And first, touching the name of this noble and mysterious stream. Diogo Cam, the discoverer in 1485, called it River of Congo, Martin von Behaim Rio de Padrao, and De Barros “Rio Zaire.” The Portuguese discoveries utilized by Dapper thus corrupted to the sonorous Zaïre, the barbarous Nzadi applied by the natives to the lower bed. The next process was that of finding a meaning. Philippo Pigafetta of Vicenza,1 translated Zaïre by “so, cioè Sapio in Latino;” hence Sandoval2 made it signify “Rio de intendimiento,” of understanding. Merolla duly records the contrary. “The King of Portugal, Dom John II., having sent a fleet under D. Diego Cam to make discoveries in this Southern Coast of Africa, that admiral guessed at the nearness of the land by nothing so much as by the complexion of the waters of the Zaire; and, putting into it, he asked of the negroes what river and country that was, who not understanding him answered ‘Zevoco,’ which in the Congolan tongue is as much as to say ‘I cannot tell;’ from whence the word being corrupted, it has since been called Zairo.”
D’Anville (1749), with whom critical African geography began, records “Barbela,” a southern influent, perhaps mythical, named by his predecessors, and still retained in our maps: it is the Verbele of Pigafetta and the Barbele of Linschoten, who make it issue either from the western lake-reservoir of the Nile, or from the “Aquilunda” water, a name variously derived from O-Calunga, the sea (?), or from A-Kilunda, of Kilunda (?) The industrious compiler, James Barbot (1700), mentions the “Umbre,” the modern Wambre, rising in the northern mountains or, according to P. Labat, in a lake: Dapper (1676), who so greatly improved the outline of Africa, had already derived with De Barros the “Rio Zaïre” from a central reservoir “Zaïre,” whose island, the Zembre, afterwards became the Vambere, Wambre, and Zambere, now identified through the Zambeze with the Maravi, Nyassa or Kilwa water. The second or northernmost branch is the Bancora of modern maps, the Brankare of Pigafetta, and the Bancari of Cavazzi; it flows from the same mountain as the Umbre, and Duarte Lopez (1560) causes it to mingle with the Zaire on the eastern borders of Pango, at the foot of the Sierra del Crystal. In certain modern maps the Bankare fork is called “Lekure,“and is made to receive the “Bambaye.” The Barbela again anastomoses with the Luba (?) or northern section of the Coango, including its influent, the Lubilash; the Kasai (Kasabi) also unites with the Coango, and other dotted lines show the drainage of the Lualaba into the Kasai.
The Portuguese, according to Vasconcello, shunning all fanciful derivations, were long satisfied to term the Congo “Rio de Patron” (Rio do Padrao) from the first of memorial columns built at its mouth. In 1816 Captain Tuckey’s expedition learned with Maxwell that the stream should be called, not Zaire, but Moienzi Enzaddi, the “great river” or the “river which absorbs all other rivers.” This thoroughly corrupted name, which at once found its way into popular books, and which is repeated to the present day even by scientific geographers, suggested to some theorists “Zadi,” the name of the Niger at Wassenah according to Sidi Harriet, as related by the American, James Riley, of the brig “Commerce,” wrecked on August 28, 1815: others remembered “Zad” which Shaykh Yusuf (Hornemann), misleading Mungo Park, learned to be the Niger east of Tinbuktu, “where it turns off to the southward.” I need hardly say that this “Zadi” and “Zad” are evident corruptions of Bahr Shady, Shary, Shari, Chad, Tsad, and Chadda, the swampy lake, alternately sweet and brackish, which was formerly thrown by mistake into the Chadda River, now called the Binue or Bimúwe, the great eastern fork of the Negro-land Nile: the true drainage of the Chadda in ancient times has lately been determined by the adventurous Dr. Nachtigal. Mr. Cooley3 applied, as was his wont, a superficial knowledge of Kibundo to Fiote or Congoese, and further corrupted Moienzi Enzaddi to Muenya (for Menha or Menya) Zinzádi-this Angolan “emendation,” however, was not adopted.
The natives dwelling upon the Congo banks have, as usual in Africa, no comprehensive generic term for the mighty artery of the West Coast. Each tribe calls it by its own name. Thus even in Fiote we find “Mulángo,” or “Lángo,” the water; “Nkoko,” the stream, “Mwánza,” the river, and “Mwanza Nnenne,” the great river, all used synonymously at the several places. The only proper name is Mwánza Nzádi, the River Nzadi: hence Zaire, Zaïre, Zahir, Zaira the “flumen Congo olim Zaida” (C. Barlé)— all corruptions more or less common.
The homogeneous form of the African continent causes a whimsical family resemblance, allowing for the difference of northern and southern hemispheres, in its four arterial streams — the Nile and Niger, the Congo and Zambeze. I neglect the Limpopo, called in its lower bed Espirito Santo, Maniça, Manhiça (Manyisa), and Delagoa River; the Cunene (Nourse) River, the Orange River, and others, which would be first-rate streams in Europe, but are mere dwarfs in the presence of the four African giants. The Nile and Niger, being mainly tenanted by Moslemized and comparatively civilized races, have long been known, more or less, to Europe. The Zambeze, owing to the heroic labours of Dr. Livingstone, is fast becoming familiar to the civilized world; and the Congo is in these days (1873) beginning at last to receive the attention which it deserves. It is one of the noblest known to the world. Whilst the Mississippi drains a basin of 1,244,000 English square miles, and at Carrollton, in Louisiana, discharges as its mean volume for the year 675,000 cubic feet of water per second, the Congo, with a valley area of 800,000 square miles, rolls at least 2,500,000 feet. Moreover, should it prove a fact that the Nzadi receives the Chambeze and its lakes, the Bangweolo (or Bemba), the Moero, near which stands the capital of the Cazembe, the Kamalondo, Lui or Ulenge, “Lake Lincoln” (Chibungo), and other unvisited waters, its area of drainage will nearly equal that of the Nile.
The four arteries all arise in inner regions of the secondary age, subtended east and west by ghats, or containing mountains mostly of palaeozoic or primary formation, the upheaval of earthquakes and volcanoes. These rims must present four distinct water-sheds. The sea-ward slopes discharge their superabundance direct to the ocean often in broad estuaries like the Gambia and the Gaboon, still only surface drains; whilst the counterslopes pour inland, forming a network of flooded plains, perennial swamps, streams, and lakes. The latter, when evaporation will not balance the supply to a “sink,” “escape from the basin of the central plateau-lands, and enter the ocean through deep lateral gorges, formed at some ancient period of elevation and disturbance, when the containing chains were subject to transverse fractures.” All four head in the region of tropical rains, the home of the negro proper, extending 35° along the major axis of the continent, between Lake Chad (north latitude 14° to 15°), and the Noka a Batletle or Hottentot Lake, known to the moderns as Ngami (south latitude 20° to 21°). Consequently all are provided with lacustrine reservoirs of greater or smaller extent, and are subject to periodical inundations, varying in season, according as the sun is north or south of the line. Those of the northern hemisphere swell with the “summer rains of Ethiopia,” a fact known in the case of the Nile to Democritus of Abdera (5th cent. B.C.), to Agatharchidas of Cnidos (2nd cent. B.C.) to Pomponius Nida, to Strabo (xvii. 1), who traces it through Aristotle up to Homer’s “heaven-descended stream” and to Pliny (v. 10). For the same reason the reverse is the case with the two southern arteries; their high water, with certain limitations in the case of the Congo, is in our winter.
By the condition of their courses, all the four magnates are broken into cataracts and rapids at the gates where they burst through the lateral chains; the Mosi-wa-túnya (smoke that thunders) of the Zambeze, and the Ripon Falls discovered by Captains Speke and Grant upon the higher Nile, are the latest acquisitions to geography, whilst the “Mai waterfall,” reported to break the Upper Congo, still awaits exploration. This accident of form suggests a division of navigation on the maritime section and on the plateau-bed which, in due time, will be connected, like the St. Lawrence, by canals and railways. All but the Nzadi, and perhaps even this, have deltas, where the divided stream, deficient in water-shed, finds its sluggish way to the sea.
The largest delta at present known is the Nigerian, whose base measures 155 direct geographical miles between the Rivers Kontoro east, and Benin west. Pliny (v. 9) makes the Nile delta extend 170 Roman miles, from the Canopic or African to the Pelusiac or Asiatic mouth, respectively distant from the apex 146 and 166 miles; the modern feature has been reduced to 80 miles from east to west, and a maximum of 90 from north to south. The Zambeze extends 58 miles between the Kilimani or northern and the west Luabo, Cuama or southern outlet-at least, if these mouths are not to be detached. The Nzadi is the smallest, measuring a maximum of only 12 to 15 miles from the Malela or Bananal Creek to the mangrove ditches of the southern shore.
In these depressed regions the comparatively salubrious climates of the uplands become dangerous to the European; the people also are degraded, mostly pirates and water-thieves, as the Nigerian Ibos, the Congoese Musulungus, and the Landim (Amalandi) Kafirs about the lower Zambeze. There is a notable similarity in their productions, partly known to Pliny (v. 8), who notices “the calamus, the papyrus, and the animals” of the Nigris and the Nile. The black-maned lion and the leopard rule the wold; the gorilla, the chimpanzee, and other troglodytes affect the thinner forests; the giraffe, the zebra, and vast hosts of antelopes scour the plains; the turtle swims the seas; and the hippopotamus, the crocodile, and various siluridae, some of gigantic size, haunt the lakes and rivers. The nymphæa, lotus or water-lily, forms rafts of verdure; and the stream-banks bear the calabash, the palmyra, the oil-palm, and the papyrus. Until late years it was supposed that the water-lily, sacred to Isis, had been introduced into Egypt from India, where it is also a venerated vegetable, and that it had died out with the form of Fetishism which fostered it. It has simply disappeared like the crocodile from the Lower Nile. Finally, to conclude this rapidly outlined sketch, all at the present moment happily share the same fate; they are being robbed of their last mysteries; the veil of Isis is fast yielding to the white man’s grasp.
We can hardly as yet answer the question whether the Congo was known to the ancients. Our acquaintance with the oldest explorations is at present fragmentary, and we are apt to assume that the little told us in our school-books is the sum-total of former exploits. But possibly inscriptions in the New World, as well as in the Old, may confirm the “first circumnavigation” so simply recounted by Herodotus, especially that of the Phoenicians, who set out from the Red Sea, and in three years returned to the Mediterranean. The expression, “they had the sun to the right,” is variously explained. In the southern hemisphere the sailors facing west during our winter would see the sun at noon on the right, and in the northern hemisphere on the left. But why should they face west? In the “Chronicle” of Schedel (p. ccxc., printed in 1793, Pigafetta, Pinkerton, xi. 412) we read: “These two, (i.e. Jacob Cam and Martin Behem, or Behaim) by the help of the gods, ploughing the sea at short distance from shore, having passed the equinoctial line, entered the nether hemisphere, where, fronting the east, their shadow fell towards the south, and on their right hand.” Perhaps it may simply allude to the morning sun, which would rise to port as they went southwards, and to starboard as they returned north. Again, the “First Overland Expedition” is related by the Father of History with all the semblance of truth. We see no cause to doubt that the Nasammones or Nasamones (Nás Amún), the five young Lybians of the Great Syrtis (Fezzan) crossed the <Greek> (watered strip along the Mediterranean), passed through the <Greek> (the “bush”) on the frontier, still famed for lions, and the immeasurably sandy wastes (the Sahara proper, across which caravan lines run). The “band of little black men” can no longer be held fabulous, since Miani and Schweinfurth added the Akya to M. du Chaillu’s Obongo. The extensive marshes were the northern limit of the tropical rains, and the “City of Enchanters” is the type of many still existing in inner Africa. The great river flowing from west to east, whose crocodiles showed it to be the Nile, must have been the Niger. The ancients knew middle Ethiopia to be a country watered by lakes and streams: Strabo (xvii. 3) tells us that “some suppose that even the Nile-sources are near the extremities of Mauritania.” Hence, too, the Nilides, or Lake of Standing Water in Pliny (v. 10). For the most part they made a great central river traverse the northern continent from west to east, whereas the Arabian geographers of the middle ages, who were followed by the Portuguese, inverted the course. Both may be explained by the lay of the Quorra and the Binúwe, especially the latter; it was chronically confounded with the true Nile, whose want of western influents was not so well known then as now.
The generation which has discovered the “Moabite Stone,” the ruins of Troy (Schliemann), and the key to the inscriptions of Etruria (Corssen), need not despair of further progress. It has been well remarked that, whereas the course of modern exploration has generally been maritime, the ancients, whose means of navigation were less perfect, preferred travelling by land. We are, doubtless, far better acquainted with the outlines of the African coast, and the immediately maritime region, than the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Arabs. But it is still doubtful whether their information respecting the interior did not surpass ours. Eratosthenes, librarian of Alexandria (B. C. 276–196) expresses correct notions concerning the upper course of the Nile; Marinus of Tyre4 had the advantage of borrowing from the pilot, Diogenes, who visited the Nile reservoirs of central inter-tropical Africa, and Ptolemy has been justified in certain important points by our latest explorations.
No trace of the Nzadi or Congo is to be found in the Pelusian geographer, whose furthest point is further north. In the “Tabula Rotunda Rogeriana” of A. D. 1154 (Lelewel, No. X.) two lakes are placed upon the equator, and the north-western discharges to the Atlantic the river Kauga or Kanga, which the learned Mr. Hogg suspected to be the Congo. Marino Sanudo (1321), who has an idea of Guinea (Ganuya) and of Zanzibar (Zinziber), here bends Africa to the south-east, and inscribes, “Regio inhabitabilis propter calorem.” Fra Mauro (1457) reduces “Ethiopia Occidentalis et Australis” to the minimum, and sheds the stream into the F. Xebe (Webbe or Galla–Somal River). Martin von Behaim of Nürnberg (1492) in whose day Africa began to assume her present form, makes the Rio de Padron drain the western face of the Montes Lunae. Diogo Ribera, chief pilot of the Indies under Charles V. (Seville, 1529) further corrects the shape of the continent, and places the R. do Padrão north, and the Rio dos Boms Sinhaes (Zambeze) south of the Montes Lunae. Mercator and Henry Hondt (1623) make the Zaire Lacus the northern part of the Zembre Lacus. John Senex (circ. 1712) shows the “R. Coango,” the later Quango, believed to be the great south-western fork of the Congo. It is not a little peculiar that the last of the classics, Claudius Claudianus, an Alexandrian Christian withal, describes the Gir, or Girrhaeus, with peculiarly Congoese features. In “De laud. Stilicho.” (lib. i. 252) we have —
“Gir, notissimus amnis
Æthiopum, simili mentitus gurgite Nilum.”
And again (“Eidyll. in Nilum,” 20):
“Hunc bibit infrenis Garamas, domitorque ferarum
Girrhæus, qui vasta colit sub rupibus antra,
Qui ramos ebeni, qui denies vellit eburnos.”
Here we find a Wady or torrent discharging into the Mediterranean, made equal to “Egypt’s heaven-descended stream;” caused to flow under great rocks, as the Niger was long believed to pass underground to the Nile, of which it was a western branch; and said to supply ebony, which is the characteristic not even of the Niger regions, but of the Zaire.5 A little of this peculiar and precious commodity is produced by Old Calabar, east of the Nigerian delta, and southwards it becomes common.
Pliny (v. i) places his Gir (which some editions read “Niger”) “some distance” beyond the snowy Atlas. Ptolemy (iv. 6) tells us “in Mediterraneâ verò fluunt amnes maximi, nempe Gir conjungens Usargalam montem et vallem Garamanticam, à quo divertens amnis continet secundum situm (east longitude) 42° (north latitude)— 16°.” Again: “Et Nigir fluvius jungens et ipse Mandrum” (Mandara, south of Lake Chad?) “et Thala montes” (the range near the western coast on the parallel of Cabo Blanco?). “Facit autem et hic Nigritem Paludem” (Lake Dibbie or Debu, north-east of Sego and Sansanding?) cujus situs 15°-18°.”
Here the Gir, Ger, Gar, or Geir is clearly laid down as a Mediterranean stream, whilst “Niger” gave rise to the confusion of the Senegal with the true Niger. The name has greatly exercised commentators’ ingenuity. D’Anville believes the Niger and the Gir to end in the same quarter of Africa, and the latter to be entirely unknown. Gosselin, agreeing with Pliny, whose Ger is the Nigir of the Greeks, places them south of the Atlas. Mr. Leake (loc. cit.) holds all conjecture useless. Not so the Rev. M. Tristram, whose geography is of the ornithological or bird’s-eye order. In “The Great Sahara” (pp. 362–4, Appendix I.), he asks, “May not the name Giris or Gir be connected with Djidi?” i. e. the Wadi Mzi, a mean sink in El Areg, south of Algeria. Gräberg (“Morocco”) had already identified it with the Ghir, which flows through Sagelmessa; Burckhardt with the Jir, “a large stream coming from about north latitude 10°, and flowing north-west through the Wadaí, west of the borders of Dar–Fur.” No wonder that some geographers are disposed to believe Gir, Giris, Ger, and Geir to be “a general native name for a river, like Bá” (Bahr), “Bi” (in many Central African tongues a river, Schweinfurth, ii. 241), “Quorra (Kwara), Gulbi and Gambaru (the Yeou), Shadda, and Enzaddi.”
It is still interesting to consider the circumstances which gave rise to Captain Tuckey’s disastrous expedition. As any map of Africa during the early quarter of the present century, Bowdich or Dupuis for instance, may prove, the course of the Niger was laid down, now according to the ancients, then after Arab information. The Dark Continent, of which D’Anville justly said that writers abused, “pour ainsi dire, de la vaste carrière que l’intérieur y laissait prendre” (“Mém. de l’Acad. des Inscriptions,” xxvi. 61), had not been subjected to scientific analysis; this was reserved for the Presidential Address to the Royal Geographical Society by the late Sir R. I. Murchison, 1852. Geographers did not see how to pass the Niger through the” Kong Mountains, which, uniting with the Jebel Komri, are supposed to run in one unbroken chain across the continent;” and these Lunar Mountains of the Moslems, which were “stretched like a chaplet of beads from east to west,” undoubtedly express, as M. du Chaillu contends, a real feature, the double versant, probably a mere wave of ground between the great hydrographic basins of the Niger and the Congo, of North Africa and of Central Africa. Men still wasted their vigour upon the Nigritis Palus, the Chelonídes waters, the Mount Caphas, and the lakes of Wangara, variously written Vancara and Vongara, not to mention other ways. Maps place “Wangara”to the north-west of Dahome, where the natives utterly ignore the name. Dupuis (“Ashantee,” 1824) suggests that, like “Takrúr,” it is an obsolete Moslem term for the 660 miles of maritime region between Cape Lahu and the Rio Formoso or the Old Calabar River. This would include the three despotisms, Ashanti, Dahome, and Benin, with the tribes who, from a distance of twenty-five days, bring gold to Tinbuktu (the Tungubutu of De Barros, i. 220). Thus the lakes of Wangara would be the lagoons of the Slave-coast, in which the Niger may truly be said to lose itself.
At length M. Reichard, of Lobenstein (“Ephémerides Géographiques,” Weimar, 1802), theoretically discovered the mouth of the Niger, by throwing it into the Bight of Benin. He was right in essentials and wrong in details; for instance, he supposed the Rio Formoso or Benin River and the Rio del Rey to join in one great stream beyond the flat alluvial delta: whereas the former is indirectly connected through the Wari with the Niger, and the latter has no connection with it at all. The truth was received with scant courtesy, and the hypothesis was pronounced to be “worthy of very little attention.” There were, however, honourable exceptions. In 1813, the learned Malte–Brun (“Précis de la Géographie Universelle,” vol. iv. 635) sanctioned the theory hinted at by Mungo Park, and in 1828 the well-abused Caillié, a Frenchman who had dared to excel Bruce and Mungo Park, wrote these remarkable words: “If I may be permitted to hazard an opinion as to the course of the River Dhioliba, I should say that it empties itself by several mouths into the Bight of Benin.” In 1829, fortified by Clapperton’s opinion, my late friend, James Macqueen, who to immense industry added many qualifications of a comparative geographer, recommended a careful examination of the estuaries between the Rio Formoso and Old Calabar. The question was not finally set at rest till 1830 (November 15th), when Richard and John Lander entered Yoruba viâ Badagry and, triumphantly descending the lower Niger, made the sea by the “Nun” and Brass embouchures.
Meanwhile, Mr. George Maxwell, a Scotchman who had long traded in the Congo, and who subsequently published a chart of the lower river proposed, at the end of the last century, to take from England six supernumerary boats for rowing and sailing, which could be carried by thirty people and portaged round the cataracts. This gave rise to Captain Tuckey’s first error, depending upon labour and provisions, which were not to be had “for love or money” anywhere on the Congo above the Yellala. With thirty or forty black rowers, probably Cabinda men, Maxwell advised navigating the river about May, when the Cacimbo or dry season begins; and with arms, provisions, and merchandize he expected to reach the sources in six weeks. The scheme, which was rendered abortive by the continental war of 1793, had two remarkable results. It caused Mungo Park’s fatal second journey, and it led to the twin expeditions of Tuckey and Peddie.
In July, 1804, the ardent and irrepressible Scot wrote from Prior’s Lynn, near Longtown, to a friend, Mr. William Kier, of Milholm, that the river “Enzaddi” was frequented by Portuguese, who found the stream still as large as near the mouth, after ascending 600 miles. It is useful to observe how these distances are obtained. The slave-touters for the Liverpool and other dealers used, we are told, to march one month up country, and take two to return. Thirty days multiplied by twenty miles per diem give 600 miles. I need hardly point out that upon such a mission the buyer would be much more likely to travel 60 miles than 600 in a single month, and I believe that the natives of the lower river never went beyond Nsundi, or 215 indirect miles from Point Padrão.
With truly national tenacity and plausibility Perfervidum Ingenium contended that the Congo or Zaire was the Nigerian debouchure. Major Rennell, who had disproved the connection of the Niger and the Egyptian Nile by Bruce’s barometric measurements on the course of the mountain-girt Bahr el Azrak, and by Brown’s altitudes at Darfur, condemned the bold theory for the best of reasons.
Mungo Park, after a brief coldness and coquetting with it, hotly adopted to the fullest extent the wild scheme. Before leaving England (Oct. 4, 1804), he addressed a memoir to Lord Camden, explaining the causes of his conversion. It is curious to note his confusion of “Zad,” his belief that the “Congo waters are at all seasons thick and muddy,” and his conviction that “the annual flood,” which he considered perpetual, “commences before the rains fall south of the equator.” The latter is to a certain extent true; the real reason will presently be given. Infected by the enthusiasm of his brother Scot, he adds, “Considered in a commercial point of view, it is second only to the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope; and, in a geographical point of view, it is certainly the greatest discovery that remains to be made in this world.”
Thereupon the traveller set out for the upper Niger with the conviction that he would emerge by the Congo, and return to England viâ the West Indies. From the fragments of his Journal, and his letters to Lord Camden, to Sir Joseph Banks, and to his wife, it is evident that at San-sanding he had modified his theories, and that he was gradually learning the truth. To the former he writes, “I am more and more inclined to think that it (the Niger) can end nowhere but in the sea;” and presently a guide, who had won his confidence, assured him that the river, after passing Kashna, runs directly to the right hand, or south, which would throw it into the Gulf of Guinea.
The fatal termination of Park’s career in 1805 lulled public curiosity for a time, but it presently revived. The geographical mind was still excited by the mysterious stream which evaporation or dispersion drained into the Lake-swamps of Wangara, and to this was added not a little curiosity concerning the lamented and popular explorer’s fate. We find instructions concerning Mungo Park issued even to cruizers collecting political and other information upon the East African coast; e.g., to Captain Smee, sent in 1811 by the Bombay Government. His companion, Lieutenant Hardy, converted Usagára, west of the Zanzibar seaboard, into “Wangarah,” and remarks, “a white man, supposed to be Park, is said to have travelled here twenty years ago” (“Observations,” &c.).
About ten years after Mungo Park’s death, two expeditions were fitted out by Government to follow up his discovery. Major Peddie proceeded to descend the Niger, and Captain Tuckey to ascend the Congo. We have nothing to say of the former journey except that, as in the latter, every chief European officer died — Major Peddie, Captain Campbell, Lieutenant Stokoe, and M. Kummer, the naturalist. The expedition, consisting of 100 men and 200 animals, reached Kakundy June 13, 1817, and there fell to pieces. Concerning the Zaire Expedition, which left Deptford on February 16, 1816, a few words are advisable.
The personnel was left to the choice of the leader, Commander J. K. Tuckey, R. N. (died). There were six commissioned officers — Lieutenant John Hawkey, R.N. (died); Mr. Lewis Fitz-maurice, master and surveyor; Mr. Robert Hodder and Mr. Robert Beecraft, master’s mates; Mr. John Eyre, purser (died); and Mr. James McKerrow, assistant surgeon. Under these were eight petty officers, four carpenters, two blacksmiths, and fourteen able seamen. The marines numbered one sergeant, one corporal, and twelve privates. Grand total of combatants, forty-nine. To these were added five “savants”: Professor Chetien Smith, a Norwegian botanist and geologist (died); Mr. Cranch, collector of objects of natural history (died); Mr. Tudor, comparative anatomist (died); Mr. Galway, Irishman and volunteer naturalist (died); and “Lockhart, a gardener” (of His Majesty’s Gardens, Kew). There were two Congo negroes, Benjamin Benjamins and Somme Simmons; the latter, engaged as a cook’s mate, proved to be a “prince of the blood,” which did not prevent his deserting for fear of the bushmen.
The allusions made to Mr. Cranch, a “joined methodist,” and a “self-made man,” are not complimentary. “Cranch, I fear,” says Professor Smith, “by his absurd conduct, will diminish the liberality of the captain towards us: he is like a pointed arrow to the company.” And, again, “Poor Cranch is almost too much the object of jest; Galway is the principal banterer.“In the Professor’s remarks on the” fat purser,“we can detect the foreigner, who, on such occasions, should never be mixed up with Englishmen.
Sir Joseph Banks had suggested a steamer drawing four feet, with twenty-four horse-power; an admirable idea, but practical difficulties of construction rendered the “Congo” useless. Of the fifty-four white men, eighteen, including eleven of the “Congo” crew, died in less than three months. Fourteen out of a party of thirty officers and men, who set out to explore the cataracts viâ the northern bank, lost their lives; and they were followed by four more on board the “Congo,” and one at Bahia. The expedition remained in the river between July 6th and October 18th, little more than three months; yet twenty-one, or nearly one-third, three of the superior officers and all the scientific men, perished. Captain Tuckey died of fatigue and exhaustion (Oct. 4th) rather than of disease; Lieutenant Hawkey, of fatal typhus (which during 1862 followed the yellow fever, in the Bonny and New Calabar Rivers); and Mr. Eyre, palpably of bilious remittent. Professor Smith had been so charmed with the river, that he was with difficulty persuaded to return. Prostrated four days afterwards by sickness on board the transport, he refused physic and food, because his stomach rejected bark, and, preferring cold water, he became delirious; apparently, he died of disappointment, popularly called a “broken heart.” Messrs. Tudor and Cranchalso fell victims to bilious remittents, complicated, in the case of the latter, by the “gloomy view taken of Christianity by that sect denominated Methodists.” Mr. Galway, on September 28th, visited Sangala, the highest rapid (“Narrative,” p. 328). In the Introduction, p. 80, we are wrongly told that he went to Banza Ninga, whence, being taken ill on August 24th, he was sent down stream. He, like his commander, had to sleep in the open, almost without food, and he also succumbed to fever, fatigue, and exhaustion.
The cause of this prodigious mortality appears in the records of the expedition. Officers and men were all raw, unseasoned, and unacclimatized. Captain Tuckey, an able navigator, the author of “Maritime Geography and Statistics,” had served in the tropics; his biographer, however, writes that a long imprisonment in France and “residence in India had broken down his constitution, and at the age of thirty (ob. æt. thirty-nine) his hair was grey and his head nearly bald.” The men perished, exactly like the missionaries of old, by hard work, insufficient and innutritious food, physical exhaustion, and by the doctor. At first “immediate bleeding and gentle cathartics” are found to be panaceas for mild fevers (p. 46): presently the surgeon makes a discovery as follows: “With regard to the treatment I shall here only observe that bleeding was particularly unsuccessful. Cathartics were of the greatest utility, and calomel, so administered as speedily to induce copious salivation, generally procured a remission of all the violent symptoms.” The phlebotomy was inherited from the missioners, who own almost to have blinded themselves by it. When one was “blooded” fifteen times and died, his amateur Sangrado said, “It had been better to have bled him thirty times:” the theory was that in so hot a climate all the European blood should be replaced by African. One of the entries in Captain Tuckey’s diary is, “Awaking extremely unwell, I directly swallowed five grains of calomel”— a man worn out by work and sleeping in the open air! The “Congo” sloop was moored in a reach surrounded by hills, instead of being anchored in mid stream where the current of water creates a current of air; those left behind in her died of palm wine, of visits from native women, and of exposure to the sun by day and to the nightly dews. On the line of march the unfortunate marines wore pigtails and cocked hats; stocks and cross-belts; tight-fitting, short-waisted red coats, and knee-breeches with boots or spatter-dashes — even the stout Lord Clyde in his latest days used to recall the miseries of his march to Margate, and declare that the horrid dress gave him more pain than anything he afterwards endured in a life-time of marching. None seemed capable of calculating what amount of fatigue and privation the European system is able to support in the tropics. And thus they perished, sometimes of violent bilious remittents, more often of utter weariness and starvation. Peace to their manes! — they did their best, and “angels can no more.” They played for high stakes, existence against fame —
“But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
Comes the blind Fury with th’ abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life.”
“The Narrative of an Expedition to Explore the River Zaire” (London, John Murray, 1818), published by permission of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, was necessarily a posthumous work. The Introduction of eighty-two pages and the General Observations (fifty-three pages) are by anonymous hands; follow Captain Tuckey’s Narrative, Professor Smith’s Journal, and an Appendix with seven items; 1, vocabularies of the Malemba and Embomma (Fiote or Congo) languages; 2, 3, and 4, Zoology; 5, Botany; 6, Geology; and 7, Hydrography. The most valuable is No. 5, an admirable paper entitled “Observations, Systematical and Geographical, on Professor Christian Smith’s Collection of Plants from the Vicinity of the River Congo, by Robert Brown, F.R.S.” The “Geology,” by Mr. Charles Konig, of the British Museum, is based upon very scanty materials. The folio must not be severely criticized; had the writers lived, they might have worked up their unfinished logs into interesting and instructive matter. But evidently they had not prepared themselves for the work; no one knew the periods of rain at the equator; there was no linguist to avoid mistakes in the vocabulary; moreover, Professor Smith’s notes, being kept in small and ill-formed Danish characters, caused such misprints as “poppies” for papaws. Some few of the mistakes should be noticed for the benefit of students. The expedition appears to have confused São Salvador, the capital, with St. Antonio placed seven days from the river mouth (p. 277). It calls Santo Antão (Cape Verds) “San Antonio;” the Ilha das Rôlas (of turtle doves) Rolle’s Island; “morfil” bristles of the elephant’s tail, and manafili ivory, both being from the Portuguese marfim; moudela for mondele or mondelle, a white man; malava, “presents,” for mulavu (s. s. as msámbá, not maluvi, Douville), palm wine, which in the form mulavu m’putu (Portuguese) applies to wine and spirits. We have also “Leimba” for Lyámba or Dyámba (Cannabis saliva); “Macasso, a nut chewed by great people only,” for Makazo, the bean of the Kola (Sterculia); “Hyphæa” and “Dom” for Palmyra Flabelliformis, whose “fruit hangs down in bunched clusters;” “Raphia” for Raphia Vinifera, commonly called the bamboo or wine palm, and “casa,” a purgative legumen, for nkasa, “sass,” or poison wood, identified with the red-water tree of Sierra Leone, the erythropheum of Professor Afzelius, of the order Cæalpineae, which gave a name to the Brazil.
The next important visit to the Congo River was paid by Captain Owen’s Expedition, when homeward bound in 1826. The “Leven” and “Barracouta” surveyed the stream twenty-five miles from its mouth during a week, beginning with January 1, just after the highest flood. At thirteen miles out at sea the water was fresh and of a dingy red; it fermented and remained in a highly putrescent state for some days, tarnishing silver; kept for four months, it became perfectly clear and colourless, without depositing any sediment. This reminds us of the changing colours, green, red and milky white, to which the Nile and all great African rivers that flood periodically are subject.6
The next traveller that deserves notice is the unfortunate Douville,7 through whose tissue of imposture runs a golden thread of truth. As his first journey, occupying nearly two of the three volumes, was probably confined to the Valley of the Cuanza River, so his second, extending beyond the equator, and to a meridian 25° east of Paris, becomes fable as he leaves the course of the Loge Stream. Yet, although he begins by doubting that the Coango and the Zaire are the same waters, he ends by recognizing the fact, and his map justly lays down the Fleuve Couango dit Zaire à son embouchure. Whether the tale of the mulatto surveyor be fact or not is of little matter: the adventurer had an evident inkling of the truth.
A flood of side light is thrown upon the head waters of the Congo River by Dr. Livingstone’s first memorable journey (1852–56), across Africa, and by the more dubious notices of his third expedition The Introduction (p. xviii.) to Captain Tuckey’s narrative had concluded from the fact of the highest flood being in March, and the lowest level about the end of August, that at least one branch of the river must pass through some portion of the northern hemisphere. The general observations affixed to “Narrative” (p. 346), contain these words: “If the rise of the Zaire had proceeded from rains to the southward of the Line, swelling the tributary streams and pouring in mountain torrents the waters into the main channel, the rise would have been sudden and impetuous.” Of course the writer had recourse to the “Lakes of Wangara,” in north latitude 12° to 15°: that solution of the difficulty belonged inevitably to his day. Captain Tuckey (p. 178) learned, at Mavunda, that ten days of canoeing would take him beyond all the rapids to a large sandy islet which makes two channels, one to the north-west, the other to the north-east. In the latter there is a fall above which canoes are procurable: twenty days higher up the river issues, by many small streams, from a great marsh or lake of mud.8 Again, a private letter written from the “Yellala” (p. 343) declares that “the Zaire would be found to issue from a lake or a chain of lakes considerably to the north of the Line; and, so far from the low state of the river in July and August militating against the hypothesis, it gives additional weight, provided the river swell in early September”— which it did. In his “Journal” (p. 224), we find a memorandum, written as it were with a dying hand, “Hypothesis confirmed. The water . . . ”
On February 24, 1854, Dr. Livingstone, after leaving what he calls the “Dilolo Lake,” found on an almost level plain, some 4,000 to 5,000 feet high and then flooded after rains, a great water parting between the eastern and the western continental shores. I have carefully considered the strictures upon this subject by the author of “Dr. Livingstone’s Errors” (p. 101), and have come to the conclusion that the explorer was too experienced to make the mistakes attributed to him by the cabinet geographer. The translation “despair” for “bitterness” (of the fish?) and the reference to Noah’s Deluge may be little touches ad captandum; but the Kibundo or Angolan tongue certainly has a dental though it lacks a cerebral d.
The easterly flow was here represented by the Leeba or upper course of the “Leeambye,” the “Diambege of Ladislaus Magyar, that great northern and north-western course of the Zambeze across which older geographers had thrown a dam of lofty mountains, where the Mosi-wa-tunya cataract was afterwards discovered. The opposite versant flowing to the north was the Kasai or Kasye (Livingstone), the Casais of the Pombeiros, the Casati of Douville, the Casasi and Casézi of M. Cooley (who derives it from Casezi, a priest, the corrupted Arabic Kissis ); the Kassabi (Casabi) of Beke, the Cassaby of Monteiro and Gamitto (p. 494), and the Kassaby or Cassay of Valdez. Its head water is afterwards called by the explorer Lomame and Loke, possibly for Lu-oke, because it drains the highlands of Mossamba and the district of Ji-oke, also called Ki-oke, Kiboke, and by the Portuguese “Quiboque.” The stream is described as being one hundred yards broad, running through a deep green glen like the Clyde. The people attested its length by asserting, in true African style, “If you sail along it for months, you will turn without seeing the end of it:” European geographers apparently will not understand that this declaration shows only the ignorance of the natives concerning everything a few miles beyond their homes. The explorer (February 27,1854) places the ford in south latitude 11° 15’ 47”, and his map shows east longitude (G.), 21° 40’ 30”, about 7° 30’ (=450 direct geographical miles) from Novo Redondo on the Western Coast. He dots its rise in the “Balobale country,” south latitude 12° to 13°, and east longitude 19° to 20°. Pursuing his course, Dr. Livingstone (March 30) first sighted the Quango (Coango) as it emerged from the dark jungles of Londa, a giant Clyde, some 350 yards broad, flowing down an enormous valley of denudation. He reached it on April, 1854, in south latitude 9° 53’, and east longitude (G.) 18° 37’, about 300 geographical linear miles from the Atlantic. Three days to the west lies the easternmost station of Angola, Cassange: no Portuguese lives, or rather then lived, beyond the Coango Valley. The settlers informed him that eight days’ or about 100 miles’ march south of this position, the sources are to be found in the “Mosamba Range” of the Basongo country; this would place them in about south latitude 12° to 13° and east longitude (G.) 18° to 19°.
The heights are also called in Benguela Nanos, Nannos, or Nhanos (highlands);9 and in our latest maps they are made to discharge from their seaward face the Coango and Cuanza to the west and north, the Kasai to the north-east and possibly to the Congo, the Cunene south-westwards to the Atlantic, and southwards the Kubango, whose destination is still doubtful. Dr. Charles Beke (“Athenæum,” No. 2206, February 5, 1870), judged from various considerations that the “Kassábi” rising in the primeval forests of Olo-vihenda, was the “great hydrophylacium of the continent of Africa, the central point of division between the waters flowing to the Mediterranean, to the Atlantic, and to the Indian Ocean”— in fact, the head-water of the Nile. I believe, however, that our subsequent information made my late friend abandon this theory.
On his return march to Linyanti, Dr. Livingstone, who was no longer incapacitated by sickness and fatigue, perceived that all the western feeders of the “Kasa” flow first from the western side towards the centre of the continent, then gradually turn with the main stream itself to the north, and “after the confluence of the Kasai with the Quango, an immense body of water collected from all these branches, finds its way out of the country by means of the River Congo or Zaire, on the Western Coast” (chap. xxii.). He adds: “There is but one opinion among the Balonda respecting the Kasai and the Quango. They invariably describe the Kasai as receiving the Quango, and beyond the confluence assuming the name of Zairé or Zerézeré. And thus he verifies the tradition of the Portuguese, who always speak of the Casais and the Coango as “suppôsto Congo.” It is regrettable that Dr. Livingstone has not been more explicit upon the native names. The Balonda could hardly have heard of the semi-European term Zaire, which is utterly unknown even at the Yellalas. On the other hand, it must be borne in mind that Maxwell was informed by native travellers that the river 600 miles up country was still called “Enzaddi,” and perhaps the explorer merely intends Zairé to explain Zerézeré. It is hardly necessary to notice Douville’s assertion (ii. 372).
Meanwhile the late Ladislaus Magyar, who had previously informed the Benguelan Government that the Casais was reported to fall into the Indian Ocean at some unknown place, in 1851 followed this great artery lower than any known traveller. He heard that, beyond his furthest exploration point (about south latitude 6° 30,10 and east longitude, G. 22°), it pursues a north-easterly direction and, widening several miles, it raises waves which are dangerous to canoes. The waters continue to be sweet and fall into a lake variously called Mouro or Moura (Moráve or Marávi?), Uhanja or Uhenje (Nyanza?), which is suspected to be the Urenge or Ulenge, of which Livingstone heard in about south latitude 3°, and east longitude (G.) 26°. The Hungarian traveller naturally identified it with the mythical Lake Nyassa which has done such portentous mischief in a day now gone by. Ladislaus Magyar also states:11 “The Congo rises, I have convinced myself by reports, in the swamp named Inhan-ha occupying the high plateau of Moluwa, in the lands of the Luba, uniting with the many streams of this region; at a distance of about five days from the source it becomes a deep though narrow river, which flows to the westward, through a level country covered with dense forests, whose frequent streams coming from the north (?) and south are taken up “by the river; then it bends north-westward under the name of Kuango.” Here we find the drowned lands, the “sponges” of Livingstone, who, however, placed the sources much further to the south-east.
Dr. Livingstone’s third and last expedition, which began on March 24, 1866, and which ended (1873) with fatal fitness in the swamps of the Bangweolo, suggests a new and more distant derivation for the mighty Congo. After travelling from the Rovuma River to Lake Nyassa, the great explorer in l867–8 came upon an “earthern mound,” west of Lake Bangweolo or Bemba, in about south latitude 11°; and here he places the sources of the Nile, where geographers have agreed provisionally to place the sources of the Congo. Already, in 1518, Fernandez de Enciso (Suma de Geographia), the “theoretical discoverer” of Kilimanjaro, was told by the Congoese that their river rises in high mountains, from which another great stream flows in an opposite direction — but this might apply to more watersheds than one. The subject is treated at considerable length in an article by Dr. E. Behm,12 certain of whose remarks I shall notice at the end of this chapter.
The article proves hypsometrically that the Lualaba, in which the explorer found the head waters of the Egyptian river, cannot feed the Tanganyika nor the Lake Nzige (N’zíghe, Mwutan, Chowambe, or Albert Nyanza Lake), nor even the Bahr el Ghazal, as was once suspected. From the latter, indeed, it is barred by the water parting of the Welle, the “Babura” of Jules Poncet (1860), in the land of the Monbuttú; whose system the later explorer, Dr. Schweinfurth, is disposed to connect with the Shari. Hydrometrically considered, the Lualaba, which at Nyangwe, the most northerly point explored by Dr. Livingstone (1870), rolls a flood of 124,000 cubic feet per second in the dry season, cannot be connected either with the Welle (5,100 cubic feet), nor with the Bahr el Ghazal (3,042 to 6,500 cubic feet), nor with the Nile below the mouth of the Bahr el Ghazal (11,330); nor with the Shari (67,500); nor with the shallow Ogobe, through its main forks the Rembo Okanda and the Rembo Nguye.
But the Lualaba may issue through the Congo. The former is made one of the four streams ferried over by those travelling from the Cazembe to the Mwata ya Nvo, and Dr. de Lacarda13 records it as the “Guarava,” probably a dialectic form of Lualava. It is the Luapula of the “Geographer of N’yassi,” who, with his usual felicity and boldness of conjecture (p. 38), bends it eastward, and discharges it into his mythical Central Sea.
Dr. Behm greatly under-estimates the Congo when he assigns to it only 1,800,000 cubic feet per second. He makes the great artery begin to rise in November instead of September and decrease in April, without noticing the March–June freshets, reported by all the natives to measure about one-third of the autumnal floods. His elements are taken from Tuckey, who found off the “Diamond Rock” a velocity of 3.50 knots an hour, and from Vidal’s Chart, showing 9,000 English feet or 1.50 nautical miles in a Thalweg fifty fathoms deep. Thus he assumes only two nautical miles for the current, or sixty inches per second, which must be considerably increased, and an average depth of ten fathoms, which again is too little. For 1,800,000 cubic feet of water per second, which Tuckey made 2,000,000, we may safely read 2,500,000.
Dr. Livingstone himself was haunted by the idea that he was exploring the Upper Congo, not the Nile. From a Portuguese subordinate he “learned that the Luapula went to Angola.” He asks with some truth, “Who would care to risk being put into a cannibal pot, and be converted into blackman for anything less than the grand old Nile?” And the late Sir Roderick I. Murchison, whose geographical forecasts were sometimes remarkable, suspected long ago14 that his “illustrious friend” would follow the drainage of the country to the western coast.
The “extraordinary quiet rise of the periodical flood,” proved by the first expedition, argues that the Congo “issues from the gradual overflowing of a lake or a chain of lakes.” The increment in the lower bed, only eight to twelve feet where the Nile and the Ganges rise thirty and the Binuwe fifty, would also suggest that it is provided with many large reservoirs. The Introduction to Tuckey’s “Narrative” (p. xviii.) assumes that the highest water is in March, but he entered the stream only on July 6, and the expedition ended in mid-October. The best informants assured me that from March till June there are heavy freshets. As in the Ogobe, the flood begins in early September, somewhat preceding that of the Lualaba, but, unlike the former stream, it attains its highest in November and December, and it gradually subsides from the end of June till August, about which time the water is lowest.
In the middle region of the Tanganyika, I found the rainy season lasting from September to May. At Lake Liemba, the south-eastern projection of the Tanganyika, Dr. Livingstone in 1867 saw no rain from May 12 to September, and in Many-wema-land, west of the central Tanganyika, about south latitude 5°, the wet season began in November, and continued till July with intervals, marking the passage of the belt of calms. But, for the Congo to rise in September, we must assume the rains to have fallen in early August, allowing ten or fifteen days for the streams to descend, and the rest for the saturation of the land. This postulates a supply from the Central African regions far north of the equator. Even for the March–June freshets, we must also undoubtedly go north of the Line, yet Herr H. Kiepert15 places the northernmost influent of Congo some 150 miles south of the equator. Under these limitations I agree with Dr. Behm:—“Taking everything into consideration, in the present state of our knowledge, there is the strongest probability that the Lualaba is the head stream of the Congo, and the absolute certainty that it has no connection with the Nile or any other river (system) of the northern hemisphere.” And again: “As surely as the sun stands over the southern hemisphere in our winter and the northern in our summer, bringing the rains and the swellings of the tropical rivers when it is in the zenith with regard to them, so surely can it be predicated, from a comparison of the rainy seasons and times of rising, that the Lualaba belongs to no river of the northern hemisphere; in the southern hemisphere Africa possesses only one river, the Congo, which could take up the vast water supply of the Lualaba.” The Brazil shows the curious feature of widely different and even opposite rainy seasons in the same parallel of latitude; but this is not the place to discuss the subject.
Since these lines were written, I have to lament the collapse of the Livingstone–Congo Expedition. In 1872 the great explorer’s friends, taking into consideration the prospect of his turning westward, organized a “relief” from West as well as from East Africa. Mr. J. Young, of Kelly, generously supplied the sinews of travel, and Mr. Clements R. Markham, Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, lent important aid in preparing the exploration. Navigating–Lieutenant W. J. Grandy, who had seen service on the eastern coast of Africa, landed at S. Paulo de Loanda in early 1873, and set out from Ambriz in March of that year. The usual difficulties were met and overcome, when Lieutenant Grandy was summarily recalled. The official explanation (“Royal Geographical Society,” December 14th, 1874), is that the measure was in consequence of Livingstone’s death. The traveller himself says:—“Complying with instructions, we, with many regrets at the idea of leaving our work unfinished when all seemed so full of promise, commenced preparations for the return, leaving good presents with the chiefs, in order to procure a good reception for those who might come after us.” An Ex–President of the Royal Geographical Society had asserted, “The ascent of the (Upper) Congo ought to be more productive of useful geographical results than any other branch of African exploration, as it will bring to the test of experiment the navigability of the Congo above the Falls, and thus possibly open out a means of introducing traffic by steam into the heart of the continent at least two thousand miles from the mouth of the river.”
With this explicit and stimulating assertion before us, we must lament that England, once the worthy rival in exploration of Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands, is now too poor to support a single exploration on the West African Coast, when Germany is wealthy enough liberally to subsidize two.
A nous deux, Dr. E. Behm!
My objections to your paper are the three following: 1. It generally understates the volume of the Nzadi, by not allowing sufficiently for the double equinoctial periods of high water, March to June, as well as September to December; and by ignoring the north-equatorial supply. 2. It arbitrarily determines the question of the Tanganyika, separating it from the Nile-system upon the insufficient strength of a gorilla, and of an oil-palm which is specifically different from that of the Western Coast; and 3. It wilfully misrepresents Dr. Livingstone in the matter of the so-called Victoria Nyanza.
My first objection has been amply discussed. I therefore proceed to consider the second. As Mr. Alexander G. Findlay observed (“Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society,” No. 3, vol. xvii. of July 28, 1873):—“Up to the time of Stanley’s arrival at Ujiji, and his journey to the north of the lake, Livingstone was fully impressed with the conviction that the Tanganyika is nothing more than what he called a ‘lacustrine river’ (329 miles long by twenty of average breadth); flowing steadily to the north and forming a portion of the Great Nile Basin. The letters contained his reasons for forming that opinion, stating that he had been for weeks and months on the shores of the lake watching the flow of the water northwards” (at the rate of a knot per hour). At times the current appeared to run southwards, but that was under the influence of strong northerly winds. Also by Dr. Livingstone’s letters to Sir Thomas Maclear and Dr. Mann (” Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society,“No. i of 1873, pp. 69–70), it is evident that the explorer believed only in the lake outlet north of Ujiji. Again, Mr. Findlay, after attentively considering the unsatisfactory visit of Dr. Livingstone and Mr. Stanley to the Rusizi River in November and December, 1871, holds it to be a mere marsh-drain, which when the south winds prevail, would possibly flow in the opposite direction; and he still believes that Captain Speke and I, when at Uvira, were within five or six miles of the head.
Since Dr. Livingstone’s visit we have heard more upon this disputed subject. A native of Karagwah assured my friend Sir Samuel Baker — who, despite all prepossessions, candidly accepted the statement — that it is possible and feasible to canoe from Chibero,on the so-called Albert Nyanza, past Uvira, where the stream narrows and where a pilot is required, to the Arab dépôt, Ujiji. He described the northern portion of the Tanganyika as varying much in breadth, immensely wide beyond Vacovia, and again contracting at Uvira. His report was confirmed by a Msawahíli, sent by King Mtesa, with whom he had lived many years, to communicate with Baker Pasha at Fatiko; this man knew both Uvira and Ujiji, which he called “Uyiyi.” Nothing can be more substantial than this double testimony, which wears all the semblance of truth.
On the other hand, Lieut. Cameron, whose admirable work has, so to speak, re-constructed the Tanganyika Lake, discovered, on the 3rd of May, 18–74, the Lukuga River, which he supposes to form the outlet. It lies 25 direct miles to the south of the Kasenge Archipelago, numbering seventeen isles, visited by Captain Speke in March, 1857. Dr. Livingstone touched here on July 13, 1869, and heard nothing of the outlet; he describes a current sweeping round Kasenge to south-east or southwards according to the wind, and carrying trees at the rate of a knot an hour. But Mr. Stanley (pp. 400 et passim) agrees with Dr. Krapf, who made a large river issue from “the lake” westwards, and who proposed, by following its course, to reach the Atlantic. The “discoverer of Livingstone” evidently inclines to believe that the Tanganyika drains through the caverns of Kabogo near Uguhha, and he records the information of native travellers that “Kabogo is a great mountain on the other side of the Tanganyika, full of deep holes, into which the water rolls; “moreover, that at the distance of over a hundred miles he himself heard the” sound of the thundering surf which is said to roll into the caves of Kabogo.“In his map he ‘cutely avoids inserting anything beyond “Kabogo Mountains, 6,000 to 7,000 feet high.”
The gallant young naval lieutenant’s exploration of the Lukuga has not yet reached us in a satisfactory form. He found the current sluggishly flowing at the rate of 1.2 knots per hour; he followed it for four or five miles, and he was stopped by floating grass and enormous rushes (papyri?). A friendly chief told him that the Lukuga feeds the Lualaba which, beyond Nyangwe (Livingstone’s furthest point, in about south latitude 4°) takes the name of Ugarowwa. An Arab had descended this stream fifty-five marches, and reached a place where there were ships and white merchants who traded largely in palm-oil and ivory, both rare on the Congo River. And, unfortunately, “the name (River) Congo was also mentioned,” a term utterly unknown except to the few Portuguese-speaking natives.
At present, therefore, we must reserve judgment, and the only conclusion to which the unprofessional reader would come is that the weight of authority is in favour of a double issue for the Tanganyika, north and west.
The wilful misrepresentation is couched in these words: “The reports obtained by Livingstone are if anything favourable to the unity of the Victoria Nyanza (Ukerewe, Ukara,) because along with it he names only such lakes as were already known to have a separate existence from it.” As several were recognized, ergo it is one! Dr. Livingstone heard from independent sources that the so-called Victoria Nyanza is a lake region, not a lake; his account of the Okara (Ukara), and the three or four waters run into a single huge sheet, is substantially the same as that which, after a study of the Rev. Mr. Wakefield’s Reports I offered to the Royal Geographical Society, and which I subsequently published in “Zanzibar City, Island, and Coast.” You, Dr. Behm, are apparently satisfied with a lake drained by an inverted delta of half-a-dozen issues — I am not. Nor can I agree with you that “whether the Victoria Nyanza is one lake or several is a point of detail of less importance,” when it has disfigured the best maps of Africa for nearly a score of years. The last intelligence concerning the “unity” of the lake is from Colonel C. C. Long, a staff-officer in the service of His Highness the Khedive, who was sent by Colonel Gordon on a friendly mission to King Mtesa of Uganda. With permission to descend “Murchison Creek,” and to view “Lake Victoria Nyanza,” Colonel Long, after a march of three hours, took boat. He sounded the waters of the lake, and found a depth of from 25 to 35 feet; in clear weather the opposite shore was visible, appearing “to an unnautical eye” from 12 to 15 miles distant; nor could this estimate be greatly wrong. After much negotiation and opposition he obtained leave to return to Egyptian territory by water, and on the way, in north latitude 1° 30’, he discovered a second lake or “large basin,” at least 20 to 25 miles wide. The geography is somewhat hazy, but the assertions are not to be mistaken.
Finally, I read with regret such statements as the following, made by so well-known a geographer as yourself: “Speke’s views have been splendidly confirmed; the attacks of his opponents, especially of Burton, who was most inimically inclined to him, collapse into nothing.” This unwarrantable style of assertion might be expected from the “Mittheilungen,” but it is not honourable to a man of science. There are, you well know, three main points of difference between the late Captain Speke and myself. The first is the horse-shoe of mountains blocking up the northern end of the Tanganyika; this, after a dozen years, I succeeded in abolishing. The second is the existence of the Victoria Nyanza, which I assert to be a lake region, not a lake; it is far from being a “point of detail,” and I hope presently to see it follow the way of the horse-shoe. Thirdly is the drainage of the Tanganyika, which Captain Speke threw southward to the Zambeze, a theory now universally abandoned. This may be your view of “splendid confirmation”— I venture to think that it will not be accepted by the geographical world.
1 “Relazione del Reame di Congo, e delle circonvicine contrade, tratta dagli Scritti e Raggionamenti di Odoardo Lopez, Portogheze, per Philippo Pigafetta.” Roma, 1591, fol.
2 “Historia de Etiopia,” p. 65.
3 “Geography of N’yassi,” note, p. 51.
4 See “Zanzibar City, Island, and Coast,” vol. i. p. 5. “Marinus of Tyre” became by misprint “mariners of Tyre.”
5 Chap. xvii. of the Rev. Mr. Waddell’s “Twenty-nine Years in the West Indies and Central Africa.”
6 “Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery to Africa and Arabia,” by Captain Thomas Boteler. London: Bentley, 1835; repeated from Owen’s “Voyages to Africa, Arabia,” &c. London: Bentley, 1833. Lt. Wolf, R.N., has given an able analysis of this great surveying undertaking in the “Journal of the Geographical Society,” vol. iii. of 1833.
7 See chap. v.
8 Of this lake I shall have something to say in chap. xii.
9 See “The Lands of the Cazembe,” p. 24.
10 Petermann’s “Geog. Mitt.” of 1860, pp. 227–235. I have duly obtained at Pest the permission of Professor Hunfálvy, who in 1859 edited the Hungarian and German issues, to translate into English the highly interesting volume, the only remains of Ladislaus Magyar, the traveller having died, Nov. 19, 1864, after visiting large and previously unknown tracts of south-western Africa. The work has been undertaken by the Rev. R. C. G. O’Callaghan, consular chaplain, Trieste, and I hope that it will soon appear with notes by myself. It will be a fitting pendant to Dr. de Lacerda’s “Journey to the Lands of the Cazembe.”
11 “Geog. Mitt.” 1857, p. 190.
12 Proofs of the identity of the Lualaba with the Congo;” translated by Mr. Keith Johnston from the “Geogr. Mittheilungen,” i. 18, Bund, 1872, and published in the “Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society,” No. i, vol. xviii. of Feb. 24, 1873.
13 “The Lands of the Cazembe,” p. 47.
14 “Daily Telegraph,” Sept. 6, 1869.
15 “Erläuterungen,” &c. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, 1874.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48