa; Mr. Ledyard, Major Houghton, Mr. Nicholls, and Roentgen, a German.
tury, to discover the abode of the imaginary personage known by the uncouth appellation of Prester John. This enthusiasm is far from having as yet subsided. Neither difficulties nor dangers have deterred successive adventurers from pursuing an enterprise in which their predecessors have not merely failed, but perished.
Tripoli has been considered as the most eligible point from which to commence the prosecution of discoveries in the Northern interior of Africa. But it was only three or four years ago, that our relations with that state encouraged any hope of its aid or co-operation. In consequence of the amicable dispositions evinced by the present Pasha towards the British Government, it was resolved to appoint a person of enterprise and talent to the office of Vice-Consul at Mourzouk, the capital of Fezzan, which is a dependency of Tripoli. Between Fezzan and Tombuctoo, a constant intercourse was understood to exist. Under these circumstances, apparently so auspicious for the investigation of Africa, the late Mr. Ritchie, then private secretary to Sir Charles Stuart, our ambassador at Paris, a young man of scientific attainments and of great zeal for research, and who had been originally educated to medicine, was selected for the undertaking. Captain Marryat of the navy volunteered at the same time his services to accompany him; and under the authority of the British Government, they were to make every effort to embark on the Niger for the purpose of exploring that mysterious river. Circumstances having occurred to induce that officer to relinquish his intention of joining the mission, the Author of the present volume offered to supply Captain Marryat's place, which offer being accepted, the Lords of the Admiralty, to whom application for that purpose had been made, accorded him the necessary leave of absence. Captain Lyon joined Mr. Ritchie at Tripoli in November 1818, having already made some proficiency in the Arabic language, which was of course considerably increased during his sojourn in that city.
At this time, Mohammed el Mukni, the Sultan of Fezzan, the person whom Horneman had formerly accompanied to that kingdom, was at Tripoli, and high in favour with the Pasha. He had raised himself to his Sultanship by the murder of his predecessor and his two sons, and was perpetually occupied in warring upon his defenceless neighbours, from whom he annually carried off from four to five thousand slaves. From one of these slave-hunts, he had just returned to Tripoli with a numerous body of captives and of camels. With this potentate, Mr. Ritchie had agreed to proceed to Mourzouk, the capital of Fezzan, and with so powerful an alliance, our Travellers felt the most perfect confidence as to their safety; a confidence which was augmented by the flattering reception they met with
from the Pasha, who also promised Mr. Ritchie protection and assistance to the mission. By his advice, they equipped themselves in the Moorish costume, as worn by the better class of Tripolines; but, besides the dress of Moslems, it became necessary for them, as far as practicable, to adopt their manners. Mr. Ritchie assumed, therefore, the name of Yussuf el Ritchie; Belford, a shipwright who had entered into their service, that of Ali; and Captain Lyon called himself Said ben abd Allah. A fighi (clerk of the mosque) instructed them in reading and the ceremonies used in prayer. They received also minute cautions from an old minister of the Pasha, who had travelled in Europe, and was on that account competent to point out what was most likely to betray them.
Captain Lyon does not affect to give a description of Tripoli.* He was not, however, unobservant of many singular usages which prevail there. Of a curious class of devotees called Marāboots, he draws a disgusting picture.
They are a set of people much spoken of in all Moslem countries; but it strikes me that the requisites necessary to constitute one of these saints, are not every where the same. The Maraboots of Tripoli are of two classes; idiots, who are allowed to say and do whatever they please; and men possessed of all their senses, who, by juggling and performing many bold and disgusting tricks, establish to themselves the exclusive right of being the greatest rogues and nuisances to be met with. They assemble every Friday afternoon in the mosques, where they eat snakes, scorpions, &c. affecting to be inspired, and committing the greatest extravagances. On, or rather before the beginning of their annual festival, which lasts three days, the great Maraboot is supposed to inspire those who are to appear in the processions, and who, according to their abilities, are more or less mad and furious. The natural fools are always ready for the exhibition; and it is amusing to observe their looks of astonishment, at being on that day, more than any other, brought into notice. During the time the Maraboots are allowed to parade the streets, no Christians or Jews can with any safety make their appearance, as they would instantly be torn to pieces.
As I was in the dress of the country, and very anxious to witness the whole of the ceremonies, I ventured to go out with our Dragoman, and to make my way to the mosque from which the procession was to set out. I felt that my situation was a very dangerous one; but being resolved on the attempt, I dashed in with the crowd, and succeeded in getting near the Saints, who, with dis
* The best delineation of that city, will be found in the very lively and interesting "Narrative of a Ten Years' Residence at Tripoli," written by the sister-in-law of Mr. Tully, the British Consul. See Eclectic Review. N.S. Vol. viii. p. 430. A description will be found also in the Travels of Ali Bey, published in 1816.
shevelled hair, were rapidly turning round, and working themselves into a most alarming state of phrenzy. Had I been discovered, my life would have been in jeopardy. But I was able to keep my countenance, and to pass unnoticed; and when the performers were sufficiently inspired, I sallied out with them, and followed them through the streets. One had a large nail run through his face from one cheek to the other; and all had bitten their tongues in so violent a manner as to cause blood and saliva to flow copiously. They were half naked, at intervals uttering short groans and howls; and, as they they proceeded, threw their heads backwards and forwards with a quick motion which caused the blood to rise in their faces, and their eyes to project frightfully from their sockets. One or two, who were the most furious, and who continually attempted to run at the crowd, were held by a man on each side, by means of a rope or handkerchief tied round the middle. I observed that whenever the Maraboots passed the house of a Christian, they affected to be ungovernable, and endeavoured to get near it, pretending they made the discoveries by smelling out Unbelievers.
Asthe power of taking up serpents and scorpions is supposed to contitute a Marāboot, I determined to acquire that honourable title. Mr. Ritchie bought some snakes, which we all learnt to handle, and I soon found out a way of taking up the largest scorpions without any danger of being stung. However, in order to observe the ceremonies practised by these pretended saints, I sent for one of the most celebrated, under the pretence of wishing myself to become a Marāboot. This fellow went through numberless prayers and forms, spitting in my hands, taking rose-water in his mouth, reciting occasional prayers, and then washing his own mouth and hands in rose-water. After bottling up the rose-water, he told me to drink it on a day specified, and that then I should be as highly gifted as himself.
The bazaars are open every day. Slaves and goods are carried about by auctioneers, who keep up a continual din, each calling the price last bidden. The Jews are shut up every evening at sun-set in a quarter of the town which they exclusively inhabit; and they are not allowed to wear turbans of any other colour than blue. But, though much persecuted, they engross all the trade and places of profit. There are a few schools, where reading and writing are taught: a knowledge of letters is, however, by no means a necessary passport to places of trust or emolument. Sidi Hamet, the present Minister, can neither read nor write. Our Travellers one day put the Koran into his hands the wrong side uppermost, begging him to repeat a few lines of it. He evaded the request by pretending for some minutes to read to himself; then, assuming a sagacious look, he returned it with the observation that it was very well written. The women stain their eyelids with antimony, which gives an enlarged appearance to the eye. They use also rouge in great quantities. Mamlukes (gene
rally renegades, or purchased slaves from Georgia or Circassia,) enjoy the highest offices: the Pasha's daughters are not permitted to marry any others. Some crimes are considered as capital by law; but many are rendered capital at the whim of the Pasha. The first Jew who happens to be at hand, has the honour of hangman thrust upon him, and he is obliged to go through with the duty. Theft is punished by amputation of the foot and the hand: the operation is performed with a razor. The bastonado is the general punishment for minor offences. Some culprits, who are able to bribe or infiuence the persons employed to see the sentence executed, contrive to stuff their trowsers so as to escape without much suffering. This punishment is inflicted on all ranks at the discretion of the Pasha; and should his own sons or his minister displease him, they would become liable to it, nor would they consider themselves at all degraded by it.
A considerable time elapsed before Mukni was ready for his departure. In the mean while, Mr. Ritchie made every requisite preparation for the journey on the Desert; but the allowance made by Goverment, had been already expended in merchandize, instruments, &c.; which merchandize, having been selected in England, was, unfortunately, totally unfit for the interior. Their funds were still further reduced by Mr. Ritchie's having advanced three hundred dollars for some articles he had procured for Mukni, which were to be repaid him on his arrival in Fezzan. Such was the inauspicious commencement of the mission! At last, on the 22d of March, 1919, the kafflé (caravan) proceeded on their march. Captain Lyon divides his tour into two parts; the first comprising the expedition from Tripoli to Mourzouk, where Mr. Ritchie died; the second, the Author's researches in the kingdom of Fezzan, previous to his final return to Tripoli ;- -a measure which was forced upon him by the danger of proceeding without pecuniary supplies. And thus ended the last attempt that has yet been communicated to us, to penetrate into the interior of Africa.
Mr. Ritchie's debilitating illness has deprived us of that portion of information which, had longer life been permitted to him, he would probably have imbodied in his journal. Relying on a retentive memory, he unfortunately delayed it till it was too late. Captain Lyon is no clerk, and he aspires to nothing more than a simple and unvarnished statement of his adventures. His tour exhibits, however, a picture of the Desert, which is new and interesting; and the narrative claims to be exempted from too fastidious a criticism.
In the kathlé, which consisted of about two hundred men, and an equal number of camels, were several parties of liberated blacks, all joyful, Captain Lyon says, at the idea of returning to their