MISSIONARIES AND SETTLERS. MERCHANTS AND TOURISTS, I

Father Geronimo Lobo landed in Abyssinia with Alfonzo Meneses, patriarch of Ethiopia, in 1625. But times were greatly changed. The king converted by Paez had been murdered, and his successor, who had summoned the Portuguese missionaries, died after a short time. A violent revulsion of feeling ensued against the Christians, and the missionaries were driven away, imprisoned, or given up to the Turks. Lobo was charged with the mission of obtaining the sum necessary for the ransom of his companions. After many wanderings, which led him to Brazil, Carthagena, Cadiz, and Seville, to Lisbon and to Rome, where he gave the Pope and the King of Spain numerous and accurate details upon the Church of Ethiopia and the manners of the inhabitants, he made a last journey in India, and returned to Lisbon to die, in 1678.

Christianity had been introduced into Congo, upon the Atlantic coast, in 1489, the year of its discovery by the Portuguese. At first Dominicans were sent; but as they made scarce any progress, the Pope, with the consent of the King of Portugal, despatched thither some Italian Capuchins. These were Carli de Placenza in 1667, Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi, from 1654 to 1668, afterwards Antonio Zucchelli and Gradisca, from 1696 to 1704. We shall mention these missionaries only, because they have published accounts of their journeys. Cavazzi explored in succession Angola, the country of Matumba, and the islands of Coanza and Loana. In the ardour of his apostolic zeal, he could devise no better means of converting the blacks than by burning their idols, rebuking the kings for the time-honoured custom of polygamy, and subjecting to torture, or to being torn with whips, those who relapsed into idolatry. Notwithstanding all this, he gained considerable ascendancy over the natives, which, if it had been well directed, might have produced very useful results in the development of civilization and the progress of religion. The same reproach is due also to Father Zucchelli and to the other Missionaries in Congo. The narrative of Cavazzi, published at Rome in 1687, asserted that Portuguese influence extended from 200 to 300 miles from the coast, and that in the interior there existed a very important town, known by the name of San Salvador, which possessed twelve churches, a Jesuit college, and a population of 50,000 souls.

At the close of the fourteenth century Pigafetta published the account of the journey of Duarte Lopez, ambassador from the King of Congo to the Courts of Rome and Lisbon. A map which accompanies this narrative presents to us a Lake Zambré, in the very place occupied by Lake Tanganyika, and more to the west, Lake Acque Lunda, from whence issued the Congo River; south of the equator two lakes are indicated, one the Lake of the Nile, the other, more to the east, bears the name of Colué; they appear to be the Albert and the Victoria Nyanza. This most curious information was rejected by the geographers of the nineteenth century, who left blank the whole interior of Africa.

Upon the West Coast of Africa at the mouth of the Senegal, the French had established settlements which, under the skilful administration of Andrew Brue, speedily received considerable extension. Brue, Commandant for the King and Director-general of the Royal French Company upon the Senegal Coast and in other parts of Africa—so ran his official title—although he may be little known, and the article which treats of him may be one of the most curtailed in the great collections of biography, deserves to occupy one of the most prominent positions among colonizers and explorers. Not content with extending the colony as far as its present limits, he explored countries which have been only lately revisited by Lieutenant Mage, or which have not been visited at all since Brue's time. He carried the French outposts eastwards above the junction of the Senegal and the Faleme, northwards as far as Arguin, which we have since abandoned, although reserving our rights, and southwards as far as the island of Bissao. He explored in the interior Galam and Bambouk, so rich in gold, and collected the earliest documents concerning the Pouls, Peuls or Fouls, the Yoloffs and the Mussulmen, who coming from the north, attempted the religious conquest of all the black nations of the country. The information thus collected by Brue about the history and migrations of these various people, is of the greatest value, affording clear light, even in the present day, to the geographer and the historian. Not only has Brue left us the narrative of deeds of which he was witness and the description of the places which he visited, but we also owe to him much information about the productions of the countries, the plants, the animals, and all the objects which would give occasion for commercial or industrial enterprise. These most curious documents, put together very maladroitly it must be confessed, by Father Labat, formed the subject, a few years ago, of a very interesting work by M. Berlioux.

To the south-east of Africa, during the first half of the seventeenth century, the French founded some commercial settlements in Madagascar, an island long known under the name of St. Lawrence. They build Fort Dauphin under the administration of M. de Flacourt; several unknown districts of the island are explored as well as the neighbouring islands upon the coast; the Mascarene Islands are occupied in 1649. Although firm and moderate towards his countrymen, De Flacourt did not use the same self-control towards the natives; he even brought about a general revolt, as a consequence of which he was recalled. Expeditions into the interior of Madagascar were henceforth very rare, and it is not until the present day that we find a thorough exploration carried out.