« PreviousContinue »
of the Tiikáci ca de cibe. Tos is the reason why that rear ibere Tere Dogge cars as ai
z er. atire abcie tegingo: November, aci are in Decembeze Jan
credercer Scruc Araar 00:22, Stenute manier Giskesme Tester Tee secate suszeidzis LeiT
is 1.5 Varmah, rio las si tbe
• P.S. Here Jacke states the average size of socê a carsTSA st 10 000 as. is; and even ibe sure casio M. G-stert de Hemsi peress these statements in His Secrbi 4: Mo
144.54 "Cobustete je rize moderno tahroits du 16 au 90 mais comme
ARTICLES OF EUROPEAN COMMERCE.
same time, a very considerable political influence; and the wealthiest merchants from Morocco besides him, during the time of my stay, were El Mehedi, the astronomer, Múla 'Abd e' Salám, the nobleman, and my friend the Swéri; while among the Ghadámsi merchants, Mohammed ben Táleb, Snúsi ben Kyári, Mohammed Lebbe-Lebbe, Haj 'Alí ben Shawa, and Mohammed Weled el Kádhi, were those most worth mentioning.
But to apply even to these first-rate merchants a European standard of wealth would be quite erroneous, the actual property of none of them exceeding probably 10,000 dollars, and even that being rather an exceptional case. Scarcely any of them transact business on a large scale, the greater part of them being merely agents for other merchants residing in Ghadámes, Swéra (Mogador), Merákesh (Morocco), and Fás.
The greater part of the European merchandise comes by way of Swéra, where several European merchants reside, and from this quarter proceeds especially the common red cloth, which, together with calico, forms one of the chief articles of European trade brought into the market. All the calico which I saw bore the name of one and the same Manchester firm, printed upon it in Arabic letters. But I am quite unable, either with respect to this article or any other, to give an account of the quantity brought into market. All the cutlery in Timbuktu is of English workmanship. Tea forms a standard article of consumption with the Arabs settled in and around the town; for the natives it is rather too expensive a luxury.
A feature which greatly distinguishes the market of Timbúktu from that of Kanó, is the almost entire absence of that miserable kind of silk, or rather refuse, “twáni” and “kundra," which forms the staple article in the market of Kano. Other articles also of the delicate Nüremberg manufacture are entirely wanting in this market; such as the small round looking-glasses, called "lemm'a," which some time ago had almost a general currency in Kanó. The market of Timbuktu, therefore, though not so rich in quantity, surpasses the rival market of Kanó in the quality of the merchandise. Bernúses, or Arab cloaks, furnished with a hood, also seem to be disposed of here to a considerable extent, although they must form too costly a dress for most of the officers at the courts of the petty chiefs, in the reduced state of all the kingdoms here. abouts; and, at all events, they are much more rarely seen here than in the eastern part of Negroland. These bernuses, of course, are prepared by the Arabs and Voors in the north, but the cloth is of European manufacture. The calico imported constitutes a very important article. It is carried from here up the country as far as Sar.sandi, al nough in the latter piace it comes into competition with the same article which is brought from the western and southwestern coasts.
Among the Arab merchandise tobacco forms a considerable article of consumpaon, especialy that produced in Wádí Jún, and called, par excellence, “el warga," " the leaf," as it is not only smoked by the Arabs and natives in the country, as far as they are not exposed to the censure of the ruling race of the Fulbe, but is even exported to Sarsándi. I have already observed that tobacon constitutes a contraband article in all the towns where the Fú be of Harda-Aláhi exercise dominion, and in Timbáktu especially, where one can only indulge in this luxury in a clandestine manner.
Tobacco, together with dates, forms also the chief article of import from Tawát, the species from that place being called "el wargat," the leaves indicating its inferior character to the first-rate article from Wádí Nún. Dates and tobacco form articles of trade among the people of Tawat, the poor tradesmen of that country possessing very little of themselves besides. But the quantity of these articles imported has also been greatly overrated by those who have spoken of the commercial relations of these regions from a distance. At least I am sure that the whole of the time I was staying in the town only about twenty camel-loads of these two articles together were imported.
With regard to exports, they consisted, at the time of my stay in the place, of very little besides gold and a moderate quantity of gum and wax, while ivory and slaves, as far as I was able to ascertain, seemed not to be exported to any considerable amount. However, a tolerable proportion of the entire export from these regions proceeds by way of A'rawán, without touching at Timbúktu. At any rate, those gentlemen who estimate the annual export of slaves from Negroland to Morocco at about 4000* are certainly mistaken, although in this, as well as in other respects, the exceptional and anarchical state of the whole country at the
* Gråberg de Hemsó, Specchio di Morocco, p. 146. Besides slaves, he enumerates as articles of export from Timbuktu to Morocco, ivory, rhinoceros horns, incense, gold dust, cotton strips (? verghe), jewels, ostrich feathers of the first quality, gum copal, cotton, pepper, cardamom, assafætida, and indigo.
369 time of my residence, and my own most critical situation, did not allow me to arrive at any positive results. Thus much is certain, that an immense field is here opened to European energy, to revive the trade which, under a stable government, formerly animated this quarter of the globe, and which might again flourish to great extent. For the situation of Timbúktu is of the highest commercial importance, lying as it does at the point where the great river of Western Africa, in a serpent-like winding, approaches most closely to that outlying and most extensive oasis of " the far West”—Mághreb el Aksa, of the Mohammedan world—I mean Tawát, which forms the natural medium between the commercial life of this fertile and populous region and the north; and whether it be Timbúktu, Waláta, or Ghánata, there will always be in this neighborhood a great commercial entrepôt, as long as mankind retain their tendency to international intercourse and exchange of produce.
DIARY CONTINUED. BEING enabled to collect a good deal of information, as far as my situation allowed, I did not choose to accompany the sheikh when he again went to the tents on the 24th of January. He promised that he would only stay a day or two, but he did not return until the 29th. On this occasion I took the liberty of reminding him that he was not over-scrupulous in keeping his word; but, in his amiable way, he evasively replied, “that if a person had only one fault, or “aíb,' it was of no consequence.” Among my informants at this time, two Kanúri travelers, who had visited all the countries of the Wangaráwa, or Eastern Mandingoes, and one of whom had penetrated even as far as the Gold Coast, were most distinguished. Besides a good deal of information, especially with regard to the topography of the country of Mósi, they gave me an account of the petty struggle between the Swedish and the Tonáwa or Asanti; and they also informed me that the Mósi people had plundered the villages of Dúna, Kúbo, and Isáy, all of them belonging to the province of Dalla, which we had passed on our road hither, and where, they said, no inhabitants were now left. The Sheikho A'hmedu, after having collected an
VOL. III.-A A
expedition against the I'regenáten, had changed his plans, in order to march against the mountain stronghold of Konna; but, as we afterward heard, he was repulsed by the natives, the Sáro, who, relying upon their strong position, defended themselves with great valor.
Meanwhile, the salt, the staple produce of Timbúktu, gradually became dearer, the large “rás” fetching now 3800 shells; for, as I have stated, the price constantly increases, caravans not being enabled to visit the place during the following months, till the end of April, on account of the large blood-flies infesting the river. A small caravan containing from forty to fifty camels, which arrived on the 28th, was one of the latest that came into the town.
Thus ended the month of January, with utter disappointment at the failure of my expected departure, and with nothing but empty promises. After a sleepless night, I awoke on the 1st of February full of anxiety. I felt really afraid lest my host, notwithstanding his friendly disposition toward me, might keep me here the whole summer. At length I eased my mind in a slight degree by writing a letter to the sheikh, wherein I made him a witness against himself; in having so repeatedly given me his word that I should certainly leave this city and proceed on my homejourney. But matters, indeed, now looked more serious, another Púllo officer of well-known energy, viz., A'tkar, the Governor of Gundam and Díre, having arrived with a considerable troop of armed men from Hamda-A'llahi, and another man of still more importance, A’hmed el Férreji, was soon expected. The Fúlbe seemed fully resolved to vindicate their power and authority over the town; and, in order to show that they were masters of the place, they exacted this year a tribute of 2000 shells on each slave with great severity.
Uncertain as were my prospects, I contrived to pass my time usefully by applying myself to the study of the idiom of the Western Tawárek, with Mohammed ben Khottár, the sheikh's nephew, and a Tárki of the name of Músa, for my teachers. Thus endeavoring to master my impatience, I listened with composure to the several rumors which were repeatedly spread with regard to the arrival of the various brothers of the sheikh, an event which, according to his statement, formed now the only reason for delay. ing my departure. But, in a long private conversation which I had with him on the 4th, when I urged him more than usual, he began to appeal to my humane feelings, and, discarding all polit