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ported to be bottomless, and that every living being venturing in perished inevitably, my people were horrified to see me jump in, in order to sound the depth, which I found to be 18 feet on an average, and 24 feet where it was deepest. The dark colour of the water makes the lakes appear deeper than they really are. Along with my collection of natural history I have sent a small bottle containing some of the celebrated Fezzan worms, called "dud," already described by Dr. Oudney. I have also sent, in a small box, the only beetle, besides black beetles, which I have found in Fezzan; also a beautiful little creature, called "tantan," which here infests the rooms in the same way as the flies in Europe. It runs with incredible rapidity, and is therefore difficult to catch. Of the worms I send you the enclosed drawing: their taste is very salt. They are caught with cotton nets, in which are hauled up at the same time innumerable flies and other insects, with which the lake is filled. The whole is mixed with a red kind of date into a paste, which has a similar smell and taste to salt-herring, and which is used by the inhabitants of Fezzan in the place of meat, along with bazeen.
2. Extracts from Letters received from the Sappers and Miners employed on the Mission to Central Africa.
A. Tripoli to Murzuk.—B. MurzuJc to Tibbu.
A.—Corporal Church and Private Swenny of the Royal Sappers and Miners were selected to join the expedition under Dr. Vogel from about 100 volunteers.
At Tripoli Corporal Church mastered the use of the sextant, mountain barometer, azimuth compass, &c, so as to make accurate and ready observations.
Unfortunately at the commencement of the overland journey, Swenny was seized with congestive fever, and was sent to England. It was judged indispensable to seek for the services of another sapper, and from 36 volunteers of the company of the corps at Malta, Private Maguire was selected, and was at once dispatched to Tripoli to join the expedition.
The caravan employed 37 camels, carrying upwards of 4 tons of baggage, including presents for the Sultan of Bornu and other chief's. The organization of a force of this kind, with the packing and distribution of the baggage, was a service of no common difficulty. This duty was confided chiefly to Corporal Church, who, in consequence of the temporary indisposition of Dr. Vogel, set out in charge of the expedition on the 19th of June, in company with Mr. H. Warrington,* and arrived at Beniolid on the 26th. Dr. Vogel rejoined the mission on the 2nd of July, and, after the repose of a day or two, the caravan was again in motion.
The expedition was well received on the route, especially at Sokna. A number of people approached them with greeting, and conducted them to an ample residence already prepared for their accommodation, where a supply of provisions was placed at their disposal, consisting of melons, green figs, dates, two sheep, two large dishes of bazeen, and three other dishes. In the evening a similar present was made to the travellers, and for four days after, these
* This, to the success of the expedition, so useful gentleman has since fallen a victim to the climate.—Ed.
benevolent natives persisted in indulging the mission with extravagant proofs of their cordiality and generosity. Offers were made in return to compensate them for their gifts, but they declined to take any equivalent, except a few English knives and razors, which they accepted with unequivocal tokens of satisfaction On quitting Sokna, the pebple and the governor of the place accompanied the adventurers a short distance on the road, and took leave of them with kind wishes for their welfare and safety.
The next day the mission entered the Pass of Jebel Asswad or Black Mountains—a region of dreariness and desolation. The stretch of vision was only here relieved by large masses of basalt which seemed to have been upheaved in every direction by some convulsion of nature, whilst in other places the rock had all the semblance of iron suddenly cooled after leaving the furnace. Much of the road was of the worst character, for it was not only hard and broken, but ridged in lines with sharp knife-like edges, which gashed the animals' feet and lamed them. This sterile district extended for more than 50 miles without even a shrub or an insect to invite observation; and, to add to their trials, the travellers were for 4J days without water, save that carried on the backs of the camels, which, from being constantly influenced by the action of a scorching atmosphere, was always more than tepid, and had lost much of its relish. The heat of the sun was very excessive in those mountains. The thermometer, when exposed to the full blaze of the sun, rushed up speedily to 150°! and afterwards when Corporal Church withdrew the instrument from the sand in which he had buried it about 6 inches deep, the indication given was 130°. After passing the Black Mountains, the mission counted in one day nine skeletons of camels which had fallen dead in the desert.
The expedition now traversed a fax-spreading plain, and then, being short of water, pushed on night and day for the well, called Om el Abid, or the Mother of Slaves. Before gaining it they were wearied with 66 hours' exertion in the saddle out of 80, and the camel which Church had ridden from Tripoli, fell dead at EnfSd from fatigue and exhaustion. In a few days after, 5th August, 1853, the expedition reached Murzuk.
Maguire joined the expedition at Murzuk on the 31st August, having journeyed from Tripoli to Murzuk with 3 or 4 Arabs in 34 days.
• B.—The travellers, with Mr. H. Warrington still in company, left Murzuk on the 16th of October, and had a very toilsome journey as far as Gatrone, where they arrived on the 24th of the same month. Seven days they stayed at this place to await the arrival of the remainderof the caravan. In that time they were joined by fourteen Arabs.and a caravan of merchants from Egypt, going to Bornu to purchase slaves, which is the principal traffic between Murzuk and the interior. While they were at Gatrone a caravan of about 700 slaves passed through it. Nearly the whole of the miserable creatures were women and children; the grown-up men in the drove did not seem to exceed twenty in number.
The expedition reached Tegery on the 3rd of November, and, after resting for a few days, collecting dates for the use of the camels, moved on the 7th into the Great Desert. In the first three days no less than 250 skeletons of slaves were passed. Fragments of bones and detached limbs were scattered about in vast numbers on the plain; so much so indeed that one could traverse the Desert without much chance of missing the track. At a well (probably Meshru), about two days' journey from Tegery, the ground presented the appearance of an excavated cemetery, or a place where had been fought a wellcontested battle. The tents could not be pitched for masses of bones on the line of march; and, to be free from the obstruction of these sickening relics of mortality, the party was compelled to remove to a distance to encamp for the night.
For 16 days they journeyed onwards without seeing a single native; and for 10 days after leaving Tesrery they looked in vain to discover a shrub, a blade of grass, or the slightest trace of vegetable existence. In a valley called Ikba they found a little coarse grass that afforded an acceptable change to the camels after feeding for ten days upon dates.
The travelling was carried on at the rate of 12 and 13 hours a-day without halting. This was equal to a journey of from 25 to 30 miles, and was reckoned to be very fair progress, as camels usually only go over 2J miles of ground in an hour. The average heat of the sun ranged from 125" to 130°. The two sappers, by turns, watched through the hours of darkness to protect the caravan from injury or surprise, and suffered much from severe cold, owing to the state of the atmosphere falling from its extreme day-heat to a temperature sometimes as low as 45!
At the date of Corporal Church's last letter (Nov. 28, 1853) the expedition was at Ashanumra, in the country of the tribes of Tibbu, where they arrived on the 27th of November. It was expected that the travellers, with Mr. Warrington, would be in motion again on the 30th of November; and, in 27 days after, would reach Kuka—the rendezvous of the mission—on the shores of Lake Chad.
3. Geographical Positions of Places in North Africa and Fezzan, determined by Edward Vogel, Phil. Dr.
Elevation of Places in North Africa and Fezzan above the level of the Mediterranean, determined with the Barometer.
Tmad el Tar .
Godfd . . .(
around it . .)
XVII.—Extract of a Letter from Dr. Barth to Dr. Beke, dated
Saraiyamo, the place mentioned in the itinerary of Ahmed bel Mejtib, the largest place we have seen since leaving Say; and embarked, the 1st of September, on a fine broad sheet of water, 300 yards from the town, which, however, further on was much overgrown by grass. The large number of channels—called rijl by the Arabs of Timbuctu—formed by the inundations of this great river are remarkable: I think there is no river to be compared with it in this respect. You will form a better idea of the net of channels which we met with by a glance at the map which I am about to forward to the Foreign-Office than by a long description. In the afternoon of the 5th day, after a curious zigzag navigation, we arrived at Kabara, having entered the river itself on the afternoon of the 4th day. I say we arrived at Kabara—■
at the end of the rainy season—but you will be greatly surprised when I tell you that this celebrated port of Timbuctu lies several miles distant from the river, and is only accessible by water during four or five months of the year, when the rains have been most plentiful; and it is. quite impossible to reach this place by water in the month of April. Indeed, the channel by which we went up to K&bara on the 5th of September was so small that, after all the people had left the boat besides myself, it was dragged up with the greatest difficulty by the boatmen, who went in the water, which in most places did not reach up to their knees, and was about 15 feet wide. Just before Kabara a larger basin is formed, perhaps artificially, where a few vessels were lying, while a row of barks of considerable size were seen at Korome near the mouth of the channel, forming a really magnificent sight. Indeed, this moving village and the island or islands of Day lying between Kabara and the river may be more correctly called the port of Timbuctu than Kabara, which is a small town or ksar of about 400 houses and huts. As for the Mayo itself, it is a really splendid river, with which, of all the rivers I have seen, I can only compare the Nile at its highest flood; and the river is still rising, but never reaches Kabara.
My entry into this fanatic place was very grand, escorted as I was by the brother of the Sheikh el Bakay, with several people on horseback, on camels, and on foot; and I was saluted by the most respectable of the inhabitants and strangers who came out to meet us. Nobody but the sheikh's brother was acquainted with my real character, while all the rest thought, or were told, that I was a messenger of the Sultan of Stambul.
There being a kafla of Tawatis intending to start the day after to-morrow for Tawat, I hasten to close this letter, which indisposition has prevented me from making more interesting, and I will only add a few data:—