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Under the present favourable auspices for exploring Africa, the gentleman selected for this interesting enterprize is Mr. Ritchie, late private secretary to Sir Charles Stuart, ambassador at Paris. He is a young man, and is said to possess excellent abilities; full of zeal for scientific research; and well acquainted with the use of mathematical instruments; he is familiar with various branches of natural history, and possesses besides, the advantage of having been brought up to surgery. Captain Marryat of the navy has, we understand, volunteered his services to accompany htm, and, should they be so fortunate as to embark on the Niger, lie will, no doubt, be of most essential service in exploring that mysterious stream.
The French, who are by no means backward in encouraging the prosecution of discoveries in science, and who, properly enough, consider Africa as a sort of common theatre on which all nations have a right to exercise their talents, have got the start of us on the present occasion. The moment it was understood in Paris that JMr. Ritchie had been appointed to this mission, it was officially announced to Sir Charles Stuart, by the minister of marine, that it
tronsequence of tin multitude of robbers and other impediments, set off from Fczzan accompanied bv Father Sevarino di Salesia. They took their way together towards the kingdom of Agadez. Having at length arrived there, they found that the objects of the Propaganda eoutd not be prosecuted there; and, having received intelligence that in the kingdom of Cassinn they would have an opportunity of exercising their spiritual office, particularly in some village or other of that kingdom, but not in the capital, they set off in the name of the Lord, leaving the kingdom of Agadez. After a journey of a month with the caravan through the desert, they arrived at the capital of the kingdom of Cassina. Since, however, the secrets of God are inscrutable, it so liappened that, through the malignity of the water there, the above-mentioned Father Prefect grew sick, being attacked with the swelling of the whole body, and in eight days gave up his spirit to God. On hearing this, the king of that kingdom, then dwelling at Cassina, had him stript of every thing that he possessed. Father Sevarino di Silesia, his companion, seeing every thing thus wrongfully taken away, presented himself before the king, and told him that those clothes were his property, that which his deceased companion had, being not his own private property, but in common ; he therefore begged him to make restitution; hereupon the king answered, ' If you desire me to do this, turn Mahommedan as I am.' The missionary declined this proposal; upon which the king rejoined, 'Begone then, and for thy deeds thou shult die like thy companion.' In fact, within two or three days, he fell sick of the same intiruiiiy as the prefect, and in the course of eleven days, he also gave up his spirit to his Creator.
'The whole of this account we received from a Moorish merchant, a native of Tripoli in Barbary, named Hadjic Milleit; he gave it us with an air of compassion, having been the faithful companion of, these fathers from Tripoli to Fczzan, and from Fezzan to Agadez. The tidings of their death, with all its circumstances, he received from a merchant who accompanied these fathers from the kingdom of Agadez to the kingdom of Cassina, and who, out often that set out on that journey, was the only one that did not perish by this sickness, he having escaped In the will of God, that he might bear the tidings of the unhappy end of these religious. He further informed us, that In the said kingdom of Cassina the sickness has always existed, in consequence of the badness of those waters—those who are not accustomed to them dying inlalhbly upon drinking them; those therefore who wish to trade there negociate with the caravan of Agadez, and go on no farther. He also slated that all foreigners dying in Cassina are not interred, not even the richest merchants, but are carried out into the country and led a prey to lac wild beasts,'
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was the intention of the French government to send an expedition into the interior of Africa; that he had deemed it proper to make this communication, lest the English might suspect it was meant to counteract the proceedings of Mr. Ritchie; whereas the idea had long been in contemplation, and the preparations were now nearly complete. Soon after this it was whispered in Paris that a person was engaged for this undertaking who had recently made some noise in the literary world; this was no other than Bahdia, the Spaniard, who, having some years ago been initiated, in London, into the external rites of Mohamedanism, visited the north of Africa and part of Asia, and, on his return, published his travels under the fictitious name of Ali Bey. It was also said that he was to proceed, in the first instance, to Cairo; thence, by joining the Tombuctoo caravan, to penetrate to the Niger; which he was to trace up to its source, and thence to cross over to the Senegal; the main object being that of ascertaining the possibility of opening a communication between Tombuctoo and the French settlement at Gallant. A committee of the Institute, consisting of Messrs. Delambre, Cuvier, and some other members, were appointed to draw up his instructions; and the government having agreed to advance him 25,000 francs, and to provide for his family in the event of his death, he set out on his travels about the beginning of the present year, ostensibly by the way of Egypt, but actually, we have been informed by a member of the Institute, for Tripoli, with a view of anticipating Mr. Ritchie. We have no objection to see two great nations endeavouring to outstrip each other in their exertions for extending the limits of human knowledge; but it appears as absurd in the French, as unnecessary, to have recourse to duplicity, for no other purpose, that we can conceive, (for we would not attribute it to so mean a passion as jealousy,) than that of throwing a veil of mystery over their proceedings. After all, we are much mistaken if the shortest and best road for Europeans, to Tombuctoo, will not be found to be that from Cummazee, the capital of the Ashantees. It is somewhat remarkable that we should just now, for the first time in the course of two hundred years, learn any thing of this rich and populous nation, whose capital is situated not a hundred and fifty miles from the British factory. In the course of last year a mission from the governor of Cape Coast Castle was sent to Zey Tooloo Quaraiua, king of Ashantee, consisting of Mr. Bowdich, Mr. Hutchison, and Mr. Tedlie. For some time after their arrival in the capital they were kept in close confinement, owing to the jealousy instilled into the king's mind by some Moorish merchants, assisted by the intrigues of the notorious Daendels, once the servile tool of Buonaparte, and now the representative of his Netherlandish majesty on this part of the coast of Africa. Their good conduct, however, enabled
them to overcome all difficulties, and the king was so well satisfied of the sincerity of their views and declarations, that he concluded a treaty with them, and consented to send his children to be educated at Cape Coast Castle. The following extract of a letter from Mr. .Bowdich will amuse our readers:—
'The palace itself is most magnificent, the frame work of some of the windows is made of gold, and the architecture is so perfect that it might be technically described. We were permitted to enter soon after two o'clock, and the king received us with the most encouraging courtesy, and the most flattering distinction; we paid our respects in pairs, passing along a surprizing extent of line to the principal Caboccers, many from remote and some from Moorish territories, all of them encircled by-retinues, astonishing to us from their number, order, and decorations. We were then requested to remove to a distant tree to receive their salutes, which procession, though simply transient, continued until past eight o'clock ; it was indescribably imposing from its variety, magnificence and etiquette. When the presents were displayed, nothing could surpass the surprize of the king, but the warm yet dignified avowal of his obligation. "Englishmen," said he, (admiring the workmanship of the articles,) "know how to do every thing proper," turning to his favourite, with a smile auspicious to our interests. On Wednesday morning the king's mother and sisters, and one of the Caboceers of the largest Ashantec towns on the frontier, paid us a visit of ceremony; their manners were courteous and dignified, and they were handed and attended with a surprizing politeness by the captains in waiting.
'To-day we were conducted to a large yard, where the king, encircled by a varied profusion of insignia, more sumptuous than what we had seen before, sat at the end of a long file of counsellors, caboccers and captains. They were seated under their umbrellas of scarlet or yellow cloth, of silk shawls, cottons of every glaring variety, and decorated with carved and golden pelicans, panthers, baboons, barrels and crescents, &c. on the top; their shape generally that of a dome. Distinct and pompous retinues were placed around with gold canes, spangled elephants' tails to keep off the flics, gold-headed swords, embossed muskets, and many other splendid novelties too numerous to mention. Each chief had the dignity of his own province to his right and left; it was truly " concilium in concilio." We have observed only one horse, which is kept by the chief captain for state, the people riding on bullocks. At the request of the king I mounted this rare animal, first with a Moorish saddle, but it was inconvenient; and the king having heard Englishmen could ride with a cloth «nly, begged me to display my horsemanship, which I did for his amusement.
'The manners and deportment of the king are dignified in the extreme, and his sentiments would do credit to the most civilized monarch; he is highly delighted with the medicines, and' has begged for a great quantity, trying to learn by heart the doses and uses of each. The surgical instruments also attracted his close attention, and when Mr. Tedlie shewed him a piece of bone which he had taken from an Indian blackman's head, who survived the operation, his wonder could only be equalled by
A A 4 hie his .admiration. When I displayed my telescope and camera-obscura, the king exclaimed, " White man next to God; black man know nothing."'
The king, it seems, keeps his harem at a little distance from the capital, and once took the gentlemen of the mission on a visit to it. The ladies live in the midst of a park, in small houses adjoining one another, and are allowed to walk about within the enclosure, but not to pass the gates, which are guarded by slaves. The number of these ladies, kept like pheasants in a preserve, was said to amount to three hundred and thirty-three.
The capital of Ashantee is supposed to contain about forty thousand inhabitants. It lies in a vale, and is surrounded with one unbroken mass of the deepest verdure. The houses are low and small, of a square or oblong form, and composed of canes wattled together and smoothly plastered over with a mixture of clay and sand called swish, which is also used to form their floors. The roofs are thatched with long grass. A piece of cloth passed round the loins and extending to the knee is the general dress of the natives. The richer class have a larger and finer piece, which they sometimes throw over the shoulders. They wear a great number of gold ornaments, rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, &c. and gold fetiches of every form.
While the gentlemen of the mission remained at Cummazee, a near relation of the king shot himself; among other ceremonies observed at his funeral, a slave was put to death by torture; and it was understood that human sacrifices were always a part of the funeral rites of all persons of consequence in the state. It is also said that suicide is very common among them.
Mr. Bowdich has been indefatigable in his endeavours' to procure information respecting Ashantee and the countries beyond it. From one of the travelling Moors, he obtained, he says, a route-book at the expense of his own wardrobe and the doctor's medicines; but the fellow told him 'he had sold him his eye.' The route from Cummazee to Tombuctoo, it appears, is much travelled; in the way thither, the next adjoining territory is that of Dwabin, with the king of which Mr. Bowdich also concluded a treaty. Bordering on this is a large lake of brackish water, several miles in extent, and surrounded by numerous and populous towns; and beyond the lake is the country of Buntookoo, with the king of which the king of Ashantee was unfortunately at war. He obtained also the exact situation of the gold pits in Ashantee and the neighbouring kingdoms, from which it appears that the name of the 'Gold Coast' has not been inaptly given to this part of Africa.
Mr. Bowdich learned from some of the Moorish merchants, who fcad formerly been at Haoussa, that, during their residence there, a white man was seen going down the Niger near that capital in a large canoe, in which all the rest were blacks. This circumstance being reported to the king, he immediately dispatched some of his people to advise him to return, and to inform him that, if he ventured to proceed much farther, he would be destroyed by the cataracts of the river; the white man, however, persisted in his voyage, mistaking apparently the good intentions of those sent by the king to warn him of his danger. A large party was then dispatched, with orders to seize and bring him to Haoussa, which they effected after some opposition; here he was detained by the king for the space of two years, at the end of which he took a fever and died. These Moors declared that they had themselves seen ihis 'white man at Haoussa. This is unquestionably a more probable account of the fate of Park than that which was given by Isaaco, on the supposed authority of Amadou Fatima; and, as ' Moors do not destroy papers,' it is just possible that, by offering a considerable sum of money, those of this unfortunate traveller may be recovered through the channel of some of the Moors of Cummazee.
AitT. V. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. 3 vols. London. 1818. "C'RANKENSTEIN, a Swiss student at the university of Ingol-"- stadt, is led by a peculiar enthusiasm to study the structure of the human frame, and to attempt to follow to its recondite sources 'the stream of animal being.' In examining the causes of life, he informs us, antithetically, that he had first recourse to death.—He became acquainted with anatomy; but that was not all; he traced through vaults and charnel-houses the decay and corruption of the human body, and whilst engaged in this agreeable pursuit, examining and analyzing the minutiae of mortality, and the phenomena of the change from life to death and from death to life, a sudden light broke in upon him—
'A light so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple, that while I be* came dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, I was surprized that among so many men of genius, who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret.
'Remember, I am Sot recording the vision of a madman. The sun does not more certainly shine in the heavens, than that which I now affirm is true. Some miracle might have produced it, yet the stages of the discovery were distinct and probable. After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, 1 became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.'—p. 84—85.
Having made this wonderful discovery, he hastened to put it in