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Samuel White Baker

On 18th March, 1872, we were all in order for the march to the south, under the direction of our guide, Shooli.

Having taken leave of Major Abdullah, I left him a good supply of sheep and cattle for his detachment, and at 2 p.m. we started for the prairie march to Unyoro.

The descent from the table land of Fatiko was rapid for the first seven miles, at which point we reached a stream of clear running water, which is one of the channels of the Un-y-Ame river.

In the present work I shall describe the history of the Khedive of Egypt's expedition, which I have had the honour to command, as the first practical step that has been taken to suppress the slave trade of Central Africa.

"April l5. - The latitude of Kisoona was 2 degrees 2 minutes 36 seconds N. We started at 11 A.M. till 1 P.M., reaching Kasiga - eight miles - through interminable forest full of fine ripe yellow plums and unripe custard apples.

"April 16. - Started at 8.20 A.M. till 12 - arriving at Koki - thick forest throughout the march. We passed several small villages, and made twelve miles, N. lat. 1 degree 59 minutes. I gave various seeds of European vegetables to the headman; and I myself sowed the seeds of water-melons and sweet melons in his garden, and explained their cultivation.

The success of an expedition depends mainly upon organization. From my former experience in Central Africa, I knew exactly the requirements of the natives, and all the material that would be necessary for the enterprise. I also knew that the old adage of "out of sight out of mind" might be adopted as the Egyptian motto, therefore it would be indispensable to supply myself with everything at the outset, so as to be independent of support hereafter.

The work had now fairly commenced, and Kabba Rega and his chiefs were assured of a grand reform. Already the slave-hunters had been punished: the vakeel, Suleiman, was secured in the stocks, and the slaves that had been kidnapped had been restored to their homes in Unyoro. I now determined to insist upon the restoration of all the Unyoro slaves that had been carried away from this country, and were captives in the zareebas of Fatiko, Fabbo, Faloro, and Farragenia.

"April 1. - All the vessels are stuck fast for want of water! This is terrible. I went on in advance with my diahbeeah, accompanied by Mr. Baker, for about three miles to explore. Throughout this distance the greatest depth was about four feet, and the average was under three feet. At length the diahbeeah, which drew only two feet three inches, was fast aground! This was at a point where two raised mounds, or dubbas, were on opposite sides of the river. I left the vessel, and with Mr. Baker, I explored in the rowing boat for about two miles in advance.

For some time past the natives had commenced a brisk trade with ivory in exchange for all kinds of trifles, which left a minimum profit for the government of 1500 per cent. A few beads, together with three or four gaudy-coloured cotton handkerchiefs, a zinc mirror, and a fourpenny butcher's knife, would purchase a tusk worth twenty or thirty pounds. I calculated all the expenses of transport from England, together with interest on capital. In some cases we purchased ivory at 2,000 per cent. profit, and both sellers and buyers felt perfectly contented.

"May 1. - The camp is beginning to look civilized. Already the underwood has been cleared, and the large trees which border the river have their separate proprietors. There is no home like a shady tree in a tropical climate; here we are fortunate in having the finest mimosas, which form a cool screen. I have apportioned the largest trees among the higher officers. The English quarter of the camp is already arranged, and the whole force is under canvas. A few days ago this was a wilderness; now there are some hundred new tents arranged in perfectly straight rows so as to form streets.

For some days past, Kabba Rega had frequently sent his interpreters with messages, that he wished to sell the ivory which he had collected for the government. We had noticed on several occasions many people laden with large elephants' tusks, who invariably marched towards the same direction. The dragoman, Kadji-Barri, daily brought ivory for sale for the account of his master; and exchanged tusks for all kinds of trifles, such as porcelain cups and saucers, small musical boxes,

The day of starting at length arrived; the chief and guide appeared, and we were led to the Kafoor river, where canoes were in readiness to transport us to the south side. This was to our old quarters on the marsh. The direct course to the lake was west, and I fully expected some deception, as it was impossible to trust Kamrasi.

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