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TRAVELS AND RESEARCHES

IN CAFFRARIA.

&c., &c.

PART 1.

CHAPTER I.

First tour in Kafferland-Massacre of English soldiersFort Wiltshire-Military traffic with the natives-Kaffer depredations Chumie station -Value of pious interpreters - Dialogue with a Kaffer -A warning to Missionaries-The celebrated Chief Gaika; his avaricious disposition; duplicity; barbarous mode of slaughter -A remarkable providence.

HAVING resolved on an attempt to introduce Christianity into the regions beyond the bounds of the settlement, and circumstances appearing to favour the project, we made arrangements for our first journey in the month of August, 1825. On this tour the Landdrost, or chief Magistrate of Albany, and Major T., of His Majesty's sixth regiment, proposed accompanying us as far as the Clay Pits, where a considerable number of the natives were expected to assemble, about the time of the full moon. But of the company of these gentlemen we were deprived, as public business prevented their going with us nevertheless, our way was fully open, as the former very kindly furnished us with the necessary passport, which authorized our crossing the boundary, at whatever point we might deem most proper.

Our route, therefore, different from the one first intended, being determined, the weather fine, and young Izadzoe, the interpreter, having arrived, my worthy colleague and I left Graham's Town on Saturday, 3d, as the sun was about setting. Our path was an exceedingly solitary one, leading through a bushy part of the country, infested by wild beasts, and traversed by wandering marauders. We had not proceeded far ere night came on, and nature seemed lulled to rest; all was silence around us, not a sound being heard save that of the horses' feet, and occasional observations of the thoughtful travellers. The moon's bright beam, however, shed a cheering radiance upon the surrounding gloom, and enabled us comfortably to continue our ride, until about ten o'clock, P. M., when we reached Hermame's Kraal, a military station on the banks of the Great Fish River. Here we were hospitably entertained by a poor English soldier; who, as we subsequently learnt, was a Roman Catholic; but who, nevertheless, after presenting us with a little refreshment, unhesitatingly joined us in our evening's devotions.

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Sunday, August 4th.-Arose at an early hour with aching bones, having slept upon a hard wooden couch, with nothing over it but a wild beast's skin. All consideration, however, of personal inconvenience speedily merged in reflections of a far more painful nature; for on rambling to a short distance from the house, the appalling traces of those I whose feet are swift to shed blood," forcibly arrested our attention. Here were the graves of several of our countrymen, who had formerly belonged to the Royal African Corps; and who were horridly massacred by the natives on the very spot where we stood, not more than three or four years previously. We felt deeply affected while reading the different inscriptions on rude and rapidly decaying tablets, which the survivors had erected over the mangled relics of their

comrades: nor was it easy to resist the thought, that, in the prosecution of our journey, we might possibly be brought into contact with the very men whose violent hands had laid these low.

It was our intention to preach to the soldiers on the station this morning; but on inquiry we found, that they had been suddenly called away to the neighbouring fort about day-break. This induced us at once to conclude on proceeding immediately, in order that we might have an opportunity of preaching to them in the evening. The day was oppressively hot, and the surrounding country barren and sterile in the extreme. When the sun had reached its zenith the heat was quite overpowering; and as there was no breeze whatever, every thing that had life seemed to gasp for breath. The mere sound of a "rippling brook" would now have constituted a luxury indeed; but no such sound could here be heard. Hard by the road-side, indeed, we found a muddy pool, in which the elephant seemed to be in the habit of sporting himself, and quickly unsaddled our thirsty horses, that they, as well as ourselves, might enjoy the benefit of it. This done, we gladly crept into the interior of a thicket, in search of the cooling shade. To any one thus circumstanced, the figurative language of the Prophets," Rivers of water in a dry place;" "As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land," &c.,— is more than ordinarily beautiful. Having made our meal of a crust of bread and several hearty draughts of water, we consecrated our little bower by reading a portion of Scripture, and again committing ourselves to the care and direction of Almighty God.

Our road now wound into the extensive and dense forests of the Fish River, where the prospect constitutes one of the most romantic description. The stupendous mountains and precipices amongst which the river smoothly glides, together with the beautifully serpentine

course of the stream, and the scenery of the valleys on each side, render the view highly imposing. While we were yet in the suburbs of the jungle, the shades of night overtook us; and thick darkness soon followed. Being wholly unable to see our path, we at length lost it altogether; and after wandering about for some time, entirely ignorant even of the direction in which it lay, we almost despaired of finding it, and began to think of taking shelter for the night under some of the surrounding trees. At this moment, however, the pony which carried our luggage broke loose, and ran off to a considerable distance. Fearing to lose our great coats, &c., we moved onwards in pursuit of him, at a pretty quick pace; and were hereby actually led into the right road, and to within a few hundred yards of the fort itself; where Major R., the commanding officer, received us with great kindness, immediately ordering provision to be made for our comfortable accommodation.

Monday, 5th.-We were awakened by the sound of bugles and other martial instruments, which remind one of the "din of war ;" and which impressed upon our earliest thoughts the affecting calls of the country for the Gospel of peace. Having promised here to await the arrival of our fellow-traveller, Mr. Threlfall, who, with the interpreter, had remained behind to fulfil an appointment in town, we had the day before us for observation. The site of the fort (on the right bank of the Keiskamma) having been selected, and its buildings planned, by Colonel Wiltshire, who formerly commanded on the frontiers, the name of that gentleman has been given to it; and troops are kept constantly stationed here, with the view of intercepting predatory bands of natives on their way into the colony, in quest of booty. Being informed that a market would be held at the ford about ten o'clock, A. M., we repaired thither to witness the scene, and to secure, if possible, an interview with some of the Chiefs.

On the opposite bank were assembled about two hundred natives; who, upon the signal being given, instantly plunged into the river in crowds, without betraying any symptom of fear whatever. Few if any of them came empty handed: some brought baskets filled with milk, others large sacks of corn; scores of women came with pumpkins upon their heads, or otherwise laden with bundles of Indian corn, just as it had been plucked from the stalk. The articles given by the soldiers, in exchange for these things, were various coloured beads, buttons, brass wire, and old pieces of iron. This market was held every Monday morning, for the exclusive benefit of the garrison; and no barter whatever for ivory or cattle was allowed. he whole was conducted with as much order as circumstances would admit; and the moment all the various commodities were disposed of, the bugle was again blown, and the noisy throng jovially retired to the opposite side of the stream; where they immediately sat down in groups, to re-count and examine the amount of their gains.

Agreeably to invitation, we dined with Major R. and his fellow-officers; and on making known our wish to preach to the people, he at once acceded, and ordered a large room to be prepared for the purpose. About two hundred persons assembled at the hour appointed. Several of these had, in former years, been members of different religious societies; and many of them, from their own account, had long sat under the sound of a Gospel ministry while in England. They were now, however, like sheep without a shepherd; and had not heard a sermon for some years. At the conclusion of divine service, I visited the hospital, and there saw several others of the same description. It is painful indeed thus to find, in the very borders of a heathen land, numbers of our own countrymen who are literally perishing for lack of knowledge.

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