Page images
PDF
EPUB

The house stands on the end of the oblong, so as torrents from the adjacent heights had, from year to leave a little square space before the door. On to year, carried away immense masses, in some the day previous I had passed several villages, places laying bare the substratum of granite rocks, some containing forty houses, all built on poles exhibiting a mass of rich soil from ten to twenty about seven or eight feet from the ground, in the feet deep, where it was evident native grain tad form of a circle; the ascent and descent is by a formerly waved ; and water-melons, pumpkins, knotty branch of a tree placed in front of the house. kidney-beans, and sweet reed, had once flourished. In the centre of the circle there is always a heap The ruins of many towns showed signs of immense of the bones of game they have killed. Such labor and perseverance; stone serces, averaging were the domiciles of the impoverished thousands from four to seven feet high, raised apparently of the aborigines of the country, who, having been without mortar, hammer, or line. Every thing was scattered and peeled by Moselekatse, had neither circular, from the inner walls which surrounded herd nor stall, but subsisted on locusts, roots, and each dwelling or family residence, to those which the chase. They adopted this mode of architect- encircled a town. In traversing these ruins, I ure to escape the lions which abounded in the found the remains of some houses which had escapcountry. During the day the families descended ed the flames of the marauders. These were large, to the shade beneath to dress their daily food. and displayed a far superior style to any thing i When the inhabitants increased, they supported had witnessed among the other aboriginal tribes the augmented weight on the branches, by upright of Southern Africa. The circular walls were gensticks, but when lightened of their load they re-erally composed of hard clay, with a small mixture moved these for fire-wood.

of cow-dung, so well plastered and polished, a re

fined portion of the former mixed with a kind of In the original work there is a wood engray.

ore, that the interior of the house had the appear. ing of the tree in which are perched those ance of being varnished. The walls and door-ways human nests. It is of the fig species, and, were also neatly ornamented with a kind of archiwe need not say, very large. The houses traves and cornices. The pillars supporting the in the boughs look like so many bee-hives. roof in the form of pilasters, projecting from the Thongh anxious to return to his station on walls, and adorned with flutings and other designs, the Kuruman, Mr. Moffat was induced to showed much taste in the architectresses. go forward by the eloquent entreaties of his In short, there were many signs of a companions, of whom he conceived a very comparatively advanced state of civilization high opinion. When for the last time he visible in the dominions of the terrible proposed to go back,

| Moselekatse, dominions not long obtained

by his conquest of the Bakones, whose 'Umbate laying his right hand on my shoulder,

beautiful country bad recently been desoand the left on his breast, addressed me in the fol

lated by the Matabele. Mr. Moffat relates: guardian. We are yours. You love us, and will Having Matabele with me, I found it extremely you leave us ?” and pointing to the blue mountains difficult to elicit local information from the de. on tbe distant horizon, “Yonder," he added, jected and scattered aborigines who occasionally * dwells the great Moselekatse, and how shall we came in our way. These trembled before the approach bis presence, if you are not with us? If nobles, who ruled them with a rod of iron. It you love us still, save us ; for when we shall have was soon too evident that the usurpers were anxtold our news, he will ask why our conduct gave ious to keep me in the dark about the devastayou pain to cause your return; and before the sun tions which everywhere met our eyes, and they descend on the day we see his face, we shall be always endeavored to be present when I came ordered out for execution, because you are not." . in contact with the aborigines of the country,

. . . . I now found myself in a perplexing but as I could speak the language some opporposition, these noble suppliants standing before tunities were afforded. One of the three serme, 'Umbate, whose intelligent countenance beam. vants who accompanied the two ambassadors to ed with benevolence, while his masculine compan- the Kuruman was a captive among the Mantaion, another Mars, displayed a sympathy of feeling tees, who had been defeated at Old Lithako. He, not to be expected in the man of war, who could as well as his fellow-cervants, felt a pleasure in count his many tens of slain warriors which had speaking with us in Sechuana, their native lan. adorned his head with the ring or badge of victory guage. . . . . He was a native of the reand honor. My own attendants, whom I had the gions through which we were now passing, and day before been commending for their intrepidity, would sometimes whisper to me events conwere looking on the transaction as it the destinies nected with the desolations of his father.land. of an empire were involved ; and heard, not without These nations he described as being once numestrong emotion, my consent to accompany the rous as the locusts, rich in cattle, and traffickers, strangers to their king.

to a great extent, with the distant tribes of the We now travelled along a range of mountains north. . . . . . On a Sabbath morning I running near E. S. E., while the country to the ascended a bill, at the base of which we had north and east became more level, but beautifully halted the preceding evening, to spend the day. studded with ranges of little hills, many isolated, I had scarcely reached the summit and sat down, of a conical form, along the bases of which lay the when I found that my intelligent companion had ruins of innumerable towns, some of which were of stolen away from the party, to answer some amazing extent. The soil of the valleys and ex- questions ( had asked the day before, and to tended plains was of the richest description. The I which he could not reply, because of the pre

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

sence of his superiors. Happening to turn to ambassadors preceded Moffat to announce the right, and seeing before me a large ex- his arrival 1o the king; "to make his path tent of level ground covered with ruine, I in- I straight” to the place where dwelt - the quired what had become of the inhabitants. He

great King of Heaven, the Elephant, the had just sat down, but rose, evidently with some feeling, and stretching forth his arm in the direc- Lion's paw." The inhabitants, who for the tion of the ruins, said, “I, even I, beheld it!" first time beheld men on horseback, scamand paused as if in deep though:. “There lived pered off in great alarm when Mr. Moffat the great chief of multitudes. He reigned among and some of his attendants appeared mountthem like a king. He was the chief of the blue- led. The account of this African sovereign, colored cattle. They were numerous as the his metropolis, his court, and his army, is dense mist on the mountain brow; his flocke covered the plain. He thought the number of

fone of the most original parts of the work, his warriors would awe his enemies. His peo- and that which will probably have the greatple boasted in their spears, and laughed at the est interest for the geographer. We pass cowardice of such as had fled from their towns. at once into the august presence of the 'I shall slay them, and hang up their shields on monarch, which was not reached until due my hill. Our race is a race of warriors. Who Icare had been taken to impress the white ever subdued our fathers ? they were mighty in man with a sense of his newer and dinity

htyon man with a sense of his power and dignity. combat. We still possess the spoils of ancient times. Have not our dogs eaten the shields of

| We left our intrepid missionary making their nobles? The vultures shall devour the his way to the court of the renowned Afrislain of our enemies.' Thus they sang and thus can sovereign, Moselekatse, the king of the they danced, till they beheld on yonder heights warlike Matabeles, “ The Great King of the approaching foe.' The noise of their song Heaven,” “ The Elephant," "The Lion's was hushed in night, and their hearts were filled paw." Moffat was the first white man who with dismay. They saw the clouds ascend from

had ever penetrated so far in this direction. the plains. It was ihe smoke of burning towns. The confusion of a whirlwind was in the heart of it will be remembered that he came hither the great chief of the blue-colored cattle. This with the ambassadors whom Moselekatse shout was raised, They are friends ;' but they had sent to the mission station to examine shouted again, They are foes,' till their near and report on the wonders to be seen there ; approach proclaimed them naked Matabele. land with other secret diplomatic objects The men seized their arms, and rushed out, as if I which were not avowed. In his reception to chase the antelope. The onset was as the voice of lightning, and their spears as the shaking

of the white man, the representative of the of a forest in the autumn storm. The Matabele powerful race of whom so many fables were lions raised the shout of death, and flew upon told-this barbarous sovereign, the Napotheir victims. It was the shout of victory. Ileon of the desert, endeavored to impress Their hissing and hollow groans told their pro- him with a due sense of his own power gress among the dead. A few moments laid land dignity. As this is the most important hundreds on the ground. The clash of shields

of the native tribes whom Mr. Moffat visit. was the signal of triumph. Our people fled with their cattle to the top of yonder mount.

ed, and equal in interest to any of the rela. The Matabele entered the town with the roar of|tions given by Park or Clapperton, we must the lion; they pillaged and fired the houses, present the “Lion's Paw” with some cere. speared the mothers, and cast their infants to the mony. flames. The sun went down. The victors emerged from the smoking plain, and pursued He came up to us, and having been instructed in their course, surrounding the base of yonder hill. our mode of salutation, gave each a clumsy but They slaughtered cattle; they danced and sang hearty shake of the hand. He then politely turned till the dawn of day; they ascended, and killed to the food, which was placed at our feet, and intill their hands were weary of the spear.” Stoop- vited us to partake. By this time the wagons were ing to the ground on which we stood, he took up seen in the distance, and having intimated our a little dust in his hand ; blowing it off, and hold wish to be directed to a place where we might ening out his naked palm, he added, " That is all camp in the outskirts of the town, he accompanied that remains of the great chief of the blue-colored us, keeping fast hold of my right arm, though not cattle!" It is impossible for me to describe my in the most graceful manner, yet with perfect fafeelings while listening to this descriptive effu- miliarity. “The land is before you ; you are come sion of native eloquence; and I afterwards em- to your son. You must sleep where you please." braced opportunities of writing it down, of which when the “ moving houses," as the wagons were the above is only an abridgment. I found also called, drew near, he took a firiner grasp of my from other aborigines that his was no fabled arm, and looked on them with unutterable surprise ; song, but merely a compendious sketch of the and this man, the terror of thousands, drew back catastrophe.

with fear, as one in doubt as to whether they were

not living creatures. When the oxen were unThis extract shows Moffat's command of

yoked, he approached the wagon with the utmost the language, besides affording a fine specie

kaing a nne specle caution, still holding me by one hand, and placing men of the natural eloquence of the men the other on his mouth, indicating bis surprise. He we are pleased to call savages. One of the looked at them very intently, particularly the wheels, and when told of how many pieces of wood | saved from death by the intercession of the each wheel was composed, bis wonder was in- missionary, shows that the proud, convencreased. Aller examining all very closely, one tional sense of honor, the feelings of chiv. inystery yet remained, -how the large band of iron surrounding the felloes of the wheel came to be in

in alry," may glow as intensely in the sable one piece without either end or joint. 'Umbate. I breast of a barbarian in South Africa, as in my friend and fellow-traveller, whose visit to our the heart of a descendant of the highest station had made him much wiser than his master, Norman noblility. The sable warrior dis. took bold of my right hand, and related what he dained the poor boon of life if deprived of had seen. “My eyes," he said, “saw that very bis rank and privileges, and the badges of hand," pointing to mine, “cut these bars of iron, his honors : and rejected the commutation take a piece off one end, and then join them as you DOW see them.” A minute inspection ensued to

of his sentence which, to the astonishment discover the welded part. “Does he give medi

ve medi- of the other nobles, the missionary had obcine to the iron ?" was the monarch's inquiry. tained. "No," said 'Uinbate, “nothing is used but fire, a hammer and a chisel.” Moselekatse then returned

| The sentence passed, the pardoned man was ex. to the town, where the warriors were still standing

Ipected to bow in grateful adoration to him whom as he left them, who received him with iminense

he was wont to look upon and exait in songs ap

plicable only to One, to whom belongs universal bursts of applause. Some thousands of the Matabele, composing

sway and the destinies of man. But, no! holding several regiments, are distinguished by the color

his hands clasped on his bosom, he replied, “O of their shields, as well as the kind and profusion King

| king, afflict not my heart! I have merited thy dis. of feathers which generally adorn their heads,

pleasure ; let me be slain like the warrior ; I can. baviog also a long feather of the blue crane rising:

not live with the poor.” And, raising his hand to from their brows, all which has an imposing effect the

the ring he wore on his brow, he continued: “How at their onset. Their arms consist of a shield, car

hield can I live among the dogs of the king, and disgrace short spear, and club. The club, often made of the these badges of honor which I won among the horn of a rhinoceros or hard wood, they throw with I spears and shields of the mighty? No, I cannot

Alis request was unerring precision. so ag even to strike dead the live! Let me die, O Pezoolu!" smaller antelope. . . . . Moselekatse did not granted, and his hands tied erect over his head. fail to supply us abundantly with meat, milk, and a weak kind of beer, made from the native grain.

disdained the boon on the conditions offered, preHe appeared anxious to please, and to exhibit him

ferring to die with the honors he had won at the self and people to the best advantage. In accord.

point of the spcar-honors which even the act that ance with savage notions of conferring honor, all

i condemned him did not tarnish-to exile and the inhabitants and warriors of the neighboring!

poverty among the children of the desert. He was lowns were ordered to congregate at head-quarters,

led forth, a man walking on each side. My eye and on the following day a public ball was given in

followed him till he reached the top of a precipice, compliment to the strangers. A smooth plain ad.

over which he was precipitated into the deep pool joining the town was selected for the purpose,

of the river beneath, where the crocodiles, accuswhere Moselekatse took his stand in the centre of

tomed to such meals, were yawning to devour him an immense circle of his soldiers, numbers of

ere he could reach the bottom! This was a Sab. women being present, who with their shrill voices

bath morning scene, such as heathenism exhibits to and clapping of hands took part in the concert.

the view of the Christian philanthropist; and such About thirty ladies from his harem, with long white as

as is calculated to excite in his bosom feelings of wands, marched to the song backward and forward the

the deepest sympathy. This magnanimous heathen on the outside of the ranks, their well lubricated K

knew of no hereafter. He was without God and shining bodies being too weighty for the agile w

the agile without hope. But, however deplorable the state movements which characterized the matrons and

od of such a person may be, he will not be condemned damsels of lower rank. They sang their war songs,

"as equally guilty with those who, in the midst of and one composed on occasion of the visit of the

e light and knowledge, self-separated from the body, strangers, gazing on and adoring with trembling

recklessly rush into the presence of their Maker fear and admiration the potentate in the centre,

and their Judge. . . . . . who stood and sometimes regulated the motions of

Moselekatse's conduct in this affair produced a thousands by the movement of his head, or the strange impression among his people, some of whom raising or depression of his hand. He then sat regarded me as an extraordmary being, who could down on his shield of lion's skin, and asked me if !

meir thus influence one more terrible to them than the it was not fine, and if we had such things in my

fiercest lion of the forest. His governinent, so far country. . . . . Whenever he arose or sut

as I could discover, was the very essence of desdown, all within sight hailed him with a shout, P

potism. The persons of the people, as well as Bacile! or Aaile! followed by a number of his their possessions, were

bers of his their possessions, were the property of their mohigh sounding titles, such as Great King, King of

narch.

Although his tyranny heaven, the Elephant, &c.

was such, that one would have supposed his sub.

jects would execrate his name, they were the most The farther account of the court and the

servile devotees of their master. Wherever he

was seated, or wherever he slept, a number of nobles of the great king" is full of inter

ater sycophants, fantastically dressed, attended him, est. The history of an officer of the king's, whose business was to march, jump, and dance degraded for some crime, but who was about, sometimes standing adoring his person, then man@uvring with a stick, and vociforating the sympathy and compassion his heart appeared a mighty deeds of valor performed by himself and stranger. The following incident, for a day or two, Machobane. The same things are repeated again threw a mystery over my character which he could and again, and often with a rapidity of articulation not understand, though it was only an illustration which baffles the understanding of their own country of the principles I labored to implant in his heart, men. After listening many tiines, I was able, with apparently impervious to any tender emotion which the assistance of one of these parasites, 10 pick up had not self for its object. the following expressions :-"O Pezoolu, the king of kings, king of the heavens, who would not fear

&

Tu

The affecting incident which afforded the before the son of Machobane, mighty in battle ! missionary an opportunity to display what Where are the mighty before the presence of our are Christian feelings and principles, tendgreat king? Where is the strength of the forest ed, with many other circumstances, to excite before the great elephant? The proboscis is break. Mokhatla's curiosity, is too long for us. ing the branches of the forest ! It is the sound of The missionary was to him a completely the shields of the son of Machobane. He breathes

new specimen of humanity, and consequently upon their faces; it is the fire among the dry grass! His enemies are consumed before him,

a mystery, whose motives of action were king of kings! Father of fire, he ascends to the incomprehensible. Mr. Moffat saysblue heavens ; he sends his lightnings into the He asked me if I could make rain. I referred clouds, and makes the rain to descend! Ye moun- him to the Governor of the universe, who alone tains, woods, and grassy plains, hearken to the could give rain and fruitful seasons. 'Umbate voice of the son of Machobane, king of heaven!"

was more than once called to bear his testimony This is a specimen of the sounding titles which

as to our operations and manner of living at the incessantly meet the ear of this proud mortal, and

Kuruman. Our leaving our own country for the are sufficient to make the haughty monarch believe sake of the natives, obedient to the will of the that he is what the terror of the name of Dingaan invisible Being whose character I described. convinced him he was not; for, not withstanding I wae to him a bewildering fact; for he did not all his vain boasts, he could not conceal his fears appear to doubt my word; and how we could act of the successor of the bloody Chaka, against whose independently of our sovereign, or without being iron sway he had rebelled.

his emissaries, he could not understand: but his

greatest puzzle was, that I had not seen my Monarchy was seen here in its highest

est king, and could not describe his riches, by the perfection. The character of the monarch, I numbers of his flocks and herds. I tried to exthe Napoleon, or the Nicholas of Africa, is plain to him the character of the British governof itself a study. We can only give a faint ment, the extent of our commerce, and the good indication of his previous career, which is our nation was doing in sending the Gospel of described at great length.

peace and salvation to the nations which know

not God; and told him also, that our king too Though but a follower in the footpaths of Chaka, had his instructors to teach him to serve that the career of Moselekatse, from the period of his God, who alone,

hid God, who alone was "King of kings, and King revolt till the time I saw him, and long after, formed of the heavens.” “Is your king like me?" he an interininable catalogue of crimes. Scarcely a a

asked. I was sorry I could not give him a satismountain, over extensive regions, but bore the

factory reply. When I described the blessed marks of his deadly ire. His experience and na

effects of peace, the populousness of my own tive cupning enabled him to triumph over the minds country, the industry of the people, the number of his men, and made his trembling captives soon

of sheep and cattle daily slaughtered in the great adore him as an invincible sovereign. Those who

towns, the reigning passion again burst forth in resisted, and would not stoop to be his dogs, he

the exclamation, "Your nation must be terrible butchered. He trained the captured youth in his

in battle; you must tell your king I wish to live own tactics, so that the majority of his army were

in peace."

| foreigners; but his chiefs and nobles gloried in

The day after this conversation he came to their descent froin the Zoolu dynasty. He had car.

me, attended by a party of his warriors, who reried his arms far into the tropics, where, however,

mained at a short distance from us, dancing and ho had more than once met with his equal; and

singing. Their yells and shouts, iheir fantastic on one occasion, of six hundred warriors, only a

leaps, and distorted gestures, would have imhandful returned to be sacrificed, merely because

pressed a stranger with the idea that they were they had not conquered, or fallen with their com

more like a company of fiends than men. Adpanions. . . . . In his person he was below

dressing me, he said, "I am a king, but you are

Machobane,"* and I am come to sit at your feet the middle stature, rather corpulent, with a short

for instruction." This was seasonable; for my neck, and in his manner could be exceedingly af

mind had just been occupied in contemplating fable and cheerful. His voice, soft and effeminate, did not indicate that his disposition was passion.

the miseries of the savage state. I spoke much ate; and, happily for his people, it was not so, or

on man's ruin, and man's redemption. “Why,"

he asked, " are you so earnest that I abandon all many would have been butchered in the ebullitions

" war, and not kill men ?" "Look on the human of his anger. The above is but a faint description of this Na

bones which lie scattered over your dominions." poleon of the desert,-a man with whom I often

was my reply. “They speak in awful language, conversed, and who was not wanting in considera- * The name of the king's father, which he in reytion and kindness, as well as gratitude. But to erence gave to the missionary.-E. T. M.

and to me they say, 'Whosoever sheddeth man's would abstain from war, promising that one day he blood, by man also will his blood be shed."" shonld be favored with missionaries, which he This was fearful language in the ears of such a professed to desire. Having obtained from me murderer. “You say," he added, “that the iny telescope, for the purpose, he said, of seeing on dead will rise again." My remarks on this sub- the other side of the mountains if Dingaan, the ject were startling in the ears of a savage, and king of the Zoolus, whom he justly dreaded, was he interrupted by hastily assuring me that he approaching, 1 bade him farewell, with scarcely a would not go to war. While we were yet hope that the Gospel could be successful among speaking, a body of Machaha soldiers advanced, the Matabele, until there should be a revolution and bowed behind their shields at a distance, to in the government of a monarch, who demanded wait his awfal nod. The Entoto (married man) that homage which pertains to God alone. . . . their leader, then addressed him in language To my solemn exhortations he oniy replied, “ Pray and attitude the most suppliant. The burden of to your God to keep me froin the power of Din. the petition was, “Permit us, O king of heavens, I gaan." to obtain new shields:" in other words, “ Allow us to go and attack some distant town, to acquire

Mr. Moffat made a subsequent visit to new spoils and fresh glory.” This was an in- this monarch, who had in the interval been auspicious moment for these ambitious men. constantly engaged in wars, and has since Turning to me, the monarch said, “ You see it is been driven from his conquests. Before he my people who wish to make war," and instantly | Aed, the influence and admonitions of Moffat dismissed them from his presence.

had this good effect: As he was rather profuse in his honorary titles, especially in calling ine a king, I requested him Overwhelmed by such superior and unexpected rather to call me teacher, or any thing but a king. forces, he fled to the north; and it merits notice, * Then," he said, “ shall I call you my father?" that before his departure he allowed all the captive "Yes," I rejoined, “ but only on condition that you Bahurutsi, Bakhatla, and other neighboring tribes, be an obedient son." This drew from him and his to return to their own land. This was a measure nobles a hearty laugh. When I recoinmended a which astonished the natives, who have since con. system which would secure not only safety, but gregated on the ancient domains of their fore. plenty to his people, without the unnatural one of fathers; and if no foreign power again drive them keeping up a force of many thousands of unmar from their native glens, they will erelong become ried warriors, he tried to convince me that his the interesting objects of missionary labor.

er they might! By this time the tide had fairly turned in appear so, for, alas! they dared not let any mur. mur reach his ear: but I knew more than he was favor of the missionaries among the people aware of. I knew many a couch was steeped with amidst whom Mr. Moffat was stationed. The silent tears, and many an acre stained with human progress of evangelizing and civilizing, slow blood. About ten minutes after the conversation, in the beginning, became rapid. The couna lovely boy, the son of one of his many wives, sat try, which had suffered from several suc. smiling on my knee, caressing me as if I were his

cessive years of great drought, had, in the own father. As some of the king's harem were seated near, I asked the boy which was his mother.

season after he returned from visiting the He shook his little head and sighed. I asked no

Matabele, been blessed with plenteous fertil. more, but learned soon after that the mother, who izing rains, and the fields and gardens was the daughter of a captive chief, was a superior ed with a plenty which had been unknown for Woman, and took the liberiy of reinonstrating with years. The native settlers began to cultivate her lord on the multitude of his concubines. One

the new sorts of grain and vegetables premorning she was dragged out of her house, and lier sented to them by the missionaries, and to head severed from her body. The happiness of the king and his subjecis pro

plant fruit-trees; and all wascheerfulness and appeared to be entirely derived from their successgood-humor. The new converts among the in war, and the reward of a wife was a stimulus to natives soon became eminently useful in his men to multiply their victims. Days of' frase spreading knowledge and the love of iming were held, when they glutted themselves with provement. Many were learning to read flesh. The bloody bowl was the portion of those libeir native language ; and Mr. Moffat had sunt the tens they had slain in the day translated the Gospel of St. Luke, and

Dr. Brown's Scripture Texts. A neat chapThe parting scene of the missionary and el, a school-house, dwellings for the misthis barbarous monarch is characteristic: sionaries, and workshops, had been substan

Having resolved on returning, Moselokatse ac- tially built by the voluntary assistance of companied me in my wagon a long day's journey the natives; and the important improvement to one of his principal lowps. He soon became of irrigation had been attended to: the naaccustomed to the jolting of an African wagon, and tives, seeing the uses of water-courses, imi. found it convenient to lay his well-lubricated body I tated what they saw, and gradually adopted invited me to lie down beside him ; but I begged 1.

be those barrows, ploughs, harrows, spades and to be excused, preferring to enjoy the scenery ma

mattocks, which they had formerly ridiculed around me. Two more days we spent together, and despised, as innovations on the wisdom during which I renewed my entreaties that he of their ancestors. G

r ogress was

[ocr errors]

of battle.

« PreviousContinue »