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First edition, 2003
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
(title page) The Autobiography of Nicholas Said; a Native of Bornou, Eastern Soudan, Central Africa
(spine) Nicholas Said
(caption title) Nicholas Said
Said, Nicholas, 1836-1882
Shotwell & Co., Publishers, 238 Main Street
Call number 966 SA21A (Perry Catañeda Library, University of Texas at Austin)
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[Title Page Image]
REV. A. J. WITHERSPOON,
AS A TRIBUTE OF RESPECT TO THE DISTINGUISHED RANK
WHICH HE SO JUSTLY HOLDS AMONG THE PHILANTHROPISTS OF
AMERICA; AND IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MUCH
PERSONAL KINDNESS CONFERRED ON
IT is not without a feeling of hesitation and timid apprehension, that I commit these ill-written pages to the great reading public.
As I glance over them, I cannot but be painfully reminded of their intrinsic unworthiness; yet, I offer no apology for their appearance.
My motive in this publication I believe to be good: a desire to show the world the possibilities that may be accomplished by the African, and the hope that my humble example may stimulate some at least of my people to systematic efforts in the direction of mental culture and improvement.
In common with the rest of mankind, I plead guilty to a spice of egotism in my
composition, and I should falsify myself were I to deny a sense of pride in my acquirements, the more especially as I feel that they are entirely due to my own efforts, under the guidance of that Providence which has shaped my fortune.
But I can truly say, that my motive in this publication has been not so much to attract attention to myself as the hope of accomplishing some good by its means.
Owing to my uncertainty regarding the exact period of my birth, and the natural carelessness concerning the flight of time incident to youth, I have been unable to define with distinctness the different phases of my early life, and to mark their respective limits of duration. Consequently there is, unavoidably, a certain degree of vagueness connected with the first part of my history. For, be it remembered, I knew nothing whatever of dates until my arrival in Europe.
It will be also observed, by the reader, that I have made an indiscriminate use of the present and past tenses in my narrative. This, together with other breaches of the rules of grammar and rhetoric, is attributable to the peculiar circumstances under which I have written. The length of time that has elapsed since the occurrence of many of the incidents related, combined with their want of freshness in my memory, together with the difficulties I have experienced in distinguishing English idioms and modes of expression from those of the other languages with which I am acquainted, and some of which are more familiar to me than the English itself. Pure English can hardly be expected from one who has to choose his words and phrases from a mass of Kanouri, (my vernacular), Mandra, Arabic, Turkish, Russian, German, Italian and French, and all of them encumbered with the provincialisms necessarily
concomitant upon each. In the spelling of proper names, too, I sometimes infringe the rule. This is owning to the fact that, for obvious reasons, particularly in regard to Africa, I had no opportunity of learning the current mode of spelling the names of persons and places; and I have been compelled, in some instances, to adopt the phonetic plan, and used such English letters as nearly corresponded to the sounds of the name as I remember them. I have, as far as possible, refrained from the use of foreign words and phrases, and whenever they do occur, or when the idiom or mode of expression is un-English, it must be attributed to my inability to convey the idea I desired in that language.
Bespeaking leniency in criticism, and a kind reception of my little book,
I am, dear reader, faithfully,
I was born in Kouka, the capital of the Kingdom of Bornou, in Soudan: a few years after the invasion of the Wadays, or about the year 1836, of the Christian era. I was the thirteenth child of my mother, who bore nineteen children, seven girls and twelve boys. My father was the elder son of Katzalla Malagemou, the ruling chief of Molgoy, a small country south of, and tributary to Bornou.
To prevent incursions from the powerful tribes of Fellatah, Adamawa, Mandra, Goulagou, and even Bornou itself, the people of Molgoÿ became tributary to the Kings of that country, and in turn received their protection.
Maï Barnoma the King of Bornou, under whose reign Molgoÿ became subservient to Bornou, granted the Molgoyans the free exercise of their religion, which was fetish, without human sacrifices. This fiendish practice is looked upon with abomination by all the nations and tribes of Soudan, both Mohammedan and pagan.
My father greatly distinguished himself under our immortal King Mohammed El Amin Ben Mohammed El Kanemy, the Washington of Bornou. And for his most efficient services, in repelling the Fellahs from Bornou, created him Katzallah or general, and made him generalissimo of his army, which he afterwards commanded for upwards of twenty-five years with great distinction. He was the terror of the Fellahs, the Bagirmies, the Wadays, and the Kindills, the enemies of our Country, and wherever he appeared the enemy fled, he defeated the Fellahs in forty pitched battles, and was
the prime cause of their overthrow in Eastern Soudan. His name was Barca Gana, and was called Katzalla, or general, as already stated. In personal appearance Katzalla Barca Gana was large, tall, and well proportioned; resembling more a giant than an ordinary man. My mother was the daughter of a Mandra chief, who on one occasion was captured by the Armies of Bornou, in a terrible battle fought between the two forces. My father had compassion on him, released and escorted him to the territory of Mandra. And as a mark of gratitude the Mandra chieftain gave Katzalla Barca Gana his daughter Dalia (my mother's name) in marriage. When young it was said she was extremely beautiful. She was very strict with her children, often severe, as were indeed all my father's wives (he had four), for he left the rearing and training of his children
exclusively to their mothers, having never chastised any of us that I can remember.
The reason was then almost incessant wars and irruptions that had for a long lapse of time disturbed the peace of my country, gave him but little time to turn his mind to domestic affairs.
In my childhood I was wild and roving in disposition, and my mother tried her utmost to brake me from the too frequent hunts I used to take with the children of my own age. We used to go miles from Kouka, in search of gazelles, pintadas, and other game of which our forests were full.
Flogging almost invariably accompanied my return, and also she warned me of the Kidnapping Kindills, (Tuaricks), who were constantly prowling through the country in search of anything of value they might lay their
hands on. But all to no purpose. I was so roving, that, from my earliest recollections, when I was only about six years old, I endeavored to return with my maternal uncle, who had been to Kouka on a visit, to his home among the mountains of Goulagou, and nearly cried my eyes out because I was prevented.
Goulagou is a country lying eastward of Mandra, and its inhabitants are renowned in our country for their courage. They had, up to the time I was captured, defeated all their enemies. Mandra, Bornou, Waday, Fellatah, and Bagirmy, had successively tried to conquer this country, but they had in every attempt been signally defeated. This country abounds in several minerals: as gold, iron, and copper, and which they work very skillfully. They manufacture beautiful gold and copper ear-rings, bracelets, anklets, etc., with
which they ornament themselves profusely, especially the females. Africa has been, through prejudice and ignorance, so sadly misrepresented, that anything like intelligence, industry, etc., is believed not to exist among its natives.
But allow me to remark in the outset reader, that in our markets you may find beautiful silk and cotton goods manufactured by the more intelligent and ingenious among our people, we make our own saddles, cutlery, sword blades, javelins, and lances.
It cannot be disputed that glass is manufactured in Nouffi.
That previous to the introduction of Islamism in Soudan arts and sciences had reached a respectable attitude, is attested by the ruins of several towns in Bornou, Mariadi, Nouffi and other countries. The ruins of Gambarou, the Bisnia of geographers, covers an immense area, the walls of which were built of burnt clay, exten
sive palaces, gardens, and other works of art flourished.
I am unable to give the slightest idea as to the time when Mohammedanism was introduced into Central Africa. But be it as it may, it brought with it desolation and ruin.
Any thing like enterprise was rendered impossible, fanaticism and bigotry overruled every thing, and the Mohammed proselytes at once arrayed themselves against every non-follower of the Prophet as his implacable enemies. Crusade after crusade was made against the pagan tribes, who, if they had the misfortune to fall inot the hands of the Moslems, were either massacred or reduced into slavery. Cities after cities were razed to the ground.
The last thing of the kind took place toward the first part of this century, when Othman Danfodio, a Fellatah Chief, arrogated to himself the title of a prophet, saying
that Allah (God) prescribed him to make war on all the Pagan nations of Central Africa, and promised him victory. The Fellatahs, who were then dispersed over the whole of Soudan, and who led a pastoral and nomadic life, under petty Chiefs, were collected by him under his sway. After several yearsof preparation, Danfodio, who had by this time a complete control over his countrymen, raised a formidable army of one hundred and eighty thousand warriors, and immediately assailed Houssa, which was readily subjugated. Kano, the capital of Houssa, was consumed into ashes, thousands of its male population were put to the sword, and the women and children were carried into slavery. After committing other unheard of cruelties, Danfodio invaded successively and successfully, Gouber, Mariadi, Zeg-Zeg, Kârè Kârè, lastly Bornou which was then the preponderating power in Soudan. After two years
of manly resistance, Bornou was compelled by force of arms to submit to the yoke of the Fellatahs. Our cities were destroyed, thousands upon thousands were sold to the coast into bondage, and many more were sold to the Barbary States. After two more years of humiliation the inhabitants of Bornou, under El Kanemy, revolted against our oppressors, and, in less time than a year, the Fellatahs were completely driven out of our country.
Mohammed El Amin El Kanemy, whose extraordinary military talent had enabled him to liberate our country, was now by acclamation made King of Bornou. But he, like all truly great men, refused the sceptre and repaired to Angourno, where Maïna Denama, the heir apparent to the crown of Bornou, then resided. At this time Mohammed El Amin El Kanemy had an army of thirty thousand
cavalry. Notwithstanding his having refused to be King, he was really the ruler of Bornou, while Denamâ was only so nominally. Denama soon became jealous of him, and thought of a plan whereby he could get rid of him.
Accordingly one day he sent a secret messenger to the King of Bagirmy, to make a feigned invasion of Bornou by crossing the river Shary, the natural frontier of the two countries, that he would place El Kanemy on the left of his army, and that the King of Bagirmy should send a number of his best men to surround him, and at once put an end to his life without arousing the popular suspicion. He also promised him a large number of slaves and other things to defray all the King of Bagirmy's expenses. The King of Bagirmy consented to this shameful proposal, and at once crossed the river Shary. Mohammed El
Amin El Kanemy was at this time residing in Kouka, the present capital of Bornou, which he had built for himself.
As soon as he heard of this attack, he hastened to Angourno and put himself under the King's disposal. The combined forces of Denama and El Kanemy were forty thousand warriers.
As soon as the two armies had confronted each other, the King of Bagirmy sent a messenger to Denama, instructing him that the heaviest assault would be made on the left wing, and that he had already selected the élite of his army to accomplish this coup de main.
The messenger, instead of carrying the letter to Denama, carried it by mistake to El Kanemy, who at once saw the nature of the infamous machination, and resolved forthwith to thwart it. Early in the morning he went to the King's tent and told him that he had sent out spies into the
enemy's camp, the previous night, and that they had reported to him that the heaviest fighting would be on the right, and he suggested the King to keep himself in safety, while he himself would take command of that wing.
Denama consented, suspecting nothing.
About sunrise of the next day, the Bagirmies were seen drawn up in order of battle. The sycaria of the King of Bagirmy attacked our left wing with great fury, and succeeded in surrounding Denama, and pierced him through with lances, thinking him El Kanemy.
The battle still raged with great fury, and the King of Bagirmy soon found out that he had killed the wrong lion.
The Bagirmy army was routed with great slaughter; and their King himself had a narrow escape from being captured.
After this signal victory over the Bagirmies, El Kanemy returned, and was at
once proclaimed Shagou, which is the corruption of the the Arabic word sheik, meaning a ruler. All the rulers of Bornou up to this time were entitled Maïs, which means sultan or emperor.
Mohammed El Amin Ben Mohammed El Kanemy's reign was marked with great wisdom; he exterminated the system of highway robbery, which was of frequent occurrence. Hanging was the penalty of all kinds of fraud. He encouraged the caravan trade between the Barbary States and Bornou, and reigned twenty years. The present king of Bornou, Shagou Omar, is an able ruler, but he does not possess his father's talents. He has, however, showed himself to be a man of great nerve.
Bornou, called by the native Barno, is about three hundred miles one way, and two hundred in another way. This is Bornou, properly speaking, but it is much
larger with all its tributaries and dependencies.
Within its boundary are three distinct classes or casts of people. First, the Kanouri, who are the original, the purely negro type, the most numerous and the ruling class; second, the Shuahs, of olive complexion, and said to have sprung from the Bedouins; and third, the Kanemboo, negroes, from Kanem, a country north of, and tributary to Bornou. The Kanouris, as already remarked, are the ruling caste, the aristocracy, so to speak. The Shuahs, to which class belongs the Grand Vizier, Hadji Béchir, devote themselves to stock-raising, and supply the country with meat, butter and milk The Kanemboo are farmers, and supply the other classes with bread, while they act as most powerful auxiliaries to the Kanouris in time of war. They make the best soldiers, and it is even admitted by the Kanouris that the
Kanembo are possessed of more courage and fortitude than themselves.
Besides these three classes, there is a most remarkable tribe within the territory of Bornou, but living independently of its rulers, on several islands in the great lake Tzad, between Bornou and Kanem. The people of this tribe are pagans. Though all the kings of Bornou have successively endeavored to conquer them, they had, up to the time I speak of, completely failed, the reasons being that none of the kings of Bornou had ever been able to equip a fleet of sufficient strength to venture on their islands, because of the desperate resistance of the Boudouma, who fought like tigers; and the islanders frequently landed with their skiffs upon the shores of the lake, and after having ravaged the country for miles around, returned to their stronghold before they could be captured.
The Kanouris have a tradition that their ancestors emigrated from Yemen (Arabia) some thousands of years ago, crossing into Africa over the straiht of Bab-El-Mandel, and conquering the whole country from their entrance to Soudan. I venture no opinion on this subject, but leave it to Ethnologists to settle as well as how the Boudouma, with his regular Caucassian feature, curly (not kinky) hair though the blackest of all Africans, came into lake Tzad.
Shagou Omar, our good King, had a son who was about my own age, and who was about of the same disposition with myself. He used to frequently carry me through the King's palaces, and I had every opportunity to feast my eyes on the wonders therein contained. These were watches, clocks, and above all, a musical instrument, which played several beautiful airs. I have since, while in
Europe, heard two of them, one was the celebrated Swiss national air, Le Ranz des Vaches, and the other the body of Mozart's requiem. On one occasion our King presented me with a fine Isabelle colt, which afterwards shared my captivity.
When I was about twelve years old, a large caravan arrived from Fezzan, and it was said a Sârâ (white man) was one of the party.
This raised a great excitement, particulary among us children, for we had heard fabulous tales concerning them.
For example, we were told that the whites were cannibals, and all the slaves that they bought were for no other but culinary purposes.
Sure enough, there arrived a white man, and the King assigned him a dwelling situated in East Kouka, near the Dandal or Main street of Kouka. The King sent him meals three times
per day from his own table. I say table because it is customery to say so, but our King has no tables.
I never found out the name of this white man until my arrival in Europe, and it proved to be Herr Henry Barthe, of Hamburg, Germany.
The first time I saw him was one day when he was in the market, outside of Kouka, and I ran from him. Dr. Barthe, visited Hadji Bichie very frequently, and also I often saw him at the residence of Lami Nou, the next personage in the Kingdom to the Grand Vizier. Lami Nou executed all orders from the King, and Hadji Bichie--he was the terror of every one in Kouka, his cruilty was only paralleled by that of Nero.
Kouka, the capital of our Country, is built on a level plain about thirty miles southward of the great lake Tzad. It is enclosed by a wall of unburnt clay,
averaging thirty feet high. The city is separated into two distinct portions, East and West Kouka, the eastern being the largest and the most important.
The Wadays, who invaded Bornou about forty years ago, destroyed the city, and consequently, the present capital is much less than that originally built by Mohammed El Kanemy.
The population of Kouka cannot be less than forty thousand, and in dry seasons the number is augmented to over one hundred thousand.
There are several other cities in the Kingdom which exceed Kouka in stationary population, and in commercial point of view.
All classes in Bornou subsist on mutton, goatflesh, beef, etc. I believe their are more horned cattle in Bornou than in any other country on the face of the earth. The cattle are extraordinarily
large, (with horns from five to six feet, and from a foot and a half to two feet in circumference at the base.)
Agriculture is also carred on with some skill, though plowing is unknown, the hoe is the only agricultural implement I have ever seen used. But the land brings an exuberant crop of rice doura, cassava millet, corn, tobacco, indigo, etc., etc.
The army of Bornou amounts to about 60,000 warriors two thirds of which force is cavalry. Our cavalry is admirably organized, but the arkerbou or infantry is miserable, they are armed with flint-lock guns, and are uniformed in red.
The conquered provinces, or tributary tribes, are made to support this army. And if ever they should fail to furnish the necessaries, a Katzalla is sent with several thousand men who plunder them and take cattle, horses, asses, and slaves, until the amount is paid.
Oppression is a thing of common occurrence in my country, the Kanouri who is, as I have already remarked, the ruling class, often maltreates the Shuah, and the Kanembou, by forcibly taking his goods away without any pretext.
In time of war, wherever the army happens to pass, the people of that particular place are made to feed that army. Kanouri, Kanembou, or Shuah are then not discriminated.
Concerning marriage I will say a few words. The Koran or Mohammedan Bible allows us to marry four wives lawfully, in addition to which a man of means may have as many, or even more, concubines. I have seen a great many men having more than twenty in the same house. Hadji Bichio the Grand Vizier of my country has 75 wives and his majesty Shagou Omar boasts of 150. The King has thirty sons and a great many daughters.
His harem is guarded by eunuchs who are his wives' costodians, and he gives them carte blanche to beat and otherwise maltreat them on the slightest provocation.
While in my country I used to frequently hear of the Yem Yems a people, it was said, who had tails and who were canibals. But I never have seen any thing of the kind. My impression is that there is no such folks as the Yem Yems. It is true there are the dog eating Karâ Karâ and the horse eating Musgow, and they are all that I know.
In my childhood I was extremely fond of military display, and nothing delighted me more than the sham battles in which we children daily engaged. On one occa sion I was promoted on the field by Prince Abdallah, the King's son, and at the head of my little army I drove the opposing force like chaff before the wind.
But the enemy rallied and in turn charged on us, and we in turn had to fly.
The principal amusement of the people in my country is wrestling, horse-racing, and dancing. Gambling also is carried on to some extent, the game being played like checkers. The gambler sometimes gambles himself away, that is, he sells himself; he becomes a slave to the winner.
The forests of Bornou are full of all kinds of wild beasts, such as lions, panthers, yenas or hyenas, jackals, elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, and a great many more less harmful, but not less troublesome creatures.
In the rainy seasons, a great portion of the lowlands, near the lake, are overflowed, and then the wild beasts are compelled to resort to the highlands. In this juncture, it becomes very dangerous for people or animals to travel.
A few months before my capture, Kouka
was thrown into a great excitement. Warlike preparations were being made, and on inquiry, it was found that our King was going to make war on the King of Mandra, who, it is said, had insulted him.
In less time than a fortnight, the army was in motion. But, on reaching the Mandra territory, its King came out and apologized, and peace was at once restored. But Shagou Omar, instead of returning to Bornou, invaded Mouzgou, a country north of Mandra, and literally carried its whole population to Bornou. The number of these unfortunates amounted to thirty five thousand souls, men, women and children. Dysentery broke out among them, which carried off a large number. This inhuman act of Shagou Omar was without excuse, for the Mouzgous were peaceable people.
The sole pretext was, that the Mouzgous were uncircumcised kaffirs, (infidels), and it was acting in accordance with the precepts
of the Koran to convert them to Islamism, or, in the event of their failing so to do, to reduce them into slavery.
The surviving slaves were sold to the Fellatahs, who, in turn, sold them to Dahomey, and, it was reported in Bornou, that on the death of Badahung, the King of that country, thousands of these unfortunates, victims of Moslem fanaticism, were sacrificed on the tomb of that monarch in honor of his departed spirit.
When I was about twelve or thirteen years old, Andamou, King of Bagirmey, invaded Bormou by crossing the river Scharry, the natural boundary of the two countries, with a very large force, and pitched his camp near the city of Angalla. The inhabitants of this place were much alarmed, and immediately sent to the capital for assistance; but my father was already on the way with twenty-eight thousand cavalry, five thousand fusiliers and two pieces of artillery, while King Omar accompanied him in person, to superintend his movements.
Accordingly, when Andamou advanced to take possession of Angalla, he found himself confronted by the veteran legion of the Kanouri army, and a terrible battle ensued.
Andamou concentrated his forces, and made his chief assault upon our right wing, where Katzalla Barca Gana was in person, and so furious was the onset that our troops were forced to give way. My father rallied them however, and, in turn, made the fiercest charge known in the annals of that country.
My father drove the Bagirmey troops back and forced them from their original position, carrying everything before him, and leaving the ground strewn with thirty-five hundred of the Bagirmey dead. But, alas! he too, fell! pierced through and through with a lance; and three of my brothers perished with him.
Andamou paid dearly for the killing of
After the death of my father, I was placed in the care of Malam Katory, a man of great learning to be instructed in Arabic.
Malam Katory was well versed in the Arabic, Turkish and Persian languages, besides possessing mental endowments of a very superior character in other respects, and, in our country, was esteemed almost as highly as the king himself.
At the time I was sent to him, a large number of other lads were sent also. They were mostly the sons of Katzalla, and other men of distinction. We had first all to be
circumcised, in accordance with the requirements of our religion, which was Mohammedan. Then for a whole month we fared most sumptuously, living on the fat of the land and feasting on every delicacy.
But, at the end of that period, we were sent to reside with Malam Katory, and there our hardships began. He was extremely severe, and the slightest dereliction in duty, or the least inattention to our studies, was promptly met by an exemplary flogging.
For my part, I got at least one whipping every day during the first year that I remained with this learned teacher. I ran away from the school and went home a score of times, after being whipped, but the invariable result of my truant conduct was another whipping, at the hands of my mother, or my paternal uncle, Saha, and a third from the Malam, as soon as I could be returned to him; so that, at last, I gave up all attempts to escape from him, and submitted
to my fate as best I could. After the first year, however, Malam Katory treated us more kindly, and used to sometimes allow us to go hunting and fishing. By the time we had been with him two years, we had pretty well mastered Arabic, and could understand almost every prayer made use of in our worship. Before we went to the Malam we could repeat a great number of prayers, but like many Roman Catholics, who daily say "Pater Noster" and "Ave Maria," we did not understand the meaning of one word.
In the beginning of the third year at Malam Katory's, a number of the boys, myself included, were invited to pay a visit to a town called Lary, near the lake, about fifty English miles northwest of Kouka, in a country abounding with game. Here my passion for hunting revived with ten-fold force, and having organized a party of about forty boys, we
started out one day to have some sport.
By the middle of the day we had killed several guinea-fowl and two gazelles, and having kindled a fire by rubbing two dry sticks together, we broiled our game on the coals and ate it. We then went to a large Baobab tree, which we discovered a short distance from where we were resting, for the purpose of getting some fruit. The fruit of the Baobab is about twice the size of the cocoa-nut, resembling it somewhat, but the shell is comparatively soft. By cutting a hole in this, and pouring water into it, a very refreshing beverage is made; and, after this is drank, the shell is crushed, and a rich white kernel is found lining the whole inside of the shell, and resembling the Brazilian nut in taste.
Having dismounted, twelve or fifteen of us climbed into the branches of the tree, and commenced throwing down the fruit to our comrades on the ground.
All at once we heard the neighing of horses, but, never dreaming of enemies so close to Lary, we paid no attention to the circumstance until we perceived a body of horsemen approaching us. We watched them very closely for a few moments, when it flashed upon us all, simultaneously, that they were the Kindills, and the cry "Kindills! Kindills!" broke from every lip.
Our comrades who were on the ground succeeded in reaching their horses, and being well mounted, made their escape, but those in the tree, with the exception of a few nearest the ground, were made prisoners. For my part, being among the highest in the tree, in my hurry to get down, I lost my hold and fell to the ground with a shock that knocked me senseless.
When I came to my senses I found myself behind a man on horse back, and
tied to him with thongs. The warnings of my mother recurred to me and in very bitterness of spirit, I wished the whole horrid circumstance a dream. But, alas! it was too sternly real! I was in the hands of the dreaded, the cruel Kindills, a slave, and I could not form the slightest idea what was going to become of me.
The Kindills, or as they are called by Europeans, the Turicks, are a marauding tribe who inhabit a large oasis in the Southern portion of the great Sahara, and live almost exclusively by kidnapping slaves and general robbery. We traveled the whole of the night after we were captured, and a portion of the next day, when we reached the camp of our captors. The tents were immediately taken down, and we set out for Katchna, a city in Haoussa. It took us about ten days to make this trip. When we halted at night, we,
the captives, were tied together like wild beasts, in such a manner, as to render escape impossible.
One night however, some of the Kindills, through drunkenness caused by hashish eating, neglected to confine their slaves, and having been joined by the rest of the party in their dissipation the whole of them were soon insensible, from the effects of the narcotic drug. The unconfined captives seized upon this opportunity, and, having cut off their masters' heads with their own yataghans, mounted their horses and escaped in the darkness. I never could imagine why they did not free the rest of us, unless it was, that in their excitement of gratifying their revenge and making good their own escape, they forgot us.
When the Kindills awoke and found five of their companions dead, and seven or eight of their slaves gone, they were
perfectly furious, and vented their anger and chagrin upon those of us who were still bound. They bastinadoed us upon the soles of our feet with sticks and straps in such a manner that we were unable to walk at all; because, forsooth, we did not give the alarm when our comrades were escaping.
Those Kindills ate no more hashish that trip. Notwithstanding our condition, the journey was continued, the captives being placed on camels. The Kindills spoke a language altogether different from ours, and wore a piece of black cloth over their mouths, deeming it indecent to expose that organ to view. The religion of the Kindills, like that of most nations in this section of Africa, is Mohammedan. But that does not prevent them from preying upon their brethren.
On our arrival at Katchna we, the prisoners, were distributed among different purchasers, and in a few days became seperated, some of us to meet no more on earth.
I was sold to a man half Arab and half African, a most ferocious and cruel looking individual. I was terribly afraid of him at first, but after awhile, I discovered he was not quite the monster he seemed.
He had about twenty slaves of both sexes, from Haoussa, Fellatah, and Timbouctou. Abd-El-Kader, my new master, remained at Katchna about three months,
during which time he beat me very often, because I was becoming emaciated with grief and pining for my home. He used to try to make me eat more, evidently fearing I would die and he would thereby loose his money.
I think my purchase cost him a burnoose, (a kind of cloak,) and an old rusty blunderbuss, both of which might be bought for about the value of ten dollars in United States coin.
This, however, was a good price, as full grown males were usually sold to traders for about three dollars, and young women for about a dollar more.
At the expiration of the time above mentioned, a caravan arrived from Kàno and Sokôkô, and joining ourselves to it, we started for Zinder, a country tributary to Bornou.
Abd-El-Kader, owned about fifteen camels and dromedaries, notwithstanding
which I never saw him ride, while on the journey.
The country we traversed was, for a long distance, nothing but dense forest, and water was abundant, as it was now the beginning of the rainy season, but as soon as we struck Zinder territory, the trees became more rare and of a dwarfish nature, the rains ceased and the clouds were left to the East and South. We had reached the Northern limit (in this section,) of the tropical rains; and in consequence, found the country barren and sterile.
At length we found ourselves on the borders of the desert, when vegetation ceased altogether, and nothing but sand and rocks met the eye.
From this moment Abd-El-Kader began to allowance us water, which was three times per day.
Our food consisted of dates and raw
millett meal, which was also very scanty. We had no meat after leaving Katchna until on our reaching Fezzan. Finally we arrived at the oasis of Ozoum, and found barely enough of the most wretched water to load the camels with. Here we tarried only a day, and early next morning were on our journey again. We suffered very much from heat and thirst, and drew small comfort from the little oases we occassionally passed.
The first inhabited place we reached was a town in the Oasis of Tibbou. Here we obtained plenty of dates and oat meal, the only food we had thenceforward to eat on the journey.
The Tibbous, like their neighbors, the Kindills, are great robbers, and during the short time we remained among them, we the slaves were strictly forbidden to wander from the the camp lest we should be kidnapped.
After leaving here, the next place we reached, about a day's journey distant, was Boulma, improperly pronounced Bilma, the capital of the Tibbou country. It is an insignificant place, the whole town not covering much more ground than one of the palaces of King Omar, in Kouka. On the morrow of our arrival at this miniature capital, its inhabitants, and those of an other town not on our route, were in a warlike attitude, the cause being that the chiefs of two different tribes desired the same fair female for a wife, and concluded to settle the question by a wager of battle. Up to the time of our departure, however, the valorous armies had not came to blows, though what may have happened afterwards, I am unable to say.
The Tibbous are black, with features more regular than those of the Kanouries. Their costumes are simular to our
own, but they speak a dialect unintelligible to both us and the Kindills. This country abounds in small mines, and in a substance, called in our language kelboo, having the flavor of soda. This kelboo is found in large masses, sometimes four of five feet in thickness. The Tibbou's and Kindills export these into Soudon, where salt and kelboo are always in great demand and in exchange, they receive ivory, gold dust, gouro, and slaves.
This country is tributary to the Kindills, who annually visit it, and exact enormous sums from the cowardly Tibbous, who were never known to offer these plunderers the slightest resistance.
Being nearly in the centre of the great Sahara, it never rains in this country, but water can be had from wells not exceeding five or ten feet in depth. The water is, however, brackish, owing to the abundance
of salt and kelboo, which, more or less, impregnate the water. The extent of Tibbou, from North to South, is four days journey, but from East to West, I am unable to tell. The general appearance of this country is mountainous, and in the valleys there exist immense forests of date palms. They seem to subsist chiefly on dates and oatmeal, which they cultivate by irrigation, and goat's flesh and mutton. After leaving the country of the Tibbous, we struck a region where the whole surface of the earth was covered with sharp stones. What with hunger, thirst, bleeding feet, and intolerable heat, we suffered intensely, and I was often upon the point of fainting by the wayside. We were not allowed to ride, and the sandals of raw camel's hide, furnished us by our master, did not last long enough to do us a particle of good. We had scarcely any food to eat, and were
only allowed three pints of water, each, per day.
At the next watering-place, the name of which I have forgotten, we found a poor sick man, who had been abandoned by his cruel master, a Tibbou. He begged piteously for food and drink, but, instead of supplying his wants, the inhuman Abd-El-Kader would have shot him, had it not been for one of the party, named Abou Tounsy, whom pity or avarice prompted to rescue him and give him nourishment. The poor fellow afterwards recovered, and Abou Tounsy's humanity was rewarded by the money he received for him, when sold at Mourzook.
After leaving this oasis, we found ourselves in the midst of the great Sahara. This ocean of scorching sand has been so often described by more graphic writers than myself, that I will not attempt to paint it in words. Indeed, a perfect picture
in words, or on canvass, is impossible. Sahara must be seen and felt to be realized. All along our route we found great numbers of carcasses, human carcasses, completely dried up by the scorching rays of the ever unclouded sun. The heat is so great that flesh becomes as dry as bone, before it can be dissolved. Here are found no hyenas, no vultures to prey upon the dead, and the traders never bury any one who falls in the desert. The bodies lie until inhumed by the parching sand storms, or until pulverized. It is said that the traders leave these dead bodies exposed to frighten their caravans of slaves into faster walking.
The heat was so intense that we were frequently compelled to lie up during the day and travel at night. On these occasions, we travelled all night, when the moon shone, and until nearly noon the next day, when we erected tents, and lay panting beneath them until sunset.
The nights in the Sahara are delightfully cool.
After what seemed to me an interminable space of time, passed in this horrid journeying, the increasing coolness of the night gave notice that we were approaching the shores of this Tophet-like sea, and a few weeks' journey brought us to the borders of Fezzan. The first town we reached in the Pachalic of Fezzan, was, I think, El Kaheni, a small walled place, with about three thousand inhabitants. Here, to my great surprise, almost everybody could speak my vernacular. This is another nut for ethnologists to crack. On our way from Kaheni to Mourzook, we passed a little village called Abou Harish, about two days' journey from Mourzook; and now my anxiety to reach the end of the journey was so intense that I could hardly restrain myself from breaking into a run: for Abd-El-Kader
had promised us plenty of mutton, honey, and cous-cous, when we arrived at Mourzook; and, believing every word he said, I was fairly beside myself with joy, at the prospect of plenty of good food and rest.
But I was doomed to a bitter disappointment; for, after only two or three days rest, my master sent me to his farm, about three miles from Mourzook, to draw water from a well and pour it into the irrigating trough, which conducted it to all parts of the field.
My companion in this unusual and difficult labor, was an Arab servant of his, a pymee, named Hassan, who beat me, and made me do all the work. Between my limited food of boiled turnip tops and dates, and the abuse of Hassan, I had a miserable time of it, and so told Abd-El-Kader when he came to see us; and also told him that I was the son of
Barca Gana. He seemed surprised when I mentioned my father's name, and said he had once been with him upon an expedition. He carried me back to town with him that day, and treated me with more kindness and consideration afterwards, even promising to send me back to Bornou. I was, however, unwilling to recross the inhospitable Sahara, but begged him to sell me to the Turks, who I had heard, were very good masters. Accordingly, after I had stayed with him about four months, he finally sold me to a young officer, an Aga in the Pacha's army, named Abdy.
Abdy-Aga held a rank equivalent to that of a first lieutenant in the English or American army, and was, moreover, an aid-de-camp, to Ibrahim Pacha of Fezzan.
He was a very good, kind man, in fact almost too indulgent for my good; but his concubine, a good-looking young Kanouri girl, was as harsh to me as he was kind.
My master visited the Pacha's residence every day, and generally carried me with him. He dined at Court, and when I was with him, which was almost always, I dined there too; and fared sumptuously on mutton, cous cous, etc.;
and Fatima, Abdy-Aga's concubine, re marked to me that I was growing fat. My master frequently gave me small sums of money, sometimes as much as a gooroosh, or Turkish dollar, or piaster at a time, which I invariably spent for sweetmeats, as soon as possible. Upon the whole, I lived very well with Abdy-Aga, was becoming, in some degree, reconciled to my fate, when, one day, after I had been with him about six months, he informed me that he was going to send me to his father in Tripoli.
This was very disagreeable news to me, for I was unwilling to leave such an excellent man as my present master, so long as I was a slave; and I so told him: but he assurred me his father would treat me as well as he himself had done; and with this assurance I had to reconcile myself to the change, as best I could.
At this time, a large caravan was being organized for the purpose of conveying slaves, ivory, gold-dust, etc., to the Tripoli market; and it was my master's intention to send me with this caravan, in charge of my former master, Abd-El-Kader, who was to accompany it with a large number of slaves, the property of different parties in Fezzan.
All the slaves who were to be sent to Tripoli, were carried into a large building, in the city of Mourzook, and facing the English Consulate, where their names were registered in a book kept for that purpose. The recorder was an old Turk, who wore green spectacles, and, as I had never seen anything of the kind before, they made me afraid of him at first, but I soon discovered that he was not only harmless, but a very kind and benevolent old man.
Before leaving Mourzook, I had the
pleasure of witnessing a grand review of the army by the Pacha in person. The drill, or tactics, was altogether different from that of the Kanouri army, and the infantry were superior in discipline to ours; but the Pacha's cavalry were far inferior to that most important arm of King Omar's force.
I was informed that the Pacha's army consisted of fifty thousand men; with which force, it was rumored, he would soon make an expedition into Soudan. I think, however, that the invasion, if contemplated at all, was never carried into execution.
At length the day for our departure arrived; and, on leaving, Abdy-Aga enjoined upon Abd-El-Kader, most strictly, to treat me well, and also furnished him with money, with which to purchase chickens and other delicacies for me on the route.
As we filed through the north gate of Mourzook, the officers of the Pacha's army on duty there, carefully counted us, which being done, we moved off in the direction of Sookria a large town located about three hundred miles from Mourzook, and four or five hundred from Tripoli.
En passant, it may not be amiss to give a brief description of Fezzan, as it is a country of some importance. The soil is, for the most part, sandy or rocky and by no means fertile, though, in the valleys, various kinds of vegetables flourish I saw no river in Fezzan, and very few springs exist; but plenty of indifferent water is obtained from wells of slight depth. From these wells, water is obtained for purposes of irrigation, and the fields thus watered produce the cereals sparingly.
The inhabitants subsist principally on
dates, though cous-cous, a preparation of the cassava plant, something like that of tapioca, is not an uncommon article of food.
For meat they have mutton and goat-flesh, but no beef. In fact, I do not remember having seen anything of the bovine species in the country.
Sheep and goats, however, are abundant, and among them a peculiar kind of sheep, with tails five or six inches broad by two or three thick, the whole one lump of fat.
In the wilderness, are found several species of beasts of prey, among them the lion, the panther, the hyena, the wild-cat, jackal and tiger-cat. There is considerable trade between this country and the different nations of Soudan, consisting in goods of foreign manufacture, from Fezzan, and slaves, gold-dust, ivory and ostrich feathers, from the interior. The prevailing,
or, as I may say, the universal religion of the people is Mohammedan, and the inhabitants combine with extreme dishonesty, the most remarkable hospitality.
At the time I was in Fezzan, it was subservient to the Emir of Tripoli.
I had a very pleasant time on my journey to Tripoli; for what with the money entrusted to Abd-El-Kader by Abdy-Aga, for my use, and some that the good Abdy had given me, I had plenty of chickens and other good things to eat, and, at every halting place, was the centre of a very affectionate group, composed of my less fortunate but not less hungry fellow-slaves, boys and girls. In about a month, we reached Sookna, a city larger than Mourzook, a great portion of which is in ruins.
Here we remained a week, for rest, after which we again proceeded on our journey.
As we approached the frontier of Tripoli, there began to appear an evident improvement in the fertility of the soil; and, as soon as we reached the "Black Mountains," a range of considerable magnitude, and the natural boundary between Tripoli and Fezzan, the face of the country underwent a material change.
The "plain" of Tripoli is considerably below the level of the "plateau" of Fezzan, and the soil much more fertile than that east of the Black Mountains.
Having received an accession to our numbers at Sookna, we left that place about five hundred strong, four-fifths of which were slaves, and pressed forward eagerly, our imagination all aglow with the description of wonderful Tripoli, its castles and cannon and ships, related to us by a Mandra freedman, named Ali, who had joined our party at Sookna.
Urged forward by our curiosity to
witness these wonderful sights, we forgot the troublesome itch, which people traversing this country from Soudan are always afflicted with, (it is said on account of something in the water), and, in due time, arrived at the goal of our journey.
The great castle, the mosques, the ships in the harbor, and, above all, the apparently boundless sea, stretching away to the sparkling water-line to the northward, were novel sights to us Soudanians, but nothing to compare with the description given of them by our Mandra friend, Ali. Indeed, he was so much ashamed of the imposition he had practiced upon us, with his marvellous tales about sea-monsters, etc., that he would not enter the city with us, but fell behind us, a day or two.
Tripoli consists of a great number of narrow, dirty lanes, flanked by generally mean houses, thrown together without
regard to order, and, owing to the absence of front windows, more resembling dead walls than dwellings.
We entered the city through the east gate, and proceeded at once to a caravansary, where we lodged for the night in one of the many untenanted houses, so common in this city.
On the next day, I was taken to Abdy-Aga's father, an arnaoud Turk, or Albanican, who owned an extensive tobacco store in the Turkish bazaar. I found him to be a man apparently fifty-five years of age, with a very kind face, and a long, white, flowing beard. When I was introduced to him, he was reclining upon a divan, smoking his narghiley He greeted me kindly, and immediately had me bathed and dressed in a new suit of clothes, after which I was considered presentable and admitted into his household.
The name of my new master was Hadji Daoud, and he had only one wife, an Arab woman. He had, however, as concubines, two black girls, one a native of Bornou and the other from Haoussa. Hadji Daoud's wife was a woman of very bad disposition, and began to manifest her ill-temper towards me the very next day after I entered the house; but my master would not allow her to abuse me, thus sustaining the assurance Abdy-Aga had given me, that his father would be as kind to me as he had been.
The Kanouri girl was quite fond of me, and called me her son, although she
could not have been more than twenty-five years of age. She used to tell me everything the Hadji said about me, and said that he contemplated having me educated at one of the Turkish schools, with a view to adopting me. This, however, he never did. I was not long in finding out, and inspecting, the "lions" of the city, and soon became conversant with the manners and costumes of its inhabitants.
The principal edifices were, the castle, in which resided the Pacha; the great mosque, a grand structure supported by columns, said to have once belonged to a Christian church; six principal, and many smaller mosques, each surmounted by min arets; two Christian churches, a Franciscan convent, three Jewish synagogues, a number of public baths, each capped with a dome, and extensive bazaars and caravansaries.
My master kept me with him in his shop, which was located in the principal or Turkish bazaar. Each nationality of tradesmen and merchants in the city had a separate bazaar, in which they transacted their business. There was a Jewish, a Christian, and an Arab bazaar, but by far the best was the Turkish.
Hadji Daoud treated me with extreme kindness, and, in this connection, I feel constrained to say, that of all the nationalities of people I have seen in my life, I like the Turks the best. They have the name, abroad, of being extremely fierce and cruel, but the contrary is true. They are generally kind-hearted, generous and hospitable; and even their soldiers, who in battle are renowned for their courage and reckless daring, are ordinarily the mildest and most pleasant-mannered of men. The chief desire of my life, next to a visit to my home, is
the desire I entertain of living among the Osmanlis again. After I had learned how, I used to do the marketing for Hadji Douad's family, and thus became acquainted with a number of vegetables I had never before seen, such as carrots, cabbages, beets, etc. The food of the people of Tripoli consists of these and other vegetables, cous-cous, mutton, and, very rarely, beef.
During my stay in Tripoli, the garrison was relieved and the troops sent home to Turkey, their place being supplied by a force from Gallipolis. In this new garrison there were several black officers and privates among the Turkish soldiers. There seems to have been no prejudice among the Turks on account of complexion, their only prejudice being of a religious character.
For this, however, they should not be oo severely censured; the Christians considered
and treated them as infidels, and they, in turn, looked upon the Christians, from a religious point of view, as no better than dogs, (giour), and here the matter ended by mutual consent.
But in this country, and other enlightened Christian countries I have visited, the different denominations often carry matters to much greater extremes, indulging in back-bitings, open contentions, and, not seldom, actual oppression and persecution, while with strained sanctimoniousness, they all combine to rail at and revile those who adhere to Mohammed rather than Christ, and roll their eyes in holy horror at the idea of such open infidelity and profanity.
Reader, do not misunderstand me, I was a Mohammedan; I am now, in belief, a Christian and a Swedenborgian; but I want to see fair play in these matters,
let and "him who is without guilt east the first stone."
The Jews in Tripoli fared a good deal worse, religiously speaking, than the Christians.
When the bells of the latter rang for mass, the Moslems only ground their teeth and muttered imprecations, but it was not unfrequently the case that the Israelites were maltreated in the streets by the Tripolitan rabble.
The Mohammedans had not forgotten the bombardment their city received from some Christian men-of-war, years before, on account of the mistreatment of some Christians; and, in consequence, were wisely circumspect in their conduct towards them.
Hadji Daoud was a good Moslem, none better nor more strict in Tripoli. He had made three pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina, which he did at intervals of ten
years, and now the time was approaching for the fourth.
To my great delight, he told me he intended to carry me with him, and from that day forward I thought of nothing, talked of nothing, but Mecca.
Shortly before we started for Mecca, I one day found some of my comrades, who were captured with me, exposed for sale in the slave-market of Tripoli.
We shed many tears at meeting, and I wept afresh as they told me of the hardships they had undergone. The Kindills had brought them through their own country, and then they had crossed the desert to Tripoli.
Some of them had perished in that fiery waste, and now the survivors were on exhibition, like so many cattle, to be sold to whoever might offer the price at which they were held.
As long as they were exposed, I visited
them daily, carrying them whatever I could get hold of in the shape of food, and frequently depriving myself of my own meals for their comfort. At last the Pacha, having learned that they were from the best families in Bornou, purchased the whole lot and held them for ransom. Soon after this, I saw them well-dressed, walking the streets of Tripoli. I was anxious for the Pacha to buy me, in order that I might be with my companions, whom I loved like brothers; and he, upon learning that I was the son of Barca Gana, was equally anxious to get possession of me; but Hadji Daoud would not part with me at any price.
During my stay in Tripoli, I learned to speak the Turkish language tolerably; so much so, indeed, as to surprise every one who was acquainted with me. I have possessed, all my life an extraordinary aptitude for the acquirement of
languages, but I have found none so easy to learn as the Turkish.
At length the time arrived for the commencement of the pilgrimage to Mecca, and, Hadji Daoud having previously made all necessary preparations, we embarked on a sailing vessel bound for Alexandria, and called the Abu-Bekr. This was the first vessel I had ever been on board of, and I was much interested in the examination of the rigging, and all the different appointments of the craft.
She carried twenty souls, passengers and all, the latter consisting of seven or eight men, all negroes; and, after a sa l of three or four uneventful days, we made the port of Bengazi; where we discharged
our cargo, and were freshly laden with bales of wool, cheese, and goods, for the Alexandrian market.
During the forty-eight hours devoted to effecting this change, the passengers remained on shore, and I had an opportunity of exploring the town.
Bengazi is the capital of Barca, a country lying eastward of Tripoli, and is finely located on a fertile plain, extending back to the mountains, but is miserably constructed, filthy, and possessing a harbor so shallow that only vessels of light draught can enter.
The Emir of Barca, resides here in a strong castle.
Having stowed our new cargo, we set sail for Alexandria; but, on the third day out, we encountered a terrible gale, and suffered severely from its effects.
Our main-mast was twice struck by lightning, and, for a time, we were left
disabled, almost at the mercy of the seas which continually broke over us. On the second day of our helplessness, however, we were sighted by a steamer bound for Valletta (Malta), and by her towed to Alexandria.
We arrived at this port in the night and anchored off the building which does double duty as castle and light house, until morning, when we were towed into the harbor.
Alexandria does not present the appearance of a Mohammedan city, except in the Mohammedan quarter. Here the streets are narrow and filthy and the houses generally mean; but the Christian quarter, which is next the bay, is clean, well-built and contains a number of fine hotels and merchants' residences. There are some fine Mohammedan edifices, at the head of which is the Khedive's palace, the arsenal, and an extensive
marine hospital. Outside the city, on both sides of the Nile, may be seen some elegant Christian villas or country seats; and the Khedive also has a very handsome country residence.
During the weeks that we remained in Alexandria, we were boarded and lodged, free of expense, at the house of Mahmoud Bey, a rich Albanian friend of my master's and a leading dry goods merchant and property owner.
After the expiration of this time, we left Alexandria for Cairo, by the then new railroad, at night, arriving at the latter place before day-break. I cannot say that I was much surprised at the novel conveyance I then saw for the first time. Truth told, I had seen so many wonderful and unexpected sights within the few previous years, that I think my organ of marvellousness had gone to sleep from sheer surfeit and exhaustion,
and I took everything as a matter of course. In fact I don't think my pulse would have been quickened had I been transported from one part of the country to another in an aěrial car, or shot across a river from a bomb mortar.
Early the next morning we went to Boulak, a suburb of the city, about two miles from the city proper, and the place where the boats navigating the Nile receive and discharge their cargoes.
Here Hadji Daoud took his lodging in one of the caravansaries. During our stay here, my master visited all the mosques in the city, taking me with him. There are six principal mosques in Cairo, the principal of which is that of Sultan Hassan, said to be the finest work of the kind in Africa, and a short distance from this, at Shoobrâ, the new palace of the Khedive. There were also many elegant private buildings in Boolak,
the country residences of the Egyptian grandees; and from its streets could be plainly seen, towering blue against the south-western horizon, the gigantic Pyramids of the desert. At first, I thought the pyramids were natural objects, but soon having become satisfied, from their regular outlines, that they were not, I appealed to Hadji Daoud for information concerning their origin; who, in response to my inquiries, told me that they were constructed by the heathens many years ago, but for what purpose he knew not.
At Boolak, we took passage on a steamer for Kartoum, up the Nile, in company with three companies of black soldiers, from Kordoffan, and Darfour, destined for the garrison at that place. Having reached Philah, a small town, a few miles below the first (or last), cataract on the Nile, we disembarked, and
proceeded to Kartoum by land with a caravan.
During this journey, which occupied a considerable time, we were one night attacked by a party of robbers, who evidently were not aware of our strength; for we repulsed them after a brief but spirited conflict. Their loss was seven killed and eleven prisoners, who were turned over to the Egyptian authorities at Kartoum. They proved to be fellahs, or Egyptian peasants, who preferred highway robbery to the peaceable avocation of agriculture. They were summarly executed. In this engagement we had several wounded, but none killed: among the former was Hadji Daoud, who was shot through the calf of the leg, but his wound was not dangerous, and caused him only a little inconvenience.
Our road lay through a small town situated on the right bank, the name of
which I have forgotten, a place remarkable for its inland commerce and the numerous relics of antiquity to be found in its vicinity. From its picturesque location may be seen to the southward, the ruins of another town, built (so said Hadji Daoud) by the Arabs in the days of Caliph Omar, and here the antiquarian might spend many profitable hours, exploring and examining the crumbling monuments of primeval grandeur.
When we reached Kartoum, we found it to be a very regularly built town, with some pretensions to style, and situated upon the tongue of land formed by the junction of the two branches of the Nile. It is the capital of Nubia, and enjoys a large trade in slaves, from Abyssinia and Soudan, and gold-dust, ivory, ostrich feathers, etc., from various parts of Central Africa.
We waited here about five weeks,
organizing a party of sufficient strength to venture into the mountain country, and my master purchased a number of horses, asses and camels, to transport his personal property.
Having got together a party of forty in number, the most of whom were traders from Gondar in Abyssinia, with the exception of five or six Turks who were also regular traders back and forth in that section, we, at the expiration of the time mentioned, set out for the town of Gondar in Abyssinia.
The trajet between these two places is exceedingly perilous and difficult, owing to the dangerous places among the mountains, where one misstep may send the unfortunate traveller, a mangled mass of broken bones and flesh, to the bottom of some deep chasm; to the wild beasts, which lurk by the way side; and to the danger of being ambuscaded by the Gallas
a tribe of wild and ferocious natives, who rob, plunder, and murder, on every possible occasion, and, it was whispered, ate their slain enemies.
Lions, hyenas, and jackals were constantly prowling round our encampments, only kept at bay by the immense fire we kept burning all night; and, on one occasion, when we left a broken down ass behind us, we saw the Jackals tearing his flesh before we were five hundred yards from him. We met with no serious accident, however, and arrived at Gondar in between four and five weeks after we left Kartoum. Gondar is situated upon the summit and sides of an isolated hill, and has, in days past, been a place of some importance. It consists of a great many dilapidated houses, a number of ill constructed churches and other buildings devoted to religious purposes, and has the one redeeming quality of producing a
species of fine cotton cloth from its looms. The male inhabitants, with few exceptions, live in a state of habitual intoxication, on a fiery liquor of native manufacture, and seldom exert themselves farther than to beat the women and make them do all the work, for their drunken masters.
We remained here about two months, when having procured a number of native guides, we directed our course to Massawa, a seaport on the Red Sea.
These faithful Abyssinian guides of of ours, while piloting us through the wilderness, frequently appropriated articles of my master's property, almost openly. He was afraid to say anything to them about it, however, lest they should kill him; and this system of privilege went on until they left us. About two days journey from Massawa, our guides forsook us, after having first broken
open the box in which was my master's money, and abstracted therefrom a considerable sum.
Fortunately for us, my master had had two leather belts made at Cairo, in which he had placed his gold; and one of these having been fastened round his waist and the other around mine, the thieves failed to discover it, and we lost none of that.
In sight of where our guides left us, there was a small village, which we reached without difficulty, and were cordially welcomed by the inhabitants, whom we found to be Egyptian subjects. The name of this place was Domba, and as soon as the authorities had been informed of the manner in which we had been treated by the Abyssinian guides, a detachment of twenty five horsemen were dispatched in pursuit of the thieves.
In the meantime, our wants were carefully
provided for, and we were made quite comfortable among our new friends. At the end of five days, the soldiers returned, bringing our guides with them, all chained together. They returned Hadji Daoud, his clothing and other articles that had been taken from him, but reported that they could find no money.
The Abyssinians said the soldiers had appropriated the money, the soldiers said they lied, and so, in the midst of the confusion thus created, my master decided to leave without his money.
We learned afterwards, while at Massawa, that the soldiers released the thieves as soon as we had taken our departure. We arrived at Massawa in less than two days from Domba, and only tarried there until a boat arrived in which we might make the trip to Jidda, the nearest seaport to Mecca.
It was found, as soon as we had reached Massawa, that in order to reach Jidda, we had to tarry a long time. Accordingly we got on board of a small craft bound for Zeila, and reached that place in about ten uneventful days of sail. Zeila is situated on the western shore of the Red Sea, in an extensive plain, inhabited by a numerous population, consisting of Arabs, Abyssinians, and the Somaulis, who trade in rhinoceras' horns, ostrich plumes, etc.
The name of this champaign country is Adel, and is ruled by a chief, subject to the government of Egypt. At Zeila, the plain enters the sea in the form of a low, sandy cape, and inaccessible to vessels of large draughts.
The city abounds with immense numbers of noxious insects, such as scorpions, and a species of white ants, very destructive to furniture, the bite of which
is extremely poisonous, besides numerous other species of less harmful, but not less troublesome creatures; so that I was glad enough when we embarked for Jidda.
The wind being favorable the entire voyage, we made the port of our destination in five days: and, disembarking forthwith, proceeded, at once, to an old friend of my master's, named Youssouff, there to remain until the arrival of Hadji Daoud's animals, which had been left at Zeila, to be shipped by the next boat.
Jidda is the principal trading entrepot of Arabia in Hejaz; and was said, at the time we visited it, to contain a population of twenty-five thousand.
The town proper of Jidda is built of madrepore and stone, and is more cleanly than Eastern cities generally are.
The chief edifices are the Governor's palace, an immense and handsome structure, facing the sea, the custom-house, a number of khans and mosques, and an edifice erected over the supposed "tomb of Eve."
The back country of Jidda is a barren desert; rain water is the only supply for the city, and has to be carefully preserved in cisterns, and all the provisions consumed by its inhabitants have to be brought from long distances.
Yet, notwithstanding these serious disadvantages, the city reaps the benefit of an
immense transit trade with all the surrounding countries. The imports, from Egypt and Abyssinia are provisions, tobacco, musk, civet and incense; from India, muslins, [print is not legible] hawls and other fabrics teak, cocoa-nuts and spices; spices and slaves from the Malay country; and slaves from Mozambique; while its exports to Abyssinia and the interior are corals, Egyptian cotton-goods, sword-blades, and cutlery, matchlocks, hardware, mirrors and leather; while to Suez are shipped most of the articles named, be sides dates, coffee and mecca balm, from which point they are distributed over the whole Levant.
Many thousand pilgrims arrive here yearly on their way to and from Mecca, who contribute largely to the business and wealth of the city; and this periodical human tide has, doubtless, been the chief cause of its importance.
The chief Sherif of Mecca has exercised
supervisionary control over Jidda since the days of Mahomet, so that the city is, really, but the sea-port of Mecca, and substantially belongs to the Khedive of Egypt.
As soon as our animals had arrived, we set out for Mecca, which we reach in due time, travelling through a perfect desert, without a single oasis.
Mecca, the Bellad el Amin (head of true believers), el Mosherefe (the noble), Om el Khora (the mother of towns,) is situated in a narrow, sandy valley, surrounded on all sides by sterile hills of moderate elevation, barren of tree or verdure, and is illy supplied with water.
In its centre is the Beituh Allah (house of God), El Haram, (the inviolable), the great mosque enclosing the Kaaba, (sacred house) and marking the dividing line between upper, (northern), and lower, (southern), town. These two general divisions are subdivided into twenty five quarters, exclusive
of a single line of houses extending along the narrow path of the valley.
Mecca is a fine looking city, with wide streets and houses of stone, well lighted and often three stories high. During the period of Haj, or general pilgrimage, the city is filled to the Kaaba,--apartments in every house are occupied by pilgrims and thousands encamp in the suburbs.
This Haj, inaugurated by Arabs ages ago, was regularly performed by Mahomed himself, and has been duly observed by untold myriads since his death. This Haj is the only source of the immense wealth of the city, and trading with the pilgrims the chief occupation of its inhabitants. The Meccanee, (citizens), are, with the exception of a few Hejazi--Bedouins--either strangers, that is, foreigners, or children of strangers. They are extremely proud of their city, wear fine clothing, live sumptuously and, under the
protection of the Sublime Porte, exhibit freely the evidences of the immense wealth many of them have accumulated, at the expense of the yearly average visit of one hundred thousand Moslems, whose fanaticism they look upon with the coolest indifference.
On the other hand it is proverbial that Mecca is the beggar's paradise; and probably, the most importunate mendicants in the world, infest this desert-girded city. Mecca has a castle capable of accommodating two thousand persons, and is, by the Mahommedans, deemed impregnable, though with what correctness I am unable to say.
The Beituh Allah is an unsymmetrical structure of modern architecture, with nine gates or portals, and is surrounded by seven majestic minarets. Within is the great four-sided court of the temple, surrounded by colonnades of irregular
pillars; and nearly in the centre, in a depression, stands the Kaaba, or sacred house, between sixty and eighty feet in length, and about forty feet high.
The Kaaba is entirely covered by the Kishna, (black silken veil), which is so arranged as to wave and flutter in the least breath of wind, a movement which is thought by the devotees, who worship there, to be produced by the fanning of angel's wings. In two places, only, is this covering removed, one at the south-east corner to expose a gray stone which it is meretorious to touch, and the other at the north-east angle, where is seen the celebrated black stone, the kissing of which is the chief object of the Haj.
This stone is believed to be the angel, whose office it will be in last day to identify those who have duly performed the holy pilgrimage, and can only be
kissed by those who visit it of their own accord.
Being a slave, it was construed that I did not go there voluntarily, and, consequently, I was debarred the felicity of saluting the petrified angel.
Besides the pulpit of the Iman, and the desks assigned to the doctors of the different sects, there are around El Haram several irregular and unhandsome buildings, in one of which is the famous well, Zem Zem, alleged to be the one whence Hagar drew water for the famishing Ishmael. This well is surrounded by a circular wall about four feet high, and its waters are perfectly sweet and fresh, although the water of every other well, in the city, is brackish.
Among the pilgrims, the waters of Zem Zem are devoutly believed to be a certain cure for all bodily ailments, and even salutary for the soul; and few leave
the city without carrying with them a greater or less number of flasks containing the precious fluid.
The Sherrifs, or direct descendants of Mohammed, have increased in number until they are a large and powerful family, and now control this whole section of country.
These nobles, as they may be called, elect the chief Sherrif of Mecca, and their choice is invariably confirmed by the Ottoman Porte.
These Sherrifs, as before remarked, control the government of Jidda, and also rule at Medina 'Naby, (the town of the Prophet).
In Mecca, the cause of education is at a low ebb, the people devoting their time to trade and gay living, so that the college is in ruins, and the once splendid library mentioned by Edresi, dispersed; but in Medina it is different.
The people here, though generally wealthy, are less gay and more studious. Academies and libraries are handsomely endowed and sustained; and the Sherrifs themselves are Uhlemas, or profound doctors of the Koran.
We remained in Mecca four months, during which lapse of time my master made up his mind to visit Medina; and then, in company with an immense caravan of pilgrims and traders, we set out for the latter city, which we reached in three weeks.
Medina, about a hundred miles from Mecca, is built upon a high mountain, eastward of the range running parellel with the Red Sea, and is surrounded by a strong stone wall, averaging forty feet high, flanked with towers, while on a high rock in the northwestern portion of the city, stands its castle or citadel.
It is entered by three gates, that on
the south, called Bab el-Misri, (the Egyptian gate), being extremely beautiful. To the southward, as far as the eye can reach, extends an immense plain or desert, while, on every side the view is bounded by ranges of mountains of considerable magnitude, those lying to the southwest presenting a bold and rugged appearance.
Medina is, by far, the handsomest city I ever saw in the East, with ample, smooth streets, neat, stone, houses, generally two stories high; containing a great mosque called the Prophet's, two smaller ones Béshir and Omar, a large college building and public baths.
The Suburbs of the city consist of low houses and gardens, of course artificially irrigated, and also enclosed by a wall, within which the Bedouin encamp.
The city is supplied with water by an acqueduct, leading from a valley among
the mountains a few miles distant; a noble structure, the finest of the kind probably in Arabia. In some places it is over thirty feet below the surface of the grounds; and it terminates in a basin, from which all may draw water a libitum.
The mosque of the Prophet is situated in the eastern portion of the city, and, although smaller, it resembles the Beituh Allah, at Mecca, its chief feature being the extreme irregularity of its supporting columns. The tomb of the Prophet is enclosed with iron filagree of excellent workmanship, with four doors, only one of which is kept open regularly, and this guarded by a black Eunuch. At the south side is the place assigned for devotional purposes, to the pilgrims, who are allowed to visit this shrine at any, and all seasons, of the year. Fully one-third of the devotees who visit Mecca, extend their journey to Medina; yet, out of this
immense number, only Pachas, leaders of the Haj, and other high officials are allowed to enter the sacred pale of the tomb, and, even they, only on the payment of a large fee.
There is, however, as I have been told, by those who know, little to be seen within the enclosure, except the embroidered silk curtains, said to conceal a square black stone, supported by two pillars, underneath, and between which, are the graves of Mohammed and his two caliphs, Abu Bekr, and Omar.
I have never heard, while in the East, anything concerning the magnet, which, according to some European writers, suspends or poises the coffin of Mohammed in the air. And I am disposed to believe it to be a Christian fiction.
It is somewhat remarkable that the two chief cities of the orthodox Mohammedan world, called par excellence, the
"holy," should be in the midst of, and inhabited by unbelievers and sectaries. As Mecca is filled with, and surrounded by, the followers of Zaid, so the Bedouins and many of the Sherrifs of Medina are the adherents of Ali.
While at Medina, Hadji Daoud was taken sick, and for six weeks it was doubtful as to whether he would recover.
During his illness, I began to entertain very serious doubts concerning the hygenic properties of the much lauded waters of Zem Zem; but I finally reconciled the trouble by ascribing my master's sickness to a sentence of Allah on account of some great sin.
At length, however, he recovered, and myself, Abdallah and Moussâ, two slaves he had bought in Mecca, having packed the camels, we set out on our way to the mother of towns.
We accomplished the journey without
incident, and Hadji Daoud, on our arrival, in Asia, sold his two slaves and all his beasts of burden, except two camels, and we proceeded with them immediately to Jidda.
Here my master conceived the idea of visiting Muscat for purposes of speculation, for he was a prudent man, and did not allow his religion to prevent him from "turning an honest piastre," whenever opportunity offered.
Accordingly in company with several Meccawee and Jidda merchants, who, also, had business at Muscat, we embarked upon a steamer belonging to the Imam of Muscat, and set sail for that port, arriving in the harbor in ten stormy days.
The harbor of Muscat is an inlet, or arm of the sea, about a mile long, and half a mile wide, opening into] the Arabian sea, to the north-westward, and consequently, completely sheltered from
the monsoons. Immediately to the westward of this inlet, is a commodious bay, opening north-eastward, which although deep, and a good anchorage, is exposed to the fury of the winter monsoons, but affording a safe shelter to vessels in those conditions of weather which render it difficult and dangerous to enter the inlet.
The city is situated on the southern shore of the inlet, in a hollow, under a cliff, and, in appearance, presents few evidences of its actual wealth and real importance.
A few good houses, built in the Persian style, occupy the narrow space by the water-side, but large and handsome buildings are few, the Imam's palace (a plain edifice), the government house and a few mosques alone rising above the common mass of flat roofed structures.
Notwithstanding its appearance, however, Muscat is a point of great commercial
importance, and, from its geographical position, is the key to the entrance of the Persian Gulf. The city is supplied with water obtained from wells of considerable depth, and receives provisions from the whole Levant.
At the bottom, or deepest curve, of the bay, is the town of Mustra, distant by land, from Muscat about three English miles, and is, in effect, but a suburb of the latter city, and containing nearly the same number of inhabitants; its chief importance consisting in the docks for building and repairing ships located there.
Remaining here about a month, at the end of which time, master having finished his business, we embarked on board the same steamer which brought us from Jidda, whence we took another steamer for Suez. We made the voyage in seven days, and anchored about three miles
off Suez, the harbor being too shallow for vessels of more than sixty tons burthen.
Suez is the most miserable place I ever saw, with narrow, sandy and unpaved streets; houses of unburnt brick, containing about a dozen mosques, a christian church, custom-house, etc., the whole surrounded by a wall mounting a few guns, and further defended by entrenchments running around the city.
The surrounding country is a perfect desert, and water and provisions have to be brought from a long distance.
We were compelled to remain here a considerable time, awaiting the formation of a party for Rosetta, thence to Alexandria, whence it was my master's intention to proceed next on the way home.
Hadji Daoud purchased a few camels for our use, and, the caravan having at length been formed, we commenced our journey, to my master's and my no
small relief, after a tiresome and unincidental tramp, arriving at our destination in four days.
Here, we immediately sailed for Alexandria. At Alexandria we heard a vague rumor of a large conflagration in Tripoli, by which, it was said, my master was a great loser, but we could not trace the report to any sound foundation. At this time, there was a steamer belonging to some Christian nationality, to sail from Alexandria to, I did not know where, but was to touch at Tripoli, and having secured a passage in her, we made the Tripolitan harbor in three days.
I was as much delighted at seeing Tripoli again as if it had been Kouka, and was almost beside myself to get ashore.
As soon as we had landed, an officer, an old friend of my master, a custom-house
officer, named Youssouff Kavass, informed the good old man that his store, with all it contained, together with half the Turkish bazaar, had been consumed by fire.
The excellent old man was much afflicted by this loss, which involved nearly his whole fortune; and to my great grief, informed me that he would be compelled to sell me. In the mean-time I proceeded to the Emir's residence, and here learned that my fellow captives had been ransomed by their respective families, and, also, that during our absence, our king had sent an agent to Tripoli for the purpose of arranging the terms of the ransom. At the time of our return, however, he had gone to Tunis; and, after having waited two months for his re-appearance, Hadji Daoud concluded to send me to Smyrna, in charge of a friend of his, and a resident
of that city, to be sold there, for slaves sold for high prices in Smyrna. We sailed on a Constantinople vessel, bound for Candia, on the Isle of Crete, where we hoped to obtain passage for Smyrna.
Candia is a strongly fortified port, its harbor protected by two moles, and the town consisting of substantial buildings, ranged along regular and roughly paved streets, and containing a number of rather imposing edifices. Here are a number of decayed docks, arched vaults for galleys, and other interesting objects which are doubtless familiar to most of my readers, and which I will not take time to describe.
In a few days after our arrival, a tugboat arrived from Smyrna, and on it we secured passage, and reached Smyrna in about forty-eight hours.
Smyrna, called by the Turks Izmir,
presents a splendid appearance to the voyager approaching it from the sea, but on landing it is found, like most Mohammedan towns, to consist of narrow, crooked, filthy streets, and miserable houses, one story high, in this place constructed chiefly of wood. The different nationalities of people in this place occupy different quarters of the city; first the Greeks and Franks, along the shore; then the Armenians next the Jews, and lastly, occupying the highest grounds, the Turks.
The principal buildings in Smyrna are the Vizier-Khan, constructed entirely of white marble, the palace of the Pacha, the then new barracks, several synagogues, a number of Christian churches, and about twenty-five mosques, which are always open for the inspection of strangers, Christians included.
Hussein, Hadji-Daoud's agent who had
charge of me, resolved to relieve himself of further trouble with me, by exposing me for sale in the slave market.
Here I remained about three weeks, suffering greatly from hunger, for Hussein would only furnish me with one meal a day, when my troubles on that score were ended by my purchase by Fuad Pacha, who bought me for a tchiboudji, or pipe cleaner, and I was to have remained near his person all the time. My new master had me washed and dressed in a bran new and glittering costume as soon as possible after my purchase, and in a few days started, with me for Constantinople.
We embarked on the Turkish steamship of war, Abdul Medjid, so named in honor of the then reigning Sultan, a vessel carrying some fifteen guns, of heavy metal, and well appointed in every respect.
We sailed about eight o'clock in the morning, and as we were leaving the harbor, the ship fired off all her guns, one after the other, the salute being returned by an equal number of discharges from the fort crowning the neighboring height.
When I awoke the next morning, I found the vessel anchored a little way off
a small town on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles.
On both sides of the straits, are numerous forts and batteries, mounting hundreds of cannon, and manned by Turkish soldiers.
Having received a number of the officers of the garrison, at this point, on board as passengers, we weighed anchor and bore away for Constantinople.
The Dardanelles are constantly filled with ships of all nations, sailing into or out of the Black Sea; and nothing can excel, in picturesque beauty, the ever changing scenes of the ever shifting landscape, that passes like a lovely panorama, before the enraptured eye, over the whole distance from the entrance of the Dardanelles to Constantinople.
Here and there, on the shores, may be seen tall and handsome minarets, bespeaking the religious customs of the
country, and splendid villas, alternating with gardens, orchards, and vineyards; and when one has emerged from the Dardanelles, and is fairly into the Black Sea, the proud and ancient city of Constantinople may be seen, sparkling like a diamond tiara, in the dim blue landline to the northward.
I had previously heard much of this famous city, the Istamboul of the Mohammedans, had been told of its extreme beauty and immense extent, and of the vast numbers of people who dwell within its boundaries; but I was not prepared for what I found it to be in reality. As seen from the sea, it is the handsomest city I ever saw; but an entrance verifies the poetical proverb, that--
"'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view."
Its streets are narrow and filthy, and the city crowded with immense numbers of low houses, principally built of wood.
The whole city is most densely populated, to what extent I am unable to tell, and its inhabitants comprised people of all races, and from every part of the globe.
Istamboul is situated upon a triangular promontory, or rather cape, projectng out into the Bosphorus, and has a sea-front of nine or ten English miles, and the base of the triangle thus formed, is a lofty double wall, reaching from the Sea of Marmora, a distance of about five or six miles, to the Golden Horn. Within these boundaries lies Constantinople proper, built in general, as I have described, but relieved by the numerous minarets, cupolas, and lofty cypresses, that tower above the common mass of buildings.
The drainage of the city is materially aided by the uneven surface of the ground upon which it is built, and the great number of public fountains, supplied
by aqueducts leading from large tanks at a distance, and furnishing an ample supply of water for all purposes.
At the extreme north-east point of the promontory, called Point Sèraï, is situated the Seraglio, or palace of the Sultan, washed in front by the waters of the Bosphorus, on the left by the Golden Horn, and commanding a magnificent view of the opposite shores of the strait and the Horn, including the beautiful town of Scutary, with its cypress-crowned hills.
The Seraglio, with its groves and gardens, embrace an area of about three miles in circumference, and containing within its walls the Harem and the Garden of Delights.
In this most beautiful garden are found numerous parteries and kiosques, or pavilions, as gorgeously bright, with paint and gold, as the variegated flowers
that gladden the eye on every side, while clusters of magnificent roses bloom in swinging baskets of gilded wicker-work, and fountains are murmuring in the deep shadows of overhanging boughs.
Immediately without the Seraglio, stands the mosque of St. Sophia, originally a Christian cathedral, and the principal building of the kind in the city; and near it, the mosque of Achmed, a grand structure, with a marble pavement and six minarets, located on the site of the At Madan, or "horse course," the ancient Hippodrome of historic celebrity.
The other chief mosques are those of Solyman the Magnificent, a masterpiece of Saracenic architecture; that of Mohammed II., and those of Bajazet II., Selim II., Mustapha III., Othman and Ejub, and the Valide, built by the mother of Mohammed IV., and supported by pillars from the ruins of Troy.
Most of these establishments have attached to them one or more colleges or charitable institutions, that of Mohammed II being surrounded by eight endowed academies, a diet-house for the poor, a hospital, caravansary and bath buildings, all surmounted by leaden-covered cupolas or domes.
There are, or were, numerous other public buildings of some note, but as many changes have doubtless taken place in the city since I saw it, I will not consume time by a description of what may not now exist.
Constantinople, like Smyrna, is divided into quarters, in distinct ones of which, different classes or religious castes of people, exclusively, reside and transact their business.
The place of my new master, Fuad Pacha, was situated in Kandji Koolook, and was a new and elegant structure of
stone, built in the European style, three stories in height, and not excelled in magnificence by any edifice in the city, except the Seraglio of the Sultan. Attached to it was his harem, surrounded by a high stone wall; the whole enclosure comprising about five or six acres.
The Golden Horn, the fine harbor that has usurped the name of the Promontory of Byzantium, separates the city proper from its populous suburbs, Galata, Pera, and Top-hane, and is crossed by a bridge of boats from the Fanar, or Greek quarter, to Pera.
This bridge also places the city in direct communication with the additional suburban cities, Kassim Pacha, and Ferschanna, and the imperial arsenals, on the north shore of the Horn. Fuad Pacha who was, at that time minister of the Interior, was attending the court of the Sultan very frequently, on which occasions
I generally accompanied him and, in my capacity of a tchiboodji, I had excellent opportunities of seeing and learning many things in regard to the Turkish etiquette and mode of living in the highest circles.
The Kislar-Aga, or chief of the negro eunuchs, was a native of Mandra and knew my mother's family perfectly. He was about fifty years of age, and was a good and kind man. On my becoming acquainted with him, he showed me many marks of kindness, and more than a dozen times introduced me into the Seraglio.
After I had been in Fuad Pacha's service about nine months, he sold or presentod me to Reschid Pacha his brother-in-law, who I was to serve still in the capacity of tchiboodji.
I began, this time to think that it was my fate to pass from hand to hand,
with never a sure and definite resting place; and, more than once, have I turned my longing eyes to the southward, in the direction of beloved Kouka, and sighed for that rest which I could not find.
Reschid Pacha like every Turkish master I had, treated me very kindly, giving me holidays, almost every day, from breakfast to noon, and furnishing me with small sums of money to spend in my own gratification.
I made use of these opportunities to acquaint myself more thoroughly with the manners of Istamboul, and invested my funds in divers and sundry saucers of ice cream, a delicacy I had before seen but never tasted, until my transfer to Reschid Pacha.
Reschid Pacha was very wealthy, and in consequence had a large number of wives and concubines, beautiful Circassion,
Affgan and Persian girls, for whom my heart has often bled and my blood boiled with anger when I saw them cuffed and beaten by the brutal eunuch's who were their custodians, and who enjoyed full authority to chastise any of them who gave the slightest offense.
Although this same practice was common in my own country, I never could become reconciled to it; and to this day, though not more than in my youth, the sight of a man maltreating a woman always exasperates my feelings almost beyond control.
Reschid Pacha, unlike most Moslems, associated intimately with the Christians, shook hands with them, ate, drank champagne and visited their theatres, and acted in such a way as to excite my fears that he was not truly Islam.
Among the most intimate associates of my master were the French Ambassador
M. De Montholon, the English Minister Lord Stratten de Ratcliffe, and the Envoy Extraordinary or Minister Plenipotentiary of Russia Prime Anatole Mentchikoff.
The last named nobleman took a great fancy to me the first time he saw me, which was one day when he and my master went together to a Christian establishment in Pera; after which he would not allow Reschid Pacha any rest until I was transfered to his possession.
He offered a large price for me, but, under the then existing Turkish law, a Mohammed slave could not be sold out of the empire; so the matter was clandestinley compromised by the Pacha presenting me to the Prince.
Not long after my transfer to Prince Mentchikoff, he made a visit to Odessa in Russia, and carried me with him. We sailed from Constantinople on board the Russian steamer, man-of-war Vladimie, carrying sixty-four guns, and commanded by Prince Galitzise, and made Odessa in about forty-eight hours of most delightful weather. Odessa is a Russian port of the Black sea, in the government of Kherson, and is a handsome and well appointed city.
A magnificent terrace, overlooking the bay, is lined with elegant public edifices; elsewhere, and, in fact everywhere, in the city, may be seen attractive and imposing
structures, churches, colleges, libraries, cathedrals, interspersed with palaces and handsome private residences, while Richelieu Oultiza, (Richelieu street) the principal street is lined with attractive shops. There are, however, few buildings that afford a very striking architectural display, and there are fewer monuments of sculpture than might be expected in such a place.
The principal work of art in the city is the statute of Richelieu, a bronze monument of gratitude, erected by the city in honor of his creative genius, in a space formed by a crescent of handsome houses on the summit of the elongated cliff, along which extended at the time I was there, (in 1854), a beautiful avenue of young trees, which were then beginning to unite their boughs, and form a leafy archway along its whole length. From the foot
of the stature, were in process of construction, a gigantic flight of stone stairs, intended to make the grand terrace accessible from the lower quay, and so arranged with a series of constantly rising arches, as to allow free passage of vehicles of any size, and height. The whole structure impressed me as a very appropriate, as well as deserved compliment to genius; but, in my humble opinion, not so much so as the ecclesiastical college, which bears his name, and the well appointed Richelieu Lyceum, located in different parts of the city.
A full description of the public buildings in Odessa, its general plan of construction, and defences, and an exhibition of its commercial importance, would doubtless, be interesting and entertaining to many of my readers; but, as numerous and important changes have probably been wrought in it since I saw it, I shall
refrain from more than a bird's-eye description of its general outline; and shall, moreover, confine myself to this rule in relation to the other European cities I may have occasion to mention in connection with my adventures.
Prince Mentchikoff owned a fine mansion in Odessa, where, on his return to Constantinople, which occured in a few days after his arrival in Odessa, he left me in charge of his son, Prince Peter, who procured for me an instructor to teach me the Russian language.
This language, it is said, has for a basis, the Sclavonic, but is much modified by the introduction of Greek, Tartar and Mongolian terms, and from its peculiar alphabet, (of thirty-six letters), its numerous and irregular flexions and singular pronunciation, it is the most difficult I ever undertook to acquire.
Possessing, however, as I have before
remarked, a superior aptitude for languages, I was not a long while in mastering it, and was told by those with whom I conversed, that I had only a slight foreign accent. The Russian language, in spite of a few euphonic defects, is, in general, sonorous and flowing, and is eminently adapted, as a vehicle, for almost any kind of literature.
There are a few specimens of Russian literature that are considered fine, the principal among which are the poems of Soumorokoff, Lomenosoff, Karamzin, and Pouchkin, the epics of the first named are by the Russians considered almost Homeric in its graphic sublimity.
The Russians, however, are in most respect, an eminently practical people, and there are comparatively few literary productions from that country other than logical, religious, scientific, or mathematical character.
When I had been in Odessa six months, Prince Mentchikoff wrote to his son to repair with me immediately to Constantinople, which command was at once obeyed.
At this time, there was a serious diplomatic difficulty pending between the Czar (Nicholas I), and the Sultan (Abdul-Medjid), and in less than a month after my return to Constantinople, there was an open rupture between the cabinet at St. Petersburg, and the Sublime Porte, and preparations for active hostilities between the two powers were immediately commenced.
Leaving his son to superintend the removal of his personal goods to Odessa, the Prince proceeded, with the officers of his department, at once to the Muscovite capital. I accompanied this party, embarked on board the Austrian steamer, Egitto, bound to Frieste, an Austrian seaport,
on the Adriatic, via Athens and Corfou.
The Prince on reaching Frieste immediately proceeded by rail to Vienna, thence to Cracow, Warsaw, and finally to St Petersburg.
We arrived at St Petersburg on a bleak cold day, and for my part, I can say that I was thoroughly rejoiced at the termination of our most difficult [print illegible] ourney.
Shortly after the declation of war between Russia and Turkey, Prince Mentchikoff was invested with the command of the army in the Crimea and ordered to repair to Sevastopol with a large force.
This he at once proceeded to do leaving me at St Petersburg with his family.
Prince Mentchikoff whose fame as a diplomatist, and as a general is so notorious,
and who received from the Russians the appellation of Krinski geroi, (the hero of the Crimea,) was the great-grand-son of the famous Mentchikoff who played so conspicuous a part in the government of Russia during the reign of Peter the Great. In personal appearance, the Prince was tall, but not muscular, his countenance was extremely prepossessing, and his manners highly polished, kept his face well shaved all the time, spoke fluently Turkish, Russian, German, Persian, English, Italian and French. At the time he bought me he was about fifty seven years of age.
His fortune amounted to the enormous sum of fifty millions of roubles in cash, had estates in the governments of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Tvee, Nivgorod, Kostroma, Viatka, Simbrisk, Perm, Kalouka, etc., etc., and I have learned
from reliable authorities, that he had fifty-six thousand serfs. And at the outset of the Crimean war, he equipped three regiments of cavalry from his own estates and defrayed their expenses during the whole war.
The Prince owned two mansions in St Petersburg, one in the Newsky-Prospekt, and the other in the Bolshoÿ-Morskoÿ. The first named was the handsomest, being built entirely of pure Italian marble, five stories high, magnificently furnished throughout, and entered by a porte cochèn in the rear. To this most magnificent structure was attached a garden adorned with three fountains, and recherchès specimens of statuary.
His household consisted of eight laquais, or footmen, four chefs de cuisine, several subordinate cooks and scullions four femmes de chambres, a whole band of
musicians, several coachman, besides numbers of menials, amounting, total, in both establishments, to upwards of one hundred and fifty, all of whom were serfs, with the exception of a few who were his freedmen. In this estimate are not included the governeur of his children, M. Rëvel, a native of Neufatchel, his pianist, Herr Henriech Watchmann, a native of Hanover, and myself. I say myself because having never been "attached" to Russian soil, I could not be a serf under the "free" laws of that empire; and his excellency had notified me, on my arrival at the capital, that I was free, and at liberty to go whither-soever I chose.
The kind prince, however, suggested that I had better remain with his family, as he would give me a good education, and furnish me enough money to return to my native country
when I should be twenty five years of age.
This extremely kind offer I should most gratefully have accepted and abided by; but, after the departure of him whom I still considered my master, the treatment I received from the other servants became so intolerable that I was forced, much to my regret, to seek a situation elsewhere.
I found it no difficult matter to make a change; and soon entered the service of Prince Nicholas Vassilievitch Troubetzkoÿ a nobleman in more than name, a man of the noblest and kindest impulses, and whose memory, to this day, I cannot recall without emotion.
The Troubetzkoÿ family, to whom I am now alluding, are direct descendents of Jagellon, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who became king of Poland in the 14th century, by his marriage witn the beautiful Hedwig, a Polish Princess, and heir apparent to the throne of Lithu ania
ania, which by this means became united to Poland, and has since been considered a part of that country through all the revolutions and dismemberments that have since befallen it.
Prince Troubetzkoÿ and his brother Andie, both unmarried, resided together at the time I went into his service, and their domestic relationships were of the most harmonious character.
Prince Nicholas Vassilievitch Troubetzkoÿ was the youngest son of Prince Basil Troubetzkoÿ, who played a conspicious part during the Turkish war of 1828-29, under general Diebitch.
There are several Troubetzkoÿ families in Russia, particularly in Moscow.
The Lithnanian Troubetzkoÿ's are termed by way of contradistinction, Veliki Troubtezkam les grands Troubetzkoÿ (Great Troubetzkoÿs), and the others Maloy Troublzkam,
les petits Troubetzkoÿ, (the little Troubtezkoÿs.)
My excellent master had four brothers and five sisters. Prince Alexandre, Vladimir, Sergius, and A [print not legible] ie. Madame la Princesse Marie Esterhazy, Madame la Countesse Ribeaupierro, Madame la Countesse Apraxin, Madame Olgo Oustinoff, and Princess Woronzoff, nees Princesses Troubetzkoÿ.
St. Petersburg is situated at the head of a bight in the Gulf of Finland, at the point where it is entered by the Neva, the stream which flows into it from the lake Ladoga, and the nature of the ground it occupies is such that it is impossible to get anything like a fair view of the city until actually within it.
Coming from the Baltic, through the Gulf of Finland, little can be seen until, suddenly, the voyager finds himself surrounded by splendid granite quays, and gazing upon thousands of the most superbly
handsome edifices; and thus his admiration is intensified by the sudden surprise which attends it. Sooth to say this city of the Czars, is equalled by few, and certainly surpassed by none in the world, for comfort, strength and magnificence.
It would require a large volume to give even a synoptical description of this vast and splendid city, and I shall not even attempt to name its wonders.
While in the service of Prince Troubetzkoÿ, I enjoyed ample opportunities of visiting every place of interest in the city; the gardens, the monuments, the galleries, the churches, societies, theatres, public building of every description and the mansions of the rich and noble; and in making use of these opportunities, I allowed nothing to escape my eye, but everything I saw is, to this day, stamped on my brain like a picture
On one occasion, as I was strolling along the quay, facing the winter palace, I saw a distinguished looking individual, in full Russian uniform, approaching me, and observed all whom he passed doffed their hats, and many fell upon their knees.
As he was passing me, I lifted my fez, and stood in the attitude of a soldier, saluting, which action being observed by him, he clapped me on the shoulder and said in Russian: "Malodetz," which is equivalent to the English, "smart boy," and passed on. On inquiring, I learned that he was Nicholas I, Czar of all the Russias.
The next day his august Majesty sent me fifty silver roubles as a present.
He was an exceedingly fine looking man, considerably over six feet in height, and well proportioned, and considered the handsomest man in Russia. It was said
of him, that, in his character, he was extremely unrelenting, and was seldom known to forgive an act of disobedience, however slight.
In illustration of this feature in the Czar, I relate the following brief incident: The Prince Sergius Troubetzkoÿ (brother to Prince Nicholas,) excited the ire of his Majesty by falling in love with the daughter of Count -- contrary to the Czar's wishes, he being married. In his endeavors to elope with the object of his affection, he was caught in Bessarabia, in the act of leaving the Russian frontier. And as a penalty for his crime was deprived of his patent of nobility, degraded from his grade of a Colonel of a regiment, and sent to Siberia to serve in another regiment as a private.
The regiment to which the Prince was assigned, was ordered to Caucasus, at the
period when the fierce Schamyl was scourging the Muscovite frontier; and, for gallant conduct on the field, was promoted to a commissioned office.
The Czar transformed his given, into his surname (Sergieff), and signed his name Sergieff ne Prince Troubetzkoÿ, which was undeniable, of course. On the accession of Czar Alexander II., he was restored to his estates and dignity. The iron Nicholas never for a moment relented towards him.
Prince Nicholas Troubetzkoÿ, strange to say, entertained an aversion towards the Poles; and it might be thought that he was not fond of the Russians, as he would not allow me to continue to learn their language, and took it upon himself to teach me French, but I fear I was not over-diligent in my efforts to acquire that vivacious tongue. The language, in itself, was not difficult to acquire, but
for a long time I had an insurmountable disgust for the nasals. The sounds of an, in, on, un, and en, were particularly disagreeable to my ear.
But the Prince would not abandon his favorite fancy. He used to lock me up, and punished me in divers ways; and, by one means and another, he succeeded, at length, in hammering enough of the language into me to serve as a basis upon which to make further attainments afterwards.
Hitherto, ever since my advent into Christendom, I had remained a consistent Islam, repeating the requisite number of prayers daily, and at the time required, refraining from the use of pork, wine, etc., and rolling my eyes in holy horror at the frequent infractions of the law of the Koran that I constantly had occasion to witness.
But His Excellency made up his mind
to turn me from the error of my ways, and devoted himself assiduously to the accomplishment of his purpose.
Whenever he went to prayers, he made me stand before him, bon gré, mal gré, and imitate every action of his, such as kneeling, bowing, making the sign of the cross, etc., and I used to enjoy myself hugely, cutting capers and going through all sorts of pantomimic performances when he thought I was acting in a very devotional manner.
One day, as I was indulging extensively in my favorite amusement, the Prince happened to turn, and caught me in my most striking attitude, whereupon he gave me a striking reminder of what was decent and respectful on such solemn occasions, by administering to my ears a good boxing and depriving me of my dinner.
Finally, my prejudices gave way, however,
and I consented to embrace the Greek faith, the State religion of Russia.
I was baptized in Riga on the 12th of November, 1855, leaving my Mohammedan name of Mohammed Ali Ben Said at the font, and bearing therefrom the Christian name of Nicholas. This performance ended, I thought the job was complete, but the next day the papa, or priest who had me baptized, sent for me, and on getting where he was, I found myself in a beautiful chapel, handsomely paved with marble of different colors. He caused me to kneel before an immense tableau of the Saviour for hours, asking pardons for my past sins.
As the marble was harder than my knees, I was in perfect agony during the greater portion of the time, and became so enraged with the papa, that I fear I committed more sins during that space of time than I had done in days before.
In fact, I am not sure but that a few ungainly Mohammedan asperities of language bubbled up to my lips. But I managed to get through without any overt act of rebellion.
When I had become a confirmed Christian, the Prince presented me with a solid gold cross, and a chain of the same metal to suspend it around my neck by, in the prevailing Russian fashion; and, as he had never allowed me to associate with the rest of his domestics, I began to consider myself quite a superior being.
Prince Troubetzkoy had a beautiful residence about twenty-five verst from Moscow, where he was accustomed to spend that portion of each year between June and September inclusive; and the time was approaching for our departure thither.
Shortly before we left for Moscow the Prince with several of his friends went to visit Cronstadt and its fortifications, situated at the mouth of the Néva, and distant about twenty English miles from the capital.
I was much struck with the formidable appearance of this stronghold and of the complete and effectual manner in which the forts, with those of Riesbank, guard the approach to St. Petersburg. From Cronstadt we proceeded to Peterhoff, a summer resort, ouly a short distance from the former. This place is said to have been built by the Czarina Catherine Alexievna, and is a delightful place Before returning to the capital, we also visited "Czarskoê Cêlo," the village of the Czar, the favorite summer resort of the Emperor, Nicholas.
At length the time arrived for our departure for Moscow. This famous city is situated about four hundred miles east of St. Petersburg, and thither we took the railroad.
We reached Archangelsk at last, and I found it to be a very pleasant place. The Prince had here a large and
magnificent marble structure, four stories high and filled with immense numbers of paintings and other works of art.
Instead of living in this house, he had had constructed a wooden structure, one story high and had only three rooms.
In this humble cottage the Prince passed the greater portion of his time except on one occasion, which was that of a grand ball. During my stay at Archangelsk Gospodin Soukiassoff, my master's stewart of that estate, an Armenian, became much attached to me, and I to him, and he tried to teach me his language, which, to his great satisfaction, I readily acquired. In the meantime, our life at Archangelsk was spent in recreation on horseback and study, the Prince devoting himself in the most remarkable manner to the task of perfecting me in French. He was afflicted with a nervous
disease, and had repeatedly made applications to the Czar for permission to travel in foreign countries for the improvement of his health, but always in vain.
This disease subjected him to occasional violent outbursts of temper, during which time I sometimes felt the weight of his hand in no agreeable manner; but he generally treated me with the utmost kindness, and I was devotedly attached to him.
The season over at Archangelsk, he concluded to visit Caucassus, via Tver, Nijini Novgorod Asoff and Tangarog.
This journey occupied considerable time, which I spent in obtaining all the information I could concerning the history of the immense territory we traversed and the manners, customs and resources of its people, not omitting the
provincialisms in language encountered, from time to time as we progressed.
Passing Giorgiesk, the government capitol of Caucassus, we proceeded onward to Tiflis, the capitol of Georgia, and all Russian Trans-Caucassia; which city we found located on the banks of the Koor, in a narrow valley, and well defended with walls and forts.
During our stay in Georgia, the Prince in company with Princes Youssoupoff, Alexis Wassiltchikoff, and several other Russian nobles of his acquaintance, concluded to visit Persia.
The party were absent in Persia three months, during which time I remained in the household of Prince Simon Woronzow, brother-in-law to my master and commander of division at that time investing Kars, under General Mouravieff.
Immediately on the return of the travelling party, Prince Troubetzkoy retraced
his steps, with me, to Moscow, and thence proceeded at once to St. Petersburg.
While we were in Caucassus the Czar died, and immediately on the accession of Alexander the Prince obtained his long desired leave of absence.
He concluded to take me with him on his tour; and, having obtained our passports to Visa, we at once set out to Moscow; and thence in an immense fonegon of his own to Riga. His Excellency was in such anxious haste that he travelled day and night, without cessation; and, remaining in Riga only two or three days, proceeded onward to Warsaw via Dunaberg.
We did not tarry in Dunaberg, and only two days in Warsaw, from here we proceeded by rail to Vienna passing through several intermediate towns.
On our arrival at Vienna, the Prince
procured lodgings at the Hotel du Monarque on the Graben. I shall not weary the reader, however, with an account of all the wonders I saw in this Imperial capital; its Inner Stadt, the streets of which are often traversed by the nobility of both sexes, on foot; the beautiful Esplanade between this walled enclosure and the great outside towns; the twenty magnificent squares and parks that are embraced between the arms of the Danube, and called the Pratter, considered the finest in Europe; its numerous and splendid Churches, institutions of learning, extensive museums and public buildings of every description, not to mention the palaces and superb mansions of the rich. During the three months we remained in Vienna, the Prince went to Pesth in Hungary, to pay a visit to his sister Princess Esterhazy, and left me in Vienna to take care of his effects. He
instructed me to spend my nights at the Hotel but in the day, to play with and amuse the six years daughter of his sister Countess Aprâxin who lodged at the Metzler Hoff.
On his Excellency's return, he informed me that he intended leaving the capital of the Hassburgs for Dresden in Saxony, via Prague (Bohemia). We the domestics, at once packed his numerous effects, and we took the rail for the latter place, which we reached in a very few hours, it being about 57 English miles from Vienna. Hère we tarried only one night, and on the morrow we proceeded to Dresden.
His excellency having taken his quarters at Hotel de Saxe, and after having a good rest, he was soon on the wing, taking me with him, and exploring the renowned galleries, museums and other institutions of this famous city.
My master's brother Vladimie was at that time residing here, and was just getting over a severe spell of illness which had afflicted him several months before our arrival.
I found him to be a very kind and intelligent gentleman.
The Prince presented me a few days afterwards with several good French books, among which were: L'Immitation de Jèsus Christ, La vie de Jeannoe d'Arc, and others.
We remained in Dresden a month, and the Prince, having satisfied his curiosity in respect to this capital, concluded to visit Leipsic, a city also in Saxony, and the centre of learning in Germany. A few hours before our departure, however, the Prince received a letter from several of his Russian friends dated and post marked at Munich in Bavaria. They were then preparing to go
to the watering places in the Tyrol called Ischl, and they requested his Ezcellency to repair to Munich, stating that his company was indispensable; (for it must be remarked that my master was a bel esprit in company, consequently his presence was sought with great avidity) accordingly he yielded to their desire, and we at once set out for that capitol passing through Augsburg an ancient city and the centre of financial transactions in Southern Germany.
Spending only forty eight hours in this city, which time we occupied in sight seeing, we took the rail for the place of our destination, arriving there in less time than three hours run, and took rooms at the Hotel de Baviere, (Bavarian Hotel), on the Max-Joseph-Platz.
During the three weeks stay in this city, I accompanied His excellency to
almost every place of interest, including the celebrated Pinacotheca, and Glyptotheca galleries, (the former containing three hundred thousand paintings and Pengravings,) the University and Royal libraries, (the former containing, at that time two hundred thousand volumes and four thousand manuscripts, and the latter embracing six hundred and fifty thousand volumes and twenty thousand manuscripts), the Bavarian monument of eighty or ninety feet in height, which is ascended by winding stairs within, built by Herr Swauthaler, and other places of note.
We found a larger number of Russian gentlemen in Munich than we expected, among them were count Strogonoff in company with his--the grand Duchess Mary, daughter of Czar Nicholas, Prince Bagrathion, Narischkin, Schouralloff, and a host of other Russian personages, who
were also on their way to the bathing place in the Tyrol above mentioned.
Having satisfied his curiosity with regard to this celebrated place, the Prince drew me, with much reluctance on my part from the many attractive objects to be found here, not the least among which was the excellent Baravian beer, and proceeded at once by stage to Saltzburg, in Austria.
This ancient city is distant about one hundred and sixty miles from Vienna, in a West South West direction and is celebrated for having been destroyed by the terrible Huns' chief Attilla in A. D, 440, and afterwards rebuilt by the Dukes of Bavaria, and for being the birth-place of the immortal Mozart.
We remained only two days in this place, after which we proceeded to Ischl. This place is situated in a valley and on both banks of the little river Ill, it
contains ferruginous sulpher and other mineral waters.
At that time preparations were being made at the Hotel de I' Imperatice Elizabethe for the reception of his majesty Francis Joseph. The Emperor, however, declined to come.
Soon after our arrival, a tremendous rain and storm set in which lasted eleven days without cessation.
Here I had the misfortune to fall in love, but as this is a common thing among youths of my own age, and as nothing became of it except a flood of bitter tears on both sides at parting, I shall not weary the kind reader with the history of my amours.
Fall had now set in, and the Prince concluded to go to Baden-Baden, Dormstadt, Francfort on the Main, Aix-la-Chapelle, Cologne, and other towns in Belgium.
Accordingly we retraced our steps to Saltzburg, and Munich, and from this place to Baden-Baden. We took lodging here at the Victoria Hotel, owned by Her Grossholtz an accomplished hotel-keeper.
Baden-Baden is a great resorting place for invalids from different parts of Europe, on account of the curative properties of its waters, and the salubrity of its climate.
Quite a large number of gamblers by profession also visit it for the purpose of playing the roulette, where great numbers of them get broke.
My master on one occasion won 10,000 florins (golden).
On leaving Baden-Baden, we stopped two or three days at Heidelburg, in the Grand Duchy of that name, and situated on the Neckar, it is a place of considerable importance; it has a celebrated
medical College in which students from all parts of Germany take their degrees.
Not far from it on a hill, is an old dilapidated castle in which is to be seen a monster cask, capable of containing 700,000 gallons of liquid. This cask was once filled with wine, some centuries ago. Having satiated his curiosity in respect to this city. Francfort was next on His Excellency's way-bill.
We stopped here only a night, and the next day we were on our way to Weisbaden.
While here the Prince heard, through the papers, that Sebastopol had fallen into the hands of the Allies. His excellency was much mortified by this report, but I could hardly repress my exultation, for my sympathies were with the Osmanlis.
From here we went to the Rhine and
took passage on board the steamer, plying between that point and Cologne.
On arriving here the Prince began to complain, and soon thereafter he took ill. It was discovered that he had the dysentery.
Dr. Helins, of Heidelberg, in whom the Prince had an implicit confidence as a skillful physician was at once sent for, and after three weeks time recovered.
Scarcely had he recovered before he was again on the wing.
The Prince visited in rapid succession Bruges, Brussels, Ostende, the Hague Amsterdam, etc., and retraced his steps to Baden Baden, whence we took the railroad for Basel, a city in Switzerland, situated on the Rhine, in two portions, that is on both sides of that river and respectively called Klein Basel and Gross Basel.
Remaining here only a very short time,
we again set out for Berne the capital of the above named country, thence to Thun, in the canton of Berne, where we took a steamer for Interlaken, at the foot of the Jung-frau mountain.
It was at this time in the month of October, and the cold was getting to be intolerable, at least to myself. The Prince now proposed to pass the winter in Italy, accordingly after visiting the cascades, and other objects of interest around Jung-frau we proceeded to Furich thence through the Tyrol to Como, in Lombardy. From here the Prince went to Milan, Genoa, Leghorn, Pisa, Florence and Rome. The Prince concluded to pass the winter in this city, but before doing so he proposed to go to Naples to spend a few weeks, after which he would return.
Accordingly, leaving the greater part of his effects at the Hotel d' Europe, on the Piazza d' Espagna, we went to Porto
d' Anzo, a miserable place, said to be the birth-place of the tyrant Nero. Here we took passage on an equally wretched craft for Naples, which place we reached after a perilous traverseé. We afterward learned that our boat came very near blowing up. Naples has a beautiful appearance from the sea, but its streets, with the exception of the principal one, called Toledo, are narrow, badly paved and filthy.
We took lodging at the Albergo di Crocelli, facing the principal fort, called Castel' d' Ovo. After a month's stay in this city, and after visiting every place of interest in its environs, the Prince concluded to return to the Eternal City. Accordingly, we took a stage and started for that city via Galta, stopping here only a while to examine its curiosities.
We arrived at Rome in January, and the Prince left the Albergo d' Espagna, and hired a private house in the Strada
dei Ponteffici, near the Corso, the Prince intending to remain here till spring, when he proposed to visit Paris and London.
Rome has been so often described by writers, better qualified to the task than myself, that I shall forbear to describe it, but shall simply mention some facts relating to my personal adventures.
In his endeavors to educate me, the Prince had neglected to teach me arithmetic, accordingly he hired me a tutor, a Frenchman by nationality, bearing the name of Alphonse Garron to perfect me in the French grammar and to teach me the mysteries of mathematics. Nature has denied me the faculty of acquiring the science of numbers.
Mr. Garron made several complaints to the Prince concerning my inaptitude towards that particular branch.
But I could not help it. My teacher
succeeded at length in teaching me the four principal rules viz: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division.
During our stay in the Papal States, the Prince became very intimate with Cardinal Antonelli, the Prime minister of Pius IX, and often visited the Vatican.
The Romans ascribe all the evils, old and new, under which they suffer, to Cardinal Antonelli: The perfectly illegal condition in which the States of the Church were then, was the handiwork of that minister, for, instead of removing old abuses, he has continually added new and worse. Not only all justice but every liberty, the Romans further complain, has been trodden under foot by Antonelli.
Misery and wretchedness have increased in the nation. Instead of public education, only public ignorance is fostered, and Rome has sunk most shamefully
in the arts and sciences which, formerly invested it with a halo.
All this Antonelli alone has done, the brown man with wild aquiline nose, and the wolf's teeth, that project menacingly from his mouth. He who is to blame for all this will soon occasion the overthrow of Rome.
It is true that Antonelli could have let all reform fall quietly, but he confessed openly, and told everybody that the prosperity of Rome did not depend on reform. Antonelli was in reality a very modest man: he did not wish to be distinguished by anything new, he only wanted the old absolutism in which Rome became great and powerful, and he did not unite with it, the slightest hyprocrisy of liberty, with which absolutistic statesmen are so fond of adorning themselves. He never told the Romans that he would make them free and happy. He pursues calmly and
noiselessly the policy that everything must remain as it was, and that a nation is the happiest when sunk in the most degrading ignorance. It caused the most surprise that a practical man like Antonelli should allow the Roman code to remain on the old footing, for that is the most striking abuse of the papal administration. But how could it be expected that he who had left his friends and relations behind in the forests of Terracina should attempt to punish criminals, and free society from murderers, thieves and other malefactors?
The state of prisons in Rome is fearful, and the Paliano at Rome may be even compared unfavorably with the prison at Visiti, where Poerio once languished. The inmates have neither table nor chair, not even the slightest article of furniture that can promote their comfort. Their food consists of a soup made of rancid bacon and
oil, two loaves of black bread, each weighing nine ounces, and a disgusting beverage which is honored with the name of wine.
They have only a tin-cup and a pan, in which to wash in the morning and eat at night. The cells, in which several prisoners are placed together, are so narrow that if one of them wished to take exercise the others must lie down. The drinking water is drawn from the neighboring dirty ditches, and filled with all sorts of abominations. Instead of windows there are holes, covered with coarse canvass, which does not keep out cold or draught, however, and hence the prisoners are never free from toothache, rheumatism, and all sorts of maladies. As a refinement of cruelty, Antonelli actually ordered one hundred common criminals to be sent down from fort Urbano, and distributed among the political détenus.
M. Edmond About has already told us sufficiently of the miserable state of cultivation in the papal States, on the gross ignorance of the people. These are both to be ascribed to the priesthood, and the power it holds over the family ties. Stories of criminal padres form a permanent background of Italian life. The popular fancy is constantly excited by such stories, which, with their tendency to exaggeration, they often make worse than they really are.
Yet, heaven knows! the priests are bad enough, and the revelations made in Turin have sufficiently taught the world what the state of affairs must be in Rome, where every effort is made to hush up any criminality on the part of the favored class.
Latterly, however, the priest has lost much of his influence over the lower classes of Roman society. The robbers
have lost their respect for them, and have quite a fancy for stealing from them. In fact, the banditti who have attained quite a status in society, have now constituted a separate power against the Church and laws. They are well known persons, settled in their native villages, and generally respected; they live on the best terms with their neighbors, perhaps join the parish priest in buying a few lottery tickets; in a word, they would be most excellent fellows, if they did not suffer from a mania for stopping the mail cart at night. Fancy a country in Europe where the mail had to be protected by an escort of gen d' armes and dragoons, and that was the case prior to the annexation, between Bologna, Ferrara, and Ravenna. But many places in and around Rome are just as dangerous as the highways in the Legatines. The nocturnal robberies are quite
common, and not a long time before our departure from Rome, a party of English were plundered to their shirts, within the walls of the Coliseum.
All this, however, is regarded by the native population in a different way from what the stranger, who does not possess the felicity of living under the crosier, would be disposed to accept it. The Italians actually complain of the barbarity of the Austrians, who, during the occupation, shot down every bandit they caught in flagrante delicto. A brigand is just as much a member of civil society as a priest or an employee, for they all rob with equal pertinacity. In what did the rape of the little Mortara differ, after all, from the robbery of the mail bags? An Italian robber, even when locked up in prison, enjoys a great popularity in the country, and his name is constantly repeated as that of a most
meritorious man. In his prison he receives visitors from near and far, and people flock in to express their admiration and sympathy for the man who is a martyr to the laws.
Such a man is the celebrated bandit, Galafredo, who has been for a long time confined in the fortress of Civita Vecchia, where his family were compelled to share his imprisonment. He receives all travellers who send in their names to him, and he does so in the full feeling of his value and dignity, for Galafredo is vain. He has in his day committed a series of atrocities which rendered him the terror of the highways and forest, but was at length compelled to surrender to the Papal government.
He is still a fine-looking fellow, wearing a red velvet jacket adorned with all sorts of finery, while his family are in rags. He spends nearly all his visitors
give him for dress, and his eyes flash with delight when any one says of him, "Galafredo looks like a king!" His great popularity may be ascribed, however, to the way in which he performed his achivements. He never assailed the poor, but practiced his devices exclusivey on the rich. Galafredo declared that he never killed any one who did not offer him open resistance. On the other hand, he murdered every priest he came across, and this is a tragic feature which stands out from his life's history; while at the same time, it proves that the element of clericality and robbery are always in contact in Italy.
Galafredo loved a girl in his youth, but, at the same time, suspected her of a liaison with a priest. He watched him, and, one fine day, stabbed him to the heart, as he was kissing the girl. Thereupon Galafredo fled to the mountains, and
began to carry on the only trade now left to him.
Galafredo had originally been toothdrawer in his village, and gained a great and widely extended reputation in that profession.
This renown almost rivalled his new character as bandit, although he soon made himself greatly respected in the latter character. Never had so many priests been found murdered on the highways, and yet, when it was known that Galafredo was in the neighborhood, anybody suffering from toothache was delighted to send for him. Galafredo would descend from the mountains with perfect equanimity, pull out the offending tooth, and receive his fee, no one having a thought of stopping him on such an occasion.
Even the gen d' armes did not interfere with him when they found him peaceably carrying on his vocation in the
village: a terrible but true image of modern Italy.
The bandit in Italy is almost as general as the priest. If he be not a dentist, like Maestro Galafredo, he takes to some reputable trade, or temporarily accepts a government office, chiefly at the dogane or custom-house; for he never wants powerful protectors. There are times when business is dull on the highway, or the bandit has a longing for an existence free from care. He may then be frequently found among the crowds who stand in grotesque groups before the great steps of the Piazzo di Spagna, and offer their services to passing artists.
It would be unjust to say that Antonelli, who has introduced into Rome a magnificent system of domestic espionage, on the model of the Russians, has not turned his attention to the improvement of the city police.
Unfortunately, they have hitherto only taken under their fostering wing, the crinoline of the ladies, which the wicked boys made sad fun of in their songs. Through this very protection, however, Antonelli has fallen into sad disgrace with the Priests, who are the sworn foes of those mysterious combinations of whalebone and steel.
One of the most celebrated preachers in Rome made a very clever attack upon it, by saying that it did not suit the Roman ladies, for it concealed their graceful and well-rounded forms. They carry their hatred so far that they have been seen in the streets blessing the boys who sing the wicked songs.
Herr Mundt, an author on Roman matters, throws a new light upon the Napoleonic intrigue in Rome by the description he gives of the young Prince Lucien, who was at that time, (1856,) a chamberlain
and private secretary to Pio Nono, and would have been a cardinal long since, were it not for his youth.
He is seriously regarded in Rome as the future Pope, for it is undoubted that Louis Napoleon entertained the idea most favorably.
In such a case the Catholic world would hail with delight the termination of the lasting struggle between Guelph and Gheblline. The views, however, which Louis Napoleon entertained are still in a very significant reserve. At times it seems as if, even in case that he is compelled to effect a regeneration of Italy, he will attempt to keep the chair of St. Peter upright. "But," as Herr Mundt justly says, "we cannot feel certain of this, for it is the peculiarity of the Napoleonic policy always to do exactly the reverse to that which appeared probable, and what has been solemnly promised."
If, however, on the decease of that "sick man," Pio Nono, Prince Lucien were really elevated to the Tiara, all possible arrangements between papacy and imperialism could be carried out in the most charming way. En attendant, the Prince works hard on behalf of the French party at Rome, and will doubtless have fully earned the papal triple crown, if ever it be placed on his head.
While in Rome, I one day saw in the Giornale di Roma an article respecting the invasion of Soudan by Said, Pacha of Egypt.
The article said that the subjugation of Soudan had been very difficult. I never have heard anything about that matter since, and moreover doubt its veracity.
May it never happen that my dear country should ever be under Egyptian despotism.
On the 25th of May, 1857, we got our passports to Visa, and forthwith left Rome for Civita Vecchia, where we took a steamer belonging to the French Messagerie Imperiale for Marsailles, which we reached in forty-eight hours.
Remaining here only a few hours, we left this city for Paris, stopping a little while in Lyons.
Shortly after our arrival in Paris, a grand ball was given at the Palais du Corps Legislatif, in honor of the Due de Morney's marriage with one of my master's nieces, a daughter of his brother Sergius, of whom mention has already been made.
His Excellency took lodgings at the Hotel Mirabeau, in the Rue de la Paix.
The Prince was now very anxious to visit England, and leaving the greater portion of his effects at the Hotel Mirabeau,
we left Paris, in June, for Boulogne sur Mer.
I did not rest a moment during our stay in Paris, but was here, and there and everywhere, seeing everything, and learning everything.
I believe there is more wealth and more wretchedness, more learning and more vice, more gayety and less virtue in Paris than in any other city in the world.
It would be pleasant to me to describe the magnificent edifices, boulevards, and parks of the great city, its monuments of sculpture and its galleries of paintings, its churches, colleges, libraries and its world-renowned scientific associations, its operas, theatres and other places of gayety and fashion; but I must forbear.
On reaching Boulogne, we immediately embarked on board an English steamer
for Folkestone, the birthplace of Harvey, of the "Circulation of the blood" celebrity.
Remaining here only a day, we took the rail for London, which we reached late at night.
As some said it was unaristocratic to live at the hotels, the Prince had before-hand engaged a private house on Prince street, Hanover square, whither we immediately repaired.
During the sojourn of three months in London, the Prince was repeatedly invited to the residences and country seats of the nobility, and on these occasions, was always permitted to accompany him
He was also on several occasions invited to the court, both at Buckingham palace and Windsor castle, and was always accepted cordially and cheerfully by Her Brittanic Majesty.
At these places, I had excellent opportunities
of seeing many of the prominent men of England, among them Lords Palmerston, John Russell, Barrington, Westmoreland, and many others, besides numbers of ambassadors, etc. etc.
During my stay in England, I worked hard to learn the English language; so by the time I left there I had laid a very good foundation upon which to build afterwards.
Of all the people I have ever seen in my life, the English nobility are the highest livers, and the most fastidious in their surroundings. Indeed I disgraced myself at the country residence of Lady Waldegrave's by associating with her footmen, and I was forced much to my regret to give over my hitherto pleasant visits to her under-household because, being a valet de chambre, and having degraded myself by mixing with my inferiors, I
would have been compelled to remain with them in all future visits.
At the expiration of the time above stated we returned to Paris, by the way of Dover and Calais. The succeeding seasons from 1858, to 1866, were passed alternately in Italy, Germany, France, and England.
In the spring of 1867 while in Ryde, (Isle of Wight) I had an irresistible desire to visit my native country. I at first tried to overcome that feeling but all in vain.
When I communicated my wishes to the Prince he tried to ridicule me, stating that I was no longer an African but a citizen of Europe. He said I could not reconcile myself to the manners and customs of my countrymen. He moreover told me if I would stay with him twenty years he would give me a pension the rest of my days. All this, however, did
not deter me from returning to Soudan.
All the Prince could do was to draw a promise from me to return to him after spending a year in Central Africa.
Accordingly having furnished me three hundred pounds sterling; this kind and best of men left London for Geneva via Paris, and I removed quarters to the "Strangers' Home, for Asiatics, Africans, and South Sea Islanders," located on the West India Dock; superintended by Mr. Marshall Hughes, a model christian and gentleman.
This gentleman, I learned, had formerly been, for upwards of twenty years, an officer in the British East India army.
While waiting here for a steamer to convey me to Malta, from which point I expected to get passage for Tripoli, and then with a caravan to Fezzan, and then across the Desert to Bornou, I was sent for to see "a gentleman."
Answering the summous, I soon found myself in the presence of a well dressed and genteel looking man, with long, flowing, sandy whiskers, who informed me that I had been recommended to him by a gentleman, the name of whom he declined to reveal, and said he desired my services as a valet.
The gentleman said he contemplated marriage and a bridal tour through the West Indies, the British North American Provinces, and the United States; that he would not be absent more than twelve months; that he would take good care of me, and show me many new things to tell my people of on my return, and that he would bring me back to England.
He gave me twenty-four hours for consideration and reflection, during which time my fondness for travel asserted its supremacy, I concluded to go with him,
and we arranged that I should have £3.11s. for my services per month, besides which he was to pay my travelling, board and clothing expenses, and physician fees, in the event of sickness.
The name of my new employer was De Sanddrost I. J. Rochussen, then lately from Paramaribo, (Dutch Guinea), and at the time that I engaged service with him, was staying at the Marlborough Hotel in Fleet street, and in the immediate vicinity of St. Paul's Cathedral.
As soon as he was married we removed to the Paddington Hotel, and shortly afterwards, took the rails for Wells City, Sommerset. We remained only a few days here, and went to Liverpool, stopping a few days in Bristol, Exeter, Manchester; and at the former place took passage on board the "Bohemian," commanded by captain Granger, for Portland, Maine, United States.
We landed in Portland in December 1867, and on the morn of our arrival, we left for Boston, Mass.
We stayed here two days, and then left for New York.
As it was Mr. Rochussen's intention to pass the winter in the West Indies, he made no delay in the Northern States, but what was absolutely necessary. Accordingly, after staying only three days at the Metropolitan Hotel, we took the English Screw Steamship "Karnak," for Nassau, N. P. We made this port in five days.
Here I was perfectly beside myself with joy, on finding a great many liberated Africans, but all of them came from the coast of Guinea, Mandigoes, Nangoes, Kissi, Dahomey, Amatifous, and Kromantis. Consequently, I could not converse with them.
The English government of the West
Indies had most of the young men in the army. They wore similar uniforms to the French "Turcos," and performed their evolutions, or tactics, with remarkable precision. The military brass band is also very much admired by all who have ever heard it play.
About eleven miles west of Nassau, there is a village called Adelaide, where the freshly rescued Africans used to go, and remain until properly trained to the usages and modes of the civilized world. This place is now perfectly deserted, and nothing can be seen but the ruins of huts built in the African style.
There were still remaining, however, two or three hovels, and as hunger pressed Mr. and Mrs. Rochussen and myself, we managed to buy a couple of pullets, a pot was procured, and I was called upon to display my culinary ability. After partaking of my cooking, which both Mr.
and Madame Rochussen pronounced excellent, we returned to Nassau.
After remaining here one month and a week, Mr. Rochussen concluded to visit Hayti, and accordingly we took passage on board the brig Victoria, for Cape Haïtien, and touching at Inagua, Long Key, and Long Island, (Bahamas). After nineteen days of the most wretched sailing, we reach Cape Haïtien.
I found myself exceedingly delighted at finding myself in the country where the heroes of the "Haytien Independence" contended with the armies of Napoleon the Great.
I had always admired the exploits of Toussaint, L'Ouverture, Dessalines, Christophe, and other negro leaders, whose heroism and military talent are an honor to the African race.
Hayti, or Hispaniola, certainly deserves the appellation of the "Queen of the Antilles."
Nothing can excel it in picturesque beauty. It is very mountainous, and viewing it from the sea, it has a grand and magnificent appearance.
Cape Haïtien, in the time of the French occupation, must have been a place of considerable importance.
It is situated at the terminus of a small bay, and the foot of a mount, which totally hides it from view on all sides. It is defended by several forts and redoubts the greater portion of which are in a dilapidated condition.
The language spoken here is French, but only the educated can speak perfectly. They have, however, among them a patois which they call Créole. It is an admixture of French and several African languages, and is quite unintelligible to a Frenchman.
Notwithstanding all the natural advantages which this country possesses, no
sign of industry is to be seen in it.
This country, when it was a French colony, produced wheat, rice, corn, cotton, indigo, etc. etc. It is now grown up in thick forests of mahogany and other valuable timber, which, with gold and the tropical fruits that grow there spontaneously, constitute the chief articles of export.
I understood while there, that the policy of that government is to keep things in that condition, lest England France, the United States or Spain might envy and take possession of it.
The government of Hayti, I am sorry to say, is most shamefully managed. It is a perfect image of anarchy; and goes to prove that the pure negro and the mulatto, who considers himself, (by virtue of his caucassian half-bloodedness,) the superior of the former, and who always wants to rule him, cannot possibly live in harmony and prosperity.
The fault is, (in nine cases out of ten,) the mulattoes', who, unduly and arrogantly, are presumptuous.
The prejudice of color in the West Indies between the negro and the hybrid mulatto is much greater than exists in the United States.
I shall truly and fearlessly say that the Southern white has ten-fold more humane feeling towards the black man than the West India mulatto, I shall also include the Northern mulatto, though there are noble exceptions in both cases.
It is a burning shame that instead of making that country prosperous and its people industrious and happy, the soidisant, aristocrats and educated people of Hayti should pay attention to mean and low party dissensions.
No wonder the whites of different countries maintain that the negro is incapable of self-government. How is it
possible for a community to be prosperous when its population entertain inveterate animosities among themselves?
I would prefer that Hayti were one of the English or French colonies rather than in its present condition.
The President of the Republic at the time I was there was Giffrard, a truly intelligent, able and excellent man, who introduced reform, created a navy, and did a host of other good things for his country, which he loved with genuine patriotism, notwithstanding which the mulattoes undermined and eventually revolted and overthrew him.
I have since learned that they have executed Salnave--in short, should an angel come from heaven to rule that country they would not be pleased with him.
We remained at Cape Haïtien seven
weeks, after which we left for Gonaïves by land.
On our route lay several insignificant but most picturesque villages, the principal among which is Plaisance, where we passed a night. There are several dangerous passes on this route, but we made that port in three days without any remarkable event.
From appearance Gonaïve boasts more commerce than Cape Haïtien and contains some substantial and well built commercial houses.
About nine leagues east of this place is the celebrated Crēte á Piérrot, the place where the negro insurgents under the leadership of their celebrated General, Toussaint L'Overture, signally defeated the French under General LeClerc, broth-in-low to Napoleon I, who sent him to reduce the negroes again to slavery.
This fortification is considered second
to that of Mole Saint Nicholas, the Gibraltar of Hayti.
Mole Saint Nicholas had once withstood a seige for ten years.
We stayed in Genaïves about ten days, after which we sailed for Port au Prince.
I shall not dwell any longer on the details of our trip through Hayti. But after visiting the principal towns in this Republic, we returned to Nassau, by way of Kingston, Jamaica, and embarking on board the Karnak, we made New York on the last of May, 1867.
M. Rochussen now proposed to visit Niagara Falls, Saratoga Springs, Kingston, Canada West, Montreal, and Quebec, where he intended to take passage on his return to Europe.
We accordingly left the Metropolitan Hotel, New York, and made Niagara Falls in due time, and, remaining here two weeks, we left for Hamilton, thence
to Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa City and Aylmer about nine miles north of the latter city.
Here M. Rochussen informed me that he had failed to receive his remittance in time, and said he had very urgent business in Quebec, and asked me if I could lend him a hundred pounds. I told him I had three hundred pounds that I could spare; he having told me he would return me my money in a fortnight.
He consented to my proposal and I handed him six £50 bills.
Next day he left for Ottawa City, leaving his effects and Madame Rochussen.
Three days after his departure, Madame received a telegraphic communication stating that M. Rochussen had met with a serious accident, and requesting her to repair to Quebec immediately. I was left to take care of their things, which consisted of five large
trunks besides a number of sma [print not legible] ler ones.
After Madame Rochussen's departure, I had a strange presentiment that I would never see them again.
I waited at the British Hotel, where we had stopped, for three months expecting the return of my employer, but all in vain. Mr. John McCook, the clerk and business manager, for the proprietress, Mrs. McCormick, told me that M. Rochussen had absconded, and owed the Hotel $2000, and had borrowed £50 from himself.
His and my own things were seized, consequently, I lost all my clothing, consisting of four Turkish costumes, three full suits, of broadcloth, a dozen of linen and fine English flannel shirts, etc. etc., worth more than two hundred and fifty dollars.
I was almost penniless, with only one suit of clothes, and that a livery, with M. Rochussen's coat-of-arms on the buttons.
Having no trade, knowing no person to whom I could apply for help,--I was truly in a pitiful situation. But God who never forsakes us came to my relief.
During our stay at Aylmer, we had become acquainted with Rev. D. T. Johnston, a pastor of that parish, who loaned me ten dollars, and told me I had better go to Detroit, Michigan, or Buffalo, New York, where there were a great number of colored people; and where I could get into employment easier than to remain in Canada, where the cold was so intense.
I left Aylmer for Prescott, where I crossed the St. Lawrence to Ogdensburg, New York, thence to Rome, Watertown, Syracuse and Buffalo.
Here I took passage on the Concord for Detroit, Michigan, as a deck hand. The work was so hard for me that I only managed to make one trip. My will was
good, but my strength failed. I informed the captain, who was a good man, of my former occupation, and he told me that he was not surprised at my giving out.
He paid me up promptly my $4.50, which was coming to me on reaching Detroit. I stayed here six months, during which time I became acquainted with Rev. Geo. Duffield, D. D., who recognized me, having seen me on board the Egitto, on our trip from Constantinople to Trieste, while I was in the service of Prince Mentchikoff.
This gentleman helped me a great deal by recommending me to the principal colored people of that city, some of whom gave me employment, to teach their children French.
At the end of six months, I had pretty well recuperated, and had some two hundred dollars in money and good suits of clothes. I then left for Toledo,
Ohio, thence to Bellefontaine and Sandusky City, in the same state.
While in Sandusky City, I conceived the idea to go South, where I could be of great use to my benighted people in the capacity of a teacher.
I selected Charleston, South Carolina as the basis of my operation. Accordingly I left Sandusky City for Cleveland, Ohio, thence to Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Troy, Poughkeepsie and New York City, and embarked for the port of my destination.
Having taken up my quarters at Mrs. Cobb's boarding house in Calhoune Street, I soon became acquainted with Wright, Langston, Randolph, Bozeman, Ransier, and a host of other less notable Northern colored men who came there for political purposes.
All the above named were very able men, but, with the exception of the last
named, who was truly a very good and honest man, I have a very little opinion of their honesty.
I soon got into employment as a teacher, and taught here about a year.
I am proud to say that I have gained the esteem of numerous white friends in Charleston, among which are Messrs. General Simmons, Kanapaux, Dr. Ogier, Sim, De Saussure, Chazal, Cohen, and a host of others who have shown me a great deal of favor.
I left Charleston for Savannah, Georgia, in the commencement of 1870, and only remaining here three days I left for Thomasville, Thomas County Georgia.
While here I conceived the idea of writing my Biography or rather adventures. Several of my well-wishers to whom I communicated my idea said it was a very good thing.
The Editor of the "Thomasville Enterprise"
gave me a most flattering notice in his paper, by which I gained many friends.
I accordingly set to work and wrote an essay to that effect consisting of about one hundred pages. When I completed that, I proposed to give lectures on "Africa and its resources." I made my dèbut in Thomasville, then at Bainbridge Albany, Americus, Macon, Griffin, and Atlanta. I soon got tired of that business which in fact did not yield me much profit, I left Atlanta, and got down to Forsyth in Monroe, where I took up a school sixteen miles from here in a village called Culloden.
I taught here six months and then retraced my steps to Thomasville where I had left my effects with a colored friend of mine, Solomon Harvey by name. To my no small disappointment
he had left for Texas taking my goods with him.
After making arrangements as to the publication of my book, I started on a new plan, that of raising means by which to defray expenses of publication by voluntary subscriptions.
I have got a great many subscribers from Thomasville, Bainbridge, Quitman, Valdosta, Ga., Monticello, Madison, Tallahassee and Quincy Fla. From Quincy I returned to Bainbridge thence to Early county Georgia, always meeting with success and good treatment from the white and black people.
While in Georgia and Florida, I had heard from the black people that Alabama was a very dangerous State and filled with Ku-Klux that the freedmen there did not know what freedom was owing to the oppression of the whites under which they were situated.
I was advised not to go to that State my life, they said, would be in great danger. My own common sense dictated to me, of course, that it was not possible that such a state of affairs could exist in Alabama, besides that, there were good and bad in all countries.
I shall here say, however, that it was thought by the blacks and a good number of whites I travelled for the purpose of spying through the country. Blacks were sent at times to pick me, but I had nothing to tell them excepting that I travelled for my own amusement and gratification, at the same time, making a little something which I hoped would enable me to publish my Adventures.
Some said I was harmless and quiet, and others that I was a Yankee emissary and a scoundrel.
I crossed the Chattahooche into
Henry county, Alabama, and to my great surprise, was received with respect and kindness. I shall truly say, that I have never had such a reception heretofore.
I shall never forget the kindness and attention paid to my humble self by that most intelligent and most gentlemanly Mr. M. Smith, of Columbia. When I left that place, after ten days stay, and was going to Abbeville, the county-seat, that kind man recommended me to Col. Oates, of that town:
COLUMBIA, ALA., July 21, 1871.
The bearer, Nicholas Said, who is without a shadow of a doubt, a native African, and whose ostensible object in travelling through this country, is to obtain subscribers to his Autobiography, lectured here to-day.
And I am glad to say, gave entire satisfaction to his audience, which was composed
of a goodly number of white and black people. He is, by far, the most intelligent, and the best educated man of the African race, with whom I have ever conversed, etc.
Any attention paid to Mr. Said will be thankfully received.
I am, Colonel,
Yours, most truly,
This letter did me an immense good in Abbeville, where I remained, and taught school until October of that year. I then went to Eufawla, Clayton, Troy. Montgomery, Selma, Greenville, Pineapple, Monroeville, Claiborne, Gainsville, and, finally to St. Stephens, Washington county, where I conceived the idea of settling myself for life.
On the 20th day of March, 1872, I found myself in St. Stephens, the county-seat of Washington county, Alabama, situated a few miles from the right bank of the Tombigbee river.
Here I felt an insurmountable desire to put an end to my peregrinations, that, is at least for a season; for I was perfectly exhausted, and as I had a notion to enlarge my Biography, and as the manuscript had become worn out, by constant handling; I had nothing better to do than to take a school somewhere, in order to accomplish my desired end.
Accordingly, on inquiry, I found that I could get one in the neighborhood of St. Stephens, and was suggested by Mr. ----, one of the Trustees, to see one Dr. W. H. Coleman, who, it was said, lived six miles above that place on the road to Bladon Springs, in Choctaw county, Alabama.
This gentleman was, it was said, one of the county supervisors, whose duty it was to examine teachers, as to their qualifications.
Consequently, having received a note from Mr. Bailey, which ran thus:
"Dr. W. H. Coleman:
"SIR: The bearer, Nicholas Said, desires a situation in our neighborhood as a teacher, please to examine him and oblige,
Armed with this document, I proceeded onward to Dr. Coleman's.
On entering the paling enclosure, I was informed that the Doctor was in the garden, and would be back in a few minutes.
Presently I saw him coming, and I asked him whether he was Dr. Coleman, and on being answered affirmatively, I presented the paper to him.
The Doctor appeared to be a man of about fifty years of age, with a kind and gentlemanly looking face and highly polished manners, and in stature something above the medium height.
His reception of me was quite flattering, for after my examination, I was asked whether I had been to breakfast; I told him I had not, whereupon "Bright,' the servant girl, was called and instructed to furnish me with my breakfast.
This most kind and hospitable gentleman furthermore promised to protect me during my stay in his neighborhood; and I can truly say did more than he promised.
Shortly after I opened my school, the Doctor loaned me $5.00, thereby showing that he had confidence in my honesty. Through his instrumentality, my name has become popular through Washington and Choctaw counties.
I shall, so long as life lasts, remember him with unfailing gratitude, and shall render myself not unworthy of his confidence and good opinion of me.
The colored people in this section of the country should certainly be grateful
to him for his unwearied zeal in causing a school to be established in their midst.
But alas! though painful to say, it is sadly true that my people here appreciate but slightly the benefits of education.
My honest and ardent desire is to render myself useful to my race wherever it may be. I have no aspirations for fame, nor anything of the sort. But I shall always prefer at all times to find myself in the midst of the most ignorant of my race, and endeavor to teach the rising generation the advantages of education.
Self-denial is now-a-days so rare, that it is thought only individuals of insane mind can speak of it. A person who tries to live only for others, and puts himself in the second place, is hooted at, and considered a fit inmate for the asylum.
The man who artfully extorts the earning of his fellow-man, and who seems to have no feeling for his daily wants, is,
by a strange perversion, deemed the wise.
To me, it is impossible to conceive how a human being can be happy through any other channel, than to do as much good as possible to his fellow-man in this world.
At the request of several gentleman, I take pleasure in giving a description of this interesting place, hoping that suffering humanity may, through the medium of my autobiography, hear of its fame and be benefited thereby. At the expiration of my school session in Washington county, which was January, 1873, I was requested by my most worthy friend, Mr. Nelson Williams, and others of my race, to come and teach a while for them. After a ten days reflection I made up my mind, and accordingly opened a select or private school here, on the 21st of January, 1873. My average attendance is
25 pupils--the most of whom could read in McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader.
To my great satisfaction my pupils learned very fast; this, however, is not owing to my skill in teaching, so much as to their capacity for imbibing or receiving instruction. I must here, en passent, state, that I always found colored children very apt, in the South.
I had, previous to my coming to Bladen, suffered considerably from derangement of the liver, and had from time to time, at comparatively short intervals, resorted to blue-pills, calomel, and I do not know what other remedies in order to regulate that most important organ, but could not get relief beyond a few weeks. I had been told by several individuals, that Bladen waters had a specific action on the liver.
I concluded to test its vaunted hygienic property. After a fair trial I am
constrained to say that these waters are unquestionably the best I ever used in my life. It is not too much to say that the Bladen waters are certainly superior to any of the mineral springs of Europe, the best of which I have used while in Europe, viz.: Spaa, Ems, Aix la Chapelle, Baden Baden and others.
When I first came here I weighed only 137 pounds, but now I weigh 153 pounds--sixteen pounds in favor of Bladen Springs water.
Bladen is situated in Choctaw county, South Alabama, about 90 miles north of Mobile, accessible by the Tombigbee river boats, which leave Mobile every Tuesday, and Demopolis every Tuesday and Friday, arriving at the Springs the next morning.
Coaches are always at hand, and boarders are conveyed to the Springs and bath houses.
Board is very reasonable, I believe $15
per week, for first class boarders. Through the kindness of Dr. L. J. Sherrill, one of the resident physicians, I am enabled to lay before my readers the analysis of its waters.
This Spring, says Professor Riddell, of the University of Alabama, takes its rise in the bed of a little creek, (the Spring branch,) and the water is raised by a chain pump.
The water contains in 100 parts by weight:
|Oxyde of Iron,||0.2667|
|Oxyde of Alumnium||0.2667|
|Oxyde of Manganese,||Trace.|
|Sulphate of Lime||4.7816|
This spring is situated across the Spring Branch, which it in part supplies.
From the obscurity of its situation, it seems to have escaped general remarks, hence its fame has been, in a measure, eclipsed by that of its more accessible rivals. Yet the analysis shows that it is decidedly richer in mineral matter than any of those thus far analyzed, especially in Carbonate of Soda.
|Oxyde of Tin,||0.5641|
|Oxyde of Alumina,||0.5641|
|Sulphate of Lime,||7.4641|
Bladen waters cure; Rheumatism, Chronic Diarrhea, all Syphilitic Affections, Liver Complaint, Kidney Affection, Dyspepsia, Dropsies, Skin Diseases, Scrofula, Gout, Nervous Affections, all Female Diseases, and General Debility; acting as an
alterative, restoring all the organs to their natural functions.
Cold, thermal and mud baths, at the option of the bather, also vapor and steam baths, are now fitted up which, taken in connection with the medicinal virtues of the water, are fully equal, if not superior, to the vapor baths of the Hot Springs of Arkansas.
The Hotel is ample, with the cottages, which are well plastered and comfortable, to accommodate three hundred persons. The invalids receive every attention necessary for comfort and rapid recovery. For those seeking pleasure, a fine Band of, Music is provided. Also a fine Billiard room and Ten-pin alley. The Bar is stocked with the finest wines and liquors. Bladon has four or five stores
Messrs. Hicks & Speir, Turner & Long, Dixon & Co., and Barbour & Son.
Three Boot and Shoe shops.
The resident physicians are, Drs. M. Turner, L. J. Sherrill, McElrath, Trisbie and Evans, experienced medical men.
Bladen Springs boasts of a tan-yard, which will eventually attract about fifty laborers to this locality; also, a carpenter and wheelright ship, two blacksmith shops, and three grog-shops.
The regular boats which run up and down the river are, the "Victoria," Frank Stone, Master; Robert Matthews, Clerk; leaving Mobile every Saturday night, and reaching Bladen on Sunday morning; the "Clara," Captain, J. M. Stone; --Glover, Clerk; the "Lotus," Captain, Jack Stone, and John Stone. There are other boats which run only on high tides, i.e., in the winter, when business is more active than in summer.
The officers of these boats are unsurpassed for skill and attention to their duties. They seem to have the entire confidence of the people.
In the immediate vicinity of these Springs is located Cullum Springs, once a famous resorting place for invalids, but now since the decease of its proprietor, the late Mr. Chas. Collum, fallen into disuse, for want of capital to carry it on. There is still on the place a splendid wooden structure which served for the hotel in its flourishing days. The building, with several cabins, are in a perfect state of preservation.
While at the point of the greatest disappointment and perpelexity concerning the publication of my work, Providence sent that most excellent Christian and philanthropist, the Rev. A. J. Witherspoon, to my rescue.
Mr. James Connor, Sr., I believe, had
the kindness to mention me to him, after which he would not rest until I was presented to him.
After he had delivered to us an excellent sermon on the Resurrection of the Body, I was introduced to him by Mr. Nelson Williams, one of my intimate friends of color, here.
After a short conversation concerning my general history he invited me to come to his room on the day following. We had about an hour's conversation, during which time I mentioned my manuscript in connection with my adventures. He requested me to let him see it, and I found that he was perfectly delighted with it. I next ventured so far as to request him to have it published for me. He promised he would try and do so. To my utter astonishment, five days after his departure from here, I received a letter, dated New Orleans, stating he had shown
my manuscript to several gentlemen in Mobile, who were very well pleased with it.
This model Christian, would not so much as receive a compensation I offered him, but refused, stating that he did it solely to oblige me, as I was a poor man a stranger and a colored man, at the same time he had inserted a flattering notice of myself in the N. O. South Western Presbyterian, nearly the length of a whole column. I am unable to reproduce the article in question, as I had it misplaced, and cannot find it. The most excellent divine is greatly beloved by all those who are acquainted with him, and my admiration for him is intensified when I find him entirely divested of that plague of humanity, prejudice of color, or rather of condition. Prejudice hardens the heart, beclouds the judgment, prejudice exposes and magnifies the faults,
and overlooks and covers up the virtues of a fellow creature.
Mr. Witherspoon is one of those few who are ahead of their time. His sole aim is to do good to all, and he is certainly an honor to the Christian profession. The world is so steeped in self interest and prejudice, that I never dreamed of finding disinterestedness enough to do what he has done in my behalf.
I shall, so long as I live, be grateful to him, Not only for what he has done for myself, but especially the part he has taken, and still takes in the elevation of my race. I appreciate this above all things in this world.
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