Projects and Hobbies — life in India — lord Clyde and Sir James Outram — the Position and Physical Geography of the Somali Country — the Nogal Country, and Historical Sketches — Costume and Customs.
It was in the year 1849, at the expiration of the Punjaub campaign, under Lord Gough, where I had been actively engaged as a subaltern officer in the (so-called) fighting brigade of General Sir Colin Campbell’s division of the army, adding my mite to the four successive victorious actions — Ramnugger, Sadoolapore, Chillianwallah, and Guzerat — that I first conceived the idea of exploring Central Equatorial Africa. My plan was made with a view to strike the Nile at its head, and then to sail down that river to Egypt. It was conceived, however, not for geographical interest, so much as for a view I had in my mind of collecting the fauna of those regions, to complete and fully develop a museum in my father’s house, a nucleus of which I had already formed from the rich menageries of India, the Himalaya Mountains, and Tibet. My idea in selecting the new field for my future researches was, that I should find within it various orders and species of animals hitherto unknown. Although Major Cornwallis Harris, Ruppell, and others had by this time well-nigh exhausted, by their assiduous investigations, all discoveries in animal life, both in the northern and southern extremities of Africa, in the lowlands of Kaffraria in the south, and the highlands of Ethiopia in the north, no one as yet had penetrated to the centre in the low latitudes near the equator; and by latitudinal differences I thought I should obtain new descriptions and varieties of animals. Further, I imagined the Mountains of the Moon were a vast range, stretching across Africa from east to west, which in all probability would harbour wild goats and sheep, as the Himalaya range does. There, too, I thought I should find the Nile rising in snow, as does the Ganges in the Himalayas.
The time I proposed to myself for carrying this scheme into operation was my furlough — a lease of three years’ leave of absence, which I should become entitled to at the expiration of ten years’ service in India; but I would not leave the reader to infer that I intended devoting the whole of my furlough to this one pursuit alone. Two of the three years were to be occupied in collecting animals, and descending by the valley of the Nile to Egypt and England, whilst the third year was to be spent in indulgent recreations at home after my labours should be over.
I had now served five years in the Indian army, and five years were left to serve ere I should become entitled to take my furlough. During this time I had to consider two important questions: How I should be able, out of my very limited pay as a subaltern officer, to meet the heavy expenditure which such a vast undertaking would necessarily involve? and how, before leaving India, I might best employ any local leave I could obtain, in completing my already commenced collections of the fauna of that country and its adjacent hill-ranges?1
Previous experience had taught me that, in the prosecution of my chief hobby, I would also solve the problem of the most economical mode of living. In the backwoods and jungles no ceremony or etiquette provokes unnecessary expenditure; whilst the fewer men and material I took with me on my sporting excursions the better sport I always got, and the freer and more independent I was to carry on the chase. I need now only say I acted on this conviction, and I think, I may add, I managed it successfully; for there are now but few animals to be found in either India, Tibet, or the Himalaya Mountains, specimens of which have not fallen victims to my gun. Of this the paternal hall is an existing testimony. Every year after the war I obtained leave of absence, and every year I marched across the Himalayas, and penetrated into some unknown portions of Tibet, shooting, collecting, and mapping the country wherever I went. My mess-mates wondered how it was I succeeded in getting so much leave; but the reason was simply this, and I tell it that others may profit by it:— The Commander-in-Chief, Sir William Gomm, observing to what good account I always turned my leave, instead of idling my time away, or running into debt, took great pleasure in encouraging my hobby; and his Staff were even heard to say it would be a pity if I did not get leave, as so much good resulted from it.
The 3d September 1854 completed my tenth year’s servitude in India, and on the succeeding day, the 4th, I embarked on board one of the P. and O. Company’s steamers at Calcutta, and left the Indian shore for Aden; but previously to my departure I purchased various cheap articles of barter, all as tempting and seductive as I could find, for the simple-minded negroes of Africa. These consisted principally of cheap guns, revolving pistols, swords, cheap cutlery of all sorts, beads, cotton stuffs of a variety of kinds, and sewing material, &c. &c. &c., to the amount of £390 sterling. Arrived at Aden, my first step was to visit Colonel Outram, the political resident, to open my views to him with regard to penetrating Africa, and to solicit his assistance to my doing so, by granting introductory letters to the native chiefs on the coast, and in any other manner that he could. But to my utter astonishment and discomfiture, with the frank and characteristic ardour which has marked him through life, he at once said he would not only withhold his influence, but would prohibit my going there at all, as the countries opposite to Aden were so extremely dangerous for any foreigners to travel in, that he considered it his duty as a Christian to prevent, as far as he was able, anybody from hazarding his life there. This opposition, fortunately, only lasted for a time. After repeated supplications on my part, the generous kind nature of the Colonel overcame him, and he thought of a pretext by which, should anything serious happen to me, there would not remain any onus on his conscience.
The Bombay Government at that time had been induced to order an expedition to be organised for the purpose of investigating the Somali country — a large tract of land lying due south of Aden, and separated only from the Arabian coast by the Gulf of Aden — and had appointed three officers, Lieutenant Burton to command, and Lieutenants Stroyan and Herne to assist in its conduct. To this project Colonel Outram had ever been adverse, and he had remonstrated with the Government about it, declaring, as his opinion, the scheme to be quite unfeasible. The Somali, he said, were the most savage of all African savages, and were of such a wild and inhospitable nature that no stranger could possibly live amongst them. The Government, however, relying on the ability of one who made the pilgrimage of Mecca, were bent at least on giving the Lieutenant a chance of showing what he could do in this even darker land, and he was then occupied in Aden maturing his plans of procedure.2
This, then, was the opportunity the Colonel took advantage of, advising me to ask Lieutenant Burton to incorporate me in his expedition, at the same time saying that, if it was found to be agreeable to Lieutenant Burton, he would back my application to the Indian Government, obtain a cancel of my furlough, and get me put on service-duty as a member of the expedition.
Nothing could have suited me better, as it brought me on service again, and so saved my furlough leave for a future exploration. Lieutenant Burton consented, and I was at once installed in the expedition. My travelling, mapping,3 and collecting propensities, it was thought would be of service to the ends of the expedition; and by my being incorporated in it, there would be no chance of my running counter to it, by travelling on its line of march, and possibly giving rise to disturbances with the natives.
Before proceeding further in the narrative of events as they occurred, it may be as well, perhaps, to anticipate a little, and give a general impression of the geography, ethnology, history, and other characteristics of the country under investigation — the Somali land — and the way in which it was intended that those investigations should be carried out. As will appear by the following pages, my experiences were mostly confined to the north central parts, in the highlands of the Warsingali and Dulbahanta tribes. The rest of my information is derived from conversations with the natives, or what I have read in some very interesting pages in vol. xix. of the ‘Transactions of the Royal Geographical Society,’ written by Lieutenant Cruttenden.
The Somali country is an elbow of land lying between the equator and the 11th degree of north latitude, which, from its peculiar form, might well be designated the Eastern Horn of Africa. The land is high in the north, and has a general declination, as may be seen by the river system, to the south and eastward, but with less easting as we come westward.
It is separated from the main body of Africa by the river Jub, a large and fertilising stream, which, rising in the mountains of southern Abyssinia, passes between the territories of the Gallas on the west and the Somali on the east, and debouches in the Indian Ocean at the northern extremity of the Zanzibar coast. According to Lieutenant Cruttenden’s map, there are only two other rivers besides this of any consequence in the land — the Webbe (river) Shebéli, or Haines river, which is of considerable importance, having a large flow of water, trending down a cultivable district of rich red soil, and another less important to the eastward of these two, called very unfortunately by him the Wadi4 Nogal. The proper specific name for this river has never, to my knowledge, been given; but the Jid Ali Tug is one of its head branches. It rises in some small hills close overhanging the north coast, and runs south-easterly into the Indian Ocean, dividing two large territories, called Ugahden, or Haud, on the west, and Nogal on the east, mouthing at Ras Ul Khylé. Ugahden is said to be a flat grassy country, of red soil, almost stoneless, and having water everywhere near the surface. It is considered by the pastoral Somali a famous place for keeping cattle, of which by report they possess a great abundance, such as camels, ponies, cows, and Dumba sheep — a fat-tailed animal, like the Persian breed. Game also abounds in this country, of which the gazelles and antelopes, I was assured, roamed about in vast herds like sheep.
The Nogal country is the opposite of this, containing nothing of any material value in it. The rock-formation is all lime, very pure and white like marble, which consequently makes the soil white, and, being very stony, it is almost barren. The Somali keep cattle here, but with much apparent difficulty, being, from the scarcity of springs and want of water, obliged to march about, following the last falls of rain, to obtain fresh herbage for their cattle. My first and greater journey gave me an insight into this portion of the interior of the country south of Bunder Gori. It was very interesting, though not profitable, from its never having been visited by any Europeans before. I observed here two distinct leading features in its physical geography. The first is a narrow hill-range, about 180 miles long and 20 or more broad, which is occupied by two large tribes — the Warsingali on the east, and a branch of the Habr Gerhajis on the west. It is situated at an average distance of from 200 yards to three or four miles from the sea-shore, separated from it by a sandy flat or maritime plain, and, like the line of coast, extends from east to west. Immediately due south of Bunder Gori, the sea-face, or northern slopes of this range, are very steep and irregular, being trenched down by deep ravines, which, during the rainy season, shed their water across the maritime plain into the Gulf of Aden.
The lower folds on this side of the range are composed of brown rocks and earth, having little or no vegetation upon them, and are just as uninviting in appearance as the light-brown hills which fringe the coast of Arabia, as seen by voyagers on the Red Sea. Further up the hill, in the central folds of the range, this great sterility changes for a warm rich clothing of bush-jungle and a little grass. Gum-trees, myrrh, and some varieties of the frankincense are found in great profusion, as well as a variety of the aloe plant, from which the Somali manufacture good strong cordage. The upper part of the range is very steep and precipitous, and on this face is well clad with trees and bush-jungle. The southern side of the range is exactly the opposite, in all its characteristics, of the northern. Instead of having a steep drop of from 6000 to 7000 feet, it falls by gentle slopes to successive terraces, like a giant staircase, to scarcely half that depth, where it rests at the head of the high plateau land of Nogal, and is almost barren. Nogal, as I have said before, is also very barren, only producing trees, such as the hardy acacia and jujube, in sheltered places, in the valleys or watercourses which drain that land to the south-east. I had no means of determining it, but should judge this second great geographical feature, the plateau of Nogal, by the directions its streams lie in, to have a gradual decreasing declination, like all the rest of the interior, from the north, where it averages an altitude of from 3000 to 4000 feet, down to the level of the sea on south and by east.
According to traditional histories furnished me by the natives who accompanied me on the journeys I undertook, it appears that the present Somali are of rather recent origin, not more than four and a half centuries old. About the year 1413, an Arab chieftain, Darud-bin-Ismail, who had been disputing with an elder brother for certain territorial rights at Mecca, was overpowered and driven from the Mussulman Holy Land, and marched southwards, accompanied by a large number of faithful followers — amongst whom was an Asyri damsel, of gentle blood and interesting beauty, whom he subsequently married — to Makallah, on the southern shores of Arabia. Once arrived there, this band of vanquished fugitives hired vessels, and, crossing the Gulf of Aden, came to Bunder Gori. Here they were hospitably received by the then governing people, who, for the most part, were Christians — probably Gallas and Abyssinians — who, judging from the few archaeological remains they subsequently left behind them, must have lived in a far more advanced state of civilisation than the present Somali enjoy. Those Christian people were governed by one man, Sultan Kin, who had a deputy called Wurrah, renowned alike for his ferocity of character and his ability to govern.
For some years Darud and his Arab followers led a quiet, peaceable life, gaining the confidence of his host, and inspiring Kin’s subjects with reverence for their superior talents. In process of time, by intermarriage and proselytising, these Mussulmans increased in number, and gained such strength, that they began to covet, and finally determined to take the country from the race that had preceded them. This project, by various intrigues and machinations, was easily effected; and Kin, with all his Christians, was driven back to his native highlands in Ethiopia.5 Darud now was paramount in all this land, and reigned until he died, when an only son by his Asyri wife succeeded to him. This man’s name was Kabl Ullah, who had a son called Harti. On succeeding his father, Harti had three sons, called respectively, in order of birth, Warsingali, Dulbahanta, and Mijjertaine. Amongst these three he divided his kingdom, which to this day retains the names. The Mijjertaine dispersed over the eastern portions of the land, the Warsingali held the central, and the Dulbahantas the western territories.6
Subsequently to this period, an Arab called Ishak came across from Southern Arabia and established himself forcibly at Méit, and founded the three different nations who now occupy all the coast-line from Ras Galwéni on the eastward to Zeyleh on the extreme west of the Somali country. Ishak, it appears, had three wives, who gave in issue three sons, and among these three men was divided the whole country which he subdued.
Forming themselves into tribes, the senior or Habr Gerhajis, by constant feuds and other causes, are much distributed about the country, but mostly occupy the hilly grounds to the southward of the coast-line; whilst the Habr Owel, or second in order of birth, possess all the coast of Berbera between Zeyleh and Kurrum; and the third, or Habr Teljala, hold all the rest thence eastwards to Héis.
The Somali have been chiefly known to us since the time of our taking occupation of Aden, whither many of them resort with their wives and families to carry on trade, or do the more menial services of porterage and donkey-driving. They are at once easily recognised by the overland traveller by their singular appearance and boisterous manner, as well as by their cheating and lying propensities, for which they are peculiarly notorious; indeed, success in fraud is more agreeable to them than any other mode of gaining a livelihood, and the narration of such acts is their greatest delight in conversation. They excel as donkey-boys even the Egyptians. As may be concluded from their history, they are a mixed Ham–Shemitic race, but differing considerably from both in their general appearance, though retaining certain characteristics of both these breeds. They are a tall, slender people, light and agile as deer; slightly darker than, though much the colour of Arabs, with thin lip, and noses rather Grecian when compared with those of blacks, but with woolly heads like the true negroes. Their natures are so boisterous and warlike, that at Aden it has been found necessary to disarm them. When they first arrived there, it was not an unusual sight to see the men of different tribes, on the hillsides that form the face of the “crater,” fighting battles-royal with their spears and shields; and even to this day, they, without their arms, sometimes have hot contests, by pelting one another with sticks and stones. There is scarcely a man of them who does not show some scars of wounds received in these turmoils, some apparently so deep that it is marvellous how they ever recovered from them.
Their costume is very simple. The men, who despise trousers, wear a single sheet of long-cloth, eight cubits long, thrown over the shoulder, much after the fashion of the Scotsman’s plaid. Some shave their head, leaving it bare; others wear the mane of a lion as a wig, which is supposed by them to give the character of ferocity and courage to the wearer, while those who affect the dandy allow their hair to grow, and jauntily place some sticks in it resembling the Chinaman’s joss-sticks, which, when arranging their toilette, they use as a comb, and all carry as weapons of defence a spear and shield, a shillelagh, and a long two-edged knife. The women clothe more extensively, though not much so. Fastening a cloth tightly round the body immediately under their arms, they allow it to fall evenly down to the ground, and effectually cover their legs. The married ones encase their hair in a piece of blue cloth, gathering it up at the back of the head in the fashion of English women of the present day; this is a sign of wedlock. The virgins wear theirs loose, plaited in small plaits of three, which, being parted in the centre, allows the hair to fall evenly down all round the head like a well-arranged mop. On approaching these fairs, they seductively give their heads a cant backwards, with a half side-jerk, which parts the locks in front, and discloses a pretty little smiling face, with teeth as white as pearls, and lips as red as rubies. Pretty as they are when young, this beauty fades at once after bearing children, and all their fair proportions go with it. After that marked peculiarity of female negroes, they swell about the waist, and have that large development behind, which, in polite language, is called steatopyga. Although they are Mussulmans, none wear the yashmac. Beads are not so much in request here as in other parts of Africa, though some do wear necklaces of them, with large rings of amber. This description, however, applies to the Somali in his own land. When he comes over to Aden he takes shame at his nakedness, dons the Arab’s gown and trousers, and becomes the merchant complete.7
In consequence of the poorness of their land, almost all the Somali are wandering pastorals, which of itself is enough to account for their turbulent natures. The system of government they maintain is purely patriarchal, and is succeeded to by order of birth generally in a regular and orderly manner, attributable, it would appear, to the reverence they feel for preserving their purity of blood. The head of each clan is called Gerad or Sultan, who would be powerless in himself were he not supported by the united influence of all the royal family. When any disturbances or great disputes arise, the sultan is consulted, who collects his elders in parliament to debate the matter over, and, through them, ascertain the people’s feelings. Petty disputes are settled by the elders without any further reference. In most cases war arises from blood-feuds, when a member of one clan kills the subject of another, and will not pay the recognised valuation of the party injured, or allow himself to be given up to the vengeance of the family who has sustained the loss. In such cases as these, whole tribes voluntarily march out to revenge the deed by forcibly taking as many cattle from the aggressor as the market valuation may amount to.
Thus a war, once contracted, does not subside for years, as by repeated deaths among the contending parties the balance of blood-money never can be settled. Moreover, the inflicted punishment seldom falls on the party immediately concerned; added to which, in wars of tribes, everybody helps himself to his enemy’s cattle in the best way he can, and men formerly poor now suddenly become rich, which gives a zest to the extension of the contest nothing else could produce. Indeed, the poorer orders of Somali are only too glad to have a good pretext for a fight, as a means of bettering their condition, by adding a few more head of cattle to their stock. Were this not the case, there would be no fighting whatever, as the sultan would be powerless to raise an army against the inclination of the people. War only ceases when both sides become exhausted, and withdraw as by mutual consent. The great object in these encounters is to steal away as many cattle as possible without risk of person, and such feats are boasted of with rapture by those returning home with any prize. In the administration of justice they consult the Mosaic law, as given in the Koran, taking life for life, and kind for kind.
The northern Somali have no permanent villages in the interior of the country, as the ground is not cultivated; but they scatter about, constantly moving with their flocks and herds to any place within their limited districts where water is to be found, and erect temporary huts of sticks, covered with grass mats; or, when favourable, they throw up loose stone walls like the dykes in Scotland. But on the sea-coast, wherever there are harbours for shipping, they build permanent villages on a very primitive scale. These are composed of square mat walls, supported by sticks, and all huddled together, and partitioned off for the accommodation of the various families, near which there are usually one or more square box-shaped stone buildings, the property of the chief of the place, which are designated forts, though there is nothing in their artless construction to deserve this name. They are all composed of blocks of coralline, cemented together with mortar extracted from the same material.
Like nearly all places within the tropics, beyond the equatorial rainy zone, this country is visited by regular monsoons, or seasons in which the winds prevail constantly in one direction; consequently vessels can only come into the harbours of the northern coast when the sun is in the south, or during five months of the year, from the 15th November to the 15th April, to trade with the people; and then the Somali bring the products of their country, such as sheep, cows, ghee, mats made by the women from certain grasses and the Daum palm, ostrich feathers, and hides, and settle on the coast to exchange them in barter with the outer merchants, such as Arabs and men from Cutch, who bring thither cloths, dates, rice, beads, and iron for that purpose.
Of all the trading places on the coast, the most important is Berbera; it is, in fact, the great emporium of Somali land, and we must call the reader’s particular attention to it, since it forms the chief point of interest in these pages. It is on the same meridian as Aden, and only divided from it by the gulf of that name. Although it is of such great importance, it is only inhabited during the five months of the favourable monsoon, when great caravans come up from the rich provinces which lie to its south and south-west, the principal ones being those from Ugahden and Harar.
Having now given a general sketch of the country, we shall enter upon the objects of the expedition. It was obvious, by the lay of the land, that the richest and most interesting part of the country must be that which lies between the Jub and Webbe Shebéli rivers, and it was the most accessible to inspection, as large and powerful caravans, travelling southwards through Ugahden, much frequent it. Seeing this, Lieutenant Burton conceived the idea of waiting until the breaking up of the Berbera fair, when the caravans disperse to their homes, to travel by the ordinary caravan route, through the Ugahden country to the Webbe Shebéli, and on to Gananah, and then to proceed further by any favourable opportunity to the Zanzibar coast.
It was now, however, early October, and fully five months must elapse ere we could finally enter on our march. In the mean time, Lieutenant Burton, desirous of becoming acquainted as far as possible with the habits of the people we were destined to travel amongst, as well as the nature of the country and the modes of travelling in this terra incognita, determined on making an experimental tour to Harar, a place which had never been entered by any European, and was said to be inaccessible to them. Harar, as I have said before, sends caravans annually to the Berbera fair, and therefore comes within the influence of British power. Taking advantage of this, Lieutenant Burton ordered Herne to go to Berbera whilst he was on this expedition, to keep up a diversion in his favour, arming him with instructions, that in case he was detained in Harar by the Amir of that place, Herne might detain their caravan as a ransom for the release of his party.
Further, to obtain more accurate knowledge concerning the march of the Ugahden caravans, to gain an insight into the market transactions of Berbera, and to collect cattle for our final march, it was deemed advisable he should go there. Stroyan, as soon as he could manage it, was also to go to Berbera to assist him. Thus everybody had a duty to perform during this interregnum but myself.
Dreading the monotony of a station life, I now volunteered to travel in any direction my commandant might think proper to direct, and to any length of time he might consider it advisable for me to be away. This proposition had its effect, as affording an extra opportunity of obtaining the knowledge desired, and instructions were drawn up for my guidance. I was to proceed to Bunder Gori, on the Warsingali frontier, to penetrate the country southwards as far as possible, passing over the maritime hill-range, and, turning thence westwards, was to inspect the Wadi Nogal, and march direct on Berbera, to meet Stroyan and Herne, at a date not later than the 15th January 1855. Whilst travelling I was to remark upon the watershed of the country, plot the route I travelled, keep copious notes on everything I saw, and collect specimens of natural history in all its branches, as well as observe and register all meteorological phenomena, and buy camels and ponies for the great future expedition.
Funds for the expenses of this undertaking were not available at that time from the public purse, as the Indian Government had stipulated that the whole sum they would advance for this great expedition should not exceed £1000, and, for security’s sake, had decided on paying it by instalments of £250 at a time. I therefore, desirous to render as much assistance as lay within my power to further the cause I had embarked upon, volunteered to advance the necessary sum from my own private resources, trusting to Lieutenant Burton’s promises in the future for being repaid.
This project settled, I at once set to work, and commenced laying in such stores as were necessary for an outfit, whilst Lieutenant Burton, who had been long resident in Aden, engaged two men to assist me on the journey. The first was a man named Sumunter, who ranked highly in his country, who was to be my Abban or protector. The duty of abbanship is of the greatest importance, for it rests entirely on the Abban’s honesty whether his client can succeed in doing anything in the country he takes him through. Arabs, when travelling under their protection, have to ask his permission for anything they may wish to do, and cannot even make a march, or purchase anything, without his sanction being first obtained. The Abban introduces the person under his protection to the chief of his clan, is answerable for all outrages committed on the way, and is the recognised go-between in all questions of dispute or barter, and in every other fashion. The second man was also a Warsingali,8 by name Ahmed, who knew a slight smattering of Hindustani, and acted as interpreter between us. I then engaged two other men, a Hindustani butler named Imam, and a Seedi called Farhan. This latter man was a perfect Hercules in stature, with huge arms and limbs, knit together with largely developed ropy-looking muscles. He had a large head, with small eyes, flabby squat nose, and prominent muzzle filled with sharp-pointed teeth, as if in imitation of a crocodile. Farhan told me that when very young he was kidnapped on the Zanzibar coast by the captain of a small Arab vessel. This captain one day seeing him engaged with many other little children playing on the sandy seashore, offered him a handful of fine fruity-looking dates, which proved so tempting to his juvenile taste that he could not resist the proffered bait, and he made a grab at them. The captain’s powerful fingers then fell like a mighty trap on his little closed hand, and he was hurried off to the vessel, where he was employed in the capacity of “powder-monkey.” In this position he remained serving until full grown, when, finding an opportunity, he ran away from his master, and has ever since lived the life of a “free-man.”
As a soldier, he had been tried in warfare, and was proved valorous and cunning in the art, and promised to be a very efficient guard for me. The next thing of most importance to be considered was the dress I should wear. I first consulted the Colonel (Outram), who said he was averse to our going in disguise, thinking that lowering ourselves in this manner would operate against me in the estimation of the natives. But this did not suit Lieutenant Burton’s plans, who, not wishing to be conspicuous whilst travelling to Harar, determined on going there disguised as an Arab merchant, and thought it better we should appear as his disciples, in accordance with which Herne had already purchased his dress, and now I bought mine. It was anything but pleasant to the feel. I had a huge hot turban, a long close-fitting gown, baggy loose drawers, drawn in at the ankles, sandals on my naked feet, and a silk girdle decorated with pistol and dirk. As an outfit for this especial journey, I bought at Aden £120 worth of miscellaneous articles, consisting chiefly of English and American sheeting, some coarse fabrics of indigo-dyed Indian manufacture, several sacks of dates and rice, and a large quantity of salt, with a few coloured stuffs of greater value than the other cloths, to give away as presents to the native chiefs. As defensible and other useful implements for the scientific portion of the expedition, I took rifles, guns, muskets, pistols, sabres, ammunition in great quantity, large commodious camel-boxes for carrying specimens of natural history, one sextant and artificial horizon, three boiling-point and common atmospheric thermometers, and one primitive kind of camera obscure, which I had made at Aden under the ingenious supervision of Herne.
1 Without exception, and after having now shot over three quarters of the globe, I can safely say, there does not exist any place in the whole wide world which affords such a diversity of sport, such interesting animals, or such enchanting scenery, as well as pleasant climate and temperature, as these various countries of my first experiences; but the more especially interesting was Tibet to me, from the fact that I was the first man who penetrated into many of its remotest parts, and discovered many of its numerous animals.
2 Lieutenant Burton received £100 from the Royal Geographical Society to cross Africa from west to east, and whilst attempting that journey he got drifted off with the flood of pilgrims to Mecca. See his book.
3 I had then mapped Tibet, and had laid down several new districts which even to this day have not been trodden by any European but myself.
4 Wadi, river or nullah.
5 It is questionable whether or not these Christians were driven south, fought at Mombas, were repulsed, and since have crossed the Nile to where we now find them, under the name of Wahuma. People may argue against the possibility of this, as the Wahuma do not keep horses; but the only reason, I believe, why they do not, is simply because horses won’t live in those rich regions.
6 Lieutenant Cruttenden, in his geographical treatise, describes the Darud family as being divided into four tribes, and, in addition to the three of which I heard, places the fourth or Murreyhan in his map to the southward of the country of Ugahden, lying between his Wadi Nogal and the Webbe Shebéli river.
7 The Somali, in their own country, consider the Arab’s gown and trousers effeminate; so on return to Africa they throw off the Arab costume again.
8 This proved a great mistake. By having both men of the same tribe for my entire dependence, they invariably acted in concert against me like two brothers.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:13