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Having passed over to the right bank of the river, whose course from Timbuktu to Say, forms a large arc of a circle, bearing east at the former and nearly south at the latter, (here for a little way, southwest,) he attempted to make the overland journey in a direct line, leaving the river to his right hand. Above Gando is the province of Gurma, whose people had lately suffered greatly from the incursions of the Fulbe, as formerly they did from the Songhay; but this being still within the dominions of Gando, the passport of the Sultan secured him a safe passage. Further on, he came among a still more fanatical race of Fulbe; and being assured by his fellow-traveler, El Walati, who had joined him near Gando, that no Christian would be allowed to pass through the country, he adopted the desperate and questionable policy of feigning himself an Arab, when his companion became a kind of protector, who, having the poor pretended Moslem completely in his power, he did not fail to make him pay well for it.
Before reaching that town he had taken the precaution to send a messenger forward to inform the sheik of Timbuktu, Ahmed El Bakay, of his coming, and to place himself under that dignitary's protection. But the sheik being out of town, the message was delivered to his brother, Sidi Alawáte, (he was also let into the secret of his being a Christian,) who immediately went forth to bring the stranger into the city.
At last, after suffering untold hardships, and making innumerable hairbreadth escapes, and being thoroughly despoiled by his evil genius, the Arab, El Walati, on the 7th of September, 1853, he entered the ancient and renowned city of Timbuktu.
The author's learned and deeply interesting discussions respecting the history and ethnology of Timbuktu, and the empire of Songhay, we are compelled to pass by unnoticed; but should any reader of this paper desire to pursue a subject so full of curious interest, we can confidently commend to him these valuable volumes. Our limits will permit us to trace the personal narrative of our traveler during his residence at this ancient capital of Sudan, and till setting out for Europe, only in the most cursory manner. The sheik Ahmed El Bakay, returned after a few days, and very soon took his strange guest into his full confidence, with whom he dealt with uniform
frankness and generosity throughout the whole of his protracted stay, and often among circumstances which fully tested the sincerity and unselfishness of his friendship. Timbuktu, though properly a Songhay town, is subject to the Fulbe, and its sheik was under the authority of the chief of HamdaAlláhi, a Pullo residing further up the river, who was fanatically hostile toward “infidels.” A course of intrigues against the unfortunate traveler, ostensibly on account of his religion, but often from political causes, and oftener still from more sordid motives, was at once inaugurated, and continued during his residence there. But the sheik was true in his friendship, and though often nearly powerless, and himself in danger, yet he succeeded in enabling his guest to escape from the hands of his enemies, but not without passing through a variety of chances which seemed to render his final safety little less than miraculous. The whole story of these eventful eight months, related with proper embellishments, would form a first-rate romance, and prove once more the correctness of the maxim that truth is stranger than fiction. Dr. Barth gives it, however, with all possible coolness, and apparently without the faintest suspicion that it was anything wonderful. At last, about the middle of May, 1854, accompanied by his ever-faithful protector, the sheik El Bakay, he effected a final departure. Just previously he had received a package, bringing dispatches and news from England, which now, after some strange vicissitudes, reached him in this remote place. His route lay along the left bank of the river, which, from Timbuktu to Gogo, a distance of about two hundred miles, describes an arc whose chord lies nearly east and west. Through most of this distance its bed is rocky, and the stream is often compressed between high banks. At one point it is narrowed to only a hundred and fifty yards, and again it spreads out to a great breadth, with swampy margins. The people, though often suspicious on account of the disturbed state of the country, were generally inclined to be friendly, and to accede to the peaceful advances of the sheik. On the 20th of June they reached Gogo, the ancient political capital of Western Negroland, (as Timbuktu was its commercial emporium,) but now only a hamlet of some three hundred huts.
Cheered at having reached this spot, I passed a tranquil night, and rising early in the morning, lay down outside my tent, quietly
enjoying the prospect over this once busy locality, which, according to the unanimous statements of former writers, was the most splendid city of Negroland, though it is now the desolate abode of a small and miserable population. Just opposite to my tent, toward the south, lay the ruined massive. tower, the last remains of the principal mosque of the capital, the sepulcher of the great conqueror Mohammed. Around the wide open area where we were encamped was woven a rich corona of vegetation, among which, in the clear light of the morning, I discovered different species of trees that I had long ago lost sight of, such as date palms, tamarind trees, sycamores, and even the silk-cotton tree, although the speci. mens of the latter plant were rather poor, and of small growth.Vol. iii, p. 480.
Having received "letters of franchise” from both the sheik El Bakay, and the deputy of the chief of the country through which he was to pass, he now prepared to bid adieu to his faithful protector.
At length—Saturday, July 8—the day dawned when I was in reality to begin my homeward journey, for all our former movements along the river had rather resembled the wanderings of the natives themselves than the direct march of a European traveler; and although I felt sincerely attached to my protector, and, under other circumstances, might still have found a great many objects worthy of my investigation and research in this region, I could not but feel greatly satisfied at being at length enabled to retrace my steps homeward with a tolerable guarantee as to my safety. It was highly gratifying to me that when I left this place a great many people wished me a hearty farewell and a prosperous jour. ney. -Vol. iii, p. 494.
The good sheik, however, accompanied him all day, and the next morning, after solemnly charging the messengers whom he had sent with his guest to be faithful and obedient, “he gave me his blessing, and assured me that I should certainly reach home in safety.”
They now crossed to the right bank of the river, and following it, in its direction, S.S.E., for over two hundred miles, they came again to Say, the point at which the passage was made on the journey westward more than a year before. The country through which they passed presented almost every variety of river-scenery. A good deal of it was rocky, and the river-bed was much broken, and its course interrupted by rapids. In other places, and for long distances, it lay like an open sea, stretching its creeks and bays far inland, and its surface dotted with archipelagoes. As they advanced southward the popula
tion became more dense, and the cultivation improved as the soil increased in fertility. Large fields of cotton and rice were met with, and numerous herds of cattle; and though still somewhat disturbed, the political state of the country became less turbulent. The route from Say to Kukawa was nearly the same that had been passed over a year before, and therefore needs not now to be retraced; it was traversed in about three months, and near the end of 1854 Dr. Barth was once more at the headquarters of his operations in Sudan. Here, too, he met with the reinforcement that had been sent to him from England—Mr. Vogel, a young German naturalist, and two English sappers, who were greatly surprised to find lim alive, as his death was reported and fully believed at Tripoli—by whom, and the letters and dispatches received through them, he was presently fully posted up on home affairs. Mr. Vogel soon after set out on an expedition to Adamawa, intending to extend his explorations through Waday, in attempting which he lost his life; and Dr. Barth prepared to return to Europe. But in Africa how not to do it seems to be the great art of life, and therefore through a variety of dilatory movements his departure was delayed till May. Then with a small caravan, taking the road by Bilma and Murzuk, he came to Tripoli, and thence to London, where he arrived on the 6th of September, 1855.
The closing paragraph of his protracted narrative well becomes his position as that of a man who, feeling that having been occupied in an enterprise of great public interest, in which he has achieved something for the interest of humanity, he may fearlessly submit the record of his deeds to the verdict of the public:
Thus I closed my long and exhausting career as an African explorer, of which these volumes endeavor to incorporate the results. Having previously gained a good deal of experience of African traveling during an extensive journey through Barbary, I had embarked on this undertaking as a volunteer under the most unfavorable circumstances for myself. The scale and the means of the mission seemed to be extremely limited, and it was only in consequence of the success which accompanied our proceedings that a wider extent was given to the range and objects of the expedition; and after its original leader had succumbed in his arduous task, instead of giving way to despair, I had continued in my career amid great embarrassment, carrying on the exploration of extensive re
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XIII.-20
gions almost without any means. And when the leadership of the mission, in consequence of the confidence of her majesty's government, was intrusted to me, and I had been deprived of the only European companion who remained with me, I resolved upon undertaking, with a very limited supply of means, a journey to the far west, in order to endeavor to reach Timbuktu, and to explore that part of the Niger which, through the untimely fate of Mungo Park, had remained unknown to the scientific world. In this enterprise I succeeded to my utmost expectation. ... I also succeeded in establishing friendly relations with all the most powerful chiefs along the river up to that mysterious city itself. . .. No doubt, even in the track which I myself pursued, I have left a good deal for my successors in this career to improve upon; but I have the satisfaction to feel that I have opened to the view of the scientific public of Europe a most extensive tract of the secluded African world, and not only made it tolerably known, but rendered the opening of a regular intercourse between Europeans and those regions possible.
This summary of the results of these explorations, thongii creditable to the writer's modesty, comes very far short of doing full justice to the subject. By pushing out beyond where any of his predecessors in the same field had gone, Dr. Barth has somewhat diminished the area of the great "unexplored regions” which have hitherto formed so large a feature in African geography. But this is the least part of his praise. His observations are especially distinguished for their accuracy and thoroughness, and his annotations for their correctness and intelligibility. The knowledge imparted is valuable in itself, as well as available for other purposes. Africa is at length receiving a portion of the attention to which her immense capabilities entitle her, and very likely will be the scene of the next great act in the drama of the world's progress. The region over which Dr. Barth traveled, and the general character of which he ascertained, includes most of the space between the fourth and twentieth degrees of north latitude, and extends from the east of Lake Tsad, in longitude 20° E., to the water-parting between the Niger on the one side and the Senegal and Gambia on the other, in longitude 10° W. This whole region is occupied by numerous and powerful races of mongrel Berber, Arab, and Moorish negroids, all nominally Moslems, and all partially civilized, and having among them a very considerable degree of a kind of barbaric culture. Its his tory, as to its races, politics, learning, and religion, forms one of