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CONTENTS OF N. XLIII.
6. NEWS FROM GRASSLAND-A MOUNTAIN LETTER FROM John St.
PUTNAM'S MONTHLY .
I Magazine of Literature, Science, and Art.
VOL. VIII.—JULY, 1856.-N0. XLIII.
UNCLE TOM AT HOME.
FEW months ago there appeared, face of our own mother earth. Of late,
in the city of Berlin, a man of so Africa has once more become the “unvery remarkable appearance, that even discovered country from whose bourne the witty and blasé citizens of that no traveler returns.” But, undaunted capital could not preserve their sneer and undismayed, the noble army of ing indifference, and the question flew martyrs have marched into the land from mouth to mouth: Who is this of darkness, now guided by the blazing stranger, all wom and weather-beaten, torch of science, and now by the bright, all beard and long bair? It was Dr. pure light of the gospel, ready to greet, Henry Barth—the last of a memorable with warm, brotherly affection, that line of brave men that had ventured “ Ethiopia that shall soon stretch out boldly, one after another, into the Great her hands to God.” - From thence Sahara, upon the mighty rivers, and up cometh ever news," long since said the the sides of the far-famed mountains of Greeks; but, alas! at what price ! Africa, there to suffer, or even to die, Every footstep on the newly-traced martyrs in a cause that rewards not roads is saturated with the blood of the in crowns and in laurels. One by one, discoverer ; every river has claimed its they had nobly fought their way into victim; every nation, made known to the heart of a land cursed with utter its Christian brethren, has taken the darkness among men, as it is blighted life of the first messengers of peace. by the incessant glow of a tropical sun. And so it has ever been, from the time Then bad ever come a long pause of when the ancient world first heard of painful suspense, of ineffable awe and the fabulous land of the Hesperidesanguish, and, at last, from unknown shut off from mankind by deserts and waters and nameless hills, a faint, feeble oceans, and guarded by gigantic monvoice had been heard, that sent a tender sters, grim lions and blood-thirsty canfarewell to the beloved ones at home, nibals—to the present century, when and then was silent forever.
of thirty-five travelers who, up to 1844, Africa had, in times of antiquity, had boldly entered the western coast of already been called the "enigmatical
enigmatical the ill-fated land, nine only have ever triangle," and thousands of years had returned to their native country! been spent to explore little more than Five long years has fortunate Dr. its northern coast. A Kepler and a Barth lived, amid incredible sufferNewton, a Laplace and a Lagrange, ings, in inner Soudan; and Providence bave taught us the place and the weight has granted him the rare boon of esof countless stars in heaven, and yet we caping the fatal climate and the fierce know not that large portion of the sur brutality of the children of Africa; to
him only-for his two companions, and compact body. No long arm is Richardson and Overweg, have both stretched out, as in Italy, to grasp the found an early and a lonely grave on neighboring lands; no deep gulf, like the soil of the stranger. Traveling the Baltic or the Adriatic, leads up to under the auspices of the Royal Geo the very heart of great countries. graphical Society of England, he has “ The sea is a common bond,” says an scen lands unknown to our maps; be old proverb; but this is true only where has visited nations of high and refined the ocean does not separate one councivilization; he has discovered moun try from another by thousands of miles, tains and rivers, of which all our boast and where men are bold, sea-faring ed science had, as yet, possessed no sailors. To the south and the west, as knowledge. The magnificent work, in to the east, Africa has no near neighwhich the rich treasures he has so pain- bors ; her children have never, like the fully gathered will be diffused among bold Northmen of Europe, ventured out the nations of the earth, is now in pre. on the great waters. Isolated and friendparation in Germany, where the dis less, they have, therefore, ever remained tinguished author enjoys the aid and barbarians. How different, where they advice of the great masters of his sci have been compelled to enter into the ence-of men like Ritter and Peter- great brotherhood of nations! High on mann. Whilst the public are impa- the northern coast, and up the valley of tiently waiting for this great work, the Nile, even to distant Abyssinia, former accounts of the mysterious land they have ever been in close intercourse have been revived in Europe ; and the with other races; there the Mediterragreat question that now causes our own nean and the Arabian seas were the noble ship of state to rock and rcel, bonds that bound them to the world. as if tossed by a fierce tempest, but Hence the splendor of the Pharaohs, enhances, among ourselves, the interest and of the kings that "knew not Jowe all must needs feel for the land seph;' hence the power of the Prophet's whose children dwell among us, in sad chosen people, all along the coast, to slavery.
the very Pillars of Hercules. Why is it that we can count the hosts This geographical monotony strikes of heavenly stars, and call them each us, in like manner, in the interior. by their name, and yet do not know that Europe has a number of varied and inland of our brethren ? Why has great dependent districts, watered each by its Africa, where the chosen people of the own fertile river, and fenced by its lofty Lord so long lived in bondage, and mountain-ranges; Africa shows, as far where thousands of noble Christians, at as we know, but a vast table-land in the a later period, perished in still sadder south, and an immense, deep-sunk desert captivity, remained a mystery still, in the north. Three times as large as whilst two new continents have been the Mediterranean, the latter surpasses discovered, and new empires been found all other plains upon earth—for even the ed in the west and the south ? Even great valley of the Mississippi, and the the pathless ocean has been explored; fearful steppes of Siberia, can bear no it has been ploughed by countless ships, comparison. Hence, Schouw compares the lead has revealed to us the secrets Africa to a simple pyramid, rising of its vast depth, and the cunning hand with stately but graceless proportions of a Maury has traced out its paths into the burning sky, whilst Europe and its high-roads. But Africa is still a suggests to him the Gothic cathedral, mystery. Science reserves vast king- with its countless towers and turrets. doms yet to conquer, for coming Alex Into the Mediterranean there flows, unders; and Providence seems to wait, moreover, but a single mighty riverin inscrutable wisdom, for its own time, the old, venerable Nile; and as he hides when it will open the gates of the his last days in sand and slime, refusing mystic land, and "princes shall come to bear proud vessels from the great ont of Egypt.” Africa is in hospitable, inland ocean to his silent waters above, even in form. Whilst Europe opens
so the early days, also, and the cradle of her arms wide, in all directions, and by that wondrous patriarch of rivers, have numerous bays and bights invites the remained a mystery, even to this day. fruil bark and the great ship to her in- The Niger has been known to us only viting coast, Africa rounds herself jeal- for some twenty years; and here, also, ously off, and remains forever a closed a portion of its course is yet unvisited,
and has, recently, again, it is said, es- fraught with danger, and paid for with caped even Dr. Barth's most active re heavy losses. Fearful deserts or mounsearches. Upon the streams of southern tains, and impassable rivers separate. Africa, no European flag has ever yet neighbor from neighbor. And as all waved. Inbospitable and inhuman, the upon earth is bound by one great law, weird land closes it gates on all sides. and, thanks to our Maker on high, by
Even the climate of Africa is that of the common ties of love and friendship, a single zone, and fatal to all but the so the form of the great continent also children of the soil ; it knows no snow, stamps its indelible mark upon the but rain in surpassing abundance, and a children of the soil; the nations, the heat increased by its large share of the kingdoms, the very history of that tropics. For, of the nine hundred miles whole part of the globe, are all united, which the equator traces upon the firm by one and the same common character, land, more than one-half falls to the into one great, slowly-rising whole, share of the “land of burning fire," which here seems to be influenced, whilst our own continent has but a more than elsewhere, by the nature of trifling portion, and Asia none at all. the earth itself, and to breathe the very And yet, thanks to its vast continental breath of the land which God has given extent, which cuts it off from all bene- it. ficial connection with the ocean, except A continent unfit, with but few and on the coast itself, no tropical country scanty exceptions, for all cultivation, a knows such remarkable contrasts : the surface uncovered by the gay and intolerable heat of the day is followed grateful carpet of vegetation, unsuited, by severely cold nights-so that, close in parts, even for the support of the to the equator, upon gentle hills, the marvelously frugal camel, can of course water is frequently frozen. Furious tor- not sustain a large population. The rents of rain, as destructive as hail- interior alone, blessed with "early and storms, succeed burning droughts, and latter rains," and having lakes and to violent tempests, a long, unbroken mighty rivers, supports some numerous calm. Existence itself would hardly be and powerful nations. We comprepossible, were it not for the isolated hend them all under the common name lakes that here and there dot the arid of negroes—from niger, the Latin for plain ; and more of these true sources black-but the work of Dr. Barth of life are fortunately found, as the will show more than one different race, dark veil that hides the heart of the and reveal to the wondering eye a civilmystic land is slowly lifted, here ization unthought of and unexpected. and there, by the lonely graves of Nevertheless, the negro yet remains humble pilgrims. Thanks to the lake the representative of Africa. An infeTsad, and other waters of the same rior race he appears in the works of kind, the lifeless wastes of the desert the ancients; an essentially barbarous are found lying alongside of green people he stands forth amidst strange prairies, covered with grateful ver assemblies, depicted on the oldest Egypdure, and luxurious shrubs, over which tian monuments, and inferior and barthe regal palm-tree waves its lofty barous he has ever since remained, at crown. Between the two emerald-stud- home or abroad. Whilst individual inded belts, however, there still rises stances, no doubt, show rare abilities the great sand-ocean of the earth. On and high powers, the race, as such, still its coasts, vast barren cliffs surround lead à mainly animal life; endowed the death-bearing realm; the ship of with great power of imitation, they still the desert," which itself came but some show the innate tendency to barbarism, two thousand years ago from Asia, ven which ever and ever reappears as soon tures alone across the silent land, and as they are left to themselves. Far be grateful wells, scattered in lines, in it from us, on that account, to deny groups, and sporadically over the vast their claims upon us as men and as fel. expanse, mark the few spots where life low-beings; but all history teaches us, dwells on green islands, in the shade of and recent researches have but conlofty trees, and by the side of sweet firmed the fact, that wherever the negro waters. Thus to the north and the has come in contact with other races, south the accessible coasts are sepa- he has at once and invariably sucrated from the interior by a vast region cumbed and assumed a more passive of desolation, and all intercourse is relation. The Egyptian and the Ber
ber, the Arab and the European, even in Africa, says that, in 1853 he joined the red Indian, use him as a slave, an expedition undertaken by the Sheik Nay, in his own native land, more than of Cuca, in the kingdom of Bornu, one-half of all men are slaves—the against the people of Musgo. The slaves of their brethren!
army consisted of 20,000 horsemen and The slave-trade, carried on by many 15,000 drivers of camels and horned a nation of European descent, ever since cattle. The Musgoes, not able to rethe fifteenth century, and, even now, sist such numbers, fled with their flocks far from being extinct, is a horror and to the opposite side of Lake Tubori, a sin, for which man will yet have to and sought refuge in swamps and momake fearful amends. But, in spite of
But the horsemen of the Gerwhat is commonly said of the pious man's ally found their way among .but ill-advised Las Casas, Europeans them, and, when the army returned, neither created nor first carried on the they brought with them several thouabominable traffic. As late only as sand captives. They were all women 1442, a Portuguese admiral brought the and children! The men had been slain, first African negroes to Europe, pro and a few only were dragged into tho fessedly to teach them Christianity, but, camp, there to be murdered in the most in truth, to make them slaves. Long brutal and shocking manner. Burning years afterwards, when the poor Indians and plundering all in their way, the of this continent had toiled and died in army then moved to the river Sharee, the service of their cruel master, Sir and here, in a few hours, made 2,500 John Hawkins brought the first cargo more captives. With dull, hacked of three hundred Jamaica-men to Hay- knives, they cut off one knee and one ti, which in later days gave birth to a elbow of each prisoner, and then left Toussaint L'Ouverture and his bloody their ill-fated victims to bleed slowly to revenge. But, long ages before these death on the field of battle. Others reearly transactions, in fact, as long as mained lying naked in the water; the history speaks and traditions are known, nights were bitter cold, and of 4,000 slavery and the trade in slaves had al- prisoners, made during the whole expeready existed in the land of darkness. dition, not quite 500 reached the home Only, when the demand for “black of their new masters! goods" became, of a sudden, much Thus we learn that human life is, in larger on the coast, it increased in pro our day, as much less regarded in portion. From that time onward," the Africa as it is less valuable now than in kings of the interior found it no longer former days, when it could be sold to so profitable to murder and eat their the bighest bidder, in the ever open captives as they had done heretofore; markets of Guinea. It lacks there that they preferred now to sell them. A protection of selfish interest which instriking evidence of this change in their duces even the unfeeling, owner to policy is found in the simple but well "husband his property," if he does not authenticated fact, that since the British respect his fellow-being. Dr. Barth also and American squadrons have prevent- found former slaves, who had returned, ed the horrible trade in a manner, mur from Brazil especially, to the home of der and wholesale butchery have re their childhood : they shuddered at the sumed their bloody sway in the more sights of barbarism and bloodshed that distant regions. Formerly all prisoners met their eye everywhere, and actually of war, even from eastern Soudan, sighed for the land of their captivity. were sent to the coast of Guinea, and If we follow these intrepid travelers there sold for exportation to Brazil or into the heart of the negro realms, to Cuba. Since both these lands have and visit, with them, the kingdoms of found a cheaper ware, and a Ashantee, Dahomy, and Yarriba, or * moral' trade in Chinese coolies, the the mysterious land called Benin, we captives of Bornu, Cashena, and Cano shall no longer wonder that even the are no longer seen on the western ill-treated slave should forget his suffercoasts. Still, there is no more peace, ings, and feel horror at the state of nor more mercy among the wild tribes his native country. The most minute of the interior; war rages there, now and the most careful researches have, as before, in barbarous fury. What, as yet, failed to discover a history or then, is the fate of the captive of our any knowledge of ancient times among day? A German traveler, Vogel, now the negro races. They have invented