Heroes of Central Africa

THE old Fathers supposed that the terrestrial paradise was situated in Central Africa, and the two Chinese gentlemen who lately visited Great Britain “ for literary purposes ” probably noted down that some such superstition still prevails in that benighted land. How else could they explain the great social event of last season ? Would they dare to assert in their book (which is doubtless by this time advertised in the Celestial Gazette) that an English gentleman of wealth and leisure, who had it in his power to visit any part of the world, not excepting even China itself, preferred to pass several years in a series of swamps near the African equator, exposed to every kind of danger, discomfort, and disease, — excluded from all society save that of illiterate and ignoble savages,— and that, on his return home, instead of being clapped into a lunatic asylum, he was welcomed by the voice of the nation, conducted to the foot of the throne, and made a mandarin of many tails ? And why ? Because he had discovered that a river which did not belong to Great Britain came out of a lake which did not belong to Great Britain, — and this same practical people, who show themselves so anxious to establish their factories at the mouths of rivers in China (without displaying the least curiosity respecting the sources of these rivers) could yet burn with universal enthusiasm and pride because their countryman had performed this difficult but utterly useless feat ? No, that kind of thing would not go down at Pekin. The travellers might quote in their defence all that in the West is considered sacred and unchangeable, — a speech by Sir Roderick Murchison, or a leader in the Times. That would not help them in the least : they would be scouted by society, their tails would be cut off, they would be beaten with the Great Bamboo, and their publisher would be covered with shame.

But what would they say if they heard of the Alpine Club,—that insane association of Englishmen who repair to Switzerland at certain seasons for the purpose of climbing up and sliding down the steepest places which they can find ? Two or three of them break their necks every year, and their companions write picturesque letters to the daily journals, describing the catastrophe. One would suppose that it was not in the power of man to devise anything more absurdly dangerous than this ; but that honor has been reserved for a barrister named McGregor, who, after helping to establish ragged schools and the bootblacking brigade, suddenly took to paddling over waterfalls, &c. in a kind of pocket-canoe, and has lived sufficiently long to publish a book about it. A Canoe Club has been started in consequence, which, if a few members are drowned at once, may prove a brilliant success. African exploration, therefore, is a sober and business-like pursuit when compared with these. There is usually some scientific pretext for the expedition, there are always some scientific results from it, and there is a prevalent idea that explorers are the harbingers of Christianity, commerce, and civilization.

Now that the physical sciences are at length becoming part of a gentleman’s education, we may hope that the future generation of explorers will adopt a course of training in geology, botany, &c. And as for civilization, we know the undeviating sequence of events ; — that after the traveller comes the mission-house ; after the missionhouse, the factory ; after the factory, the fort. But do not let us delude ourselves with these dreams as far as Central Africa is concerned. While so many fertile and healthy regions of the earth offer immediate reward to capital and labor, it would be ridiculous to waste efforts upon a continent which does not possess a single great navigable river, which has no doubt immense resources in its bosom, but which at present yields little beyond ivory, inferior rubber, inferior ebony, and a scanty supply of gold, and which is girdled by sullen, treacherous natives, and by marshes in which no white man can live. Let us not sing of “Africa and golden joys,” but take the common-sense view of the question, by putting common sense out of the question altogether. Central Africa is the Holy Land of the present day. The old Crusading spirit lives ; it is only the equipments that have been changed, — the newest breech-loader for the palmer’s staff, and Scotch tweed for chain armor. Explorers resemble the knightserrant of olden times ; they exile themselves from Society, and return (if living) after many years to be crowned with her laurels and rewarded by her smiles. It is all so romantic and mediæval that I am only afraid it cannot last. Some modern Cervantes will arise, and, with a typical John Bull as Don Quixote, and some native Sambo as Sancho Panza, will “smile all our chivalry away,” at least the little that is left. Well, that day must come at last. When all our coal and iron are exhausted, and England is made a meadow, and Central Africa has been rendered habitable, its swamps nicely drained, and its deserts covered with alluvium, some remote descendant of Sir Samuel Baker may perhaps take a villa on the shores of the Albert Nyanza, and go there in the dry season for the purpose of reading, “ in the quaint characters of the nineteenth century,” the travels of his great ancestor upon the spot celebrated by his triumph. Nothing more romantic than those travels ever occurred in the ages of romance ; nothing more poetical was ever invented by a poet’s brain. It is all like a dream from the enchanted past, and, as if to crown the illusion, not even the gilt spurs are wanting. Sir Samuel is the first African explorer whose services have received public recognition ; and this innovation proceeded from a Tory government, — a solemn warning to those who disbelieve in supernatural influences.

This is the story of the Nile. There are two rivers, the Blue and the White. Bruce discovered the sources of the Blue Nile, previously described by the Portuguese Jesuits, and it was not known till some time afterwards that the White Nile was really the main stream. Its sources are derived from two lake basins (as Ptolemy asserted in ancient days). Burton and Speke discovered one of these lakes, the Victoria Nyanza, and returned to the eastern coast, whence they had started. Speke and Grant found the Nile flowing out of the Victoria Nyanza, and followed it down towards the sea. As they arrived at Gondokoro, a dirty little slave-station upon the White Nile, they met another party entering the arena which they were about to leave. That must have been a remarkable sight. On the one side two weary, ragged men, sick of Africa, and emaciated by disease. On the other an English sportsman in good health and spirits, with armed men, horses, astronomical instruments, elephant guns, gaudy presents, and all the paraphernalia of exploration. At first Baker was mightily disconsolate : he feared that there was nothing left for him to do. But Speke informed him of the other great lake, which he himself had been unable to reach on account of a native war. This was the Albert Nyanza ; and Speke, by putting Baker upon its scent, has earned his share in the honors of the second lake, as well as of the first. On the other hand, he never realized the importance of this second basin ; he always maintained that he had “settled the Nile question, ” and died, like Columbus, without having grasped the meaning of his own discoveries.

Baker stands supreme above other explorers on account of the remarkable obstacles which he overcame. It must be understood that the natural road to the Nile sources, by going up the river towards them, had been abandoned after repeated failures. The British government had sent in their two last expeditions (on the suggestion, I believe, of Dr Beke) from the eastern coast, with the view of striking in upon the head-waters of the Nile by this more indirect but more practicable route. Sir Samuel, however, accomplished that which Mr. Petherick and other competent judges had pronounced to be impossible. It had been supposed that Gondokoro could be opened only from the inside ; and that the Turkish slavetraders, who justly regard British travellers as the forerunners of “Abolition, would never allow one to pass that barrier. In fact, those who have read “The Albert Nyanza,” which is as fascinating and dramatic as a novel, will remember how these gentry corrupted his escort, and threatened his life ; and how it was solely by the exercise of a quality which, had he been killed, would have been called “lamentable rashness,” that he succeeded in penetrating into Central Africa at all.

Sir Samuel was accompanied during his four years’ hard travel by his wife, a young, handsome, and very delicatelooking Hungarian lady, who on one occasion saved the expedition from ruin by her promptitude and tact; who, after they had discovered the lake, urged her husband to extend their explorations, in order to solve a certain geographical problem, although at that time she could scarcely walk ; and who even showed that she could handle a sword, and mingle in a mêlée when his life appeared to be in danger. It may be remarked, by the way, that this young heroine does not consider it necessary to wear any such hermaphrodite costume as that lately adopted by Doctor Mary Walker, but dresses with taste, is perfectly feminine in every way, and has passed through the somewhat difficult ordeal of a London season with considerable éclat.

Sir Samuel declares that he will never go to Africa again, and it is to be hoped that he will keep his word. He could add nothing to his reputation, and he has fairly earned repose. But there is one explorer who makes no such resolutions, and who would inevitably break them if he did. In fact, Dr. Livingstone may be considered as a resident in unknown parts of Central Africa, and an occasional traveller in England. He speaks our language with a Bechuana accent, and has been seen wandering down St, James’s Street, in the height of the London season, in a gold-laced cap and a thick Inverness cape. It is evident that he is not at home in civilization, and as the Greenlander, decoyed to the sunny south, pines for his whale’s blubber and his snow hut, so Dr. Livingstone escapes with relief from the pleasures and luxuries of the great metropolis to his dear Caffres and the homely comforts of the kraal. Not that this is to be wondered at. There is nothing so delightful as fresh air and liberty. It is a grand thing to be able to live in a country where one is secure from the tyranny of social observances, and can enjoy freedom without being compelled to wield the franchise in defence ol it ; where whatever is not suggested by taste is not dictated by necessity ; where one is not obliged to wear tight boots, or make morning calls, or go out to evening parties, or read newspapers, or answer letters; where one can return to the primitive simplicity and (if desired) to the primitive nakedness of man ; where the silvered surface ot the mountain stream is the traveller’s looking-glass, and the forest leaf his pocket-handkerchief ; where he eats only when hungry (and not always then) ; where the wide earth is his couch to-night, and to-morrow may be his grave, and the round stone, now his pillow, may become his tomb-stone, and the gray fever-mists which are now his bed-curtains may be his shroud in disguise. Well. Dame Nature treats us badly now and then. Sometimes she makes it too hot for us, and sometimes too cold ; sometimes too dry, and sometimes too damp ; she blows her dust into our eyes, entangles us with her thorns, wearies us with her mountains, and half drowns us in her floods ; burns us, freezes us, starves us, pinches us, poisons us, and sooner or later murders us outright ; but then what joys she reveals to us if we desert the strong-holds of civilization, and let her take us all up in her arms ! It is not always that her features are dark and convulsed with rage, that blue lightning darts from her eyes and that thunder rolls from her voice, that venom falls upon us from her lips, and that she grips us tightly in her awful grasp. No ; often when we have closed our eyes, and are passively awaiting death, we feel those arms relax, and a soft, warm bosom palpitates beneath us, and pours its sweet intoxicating juices through our veins ; and from her eyes, like golden suns, stream down upon us rays of maternal love; and as we are borne along with an undulating motion, her voice murmurs music in our ears, her locks of hair are flowers which perfume existence, and within us we feel the vibrations of a mighty soul.

It is a glorious and awful thing to be alone in the desert, — a speck in that mighty solitude, — a spark in the abyss. Behind the traveller is the memory of past dangers, before him is the absolute unknown. Every step is a novelty, a sensation ; the summit of every eminence may disclose to him a prodigy ; and all the while his mind is caressing this one idea : — “I am the first white man who has trodden on this land, who breathes this air. I can call that mountain after anybody I choose : it belongs to me. The Geographical Society will give me a gold medal; I shall have to make a speech ; my name will be printed in all the maps ” ; — and so on.

Well, I presume that this species of ambition is as good as any other, and it does not appear to be cursed with satiety as soon as the others are. No wonder that Livingstone loves the wilderness. It is more remarkable that he should love the savage, whom Sir Samuel cordially detests. But this, perhaps, can be explained.

The Anglo-Saxon explorer enters Africa with his mind fixed upon one geographical point, towards which he strides, impatient of annoyance and chafing at the least delay. The natives of the country he regards simply as savage or domestic animals. If they belong to the camel species, he uses them ; if they belong to the tiger species, he overawes them or avoids them; and if they belong to what he considers the monkey species, he despises and detests them, because he does not understand them. Revering honesty and truth, he finds himself surrounded by dishonesty and lies ; in every village he is the centre of intrigues ; he is regarded as a bird of passage to be plucked ; his dealings with the savage are those of buyer and seller, which are never of an elevating character, and in which the African certainly does not appear' to an advantage. They, on the other hand, ignorant of the value of time, cannot comprehend his anxiety to leave them ; they are offended by his brusqueness, and by the contemptuousness which he does not care to hide ; and a bad feeling will often spring up from no other cause, — for they are the most vain and sensitive creatures in the world.

But the missionary lives among them as a minister in his parish ; he acquires their language, understands their methods of thought, becomes habituated to their constant duplicity, learns how to handle their stubborn, suspicious natures, sometimes how to win their poor little childish hearts, and sometimes, as in Dr. Livingstone’s case, is won by them. It is evident from his last book that he loves the savage to distraction. He wishes to persuade us that the African, outside of Dahomey, never sacrifices anything more highly endowed with life than a flower or a shrub, and that his fetish-worship, which is no religion at all, is superior to the religion of Mohammed ; and indignantly denies that the negro is being converted to Mohammedanism in parts of Africa which he has not visited. Of course his asseverations upon this point must be rejected, since they are not founded upon experience ; and this charming confidence in the gentle African, which induces him to assert that the organized murders which prevail all over Northern Guinea are confined within the precincts of Dahomey, does more credit to his heart than to his head. But let us turn from what he thinks, to contemplate what he has done.

David Livingstone was born of poor parents, but like most Scotchmen can boast of remote ancestors, and a family history pregnant with traditions. At the age of ten he was put into a factory as a piecer, and bought Ruddiman’s “ Rudiments of Latin ” out of his first week’s wages. He pursued the study of that language for many years afterwards at a night-school, between the hours of eight and ten, and on his return home would pore over his dictionary and grammar till his mother snatched the books out of his hands, and packed this intellectual debauchee off to bed. In this way he learned to read Horace, Virgil, and other authors whose merits are not appreciated by the ordinary school-boy. Indeed, it is much to Livingstone’s credit that at an age when most puerile stomachs reject all mental food in favor of short-bread, toffee, oatmeal cakes, and other Caledonian delicacies, he should have devoured everything in the shape of literature (excepting novels) that he could find. Scientific works and books of travel, he tells us, were his chief delight ; but his father, conceiving the former to be hostile to religion, attempted to substitute for them “The Cloud of Witnesses.” Boston’s “ Fourfold State,” and other excellent but somewhat indigestible productions. Young Livingstone appears to have taken these condiments with reluctance ; and when ordered to read Wilberforce’s “ Practical Christianity,” he became desperate, rebelled outright, and was soundly thrashed for his lack of filial obedience and literary taste. However, the works of Dr. Thomas Dick having afterwards fallen into his hands, he was induced to come to terms with theology, and finally determined to go as a missionary to China. With a wisdom which every missionary would do well to emulate, he began at once to study medicine, scoured the country with Culpepper’s “Herbal” under his arm, searching for simples, and used to read while at work in the factory, placing his book upon a portion of the spinning-jenny. Thus he acquired that power of abstracting his mind in the midst of uproar, which he found of use afterwards when studying native languages in an African village, where all is tam-tam-beating, conch-blowing, and general conversation in a tone of voice equal in force and volume to a European shriek. The money which he earned by cotton-spinning in the summer enabled him to attend medical, Greek, and divinity classes at Glasgow in the winter. Having been admitted as a Licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, he offered his services to the London MissionarySociety, on account of its unsectarian characterand, the opium war putting China out of the question, he volunteered for Southern Africa, to which country Moffatt’s gigantic labors were beginning to attract attention.

He started for Africa in 1840, and remained there till 1856. He took up his abode in the far interior, married Moffatt’s daughter, and labored for many years as a missionary among the Caffres. He made, also, in virtue of his vocation, several important journeys, sometimes accompanied by Mr. Oswell, who lias modestly concealed his adventures from the world, but who is known to be the greatest of all elephant-hunters, and who was with Dr. Livingstone when Lake Ngami was discovered.

But Livingstone, like many other men, owes his renown to a misfortune. A dispute arose between the natives and the Dutch Boërs ; it soon flamed into a kind of war. The Doctor, of course, took the part of his parishioners, and the Boers, in order to drive him out of the country, destroyed his house and property. Livingstone returned home from a journey to find the house which he had built with his own bands in ashes, and the lexicons and dictionaries which had been the companions of his boyhood scattered and torn. He mourned over this ruin awhile, but consoled himself with the thought that he was now free. “ They want to shut the country, — I will open it,” said he. He girded up his loins, sung (or might have done so) the Nunc te dimittis, and disappeared into the wilderness.

On the western coast of Africa, somewhat less than a thousand miles above the Cape, is a large and ancient city, San Paolo de Loanda. It is the metropolis of Angola, a Portuguese province, and ranks next only to Goa in importance and in beauty. Prior to the discovery of Brazil it was resorted to by the noble adventurers of Portugal, who performed wondrous exploits against the savages, and who searched the mountains diligently for red gold. When the New World came into fashion, Angola was made use of simply as a slave-mine, Loanda as its port ; and since the abolition of that “ engaging pursuit,” the great city has been crumbling slowly away. It has still its governor’s and its bishop’s palace ; but its harbor is empty, its College of the Jesuits has been converted into an ox-stable, and the province has been made a penal settlement.

Now it happened that her Britannic Majesty’s Consul for Loanda, Mr. Gabriel, on returning home from a walk one day, found a short, swarthy man pacing up and down his piazza, in apparently an anxious frame of mind. He was dressed in an old pea-jackct, and was not particularly clean. The “distressed British sailor ” is a phenomenon not entirely unknown to consuls, and this appeared a most transparent case. Mr. Gabriel inquired his business.

“ Well, I have just come up from the Cape of Good Hope,” said the stranger.

Mr. Gabriel looked puzzled, perhaps a little incredulous. “ I was not aware,” said he, “ that any vessel from the Cape had come into port to-day.”

“ No,” said the other, dryly. “ I came by land.”

At these words, as when the magic charm is pronounced in the fairy tales, the dirty rags fell off, and disclosed, not precisely a beautiful princess, but the famous Dr. Livingstone, rumors of whom, sometimes ominous and always vague, had occasionally floated to San Paolo de Loanda.

Mr. Gabriel maintained him and his twenty - seven Makololo for seven months. Poor Gabriel ! He was a generous, warm-hearted man, and was carried off by the African climate, after resisting it for many years. His last deed of kindness to a stranded traveller was extended to the present writer, who paid him a visit, without credentials of any kind, and with the sum of three and sixpence in his possession. But be was welcomed, nourished luxuriously, and royally accommodated with the sinews of travel. Mr. Gabriel was not one of those who are hospitable only to celebrities.

Dr. Livingstone,, in spite of continued ill-health, was determined to redeem the promise which he had made of restoring his faithful companions to their homes. On September 20, 1854, he started from Loanda, and performed the unparalleled feat of crossing the continent of Africa from the western to the eastern shore.

The Portuguese of Lisbon have attempted to depreciate this achievement, which, however, dazzled the Portuguese of Angola and the Mozambique. When travelling in the former country, the planters chattered to me about the stupendous man who had ridden all that way upon an ox, and without any umbrella. One gentleman showed me the result of an astronomical observation which the Doctor had marked on the wooden floor with a hot poker. A large family of mulatto children clustered round these hieroglyphics, which they regarded with great reverence ; and the name of Livingstone, which they cannot pronounce, will go down among them mangled to posterity.

When he went to Africa the second time, it was no longer as an obscure missionary, but as an emissary of the British government, and distinguished men crowded to the quay to shake hands with him before he sailed. A steamer was placed under his command; he was directed to explore the Zambesi, and, if possible, to establish the nucleus of a settlement upon its shores. The Church of England mission, too, attracted by his glowing descriptions of Eastern Africa, and assured of its healthiness, sent out many able and enthusiastic men. The fate of that mission is well known ; an account of its martyrdoms has just been published ; and although its author, the Rev. Mr. Rowley, brings no charge against Dr. Livingstone, it is impossible to absolve him entirely from blame. As for his expedition, some important geographical discoveries were made, especially those of the Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa ; and owing to the exertions of Dr. Kirk the Kew Gardens have been enriched with a fine collection. But in all important matters, the Zambesi, as Dr. Livingstone ought to have known before he went there, is navigable only for a short distance, and its shores are too unhealthy for purposes of settlement. If the expedition had a political purpose, and there is no doubt that Great Britain wants another point d' appui in Eastern Africa, it failed. The book also failed. It was necessarily inferior to his first ; it was tarnished by several sectarian personalities ; and in fact it was thrown completely into the shade by the Nile discoveries.

But it must always be remembered that Baker and Speke are mere triflers in Africa, compared with Livingstone. He is the father of African travel ; and, having remained in England only long enough to write his book, he has gone out again, this time alone, to explore the country south of the Nyanzas. He has been appointed by the government to what is called a roving consulate, that is to say, he is H. B. M. Consulfor Central Africa, and can go to any part of it he pleases.

Let us now turn to a man of very different intellectual calibre, though of less popular fame as an explorer. Captain Burton has earned a niche among the heroes of Central Africa by his journey to the Lake Regions, which cleared the path for the discovery of the sources of the Nile. But, as we shall see in turning over the leaves of his remarkable life, he has earned laurels not in one continent only, but in almost every region of the world, and in many different provinces of human knowledge.

Captain Burton claims descent from the celebrated author of the “ Anatomy of Melancholy.” He was educated on the Continent, which partly accounts for the cosmopolitan nature of his character. When old enough to go to Oxford, he matriculated at Trinity College, but soon grew weary of the dull routine of college discipline and study, “ cut ” lectures, chapels, and halls, and plunged ardently into Cornelius Agrippa, and other writers on the art of magic, inspired by the same eccentric passion for the mysterious and unknown which carried him afterwards from the beaten tracks of life into the deserts of Africa and Arabia. He left Trinity, as may be supposed, without taking a degree, refused a commission in the Queen’s, hungering not after garrison conquests, the bow-window of the “ Rag,” the “ sweet shady side of Pall-Mall,” and other fascinations of domestic military life, but accepted (in 1843) a commission in the Eighteenth Sepoy Regiment of the Bombay Presidency. With intervals of travel (from which emanated “Goa or the Blue Mountains,” “The Unhappy Valley,” and other books) he spent the first six years of his military career in Sinde, then a newly conquered Mohammedan province. He became a favorite of Sir Charles Napier, who gave him a staff appointment, and allowed him to roam over the new territory as canal engineer. During five years he spent his days and nights almost entirely among the natives, and at the end of that period was able to pass an examination in six Eastern languages. In 1849, an attack of rheumatic ophthalmia, the result of overwork, sent him home ; he remained in Europe three years, absorbing civilizing influences. In 1852, his health being restored, he volunteered to explore the great unmapped waste of Eastern and Central Arabia. The Court of Directors refused, fearing that he would perish, like Stoddard Conolly and the brothers Wyburd, and that his friends would come with requisitions to trouble the peace and devour the patronage of the India House. However, they granted him a twelvemonth to perfect himself in the knowledge of the Oriental languages. He considered that he could do this best by performing the pilgrimage to Mecca in character, and, having disguised himself in England as the Sheikh Abdallah, embarked for Southampton in a Peninsular and Oriental steamer. He passed a month at Alexandria, practising as an Indian doctor ; and as he not only possessed considerable knowledge of medicine, but was a potent Mesmerist, and could do the “magic-mirror business,” he quickly established a thriving practice, and was offered by one old lady a hundred piastres (nearly one pound sterling) to remain at Alexandria, and superintend the restoration of her blind left eye.

It was not without difficulty, “ involving much unclean dressing and expenditure of horrible English,” that he obtained from the English Consul a certificate declaring him to be an IndoBritish subject named Abdallah, doctor by profession, and, “to judge from certain blanks in the document, not distinguished by any remarkable conformation of nose, mouth, or cheeks.” For I should have explained that Nature had gifted him with a thoroughly Oriental face, as if by way of suggesting to him the enterprise in which he was now engaged. This, of course, combined with his intimate knowledge of Eastern languages and habits to facilitate matters immensely. “ Golden locks, and blue eyes,” he remarks, “ however desirable per se, would have been sad obstacles to progress in swarthy Arabia.”

Having purchased the necessaries Enins pilgrimage, including a shroud, without which no good Mussulman undertakes any perilous journey, he went on to Cairo, (third-class in a little steamer, facetiously called the “Little Asthmatic,”) where, in order to learn still more of native character, he set up a little shop in groceries and drugs, at an outlay of thirty shillings. His chief customers were little boys, who came, halfpence in hand, to buy, not gingerbread, as in the celebrated cent-shop in “ The House of the Seven Gables,” but sugar and pepper, its equivalent in Egypt. He then went through the ordeal of the Rhamadan (the terrible Mohammedan fast), but before starting for Mecca fell into the evil company of a military Albanian, with whom he drank of that which is forbidden, and scandalized the neighborhood.

If the reader wishes to learn how he journeyed through the desert to Mecca, and afterwards to Medina, how he drank of the waters of Zem-Zem, kissed the Black Stone, and visited the tomb of the Prophpt he must refer to Captain Burton’s narrative itself. It was a most remarkable achievement, anticipated by Burckhardt, but accomplished by no one else belonging to the present generation.

Not less daring was his journey to Harar, an African Mecca situated in the Somauli country. Here he was absolutely without European predecessors, and he considers it himself the boldest of all his undertakings.

Shortly after his return from the Somauli country, he was placed at the head of the expedition, already alluded to, for exploring the Lake Regions of Central Africa, and received gold medals from the Geographical Societies of London and Paris. When the second expedition was sent out, Captain Burton, for some reason as yet unexplained, was passed over, and Captain Speke was placed in command. The former was appointed Consul at Fernando Po, and, having spent his holidays in a visit to Utah, he went there in 1861. Though not precisely a roving consulate, he was afforded facilities for making many excursions (to call them by a very modest word) into the interior. He was the first to ascend the Cameroons Mountain, —a dormant volcano rather higher than the Peak of Teneriffe (which he has also ascended), and on the summit of which he discovered snow, although it is on the African equator. He made trip to the Gaboon, to the Congo, to Loanda, explored the river Volta, and paid a visit to the King of Dahomey. He is now Consul at Santos, Brazil, and has just obtained from the Brazilian government the concession of a lead mine which he discovered at Iporanga.

Captain Burton is not only a great explorer ; he is a scholar and a man of the world. He is one of our leading Orientalists, gained a scholarship in a native university in India, has taken his degree as Master in Sufism,— the parent philosophy of Free-Masonry, — and obtained a diploma as dervish ; for he is learned in all the theology of the Mohammedans. He has considerable geology ; earned a brevet du point in France, for skilful swordsmanship ; is a first-rate shot, horseman, and athlete ; is acquainted with most of the European languages, and with all European literature, ancient and modern; can sketch cleverly; can forge horseshoes; and is translating Camoens into English verse. In conversation, he is almost omniscient. I have never yet heard a subject started in his presence on which he had not something to say worth remembering. To sit next to him at dinner is to enjoy a banquet of the brain. It is amazing that he should be gifted with so many various and opposite qualities of mind, — still more amazing that he should have found time to do so much. But what is there that a steady, unslacking will, supported by a good physical constitution, cannot achieve ? During his Indian years he worked usually fourteen or sixteen hours a day. He is fond of society, but it is that he may absorb knowledge from minds as he does from books. He never throws time away ; when not reading, writing, or observing, he is either listening or talking. He does not play at billiards or cards ; and these are the devouring elements of young men’s lives. Our other pleasant vices take up less time, and we generally learn something from them,— though it is an expensive method of education, and not to be recommended ; but these devour the mind, and yield nothing to it in return.

How is it, then, it might be asked, that this man of many attainments has not won a mightier reputation ? In the East, it is true, his name is a household word ; in Europe and America, he is admired by a cultivated fragment of the public ; to the outside masses he is almost entirely unknown.

To this I reply, that a man is known widely only by his books, and Captain Burton’s books do not do him justice. In the first place, they lack sentiment ; there is nothing in them that appeals to the emotions and the sympathies ; all is cold and hard. He represents only the base or ludicrous side of the human beings with whom he is brought in contact. There is no spark of the man in his books ; be hides himself away in a prickly shell. He tells the story of his sufferings, his dangers, and his triumphs, but all in a diaryentry, business-like kind of way ; he does not reveal the anguish and the transports with which they must have been accompanied. We look in vain among his writings for those painful and touching scenes which make our hearts bleed for the narrators. We find there no Mungo Park, sitting alone and helpless in the desert, yet saved from despair by the contemplation of a beautiful moss which reveals to him the hand of the Creator; no Samuel Baker, hanging over the bed of his delirious wife ; no David Livingstone, returning to find his home desolate and strewn with the leaves of his beloved books. Captain Burton is too proud to lay bare his heart to the public eye ; and while we can admire this dignity and reserve, we maintain that it is almost fatal to the success of a personal narrative. The traveller writes an Odyssey, of which he himself is the Ulysses ; he should, therefore, artistically speaking, lay all modesty aside, and render the Ego as attractive a personage as he can ; which, in Burton’s case, would be accomplished by simply putting himself down on paper. If unwilling to do this, he must attempt to interest the reader in his subordinate characters, or by displaying powers of description. But this Burton will not or cannot do ; he never warms into eloquence ; he is not a lover of nature ; he does not as an author cultivate l'art de plaire ; and, indeed, so far from striving to please his reader, he appears to regard him as a natural foe, and seldom neglects an opportunity of trampling on his prejudices or of sneering in his face.

His books, then, appeal solely to the brain, and this at once reduces him to a select circle of admirers ; but these even have many reasons to complain. He is decidedly difficult to read. His weapons are so numerous that he overarms himself, and does not wield them with sufficient skill. He does not possess the gifts of selection and arrangement. His works contain innumerable gems, but piled pages on pages without method, huddled up in so obscure a heap that the ordinary reader yawns past them with half-closed eyes. It is only the man of knowledge who can detect the precious thoughts among the rubbish, and who can comprehend the richness of the mind whence they are drawn. One would imagine that his method of composition was simply to empty out his Lett’s pocket-book upon foolscap paper, and send the manuscript to the printers without further elaboration. There is always abundance of good raw material, but then it is so very raw, — half-developed ideas crawling about on all fours, unpeeled witticisms, and a heterogeneous mass of scientific facts, which ought to be neatly labelled and put away in an appendix, or cunningly introduced into the body of the text. In short, Captain Burton’s mind is represented in. his books as the zoölogical collections of the British Museum are represented in the glass cases of that establishment, — nothing is seen to its best advantage, and half of the specimens are not seen at all.

It is evident that his style has been corrupted by his Oriental studies ; but since be possesses these immense stores of information, with considerable powers of original thought, humor, and observation, why does he not study the science of book-making, in which there is so much that is mechanical, but which cannot be mastered without brainsweat and patient thought ? No writers accumulated facts with greater industry than Balzac and Macaulay ; but they exercised yet greater labor upon their style, till they had so perfected it that the common eye, dazzled by the beauty of the fabric, often fails to observe the materials of which it is composed. How was this done ? By scrupulous self-criticism and unremitting toil. Macaulay would sometimes write a sentence over half a dozen times before it would read smoothly to his ear ; and Balzac wrote the Peau de Chagrin sixteen times. Thus drudged the great masters of two great languages. No genius, however splendid, can afford to dispense with style. Style is structure, without which a book is not a building, but a quarry, — style is voice, without sweetness of which there can be no true eloquence, — style is art, which adorns the nakedness of human thought,’and composes symmetry of sentiments and of ideas.

I have said much upon this subject because I am convinced that, if Captain Burton chose, he might become an agreeable writer. But I am aware that it is not true criticism to demand neat literary manipulation in the works of men who spend the greater portion of their lives away from their own language, and who are usually forced to write hurriedly, that the book may appear before the discovery has died from the public mind. Sir Samuel Baker is a literary artist, as well as a gallant explorer; but we have no right to expect this double talent in travellers, and to blame them if we do not find it. They are great authors, though in another way, — they perform poems instead of writing them ; and some day, perhaps, from the deeds of these heroes of Central Africa a Camoens will rise to put them into words.

“ What is there new out of Africa ? ” Livingstone is no longer by the waters of the Lake Nyassa. Some of his men have returned sick, but he has gone on. He has raised the curtain which hangs before the portal of the unknown world ; it falls behind him, and we hear of him no more. Yet, though lost, he is not forgotten ; he has a place in the heart of all who read these pages, and of thousands more besides.

These words were penned two months ago : how altered is their meaning now ! I borrowed an image from death, and death makes it a reality ; I wrote an adieu, and it becomes an epitaph.

Another name in the long calendar of African martyrology, — Ledyard, Ritchie, Mungo Park, Burckhardt, Clapperton, Lander, Laing, Vogel, Baikie, and many more. But this last name, LIVINGSTONE, is the most glorious of all. Glorious as a missionary of the Gospel, glorious as a geographical discoverer, he died gloriously as a warrior, fighting to the last.