Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

red ocre.

makosina. They are governed by a chief of the name of Gaika, who is invested with the sole and absolute power over the lives and property of about 20,000 souls. They dwell in permanent villages, consisting of forty or fifty huts each, placed near the banks of rivers for the convenience of water for themselves and cattle. Their huts are hemispherical, very closely wattled and plastered, wind and water tight, and, on the whole, not uncomfortable; that of the king differs only in having the tail of a lion or panther stuck on the top of it. They have beds of skins, and stuffed cushions; vessels of carthen ware and of gourds; baskets beautifully woven of rushes, in which they hold their milk; they are clothed in skins well dressed, soft and pliant, and neatly sewed with the fibres of animal ligaments; the men in warm weather go perfectly naked, and their bodies are rubbed over with grease and The women, at all times, are closely covered


from the neck to the ankles; and such is their sense of female decorum, that they will not even suckle their children, or draw up their mantle to cross a river, in the presence of strangers. They cultivate a species of millet, (holcus sorghum,) buck-wheat, and a bitter gourd resembling in its appearance the water melon; they are fond of animal food, but rarely kill their cattle, except on extraordinary occasions, as marriages or funerals, or being visited by strangers. Their chief food is thickened milk. A cup of milk, drunk by the bride from the bridegroom's cow, is the seal of the marriage contract. They are frugal, temperate, and cleanly both in their huts and persons; extremely hospitable; good humoured towards friends àud strangers, but implacable to their foes. In their wars they are brave and resolute; their chief weapon is the hassa. gai, or a long spear with an iron lance-shaped head; and their defensive armour an oval shield, cut from the hide of an ox, sufficiently large to cover nearly the whole body. They also carry a weapon

called the keri, being a stick of heavy wood with a clubbed head,

The Caffres are subject to few diseases. • They never,' says Mr. Lichtenstein, have colds or catarrhs,' and 'they never sneeze, yawn, cough, or hawk.” (p. 259.) They practise bleeding, and have certain external and internal remedies; but they rely chiefly on appeasing the angry spirit which they conceive afflicts them with disease. Like all half-civilized people they are extremely superstitious. When rain is wanted, they have recourse to certain old women, who have the reputation of being witches; these ladies practise a number of ridiculous ceremonies in order to accomplish the purpose; if they succeed, their reputation is established, but if they fail they are expelled the society, and, in some cases, suffer death. The frequent prayers of the missionary Van B B 4


der Kemp, induced the Caffres to set him down as a magician; and, under the belief that he dealt with the evil spirit, he was once ordered to procure them rain within three days. The rain, luckily for him, happened to fall before the expiration of the time, which confirmed their opinion of his connection with the devil, in consequence of which they drove him out of their country; had he failed, he would most probably have been put to death.

The Caffres, like the Hottentots, are supposed to derive their origin from some far distant country. Perhaps,' says Mr. Lichtenstein, “Mr. Barrow, who first suggested this idea, goes too far when he supposes the Caffres to have wandered hither directly from Arabia, and to be descendants of the Bedouin tribes. They appear to me of much more ancient descent; it is true that the practice of circumcision, some slight knowledge of astronomy, their superstition, and the faint traces to be found in their words and names of being derived from Arabic roots, may seem nearly to remove all doubt. His own notion seems to be, that though of Asiatic origin, they first passed over to the northern coast of Africa, at some very remote period, where, in the neighbourhood of Egypt, they might have learned many regulations respecting uncleanness and purifications, which have certainly a remarkable resemblance to those of the Levitical law. But why not, like the Abyssinians, pass over the narrow mouth of the Red Sea to Adel, the natives of which are precisely the same people as the Koossas, and speak nearly the same language, but with a greater mixture of Arabic words ? All the Caffre tribes that have been discovered work neatly in iron. One of them, particularly distinguished for this art, is named the macquinas, and makini (as Mr. Lichtenstein observes) signifies in Arabic a worker of iron. We have no doubt that all those tribes of people which inhabit the eastern coast of Africa, from the banks of the Great Fish River to the borders of the Red Sea, are, like the Abyssinians, of Arabic origin. All that have yet been visited have the same manners and customs, speak different dialects of the same language, but so as to understand one another. The language of the Koossas is represented as full-toned, soft and harmonious; the pronunciation slow and distinct. In the Appendix of Mr. Lichtenstein's volume will be found considerable information on this part of the subject, which he collected from Van der Kemp and others. We conclude our sketch of this interesting people with General Jansens description of their young king, Gaika, whose personal and intellectual qualities were not wholly unknown to us.

• Gaika is one of the handsomest men that can be seen, even among the Caffres, uncommonly tall, with strong limbs, and very fine features. His countenance is expressive of the utmost benevolence and self-confi


dence, united with great animation; there is in his whole appearance something that at once speaks the king, although there was nothing in bis dress to distinguish him, except some rows of white beads which he wore round bis neck. It is not hazarding too much to say that among the savages all over the globe a handsomer man could scarcely be found. Nay, one might go farther, and say, that among the sovereigns of the cultivated nations, it would perhaps be difficult to find so many qualities united, worthy of their dignity. His fine, tall, well-proportioned form, at the perfect age of six-and-twenty, his open, benevolent, con"fiding countenance, the simplicity yet dignity of his deportment, the striking readiness of his judgment and of his answers, his frankness, and the rational views he took of things; all these properties combined are not often to be found among those, who, according to our commonly received opinions, have had infinitely greater advantages in the forming their persons and minds.' (p. 320.)

Of the Dutch colonists we shall say little. Those in Cape Town, and within the first range of mountains, are mostly in good circumstances, and live comfortably. The tramontane boors, scattered over a surface of 100,000 square miles, dwell sometimes at the distance of a day's journey from their nearest neighbour. A - regular farm, of three miles in diameter, consisting of 5000 acres, pays an annual rent of about four pounds ; a small portion only of this land is arable, and that portion rarely feels the ploughshare. A Dutch boor thinks not of bread. Mutton is to him what ale was to Boniface; he eats mutton, he drinks mutton, and sleeps upon mutton. Their stock is prodigious, and with common care might be increased to any extent. We fiud one boor in possession of 80 horses, 690 head of cattle, and 1470 sheep; another with 300 horses and 1600 sheep. In one district 22 families share among them 80,000 sheep, and a proper proportion of cattle and horses, (p. 92,) in another, 36 families have 100,000 sheep, besides horses, cows, and draught oxen. (p. 99.) The women appear to be as prolific as the cattle. Five couple,' says Mr. Lichtenstein, in the last three houses we visited, had 51 children living, besides 11 that had died;' and he adds, it is moderate to reckon ten children to each family.' (p. 113.) The immediate descendants of one man, 71 years old, amounted to 83. At a wedding, the nearest of kin to the parties, with their children and grandchildren, amounted to 170 persons; and a widow of 56 had 17 children, whose descendants exceeded a hundred souls.' (p. 172.) Yet with all this, the colony, after a possession of 200 years, is miserably pecpled.

These boors have been represented by most travellers in an unamiable point of view. Barrow allows them the savage virtue of hospitality, but describes them as a lazy, revengeful, cruel people, and General Jansens does the same; but the former, in ascribing

their vices to their intercourse with itinerant German schoolmasters, generally deserters from the ranks, bas called down the wrath of Mr. Lichtenstein, who has scarcely proceeded beyond the smoke of Cape Town before he discovers the Dutch boors to be the mildest and most inoffensive of mankind, remarkably kind to their slaves and Hottentots, (p. 51,) without a fault except that of being too religious. (p. 140.) Having crossed the mountains, however, he forgets his former remarks, and finds that his virtuous boors have a few trifling faults; for instance Selfishness, lawlessness, hardiness, intolerance, and a thirst of revenge; the harshness with which they treat their slaves and Hottentots, and the bitterness and irreconcileable animosity with which they carry on their differences among each other, are the reigning vices in their characters.' (p. 377.) Again, we find them exceedingly industrious, decent, and cleanly—of which the following extract may serve as a specimen. It describes but part of a Dutch boor's house, it is true, but it is a faithful and favourable picture of most of them.

" It was composed of the room at which we entered and a side chamber. The first was kitchen as well as parlour, but it was no more than twenty feet long, and fourteen broad, and in the chamber was a young woman, a relation of our hostess, then in the pains of child-birth. Our whole party, therefore, were to be stowed in the first room, for the rain grew every instant more and more violent, nor ceased till noon on the following day. Our presence was somewhat embarrassing to our busy hostess, who undertook the cooking herself, in which she was assisted by some half-naked female slaves. Two fresh-slain sheep hung near the fire-place, while other parts of the room were filled up with several vessels, a large chopping block, and a quantity of dry fire-wood. The whole household furniture consisted of two small tables, four or five chests, and half a dozen field-stools. In one corner was a sitting hen, in another a duck with her young ones; then there were some half dozen of dogs, who every now and then began barking terribly and ran out, returning all wet and dirty, and sprinkling the dirt all about,' &c. (p. 227.)

The Moravian establishment at Bavian's Kloof has increased, by Mr. Lichtenstein's account, to nearly eleven hundred Hottentots. Two hundred houses and huts, with gardens to each, built in regular streets, with a very neat church at the head, give it the appearance of a large European village. The Moravian pastors, with their wives, live together in one large house; they have one common garsler, well stocked, and kept in the highest order. One of then as the exclusive care of this garden, another superintends the smithery, in which various kinds of iron work are carried on, but particularly the manufacture of knives, in which several of the Holientots are very expert; a third has built, and superintends, a water-mill, which grinds not only the whole of the corn for the esta


blishment, but also for many of the neighbouring colonists. Their great object is to inspire among their disciples a spirit of industry, with a feeling for the comforts which property can confer, and the benefits which arise out of civilized society; instilling at the same time into their minds a proper sense of religion.

. In order to form a just estimate of the worth of these excellent men, their manner of conducting themselves towards the Hottentots must be seen; the mildness yet dignity with which they instruct them, and the effect which has already been produced in improving the condition of their uncivilized brethren, is truly admirable. No other punishment is known but being prohibited from attending divine service, or being banished the society. The highest reward of industry and good behaviour is to be baptized and received into the society-to the most distinguished among these, the still higher honors are granted of being appointed to little offices in the church, such as elders or deacons. The latter are also, from their diligence and industry, in the best circumstances of any in the community, and have houses, built by themselves, not at all inferior to those of the colonists on the borders. The men are clothed, like the peasants, in linen jackets and leather smallclothes, and wear hats; the women have woollen petticoats, cotton jackets with long sleeves, and caps.' (p. 156.)

We must now give the contrast to this pleasing picture.

• About a mile and a half eastward from the bay, (of Algoa,) a man, now near seventy years of age, by name Van der Kemp, has collected together between two and three hundred Hottentots, to whom he preaches the Gospel. If ardour in religion, amounting almost to bjgotry, if self-denial, and a renunciation of social comforts, even of all earthly enjoyments, supported by a high degree of enthusiasm, and by very extensive learning--if these properties can render a missionary worthy of respect and esteem, then is Van der Kemp most truly so. Even the history of his early life must create a high degree of interest for him.' (p. 235.)

Mr. Lichtenstein goes on to say, that in his youth he entered the army, but marrying beneath him, he quitted the service, studied physic, and was appointed army physician; that in crossing the Maese with his wife and children, the boat upset, and every soul perished except himself; that from this moment he abandoned the study of medicine for that of theology; that he studied the ancient and oriental languages; that he published some works in Holland which did not succeed; that he came over to England in 1780, where he was more successful; was ordained at Oxford; went to the Cape in 1797, with a view of converting the Caffres; was driven away by thein, as we have already mentioned; collected a body of Hottentots, in which he was assisted by an Englishman of the name of Read, and met with encouragement from the English government. These people were daily instructed in the precepts


« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »