« ПредишнаНапред »
of the Religion of the - MOORs.
“Their religion is Islamism, and they are very zealous Mahometans; but superstition is always the appendage of depravity and a bad conscience; and they are ridiculously superstitious.
“Their priests, whom they call Marabouths, and who form among them an important cast, keep this weakness, which, when carried to its greatest extremities, proves, that the torch of reason is extinguished, when it is not supported by morality, virtue, and a wise and incorrupt religion. . .
“These men, who are in every respect vicious, corrupted, inhuman, cruel, and ferocious, cover themselves with grisgris, which are a sort of amulets, or talismans, manufactured by their priests, and sold at a very high price. They have these articles ready prepared for all circumstances and occasions; they consist of certain sacred sentences taken from the Koran, and written upon paper; of hairs from the tail of an elephant, or an
- hyppopotamus; of the claws of a
lion, panther, or tiger; and of certain go of gold, or some other
metal; on which are engraved in
scriptions or hieroglyphics. “These charms, or amulets, are various, and contained in little cases of Morocco, made with considerable ingenuity; they have some for the head, others for the eyes, and, in short, for all parts of the body; as well as for all diseases, dangers, and sorceries; they hang these charms in every corner of their tents; they cover with them their oxen, camels and horses; and distribute them about their persons with profusion. -
on the IR commerce, INDUSTRY AND ARTS. * .
“The commerce of these Moors extends to every object with which they can traffic, and to everything that holds out a prospect of advantage; they are masters of the gum, they have salt-pits, and they raise a §. number of oxen, camels, and horses, which being the principal objects of their trade, they sell at a very considerable distance from their residence. They have likewise goldsmiths, who refine the #. silver, and iron, and manuacture them into rings, ear-rings, little bells, chains, bracelets, and other ornaments, which serve to decorate their princes, chiefs, and women, as well as the me on the banks of the Senegal and the Gambia; I have even seen the Moors from the Zahara sell these ornaments in the river Sierra Leone, and I have been assured that they frequently carry them to Congo: the common style of these trinkets is that of filligree, or fresco; they are a sort of pictures, which they form of little grains of gold almost imperceptible, applying and arranging them together with wonderful delicacy and art. “They also make sabres and poniards, the handles of which are very ingeniously ornamented and inlaid; the scabbards are enriched with plates of gold. “ They completely pre and tan the skins of i. and even those of hyppopotami, leopards, panthers, and lions; they have the secret of preparing Morocco, and that of ...i. skins almost as thin as paper, and of dyeing and polishing the surface of different colours: they employ these skins for ornaments, to cover the saddles of their horses, for the sheaths
sheaths of their arms, as well as for making harness, boots, and other articles, which are executed with much taste and propriety. “ They manufacture all their stirrups and bridles: their stirrups are in the form of a wooden shoe, and contain about one half the foot, and the iron-work of their bridles is a single piece: their sandals and slippers are internally ornamented with drawings and figures; while every article which has a double use is distinguished by being differently shaped"; so that an article intended for the right side, can never be employed on the left: indeed the pre-eminence of the right over the left is very generally observed, as well amongst the Moors as amongst the aegroes.
“They have also weavers, who, with looms extremely simple and Portable, and the different parts of which are far from being of a complicated construction, manufacture stuffs from goats and camels' hair, and others of wool and cotton, the width of which is never more than half an Egyptian cubit.
me to enter into details of their p. and good qualities. I ad some of them with me during the journey which I made by land in the year 1786, from the Seneal to Goree, when I crossed the 5. proceeding over upwards of fifty leagues of a soil of fine and moving sand. “A black horse, five years old, possessed so much strength and spirit, that before I could quietly mount him, I was obliged to make one of my negroes gallop him through the sands for upwards of an hour; and, after this exercise, he was, for the remainder of the day, full of activity and impatience. “It would be easy to procure every year sixteen mares and four stallions of this race, which, when crossed with our Limosins and Norman kinds, would doubtless produce a beautiful race. I am also -of opinion, that we might succeed in transporting these fine Moorish stallions to the pastures of French. Guiana, where they might be propagated by crossing them with American mares; and I do not doubt that, by properly attending to them, by putting them to grass in the dry season, and keeping them on dry food, we should obtain in Guiana a race of horses as valuable as useful. t “They have thought proper to increase the price of these Moorish horses, and in Africa they frequently sell for ten or twelve slaves. It is a fact, that the negro kings, to whom this sort of money costs nothing, have frequently given for a fine horse as many as twelve captives; but we are not thus to infer that this is the
“”The meaning of the author, in this instance, being rather obscure, the trans; lator is of opinion that the custom to which he alludes, is similar to that lately adopted in the metropolis of lyritain, of making a pair of ** separate lasts, &c.
necessary price for a fine Moorish horse, because the real valne of these slaves is, in the trade, about four hundred livres per head : thus, in a relative proportion, the price of a horse which is purchased for twelve captives would amount to the sum of four thousand eight hundred livres. * However, after having conversed with a number of Šsoors, and particularly with Sydy-Moktar, as to the price at which the finest of these horses might be purchased, in case we wified to buy a number of them at a time, for the purpose of dispersing them amongst our studs, I had an opportunity of convincing myself that I could obtain twenty choice animals at the rate of fifty pieces of Guinea per head, which would amount to a thousand pieces of Guinea at a time, and would be considered amongst the Moors in the Desert as a very valuable payment. It is therefore certain, that for twenty thousand francs we might every year receive from the oases of the Zahara twenty aniThals, either stallions or mares, se. lected from the most perfect kinds that might be offered by the Moors. “The head and rump of these horses are not so handsome as those of the Arabian kind, but the legs are much finer, and the chest and body are more perfect in their proportions. I have seen some whose colour was uncommonly beautiful; many were of the most charming cream tint others were of a slate colour, an had fine coats and black tails: there were also some of a most beautiful black. “These horses are gentle and obedient; the Moors teach them
a number of singular actions;
they kneel down in order to be mounted, even by children six years old; and when a child falls from the back of one of these animals, it not only stops in an instant, but caresses him, and solicits hing to remount, at the same time giving him, every assistance that can possibly be conceived. “ These horses are taught to bow the head at the will of their master; they bend their right knee to the ground, afterwards their left, and in this manner they walk at the word of command: they also make rapid evolutions with their heads turned toward their tails, and their gallop is at least equal to that of the finest nglish racers. * When a Moor has ridden his horse for some hours, the animal’s mouth and flanks are always covered with blood. These barbarians are, nevertheless, perfect horse, men; they raise their legs like the Cossacks; but they are so active, that we may see them, while at full gallop, adjust, and threw
behind, the sort of lance called
sagaye. They throw these lances with so much accuracy, that they never miss their mark; and it is by the strength and rapidity of their horses, that they stupify, run down, and overcome the ostriches, with which their oases are surrounded, and which they thus expel from their desert plains.
oN THEIR Nu MERous flocks AND - H ERDs.
“In these interior residences of the Zahara, which are the chief places of the tribes, the Moors also raise numerous flocks and herds of sheep, goats, and oxen; none of these animals are of the kind which have large and long
- - tails,
tails, and are known in Europe by the name of Barbary sheep ; the Zahara species is much stronger than that of France; the animal has a longer body, and higher legs : it is covered with hair instead of wool, and this hair is extremely thick, but not curled. These sheep are seldom of a white colour; all those which I observed were either black, brown, red, or yellow : ' when they have been fed for some time, they become very fat, and their flesh is excellent. “. In their solitary residences, the Moors also raise a number of oxen, and, amongst the many which I saw, I distinguished two species; one was smaller than the common kind of European oxen, but in other respects exactly similar to this kind; these small oxen of the Desert are of the same form and colour as ours, but they are more gentle and active : the other species is large and strong, has a bunch upon its shoulders, and is in fact a degenerate species of the bison. “ These hunch-backed oxen are generally longer and higher than the French j. they have a very extensive beard, which reaches almost to the ground; their horns are very fine, and almost come in contact at the points; but the distinctive character of this species is a large fleshy wen, which rises between the shoulders: this mass of flesh forms a projection of nearly a foot in height, and is considered a delicious morsel by epicures. “These animals are very strong and docile: the Moors like to ride upon them, because their pace is gentle: instead of a bit, they
pass a cord of camel's hair through ,
the nostrils; to this substitute for a
bit, they fix smaller cords, which serve for reins, and which pass and hang over the bunch on the back of the animal: they saddle them in the same manner as a horse; and, without requiring much excitement or irritation, ...; go at a very quick rate, and trave twelve or fifteen leagues without being fatigued. . They are susceptible of an attachment to the person who habitually attends and rides them, and are obedient to his commands: their flesh is good, tender, and succulent, and their produce is equal to that of oxen in general. “ The Moors pass over Africa with herds of four hundred oxen at a time, which they sell at upwards of a thousand leagues from their deserts. They perform these journies under the protection of the negro princes whose estates they travel through, but more particularly by the favour of their amulets, which are profusely distributed by their marabouths. “It is uncommonly interesting to see these savages, with their numerous herds, cross over the largest rivers in Africa : 1 twice enjoyed this sight; the first time at Albreda, in the river Gambra; the second at the isle of the Senegal. I shall proceed to give an account of the circumstances attending the passage of a hord co upwards of four hundred oxen, which was performed by the Moors between Albreda, situated on the right bank of the Gambra, and the village of Bahio, on the left bank : the river is upwards of three thousand five hundred fathoms wide. “ The herd was collected on the shore to the south of Albreda, where the Moors let them rest for several days, without suffering thern
destined to form the advancedguard, and were considered as if they possessed a charm: from this a select number were again chosen of those who were the best swimmers, and at the same time the strongest and most docile. Ten Moors were then chosen to direct this advanced-guard, and each of these conductors seemed to pay great attention in selecting the aniinal which was to convey him across the river. “ Nine of these leaders were from sixteen to eighteen years of age; one only was between forty and fifty. Across the horns of each ox they fixed a cord of camel's hair, about four feet in
vanced-guard entered the river, excited by the voice of their conductors: the eldest of the Moors led the van; his ox made way through the current with great resolution ; the other animals followed the chief of their file, being animated by the young Moors, who incessantly excited them by their expressions. “When they were all immerged, the scene was truly singular; only the heads of the oxen were perceptible, and the upper part of the bodies of their conductors, who, inclining backwards, held firmly by the cords, which served them for support. The chief of the file continued to lead the van, and the others followed exactly in his track: they were three hours in passing the river, during which time the main body of the troop continued on the right bank, close to the river, with their eyes attentively fixed on those who were making the passage. “When the advanced-guard had arrived at the opposite bank, the conductors suddenly gave three great shouts, which were answered with three bellowings by the oxen, and the noise was distinctly heard by the main body on the opposite bank. “These signals were repeated by the Moors and oxen of the principal troop, and then one might easily see the impatience of the animals, who stedfastly looked on the advanced-guard that had safely arrived, and testified, by their motions, their desire of a junction. “ The principal troop was now collected, and several other oxen . were chosen to lead the way; these chiefs of the body were twenty in number, and twenty Moors mounted the predestined asimals, 10.