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man, there was nothing in the performance of such a task to prevent him at the same time from becoming acquainted with the customs and peculiarities of the inhabitants, under the heads which we have enumerated. The inference from these remarks is, that either Adams or Caillié never was at Timbuctoo. It is impossible, if both had visited that city, that they could have contradicted each other upon so many palpable points. For our own parts, we adhere to the narrative of the former, which we firmly believe to be authentic and correct in its most important parts; and we cannot get rid of the impression which, even without comparing it with any other work, the account of Caillié itself produces upon us, that all that he says of his visit to Timbuctoo is pure and unqualified fiction.
We have some doubts also about M. Caillie's journey over the Great Desert of Sahara, after, as he alleges, he took his departure from Timbuctoo. The phenomena which he mentions, the pillars of sand, the storms, the mirage, are described by many authors, and known as well at Tripoli or Algiers, as in the district of Tafilet itself. It is observable that he gives scarcely any details of his fatigues in crossing Mount Atlas, although that portion of his travels would be particularly interesting for its novelty, and would naturally, from the difficulties attending it, have left the strongest recollections in his mind.
M. Caillie's account of the death of Major Laing, is almost in all its particulars incorrect. The authentic intelligence which has reached this country concerning that melancholy event, establishes the fact, that on the third day after he quitted Timbuctoo, Major Laing was treacherously murdered by an Arab sheik of the name of Bourabouchi, who appears to have been expressly hired for the purpose. There is a dark and horrible story afloat connected with this transaction, the details of which must one day be fully elicited. M. Caillié is equally mistaken, when he says that the Major's papers were scattered among the inhabitants of the desert. It is said that a certain Baron Rousseau, who now is, or lately was, the French consul at Tripoli, could, if he so pleased, give a very correct report, not only of the history of those papers, but also of their contents. But we fear that it is extremely doubtful whether they will ever see the light. The party who is supposed to be in possession of them, must have obtained them in a manner not only dishonourable, but even highly criminal. We understand that inquiries are in progress upon this subject, and we must wait for the result, before we can pronounce a verdict.
Leaving therefore to M. Caillie's French admirers all the benefits which they can derive from reading his description of Timbuctoo, and what we shall take leave to call his apocryphal survey of the desert northward of that capital, we shall retrograde upon his steps in the opposite direction. From the very ample details into which he enters with respect to the town of Jenné, the next perhaps in
point of importance to Timbuctoo in the central region of Africa, we entertain no doubt that he proceeded at least thus far upon his journey. It is seated on an island on the secondary branch of the river Dhioliba.
• The town of Jenné is about two miles and a half in circumference: it is surrounded by a very ill constructed earth wall, about ten feet high, and fourteen inches thick. There are several gates, but they are small. The houses are built of bricks dried in the sun. The sand of the isle of Jenné is mixed with a little clay, and it is employed to make bricks of a round form which are sufficiently solid. The houses are as large as those of European villages. The greater part have only one story, like HaggiMohammed's, which I have already described. They are all terraced, have no windows externally, and the apartments receive no air except from an inner court. The only entrance, which is of ordinary size, is closed by a door made of wooden planks, pretty thick, and apparently sawed. The door is fastened on the inside by a double iron chain, and on the outside by a wooden lock, made in the country. Some however have iron locks. The apartments are all long and narrow. The walls, especially the outer, are well plastered with sand, for they have no lime. In each house there is a staircase leading to the terrace; but there are no chimneys, and consequently the slaves cook in the open air. The streets are not straight, but they are broad enough for a country in which no carriages are used; eight or nine persons may walk in them abreast; they are kept in good order, being swept almost daily. The environs of Jenné are marshy, and entirely destitute of trees. Some clumps of ronniers are however seen on slight elevations at very remote distances. Before the rains set in, the plains receive some tillage, and are all sown with rice, which grows with the increase of the water of the river; the slaves are the cultivators of this grain. There was also on the banks of the river some gombo, tobacco, and giraumons. I was told that in the rainy season they grow cabbage, carrots, and European turnips, the seed of which is brought from Tafilet. In the marshes is found a kind of forage, which is cut and dried for the cattle. In places not exposed to the inundation they cultivate only millet and maize.
The town of Jenné is full of bustle and animation; every day numerous caravans of merchants are arriving and departing with all kinds of useful productions. In Jenné there is a mosque built of earth, surmounted by two massive but not high towers; it is rudely constructed, though very large. It is abandoned to thousands of swallows, which build their nests in it. This occasions a very disagreeable smell, to avoid which, the custom of saying prayers in a small outer court has become common. In the environs of the mosque, to which I often went, I always observed a number of beggars, reduced to mendicity by old age, blindness, or other infirmities.
The town is shaded by some boababs, mimosas, date-trees, and ronniers. I remarked another kind of tree, the name of which I do not know.
The population of Jenné includes a number of resident strangers, as Mandingoes, Foulahs, Bambaras, and Moors. They speak the languages peculiar to their respective countries, besides a general dialect called Kissour, which is the language currently adopted as far as Timbuctoo. The number of the inhabitants may be computed at eight or ten thousand.
This town was formerly independent, but it now belongs to a small kingdom, of which Ségo-Ahmadou is the sovereign. He is a Foulah, and a fanatical Mussulman, but a great conqueror. With a very small number of followers, he has subdued several districts in the south of Bambara, where he has introduced his religion, and enforces obedience. Jenné was his capital; but this zealous disciple of the prophet, finding that the great trade of that town interfered with his religious duties, and drew aside the true believers from their devotions, founded another town on the right bank of the river. He named it el-Lamdou-Lillahi (to the praise of God), the first words of a prayer in the Koran. At this place there are public schools in which children are taught gratuitously. There are also schools for adults, according to the degrees of their information. This devout chief is brother to the king of Massina, a country situated on the left bank of the Dhioliba.
Ségo-Ahmadou does not levy contributions on the merchants who resort to Jenné for the purpose of trade. Foreign merchants settled in the country are not subject to taxes any more than natives; but they send presents to the king, as well as to his brother, the chief of Jenné. I had often heard Ségo-Ahmadou extolled for his generosity; but the Moors told me that he was generous only to his own subjects. The inhabitants of Jenné are exceedingly active and industrious, and very much like the savage negroes I had seen in the south. In short, they are intelligent men, who speculate on the labour of their slaves; while, among the freemen, the rich devote themselves to commerce, and the poor to various trades and professions. At Jenné, there are tailors who make clothes, which are sent to Timbuctoo; smiths, founders, masons, shoe-makers, porters, packers, and fishermen: every one renders himself useful in some way or other. Mats, made of the leaves of the ronnier, are used for packing up goods; they are manufactured by the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages, who sell them in the market This matting is covered with a second envelope, consisting of a bullock's hide, that is to say, if the goods are worth it. The smiths are no better provided with tools than those I saw on the road: they execute the same work with the same scanty means. It is the business of the packers to sack the grain, and, in order to force as much as possible into the bag, they press it down with a piece of wood. When their bag is full, they put a handful of straw above the millet, and sew the bag. This is much more secure than simple packing.
All the inhabitants of Jenné are Mahometans. They do not permit infidels to enter their town, and when the Bambara people come to Jenné, they are obliged to repeat the Mahometan prayers, otherwise they would be unmercifully beaten by the Foulahs, who form the majority of the population. I found the inhabitants very civil to strangers, at least to those of their own religion; and they put traders in the way of disposing of their goods.
They have several wives, whom, however, they do not ill-treat, like the negroes further to the south. The women never go out unveiled, and are not allowed to eat their meals with their husbands, or even with their male children. The girls, when they attain a suitable age, assist their mothers in cooking, washing, and other household business. They occupy their leisure moments in spinning cotton, which they buy in the market, for in the marshy environs of the city it is not cultivated; however, on the
west side, I saw a little field of cotton surrounded by a thorn hedge. It appeared to be of very inferior quality, and does not thrive well.
The people of Jenné know no other writing than that of the Arabs: almost all can read, though few understand it. There are schools for youth, like those which I have already described. After the children have learned every thing that is taught in these schools, they are sent to ElLamdou-Lillahi; and when they know the Koran by heart, they are looked upon as learned men; they then return to their native places, and enter into trade.
"The inhabitants of Jenné live very well: they eat rice boiled with fresh meat, which is to be procured every day in the market. With the fine millet they make couscous; this is eaten with fresh or dried fish, of which they have great abundance. Their dishes are highly seasoned: they use a good deal of allspice, and salt is common enough to enable every one to get it. The expense of maintenance for a single individual is about twenty-five or thirty cowries per day. Meat is not dear in this place: a piece which costs forty cowries (twenty centimes) is enough to furnish a dinner for four persons. They generally make two meals a day; all sitting round one dish, and each taking out a portion with his hand, like all the inhabitants of the interior.
Their houses are not furnished. They have leather bags in which they put their things; these bags are sometimes hung to a line put across the apartment. The people always sleep on bullocks' hides, or mats, spread upon the ground. Hence they are very subject to rheumatic complaints, owing to the extreme dampness of the soil; for they cannot keep fires during the night on account of the scarcity of wood. The children, as well as grown persons, are very neatly dressed. They wear a coussabe made of cloth of the Soudan, generally white, which is the favourite colour; their trowsers reach to the ancle, and are not so full as those worn by the Mandingoes in the south; they have a hem at the waist in which is run a cotton string that ties above the hips. The Mandingo traders buy these trowsers and carry them to their country: I saw them at Sambatikila, Timé, and Tangrera. The people of Jenné never go barefoot, not even the children of the slaves. Their shoes, which are very neatly made, resemble our European slippers; they have them of various colours. Their shoemakers use no lasts, they get thin leather from Timbuctoo, whither it is brought by the Moors from Morocco. I saw no tanners in Jenné.
The most elegant head-dress worn in this place is a red cap, round which a large piece of muslin is rolled in the form of a turban. Men of inferior rank, like the saracolets, wear caps made in the country. The dress of the women consists of a coussabe with a pagne under it. several females with sandals. They plat their hair and wear necklaces of glass, amber, coral, and gold ear-rings. Some also wear about the neck plates of that metal which are made in the country. I saw some with nose-rings; they all have their noses pierced, and those who are not rich enough to buy a ring, have a piece of pink silk in its stead. They wear silver bracelets of a round form, and their ancles are encircled by flat rings of plated iron, four inches broad, which cover them completely.
The price of an ordinary coussabe of cloth of native manufacture is two thousand cowries; a pair of trowsers costs one thousand, and a pair of
slippers three hundred. They are to be had either cheaper or dearer, according to the variety of form or colour. The Moors have magazines well supplied with European merchandize; such as white Guinea cloth, (for they have but little blue) calico, scarlet cloth, paper, muskets, powder, hardware, needles, silk, and sulphur. They sell all these things wholesale. They have also white sugar and tea; but it is only the very rich who can afford such luxuries. I was pleased to find at Jenné that one might use a pocket handkerchief without being ridiculed; for the inhabitants themselves use it, whereas, in the countries through which I had previously passed, it would have been dangerous to suffer such a thing to be seen A cake of salt, of the dimensions which I have described in a former part of this volume, costs ten, fifteen, or even twenty thousand cowries, according to the scarcity or abundance of the article; there are smaller cakes, which cost seven or eight thousand cowries.'—vol. i. pp. 459–465.
The country immediately south of Jenné seems to be pretty generally well cultivated. It produces the butter tree in great abundance. At Missabougou our traveller was annoyed by a horrible race of savages, called Lous.
A little after sun-set, as I was standing by the fire, boiling some pieces of bark to wash my mouth, which was still very painful, a young negro of our caravan, who had shewn me marks of attention during the whole of the journey, informed me that I must not stay out too late, because, if the Lous should see me, they would beat me unmercifully. I did not know what he meant, and asked him to explain himself. He told me that throughout the whole of Bambara, there are men who live all day in the woods, in huts made of the branches of trees. They have with them boys, to whom they teach the mysteries of their ceremonies. Every night they issue from the woods, accompanied by the boys, running about the village, uttering frightful cries, and making a thousand hideous contortions. On their approach, the terrified inhabitants shut themselves up in their huts; but there are some men, added the negro, who are not afraid of the Lous. I immediately conjectured, that these Lous must be an association similar to that of the Simos, which I have already described as existing among the people who inhabit the banks of the Rio Nunez, and also among the Timannees. I was confirmed in this supposition, when the young negro informed me that, on rejoicing days, they give notice of their intention to shew themselves openly. They come and join in the festivities of the day, and then return to their habitations, laden with presents of every kind, which all, and particularly the women, are eager to bestow upon them. The young negro, from whom I learned these particulars, had made several journeys through this country, and had acquired an acquaintance with the manners of the people, which a stranger can obtain but slowly and imperfectly. He, moreover, informed me that the Lous drink the beer of the country, with which they frequently become intoxicated.
In the evening, I heard some strange howlings in the vicinity of the village. I made no doubt that the Lous had commenced their nightly incursions, and felt great curiosity to see them. I cautiously crept out of my hut, and took my station behind a little palisade, whence I could see without being seen. I soon saw a man advance. His head was covered with
a piece of rag, and from various parts of his body were suspended bells