The Pygmies of Africa

THE difference between savages and civilized men is not so marked as is the likeness between them. I propose to consider a race of men possessing characteristics which seem to make them an exception to this rule of common humanity.

The little men, or pygmies, are mostly confined to the continent of Africa; and, as a race, it may be that they are strictly so confined, though it has been frequently said that there is a tribe of small men in Madagascar called Kimos; but the statements concerning these people lack that measure of authenticity which would justify us in accepting them as verified.

Limiting ourselves, therefore, to the African pygmies, we find a remarkable uniformity as regards their capabilities for civilization and their disposition, so far as we are able to apply intelligent tests ; but in some of their physical characteristics we find them widely divergent, even when we regard those who occupy the same district of country, and apparently live together in the same tribal relations.

I will first consider that race of little men which has been longest known and most thoroughly studied in modern times. These people originally inhabited all of Africa south of the Zambesi River, together with other aborigines of the country. Their native designation was Sana. The Dutch commenced the settlement of South Africa in 1652. As they advanced into the interior as explorers or settlers, they soon came in contact with this race of little men, who differed widely from the other native races of the country. They were not only much smaller in stature, but of a more savage and malignant disposition, more cruel and heartless in their natures, more treacherous and dishonest in their dealings, more false to their promises, and altogether more irreclaimable than the other wild nations whom the Dutch encountered. With the Hottentots and Kaffirs it was possible to get along, as they could place some reliance upon their promises and undertakings, but with the Sana they could do practically nothing. They gave them the name of Bushmen, from the character of the country which they generally inhabited. Their dwellings were caves in the mountains, whose sides were covered with thick bushes for the most part. But they did not confine themselves to the mountainous or bushy country. They roamed over the grassy plains as well, and even extended their range into the great Kalahari Desert, with an intimate knowledge of its geography and its resources, its watering-places and its vegetable productions. They were brave in battle, swift of foot, cunning in devices, and even wicked in disposition. Notwithstanding their great fleetness of foot, their capacity to endure hunger and exposure, their ability to make long journeys with incredible dispatch, they were weak of body when their strength was tested by compelling them to bear burdens or to perform ordinary manual labor.

The Dutch Boers were drawn into more wars with these Bushmen than with any other native tribes of the country, and more treaties were broken between them. It must be said, in fairness to the little Bushmen, that, cruel as they were, the Dutch were scarcely less cruel in their treatment of the natives, and especially of these pygmies. They enslaved all alike, and enforced their servitude with a severity of punishment which I have found scarcely paralleled in the annals of slavery. It may be a question whether the malignity of the Bushmen was not inspired by the cruelty of the Boers towards them. The pages of history are blackened with stories of the cruelty and treachery which the Dutch showed towards these dwarfs. Whenever they could get a band of them into their power, they gave no quarter; all the adults, both men and women, were slain without mercy, and only the children were spared, to be brought up as slaves. The Dutch justified their conduct by the necessity of extermination. Indeed, the little people were so thievish, cunning, treacherous, and cruel that they were practically outlawed by the Boers, who considered it as much a duty to kill them, upon all occasions and by every means, as they did to destroy the hyenas, which were far less destructive to their flocks and herds than were the Bushmen. If a Bushman’s cave was discovered, in which hundreds of individuals might be dwelling, it was surrounded by the white settlers, who either smoked or starved out the pygmies, until they were all destroyed. It was but natural that the Bushmen should retaliate in kind.

There is a lack of evidence to show that, before the time of the advent of the whites into South Africa, the other native races lived on terms of hostility with the little men. The latter did not exercise their thievish propensities upon the former to any considerable extent, and so there was little occasion to retaliate. This, it may be said, was because there was nothing for the pygmies to steal; but when the whites forced themselves into the country, and introduced the arts and habits of civilization, particularly the raising of domestic animals, then the opportunity came, and the Bushmen seemed to take a special delight in appropriating their neighbors’ property. They would seize whole herds of cattle, and drive them to their mountain fastnesses and conceal them in their caves, where they would slaughter and feast upon them as long as they could preserve their flesh from absolute putrefaction ; or else they would rush these stolen herds into the wilderness, with the intricacies of which they were perfectly familiar. In preparation for these raids, they would transport large quantities of water in gourds to intermediate points in the desert, and there bury them for use on their retreat, by which means they were enabled to outstrip their pursuing owners, who in a few days would be obliged to abandon the chase for want of water. When the pursuit of these little wretches became so hot that it was manifest they could not escape with their plunder, they would not abandon the stock to be recaptured by their owners, but they would mutilate every animal to such an extent that death must necessarily ensue. They showed a fiendish delight in hamstringing the cattle or cutting great gashes in their bellies, in putting out their eyes or cutting out their tongues, and the like. To have killed the stock outright would have deprived them of the pleasure they enjoyed at witnessing the sufferings of the creatures. The Hottentots and Kaffirs showed that they occupied a higher plane in the scale of humanity ; for although they were not exempt from the weakness of theft, and often drove off the herds of the Boers, they simply abandoned the stolen property when they were hard pressed, and made good their own escape.

The mode of living practiced by the Bushmen was strictly savage. They cultivated nothing, but subsisted entirely upon wild roots, game, insects, and reptiles, or else lived by theft. They seemed thoroughly acquainted with the quality of roots and of the wild fruits which grew upon the trees and bushes of the wilderness, and of the insects which they were enabled to find, so that they could appropriate the wholesome and avoid the poisonous. The immense flights of locusts which not unfrequently occur in South Africa afforded not only the Bushmen a great feast, but all other peoples of that country. White men have often declared that the locusts furnish an agreeable and nutritious dish. They are greedily consumed not only by all carnivorous and omnivorous animals, but by the herbivorous as well. The elephants, which are ranked strictly among the vegetarians, feast upon them, and the hogs and dogs, both wild and domestic, revel in luxury when a swarm of locusts appear.

The Bushmen have shown themselves the most improvident of the races of men. They gorge themselves when they have plenty till all is gone, either by decay or consumption, trusting to chance or their skill for future supplies. When they kill an elephant, they do not preserve the meat, as other natives do, by cutting it into thin strips and drying it, but they lie around it and gorge themselves to repletion. Nor do they stop their feasting when decay has so far advanced as to become horribly offensive, but continue to revel in what to them is a luxury so long as nourishment remains in the rotten mass.

They are skillful and successful hunters, although their bows and arrows are comparatively feeble affairs. They are, in common with most other African tribes, skilled in concocting poisons of the most deadly picture, with which they smear the points of their arrows and assagais, and so render them most efficient weapons. With these they destroy the most formidable wild beasts. Alert and quick of motion, they are enabled to approach the elephant, and, under his very belly, inflict wounds which, though slight, by reason of the virulent poison injected soon result in death. Yet this poison does not seem to pervade the tissues so as to render the meat unwholesome for food. The Bushmen are also highly skilled in snaring birds and small quadrupeds, while for large game they dig pitfalls which are adroitly concealed, into which game falls, and so is readily secured ; even the sagacious elephant not unfrequently finds himself at the bottom of a pit, from which he is unable to escape.

They do not show skill as artisans. Their grass and bush huts are small and temporary, and scarcely serve to protect them from the inclemency of the weather. Their efforts as artisans are confined to the manufacture of their little bows and arrows. They manufacture no iron, and their iron implements, such as knives and spears, are obtained by barter from other native tribes, for which their elephant tusks stand them in good stead. As before stated, they practice no agriculture, nor do they ever raise herds of cattle or flocks of sheep and goats. For these they depend upon the pastoral neighbors among whom they live or roam.

In their domestic relations the Bushmen may be said to he exemplary. They are monogamic in their habits, and their attachment to their children, if not conspicuous, is reasonably constant. They are not prolific as a race, and yet they are as much so as could he expected, when we consider their mode of life. In the wild state they are very exclusive, never intermingling with the larger races around them. A hybrid has never been reported among the wild Bushmen. It is only since their children have been captured and reared as slaves among the Boers that a hybrid race has been produced, which is no improvement on the maternal stock. Indeed, it may be said that it is no improvement on those thoroughbred Bushmen who have been raised amid civilized surroundings.

There are many instances which encourage the belief that these Bushmen possess a respectable measure of mental endowment and capability for civilization under favorable conditions. Nearly fifty years ago, the Scotchman, Gordon Cumming, who made such fearful slaughter among the large game of South Africa, admitted into his camp in the desert a young Bushman who had been taken prisoner when a child by the Boers, and brought up by them as a slave. Driven to extremity by the cruel treatment which he suffered, he had escaped to the desert, and was received by Cumming as one of his followers. Ever after he served his new master with courage, devotion, and fidelity. When all others deserted Camming, in the far interior, he was faithful, and finally helped him through to civilization again. This little specimen of humanity attended Cumming during the four years of his hunting experience, ever ready to perform with intelligence any service required of him, and at last followed his master home to Scotland, where he lived in luxury and happiness, enjoying the bounty and protection of the man whom he had served so faithfully. During a part of this time Cumming had in his service another Bushman, of whose former life he does not inform us ; but he mentions no deficiency in the service which he was required to perform, owing to any lack of intelligence, capacity, or fidelity.

These are the most conspicuous instances that I have met which indicate anything of the capacity of the Bushmen for civilization. They show that they are capable of attachment and appreciate kindness. It is not improbable that, had a different course been pursued towards them as a people by the whites, a very different story would have been told of them. They can resent and retaliate injuries to as great an extent as any other known people ; and our knowledge of human nature teaches us that those who can hate the worst can love the best; that those who feel a wrong most deeply and resent it with fierceness keenly appreciate a kindness and a favor, and are capable of the strongest attachments.

While in many respects these pygmies occupy a very low place on the scale of civilization, in some other respects they rise high above any of the surrounding tribes in South Africa, and perhaps above any other negro tribes on the continent. Their moral sensibilities are of a very low order, but in the arts of dissimulation and cunning, and in devising means to accomplish ends which they deem desirable, they display much ingenuity, although those ends are in the main very limited, and are mostly confined to the gratification of their simple wants.

But in the midst of their degraded barbarism they have raised themselves to a degree of artistic taste and skill which is truly astonishing. Their ability as artists, as manifested by their works, has shown them to be something more than rude imitators. They possess not only the power to delineate, but the capacity to comprehend and study the ways by which such delineations are made most effective by the exercise of high principles of art. And it is manifest, also, that this artistic skill is not confined to a single individual or family, or even tribe, but is widely extended. Their paintings and sculpture have been for the most part in the form of adornment of the caves which they make their homes.

Mark Hutchinson, an artist of repute, visited some of their painted caves a little more than ten years ago, and made copies of their drawings. He speaks in the highest terms of the taste and ability manifested by their works. The localities which he examined were situated in the Drakenberg Mountains, about latitude 30° south and longitude 30° east. The caves where these drawings were found had been occupied as homes by the Bushmen not more than twenty years previously ; and as some of the paintings were plainly of recent date, it was evident that they were not the remains of a lost art, though the Bushmen have for the last two hundred years been hunted like wild beasts. We may well suppose that a material deterioration in this respect has occurred within that time. Hutchinson says " the drawings are the work of many different hands of various degrees of skill. Many are suggestive of being boys’ work, and are very rude and careless.” As the caves must have been studios for instruction as well as for the work of the master artists, we must expect to find the work of the most unskilled as well as the most skilled artists. Many of the pictures as reproduced by Hutchinson are caricatures rudely drawn in black paint, yet very spirited in expression. A large class of the pictures represent hunting and battle scenes, and some show the presence of white men as well as of natives. Some of these pictures even suggest actual portraiture, and personal adornment in the way of headdresses, for instance. The better pictures indicate correct appreciation of the real appearance of objects, and evince remarkable skill in delineation. Perspective and foreshortening are correctly rendered. One of the pictures gives a view of the hind parts of an ox or eland, and is remarkably faithful. The best specimen of coloring was in the representation of an eland. This picture Hutchinson considered admirable for the shading which occurred in it.

The skill of the Bushmen in the handling of stone is quite worthy of observation. Like many of the aborigines in this country, they possess the art of making, cutting, and engraving instruments from flint and other hard stone, and with these they are enabled to execute carvings on the walls of their caves and on detached stones, for other uses and representations, which are not less artistic than are their paintings. With these implements, also, they do their carving upon wood, horn, ivory, bone, shells of ostrich eggs, and other substances, from which they make ornamental articles and useful utensils, implements of the chase and weapons of war.

Dr. Holub, while stopping at the Wessel farm in the Free State, examined the drawings and engravings remaining in the caves formerly occupied by the Bushmen. He also was strongly impressed with the taste and ability manifested in these works of art as still existing there. The drawings are upon the walls of sandstone, and the carvings are made upon the same ground. In some cases the carvings are chiseled entirely out of the solid rock, while in others they are incomplete, and are indicated only by lines of shading. He mentions particularly the bust of a Bushman, a woman carrying a load, an ostrich with a rider on its back, an ostrich meeting a rhinoceros, a jackal chasing an antelope, together with many figures of birds and quadrupeds. The pigments with which the paintings are done are very enduring, and show skill in their combination. In one place, these paintings are found in a cave which has been frequently filled with water in times of flood, and yet they have preserved their brilliancy to the present time amid those alternations of wet and dry. The implements with which carvings have been executed are found in abundance scattered around in or near all the caves which are discovered to be thus adorned.

The Bushmen are skillful hunters, expert thieves, and courageous fighters, but their mechanical performances are confined to the erection of the rudest temporary dwellings, and to the manufacture, of their bows and arrows, and the scanty clothing which they put on to protect themselves from the cold. In the neighboring tribes, among whom they wander or dwell, the art of working iron is practiced wherever the material is found. This has never been attempted by the Bushmen, though they frequently obtain iron implements by the barter of ivory.

Even among men of scientific tastes and attainments, many may be found who seem to take no interest in the diminutive size of these people when they meet them. This may prepare us to understand why the Dutch settlers in South Africa never thought the small size of the Bushmen a characteristic worthy of special mention, while their malignant dispositions and belligerent characteristics are elaborately described. The reader of Dutch narratives would suppose that the pygmies were men of ordinary stature. It is true that in a very few instances they are spoken of as small men, but that fact does not seem to have commanded sufficient interest to induce any one to say how small they were, by giving their height or other physical dimensions. In later times they have excited more interest and have been studied with more care, and Fritsch, in his account of the natives of South Africa, gives their average height as four feet eight and a half inches, while Bryden gives the height of the male as four feet six inches, and the female four feet. We may reasonably suppose that individuals vary in size as much as they do among the ordinary races of men ; that there are no doubt giants among them as well as dwarfs ; that some are abnormally tall, and otherwise of exaggerated proportions, and that others are abnormally short and small; so that it would be necessary carefully to measure great numbers of them before we could determine satisfactorily what is their average size. All that we can safely say is, that they are far below the stature of ordinary men, and we should place their standard height at about eighteen inches below that of the average of mankind.

I have been more particular in my consideration of these Sana, or Bushmen, because they have been longer and better known than the other tribes of pygmies of which we have authentic accounts, all of whom reside at a great distance north of them, and in the near neighborhood of the equator. It has been generally considered that all are of the same distinctive race, though now widely separated ; but there is no definite authority for the conclusion that all came from the northern part of the continent of Africa at a remote distance of time.

The fact that all the different tribes, however far apart they may be, have so many features and characteristics in common is the strongest evidence to my mind that all are descended from the same origin ; and this fact also shows that they have abstained in a remarkable degree from intermingling with other and larger peoples.

The next discovery of dwarfs in Africa was made by Paul Du Chaillu in 1863, on the west coast, in south latitude 1° 58‘ 54" and east longitude 11° 56‘ 38". In one of his excursions into the interior from the Atlantic coast, before he reached Niemboriai, in the land of the Ashangos, he came across some deserted huts of a people who, he was informed by the natives, were of very diminutive stature. He had heard that these people were called Obongos, and that there was a village of them near Niemboriai. On his arrival there, he inquired if it were possible for him to get a sight of these little people. He was told that they were in the habit of coming into the village, but that they would not come while the white man was there. Under the guidance of the Ashangos, he approached with great caution the village in the forest, consisting of twelve huts, which were composed of green branches of trees, with small holes for entrance, that were closed by similar branches stuck in the ground. They were excessively filthy, and scattered about without order. Most of the population had fled, but he found three women and one man concealed in the huts on their first visit, and several more on subsequent visits. They were very timid and greatly alarmed at the appearance of the stranger, but were somewhat pacified by gifts of beads and by the assurance of the Ashangos that he would not hurt them, but had come to make them presents and do them good. The women were fond of adornment, and seemed glad of the beads. When Du Chaillu attempted to measure these little people they were greatly frightened, and it was with much difficulty that their fears were so far overcome as to enable him to take the following measurements of six women and one man, all adults : —

Woman, No. 1. Total height, 4 ft. 4¼ in.

Between outer angles of eyes 5¼ in.

Woman, No. 2. Total height, 4 ft. 7¼ in.

Woman, No. 3. Considered unusually tall, 5ft. ¼ in.

Bound broadest part of head, 1 ft,9¼ in.

From eye to ear, 4 in.

Woman, No. 4. Total height, 4 ft. 8 in.

Round the head, 1 ft. 10 in.

From eye to ear, in.

Woman, No. 5. Total height, 5 ft.

Round the head, 1 ft. 9 in.

From eye to ear, 4¾ in.

Woman, No. 6. Total height, 4 ft. 5 in.

Round the head, i ft. 10½ in.

Eye to ear, 4½ in.

Young man. Total height, 4 ft. 6 in.

Du Chaillu reports the color of these people to he a dirty yellow ; they were distinctly lighter than the Ashangos, near whom they lived ; their eyes evinced an untamable wildness. They had short legs, but seemed to be otherwise well proportioned. The hair of the head was in short, bushy tufts. The abundant hair of their chests and legs grew in short, woolly tufts like that of the head. Their clothing was scanty, consisting of homemade cloth which they got in barter from the Ashangos, and it is not stated that they ever made garments out of the skins of the animals which they captured. They were very expert and nimble hunters, especially in trapping game; they fairly filled the paths and forests with pitfalls in which they captured large game, and set ingenious traps in the trees for monkeys and other small game. They also caught fish from the streams, and with their fish and game they procured by barter cloths, cooking-utensils, iron implements, and the like. They were never known to practice agriculture to any degree, though their diet consisted partly of vegetable productions, such as fruits and roots procured in the forest, and they sometimes bartered the game they captured for the fruits of the garden, such as bananas, etc., with their neighbors, or stole them if they could not obtain them by barter ; but their choice was for animal food, for which they appeared almost ravenous. Notwithstanding their thievish depredations, they were tolerated by their larger neighbors, who treated them kindly, and rather welcomed their presence in the neighborhood for the game and fish which they furnished. From this it is evident that their skill as hunters far surpassed that of the Ashangos.

Accepting the measurements made by Du Chaillu as fairly representing the average height of the people, we have the remarkable example of a tribe whose females exceed in stature the males, as will be observed by the table of measurements given ; but it would not be safe to adopt this conclusion from so limited a number of specimens. Indeed, there was but one male measured by him, and his height was four feet six inches, which is about the average height of the male Bushmen, and exceeded that of the females of that tribe, while the average height of the females measured was considerably above this.

Du Chaillu learned from the Ashangos that the little people were very exclusive in their intercourse, and never intermarried with the larger tribes ; indeed, that they were so exclusive that they were compelled to incestuous marriages, and he thinks that this may have been one of the causes which had led to the deterioration of the race. I am hardly prepared to accept the facts as stated by the Ashangos.

While this little band of Obongos may have been quite limited in numbers, we have reason to believe that the pygmy race was scattered all through that immense forest region extending north from the Congo to several degrees north of the equator, and west of the place where Du Chaillu found them to near the lake regions of Central Africa ; not in large tribes or bands, it is true, but dispersed in greater or less numbers through that region, ever migratory, changing their positions as the exigencies of their precarious mode of life required. Their mode of living was principally by hunting arid trapping game. When it became scarce in one place they immediately sought another locality where it was more abundant, and their little belongings were easily transported from one place to another as their necessities required ; they had no fixed place of abode, but were at home everywhere. In this mode of life, any given tribe of pygmies must have wandered over extensive areas, and in the course of their wanderings the different bands must frequently have met each other, so that the opportunities for marriage with their own people would have often occurred ; hence the necessity assigned for incestuous marriages could hardly have existed. Besides, the deterioration of the race is not such as we usually look for as the result of close inbreeding ; we hear of no mental imbecility, no deformity, no physical weakness, but only a diminutive stature coupled with remarkable physical activity and great sagacity in their contrivances for capturing game.

In many of their physical features, the facts given by our author from his own personal observation correspond remarkably with those given of other tribes or bands of pygmies. The body of the male measured was covered with a heavy coat of hair, and that has been observed of most of the other pygmy races, while its presence on the males of the larger tribes I have never seen noticed. The hair of the head is remarkable. It is of lighter color than is usual with the negro races, and corresponds very nearly with the color of their skins ; it is in limited quantities, is very much curled or kinked, is distributed in tufts, and is altogether peculiar to this branch of the human family. In color there is a general correspondence among all these people ; they are lighter in color than the Ashangos and other negro tribes, and in no part of Africa have these pygmies been found to possess the black skin of the negro, though undoubtedly individuals may be met with much darker than others, as was the case with one individual whom Du Chaillu saw at a distance.

Du Chaillu says that they are fishermen as well as hunters, but he does not state the mode in which they capture fish, if indeed that was told him by the Obongos. I do not remember to have seen it stated elsewhere that the pygmies are fishermen as well as hunters, but this mode of subsistence might well be resorted to in favorable localities without having attracted the attention of their visitors. It may be safely concluded that they do not usually obtain subsistence by fishing, in any part of their habitat.

The next in chronological order to meet with the African pygmies was Dr. Schweinfurth. He found them on the Wille River, among the Monbuttos, in 1871. He appreciated fully the importance of the discovery, and was familiar with all the previous discoveries of that strange people. He recognizes the Bushmen of South Africa as pygmies, and thinks they belong to the same race as those found in the equatorial regions. He gives Du Chaillu full credit for having been the first discoverer of that people in the equatorial region. He first met them at Munza, the residence of the king of the Monbutto of the same name, which is located about 3½° north latitude and 28¼° east longitude ; here the pygmies are called Akkas. He found them scarcely two degrees north of the Obongos, discovered by Du Chaillu, and nearly twenty degrees further east. From the best information which is at present attainable, all these people are found in the great equatorial forest which extends from about longitude 30° east to the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and to undefined limits north and south of the equator. The Obongos of Du Chaillu are the most westerly which have been thus far satisfactorily located, and the Akkas are the most easterly ; how abundantly they occupy the intermediate space cannot now be determined. The first pygmy was brought to Schweinfurth’s camp at Munza by his own men. and was terribly alarmed at being forced into the presence of the white man ; but by presents and kindly treatment he was so far reassured that it was possible to talk with him through interpreters, when valuable information was obtained. His name was Adimokoo, and he was the head of a small band of Akkas. His band was stationed about a mile from the palace of the king, who had brought and placed them there as curiosities. From this man Schweinfurth learned that the first village of his people was four days’ journey south or southeast; that they consisted of different tribes, of which he enumerated nine, each of which was governed by a chief or king. He learned that these people occupied a large territory situated between 1° and 2° north latitude. The man was armed with a small lance and bow and arrow, from which we may infer that the Akkas as well as all the other pygmies are hunters, and probably procure most of their sustenance by the chase ; but from this Akka chief very little was learned of the mode of living of his countrymen, though in another place Schweinfurth was informed that some of the Akkas kept fowls. Beyond this we lack evidence to show that any of the pygmies rear or keep domestic animals. Schweinfurth measured this little man, and found him to be four feet ten inches tall; and he considers this to be about the average height of the men of his people. The Akka was prevailed upon to show his agility by dancing, and made most extraordinary leaps and antics, which were characteristic of the pygmies in other parts of Africa. A brother of the king, named Mummery, who was a high officer in the tribe, and had an establishment of his own, had in his regiment a corps of pygmies which was organized for military purposes.

When our explorer met these pygmies marching in the street, he at first took them for a lot of boys; but he soon learned his mistake when they made threatening demonstrations towards him with their bows and arrows and spears. They had evidently lost their hereditary timidity at the sight of the white man, either because they had a strong force, or had gained confidence by their military organization and training. Anticipating a better opportunity to examine them on the morrow, Schweinfurth let this chance go ; but on the morrow they had disappeared.

Munza gave Schweinfurth a young pygmy boy, who completed his growth during the year and a half in which his new master had him under his care and observation. How long he had previously been in the possession of Munza we are not told, but from Schweinfurth’s account of him one would be led to the conclusion that he was possessed of a low order of intellect, and especially that he lacked the capacity to acquire new language. He showed the physical activity generally observed among the pygmy tribes, with a cruelty of disposition and a want of sympathy for suffering either of man or beast. Torture was to him a pleasant pastime, and when he saw his master boiling the head of an enemy who had been killed, in order to prepare it for his collection, his delight knew no bounds, and he rushed about the camp shouting, “ Bakinda nova ? Bakinda he he koto.” (Whereis Bakinda? Bakinda is in the pot.) Other savage nations, especially our own American Indians, take delight in torture when it is inflicted on an enemy; but this little Akka seemed to enjoy torturing any animal that could suffer pain. He was in the habit of shooting arrows into the dogs just to enjoy their sufferings. He was an enormous eater, especially of flesh, a characteristic of which we find mention in most of the other pygmy tribes where that characteristic would be likely to be noticed. The Akkas possess that high measure of cunning and shrewdness which has been so often attributed to the Bushmen, and which it is safe to say belongs to the whole family of pygmies. It may be that the sanguinary and cruel disposition observed in the race has been stimulated by their chief occupation of capturing animals ; they become accustomed to animal suffering, and as this suffering is immediately connected with the pleasure they take in their success, the sentiment of sympathy with pain has little chance of being cultivated. Indeed, this may be true of those who live in more civilized countries, where the success of the chase affords the greatest pleasure, and deadens the sense of sympathy for the pain of animals. One who spends his life in an abattoir loses his sensibility at the sight of blood and animal suffering.

Although Dr. Junker, in his first expedition, explored the same country which had been traveled by Schweinfurth, he nowhere refers to the pygmies who had so much interested his predecessor; but in his second expedition, when he penetrated much farther into the interior, he met a tribe of these little people who called themselves Wochua. They were undoubtedly a part of the race which Adimokoo had described to Schweinfurth, but they were apparently not nearly so abundant in that region as one might have expected. Junker’s measurements showed that they were a little taller than were the pygmies before reported by other travelers. He does not seem to have measured any of the thirty or forty pygmies by whom he was surrounded, but compares them with an ordinary man, and says some would reach to the shoulders and others to the pit of the stomach, and the largest, who might pass as a giant of his race, attained a height that would allow him to be ranked as a small man of the ordinary race. Like the full-sized natives, they liked to ornament themselves with beads, and were pleased with the sound of music. Junker found these pygmies in about latitude 2½° north and in longitude 28½°, east, so that they were very nearly in the same latitude where Du Chaillu found his Obongos, and about seventeen and a half degrees further east, or something more than eleven hundred English miles.

We will next consider the pygmies brought to our attention by Stanley, in the great forest bordering the Aruwimi River, on his way to the relief of Emin Pasha. On the 18th of September, 1887, at the Arab settlement of Ngarrowwas, he met the first specimen of the pygmies. As these Arabs were a party of slave-hunters, we may well presume that this pygmy had been captured and was held by them as a slave, though the explorer does not say so. She was a young woman, apparently about seventeen years of age, and was thirty-three inches in height. Her color was much like that of yellow ivory ; her figure, Stanley says, was like that of a colored woman, though diminutive in size ; she was possessed of a certain grace, and was manifestly pleased at the admiration which she attracted. The most remarkable feature of this woman was her large lustrous eyes, which were protruding. In this she was the opposite of the pygmies elsewhere observed, who had small eyes. She was quite nude, but to this she was evidently accustomed, as she displayed becoming modesty, and evidently did not consider her condition in any way unbecoming. Stanley understood that the pygmies were numerous north of where he met this example.

On the 31st of October, 1887, Stanley came upon a village of pygmies in latitude 1½° north and longitude 29½° east, or about 1° east of where he had seen the pretty little woman at the camp of the Arabs, forty-two days before. He gives us no description of the inhabitants of this village. In his further progress he frequently came across deserted villages of this people, showing that these little men were quite abundant throughout that primeval forest. On the 9th of November, 1887, he passed through another village of the pygmies, without describing them.

He had constructed Fort Bodo while resting in the forest, at a place situated in latitude 1° 15‘ north and longitude 29° 30‘ east. The forest here seems to have swarmed with pygmies, who by their thefts and trespasses upon the garden of the fort gave the occupants of Fort Bodo great annoyance. While here in March, 1888, one of Stanley’s men captured and brought in a woman whom he calls the queen of the pygmies. She was the wife of the chief of Indekaru. She was decked with jewelry befitting her station. “ She was of a light brown complexion, with broad round face, large eyes, and small but full lips.” She had a quiet, modest demeanor, though her dress was very scanty. She was about four feet tall and nineteen or twenty years of age, and had a pleasing appearance.

Near a place called Indemwani. in latitude 1 ° 15‘ north and longitude 29° 30‘ east, his “ men made a splendid capture of pygmies,” consisting of four women and a boy. Among these he saw two distinct types. One had all the appearance of the Akkas, with deep-set eyes; the other four possessed large round eyes, full and prominent, broad round foreheads, round faces, small hands and feet, with slight prognathism of jaws ; their figures were well formed, though diminutive, and of a bricky complexion. The women had mischievous eyes, protruding lips overhanging the chin, and prominent abdomen ; the chest was narrow and fiat, with sloping shoulders and long arms. Their feet turned inward greatly, their lower legs were very short, and they appeared to be of an extremely low and degraded type of the human family. One of the women, apparently about seventeen years of age, was evidently a mother, with bright and healthy complexion, brilliant large round eyes, and a peculiar curve of the mouth such as marked the queen of the pygmies before mentioned. She had pinkish-colored lips, small hands, long and delicate fingers ; her feet measured seven inches, and her height was four feet four inches.

Here, then, it is clear that we have a distinct type of the pygmies, with features differing widely from those of the Akkas, Obongos, Bushmen, or any other specimens of the pygmies with which we have heretofore met. The large, prominent, and brilliant eyes distinguish them from any elsewhere described; nor are these large-eyed pygmies confined to this locality. The first one met with at the Arab settlement, and the queen of the pygmies brought into Fort Bodo, were of the same distinct type ; so we know that they are found in widely separated districts of the forest. But what serves to attract our attention particularly is the fact that pygmies of this peculiar type are found not in separate bands by themselves, but residing indiscriminately with the other and common type of dwarfs, of which the Akkas are an example. If they live together as common members of a tribe, the inevitable conclusion is that they intermarry with each other. How therefore is it possible for them to maintain their separate and distinct features ? The evidence given by Stanley would show that these inconsistencies do actually exist, notwithstanding it positively contradicts all other statements on the subject. Future observations will be looked for with great interest.

Junker locates his band of pygmies about one degree north of where Stanley met those above described ; but he makes no mention of any of this largeeyed type of little folk, among the thirty or forty that he saw and whom he so fully describes.

Taking all the evidence together, it is manifest that the whole country north of the Ituri and the Aruwimi, as the river is called lower down, is inhabited by roving bands of the pygmies, who remain at times in the territory of one native chief, and then pass to that of another, as the exigencies of their peculiar mode of life demand ; generally on terms of apparent friendship with the larger natives, but always feared and always disliked. Their thievish and malignant dispositions compel a tolerance of their presence, and we may not doubt that when they decamp and wander away to other regions their departure is never regretted. They practice no agriculture, but help themselves to whatever they can find in the gardens of the more industrious negroes. Junker assures us that when one fancies a bunch of bananas which he intends to appropriate to his own use, he will thrust an arrow into it as an evidence of his claim, and the rightful owner has such a wholesome dread of the little trespasser that he leaves the fruit thus marked untouched.

Travelers have only skirted, as it were, the edge of this great unexplored forest, but their observations tend to support what has been heretofore conjectured : that the pigmy race roam through the whole of the vast primeval forest, never thickly inhabiting it, but wandering about in small bands, limiting their excursions to certain districts of greater or less extent.

The pygmies seem most to affect the densest, dampest, and gloomiest forest, rarely leaving it for the prairie or savanna openings which are not unfrequently met with among its recesses. A treeless country and bright and cheerful sunshine have no charms for them. They wander as far north as the Niam-Niam country, at least, and as far east as the grass lands which border the wooded country ; but where the forests are less dense they find less attractions, and are met with less frequently.

Junker describes some individuals of this people as possessing real genius of a certain order. I cannot do better than to quote what he says of the Akkas : “ They are also distinguished by sharp powers of observation.” They have “ amazing talent for mimicry ” and “ a good memory. ... A striking proof of this was afforded by an Achua, whom I had seen and measured four years previously in Rumbek, and now again met him at Gambaris. . . . His comical ways and quick, nimble movements made this little fellow the clown of our society. . . . He imitated with marvelous fidelity the peculiarities of persons whom he had once seen ; for instance, the gestures and facial expressions of Jussuf Pasha-esh-Shelahis and of Haj Halil at their devotions, as well as the address and movements of Emin Pasha ‘ with the four eyes ‘ (spectacles). His imitation of Hawash Effendi in a towering rage, storming and abusing everybody, was a great success ; and now he took me off to the life, rehearsing after four years, down to the minutest details and with surprising accuracy, my anthropometric performance when measuring his body in Rumbek.”

This certainly does not indicate that the pygmy race has become imbecile or is destitute of mental endowments; but, on the other hand, its members are quick-witted, lively, and sparkling to a degree quite beyond what we might expect from the lower ranks of savagery. Probably this specimen had wandered away from his tribe in the dark recesses of the forest, and mingled with the Arabs and others who occupy a higher plane of civilization than his own people ; but it is certain that he had profited by his opportunities to a much greater extent than the average negro savage of Africa. No doubt missionaries would have a hard task to effect much enlightenment among these people ; but the difficulty would not arise from want of mental capacity, but from the conditions under which they live, without fixed home or mode of livelihood except by the chase. We may admit as altogether probable that this specimen was much brighter than the average of his people, but the probability still remains that the intellectual endowments of the pygmies are capable of improvement to a very appreciable degree, and this probability is enhanced by their undoubted cunning and sagacity, which seem to be recognized by all whenever conditions allow of their exercise.

As Stanley marched through that forest country, literally abounding in pygmies, his men captured a considerable number of them and brought them along as prisoners, but how many it is impossible to learn from Stanley’s journal. It may be presumed that he turned loose all but the young and vigorous specimens who could be of service either as carriers, as warriors, or as camp followers. He gives an illustration in which a number of ordinary natives and of pygmies are seen grouped in his camp at Kavalli, showing the difference in size between the smaller race and the larger; but how many pygmies he had in his camp at that time we are not told. It is certain, however, that he met no pygmies in the grass lands which he traversed between the great forests on the west and the wooded country which he encountered on the east side of the Semliki River. Indeed, we hear nothing more of pygmies till he reached the country at the foot of Ruwenzori Mountain ; and even there he did not encounter any of the little people, but only heard of them from the natives. Near the Ugarama village at the foot of the great mountain his men found in the woods two women of light complexion, who gave them a description of the country and its inhabitants, and said that “ the enemies of the Awamba, who cut down the woods and tilled the ground, were the vicious Watwa pygmies, who made their lives miserable by robbing their plantations, and destroying small parties while at work or proceeding to market in adjoining districts.” Here is the first evidence I have met with tending to show that the pygmies have ever cut down the woods and tilled the ground, and this Stanley did not see himself, and only heard it from the two native women whom he met at the foot of the mountain ; but the little folks still maintained their character for viciousness and malignity, and made the lives of the larger natives miserable by their thefts, and by destroying small parties whom they came across. Further on, Stanley learned from the natives that on the western bank of the Semliki River there were Watwa pygmies.

How much Stanley’s statements might be modified by a more intimate knowledge of the habits of this little people we cannot say ; but of this we feel assured, that pygmies certainly reside there. This fact of itself is interesting, as it corresponds with the statements of the ancients that pygmies existed about the sources of the Nile, and Stanley’s explorations prove satisfactorily that the little people of which he heard now exist around the sources of that great river. The lake which he first discovered in 1876 and rediscovered in 1887, and which he named Lake Albert Edward, is in truth the source of the west branch of the Nile ; its waters flow northward through the Semliki River into Lake Albert. Into the northern extremity of Lake Albert the eastern branch runs, and from it the Nile itself flows.

The pygmies which inhabit the country near the shores of Lake Albert Edward and about the western slopes of the Ruwenzori Mountain are so far separated from those inhabiting the great forest to the west of them that the two tribes can hardly be supposed to have any intercourse with each other. We may place these eastern pygmies about under the equator and 30° east longitude, with a grass country intervening between them and their brethren whom we have placed in the western forest.

The last of the pygmies of whose discovery I have an account are located about four degrees south of the equator and about 24° east longitude, on the river Sankurru, in a vast primeval forest which it took our explorer many days to pass through. Dr. Wissmann, who discovered them, says : “ I was greatly pleased to see in the afternoon some Batua of pure quality, real beauties. The people were short, of a brown yellowish color, or rather light yellow with a brown shadowing. They were long-limbed and thin, though not angular, and wore neither ornaments, paintings, nor head-dresses. I was chiefly struck with their beautiful and clever eyes, lighter than those of the Batetela, and their delicate rosy lips, by no means pouting like those of the negro. The demeanor of our new friends, whom I treated with particular kindness, was not savage, like that of the Batetela, but rather timidly modest, I may say maidenly shy. The little men, on the whole, reminded me of portraits of the Bushmen of the south of this continent. Their arms consisted of small bows and delicate arrows, which, before using, they dip into a small calabash filled with poison which they carry fastened in their belts.

“ By means of great patience and a continual encouraging smile, and by forcing my voice to the most gentle intonations I could manage, I succeeded in commucating with them, and catching some of their idiomatic expressions, which entirely differed from those of the other tribes. Amongst others, it struck me that here, in the midst of the Batetela, who for the word ‘ fire ’ have the term ‘kalo,’ they had the expression ‘ kapja,’ the same as our Bashilange, with whom they have a certain softness of language in common ; something of the singing modulations of our Saxons.” He also notices their delicate frames and rather long limbs.

Wissmann obtained the measurements of some Batua men, whose height varied from four feet six inches to four feet eight inches. He never saw any women among them. The young people had rounded figures and fresh complexions, and their movements were especially graceful, easy, and quiet. The old men he considered painfully ugly, a result which he attributes to their savage and roving life in the primeval forest. The head seemed disproportionately large, owing to the thinness of the neck. They were very much feared by the other natives on account of the poison of their arrows.

He further says : “ The real home of the Batua is the vast dark primeval forest, which in all seasons yields a variety of fruits, — perhaps only known to and eaten by them, — roots, fungi, or herbs, and especially meat; the latter chiefly of lesser and lower animals, as rats, nocturnal monkeys, bats, a number of rodentia, many of which may be unknown, now and then a wild boar, a monkey, and, by chance, even an elephant. Other game is not found in that forest, but of smaller animals there is all the more abundance. Caterpillars, cicadas, white ants, and chrysalises also offer an abundant change to their menu.”

Our author afterward frequently met the Batua in this great forest, but they were too shy to allow him to make minute observations. He nowhere met with any evidence of agriculture among this little people, or of domestic animals. If they gathered cultivated fruits, they were cultivated by the larger natives. Wild fruits and wild animals constituted their great resource for subsistence. Ever wandering in search of these, they had no fixed places of abode. They sheltered themselves in temporary huts, which were quickly erected and readily abandoned. Indeed, they lived almost the same as do all the other pygmy tribes whose habits have been sufficiently studied to he understood. They are nearer the condition of wild savagery than any other of the savage tribes of Africa. But they have their peculiarities. According to this description they are much more comely, especially the young, than any of the pygmies elsewhere met with, and they have longer limbs than the others. While others are said to have long bodies and short limbs, these have long limbs and necessarily shorter bodies; and enough specimens were seen to enable us to determine these general characteristics. With these two exceptions, the description we have of them corresponds precisely with what we are told of other members of the race, though they are separated from each other by immense distances.

The pygmy bands occupying the country north of the equator in the neighborhood of the Congo and its tributaries are surrounded, or perhaps, more properly speaking, intermingled with the cannibal tribes, who regard human flesh as the choicest meat to be obtained. So situated, we might expect that the pygmies would be cannibals, too, for their great love of a flesh diet and their frequently straitened circumstances would seem to encourage them to adopt that practice; yet I nowhere find the subject alluded to, nor do I find evidence clearly establishing the fact that any of the bands or tribes of pygmies in Africa are in the habit of eating human flesh; and we may well suppose that if explorers had observed sufficient evidence to establish that fact they would have recorded it. True, such practice may have existed among pygmies who have been visited by white men, for we know that many cannibal tribes are loath to admit that they eat human flesh, to visitors whom they know abhor it, so it may have been concealed from observation where it actually existed ; but we are not at liberty to accuse them of cannibalism without satisfactory proof to establish the fact.

Many have asserted that these pygmy races are found extended quite across the continent, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic, in the neighborhood of the equator, but to this I am not prepared to assent. That the Bushmen did once extend across southern Africa from ocean to ocean is undoubtedly true, and that, in the equatorial regions, individual specimens may have been seen far east of their usual habitat may not be questioned ; but even in the Soudan only individuals who have wandered far east of their birthplace have been met with. No collected bands containing both old and young and united families have been there found, so far as my information goes, and without these we cannot conclude that the individuals met with were within a natural habitat. Should we meet with a negro in Norway, we should hardly be justified in saying that Norway is the home of the negroes. If specimens have been met with east of the south end of Lake Tanganyika or of the north end of Nyassa, it would not prove that the pygmies extend across the continent to the Indian Ocean, or that they inhabit the regions about the great lakes of Central Africa. Joseph Thomson, in his first wonderful expedition, when he traversed the region extending from Zanzibar to the north end of Lake Nyassa, and thence to Tanganyika and up the country west of that great lake to its outlet, and north of it to the river, and explored a considerable district of country west and south of that lake, makes no mention of having met any people below the ordinary stature of the negro races ; and again, in his explorations to the Masai land, embracing the whole country between Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean, he met no people of diminutive size. If he found cave-dwellers in that country, they were of the ordinary stature.

Possibly this conclusion may be modified by a statement by Mrs. Sheldon in her account of her journey of exploration in that part of Africa. She says of the Wandurobo tribe, who had been conquered by the Masai, but not enslaved, “ These people are the most insignificant in appearance ; almost dwarf. ‘ Durobo ‘ signifies stumpy. Among those we met there was no man who attained a height of over four feet and a few inches, and some were considerably shorter.” Not appreciating the importance of this discovery from the scientific point of view, she does not seem to have taken the trouble to measure any of these little people, or to make other observations of their habits, customs, or mode of life, which would enable us to compare them with the African dwarfs, so as to determine whether they belong to the true pygmy race or not. She found these people located on the eastern flanks of the great mountain Kilimanjaro, and on the eastern borders of Masai land.

I think evidence is wanting to show that pygmies are at home anywhere in Africa east of the Ruwenzori Mountain or the Lake Albert Edward. They may be found south and west of that region, but it will be in the great forest regions which occupy most of that part of Western Africa. Wherever they have been met with elsewhere, they may be considered as estrays. Provisionally we may limit the habitat of these little people to the equatorial regions of Africa west of the African lakes, and to that part of the continent lying south of the Zambesi River. Even in the latter country the range of the Bushmen has been much curtailed during the last two hundred and forty years, and their numbers have been greatly decreased by the cruel hands of the whites. When the country between the Nile and the Indian Ocean and between Abyssinia and Mt. Kana shall be thoroughly explored, it may be that tribes of pygmies will be found in that unknown region, but at present this must be a matter of conjecture.

John Dean Caton.