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present king in 1862-3 was the occasion | of them than has been permitted by more of Captain Burton's mission, puts it at sentimental writers expels with rude the slightly lower figure of one hundred promptitude any idea which the reader and eighty thousand; while Captain may have had of Amazons as a troop Burton would even say one hundred and of brave, resolute, and comely virgins. fifty thousand, confessing, however, that Their chastity is far from unimpeachable, all the numbers are mere guess-work. and in appearance they are a pack of It is perhaps pretty safe to assume that "old, ugly, and square-built frows," who the truth lies somewhere between one 'trudge grumpily along with the face hundred and eighty thousand and one of a cook after much nagging." If the hundred thousand. Considering that hideous creature in Captain Burton's the country could support three times as frontispiece is an impartial representation large a population, and that there is little of the average of Amazon comeliness, his or no commerce in produce, the cultiva- written account is no calumny; but it tion is obviously of the scantiest descrip- may be added, that in Commander tion. The disproportion between the Forbes' book there is a picture of an extent of territory and the number of the Amazon who would be distinctly atinhabitants is easily explained. The fe- tractive but for a dripping head which male troops are variously calculated at she carries in her left hand. They affect ten thousand, five thousand, and by Cap- a Zouave swagger, but in spite of this tain Burton at twenty-five hundred, and they cannot disguise the mildness of they contribute no increase to the king's countenance with which nature stamps subjects. In a country where the doc- their sex. Although bulky in appeartrine of the superiority of the female had ance, their size is due more to fat than made less progress, these women would muscle, and, in the author's opinion, they represent seventy-five hundred children. are "too light to stand a charge of the In the second place, Dahomey is sur- poorest troops in Europe." The whole rounded by hostile tribes, and constant force is divided into five arms- -blunderwarfare both employs and annihilates buss-women or grenadiers, razor-women, large numbers of men who would other- infantry, elephant-huntresses, and archwise be forced to do at least a certain ers, the infantry composing the corps amount of work. So long as these two d'élite of the army. The elephant-huntchecks-one preventive, and the other resses have a great reputation for skill positive-are actively at work, the dis- and daring, and, notwithstanding rude proportion between the surface of the and worn-out muskets and bad ammunicountry and the number of dwellers on it tion, twenty of them can bring down seven will go on widening, until at length the animals out of a herd at a single volley. whole Dahoman power will dwindle The razor-women, we presume, cut off Since Captain Burton's visit, it the heads of those who have fallen before has received a severe blow by the rout the bullets and poisoned arrows. The of Gelele and his followers in their long- archers, formerly the most distinguished threatened attack upon Abeokuta a portion of the force, have become more blow from which it will take them many lightly esteemed as the inferiority of years to recover, "and before that time,' their weapon, even with the most deadly says the author, "I hope to see Dahome poison on the arrow-tips, to the clumsilevel with the ground." est blunderbuss, has grown more apparent. The bravery of the Amazons seems to be on a level with that of their brethren in arms, but in both cases, as might be expected among barbarians of this peculiarly degraded type, their courage only sustains them for one furious onset, and if this is not successful they soon beat a retreat. The Dahoman warrior possesses none of the stubborn perseverance in combat which is often found in tribes indiscriminately classed as savage, and to this, among other causes, the final


But though we may no longer regard the King of Dahomey as a terrible potentate, ruling over boundless regions and a comparatively enormous people with undisputed sway, there remain, even in a petty and decaying territory, abundant points of extreme interest to the civilized European. The practice of employing female troops, or "fighteresses," as Captain Burton absurdly calls them, is one of the most remarkable of Dahoman peculiarities. A closer inspection

overthrow of the nation will doubtless be largely due. Commodore Wilmot saw a troop of Amazons fire at a mark, and declares they fired exceedingly well, considering the flint musket and the iron ball, which fits loosely to the barrel. He adds, very absurdly, that "they would prove formidable enemies with good weapons, and if they possessed discipline and real courage"-which is as true and as valuable as if he had told us they would be men if they were not women. The people of Abeokuta are exasperated beyond all bounds by the use of female troops, which they very naturally regard as the grossest military insult. Captain Burton's contemptuous estimate of the Dahoman forces, both male and female, has received remarkable confirmation in the utter repulse which they met at the hands of their inveterate enemies only six weeks after his visit to Agbome, the capital of Dahomey. The respect paid to the female slaves of the Amazons is not less exasperating to their countrymen than the Amazons are to the people of Abeokuta. Whenever they sally forth they ring a little bell, like a sheep-bell, at the sound of which every male must get out of the way as fast as possible, and hold his face averted until the women have passed on. As slaves are passing to and fro all day long, and their pace is of the slowest, the tinkle of their bell, and the consequent flight of every native male, however occupied, become a profound nuisance to the traveller. The women rather enjoy the scampering which their presence creates, and the older and uglier they are the more noise they make, "which," as Captain Burton says, "is natural." Dancing is quite as much a part of Amazon business as fighting, and it must be fully as hard work. One of the most common of these dances consists in an imitation of the process of cutting off an enemy's head, but this is mere repose when compared with some of their performances. In what Captain Burton calls the regular Dahoman dance, every part of the body is in the most violent motion. The arms, bent at the elbow, are moved swiftly backwards and forwards, and almost meet behind the back; the hands paddle like a fish's fins, the feet shuffle after the approved negro fashion, and the whole trunk is incessantly jerked in

every possible direction. Everybody acquainted with Hindoo dances will agree with the author, that "as all these several actions, varied by wonderful shakings, joltings, grimaces, and contortions, must be executed rapidly, simultaneously, and in perfect measure to the music," it must be a more difficult performance than the feats of the Nautch girl of India or the Alimeh of Egypt. King Gelele himself is a dancer of great fame, and one of the most popular parts of the "So-Sin Custom," or annual festival at Agbome, is his energetic dancing and singing.

These Customs, the rumors of which have so long filled all Europe with horror, are of two kinds. The "Grand Customs" take place only after the death of a king, and are marked by superior grandeur and more profuse bloodshed. Gelele performed the rites in honor of his father in 1860, and it was of these that what appears to have been a highly exaggerated account reached this country. The "Yearly Customs are also of two kinds, being performed in alternate years, but, according to Captain Burton, the ceremonies of the So-Sin year and those of the Atto year are substantially the same. The author was present at the So-Sin Customs, and he has recorded all he saw with a minuteness which would be tedious were it not that hitherto there has been no plain and detailed account of what really occurs on these occasions. Customs of one sort or another are spread over the whole year, except when the king is on his annual slave-hunting expedition, which employs him for from six weeks to two months. They are a mixture of " carnival, general muster, and lits de justice." The troops are paraded, there is a vast amount of drinking, firing, gambling, and dancing, cowries are distributed among the populace, and the victims are put to death. The name So-sin literally means "Horsetie," and is given to the "Customs" because all the horses are taken from their owners, tied up, and not released until they have been redeemed with a bag of cowries, this being the Dahoman mode of collecting taxes. The ceremonies extend over five days, and their combined childishness and monotony must be absolutely unendurable to a European onlooker. One element, however, gives a

grim interest to all the rest. The victims whose death is one of the great features of the festival look on with placidity, or even downright enjoyment. Captain Burton saw forty of these wretches, dressed in the attire of state criminals, "seated on cage stools, and bound to posts, which passed between their legs, the ankles, the shins under the knees, and the wrists, being lashed outside with connected ties." They remarked the presence of white men, chattered together, and kept time to the music. Visitors were formerly compelled to witness the executions. Commander Forbes actually saw victims hurled down from the platform about twelve feet above the ground, decapitated by the headsman, mutilated by the clubs of the mob. Commodore Wilmot, if he did not witness the bloodshed, which from his report is uncertain, at least saw the victims carried away, and they were executed within earshot. Captain Burton, who is probably a man of more resolution than either of his predecessors, in obedience to the instructions of the Foreign Office by which he was commissioned, represented to the king very positively that, if there was any attempt to perpetrate the executions in his neighborhood, he would at once return to Whydah. In consequence of this, no blood was shed during the day-time, but in the Evil Night the report of a musket and the bang of the death-drum informed the visitor from time to time that a life was taken. The following day Captain Burton intended to stay away from the palace, but a royal messenger, sent expressly by the king, came to inform him that nobody had been put to death during the previous night who was not either a criminal or a captive. The spectacle on approaching the palace was "not pleasant." Four corpses were sitting in pairs on stools on the top of the two-story scaffold. Near were two more victims, one above the other; then a gallows, thirty feet high, with a wretch hanging down by his heels; and, close to the path, "a patibulum for two dangling side by side." Further on lay a dozen heads in batches of six each, and so on until a total of twenty-three had been reached. As there are two Evil Nights, and as the Amazons within the palace kill as many as the men without, the number of the slain may be esti

mated at seventy-eight or eighty. But this is only a small part of the annual bloodshed. "I can hardly rate the slaughter," Captain Burton says, "at less than five hundred in average years of the Annual Customs, and at less than one thousand during the year of the Grand Customs."

The object of these sacrifices has hitherto been scarcely at all understood. They are offered up solely on religious grounds, and sprang originally from filial piety. One of the most prominent articles of Dahoman faith is a belief in Deadland. In what precise condition the ghosts of the departed are supposed to exist is uncertain, but they are always regarded as continuations of their earthly selves, with the same habits and sentiments. Dead-land is not a scene of reward and punishment, these being conceptions which the Dahoman mind is wholly incompetent either to originate or to grasp when expounded. The future life has probably been invented to extinguish or mitigate the horror of animal death, and those who partake of it retain all their previous interest in what is going on among their descendants. The meaning, then, of the Grand Customs, when the rites of a deceased monarch are celebrated by his successor, is simply that a king should not be permitted to enter the lower world without a kingly retinue. "He must enter Deadland with royal state, accompanied by a ghostly court of leopard wives, head wives, birthday wives, Afa wives, eunuchs, singers and drummers, bards and soldiers." Here, as has been said, the victims "may amount to a maximum of five hundred." But, besides this awful slaughter, whatever the king does must be reported faithfully to the curious ancestor. If a white man visits the king, or if he changes his residence, the news is instantly conveyed to the paternal ghost down in Dead-land by a messenger slain for the express purpose, and this brings the number put to death in average years up to the level of those slain on the extraordinary occasion of the king's decease. The late monarch, Gezo, reduced the bloodshed, but Gelele is committed to "the reactionary party," on whose support he depends. The priests or fetisheers are all-powerful in Dahomey, and they are resolute oppo

nents of any attempt to interfere with | homans slaying seventy-eight or eighty national religious customs. Captain Bur- victims, because "Dr. Lankester calcuton accounts for the stories of two thou- lates six deaths per mensem as the loss sand being killed in one day, and the caused by crinoline in London." And canoe being paddled about in tanks of "we can hardly find fault with putting gore, by attributing them to the inven- criminals to death when, in the year of tion of the slave-traders, who very natu- grace 1864, we hung four murderers upon rally wished to frighten Englishmen the same gibbet before one hundred from remonstrating with the king. The thousand gaping souls at Liverpool," latter part of the fiction no doubt is an etc. Captain Burton is so bold, enterexaggeration of the fact that the blood prising, and judicious an explorer, and is collected in pits, but, as they are only so entertaining a narrator, that we cantwo feet deep and four feet square, there not reasonably complain if he is but a is not much chance of floating canoes in sorry philosopher. them.

A very curious Dahoman institution is the double character of the king. He is king of the city and king of the bushGelele and Addo-kpon. The late monarch was both Gezo and Ga-kpwe. It is not quite clear from Captain Burton's account what is the secret of this duplicate sovereignty; he presumes that "it was invented to enable the king to trade." The king celebrates his So-Sin Customs in the second capacity as well as in the first, and “criminals and victims are set apart" at them. It is to be regretted that Captain Burton did not go more fully and clearly into the origin of this remarkable duality of the royal person, which is, ethnologically, perhaps the most interesting feature of his book.


The author is not at all sanguine about the success of modern missionary enterprise in Dahomey. Admitting that the missionaries have scarcely as yet had fair trial, he maintains that "all who know how deeply-rooted is fetishism in the negro brain will despair of the nineteenth succeeding better than the sixteenth century." For one of the most formidable evils against which they will have to contend the missionaries have to thank themselves. The spectacle of Catholics and Protestants working one against the other is not likely to assist the conversion of the Dahoman" man and brother." But the "missioner" is one of the many subjects on which Captain Burton's views are distorted by powerful prejudices, which are expressed with a violence that drives even those who may be disposed to think that there is some foundation for them over to the other side. Throughout his book he is very fond of sneering at the civilized world. We need not talk about the Da

London Quarterly.


THE information furnished by these two volumes will probably be new to most of their readers. Java, though one of the loveliest and most fertile islands of the Eastern hemisphere, and abounding in features of interest for the politician and the naturalist, has never been ed ruins which tell of a civilization vasta favorite resort of travellers. Sculptury antecedent to that of Europe, scenery less charming than that of Italy, native as grand as that of Switzerland, and not industry as versatile and prolific as that of the Chinese, customs as curious as those of out-of-the-way lands scarcely accessible to the white man-have failed

hitherto to attract to Java the attention of those restless thousands, who, wearied of the monotony of home, are ever panting for new sensations, and venturing upon untried fields of travel. We dare almost predict that this will no longer be the case. Mr. D'Almeida has written such a story of his three months' holiday as will induce many to follow in his wake. And if they do not meet with stirring incidents and hairbreadth escapes, they will at least find plenty to amuse and instruct.

nitude of the islands of the Indian ArchiThe island of Java is the third in magpelago. Its length from east to west is one hundred and sixty-six miles, and its breadth varies from fifty-six to one hundred and thirty-six. It has an area

*Life in Java: with Sketches of the Javanese. By WILLIAM BARRINGTON D'ALMEIDA. Two vol umes. London: Hurst & Blackett. 1864.

"was quite terrific. The smoke, forcing its
way through large apertures in the sides,
of an impatient steam-engine; and sulphure-
made a hoarse, grumbling sound, like that
ous odors impregnated the air, almost chok-
ing us.
The crater, when we looked

of upwards of fifty thousand miles, with a coast-line of fourteen hundred. The population, according to the last census, which was taken in 1853, is about ten millions and a quarter. With the exception of the officers of the Dutch gov-down into its dreadful abyss, seemed a perernment, and a fair proportion of mer- fect pandemonium; and one could well fancy, chants from all parts of the world, with a on beholding a spectacle so grand and appallconsiderable number of Chinese settlers, ing, what must have been the conjectures sugthe country is inhabited by the Sundas gested to the minds of ignorant, superstiand the Javanese, the former occupying that they should regard the sounds issuing tious natives. What more probable than but a narrow slip of territory on the from its profound depths as the shricks, yells, coast. Within the limited area of the and groans of a multitude of discontented country, it is possible to gather a great spirits, calling in misery to be delivered from deal of information in a short time; and the prison-house in which they were suffering Mr. D'Almeida seems to have spent his unutterable torments?" three months in Java very industriously; though, while acknowledging his claim to having published "a faithful account of this valuable possession of the crown of Holland," we cannot but wish that his sketch had been somewhat fuller and less discursive. His account of the natural features of the country, its industrial progress, its religion, and of some branches of its administration, might have been more perfect and distinct. On the other hand, he has furnished a very vivid picture of native manners and traditions, and made a valuable contribution to the literature of travel. He is not a book-maker, but a conscientious narrator of facts and incidents of personal experience and observation.

The geological formation of Java is volcanic. A chain of mountains, whose summits rise from four thousand to twelve thousand feet above the level of the sea, runs down the centre of the island. More than forty of these are volcanic, and at least twenty are active. The most important of these is the Bromok, which in form is "something like a cone, from the summit of which about a third part, or even more, has been irregularly broken off." From its side irregular masses of mud and sand, "coated with a cake of baked clay like red lava," project. "Imbedded in these mounds are large blocks of lime and iron stone, also huge black stones veined like marble, and shining like granite." These, which are scattered on all sides, were probably ejected at the last eruption of the Bromok, which took place a few years ago. "The noise of the crater," says Mr. D'Almeida,

The crater of the Bromok, which is shaped like a basin, and has a diameter of three hundred and fifty feet, with a depth of two hundred, is full of masses of a mud-like substance, which crumbles into dust when touched. One of the extinct craters of this chain of mountains is said to be the largest in the world, being nearly five miles in diameter. From the nature of its soil, as well as from its extent, it is called the Sand Sea. So vast is its extent, that heaps of stones are placed at certain distances to mark the proper track, and prevent travellers from losing themselves in the dreary waste. The volcanic eruptions are frequent, and sometimes on an almost incredible scale. A lake called the Tologo Warno, which is said to have been no less than eight hundred feet deep, and beautifully clear, is now diminished in depth to seventy-five feet, and its waters have been rendered thick and muddy in consequence of the quantity of stones and rubbish thrown into it during the eruption of a volcano which is now extinct.

The natives have some strange theories and traditions concerning volcanoes. They believe that the noise which the mountain makes is the voice of some departed gnome, giving utterance to his desire for human flesh. In their holy book it is predicted that in consequence of its volcanic nature, the island of Java will be the first place in the world to take fire at the last day. To this belief, however, a saving clause of great importance is added. The Javanese are not to be burnt, but transferred to some safe place until the catastrophe is over. They will then return to the island as its

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