THE EXPLORATION AND COLONIZATION OF AFRICA, II
On the 3rd May Lander at last left Sackatoo en route for Kano. During the first part of this journey, he nearly died of thirst, but he suffered less in the second half, as the King of Djacoba, who had joined him, was very kind to him, and begged him to visit his country. This king told him that the Niam-Niams were his neighbours; that they had once joined him against the Sultan of Bornou, and that after the battle they had roasted and eaten the corpses of the slain. This, I believe, is the first mention, since the publication of Hornemann's Travels, of this cannibal race, who were to become the subjects of so many absurd fables.
Lander entered Kano on the 25th May, and after a short stay there started for Funda, on the Niger, whose course he proposed following to Benin. This route had much to recommend it, being not only safe but new, so that Lander was enabled to supplement the discoveries of his master.
Kanfoo, Carifo, Gowgie, and Gatas, were visited in turns by Lander, who says that the people of these towns belong to the Houssa race, and pay tribute to the Fellatahs. He also saw Damoy, Drammalik, and Coudonia, passed a wide river flowing towards the Quorra, and visited Kottop, a huge slave and cattle market, Coudgi and Dunrora, with a long chain of lofty mountains running in an easterly direction beyond.
At Dunrora, just as Lander was superintending the loading of his beasts of burden, four horsemen, their steeds covered with foam, dashed up to the chief, and with his aid forced Lander to retrace his steps to visit the King of Zegzeg, who, they said, was very anxious to see him. This was by no means agreeable to Lander, who wanted to get to the Niger, from which he was not very far distant, and down it to the sea; he was, however, obliged to yield to force. His guides did not follow exactly the same route as he had taken on his way to Dunrora, and thus he had an opportunity of seeing the village of Eggebi, governed by one of the chief of the warriors of the sovereign of Zegzeg. He paid his respects as required, excusing the small value of the presents he had to give on the ground of his merchandise having been stolen, and soon obtained permission to leave the place.
Yaourie, Womba, Coulfo, Boussa, and Wow-wow were the halting-places on Lander's return journey to Badagry, where he arrived on the 22nd November, 1827. Two months later he embarked for England.
Although the commercial project, which had been the chief aim of Clapperton's journey, had fallen through, owing to the jealousy of the Arabs, who opposed it in their fear that the opening of a new route might ruin their trade, a good deal of scientific information had rewarded the efforts of the English explorer.
In his "History of Maritime and Inland Discovery," Desborough Cooley thus sums up the results obtained by the travellers whose work we have just described:—
"The additions to our geographical knowledge of the interior of Africa which we owe to Captain Clapperton far exceed in extent and importance those made by any preceding traveller. The limit of Captain Lyon's journey southward across the desert was in lat. 24°, while Major Denham, in his expedition to Mandara, reached lat. 9° 15', thus adding 14¾ degrees, or 900 miles, to the extent explored by Europeans. Hornemann, it is true, had previously crossed the desert, and had proceeded as far southwards as Niffé, in lat. 10° 30'. But no account was ever received of his journey. Park in his first expedition reached Silla, in long. 1° 34' west, a distance of 1100 miles from the mouth of the Gambia. Denham and Clapperton, on the other hand, from the east side of Lake Tchad, in long. 17°, to Sackatoo, in long. 5° 30', explored a distance of 700 miles from east to west in the heart of Africa; a line of only 400 miles remaining unknown between Silla and Sackatoo. The second journey of Captain Clapperton added ten-fold value to these discoveries; for he had the good fortune to detect the shortest and most easy road to the populous countries of the interior; and he could boast of being the first who had completed an itinerary across the continent of Africa from Tripoli to Benin."
We need add but little to so skilful and sensible a summary of the work done. The information given by Arab geographers, especially by Leo Africanus, had been verified, and much had been learnt about a large portion of the Soudan. Although the course of the Niger had not yet been actually traced—that was reserved for the expeditions of which we are now to write—it had been pretty fairly guessed at. It had been finally ascertained that the Quorra, or Djoliba, or Niger—or whatever else the great river of North-West Africa might be called—and the Nile were totally different rivers, with totally different sources. In a word, a great step had been gained.
In 1816 it was still an open question whether the Congo was not identical with the Niger. To ascertain the truth on this point, an expedition was sent out under Captain Tuckey, an English naval officer who had given proof of intelligence and courage. James Kingston Tuckey was made prisoner in 1805, and was not exchanged until 1814. When he heard that an expedition was to be organized for the exploration of the Zaire, he begged to be allowed to join it, and was appointed to the command. Two able officers and some scientific men were associated with him.